Final Audio is a heavy hitter in the world of fine audio equipment. Their Sonorous Series headphones have garnered rave reviews from music listeners worldwide. Recently I had a chance to give the Sonorous III headphone a listen and what I found was quite interesting.
Final Audio Sonorous III Review
IN THE BOX
The Sonorous Series headphones from Final Audio all come with the same essential items. In the box you’ll find the Sonorous III headphone and premium 3ft audio cable. The left and right cables are a simple twist and lock mechanism to keep the cable firmly in place. It’s a simple and elegant package with just the things you need.
The Sonorous III is one of the most solid feeling headphones I’ve reviewed. In fact the whole Sonorous series headphones all have the same basic structure. The headband is framed with stainless steel and the housing for the left and right drivers are made of a rigid ABS plastic.
Sometimes portability is in the eye of the beholder. The Sonorous III doesn’t fold up for transport and there is no carrying case. That being said, you could still easily take this headphone with you on your morning train commute or travel abroad without too much hassle. Although it may be more of a home listening kind of headphone a proper headphone case is really all the Sonorous III needs to keep it safe for travel.
The padding on the headband and earcups of the Sonorous III headphone are incredible. Final Audio spent serious time and thought into developing a form fitting ergonomic headphone design that’s fit for extended listening sessions. Although it’s a slightly big headphone it sit’s nicely on my head and doesn’t pinch around the ears. Typically I prefer a D-shaped around-the-ear fit but the circamaural design of the Sonorous headphones feels good. Surprisingly the entire headphone weighs less than a pound. At first sight you might think it’s going to be a hefty headphone but in fact Final Audio has managed a delicate balance of strong yet light-weight materials in their design.
The sound signature of the Final Audio Sonorous III is tough to describe. There are no frequency range specs to speak of but it’s a full and well rounded sound. It’s clear that these headphones are designed for a premium listening experience. Final Audio uses Titanium dynamic drivers along with Balance Air Movement technology to establish a balanced movement of air at the front and back of the driver. The specially designed ABS driver housing provides breathing room for the sound and gives it a unique characteristic.
The bass on the Sonorous III is pretty amazing. It’s easy for a headphone to get a little too bass heavy or light. Finding the “sweet spot” is difficult because not all music is created equal. Final Audio has however found something quite magical here because the bass has a warm analog feel to it.
The mids are great on the Sonorous III. They share that same warm analog feel making even the harshest vocals smooth and tingly. Compared to the Sonorous IV and VI, I found the Sonorous III is a little dialed back in the mid-range which is perfect. Overall this is hands down the best part about this headphone because the 1kHz – 2kHz frequencies are present but not overbearing.
The full-range of frequencies from bottom to top seem to share this smooth, analog type signature. It’s tough to say for sure where the frequency range ends but I can definitely feel the presence of the frequencies in the high-end. I’m not sure if it’s materials, design or a little something extra that gives this headphone such a smooth sound but bravo to Final Audio for mastering it.
The slightly bigger driver housing on the Sonorous III gives it an open-back quality soundstage in a closed-back headphone. Overall I think they’ve done a nice job. The music breathes with a decent amount of soundstage. It’s not quite what you’d get in a nice open-back but it’s good just the same.
Sound Pressure Level
The Sonorous III is 16 Ohms with an SPL of 105dB so it’s suited well to be powered by a mobile device or media player. I also tested it out with a Fiio K1 DAC Amplifier and it gave it a nice little boost. You really could go either way and be thoroughly satisfied with the output levels.
Listen For Yourself
When it comes to testing out a headphone for review I like to put together a playlist of music that can run it through the paces and give me a solid idea of what kind of frequencies it can handle. The Final Audio Sonorous III is designed for a wide range of music and I found that some of my favorite genres like shoegaze, indie rock and synthpop sounded amazing. So I created a playlist of tracks from an assorted list of artists and genres to show of the frequency response as well as the warm, rounded sound this headphone has. The playlist includes tracks from Slowdive, Underworld, Digitalism, Black Books, My Bloody Valentine and more.
You can find it on Spotify at this link:
If you’re lucky enough to find a headphone store to try out the Final Audio Sonorous III, I highly recommend giving this playlist a whirl.
The bottom line on the Final Audio Sonorous III is a sophisticated and fun sounding headphone. It’s not a flat reference style headphone but the accents in frequency are subtle and have an interesting warm sound that’s still a mystery to me. This headphone has a warm and hearty bass sound that I really love.
The Final Audio Sonorous III is my favorite of the series so far. The matte black finish on the housing is just my style. It’s a comfortable over-ear headphone that’s perfect for home listening or even traveling. Overall I think it’s a great headphone for under $400. I give it a Major HiFi Gold Award based on comfort, sound and price.
Driver Unit: Dynamic Driver
Impedance: 16 Ohms
Cable length: 1.5m