Final Audio D8000 over-ear planar magnetic Headphones - Official Thread


This is the official spot to talk about the D8000

1 Like

The D8000 is Final Audio Design’s first planar magnetic and open back headphone. Final is a company that consistently produces pretty good headphones but seems to fly under the radar in North America. I think the fact that most of their headphones have a pretty flashy look tends to not agree with North American style in comparison to the Asian market.

I did listen to a prototype model last year at RMAF though and these guys are bass monsters. People are going to really like them but at $3800 they up there competing with the LCD4 and the like and also out of reach for most people which is unfortunate. These are definitely lighter than the LCD4 so the comfort factor is definitely there!

1 Like

Really expensive like many other top of the line headphones, unfortunately …

Ya unfortunately with the R&D and market expectations, it seems to be a comfortable price range for most companies and their flagships.

However, and don’t quote me on this, i did hear that Final Audio is talking about making some cheaper priced Planars. Whether comes to fruition only time will tell but it would be great to have a lot more variety in the Planar market!

Final has some really interesting details on their page for the D8000. As I understand what they’re saying, the D8000 is basically designed to be internally damped by the film inside of the driver and have a deliberately very leaky coupling to the ear, whereas a “normal” planar magnetic (for example Audeze’s lineup) will typically have a very tight coupling to the ear, with the pressure chamber in the pad providing substantial driver damping. As far as I’m aware, this is pretty much unique in current production planar magnetics, and Final appears to have made use of it to tune for a response which looks suspiciously similar to the Harman target.

Great to see original approaches in the high-end planar market, although I do wish that the pricing was a bit more affordable - I’d have liked to be able to justify a pair to try!

4 Likes

Introduction
I was able to try out the Final Audio D8000 in the Fall of 2018 for about an hour or so at my local shop, and while I wasn’t able to give it a proper critical evaluation, it did make the list as one of my favorite headphones of the year. Fast forward six months and the awesome folks over at headphone.com were able to lend me a pair to evaluate and measure over the weekend. Needless to say, huge shout out to them for allowing me to do this.

The D8000 is a planar magnetic open-back flagship headphone that costs $3799, right up there with some of the other top of the line cans from Focal, HiFiMAN, and Audeze. Other planar headphones have unique features such as proprietary waveguide systems like the ‘Flow’ mechanism of Mrspeakers, or the ‘Fazor’ array in recent Audeze cans. The D8000 uses what Final Audio call an Air Film Damping System for their drivers, and while this isn’t explicitly doing the same thing as the waveguides in other headphones, it does make this a driver system unlike the rest. Final claims that the air film damping helps prevent the diaphragm from contacting the magnets, which should improve low frequency response quality. This is achieved by adding perforated metal sheets on either side of the diaphragm between it and the magnet, essentially allowing the movement of air to prevent contact with the magnets. At the moment it’s unclear to me how much of a difference this makes in practice, however the D8000 certainly has some of the best bass response I’ve heard. But before getting ahead of myself, let’s take a look at the spec sheet.

Specs
From the D8000 product page:

Housing - Aluminum magnesium alloy
Driver - Air Film Damping System (AFDS) Planer Magnetic
Sensitivity - 98dB/mW
Impedance - 60Ω
Weight - 523g

Source
iFi iDSD Micro Black Label -> Cayin IHA-6 SE out (10 ohm) -> D8000

Design & Comfort
The build quality on the D8000 is nothing short of exceptional with its machined aluminum magnesium alloy housing and yoke structures. The headband feels like high quality leather, certainly an improvement over the rest of the Final lineup. The cups have the same free-floating swivel and tilt mechanism as their other cans that allows for a full range of motion for each cup to get the perfect fit. I love this design choice in all headphones when I come across it, and I wish other companies would take notes from this style. This is not a suspension headband system unfortunately however, which I feel would have really benefited the D8000, given that it’s a bit heavy at over 500 grams. With that said, it’s reasonably comfortable with soft pads. After a few hours the weight does start to show, but it’s not as bad as the Audeze LCD-4. Coming from the HiFiMAN HE-500, the D8000 also feels much better. The one complaint I have apart from the overall weight is that the cable is a bit heavy as well. It’s not a bad cable by any means, and it’s thankfully tangle-free, however it is quite thick and adds a bit of weight to the experience. I’d recommend getting a cable upgrade and running the D8000 balanced, however finding that cable upgrade might be challenging since the 3.5mm connectors have a unique locking system that has the connectors themselves set a bit further into the cup, which means it’s not possible to use any 3.5mm connector cable.

