Final Audio A8000

Source pair up.

A8k has an average 16ohm impedance and a little lower 102dB sensitivity, but I still found it to be very efficient and easy to drive from any portable source I tried it with.  Since I was using A8k with its stock cable, I only used single ended output in every source pair up.

Lotoo PAW Gold Touch LPGT – holographic soundstage, deep extended sub-bass rumble, fast mid-bass punch, a little north of neutral bass quantity, neutral, natural, layered mids, crisp airy bright treble.  Upper frequencies are more revealing and brighter with a colder tonality.  Great pair up to analyze micro-details of any recording.  No hissing.

Lotoo PAW 6000 – holographic soundstage, deep extended sub-bass rumble, fast mid-bass punch, a little north of neutral bass quantity, fuller body lower mids with more organic upper mids/vocals tonality, crisp airy bright treble.  Upper frequencies are more revealing and brighter with a slightly colder tonality.  A little more natural tonality in comparison to LPGT.  No hissing.

Hifiman R2R2000 – holographic soundstage, deep sub-bass rumble with fast mid-bass punch, bass has noticeably more impact in comparison to Lotoo DAPs.  Mids are neutral, natural, layered, treble is crisp and airy yet sounds more natural, less splashy.  Good pair up, except there is waterfall hissing, even in low gain.

iBasso DX160 – holographic soundstage, good sub-bass extension and fast mid-bass punch, overall bass is more neutral in this pair up, mids/vocals are also closer to neutral/natural in tonality, nicely layered and with great retrieval of details, treble is not harsh but it is bright, crisp, airy, more vivid. No hissing, but definitely more upper frequencies energy in this pair up.

Hiby R6 Pro – holographic soundstage, deep sub-bass rumble with fast mid-bass punch, and overall bass is a little more elevated in quantity, mids are more neutral, natural, layered, very detailed, treble is crisp and airy, brighter, more vivid.  I hear a faint hint of waterfall hissing.

Hiby R5 – holographic soundstage, deep sub-bass rumble with fast mid-bass punch, overall bass is more elevated, mids have a little more natural body, still layered and very detailed, treble is crisp and airy, bright and revealing, and more natural in comparison to R6Pro pair up. Dead quiet, no hissing.

Cayin N6ii w/E01 – holographic soundstage, deep sub-bass rumble with fast mid-bass punch, bass has more impact and more analog weight, mids/vocals are more natural, a little warmer, with fuller body, but still layered and very detailed, treble is crisp and airy, and still more natural, not splashy.  No hissing.  Another one of my favorite pair ups.  All this in Class AB mode, but when switching to Class A mode, the bass sounds a little slower and mids were thicker.  I preferred AB.

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FiiO M11 Pro – holographic soundstage, deep sub-bass rumble with fast mid-bass punch, bass is north of neutral, a little more elevated in quantity, mids/vocals have more natural body, sound more organic, still layered and detailed, treble is crisp and airy, bright and revealing, and not too splashy.  No hissing.

Sony WM1Z – holographic soundstage, deep sub-bass rumble with fast mid-bass punch, bass has more impact and more articulation, mids are neutral-natural, layered, very detailed, definitely more organic, treble is crisp and airy, nicely extended, bright, but not harsh or splashy.  Actually, among better pair ups when it comes to treble.  No hissing.  Tested with latest stock firmware.

A&K SP1000 SS – holographic soundstage, deep sub-bass rumble with fast mid-bass punch, bass has a little more impact in this pair up, mids/vocals are neutral, natural, layered, more revealing, treble is crisp and airy, brighter and splashier, even with some traces of sibilance.  No hissing.  Not the best pair up due to a little too much energy in treble.

Dethonray DTR1 – holographic soundstage, deep sub-bass rumble with fast mid-bass punch, bass has more impact, very layered and fast, mids are more neutral, revealing, micro-detailed, a little colder, treble is crisp and airy, bright but not harsh, though a little splashy.  In low gain I don’t hear any hissing.

Shanling M0 – holographic soundstage, deep sub-bass rumble with fast mid-bass punch, bass is north of neutral but doesn’t have as much impact, mids are more neutral, revealing, brighter, treble is crisp and airy, bright, and a little harsher with a bit of a sibilance.  No hissing.

Samsung Galaxy S9 – soundstage is wide and has a nice depth, but not as holographic as with dedicated DAPs.  Bass goes deep with a nice sub-bass rumble and fast mid-bass punch, mids/vocals are neutral-natural, layered, revealing, treble is crisp and airy, bright, energetic, a little splashy, but not too harsh.  No hissing.

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Cable pairing.

I’m aware that some people don’t believe in cables and have very strong opinions about it.  It’s not my intention to trigger the argument, and instead I would like to share what I hear during my testing.  What makes sense to me, a metal wire is a material with physical properties of resistivity, conductivity, purity, and unique geometry, all of which put together act as a filter between your source and headphones.  Variations of these physical properties can affect the conductivity of analog signal, resulting in a sound change, from a subtle to a more noticeable level.  If the talk about cables upsets you, please skip this section.

  • Stock SPC to ALO Super Litz – adds a little more sub-bass rumble, and accentuates lower treble a little more, especially around “s”.  Also, I perceive soundstage having a little more depth then width, taking away the feeling of 3D holographic effect.
  • Stock SPC to Linum SuperBaX – nearly identical to stock SPC cable.
  • Stock SPC to DITA Oslo – adds a little more sub-bass rumble, and pushes lower treble a little more forward, making it more vivid, but surprisingly doesn’t make it harsher or splashier.  The soundstage width is slightly reduced.
  • Stock SPC to ALO Ref8 – nearly identical to stock SPC cable.
  • Stock SPC to iBasso CB12s – nearly identical to stock SPC cable.

