Final Audio A5000

The new Under $500 Champion

Pros: Small
Great fit
Good comfort
Excellent bass
Great Mids
Surprisingly balanced Highs
Durable finish

Cons: A small amount of sibilance
Bass can occasionally overwhelm mids

A5000 Case.jpg


Up for review today are the new Final A5000 which have been provided to me by Audio46 as part of a review tour. That means that I get to keep them for a week before passing them along to the next person on the list. As I have paid no money and received no compensation of any kind for this review, there is literally zero reason for me to be biased in any way, shape, or form. It’s possible I’m a little bitter because they sent me this really cool IEM, made me spend hours writing a review, and then they’re making me give it back haha. So yeah, let’s talk a little about the Final A5000 and why I like it.

The A5000 retails for $279 and comes from the Japanese company Final Audio. They come with the in-house F-Core DU driver – which I guess is some sort of 6mm Dynamic Unit driver. The driver front is made out of brass instead of aluminum to reduce magnetic force and the voice coil uses the least amount of adhesive possible. Soo, uhh…pretty sure that means it’s a small single Dynamic Driver with the classic Japanese build quality – but whatever. On the plus side, it sounds really good if you’re wondering why you should buy this single DD instead of literally hundreds of other options.

A5000 Box.jpg

Accessories/Earpads/Eartips (8/10):

Very nice, but at this price, it should be. The TRUTHEAR HEXA comes with similarly nice accessories for only $80, so what does the A5000 provide that the HEXA doesn’t? For starters, Final Audio ear tips. These are widely considered some of the best ear tips to buy aftermarket for your IEMs, and I have a pair of the E Type sitting on my desk (also from Audio46.) They’re fantastic with a good fit, seal, and low in-ear noise – also they made the shaft of each ear tip different colors so you can figure out which ear is left and which is right. Now, I’m not using the ones that came with the A5000 because it’s a review unit, and who knows how many other people have had these in their ears (eww), so that doesn’t help me. Instead, I’m using the phenomenal Spinfit W1s that I use for basically everything since I haven’t found something they won’t fit on yet and they give me a great seal and excellent sound quality (Here if you want a pair.)

The other accessories included are quite nice. The rubber case included is legit and I prefer it to most of the leather/metal cases that come with higher-end IEMs. It will resist bumps in a backpack and looks like it will keep everything safer than most cases (especially metal, who thought that was a good idea…Empire…) The only issue I foresee with this case is if it gets crushed – it should really have a plastic shell somewhere to prevent that. So, be careful where you put the case in your bag because it won’t handle being crushed too well. That’s it for accessories, no extra filters, no brush, etc. Personally, I couldn’t care less as I don’t use any of that stuff anyways, but if it factors into your decision, it’s something to keep in mind – there’s nowhere near Mezzo LE levels of swag included (nor should there be at this price.)

A5000 Box Open.jpg

Cable (8/10):

This is actually something of a mixed bag for me. The cable itself I actually pretty nice as it’s thin and flexible, but a good quality 8core braid. It’s also silver-coated copper, which is one of the better cable options. The cable itself kinks a little and has some memory retention, but nothing offensive, especially in this price range. It’s a shame that it comes with 3.5mm instead of a swappable kit, but it’s not a big deal. You can pick up a nice Kinera Ace or Leyding Modular cable if you want balanced 4.4mm/2.5mm instead (Here and Here.) There aren’t a ton of IEMs in this price range or below that come with a modular kit either.

Here’s the weird part of the cable. Instead of having the ear hooks built in, Final has opted to include soft silicone ear hooks…separately. So, when you get your cool new Final A5000…you get to install some ear hooks…somewhere on the wire. They sort of lock in with tiny silicone locks, though there are no guidelines on where to put them, and I guess if normal ear hooks drive you crazy with their lack of adjustability because you have a massive ear-to-ear canal gap, these will be great for you. I gave up after trying the first one and removed it very quickly and just used them like the Moondrop Chu. It just wasn’t worth messing around with for a review unit – if I owned these, I’d probably obsess over the ear hook placement for an hour until I got it perfect, but I don’t have that kind of time and it didn’t really make a difference. Oh, and Final says they did it this way to decrease microphonics when walking, and a fast test with that shows it does work…but why not just attach them to the cable? If it’s good enough for PW Audio’s $2,400 First Times cable, it should probably be OK for the A5000.