Performance
Resolution & detail retrieval - This is very close to the Focal Utopia when it comes to detail retrieval, and that’s saying a lot. The Audeze LCD-4 is also a close competitor in that regard, although it’s been some time since I’ve listened to one. The D8000 sits a class above everything else on my desk at the moment when it comes to resolution and detail, and that includes a number of ‘kilo-buck’ cans. But I have to stress that at this level of quality, resolution stops being the most important thing when evaluating a headphone. Some will take a ZMF Auteur over a Utopia for example, even though the latter wins out on resolution and detail capabilities. The D8000 sits firmly between the two, but not at the cost of timbre or stage.

Speed - Conveniently, the D8000 hits a home run on the other key performant aspect when it comes to enjoyment and musical engagement. This is right up there with the Mrspeakers planars for speed, and it’s exceptionally noticeable in the midrange or during busy passages with lots of percussive instruments and layering. There’s something unique about the planar sound that undeniably characterizes the D8000, and it’s immediately recognizable for its leading edge transients and fast decay.

Timbre - If the Utopia sounds a bit clinical or artificial, the D8000 is the exact opposite when it comes to timbre and musicality. Make no mistake this is a lush, rich, and thick sound. There is a slight edge to the highs, which adds a bit of excitement, but can occasionally intrude on the ‘natural’ sound this headphone otherwise retains, but it’s generally not a problem on most recordings. Think of this as a Sony Z1R on speed. All of this comes together as an experience of sound representation that more closely resembles reality than some of the more clinical flagships, but doesn’t skimp on the details either.

DSCF4890

Soundstage & imaging - Unsurprisingly the D8000 doesn’t throw as far as the Sennheiser HD800. Instead it straddles a fine balance between spacious and intimate. One of the things I love about the Mrspeakers line of open-back planars is that they’re able to navigate staging distances without ever sounding unnatural - neither claustrophobic nor distant, and the D8000 achieves precisely the same thing. The best way I can describe the stage is ‘big’, and it puts the listener front and center. The stage is also helped by excellent imaging. Not only does the D8000 place images with positional accuracy, the images themselves are quite large, with incredible structural distinction. There’s absolutely no problem isolating instruments or lines in the mix, and while this can’t match the separation of the HD800, it’s perfectly in line with the rest of the competition here.

Tonality

Here is the raw data as measured from the E.A.R.S rig. Note that these are not objective nor industry standard measurements and can only be compared with other measurements from the same MiniDSP rig.

Bass - The D8000 bass is simply incredible. While there is a slight roll-off starting at around 40hz, the frequency ranges that contribute more to tonal characteristics are slightly elevated through towards the midrange. I’m no basshead, but I do often find myself occasionally adding a bit of energy to the bass on my more ‘neutral’ headphones, just for a bit of fun. The bass on the D8000 fits that niche perfectly, and it’s what I would probably tune it to otherwise. Bass quality is also exceptional, with sine wave sweeps revealing tonal integrity extending far below what I’m used to. Some of my other planars that have linear bass all the way down start to lose a bit of the tonal consistency when they reach for the sub-bass, and the D8000 doesn’t have that problem. Whether this is due to the AFDS driver implementation or not is unclear, but the result is very good. It should also be mentioned that the pads are designed in such a way that allows the bass response to extend even without a perfect seal, so if you’re wearing glasses it’s not a problem like it can be on other headphones. Measurements reveal a very slight rise in the upper bass towards the midrange, but it doesn’t bleed over or intrude in any way that detracts from the music. Overall this is some of the best bass quality I’ve ever heard. It reaches low, hits hard when called upon, and has all the texture you could want.

