A few weeks ago, MajorHiFi took a look at the upcoming B-Series from Final Audio. Today, the new B1 sits in my gargantuan ears, waiting to be put through the paces. As the flagship earphone for the new B Series, though, it won’t come cheap, retailing for $699. But how does it sound? And how does that sound compare to other offerings from Final Audio?
Final Audio B1 Review
The B1 features a new kind of retail packaging from Final Audio. Like the higher-end Heaven series, the B earphones come in a cardboard box sheathed in a plastic sleeve. Inside the box, there’s a rubber carrying case, five pairs of eartips, and two over-ear hooks.
Once freed from its prison, the B1 feels surprisingly light and small. Much of the photos out there had left me with the impression of a bigger housing. Yet, holding the earpiece in my hand, it feels tiny. And, placed in my ear, it’s small enough to remain comfortable without feeling like it’s about to fall out.
Aiding this secure fit, the B1 features seven points of contact with the users ear. These things just don’t fall out.
Inside each copper chrome housing, a single dynamic and BA driver offer a hybrid configuration. The B-Series aims to offer earphones optimized for certain genres, and the B1 supposedly targets pop music with this setup, but doesn’t preclude other genres, either.
Connecting to the earphones via MMCX, the silver-plated copper cable measures a fairly standard 4 ft (1.2 m). Slimmer than the cable that comes with the Final E5000, the B1’s cable feels lighter, less stiff, but no less resilient.
Thanks to that dynamic driver, the B1 doesn’t slouch when it comes to the low end. There’s good detail here, and just enough of a bass response to keep rock and hip hop tracks interesting. While never overpowered, it still lends punch to a backbeat or the characteristic thickness to a bass guitar. Tracks like Wednesday by MC Chris and Heart Cooks Brain by Modest Mouse showcase this precision. And while the sound definitely feels tactile and accurate, it may still lack the warmth of other earphones.
Here the B1 really shows its true colors, serving up mids with clarity and separation. Instrumentation feels impressively accurate, but vocals steal the show, feeling elevated above the background music to grab you by the ears and pull you into the sound. Test tracks like MF DOOM’s Kon Queso and Stereophonics’ Local Boy In The Photograph feel tight and fast, but lifelike as well. Dripping with emotion, the vocal delivery sounds pressingly intimate whether you’re listening to underground hip hop or mainstream rock. But throwing on some Ben Lee, you can see where these mids land when it comes to pop music: almost perfect, with the strum of a guitar and the plinking of a xylophone appearing in excellent contrast with Lee’s crooning.
In the high end, the Final B1 offers an impressive sound that nails every note with the utmost focus. Instrumentation feels strong and natural, but still heightened. Engrossing, it’s not so much colored as it is hyper-accurate, and the sparkle from the BA driver really does justice to this part of the frequency range. Vocals feel like another matter, reaching a new level of audio excellence. Any female voice just sounds other-worldly on the B1, and that’s a very good thing. Whether I’m bumping some Hillary Duff, Electric Youth, or Lauryn Hill, the B1 takes female voices to a new level of beauty. While this obviously works wonders for pop music, the effect extends to any track with female vocals.
Final has described the B1 as being more intimate in terms of its soundstage. And while that is true (for the most part, at least), there’s still a sense of depth and placement that comes through with almost any composition. While still more intimate than realistic, there’s enough soundstage to let jazz and classical tracks breathe.
With it’s precise low end, present mids, and intoxicating high end, the Final B1 sounds like a dream. At $699, this earphone may not be the most affordable, but it’s not too much to pay when considering the sheer level of audio quality hiding here. If you listen to even the occasional pop, acoustic, or electronic song, you won’t regret purchasing it.
For bassheads, a better alternative might be found in the Noble Audio Dulce Bass. Priced at the same $699, this all-BA earphone doubles down on bass without ever sounding too weighty or dark. The result is a warmer, more bass-ilicious sound that provides a perfect counterweight to the B1’s mid-and-high emphasis.
Compared to other Final Audio models, the B1 sounds better than anything outside the Piano Forte series, with a richness and energy that has to be heard to be believed. While Final Audio may have aimed this earphone at pop music in general, it’s luscious-yet-precise sound quality will reap rewards with any track you apply it to.
There aren’t a lot of earphones at $699 that sound as vibrant and full as the Final Audio B1. And there aren’t a lot of earphones at $1099 that sound this accurate and precise, either. The really unique feature of the B1, though, is its focused treble and immaculate high end, which make female vocals sound like angels singing from on high, while never really sounding like a “bright” earphone. Our take? With its unique sound and soaring detail, this earphone packs a punch that will leave you reeling from the feeling.
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