A5000 Cable_Back.jpg

Build Quality/Comfort (10/10):

Yeah, it’s a 10/10 here. Not only does the A5000 come with a really neat matte/gloss finish that looks like something you’d find at REI, but the fit is phenomenal. These are the first IEM I’d really encountered shaped like the inside of my ear that actually sits inside my ear. They’re small and thin and it makes me wish more IEMs did this. They just disappear in there and won’t hit anything and won’t pop out on accident. The crap-tastic Chu is the only IEM to sort of pull this off previously, but only because it was tiny, not because it was shaped correctly. These may be the most comfortable IEMs I’ve ever worn, and they just feel more rugged than normal IEMs while remaining very lightweight. They also don’t pick up fingerprints thanks to the mixed finish. Well done Final – expect to see 15 copies of this design this year.


I don’t have a frequency response chart for these since they’re brand new and no one has felt like sending me an IEM test rig yet. You’ll just have to base your thoughts on my descriptions below I suppose. I’m powering these from my Shanling M6 Ultra – which the A5000 does sound better on than my M3 Ultra, so your source will change your experience (as with anything really.) It is a minor difference here though, unlike some TOTL IEMs which can have a huge difference (UM Multiverse Mentor, Noble Kublai Khan.) With the 3.5mm unbalanced jack, I am running these between 45-50/100 volume. I’ll be comparing these with the similarly priced Moondrop Blessing 2 with the W1 tips at the same volume level (which has an AWFUL stock cable I might add.) I’ll include the Blessing 2 and HEXA Squig.Link so you have some idea where we’re at here.

Blessing Hexa.png

Lows (18/20):

Starting off with the Mid-bass/Sub-bass test I’m using David Guetta’s “I’m Good (Blue).” The intro bass drums have good impact, but nothing too crazy/overwhelming. The sub-bass at 0:38 is surprisingly strong, uncommon for Eastern IEMs – Final has definitely learned what the Western market likes. I’d guess close to 68-70 dB on the sub-bass.

Up next is Demon Hunter’s “I Am A Stone,” which I use to test whether the bass is too strong and overwhelms the rest of the song. The A5000 gets a pass here, but it’s pretty close to being too strong – not DQ6S strong, but there are definitely parts where the bass-strings come in a little overwhelming.

I’m adding one more bass test song on here for funzies – S3RL’s “Feel the Melody.” The bass drum kick is excellent on this song and it doesn’t overwhelm the vocals or synths. The overall bass quality/quantity of the A5000 is really good, dang near top-notch, but without the soul or quantity that some of the best bass IEMs have (Thunder, MM, MEST, etc.) It definitely won’t make a basshead happy if that’s your thing, but for anyone who enjoys bass presentation without blowing your brains out of your skull each time the drums hit, these will make you really happy.

Mids (16/20):

Weaving The Fate’s “The Fall” is a great guitar test song for mids and vocals. The Final A5000 continues to punch far above its weight on this song. The clean and distorted guitars both sound very detailed and clean with no additional distortion or bloat. The bass guitars can still be heard in the background clearly and they don’t overwhelm the mids here – impressive since they can fade into the background on some IEMs. The vocals are clear and forward enough that they don’t sound like an afterthought. Overall, mids are great on here.

Staind’s “Something to Remind You” has beautifully clean guitars and wonderful vocals. The A5000 does a good job representing Aaron Lewis’s voice and the guitar, where even his fingers moving on the strings can be heard. When he hits certain lower notes there is some bloat and extra reverb though. The bass guitar can be clearly heard and can somewhat distract from the mids as I saw on “I Am A Stone.” Still, the overall mids presentation from the A5000 is far above what it costs – these are easily becoming my bang-for-the-buck IEM under $500 (I wish I still had the HEXA to compare the two because I think the A5000 beats the HEXA – my previous best under $500, and still my best under $100.)

To test classical mids, I’m using The Piano Guys’ “Code Name Vivaldi.” Dang, once again the A5000 manages to punch far above its weight here. The strings sound phenomenal – are we sure this isn’t secretly a hybrid? The bass can overwhelm the mids a tad once more, but the overall quality is so much better than the A5000’s price indicates. I really can recommend these to almost anyone looking for an IEM in this price range – as long as you don’t want it to look fancy or colorful and you don’t hate bass.