Personally, I was happy with Final stock cable pair up.

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Conclusion.

One of the questions my readers often ask me is to recommend IEMs to complement what they already have.  It’s not always an easy task because there is so much overlap in tuning of today’s flagships, making it hard to recommend something different and more original.  A8000 vivid micro-detailed sound tuning with a focus on speed, transparency, and clarity, along with a holographic soundstage, makes them unique.  Perhaps it’s not for everybody, especially if you prefer a more natural smoother tonality, but it has a very distinct and quite enjoyable tuning.

Typically, I listen to IEMs with a more natural smoother tonality, especially when it comes to treble.  So, when I switch to A8000 after my usual selection of naturally tuned monitors, it takes me a few seconds to adjust my ears to A8k vivid micro-detailed presentation of the sound.  But once I do, it becomes so addictive that I’m having a hard time switching back, and some of my other favorite IEMs start to sound congested and bloated in comparison.  And that is exactly how I would summarize my experience with A8000, being super addictive!

15 thoughts on “Final Audio A8000

    1. Final was very specific in their product page, if you check it. They said Beryllium drivers require around 200hrs for a burn in/break in. Tbh, the changes I heard (and keep in mind, could be subjective) were within first 50-75hrs. But hey, I just followed their suggestion 🙂 So, I would think the same applies to Luna.

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    1. I’m getting way too many requests to compare it to U12t, Solaris, Andro, etc. 🙂 A8k is totally different from all those other smoother, warmer, less revealing, more balanced or fun v-shaped iems. All these iems are more colored and less transparent, they have slower and less articulate bass. U12t in particular has smoother mids and smoother treble with less airiness.

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  1. I got the a8000 earlier and still waiting for it to arrive. Didn’t get a chance to try it since is not easy to find anyone that carries it from where i live. Anyways, I have the A&K sp2000 ss and i guess is probably not a good pairing as well right?

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    1. hard to tell since SP2k has a higher output voltage and different amplifier design. Pair up synergy will play a big part in how A8k will sound. Don’t get discouraged yet, wait and hear when you get them. BUT please, don’t just straight out of the box. Let it burn in.

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  2. Hey twister, hope you are well. I’m considering getting either u12t, u18t or even jomo flamenco. I own several top tier daps, lpgt, n8 sp2000 and wm1z but want a top tier iems to go with them. I like lots of different genres of music. Which or what would you recommend?

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    1. Out of these 3 iems, U18t. Just a personal preference, U12t doesn’t have as good separation of instruments as U18t and in general sounds smoother and not as resolving (which some might like over U18t if you want more organic sound), and all JOMO iems sounds too bright to my ears (peaky lower treble tuning).

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      1. Thanks twister. I really enjoy your reviews as you do lot of comparisons and talk about which iems pair best with certain daps. It’s very useful. Matter of interest what dap, iems, headphones do you use when your not reviewing stuff?

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      2. Iems, U18t – as many as I have tested in the past, I always come back to these. Dap, I go between LPGT (my reference), N6ii w/E01 (though, E02 card is incoming and I have high hopes for it), and DX160 which I love to use for Qobuz streaming.

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  3. Hi Twister,

    Thanks for all the great reviews that you have put up over the years. They have been a great in helping me to decide what gear to buy. At the moment I am running with a DX22o via amp 3 or amp 8, prefer more amp 3 at the moment. My go to iem is the Sony ier-zr1 and I am looking for something new to add to my collection. Narrowed it down to the BGVP ES12 or the Final Audio A8000. Apart from the price diference, I know that they are quite different iems , both sporting new technologies that I am fascinated to try – Electrostatic Drivers n custom hardare peq switches(that’s not new) in the BGVP, and the Beryllium driver inside the A8000. I am thinking that the BGVP will have more sound signature overlap with zr1 which can be offset by the hardware switches, and the A8000 will a have such a unique signature that can hopefully compliment the zr1? I am quite open to the really open, extended, ultra detailed unforgiving sound of the A8000. And if I were to get the A8000, I will probably also get the Tubed Amp9 to offset some of its take no prisoners nature. So I’d really appreciatie what might have to say about which of these 2 is the more meaningful buy, especially how they may differ from the Zr1. I noted that in your A8000 review you stated that the A8000 is addictive, so that I am leaning more in that direction…

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    1. Unfortunately, I’m more familiar with A8k, never heard BGVP (it was reviewed by Animagus), and I never heard sony ZR1 headphone (assume we talking about their headphones, not iems). Regarding dx220 and amp9, it is not a desktop tube type of sound. I just tried it, and indeed it makes the sound a little more natural at the top. But you also have to keep in mind, amp9 is underpowered, and you really need to crank up the volume. Just tried it with a8k. If you are into EDM and pop/rock with busy instrument arrangement, it sounds good. But if you are listening to classical or instrumental with quieter passages were you have a few instruments at a time, the hissing will be loud, even in low gain with amp9.

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  4. Thanks Twister for that heads up on Amp 9. My Amp 3 and 8 are able to drive everything that I have thrown at it with no hissing. I was referring to the iem version of the zr1 which is very similar to the full size zr1 which I also use.

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    1. That was a great review you did. It is funny how people are comparing this with the 64audio. I think they are more neutral and warmer. I do think a8000 is unique of its high notes and for this reason, I am interested in it to listen to my opera music. The orchestra are so beautiful played that I do believe A8000 will being that out musically! What do you think?

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      1. Yes, I do agree. With EDM tracks and some synthesized instruments it could sound harsh, but with opera music genre and natural organic orchestra instruments it will sound fantastic.

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