Mids - The mids are also quite good. They stay relatively neutral up until about 500hz, with a slight dip down, but then come right back up to 1khz. There’s nothing to complain about here, especially considering how well the planar driver handles texture and layering. Vocals sit slightly back in the mix but it’s hardly noticeable unless you’re coming from a crazy mid focused headphone like the Focal Elegia.

Treble - This is where things get a bit weird, and it seems that this weirdness is a common theme for a lot of headphones I’ve been evaluating lately. There’s a dip in the lower treble just between 2k-4khz, followed by a sudden rise. This eventually turns into a relatively appropriate response for the rest of the treble with a slight peak at 9khz, however that dip at 3khz has a more notable effect. Supposedly 3-4khz is right where the human ear has a particular sensitivity, with the shape of the ear canal causing resonances and even amplifying the sound. I’ve reviewed headphones in the past that have had a peak in that region, and I can confirm that this is indeed a potential problem area. This likely explains the reasoning behind the dip for the D8000, as well as other more ‘laid back’ and non-fatiguing headphones. Given that this is the case, I still find I somewhat prefer a more neutral response in that area, and to my ear the dip goes a few db too far. Despite this, the D8000 still sounds great even with the dip. This might be the best example of a headphone that achieves an alternative response curve that sounds almost as good as the more traditional one, perhaps better depending on the listener of course. The last thing I’ll note about the treble is that there is a very slight edge or grain to it, which in this case is very tastefully done and certainly more to my preference than what they did with the Final Audio Sonorous IV. This is likely in part due to the extra resolution capabilities of the driver. The edge is there but never masks the detail, it just adds a bit of sparkle and structure to the sound. Perhaps this is intended to counteract the more laid back character of the D8000’s tuning with that 3khz dip.

EQ

Here is the compensated graph showing deviation from MiniDSP’s ‘HEQ’ target, or in other words what MiniDSP recommends as a compensation target for headphones. Supposedly this was based on the target developed by Olive and Welti, and while it’s not perfect, there’s nothing wrong with seeing how the D8000’s frequency response compares to an established target.

The D8000 provides a very pleasant alternative to neutral. With that said, when doing my EQ I found that the only real change I ended up with was a boost to 2.8k-4khz by about 4db, and a slight reduction to 9khz by 1.5db because I’m generally a bit treble sensitive. It’s interesting to see that they went with the 3khz dip, and it is enough to be considered a deviation from neutral. But surprisingly, when going back and forth with my EQ on and off, I couldn’t always decide which one I preferred. I can very easily see this as a headphone that’s enjoyable without any EQ, and it reminds me of a more refined, and perhaps slightly colored HiFiMAN HE-500 combined with the Z1R.

Comparisons
The real competitor to the D8000 should be the Audeze LCD-4, however it’s been too long since I’ve heard one to be able to provide an accurate comparison. Prospective buyers should try to compare the two, however I can say that the weight of the LCD-4 bothered me more than that of the D8000. While neither aim for strict neutrality, the LCD-4 deviates slightly less from the desired target.

HE-500 - The D8000 is similar in performance, speed, and edge, with a more colored frequency response. I love the HE-500, but the D8000 feels a bit more refined and more resolving especially down low.

LCD2 Classic - The D8000 is a bit brighter, with better resolution and speed. They both have a similar slight grain to them that provide a bit of structure to the images.

Aeon Flow Open - The D8000 is very similar in terms of speed but with better resolution. They both have a more ‘laid back’ presentation with a bit of sparkle up top, but overall the D8000 has superior clarity throughout the frequency response causing an AFO without EQ to sound muffled by comparison.

Utopia - The Utopia has better resolution and detail retrieval, hits a more neutral frequency response, but loses out on timbre and space. The D8000 has a bigger, more rich tonality, especially in the bass and midrange. The Utopia is also more forward and analytic sounding throughout the range, and the D8000 is more laid back.