Highs (16/20):

To test sibilance on headphones I use Panic! At The Disco’s “High Hopes.” Typically, the better the highs on my later test songs, the worse a headphone does on the sibilance test. Sadly, the good highs on “The Alien” are there at the cost of some sibilance on this song. It’s not the worst I’ve ever heard or even close, but it’s definitely there. A shame because this song sounds really good on the A5000 and it’s only occasionally interrupted by some sharpness/sibilance.

The first highs test song I’ll be using is Dream Theater’s “The Alien,” which I use to test and see if the cymbals/high-hats/snare can be clearly heard and distinguished from the rest of the music. On the A5000, the cymbals can be heard separate from the drums and guitars, but they’re not clean or clear like they can be on more expensive IEMs. So, if you want really good highs quality, look elsewhere – if you want good highs separation, you’ll get that from the A5000 – the cymbals and high-hats are not lost in the background.

Michelle McLaughlin’s “Across The Burren” is another of my favorite highs/sharpness test songs as it can easily sound painful on some headphones. The Final A5000 performs admirably and it is clearly tuned to prevent the sharpness that can occur with this type of music. Each piano note comes in beautifully. That said, it’s right on the edge of sharp, where it almost hits that sharpness, so I suppose on some songs it may cross into that region, but it doesn’t here and that’s a massive win for the A5000. The Blessing 2 doesn’t fair as well here, with somewhat more sharpness.

Soundstage/ Instrument Separation (8/10):

The soundstage of the A5000 is really good – I can’t figure out how Final pulled it off with a single 6mm driver. There’s a real sense of depth that you can’t get on some significantly more expensive hybrid IEMs. It makes the Blessing 2 feel flatter and less engaging. I honestly don’t know how a single driver has this level of separation – I think Final secretly put 3 drivers in here, how can a single tiny driver compete with the Blessing’s 5 drivers? It’s just fantastic, you can clearly hear each instrument where they’re supposed to be – this is one of those headphones like the HEXA that makes me question more expensive headphones.


The Blessing 2’s mid-bass is tighter but less impactful and the sub-bass is nowhere near as strong. The Blessing 2 HAS sub-bass, but you can easily tell the difference back-to-back – get the DUSK if you want a Blessing with sub-bass. The Blessing 2 has cleaner mids presentation overall – more clinical if you will, but it loses some of what makes the A5000 special with that presentation. That really covers the difference between these two in a nutshell – the Blessing 2 is cleaner with less sub-bass and it’s the choice for people who want colorful faceplates or who hate bass and just want to listen to really clean vocals and instruments – NOT EDM or anything you want to hear the bass on. The A5000 can do it all, but that increased bass response does mean that you can clearly hear the bass drums/guitars/synths more to the front on some songs.

The A5000 also has slightly more highs-separation than the Blessing 2. The A5000 also has less sharpness/sibilance on the highs – it’s pretty painful on the Blessing 2, though still not the worst I’ve heard. The soundstage and instrument separation on the A5000 are significantly better than the Blessing as well.

A5000 Front.jpg


I’m blown away by these, I kind of think that Audio46 just sent these out on tour because they know how good they are and they wanted to erase the bad memories of the A4000. Anything over 80 from me is really good, especially since I stopped taking price into account – if I did, these would likely be over 90. I’m going to use the term giant-killer here because, like the HEXA, these punch FAR above their price. The bass is powerful and tight, the mids sound really good, and the highs are surprisingly talented. These are the new IEM to beat under $500, the Blessing 2 is officially dethroned as the king of under $500 IEMs unless you want your IEMs to look fancy (which admittedly is why I bought my pair.) I wish Audio46 would let me keep this pair for future reviews, but I may have to grab a used pair from a friend instead.

Headphone Scoring (v3):
Accessories / Earpads / Eartips (10 pts):8​
Cable (10 pts):8​
Build Quality/ Design / Comfort (10 pts):10​
Lows (20 pts):18​
Mids (20 pts):16​
Highs (20 pts):16​
Soundstage / Instrument Separation (10 pts):8​

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