Final Audio A3000 & A4000 Review – Aberrant

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Driveability –

Both earphones sporting a single dynamic driver setup with a modest 18-ohm impedance. The A3000 is slightly less sensitive at 98dB while the A4000 has a 100dB sensitivity, meaning both are efficient and easy to drive.

Output Impedance Sensitivity

Neither the A3000 nor A4000 were especially prone to frequency response change with differing output impedance when switching between the Hiby R6 (10-ohm) and Shanling M2X (1-ohm). This means they will sound very similar from all linear sources and are suitable for smartphone listening too.

Driving Power

Like the E-series, the A-series earphones scale very well with higher end sources. Though I would not consider them as source sensitive as those earphones as their bass isn’t as prone to bloat, driver control was clearly improved on my desktop THX789 stack as opposed to the portable Shanling M2X, itself a fine source. Treble was also noticeably sharper and more defined, the soundstage wider on the desktop amp.

Suggested Pair Ups

The A-series earphones are very accommodating in terms of source pairings. Their clean tuning means suboptimal driver control doesn’t overly harm their presentation. Similarly, output impedance has minimal effect on the sound signature. In turn, they are happily driven from a smartphone or portable source while still having the ability to scale with a higher-end or larger desktop source. Both benefit from a warmer source pairing which helps to aid coherence and a natural timbre.

Comparisons –

Final A3000 ($140) vs A4000 ($160): The A3000 is actually slightly more balanced, the A4000 being higher contrast and more high-frequency biased. The A4000 is more technical that said, its bass extends a bit deeper and it has more sub-bass weight alongside a more linear mid-bass. It’s low end is noticeably tighter and faster. The midrange is more natural in return on the A3000, not as forward and not as over-articulated, if still very clear and a bit raspy. It has a bit more body and a slightly more natural voicing.

The A4000 takes it one step further, being more vocal-forward but also even thinner with a cooler tone. Though it is more revealing, it can fatigue over time. The A4000 has a more forward lower-treble and sounds crisper and slightly more detailed. The A3000 prefers an airier middle-treble, its foreground is not as aggressive but it retains a lot of air and openness. Despite this, the A4000 has the superior soundstage in terms of both size and sharpness. It also has slightly better separation over the already well-performing A3000.

Final A3000 ($140) vs Moondrop Aria ($79): The Aria is a staple around this price range with a mature tuning and technical bump over the former Starfield. The A3000 offers a slightly flatter bass and a smoother upper-midrange set to a brighter treble. Both offer similar bass extension and tuning, the A3000 is noticeably faster and more controlled, the Aria having slower decay and lower definition. The midrange is a touch more upfront on the Aria balanced out by a slightly smoother treble. It sounds a bit more coherent and similarly is very tonally clean.

The A3000 is more articulate with slightly thinner body and higher definition but also a bit more rasp. Neither are sharp or overwhelming nor suitable for those averse to forwardness here. The A3000 has a sharper treble, middle-treble especially, the Aria having a bit more aggression in the lower-treble. Despite this, the A3000 is noticeably more detailed, especially fine detail retrieval and it has more headroom. However, it is also a fair bit brighter which may polarise. The A3000 has a leg up on soundstage, being more spacious with better separation while the Aria has slightly better layering.

Final A3000 ($140) vs BQEYZ Summer ($129): The Summer brings the technically accomplished tribrid driver setup of the Spring-series to a lower price point. Both earphones offer similar balance overall and a slight W-shaped character. The Summer has more bass emphasis, especially in the mid and sub-bass. It has better extension too with heavier slam and greater dynamics. Meanwhile, the A3000 offers a quicker, more defined mid-bass and more separation. The Summer is slightly more vocal forward counterbalanced by its slightly bigger bass, both offer a natural voicing here.

The Summer has more warmth in the midrange and is a little smoother in articulation, granting is a slightly more coherent presentation. The A3000 is cleaner and more textured with greater clarity and extension. The top-end is brighter on the A3000 and the Summer comes across as a little peakier though generally smoother. The A3000 has more body and greater fine detail retrieval in the foreground at the cost of being quite a bit brighter, while the Summer has slightly better extension and a cleaner background. Despite this, I find the A3000 to offer a larger soundstage and it has noticeably better separation too.

Final A3000 ($140) vs Shozy CP ($165): The CP also targets a clean sound but offers stronger linearity than the more strongly contrasted A3000. Its mid-bass is fuller and punchier while the A3000 offers noticeably deeper extension and greater rumble. With its BA bass, the CP is faster and more defined though the A3000 is not far behind and has greater texture alongside similar separation. The A3000 is slightly brighter in the high-end and midrange. The CP has a more even midrange with a bit more body and a smoother articulation.

