pl | en


Final Audio

Manufacturer: FINAL AUDIO
Price (in Poland): 15 000 PLN

Contact: final audio design office
2-7-5 Kamiosaki | Shinagawa
Tokyo 141-0021 | Japan


Provided for test by: FONNEX

here are several certainties that define the last few years in the context of the audio world. It is above all a change in the way of music distribution, the transition from the selling albums to the sale of individual tracks, as well as the explosion of the segment related to portable audio, including headphones. On a smaller scale, that is in the dimension of perfectionist audio, one should notice the appearance of a completely new category of headphones – magnetostatic ones. Planar headphones have been known for a long time, but for several decades it was a domain of electrostatic designs, which featured coil together with a diaphragm placed in a magnetic field produced by electromagnets. In the magnetostatic headphones these were replaced by permanent magnets.

Planar magnetic or orthodynamic?

Headphones of this type represented by D8000 differ in design from dynamic ones. In the former, the coil is applied - glued or vapour-deposited - over the entire surface of the flat diaphragm and moves in a magnetic field generated by magnets or electromagnets placed regularly on one or both sides. In dynamic constructions, the coil is attached to the central part of the diaphragm, just like in most drivers, and moves in the magnetic gap.

Headphones of the former type are called in different ways, but only two technical terms are valid: isodynamic and planar magnetic; the latter are interchangeable with 'magnetostatic', a term formed using the same way as 'electrostatic'. "Isodynamic" means "applying equal strength to the whole surface". In turn, the term 'planar magnetic' means that the entire surface of the diaphragm is covered by magnetic field lines, which ultimately means the same thing. The often used name: orthodynamic headphones, is actually the own name of Yamaha's isodynamic headphones.

FINAL AUDIO, formerly known as Final Audio Design, is a Japanese brand known from 1974. Its first product was a Moving Coil cartridge, designed by Mr. Yoshihisa Mori. For a short time Final offered turntables, amplifiers and loudspeakers. In recent years, this company became associated primarily with dynamic headphones. As any ambitious manufacturer, however, they could not overlook the rapid growth of the market segment for magnetostatic designs as well as the fact that this type of design offered performance levels that seemingly were not achievable for dynamic transducers.

| D8000

The development of these headphones started relatively long ago, in 2014, however, to see the finals results we had to wait until May 2017. It was then, during High End Show 2017, that the D8000 was finally introduced. Although the principle of its operation is similar to other magnetostatic systems, it differs from them in some details. The basic change is another diaphragm load in a system called AFDS (Air Film Damping System). In conventional headphones, the amplitude of the diaphragm increases with decreasing frequency. The AFDS reduces these changes, which makes this construction less prone to distortion - the diaphragm, even at high sound levels, does not come into contact with the magnet. It is designed in such a way, that on both sides of the membrane, at some distance, forced by two rings, there are metal plates with holes, and only behind them there are two, round magnets.

The D8000 is a robust, solid design, with a smart system that allows user to comfortably fit them on the head. This is an open, over-the-ears design, with a round shape ear-cups. They were designed so that each element could be replaced with a new one, should company decided to offer an upgrade in the future. They are supplied with two cables - 3 m long with a 6.3 mm jack and a shorter one, 1.5 m long, with a mini jack (3.5 mm) and an adapter for 6.3 mm. Along comes also a nice, metal stand.

I listened to D8000 using system consisting of the TechDAS Air Force III turntable with two Schröder CB tonearms, featuring Miyajima Lab. Madake and Top Wing Red Sparrow cartridges, combined with RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC phonostage.

The signal, using Crystal Cable Absolute Dream IC was sent to 45 triode-based Ayon Audio HA-3 headphone amp. The Japanese headphones turned out to be quite an easy load. I compared them to HiFiMAN HE-1000 v2 and Sennheiser HD800, both utilizing Forza AudioWorks Noir Hybrid HPC Mk2 cables. For the Final cans I used their stock cable.

FINAL in „High Fidelity”
  • TEST: Final Audio Design PANDORA HOPE VI | headphones (Polish)
  • TEST: Final Audio Design SONORUS II | SONORUS III | headphones (Polish)

  • Recordings used for the test (a selec- tion)

    • Benny Carter, Jazz Giant, Contemporary Records/Analogue Productions, AJAZ 7555, "45 RPM Limited Edition | #0404", 2 x 180 g LP (1957/2009)
    • Bert Kaempfert, Bert Kaempfert - From The Original Mastertapes - Four Hits On 45 rpm, Image HiFi 007, 45 rpm, 180 g LP (2004)
    • Billie Holiday, Lady Day, Columbia/Pure Pleasure PPAN CL637, 180 g LP (1954/2010)
    • Frank Sinatra, Swingin’ Session!!!, Capitol Records/Mobile Fidelity MFSL 1-407, “Special Limited Edition | No. 346”, 180 g LP (1961/2012)
    • Takeshi Inomata and his Friends, Get Happy, Audio Lab Record ALJ-1030, LP (1975)
    • Yuri Tashiro Piano Trio, Aiji Arai & The Beat Sounds, Digital Explosion, EastWorld EWJ-80181, „Soundphile Series (Digital Recording)”, LP (1980)

    Japanese issues available at

    The first contact with the D8000 is like entering a busy beer pub in Munich, filled with conversations, excitement and laughter with several hundred people in it. Do you know this feeling? Perhaps as a nation, we Poles, we are not as withdrawn as the Scandinavians, but also far away from the openness of Italians or Spaniards, so a place like that hits us with its buzzing life. I had exactly the same feeling when I replaced my HiFiMAN HE-1000 v2 headphones with Final D8000.