Ananda - The D8000 is faster than the Ananda and has a warmer tone with much better (and bigger) bass response, however the Ananda has exceptional treble that in my opinion is superior to the D8000.

Conclusion
This is easily one of the best headphones available at the moment. Unfortunately it costs a small fortune. It seems that headphones are going in the direction of other audio equipment in that they are starting to cost multiple thousands of dollars for incremental improvements to the sound. Would I personally spend close to $4000 on headphones? Looking at the gear on my desk and around me answers that question with an emphatic ‘yes’, however I have a hard time recommending that to most people. If the prospect of doing so doesn’t immediately scare you off, however, then this is not a bad place to look. The D8000’s performance is right up there with other top of the line equipment, and if you’re looking for that non-fatiguing and laid back sound without compromising on detail, resolution and speed, this might be the perfect choice.

You can check out the video review here.

10 Likes

Nice review sir! Did you get EARS recently? I dont remember you using EARS before.

3 Likes

I did. Took me a bit to get it calibrated and figured out but so far it’s given me some reasonable compensations. I’m looking forward to see what else I’m able to do with it.

1 Like

HEQ curve is pretty accurate towards the 2013/2015 harman target up until about 4-5KHz where it seems to be a little off. It’s still relatively close though, but treble resonance seems to be the biggest problem with EARS and over-ear headphones. IEMS issue is more bass related due to how small the ear is and fit/seal, but I find the IDF compensation pretty good if you can overcome that. I’ve been using a more DIY approach with a cheap mic for iems now.

5 Likes

Yeah so far I’ve been happy with the HEQ curve for producing EQ values. I still need to do a bit of tweaking and tinkering but as a starting point it’s pretty good! It shows way more on headphones that are more “off” than this one though haha.

3 Likes

Great review @Resolve. You’ve got some great comparisons in your review and some great data. I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks.

2 Likes

Thanks for sharing man. I really can’t wait to hear this headphone some day :slight_smile:

2 Likes

You guys live in the same city. Try to meet up! :slight_smile:

I would also love to try these out someday too. I’m on the list to try the new Brainwavz Alara but I’m sure its not in the same class as this one.

2 Likes

I forgot to mention that @Resolve’s D8000 review is now featured on headphone.com!

He’ll have another review showing up there this weekend, also.

6 Likes

I’m just evaluating the new D8000 Pro Edition and… it’s amazing. I’ll be doing a full write-up for this one, but at the moment my impressions are as follows:

Build & Design - 8.5/10
Comfort - 7/10
Detail - 9.8/10
Speed & Dynamics - 9/10
Stage & imaging - 8.5/10
Tonality - 9.9/10

I know they said they changed the tuning of the driver to better match pop and rock music (they talk about dynamics, but it’s not referencing the audiophile term), but to my ear this actually does better than the original at jazz and classical music too. The main difference is the tonality, and the stage is slightly tighter and more forward on the Pro edition.

HEQ Comparison with D8K. D8K Pro is in green.

HPN Compensaion

I may have said this before about other headphones, but boy does this ever get tonality right - at least to my ear. It’s like a diffuse field tuned RAD-0 that’s a bit lighter and more comfortable. It’s slightly more linear in the bass, but it sits a bit lower as well making it overall a bit brighter than the original, and slightly more upper midrange presence as well. Upper treble is also elevated slightly but the detail here is so freaking crazy good that it’s somehow never harsh or grainy - and full of all the ‘plankton’ goodness that highly resolving treble can be.

7 Likes

Will you be giving them a proper review and comparison with the non-Pro version?

2 Likes

Hello and welcome @funwithiems.

2 Likes

Yeah I’m currently working on a write-up for it. In the meantime you can check out the video review:

7 Likes

Thanks! Outstanding review quality. Looking forward to the write-up too.

4 Likes

Final Audio D8000 Pro Edition - An expensive planar that lives up to its potential


This review unit was provided by the headphones.com community preview program.

