Integrity to the Last – A Review of the Final Audio E5000


E4000: I think many folk in this hobby will prefer this one to the E5000. First off, it sounds mostly the same. Great big soundstage. Lovely fulfilling lows. Lush mids… but the treble is tweaked to give more light and articulation. That, combined with less mid-bass, creates a brighter, more detailed sound. Not bright per say. We’re still talking degrees of warmth. But closer to the mainstream ideal. The E5000 has the fuller, more mature sound.

E3000: This is like cheaper version of the E4000. Same signature, but a noticeable decrease in refinement. Resolution and soundstage are also poorer. But only in comparison to these outstanding upper models. Taken on its own, the E3000 is truly impressive for the price and a joy for the ears. This has to be one of the finest sub-$100 IEMs out there, though I haven’t heard many in that range.

E2000: The smallest and least-expensive of the group is also the brightest and thinnest in sound. Which will no doubt suit some listeners more than the warmer tones found in the others. It has less bass and more treble, ushering in extra clarity and air, whilst losing body and richness. This is the more V-Shaped, “fun” product, and still awfully enjoyable.

The Noble Audio Bell (price not yet listed) has more in common with the E4000 than the E5000. It’s not as smooth and refined as Final’s flagship. Soundstage is not as expansive. Bell has more shimmer in its highs and less euphony through the mids and bass. That said, Bell still has plenty of warmth and lushness. Notes are rounded, meaty, and carry authority. Bass extension is good, but not as deep. Articulation is high, though Bell does not resolve as fully.

Putting Final against the Periodic Audio Be ($299, Review HERE), an IEM I raved about in my review, and we see the same story play out again: Periodic falls short. The E5000 has a lavishness and refinement you don’t see in the competition. A silkier, more elegant render. The Beryllium lacks mid-range body, as if it’s been scooped out and made hollow. E5000 simply feels whole and complete. Periodic does not. Considering how much I loved the Periodic, understand that’s not so much a slam against them, but wild praise for Final’s achievement.

iBasso’s IT01 ($99, Review HERE) is much more V-Shaped than any of these. There’s plenty of sub-bass and very little mid-bass, making for a cleaner, more clarity-driven signature. Vocals are extremely detailed. Textures are sharp. Treble has tons of sparkle. It’s a very modern sound, and does that signature well. The E5000 is far more mature, rendering a refined, subtle image which possesses true naturalness.

As far as source pairing goes, it’s dealer’s choice. Yes, the entire E-Series requires a shit-ton of power, and sounds best from a big-ass amp. But these are IEMs, and do sound good enough out of mobile gear. It just pushes most gear to its limits.

My Galaxy S8, running Neutron Player, needs to be at 90/100 for Nirvana Unplugged… just for moderate loudness. Pushing it higher, I can get these too loud for my liking. As for sound quality? It’s a Samsung smartphone. What do you think? There’s a reason I NEVER listen from it.

I would rather use the Shanling M0 ($99). At 62/100, I’m happy. Good detail. Good clarity. Soundstage is ok. It has a smooth, warm tone, but really quite close to neutral. Depth and dimensionality are lacking, but that’s often the case when descending downwards to budget territory. Still, there’s good punch and dynamics.

iBasso’s DX150 ($499, Review HERE) is a favorite of mine for the E5000. It brings so much energy to play. Dynamics are in top form, with a strong, aggressive low-end, and highly capable treble. You get clarity and musicality at the same time, and an exquisite helping of profound, three-dimensional rendering. It’s a warm-sounding player, but thanks to all that articulation and effervescence, the E5000 never succumbs to any sort of veil. 103/150 delivered more than enough power. I can’t think of a better DAP in this price-bracket.

For those looking to get the most out of their IEMs when portability is not a requirement, the Cayin iHA-6 desktop amp ($679.99) is a truly excellent. I fed it from the dual SABRE DACs of my Opus#2’s Line-Out. Neutral and clean, with unspeakable power. Using the Low Impedance output and High Gain, there was no hiss, and f**k-tons of headroom. The iHA-6 presents an ultra clean, reference sound. Tight, controlled, and supremely energetic. The E5000 took on new dimensions of depth separation. Details came forward more readily, and the overall resolution sharpened. Cayin took these IEM’s to a new level.



Pinky Powers

Pinky Powers

Pinky is an artsy twat. Illustration, graphic design, writing. Yet music escapes him, and always has. He builds his own cables, and likes to explore the craftsmanship of others. He's a stabby one, also. At the first hint of annoyance, out comes the blade. I say he's compensating for something... in a big bad way. If we all try really hard as a collective, maybe we can have him put down.


19 Responses

  1. You should check out the Moondrop Kanas Pro and the AKG N5005. The Kanas Pro goes head on against the Final E5000 and the AKG is a good TOTL IEM with 4BAs and 1 DD. If you get a good seal with the AKG, it is amazing. Both of them are tuned according to the Harman Curve.

  2. Hi Pinky,

    Thanks to your E5000 review – and an audition of the E3000 – I have been thoroughly enjoying my own E5000 pair. There’s such a balance and refinement in the sound signature that I love. Nothing is unnecessarily exaggerated (that gorgeous sub bass is definitely not unnecessary) but neither is anything under-represented. Everything just sounds right.

    I agree with you on its merits against IEMs up to $500. In comparison, my A&K/JHA Billie Jean sounds forced and my ATH-E70 needs more coherence – not that they’re terrible, just that given the choice I do prefer the E5000s.

    In your opinion, what are universal IEMs in the $500 to $1000 range that sound the closest to its sound signature yet push the transparency and refinement even more?

    My only lengthy auditions with more expensive IEMs so far has been with the Campfire Andromeda and JHAudio 13v2. I understand their ability to resolve and also produce kickass dynamics but they both have forward presentations that I’m not sure I could live with in the long run.

    Thanks again!

  3. I think I read a revision of flc 8 of your authorship, right now it’s cheaper than e5000 on ebay. Having soundstage and detail as a priority, what is my best option, my friend?

  4. Yes, that’s a fair comparison. They do share a lot in common. If you’re a fan of NightOwl, you may really love the E5000.

  5. From the way you describe it I can only conjure comparisons to the NightOwl, albiet in an iem packaging. By Skylar’s own admission he specifically traded artificial detail for an organic tuning, and it’s this that made it my favourite full-size regardless of price. Am I right in thinking they share some similarities tuning wise?

  6. Hi pinky, which one should I choose between the e5000 and the ue900 if I want to get more details and a broader and more accurate soundstage?

  7. Thanks for the review Pinky!
    Does E5000 sound better for you than Periodic Audio Be, since they’re in the same price more or less?

  8. Thanks for the review Pinky!
    Do you like e5000 more than Periodic BE? They are almost the same price and I can’t decide between these two.

  9. Great review, I concur on all counts, you sold me on them and I don’t regret getting those little gems 🙂 Thanks!

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