Fresh from Japan and the audio wizards at Final Audio comes the new D8000 Pro Edition. Built on the successes of their highly popular and ground-breaking D8000, the D8000 Pro features a re-tuned driver for a clearer and perhaps more dynamic sound. Retailing for $4299, this headphone definitely costs a pretty penny. And while I’m sure the sound is to die for, how could any headphone improve over the original D8000? MajorHiFi investigates.
Final Audio D8000 Pro Edition Review
Our sample of the Final D8000 Pro arrived in a heavy-duty carrying case with a single cable – the braided black 4 ft (1.2 m) cable terminating in a 3.5 mm plug.
Appearance-wise, the D8000 Pro Edition appears almost identical to the original D8000. The only giveaway here is the “Pro Edition” text stamped on the yokes, just above the extenders on the headband.
The earcups, still just as comfortable, fully cover my giant ears. And while the fit can appear too loose at first, once properly adjusted the D8000 Pro tends to stay put.
As per Final Audio, the biggest feature with the Pro Edition is the re-tuned driver. With a more intimate sound, greater emphasis on bass and treble, and higher recommended volume, the Final D8000 Pro provides a more intense listening experience than any other Final headphone.
However, while there’s a definite bent toward low lows and high highs, detail remains as uncompromising with the Pro Edition as it was with the original D8000.
The D8000 Pro delivers impressive lows with mesmerizing detail. According to Final, the drivers have been tweaked to deliver better lows at higher volumes, and these lows definitely breathe easier with some decent amplification. That being said, once you’ve got adequate power and volume, you’ll fall head over heels for this low end.
Bass guitars and drums sound thick and fat, almost bloated, if it weren’t for the crystal clarity that abounds in this part of the frequency range. Bass impact and sub bass sound deliciously full – even more so than they sounded on the original D8000. Just as Final has claimed, this is a headphone made for rock and roll drum breaks, and thick, raging backbeats.
In the midrange, the D8000 Pro Edition offers a strong sense of detail and fidelity, though those mids seem somewhat sandwiched between the highs and lows. While it’s easy to sense the original D8000’s mid-centric sound at play here, the D8000 Pro displays a more reserved presentation.
This results and a more relaxed character, where vocals and instrumentation, while clean and relatively clear, still seem casually downplayed alongside the overall v-shaped profile. And while it may not be as impressive as the midrange on the original D8000, this presentation does work better with the Pro Ediiton’s hard-and-fast philosophy.
If the mids seem a bit reserved, the highs leap forward. Like the lows, there’s some added emphasis here – causing the Pro to sound radically different than its predecessor. Vocals and instrumentation – whether frail and delicate violins or waxy synths, seem to glisten with detail. Really, these highs are a mesmerizing and intoxicating show of strength – if you haven’t been wowed by Final Audio’s former feats of audio engineering, prepare yourself.
Like the lows, these slightly-over-the-top highs add something special to the Pro Edition. Where the original D8000 was an Accuracy Machine, the Pro Edition seems to take a more fun route, with this high end breathing a particular breed of magic into pop, electronica, rock, and hip-hop that now seems sorely lacking in the older D8000.
Here there’s less difference than one might imagine. Just like the original D8000, the Pro Edition delivers a vast and far-reaching soundstage where everything seems spacious and distinct. There’s depth, too, but the sound may be a bit more intimate and immediate than the original D8000. While this is pretty much in-line with Final’s marketing for the D8000 Pro Edition, the soundstage here can work equally well with pretty much any genre – including classical and jazz, where the original D8000’s soundstage excelled.
The longer I listen to the D8000 Pro, the more I like it. I’ve been a fan of Final Audio for ages (since hearing the E3000 earphone some years ago). But the D8000 was a game changer, and the Pro Edition now switches gears again. Where the D8000 offered a cornucopia of midrange detail, the Pro offers a v-shaped sound that grabs you by the heartstrings and won’t let go. Everything sounds more fun and engaging with this headphone.
If you want the optimal planar magnetic headphone for classical or jazz music, skip the Final Audio D8000 Pro Edition and snatch up the original D8000. If you want some coloration, but prefer more mid-high emphasis, the only real contender to the original D8000 would be the Focal Utopia.
With that being said, fans of a more v-shaped sound will love the Final D8000 Pro Edition. But they aren’t the only ones who should be eyeing this tart. Anyone who just wants to get lost in their music for hours on end needs to hear this headphone. Right now.
The Final Audio D8000 Pro Edition is singular in what it does. Trust me when I say that I’ve heard a lot of $4000 headphones. None can compete with a sound this rich and comprehensive, not to mention engaging. If you want v-shaped sound that drowns you in sonic ecstasy and demands hours of intent listening, this is the endgame headphone you’ve been waiting for. Our take? Demo if you dare, because a sound this sweet can’t be un-heard.
Snatch up the Final Audio D8000 Pro Edition for the best price here:
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