Introduction
Final Audio’s D8000 line marks their flagship entries in the planar magnetic arena currently dominated by the likes of Audeze and HiFiMAN. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend some time with the original D8000, and while it wasn’t quite the perfect tonality for me, the technical ability of that headphone made it a lot of fun to listen to. Final Audio have recently returned to planar technology and released the D8000 Pro Edition, which includes tweaks to the transducer and a change of pads. Supposedly Final Audio have taken aim at more ‘compressed’ music this time, namely pop and rock, which is often recorded to take advantage of a wider variety of equipment. There may also be a technical reason for this revision that has to do with driver limitations of the original D8000 at loud volumes for those genres. This review is an attempt to answer the question of what’s different between the two versions, and how the new ‘Pro Edition’ improves upon its predecessor (if at all). It should also be noted that the review unit is the black version, but it’s also possible to get this headphone in a silver-white color.

Specs
Housing - Aluminum magnesium alloy
Driver - AFDS Planer Magnetic
Sensitivity - 98dB/mW
Impedance - 60Ω
Weight - 523g
Price - Approximately $4000

Source
FLAC Library, TIDAL (HiFi and Master) - iFi iDSD Micro Black Label -> Cayin IHA-6 SE out (10 ohm) -> D8000 Pro Edition

Music
For the D8000 Pro Edition (D8K Pro) I started with my usual jazz tracks and sibilance tests from Patricia Barber and Renee Olstead, and then tried some classical with Yo-yo Ma plays Ennio Morricone. I also used it with some pop and rock from an up-and-coming artist Anna Moon, but then went into my heavier material from Periphery, Opeth and Tool to see how the Pro Edition handles less optimally recorded material. I also tried the headphone with some EDM, I’m generally not into EDM at all but I felt that it’s worth putting it through the paces.


Build, Design & Comfort
The D8K Pro has the same design as the original D8K, meaning it uses the same ‘Air Film Damping System’ (AFDS) to create space between the magnet and the diaphragm. Interestingly both models use a circular planar design rather than the usual rectangular shapes you find in most other planar transducers. It’s an effective technology, however some have reported that with the original D8K, when driven at loud volumes (with certain genres), the driver would clip. I personally never experienced this when I reviewed it, and I really have to wonder if listeners are observing safe listening levels to be able to produce this. Nonetheless, the new D8K Pro is intended to fix that issue for pop and rock genres.

Build & Design - 8.5/10

For comfort, the D8K Pro feels identical to the original D8K, with the only real exception being that the pads on the newer version are a notable improvement. They’re much softer feeling than the “rough socks” type of material that was used on the non-pro model. Unfortunately the weight is also the same, and it is still a bit much for me at just over 500g and the pads are still round rather than oval or ear-shaped, however it’s certainly much more comfortable than many of its competitors.

Comfort - 7/10

Performance
In my review of the original D8K I was impressed with the headphone’s technical ability, however I did find that there was just a touch of harshness in the treble that I had to overcome. While not unpleasant, it wasn’t as smooth as I prefer overall. I’m happy to report that the D8K Pro sounds smoother overall to my ear (at least from memory).

Detail Retrieval - 9.8/10
The D8K Pro performs spectacularly well for detail retrieval. When headphones do well in this category, you can really hear textural nuances in the music that lesser headphones are unable to reproduce. This is especially noticeable when analyzing individual instrument lines. For example, string instruments like cellos and violas aren’t merely represented as tones with the given timbre of the instrument, but also with the textural qualities of the bow on the string that produces the sound. This is also aided by quite good instrument separation, and what people describe as “blackness of background”, where specific lines emerge out of absolutely nowhere - and with well-defined structural integrity for the images. In some ways I find that planar tech in headphones does a better job at this quality than dynamics do, and the D8K Pro reminds me of what’s possible for detail retrieval in headphones at the top end. If there’s any drawback to be had here it’s only that it doesn’t quite match the performance of some of its competitors at this price tag, but on the whole it’s very close.