    These Japanese cans deliver an unbelievably close sound. If you have ever listened to, thought about or searched for loudspeakers offering a "here and now" sound, these headphones will be the equivalent of finding tha ultimate solution - you are "there" when the sound is created. For a moment, you might feel like there is too much going on, like that's an exaggeration - not only compared to the HE-1000 v2, but also to the Edition X v2, let alone the Sennheiser HD800. Wait a moment though, listen to some records, let yourself get used to this sound in your head, and you will realize that it is something completely new, fresh and unique.

    It "happens here" in every point of space, in every smallest corner of dynamic range. The sound reaches us immediately - it's a feature of planar headphones in general - but it has a mass that one doesn't expect of them and which electrostatic designs simply aren't able to deliver, as well as most dynamic ones. This is a phenomenon, because so far as one of the most important advantages of dynamic cans many, me included, pointed out the higher dynamics and better extension of more fleshy bass.

    D8000 are so different that such comparisons don't make sense at all. Their lowest octave is not as deep as with HD800, that is, bass does not go as low, and the definition of sounds is not as sophisticated as with the HE-1000 v2, you should be aware of that. However, I can write this only post factum, that is after listening to these cans and spending some time thinking about what I heard. During the listening session it did not even occur to me. I did not have time for that, being busy with the reception of music because it was so intense, tangible and always "present". And in the end it was the only thing that mattered.

    It felt the same not only with recordings that naturally “force” me to perceive music in this way such as Frank Sinatra's Swingin 'Session!!!, Get Happy by Takeshi Inomata and his Friends or Benny Carter's Jazz Giant. The presentation was simply “explosive” with these albums, it was a true “ride”, there was no place for boredom. However, this could be explained by the nature of the music itself, the way it was recorded and the pristine release on LP discs. D8000 offered something more though, because this spirit of "swing", tempo and dynamics equally drove other albums, even those that often sound flat, such as Lady Day by Billie Holiday with recordings from the second half of the 1930s. This is a record that has gained a new life with the D8000 - literally and figuratively.

    I am convinced that such a presentation is achieved in part due to an incredible response speed of these headphones, a very low distortion level, and their intrisict way of shaping the tonal balance, different than in my reference headphones. I do not know if you have read tests of other designs of this manufacturer - if so, you know that in each of them the subject was raised. Final's cans deliver an open sound, with midrange and its upper part are more accentuated than the extremes.

    It's a result of "straightening" frequency range curve, which is different for the reference headphones than it is for the loudspeakers - it is not flat at all, but rather features a deep drop in the middle. For the Finals, it was slightly “raised” in this area, which resulted in a masking the edges of the band and refreshing the sound, effect. But in the D8000 they added incredible richness of the sound. The result is the sound characteristics known from other headphones from this manufacturer, but with proper mass and opening of the sound that we know from dynamic headphones from such manufacturers as: AKG, Ultrasone and Sennheiser. Listen to Eiji Arai & The Beat Sounds by Yuri Tashiro Piano Trio, a digitally recorded disc using a semi-professional PCM recording system, and you'll see what I mean.

    With this sound, you will never get bored. The above mentioned Billy Holiday sounded in a very interesting way, because this recording did not lose any "patina" - something that comes with the age (recorded in 1930s!), but gained density and saturation. These are headphones that draw our attention to music - the whole, indivisible, being a dynamic and lively event. Which has an interesting side effect – you can't use these cans if you want music to accompany you while you're doing something else. They will engage you emotionally and focus your attention on the music that they put in the spotlight.


    Emotions, commitment, unrestricted dynamics and a close presentation - these are the main features of the D8000 headphones. They are extraordinary in conveying emotions on the set, in conveying events in a large scale. They are not so detailed, not as resolving and sophisticated in rendering tonal shades as the HiFi Man HE-1000 v2. However, it is not their role. They are to involve listener in events emotionally to such an extent that you will forget about hi-fi and start listening to the music treating it as the only thing that matters.

    You can not wear them for a long time, they do not belong to the light ones, but also, or maybe above all, because the music delivered straight to your ears carries an emotional charge comparable to a live performance - and you just can't sustain such level of emotional engagement for many straight hours. D8000 are probably the only headphones that allow you to feel the sound in such a way as if you were listening to large speakers. The downside is the very close presentation and some “boost” of the sound in which there is not much breath. But there are no perfect audio devices. That's why I'm not worried about that. These are ones of the best headphones I've ever heard, regardless of price and design type.

