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.