Final Audio A5000 Review
It just arrived, and I’m pleased to be one of the first to get a chance to review the Final Audio A5000. I’ll be upfront: I’m usually a fan of Final Audio’s in-ear monitors, and I’m particularly excited to see what they’re fitting into a unit that’s going for a reasonably affordable $279. I’ll be saving comparisons to other units in the Final Audio A series for a different review, and will be taking what the A5000 has to offer at face value. If you’re a Final Audio fan, or just in the market for affordable IEMs, or just a collector with an itch to scratch, this one’s for you.
What’s In The Box?
- Final Audio A5000 IEMs.
- 2 pin detachable silver-coated cable
- Soft Rubbery Carrying Case
- 5 Pairs and Sizes of Type E Ear Tips
- Eartip Case
- Ear Hooks
Look and Feel
The unit I received for this review is black and appears to have what Final Audio would describe as a “Shibo” finish. The shape somewhat resembles an angular snail’s shell. I found this physical design filled up my ear in a way that provided some solid passive isolation. As far as style is concerned: they’re subtle, fairly discreet, and fairly chic.
At 28 grams, the Final Audio A5000 is a lightweight IEM. Once I got it into my ear (pretty easily, if I may add), I could set and forget it. Ear hooks are provided, but the A5000 stayed snugly in place without them. All and all, it scores very high marks in fit and comfort. My only minor crticism is that I wish it came with a cable with a detachable jack, and included both a 4.4mm and 3.5mm jack like many other IEMs do these days. Oh well. Not the worst issue.
Technical Design and Specs:
The Final Audio A5000 has a newly designed dynamic driver (f-Core DU), which features a brass front housing for the driver that is less effected by magnetic forces than more commonly used aluminum housing. Design elements from the A8000 (the top of the Final Audio A Series) are heavily included in the A5000’s technical design, which Final Audio boasts for providing a distortion-free listening experience.
Driver: 6mm Dynamic
Impedance: 18 ohms
Sensitivity: 100 dB/mW
Usually at this price range I’m ready to be fairly forgiving of flat imaging or narrow sound stages, but Final Audio’s A5000 has nothing I need to forgive. There’s a genuine three dimensional quality in its depth, and even some degree of height. The staging is forward facing and presents itself at a near perfect 180 degree angle, sending hard pans flying jarringly to the sides of my head and right next to my ears. Mono lead vocals felt as though they came directly from behind my forehead, at sometimes even a little above my head. Combined with its clean and delicate balance, the A5000 is all about its separation and clarity. I find its imaging to (very arguably) be the star of the show, as it’s hard for me to think of unit at this price that left such an impression on me in this aspect.
Well, I know I just said the imaging might be the star of the show, but it’s in stiff competition with the low end. For an IEM that sits so lightly in my ears, and features such crisp and airy highs, it was quite a surprise when the A5000 finally hit me with the full force of its subs and mid bass. Though mid bass is the most present feature of its low end, deep subs come through at bold levels. This low end boost happens early in the frequency spectrum and avoids muddy low mids, a feature that I generally appreciate with Final Audio’s tuning style. Kick drums are tightly controlled and had a moderate amount of slam, and deep bass lines presented exceptionally detailed low end timbres. This powerful low end that manages to sit so cleanly in an otherwise lightweight balance brings to mind Sennheiser’s IE600, and I don’t think it’s unfair to say that Final Audio’s A5000 seems like a worthy economic alternative.
The Final Audio A5000 middle frequency profile seems somewhat V shaped – low mids are fairly flat and balanced, center mids are slightly scooped, and high mids find strong emphasis. On the one hand, the scooped center mids probably contribute to the spacious and clean overall balance, but they’re also the source of what might be my only minor complaint with the A5000: driving center mid overtones in male vocals and acoustic guitars can sometimes come across a little too quietly. I don’t want to harp on this complaint for too long though, as I was generally very happy with the rest of the center frequency profile. I found the A5000 handled feminine vocals with crisp realism and added a pleasant, strummy brightness and twang to acoustic guitars. Snare drums came across realistically, and electric guitars had a nice balance between their lower fundamental and crunchy distortion. The boosted high mids brought a nice fry out of masculine and feminine vocals alike.
Another defining feature of the Final Audio A5000 is its particularly airy high end that seems to operate on a separate layer from it’s dense and tight subs and mid bass. Vocal air is abundantly present, and reverb and cymbal details are brought to the forefront of mixes without becoming overbearing. Though I didn’t find the high end particularly extended, it’s not heavily rolled off either, and is nonetheless a very prominent and emphasized feature in the A5000’s balance without being shrill or harsh. It also seems as though this highly revealing and refined high end plays a large role in giving the A5000 its fairly spacious stage and image. Those familiar with Final Audio IEM tunings won’t be unfamiliar with the fresh, airy treble timbre that I’m describing.
The Final Audio A5000 isn’t just an excellent IEM under $300: it’s simply an excellent IEM in general. It’s physical attributes have as much going for them as it’s sound quality: it’s lightweight, easy and comfortable in my ears, and provides solid passive isolation. The things I enjoyed the most about its sound was its exceptional imaging, powerful and detailed bass, and its smooth, airy, and revealing treble. It’s been a while since I’ve been this impressed with a unit at this price point. The Final Audio A5000 holds excellent value and outclasses many more expensive in-ear monitors.