Speed & Dynamics - 8.5/10
I’m finding speed and dynamics more and more difficult to describe, especially when you have some headphones that sound ‘fast’ due to the immediacy of their leading edge transient, but then also other headphones that sound ‘fast’ due to the immediacy of their decay - and the way in which these qualities redound a headphone sounding ‘fast’ result in a different effect. Moreover, it gets even more complicated when you introduce the notion of dynamic ‘slam’. But the bottom line for the D8K Pro is that it does well in just about all of these areas. It’s not quite as intense as some of the best Audeze planars for kick drums, and doesn’t quite exhibit the same control of decay the way that certain Beryllium driver headphones can, but it still scores quite well across these categories - to the point where it falls right in line with where I’d expect a flagship planar to perform in terms of being fun to listen to.

Stage & Imaging - 8.5/10
While the stage is a bit more forward when compared with the original D8K, the imaging remains top notch, and instrument separation is also superb. I attach this quality a bit more to detail capability, and while it’s not on the same level as something like the HiFiMAN HE1000se, it’s easy enough to isolate instrument lines and pick apart harmonies should the listener desire to do so. Or to put it another way, I had no problem distinguishing instruments even in busy passages or complex mixes.

Timbre - 8/10
I find the D8K Pro to be slightly on the dry side, but also not particularly ‘planar’ sounding, but I get the feeling this has more to do with tonality than anything else. The bass thankfully doesn’t have the “dry thud” quality I’ve associated with some older planars - ones that despite being able to extend all the way into the sub-bass fail to reproduce those tones in a lifelike manner. In fact, the only way I’d be able to blindly distinguish the D8K Pro as a planar is from its other technical abilities, and so that may be welcome news to some.

Tonality & Frequency Response
D8K (blue) vs D8K Pro (green) with the HEQ Compensation (closer to Harman). Measurements taken on the MiniDSP EARS rig, which is not to be considered as or compared with industry standard.


The D8K Pro goes after a more diffuse field target - and no I don’t mean the one developed by Møller, but rather a more popular kind of tuning that something like a Sennheiser HD800 goes after - or perhaps better known as a “diffuse field loudness equalized” tuning. If the more ‘correct’ DF target gets us something that sounds like flat-measuring speakers in a good room, let’s imagine that the room is ever so slightly worse, meaning we get a presentation that sounds closer to what we’re used to hearing normally (unless of course you live in a house with impeccable acoustics).

I find that the D8K Pro actually has better bass extension than the original, but at the same time sits ever so slightly lower than the midrange, and then there’s also a bit more energy in the upper midrange on this new model as well. Overall the D8K Pro is a bit more counterclockwise tilted, but surprisingly I don’t find this to be sibilant in the consonant range at 8.5khz where we see the strongest elevation relative to the HEQ compensation, and it’s dramatically brighter sounding than the original D8K. I also get the sense that tweaks to the transducer may have resulted in overall better treble performance, because the D8K pro sounds surprisingly smoother in the treble than I remember the original D8K sounding, despite the fact that it has a stronger elevation throughout that range. I have to imagine that this is entirely plausible if in fact the transducers excursive characteristics were tightened up in the Pro Edition.

D8K Pro on HPN compensation (closer to DF)


It’s interesting that Final Audio claim that the D8K Pro was designed to sound better for more compressed music such as pop and rock - or music that’s intended to sound good on a wide variety of systems - because I generally find that the type of tuning they ended up with for the D8K Pro does better with more classical, jazz, and acoustic music. Again, think of the HD800 line. These are incredibly popular for those genres specifically, and can sometimes sound a bit shrill for more modern pop and rock genres. But interestingly I found that the D8K Pro just simply sounds great regardless of the genre, even if I’m more immediately drawn to the more typical ‘audiophile’ types of music.

In fact, despite Final Audio’s intelligent choice to deliver two versions of the same headphone (just aimed at different genres), this is in my opinion one of the better all-rounder headphones, because it’s able to resolve acoustic instruments with incredible clarity, while at the same time being fun and punchy for less optimally recorded music, and even great for electronic music. It’s entirely possible that this headphone’s target of being well-suited to more ‘compressed’ music like pop and rock has more to do with the excursive and restorative properties of the transducer and the loudness that these genres are often preferred at. While I don’t advocate turning up the volume to unsafe levels, it may be the case that the D8K Pro has an easier time with this from an engineering perspective, and that this fits more with Final Audio’s goals for this headphone than the tuning they ultimately ended up with. Nonetheless, it’s a fantastic achievement, and I find this tuning to be more to my taste over the original D8K.

