Final B1 In-Ear Monitor Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final B1 In-Ear Monitor Review

 

Introduction:

S’NEXT is a company that sells high-end audio earphones and headphones under its own brand “final” as well as conducting component technology development, product planning, design, planning, manufacturing and sales of other companies’ brands.
The company was established in 2007 in Japan.

The B series is a new engineer driven product series that productizes each of the latest research results. Series concept and retail price are not bound in a hierarchy, productiation is by order of development, so product name and numbers reflect the order of development.

The Final B1 is currently the most expensive model among the three models while the naming of the B series is not following any pattern but simply the development sequence.

The Final B1 (FI-B1BDSSD) is also the first In-Ear Monitor of the company with a hybrid driver configuration and features 1x Balanced Armature Driver and 1x Dynamic Driver.

 

Disclaimer:

The Final B1 was provided to me by S’NEXT free of charge for review purposes. I am not affiliated with S’NEXT or any third person beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered opinions about these products.

 

 

The Price:

The Final B1 is the flagship model of the B Series and is sold for around 599 USD

S’NEXT doesn’t sell its products directly, but you can find the list of the dealers for the international market at the link bellow;

 

 

 

Package and Accessories:

Both the Final B1 comes in a pretty plain rectangular cardboard box in white color with product and company brandings that are in a shiny gold color.

  • 1 pair x of Final B1 In-Ear Monitor
  • 1 piece x Detachable Cable with MMCX connectors
  • 5 pairs x Final E type silicone ear tips (SS, S, M, L & LL sizes)
  • 1 pair x of Ear hook
  • 1 piece x of Silicone Carry Case

The package of the Final B1 comes with 5 pairs of Final “E – Type” silicon ear tips which are one of my favorite tips for In-Ear Monitors that I like to use with other IEM’s in my collection.

They are very comfortable to insert in to my ear channels and If you look on the back of each pair, you can see that it differs in colors. The gray indicates left and red is for the right ear pieces.

The carry case that is included in the box is made of silicon and the cables can be rolled up and stored easily in it. The earphones themselves are gently secured using thin dome-shaped silicon covers.

The package includes also transparent silicone ear-hooks for extra comfort if you want to wear the Final B1 over-ear.

 

 

 

Design and Build Quality:

The Final B1 shares the same prismatic shape like the other member of the B series In-Ear Monitor that reminds to an origami, while the main difference is the color and surface appearance of the monitor shell.

The monitor shell of the Final B1 has a beautiful glossy surface in “Rose Gold” color which is a finger print magnet.

The housing is made of a special Metal Injection Molded (MIM) stainless steel material, which is processed by powdered metal that is mixed with a binder to form a resin in the desired shape and applying high-temperature sintering to achieve the desired form.

The reason why Final used this material is the high degree of freedom in molding the resin into the same shape as the cast, making it possible to achieve a complex internal design even with metal.

On the front surface of both IEM’s is a fixing screw in gold color.

At the inner surface of the monitor shell is a screw, a small vent, the sound nozzle, product brandings and L & R markings.

The sound nozzle of those IEM’s is slightly angled and has a relative short elevation with a fine filter on the top to prevent the insertion for dust, ear-wax, etc.

At the backside of both monitor models is the product article number. On the top of the Monitor shells are the MMCX (Micro Miniature Coaxial) female connectors. The connectors are quite robust and offer a tight and save connection.

The overall build quality of both Final B1 is very high without to show any imperfections like burrs or gaps.

 

 

The Cable:

The detachable cable of the B1 has MMCX (Micro Miniature Coaxial) connectors which are developed by Final.

The cable of the Final B1 is made of a high purity SPC (Silver Plated Cooper), while the other insulation film is made from PFA which was also developed by Junkosha who used their extensive know-how through the JUNFLON® brand to create the ultimate in low-permittivity material. The outer tube on the other hand is made from PVC for maximum flexibility.

The MMCX connector housing of the Final B1 is made of metal (aluminum) and has also Left and Right markings and a red ring for the right and black for the left channel.

The detachable cable features a metal Y-splitter and a transparent plastic chin slider.

The 3.5mm (TRS) single ended headphone jack of the Final B1 has an L-shaped profile with a metal housing that sports the Final logo at the rear side.

 

 

Comfort and Isolation:

The Final B1 shares the same shape with the Final B2 and Final B3 and offers a fairly comfortable wearing experience for my medium sized ears. It is possible that the outer backside of those monitor shells could be a bit uncomfortable for ears with a smaller “concha” size due to the slightly sharp profiled edges.

The noise isolation of the Final B1 is on an average level, while it is quite acceptable for the use in relative noisy environments like metro, bus or train.

 

 

Drivability (Impedance):

The Final B1 is not the most efficient IEM on the market with a sensitivity of 94db @ 13ohm, but sounds quite good with sources like phones or tablets at higher volume levels, while I would highly advice you to use a more powerful source such like a portable amplifier or a Digital Audio Player (DAP) with good amplification to hear the true potential which will show a night and day difference.

