Final Audio Design or “FAD” is no more. Well, that is not strictly true, they just roll simply by FINAL now. They are very much alive and strong. Just weird, even my Dad refers to them as FAD and it feels weird correcting him…. “They are just FINAL now”. Naming decisions aside they have been very active lately in all departments. They now have a high achieving planar magnetic at the top end but have also been killing it at the bottom end with their E series. That’s the area of focus today and I have been listening to the E2000 and E3000. For a brand that goes well into their thousands, £39.00 and £49.00 respectively is very modest.
The earphones are dead simple. A 1.2m cable enters the housing of the earphone via a small opening. The FINAL’s themselves are not much bigger, reminding me of my beaten up old Etymotic HF5, allowing for an extremely deep insertion if you want it, and making a great seal very attainable for anyone, no matter how narrow your canals may be. The y-split and cable cinch are basic and plastic and the cable itself is not much fancier. It is thin and light, I doubt it is containing any fancy silver. You can pay an extra fiver for the “C” version with a remote and mic should you need it and they have also recently released a “T” version of the E3000 with a silver cable and an E4000 (potentially £130) & 5000 (potentially £200) with removable cables. So if the cables with these are too basic for you, there are options, of course coming at a cost!
Both models come with a 6.4mm dynamic driver, one that they really talk a lot about having high levels of precision and way more care in manufacture than you would expect for dynamic drivers would have at this price point, without any of the intricate details that actually back this up. While both drivers have 16 ohms impedance, the E2000 is a little more sensitive with a rating 102db to the E3000s 100dB. The next difference comes in the choice of housing materials with the 2000 being aluminium with a black alumite finish and the 3000 being stainless steel. That does also affect the weight with the aluminium version being 12 grams to the steels 14 grams. Both models are finished off with a steel mesh at the back for a small level of venting.
While they are dead simple as I referred to them earlier. They are also very effective. Being light and small they are very comfy and that is further emphasized by the smart tips that are included bending to your ear canal very much akin to a Spinfit. Isolation is pretty so-so due to the vent but is aided by a deeper seal.
Unfortunately, my units came in little baggies so I missed out on the full packaging, ear hooks and little pouch that should have been included but it won’t stop me getting down the biggest factor, sound!
Value in the Sound?
Funnily enough, the housings of the earphones do not correlate to the sound at all. The shiny E3000 is darker, more bass focused sound, while the matte E2000 is more balanced, with less decay in the bass and more energy up top! One thing is for certain, even with the similarities in design and price, these are two earphones suitable for different needs. I think more often than not these days I end up preferring the cheaper model because it just gets me. That would certainly be the case here with the E2000 just being more balanced and better aligned to my tastes. That is not to say it would be by any stretch of the imagination that the next would easily sway to the E3000s more ominous presentation.
Before we start to hone in on some more individual characteristics of the earphones one area that both these really excel in is soundstage. That is a trait that time and time again FINAL have managed to make great in earphones – be it with their completely unique Piano Forte series, or ported balanced armature FI-BA-SS, I find myself more often than not commending how large their earphones sound. That is certainly the case here, largely due to the venting on the back of the housings but what we get is something very unusual for a sub £50 in-ear. I can’t name the last time I truly was blown away by the soundstage above all else in this price range. It is refreshing that soundstage seems to be improving on in-ears as that is one of the more restricting factors. Audeze’s iSine sounding truly massive and while nowhere near as large for obvious reasons, these do a better job than you would come to expect from such a budget price range!
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