Tonality score - 9.9/10


Comparisons

Audeze LCD4 - They cost about the same, but the LCD4 does edge out the D8K Pro as far as strict detail retrieval goes for individual instrument lines. The LCD4 does also sound a bit faster, with more intense bass impact and articulation. But the D8K Pro has a much better and more ‘normal’ tonality, while the LCD4 is considerably dipped in the upper midrange and treble transition. I’ve always been impressed by the LCD4, but its default tonality causes the tonal focus of certain instruments to be withdrawn in favor of splash and sizzle. The D8K Pro is a flagship that resists the temptation to crank the treble extension to unnatural levels, and retains tonal balance and focus for how instruments sound in real life. It’s also much more comfortable, coming in approximately 200g less than the LCD4, so if I had to choose between the two, without EQ my preference would be for the D8K Pro. With EQ, or Audeze’s ‘Reveal’ tuning it’s a more difficult choice.

Rosson Audio RAD-0 - In my opinion this is the primary competition for the D8K Pro, at least as far as technical ability goes. The RAD-0 in my opinion is also a little bit faster, perhaps due to its high grade neodymium N52 magnets - and it’s inherited much of Audeze’s performant characteristics. I find the tonality for the D8K Pro to be a bit more neutral and forward, while the RAD-0 is a bit warmer and a bit more laid back. The D8K is also considerably more comfortable with a less aggressive clamp force, and overall less weight. Of course, the RAD-0 is nearly half the price, so if you can handle the weight/comfort, you’ll likely find it to be better value.

Sennheiser HD800s - The D8K Pro is quite a bit better for a wider variety of music than the HD800s, but it’s worth comparing the two because I find them to have a similar counter-clockwise tilt to their tonality. With that said, the lower treble dip of the D8K Pro helps with the transition between the midrange and treble so that it doesn’t suffer the shrillness that the HD800s has a tendency to exhibit for certain genres. Overall the detail retrieval for individual instrument lines is better on the D8K Pro, however instrument separation and distinction is considerably better on the HD800s due to its massive stage.

Focal Utopia - The Utopia is one of the most resolving dynamic driver headphones, if not the most resolving headphone both due to impeccable detail capability and excellent tonality. The D8K Pro is a bit more fun in the bass, where the Utopia rolls off slightly below 50hz (at least on sub 10ohm output impedance sources), but beyond that these two are actually a good comparison for tonality. The D8K Pro has a bit more sparkle and energy up top throughout the consonant range, but I occasionally feel like it’s just a shade too much, where as the Utopia has better tonal balance for that range. Both are very smooth throughout the consonant range, and neither exhibit etch or grain up top, but I may have to give a slight edge to the Utopia for overall detail and clarity. In my opinion if you’re more drawn to extremely linear and clean bass response, the D8K Pro may be the better choice, but I’m drawn to the comfort and slightly better tonal balance of the Utopia.

Conclusion
The Final Audio D8K Pro is unreasonably expensive, and it really shouldn’t be when you consider other headphones with similar performance like the RAD-0 come in at a much lower price. But thankfully the D8K Pro is also a fantastic experience. It’s doesn’t quite match its competition when it comes to technical performance, but it’s very close - and it does many other equally important aspects of what makes a great headphone, such as tonality, comfort, and build quality quite a bit better than its peers. The D8K Pro improves on its predecessor as far as sound quality goes, and if you’re looking for a “spare no expense” flagship headphone that you don’t want to EQ or tinker with, and you just want that flagship experience that has exceptional tonality right out of the box (as they all should have), the D8K Pro is very likely to provide that experience.

Overall Score - 8.6

You can check out the video review here:

9 Likes