The Evolution of Form and Thought – A Review of the FLC8n


I would never, under any circumstance, give you 36 sound impressions in one review. F**k that! I won’t even give you two filter configurations. No. I’ve told you I’m using Black, Red, and Gold. So, Most Bass, Most Mids, and Medium Treble. Knowing that, you can make your own mental adjustments to figure out if the 8n is capable of matching your sonic preference. I’d be willing to bet it is.

The FLC8n with Black, Red, and Gold filters is warm and bassy, rich, yet elegantly balanced. Clarity has a natural feel, delivering all the goods, without aggression or artificially boosting details. There is a smooth, easygoing quality to the FLC8n, though one not lacking in dynamism.

Treble has plenty of air for my tastes, suggesting good extension. A lower treble peak helps articulate the performance, bringing forth texture and detail. The drum kit is present, but not piercing. Actually, the highs are relatively smooth, with a hint of warmth about them.

Vocals are fantastic! Clean, refined, and possessing a touch of lushness. A moderate amount of body gives the mids authority, without sacrificing transparency. Vocals don’t dominate the music with forwardness, instead choosing to join the band and become a whole. Liquidity mingled with clarity makes this a wonderful, seductive listen.

The bass is a real delight, thanks to that dynamic driver and my fiendish choice of filters. Lows delve mighty deep, rumbling and quaking, punching and kicking as the music calls for it. There’s good texture, and a surprising amount of control and speed. It’s technically very good, but I’ve heard better tonality.

Soundstage is okay. Certainly not small, but also not super wide or tall. It feels pretty natural. Imaging is good, as is separation. Resolution is modest, but nothing to write home about it.

Comparing to the older FLC8s ($299, Review HERE), the new 8n is cleaner, clearer, with better resolution. The 8s has more grain and sounds peaky, perhaps more prone to sibilance. There’s a refinement to the 8n, felt all throughout the presentation. Better separation, more air, tighter bass, and greater beauty in the vocals. Indeed, this is a worthy upgrade.

Final Audio Design released a true winner in the E5000 ($279, Review HERE). For my money, nothing under $500 can beat it. Well, nothing I’ve heard. It’s even more organic and naturalistic than FLC. Smoother, richer, much bigger soundstage, with depth like you wouldn’t believe. The one down-side is how much goddamn power it needs. Most smartphones will struggle to get these loud enough, so you will want either one of those powerful LG’s, or a DAP with decent output. FLC will run fine on anything, as it’s very efficient.

Another superb alternative if you seek organicity and balance in a hybrid design is the Accutone Studio S2 ($339, Review HERE) Plus, no need for filters. It’s more or less perfect right out of the box. S2 has the more natural tuning, with smoother, warmer treble. The bass has a nicer tone, though not as much attack or “fun”. Mids are pretty close between these two. It’s hard to say which is better. They perform very much on the same level.

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About Author

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.


  1. I’d also love to hear a little more detail on how the FLC8n compares to the E5000. I’m currently listening to the FLC8s (gray/red/black) on an NAD 1050, which I generally like. Trying to decide which one to try next.

  2. hi,great review.
    i have a quastion i hope u know the order u say the flc8n has a better res and seperation and u ever try none nozzle filter and clear,clear in others in flc 8s?,i did it and its like another iem i cant put the nozzle filter back because the resulotion and clearity changed by a big margin. i,m curios what will happen if u do that to flc 8n .

    • No. I listen to them both with the same filter setup. Since the 8n sounds clearer, I would imagine you will get an improvement if you do all that to this model as well.

  3. Great review!
    I know you you prefer the Final E5000 for its organic sound, but could you go a bit more in-depth regarding how it competes with the FLC8n? Is the FLC8n technically superior by a significant margin or are they pretty close? Also, my source would be an iPhone SE — is this still viable for the power-hungry E5000? WiIl the sound quality be sub-par? Thanks!

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