    D8000 are headphones made by famous Japanese company Final of a planar, magnetostatic design. On the outside they look quite similar to their dynamic designs, for example the Sonorus II and Sonorus III that we reviewed in May 2016 (HF No. 145). The reason is the same headband - adjacent to the head, with aluminum, flat elements and a leather finish.

    The cups look a bit different, though they still have a round shape. Their soft parts were made of fabric. They are attached to aluminum brackets with a kind of bearing, because they rotate in almost every direction. It allows user to fine-fit them to the head, and they sit there firmly. One should be careful though while leaning forward as they are quite heavy and the gravity might pull them down.

    The internal structure of the D8000 headphones differs from other magnetostatic designs. Common is the use of a lightweight membrane, weighing 1/3 of what a diaphragm of a comparable diameter in dynamic headphones does, that is driven by an aluminum coil. The company materials, however, tell us about eliminating the coil fixing adhesive used by other companies, which helps to reduce sound coloration. Both sides of the membrane are protected by a meshed metal plate.

    The most important solution is the so-called AFDS (Air Film Damping System). In conventional headphones, as the frequency drops, the diaphragm is forced to make longer trip. The AFDS reduces these moves. Due to this solution, we get a construction with a greater distance from overdriving, because the diaphragm, even at high sound levels, does not come into contact with the magnet. The latter is "donut" shaped and is fixed in a rigid casing made of aluminum and magnesium alloy. As we read in the company materials, the black-painted elements were finished in a process similar to that used to cover metal bodies of photo cameras.

    Separate cable runs deliver signal to the left and right cups, and the cable on these ends are terminated with locking mini-jack plugs. Cans are provided with two cables, one terminated with a robust-looking 6.3 mm jack, and the other with a 3,5mm mini-jack (there is also an adapter for 6.3mm). The headphones come with a rigid transport casing and a metal stand.

    Technical specifications (according to manufacturer)

    Housing: Aluminum magnesium alloy
    Driver: AFDS planar magnetic
    Sensitivity: 98dB/mW
    Nominal impedance: 60Ω
    Weight: 523g
    Cable length: 1.5m/3m



    - Turntable: AVID HIFI Acutus SP [Custom Version]
    - Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory ZERO (mono) | Denon DL-103SA, review HERE
    - Phono stage: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE

    - Compact Disc Player: Ancient Audio AIR V-edition, review HERE

    - Line Preamplifier: Polaris III [Custom Version] + AC Regenerator, regular version review (in Polish) HERE
    - Power amplifier: Soulution 710
    - Integrated Amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE

    - Stand mount Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
    - Stands for Harbeths: Acoustic Revive Custom Series Loudspeaker Stands
    - Real-Sound Processor: SPEC RSP-101/GL
    - Integrated Amplifier/Headphone amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
    - Headphones: HIFIMAN HE-6, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-300, review HERE | Sennheiser HD800 | AKG K701, review (in Polish) HERE | Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, version 600 - reviews (in Polish): HERE, HERE, HERE
    - Headphone Stands: Klutz Design CanCans (x 3), review (in Polish) HERE
    - Headphone Cables: Entreq Konstantin 2010/Sennheiser HD800/HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE

    - Portable Player: HIFIMAN HM-801
    - USB Cables: Acoustic Revive USB-1.0SP (1 m) | Acoustic Revive USB-5.0PL (5 m), review HERE
    - LAN Cables: Acoustic Revive LAN-1.0 PA (kable ) | RLI-1 (filtry), review HERE
    - Router: Liksys WAG320N
    - NAS: Synology DS410j/8 TB
    System I
    - Interconnects: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, review HERE | preamplifier-power amplifier: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
    - Loudspeaker Cables: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review (in Polish) HERE
    System II
    - Interconnects: Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0PA | XLR-1.0PA II
    - Loudspeaker Cables: Acoustic Revive SPC-PA

    System I
    - Power Cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300, all system, review HERE
    - Power Distributor: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate, review HERE
    - Power Line: power cable Oyaide Tunami Nigo (6m); wall sockets 3 x Furutech FT-SWS (R)
    System II
    - Power Cables: Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version, review (in Polish) HERE | Oyaide GPX-R (x 4 ), review HERE
    - Power Distributor: Oyaide MTS-4e, review HERE
    - Stolik: SolidBase IV Custom, read HERE/all system
    - Anti-vibration Platforms: Acoustic Revive RAF-48H, review HERE/digital sources | Pro Audio Bono [Custom Version]/headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, review HERE | Acoustic Revive RST-38H/loudspeakers under review/stands for loudspeakers under review
    - Anti-vibration Feets: Franc Audio Accessories Ceramic Disc/ CD Player/Ayon Polaris II Power Supply /products under review, review HERE | Finite Elemente CeraPuc/ products under review, review HERE | Audio Replas OPT-30HG-SC/PL HR Quartz, review HERE
    - Anti-vibration accsories: Audio Replas CNS-7000SZ/power cable, review HERE
    - Quartz Isolators: Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010/CP-4

    - FM Radio: Tivoli Audio Model One