Final Audio D8000 Pro - Out of the Dark Ages of Ortho Tech!

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by purr1n, Apr 6, 2021 at 8:01 PM.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Thanks to sponsor @Bloom for offering SBAF this loaner. Totally worth it and I am impressed.

    Obligatory janky photo here. The janky photo is not an insult toward the product, but rather it's an SBAF tradition - a subtle dig against the typical glossy audiophile reviews - a reminder that what counts more is the content.

    PXL_20210406_122156033.jpg

    Frequency response preview here:
    upload_2021-4-6_21-32-49.png

    For those not in the know, Final Audio is a very interesting boutique Japanese audiophile company that makes all sorts of stuff. For sure they are willing to experiment. My experience with Final in the past has either been "WTF is this?" (can't blame them for trying) to "now this is rather interesting". Fortunately, the D8000 Pro Edition falls in the latter category.

    I don't expect anything from Final to have near perfect frequency response, fantastic measurements, or even cogent marketing speak. The product page goes on and on about being able to properly reproduce bass tones which in my experience, orthos don't much trouble doing (the D8000 is an ortho), and weird stuff about an Air Film Damping System. Maybe this is Star Trek technobabble (Japan-Fi technobabble), or perhaps something is lost in translation. I really don't give a crap because at the end of the day, there definitely something to it. Not since the Abyss AB1266 have I heard monstrous bass notes with such clarity.

    The price is astronomical, but perhaps not so if you really yearn for a vintage ortho such as the NAD RP18 (https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...-rp18-and-yahama-yh-1-yh-3-orthodynamic.9208/). The old NAD RP18 / Fostex T50RP (the 1970s OG ones) sounded like shit and needed mods to be listenable. At least the D8000 Pro, while not perfect, is listenable out of the box. The frequency response is linear with the exception of a dip around 3kHz (think BBC dip) - the antithesis of that horrid Chi-Fi harsh female vocal IEM / ER4S dealio - and a spike near 10kHz. The good thing is that the rest of the upper mids aren't muted so we can still get some edge and crunch if it's in the recording. The 10kHz emphasis adds a bit a definition, a bit of sharpening, but at least the zzz isn't the shhh which emphasizes sibilants and there's no lower treble hardness or glare. Timbreand transient-wise, it's got a bit that vintage ortho thing going on. Perhaps only two current orthos give me that vintage vibe: Verum and now this. (Nothing else, not Abyss, not Audeze, certainly not HiFiMan, although these companies do have their own sound).

    I would be curious to see the diaphragm of the D8000 Pro and its traces. @rhythmdevils and I had a laugh at how backward the "art" of orthos has gone in the past 50 years or so, comparing the 70s stuff to the classical works of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and the current stuff as being in the Dark Ages. Has Final brought us back to the Renaissance?

    I'll bring you guys more measurements throughout the week. @ChaChaRealSmooth mentioned that these were interesting enough. I on the other hand am quite smitten by them and only have only appreciated them more and more with each nightly listen. The D8000 Pro kind of grew on me. They weren't all Sturm and Drang from the get-go like the Abyss AB1266 which I onced owned. The D8000 Pro's qualities are more subtle and don't shout look at me, hear me, I'm an Instagram ho - and this is a good thing.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021 at 9:17 PM
  2. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    Does it sound like an airier Verite FR wise?
     
  3. Polygonhell

    Polygonhell Rando

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    The bass on the D8000Pro is really quite special, and it’s not really about the quantity, it’s the ability to reproduce the texture and timbre of the instruments.
    I haven’t heard a 1266, so I can’t compare.
    The Bass was immediately compelling when I first heard the headphone, it took me a few days of listening for it to really grow on me as a whole.
     
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  4. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    First thing that is cool and an interesting sign of possibly actually understanding a bit about how orthos work (and not just sticking drivers into random enclosures which until proven otherwise is what every neo ortho is) is that it is not simply open back. Orthos don’t need to be open back to sound open. My modded T50rp sound more open and airy than my modded LCD-2 Classic. It can actually be a good thing to not be completely open. Depending on the driver. The T50rp driver sounds like ass in an open enclosure. I feel sorry for the Fostex engineers who were forced to turn the T50rp into an open back “audiophile headphone” and said at an audio show how crippled their engineering process was because they wanted to make their own new driver but weren’t allowed to (God I wish Fostex went all out and let them instead of investing in the stupid electrodynamic woodies. TH-900 or whatever garbage.