 

 

Technical Specifications:
  • Driver              : 1D+1BA (Networkless)
  • Connector       : MMCX (Micro Miniature Coaxial)
  • Cable              : OFC silver coated cable
  • Sensitivity       : 94dB
  • Impedance      : 13Ω
  • Housing          : Stainless steel mirror-finished (Rose Gold)
  • Weight            : 36g
  • Cord length     : 1.2m

 

 

Sources:
  • a) In Ear Monitor : Final B1, Final B2, Final B3, FiiO FH7
  • b) DAP/DAC : iBasso DX220, FiiO M11 Pro, iBasso DX160

 


 

 

 

Albums & Tracks used for this review:

  • The Alan Person Project – The Fall of The House Of Usher – Pavane – 1987 Remix (Spotify)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (DSF) – Binaural Recording
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Wav 24bit/88kHz)
  • Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • London Grammar – Interlude (Live) (Flac 24bit/88kHz)
  • Aretha Franklin – I Say a Little Prayer (Wav 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
  • Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Wav 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Elton John – Your Song (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • David Bowie – Black Star (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Live) (Spotify)
  • B.B. King – Riding With The King (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Photek – Hidden Camera (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Spotify)
  • Lorde – Royal (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Tom Player – Resonace Theory (16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Portishead – The Hidden Camera (MP3 320kbps)
  • Opeth – Damnation (Wav 16bit/44kHz)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Slayer – Angel of Death (Flac 24bit/96kHz)

 

  

 

The Sound:

The Final B1 has a slightly warm tonality and shows a V-shaped sound signature with a powerful bass response, slightly recessed but detailed midrange and a treble range that is energetic. The Final B1 sounds fairly good with a source like a phone or tablet but only shows its true potential if you pair it with a good powerful source.

PS: This review of the Final B1 is written after a burn-in period of approx. 100 hours, while I have used the stock “Final Silicone Tips” which were included to the package.

 

 

Bass:

The bass of the Final B1 is powerful, pretty controlled and shows a good level of depth and extension.

The subbass region of the Final B1 is quite accented and has a good amount of rumble that will satisfy if you like to listen genres like edm, pop or rmb. For example, the subbass rumble, depth and extension in songs like Massive Attack’s “Angel” and Lorde’s “Royal” is quite pleasant, while it can’t be described as a bass character on a “bass head” level.

The midbass area of the Final B1 is slightly more highlighted and shows great impact when it called for. The midbass is tight and extends pretty well while the most remarkable character is the control and authority that avoids the masking of micro details.

Instruments such like guitars do sound pretty emotional in Eric Clapton’s acoustic version of “Layla” or in “Change the World”. Other instruments like the contrabass are full bodied, while other instruments such like drums are pretty impactful and controlled.

The bass of the Final B1 gives the overall presentation a nice amount of body, warmth and musicality without to overshadow the rest of the sound spectrum.

 

Midrange:

The midrange of the Final B1 is slightly recessed (around 900 Hz – 1 kHz) compared to the rest of the sound spectrum due to the V-shaped sound signature. It sounds buttery smooth while it still very detailed and musical at the same time. The general tonally of this range is warmish due to the lower midrange character which shows a good level of depth without to affect the overall midrange presentation in a negative way (veiled or muddy).

 

Vocals & Instruments:

Male vocals do sound slightly warm, musical and pretty soft, while the overall level of clarity is quite impressive. Male vocals such from B.B King up to Elton John do sound pretty emotional and are very pleasant to listen to.

Female vocals on the other hand do sound quite detailed, lively and transparent due to the highlighted/pronounced upper midrange tuning. Only some soprano female vocals can do sound a little sharp from time to time If I do listen to them in higher volume levels.

The Final B1 shows a nice interment timbre. For example the tonality of the acoustic guitar is slightly bassy, warmish and quite lush, while violas do sound warm and pretty emotional.  Instruments like violins and pianos have a bright but fairly soft/sweat tonality without to show any remarkable harshness.

 

Upper Midrange & Treble:

The upper midrange of the Final B1 is pretty highlighted and shows a good level of extension thanks to the well tuned balanced armature driver that is responsible for the midrange and treble region. The upper midrange tuning of the B1 gives the overall presentation a good amount clarity without to show any negative situations like sibilance or harshness. The upper midrange transitions are in general pretty controlled while the extension is on a good level.

The treble range of the Final B1 is quite highlighted and shows a good level of extension especially in the upper treble region. The upper treble range is more pronounced and slightly more detailed compared to the lower treble region and adds the overall presentation a good amount of air and sparkle.

There is a remarkable peak in the upper treble region (around 6-8 kHz) which makes the B1 a bit prone to sibilance especially while listening to instruments like snare drums and cymbals. The treble range can be described in short as quite detailed, lively and energetic.

 

Soundstage and Imaging:

The soundstage of the Final B1 is suitable for a fairly precise separation and placement of instruments and vocals. The soundstage is pretty airy and shows a good level of width, while the depth is on a sufficient level.

The Final B1 is also pretty successful in terms of imaging with a good sense of separation between the left and right channels.

