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Review Final Audio B1 and B3 in-ear headphones

Pros

  • Special design
  • Beautiful finish and use of materials
  • Sublime sound
  • Good price/quality ratio

Cons

  • You have to get over the first scare
  • ("600 euros for some in-ears!")
  • Design is rather eccentric
  • Price: € 699 en 499

    Build quality
    Comfort
    Sound
    Price
    Final Audio B1 en B3

    Intro

    Contents

    The ear candy of the Japanese head-fi brand final has been subject in our reviews several times . In our multi-test of 12 headphones, the over ear reference model Final Audio D8000 made a big impression. This time we have two sets of the new B-series on the test bench. In ear monitors with a special shape and according to final, blessed with special properties. Let’s hear it for the cans.


    For a detailed description of final’s product line we quote from a previous review:

    “At demonstrations and shows we have already seen a number of items from the final collection. The in ears stand out for their minimalist design and the use of metal: stainless steel, copper, gold, titanium. Also notable is that some in ears are not equipped with rubber earplugs. Final’s intention is that you spoon these headsets into your ear without a tool. Final has no less than 42 in earmodels in seven series. The E, F and Heaven series are most similar to conventional in-ears. The Heavens series stands out because of its ‘dimple’-shaped back. The FI-BA-SS is handmade, has balanced drivers and stands out because of its torpedo shape.

    847 tuning options

    We consider the Piano Forte series to be the most special in terms of design. Made in copper-chrome alloy and without silicone earplugs, it looks almost like a piece of jewellery. No wonder it is available in gold. Then the LAB-series, two ‘earpieces’ manufactured with a titanium-3D printer. The MAKE series is a concept that allows you to apply your own ideal tuning by changing filters. Allows you to create 77 to 847 configurations. So much for the in ears. Final also makes over ear headphones, the Sonorous series and the D8000. Especially this last planar magnetic top model scores well; in the Wisseloord studios they don’t want to change anymore, so they whisper. Pricing starts surprisingly low at the finals; from around €50 to €1,800 for a gilded copy in-ears. The over-ears of the finals start at € 279 for the Sonorous II up to € 3,500 for the D8000.”

    The B Series

    Final brings out three models in the B-series: B1, B2 and B3. The special thing is that these type numbers refer to the order of production and development. So it is not the case that B3 is the top model and B1 the base model. With the B-series, final in-ears has been introduced on the market that have a certain specialty per model. In terms of sound characteristics, the models are grouped along two axes: the vertical axis covers the dynamic range. It can be very wide or have a narrower bandwidth. On the horizontal axis it is about spatiality versus clarity/clarity. To start with the latter; when listening to classical music and acoustic jazz, the spatial image is a relevant element in the musical experience. With rock and pop music the placement is less important, and you want to hear the vocals well, understand the lyrics. In EDM, the dynamic range of the different musical layers is more or less the same. In any case very different from a classical symphonic work or film music. As you can see on the diagram, the B1 to B3 are positioned to the left of the center. The B1 is tuned so that you experience the soundstage exactly as it was intended and the dynamic range is somewhat flattened. The B3 scores again higher on dynamic range and a little more on brightness.

    The looks

    The finals are strikingly designed; each model in the B-series is made of a different colour of stainless steel. The B1 is gold colored, the B3 matt silver. The shape where the in ears are cast is idiosyncratic, to say the least. Where in ears are usually round and organic, finals B models are angular and square. When we first meet them, we wonder how they fit in our ears. Well, I’ve been thinking about that in the finals. The shape of the in ears is chosen in such a way that it finds support at three points in your auricle, a bit like a tripod.

    When we attach the detachable cable and have selected a suitable dome, we twist the B1 into our ear. Believe it or not, but the 35 grams weighing in ears slip right into our ears. They are extremely comfortable, we hardly feel them and close the ear canal well. Especially with the gold-coloured B1’s, in combination with the silver-coloured braided cable, it looks more like a piece of jewellery than an audio accessory.

    Balanced Armature

    The three B-series models each have a different combination of driver types: conventional dynamic and balanced armature. The latter type of driver is more or less comparable to a moving coil element in a turntable. A moving magnet rotates within a fixed magnet, and the movement creates a wave motion. The term balanced refers to the position of the fixture, which balances between the fixed magnet.
    This type of driver is very small and can be used in closed enclosures. They are therefore popular in multi-driver ear systems that control a certain frequency range. A disadvantage is the low low pressure and relatively high cost compared to dynamic drivers.

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