    I hope these go on a loaner!

    The Verum while maybe having good tone is seriously underdamped and has way more potential than in stock form. I can’t stand them. When people say “it doesn’t have TOTL technicalities” this is actually what they are referring to. But I believe it could “be TOTL” from a brief listen if modded. The diaphragm just is underdamped so not moving nearly as fast as it could. It is in fact flopping around loose. Bleh

    I’d be interested in hearing how these are tuned and performing. Me, @dBel84 or @gurubhai can hear improperly damped ortho drivers in like 2 seconds. From years of experience nothing special (or maybe a bit special)
     
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    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021 at 9:20 PM
  5. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    This seems to be a picture of the “air damping system” or whatever. I don’t like the concept and there doesn’t seem to be any resonance control. But I don’t know.

    [​IMG]

    Looks like they have metal mesh on both sides of the driver (I don’t how I like that) which restricts air flow to damp the driver. At least there was an attempt made at damping.
     
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  6. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    I heard these at the audio show here last September, briefly, out of an unknown to me Ferrari-esque toob amp, and well, at a show. My impressions at the time were:
    • a touch tizzy (maybe the 10k peak measured above?)
    • good deep bass
    • on HFO/HC Don isn't too shouty
    Guy in front of me
    241456.jpg
    Me
    241457.jpg
     
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  7. nishan99

    nishan99 Friend

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    How is the sound tactility of those compared to other orthos? (or even dynamics if they can keep up).
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The Verum 1.0 just doesn't have the trace density / magnetic force. It was designed a lower-end solution. From what I understand, a Verum 2 was in the works.:(

    The flopping around ends up hiding microdetail. Other headphones like this are the Drop HE5XX - which got all kinds of undeserved flack for this considering its price. Although the HE5XX was quite egregious in this respect: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...iew-and-measurements.10082/page-4#post-323469

    We can see this flopping around in the impulse response and CSDs (ortho walls, but mostly the when the ripples at various frequencies are at higher levels). Stayed tuned. The D8000 Pro sounds darn controlled to me, so would be curious to look at the CSD. Note that the vintage NADs were clear with respect to ripple.
     
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  9. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Not at all. The Verite has bass emphasis with a decently wide mid dip. Verite bass is an unexpected combination of plush and fast. D8000 Pro bass hits hard. It's mean and lean - to the extent that I preferred it with on up setup (custom 45 amp) from the secondaries meant for 8-ohm speakers instead of 4-ohms. A little bit less lean, warmer, fuller, etc. The 3kHz dip is very narrow.

    With respect to many other orthos, it's nice not to have that see-saw in the mids and highs with 3kHz and 8kHz emphasis (typically seen with HFM) or 8kHz emphasis (some Audeze). My only complaint is the tizz; and again if I had to have something to complain about, it would be tizz instead of excess sibilants or splashy timbre or shouty mids or glare / hardness.

    Yes, seems to be a bit complex - and they obviously avoided trying for the ideal of a critically air-damped driver. I think they may be up to something with the metal (instead of using foam, absorbing materials, etc.). I'll see if I can send these out to the resident ortho gurus. These do not belong to me and as you know are quite expensive, so a general loaner is unlikely.

    Again, the price is boutique to put things politely. However, it's not like it's easy to buy a vintage NAD/Fostex ortho these days from Ebay. The tuning is obviously different from HiFiMan and Audeze, so Final sorts of sits in a good niche for those with deeper pockets. If I hadn't downscaled my life and quit my high paying M&E job, I would have easily purchased the D8000 Pro. Maybe I still will. I think the D8000 Pro may be the overall best planar headphone around today with maybe the LCD4 being a contender (with different sound). The Abyss AB1266 may be the closest competition with respect to bass slam / quality, but the mids and highs are better on the D8000 Pro. I have not heard the AB1266 Phi or Diana Phi editions though, although it's my understanding the Diana are super finickly with regards to placement. The D8000 Pro seem very immune to placement. (Amir had a field day with this one but Jude came to the rescue - FWIW, our attempts to get a Diana loaner were denied). The largish round and foamy pads make fitment easy. I think the only thing the Abyss does better is depth and layering. The D8000 Pro are quite open sounding, but headstage is wider than deep.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021 at 9:41 PM
  10. 9suns

    9suns [insert unearned title here]

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    It's the Yamaha HP-1 successor, Final hired Yamaha and Sony engineers to build the D8000. That may be the reason of the more "vintage" tonality.
    This PDF explains the Air Damping thing:
    http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews2/final6/D8000.pdf

    PS: Awesome observations, as always! Can you please also post CSD and distortion plots of the headphones?
     