 

 

 

Some Comparisons:

 

Final B1 versus Final B2:

The Final B2 has a pretty linear bass tuning compared to the B1 which sounds more energetic and powerful in this frequency region. The Final B1 has a higher bass quantity and along with better depth and extension.

The midrange of the Final B2 is more highlighted compared to the Final B1 and has a more intimate vocal presentation compared to the B1 that sounds a bit recessed in this area due to the V shaped sound signature. The midrange of the B1 sound more musical and lively than the B2 and has also the upper hand in terms of transparency, airiness and musicality. The upper midrange of the Final B2 is more pronounced but can’t hold up with the B1 in terms of detailed retrieval.

The treble range of the Final B1 is superior in terms of clarity and definition, compared to the Final B2 which has an audible roll-off after the pretty pronounced upper midrange. This makes the general presentation of the B2 a bit lifeless compared to the B1 which has also the upper hand when it comes to treble extension, airiness and sparkle.

The soundstage of the both IEM’s is pretty expansive, while the Final B1 has the upper hand for both soundstage width and depth.

 

Final B1 versus Final B3:

The Final B3 has in general a brighter tonality compared to the B1 that sounds warmer and more musical. The Final B1 shows more subbass depth and extension and has also the upper hand in terms of midbass impact and intensity. The Final B3 has a tighter bass character with better authority and control.

The midrange of the B1 sounds a bit recessed compared to those of the B3 and has in general a more musical and lush tonality. The Final B3 sounds more clinical and shows a better level of transparency/clarity and is also slightly more detailed in its presentation.

Both the Final B1 and the Final B3 are pretty successful IEM’s in terms of treble extension and detail retrieval. The treble range of the B1 is more pronounced, especially in the upper treble region which make slightly less forging compared to the B3 which is more controlled and natural in this area.

The soundstage of IEM’s is pretty expansive with good separation between instruments and vocals. The soundstage of the Final B3 is slightly wider, while the B1 has the upper hand in terms of depth due to the slightly more V shaped sound signature.

 

Final B1 versus FiiO FA7 (with Balanced Filter):

Both the FiiO FH7 and the Final B1 are successful IEM’s in terms of subbass performance, while the FH7 shows slightly more depth and extension. When it comes to the midbass area I can say that the Final B1 has the upper hand in terms of impact, speed and control. It has also in general a more energetic and detailed bass performance.

The midrange of the Final B1 has a warmer tonality sounds slightly more recessed compared to the FiiO FH7. The B1 has a fuller, more musical and dynamic midrange presentation. The Final B1 is more successful with male vocals due to the better lower midrange depth and extension. The FiiO FH7 on the other hand sounds slightly more detailed with female vocals with its slightly more boosted upper midrange tuning.

The treble range of the Final B1 is more highlighted especially in the upper treble and sound has in general a more natural tuning with better level of extension.

The soundstage of the Final B1 has the upper hand in terms of depth, while the FiiO FH7 shows slightly more width.

 

Final B1 versus HiFiMAN RE2000:

Both the Final B1 and the HiFiMAN RE2000 do share a V-Shaped sound signature. The Final B1 has a slightly warmer fuller tonality compared to the HiFiMAN RE2000 Silver.

The lower frequency region of the Final B1 is more pronounced shows better depth and overall extension especially in the subbass region. The B1 has the upper hand in terms of subbass intensity and rumble and is also more impactful in the midbass area that gives its overall presentation a slightly better level of fullness. The RE2000 with its Topology driver offers better bass speed and tightness.

Both the Final B1 and the HiFiMAN RE200 do offer a musical smooth and pleasant to listen to midrange presentation. The main differences are the tonality which is slightly warmer and fuller with the Final B1. The lower midrange of the B1 is shows more depth which makes it successful with male vocals and instruments such like acoustic guitars.  Both IEM’s are do sound great with female vocals, while the RE2000 offers a tad more clarity and airiness. The upper midrange and lower treble region of the HiFiMAN RE2000 is slightly more pronounced and gives the overall presentation an airy and transparent feel. The upper treble region has better extension and detail retrieval while listen to the Final B1 due to the peak around the 7-8 kHz region which makes it also a bit prone to sibilance.

Both IEM’s have a suitable stage width for a realistic instrument placement with enough space between instruments and vocals. The Final B1 has the slightly edge in terms soundstage width, while the RE2000 shows a better level of depth.

 

Conclusion:

The Final B1 impressed me with its lively, powerful & dynamic sound character along with a monitor that looks beautiful and feels solid in my hands. The powerful but controlled low, full bodied but pretty transparent midrange and well extending treble region will satisfy must audiophiles who set high standards for both sound performance and appearance.

 

 

 

Pros and Cons:
  • + Powerful Entertaining Bass Character
  • + Midrange Timbre & Musicality
  • + Treble Extension and Detail Retrieval
  • + Design and Build Quality
  • – Slightly Sibilance with Instruments like Violins and Cymbals
  • – The Beautiful-Shiny Metal Housing is a Fingerprint Magnet
  • – Not the Richest Accessories Package

 

 

 

 

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