It is similarly quite clear and clean in tone, only lightly warm. Subjectively, the CP offers a more accurate timbre though both are natural voiced, the A3000 simply being glossier with stronger focus on clarity and extension. The A3000 has higher definition in return. The treble is brighter on the A3000 as well, but it is also noticeably more detailed in the foreground with greater headroom, the CP rolling off relatively early. The A3000 has a much wider soundstage than the CP.

Final A4000 ($160) vs E4000 ($150): The A4000 provides a brighter tilt, the E4000 a warmer and more coherent voicing. The E4000 has a deeper extending and substantially more emphasized bass, mid-bass especially. Bass holds most presence in its sound and is full and warm. The A4000 is much cleaner without the mid-bass bump, it is more linear and separated. However, both have equal driver control and agility, the E4000 is fuller, with more rumble and texture, the A4000 is cleaner and more detailed. The midrange is clearer and more defined on the A4000 but also much thinner, raspier and much more forward.

The E4000 has a much more natural medium warm tone, a more natural and coherent vocal presentation, if being slightly laid-back. It has a more organic timbre while the A4000 is more separated and revealing. The A4000 also has a brighter top-end, the E4000 being smoother and a little less linear. The A4000 has a lot more headroom and is more resolving. It has a larger soundstage and is much more separated. The E4000 sounds more coherent and layered in return but certainly has less air and space to play with especially with its fuller note structure.

A4000 ($160) vs Fiio FH3 ($150): The FH3 is a strong performing and a well-tuned hybrid at a reasonable price. It is more balanced than the A4000 with greater bass presence. It has a bit more sub-bass extension and slam but also less agility and definition through the mid-bass. Both are similarly tuned with a sub-bass bias, the A4000 is a bit more linear and textured. The midrange is brighter and thinner on the A4000. The FH3 is also neutrally toned and clean but is balanced out by a smoother upper-midrange and lower-treble.

In turn, the FH3 sounds more refined and coherent. Its note structure is more complete where the A4000 is brighter with more clarity and vocal intimacy, trading coherence for greater openness. The FH3 has a more accurate timbre and less vocal bias whilst retaining a neutral tone. The A4000 is a brighter earphone in the treble, it has more bite and crunch though the FH3 has a bit more fine-detail retrieval in the foreground. It also has a cleaner background where the A4000 offers a bit more air and headroom. The A4000 has a much larger soundstage and slightly sharper imaging while the FH3 has better layering.  

Verdict –

As Final Audio’s approach to sound design has evolved so too have their once quite experimental models become generally more accessible to the average listener. The A-series then represent a foil to the palatable, warm and coherent E-series, introducing a much cleaner and clearer style of tuning. Technical strides have also been made alongside enhancements to the soundstage; which can easily be considered class leading in both space and separation. Do note that these IEMs do not attempt to recreate the A8000 experience, rather, they offer a similar focus on speed, definition and cleanliness, but scaled down and, in some capacity, achieved through altering the sound tuning rather than the raw technical ability of Final’s flagship.

Though neither will win awards for timbral accuracy, I won’t discredit Final’s intentions here; as the company is clearly making a statement about how said sound tuning can be used to change the perception of other qualities in the presentation. I feel the A-series represents this ethos strongly. The A3000 does so in a manner that doesn’t affect tri-frequency balance, thereby representing the more versatile tonality. Meanwhile, the A4000 offers a technical bump and an especially immersive soundstage, but also introduces an undeniable high-frequency focus that will polarise more. This enables Final Audio’s latest earphones to offer unique qualities that you won’t find recreated by competitors if also tonalities that differ from the majority. So long as this is to your preference, there is much to like about their detail retrieval and ability to play with space and clarity like few around this price point and well beyond.

The Final Audio A3000 and A4000 can be purchased from hifiheadphones for £99 and £119 respectively at the time of review. I am not affiliated with hifiheadphones or Final Audio and receive no earnings from purchases through this link.

Track List –

AKMU – SAILING

Billy Joel – The Stranger

Cream – Wheels of Fire

Crush – Digital Lover

Daryl Hall & John Oates – Voices

Dire Straits – Communique

Dirty Loops – Next To You

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

H.E.R – I Used To Know Her

Joji – Sanctuary

Kanye West – Ye

Radiohead – OK Computer

TALA – ain’t leavin` without you

The Beatles – Abbey Road

The weeknd – After Hours

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Avid writer, passionate photographer and sleep-deprived medical student, Ryan has an ongoing desire to bring quality products to the regular reader.

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