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  11. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    Cool! pdf contains basic explanation of driver damping. Theres a simple diagram of maybe the Final planar driver which looks a lot like a vintage ortho driver.

    edit: looks a lot like a vintage ortho driver with circular magnets like Yamaha etc. They also comment that dynamic drivers have naturally richer bass but they were able to achieve that sound with their planar but without giving much detail.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021 at 3:21 PM
  12. 9suns

    9suns [insert unearned title here]

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    Yes, it's a true orthodynamic headphone. 100% of the membrane works. Isodynamic headphones (Audeze, Hifiman, etc), only use around 70% of their surface area. That's why it gets away with that bass and only a 70mm driver, it moves the same or more air as a 100mm Isodynamic driver (ie: Audeze), and does it in a pistonic way. The driver is an evolution of the Yamaha HP-1 headphones. The air damping is a great solution, IMO. Do you know when you try to close a door but the air behind it stops it from closing, with a "woosh"? That's how Final's damping system works.
     
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  13. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    This association sounds pretty interesting. I've taken a glimpse at Final's slides long ago but could not relate it to Yamaha tech. Now I am quite curious (well, accurately speaking, 'get more curious' lol) with both HP-1 and D8k!
     
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  14. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    This is good to hear and very cool. Looks like Final was not F'ing around. The 70mm driver is on the small side, but there are probably advantages here. I'm betting distortion at the highest SPLs still won't be as great, but maybe medium to lower levels would be fantastic.

    Come to think of it, the FR does remind me a bit of the Paradox, which also had a tizz.

    By popular demand, we will start with a quicky CSD. Yeah. This looks very damn good - no ripples like a traditional dynamic - almost as if the diaphragm is not tensioned like that of the modern T50RP and Mr. Speakers. However, from the literature, we know this diaphragm is indeed tensioned. There's a bump in the middle treble, a ridge at 10kHz, and distributed shorted lived ridges from below here to 4.5kHz. This may explain why I didn't think the highs were the smoothest, they were a bit rough. Slightly rough, but I'm nitpicking here because we can see no ringy stuff, decay full stop well before the 1ms mark.

    Final Audio D8000 Pro
    CSD
    FPC D8000 Pro R.jpg
     
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  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    OK, let's drop the floor to -55db ... maybe we will see the typical ortho ridges....

    Final Audio D8000 Pro
    CSD (floor dropped to -55db!)
    FPC D8000 Pro R.jpg

    Nope. None of that loosey goosey stuff that @rhythmdevils was referring to. This is a proper ortho. Have we arrived at the renaissance, finally coming out of the dark ages of ortho tech?

    Measurements and analysis to be continued in the next several days...
     
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  16. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    thsts exactly what felt behind the driver does as well which has been used in the ortho thread for like 20 years. I still don’t think metal mesh on both sides of the driver is a great damping method. It’s a very harsh way of restricting air flow. I bet if I took one of these and removed the mesh on both sides of the driver and damped it with my own materials behind the driver it would be cleaner and have no treble tizz or peak. That will never happen though... too expensive.


    Edit: it also looks like the mesh is inside the magnets according to that semi coherent pdf
     
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    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021 at 9:59 PM
  17. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio; recovering HFM addict

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    If you want to try this experiment with HE5 reissue drivers (not HE5SE) you can have a pair on me :) or was it just the HE6 with the mesh... I forget
     
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  18. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    thanks! I just don’t know if I want to spend the required time tuning a headphone that is so rare and couldn’t be shared with others. I’m trying to stick to more available models as its more useful. I’d like to mod higher end Audeze’s...
     
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  19. 9suns

    9suns [insert unearned title here]

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    The asociation is incredibly interesting. I've opened a thread about that headphone 3 years ago. I think it is the only interesting planar headphone in the market, IMO. It's lightyears ahead of the competition in terms of concept, build and design.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021 at 8:56 AM
  20. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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