Final E4000 & E5000 – Size doesn’t matter.
PROS: Versatile, fun and exciting signatures that are very coherently balanced. The bass response of the E5000 is especially good. Small form factor with a comfortable fit. Very good build quality, especially the E5000. Detachable cables. Excellent value.
CONS: Sound leakage from both models restricts their use in public places. Stiff and microphonic cable of the E5000.
Today I would like to welcome another guest reviewer, Erik, well known on Head-fi as Wyville, who recently spent time with Final E4000 and E5000 releases and now ready to share about his experience with these IEMs in this very comprehensive combined review.
I would like to thank Final, for providing me (Wyville) with the E4000 and loaning the E5000 in exchange for my honest opinion. No incentive was given for a favorable review.
- Housing: Aluminum black alumite finish
- Driver: 6.4mm dynamic driver
- Connector: MMCX
- Cable: OFC cable
- Sensitivity: 97dB
- Impedance: 15Ω
- Weight: 18g
- Cord length: 1.2m
- Price: £119 / $149
- Housing: Stainless steel mirror-finished
- Driver: 6.4mm dynamic driver
- Connector: MMCX
- Cable: OFC silver coated cable
- Sensitivity: 93dB
- Impedance: 14Ω
- Weight: 24g
- Cord length: 1.2m
- Price: £219 / $279
Final (previously known as Final Audio Design) is a Japanese company that produces quite distinctive headphones and IEMs. They have certainly been able to capture my attention, not in the least with their Piano Forte series that have a completely unique earbud/IEM/horn speaker-type of design that has fascinated me ever since I first laid my eyes on them. As a classical music lover the Piano Forte present a compelling proposition and this is perhaps the type of response Final is going for. Final aim at (as they explain it on their website) creating products that elicit the same sort of affinity people have with hand-wound watches, something classical and enduring. Indeed, their specialty Lab series earphones are exquisite pieces of audiophile art I never tire drooling over. But it is not just at the high end of the spectrum where Final creates unique products, their Heaven series of single BA driver IEMs have always listed high on my wish list because I keep reading such positive comments about them. Most recently though a lot of those positive comments have been about another Final series, the E series of small form factor, single dynamic driver IEMs.
The E series launched with the entry level E2000 and E3000, and this was when I finally got my first pair of Final IEMs. Well, not really “my” first Final IEMs because I ended up buying them for my wife when her Trinity Vyrus started falling apart. Since I wanted to hear why people were so excited about the new E series, I leapt at the opportunity to arrange a demo for myself… “Look hunny, I bought you a present!” The ones I bought were the E2000, which was because I gave my wife the choice between the two based on their signature, to which she responded… “The black ones.” Granted, I tried them out for training and actually ended up buying a pair for myself as well because I also, kinda preferred the black colour. Although formally I will of course always be adamant I did it because I appreciated the energetic elegance of the v-shaped E2000 better for training. It sounds more like I actually put some thought into it. I didn’t, I just wanted to test the form factor because by that time I had already set my sights on the E5000. So when I was asked if I wanted to do a double review of the E4000 and E5000, I said yes without even thinking about it. I had been using the E2000 for a few weeks and they were perfect for training and on-the-go use, and while I did not really worry about sound quality, I kept having to remind myself that I was not listening to much more expensive IEMs. The E2000 just had such a pleasant sound with a stage quite surprisingly wide for the price. So naturally I was curious how much of a step up the E4000 and E5000 would be. Let’s find out!
Build quality and fit.
The E4000 and E5000 are really nice small form factor IEMs that have an excellent build quality. The E4000 are made from aluminium, feel solidly built and yet have the advantage of being very light. The copper cable has MMCX connectors and is a very nice, supple cable that is quite good in terms of microphonics even when worn with the cable down. With the E5000 the housing been upgraded from aluminium to stainless steel and the cable too has gone from a copper to a silver-plated copper. Unfortunately here I find that while the cable material is an improvement, the ergonomics are not. The cable is quite stiff and the braiding that was used further exacerbates the microphonics to rather annoying levels. It means that these, in my opinion, really should be worn with the cable over the ear, rather than straight down, which I only do when sitting behind my desk where I can secure the cable to prevent it from moving.
So while the E4000 has a cheaper cable than the one on the E5000, I personally prefer the way that cable is built. Where I did not really like to use the E5000 for training, the E4000 worked really well with the cable over the ears and even straight down. Combined with the light weight and the secure fit I was able to use the E4000 for everything without a worry. Aside from the cable of the E5000, which is also detachable and so can be replaced (phew!), comfort is also outstandingly good. The stainless steel housing does add some weight, but I have had no issues whatsoever with the fit. This is in no small part due to the Final E tips that are included with both models, which I love and use on most of my IEMs, including my $1,800 Empire Ears Phantom. The E5000 sit securely and comfortable for hours on end while I work, cook, everything. These are just brilliant in that regard and a real selling point.
One point to be aware of is that the E4000 and E5000 have a vented design that is almost like it is semi-open. I find the isolation to be decent considering, noise certainly leaks in, but I have still used them quite effectively to reduce some of the environmental noise. However, noise leaks out a lot more and this might make them less ideal for commuting if you like to turn up the volume. It will most likely be heard by people standing close (or sitting close, if you happen to commute in places where people are not being packed in like sardines, but I live in London). Surprisingly this was worse in the case of the E4000 and E5000 than in the E2000, which has what looks like a vented mesh at the back while the newer models look more closed, they clearly are not.