on 28 October 2013
I needed to replace my Soundmagic E10 phones which unfortunately were broken when a large dog jumped up on me, pulling them out of my ears and in the process snapped the jack! Initially thought about the E10s again because for £30 or so they're about the best in their class.
Came across the Adagio lll and was struck by the cool design with the right ear housing coloured red and the left one in white and after reading various reviews decided they were for me, even though twice the price of the E10s.
Comparing the Adagio's with my 'best' earphones (Monster Turbine Pro-Copper) which are/were nearly three times the price of the adagio's, I was mightily impressed with the powerful bass and 3D vast airy soundstage. This deep but taut bass is only achieved after burning them in for between 30-50 hours, so possible buyers be warned, don't make a snap decision after listening to them 'out of the box', do run them in before passing judgement.
I rated them five stars simply for their sound, the only slight quibble I have is that I wish the cabling looked a little more robust, which the Monsters certainly are and accessories are a bit sparse, only three pairs of silicone tips and no pouch but for me, how they sound is of more importance. One last point, supplied eartip quality is quite good but would advise obtaining Sony Hybrids, I think nozzle diameter size is 4mm, same as the Sony MDR-EX1000 phones.
To conclude, I believe the Adagio lll's come pretty close to the performance level of more costlier earphones.
Showing my age with the review title.
I've been searching for some decent earphones for a while as the stock earphones with mobile phones are generally quite rubbish and my wife won't let me use her apple ones!
These are actually really good in-ear buds - most of the ones i've tried in the past have been uncomfortable or just make the whole world really muffled and just don't stay in my ears properly. These were pleasantly comfortable. It comes with three different size of 'buds' so that you can adjust to what is most comfortable for you. If you're usually averse to in-ear phones then I would still recommend giving these a try as they are much more comfortable than any others I've tried.
As the title of the review suggests, these handle bass beautifully. It isn't a 'muffled' or 'scratchy' bass but really clear and tight. Neither do these overwhelm the higher tones. However, if your main music is rock, folk or anything other than hip-hop, rap, dance or anything that really loves bass, I would stay away. Why? Well, even with the equaliser adjusted, I still found that the bass came through stronger than I would like.
Hope that helps
Final Audio's foray into the mid range earphone market doesn't disappoint in terms of sound but alas the build quality and packaging are a little lacking.
Maybe I've been a little spoiled by the phones I've tested recently but opening these was something of a disappointment. No case, only 3 tip options and a cable that can only be described as fragile looking, all a little underwhelming at first glance. The earpieces themselves are chunky, worryingly so for someone with small ear cavities but my fears were misplaced. Although they feel big I managed to achieve a good, comfortable seal on my first attempt. The ear pads are coloured coded so no mistakes telling which ear is which.
Trying a selection of music the first thing I noticed was the punchy yet full sounding bass, not woolly but rich and very satisfying. This wasn't to the detriment to the mids and highs which remain clear although the highs lack the sparkle of my old Sennheiser cx880's or the separation of my Klipsch x10's. Both those phones cost a good deal more but the Final Audios don't sound out of place in that company. For those keen on bass heavy genres, rap, dubstep, r&b these sound really decent but don't do so well for me on cleaner electronic tones.
I'm not sure how well the thin cable will stand up to robust daily usage and I'd be a bit worried about using them while exercising but they should survive the daily commute or domestic use and will reward the user with a very pleasant sound experience.
Pros: Looks, microphonics
Cons: Overall sound quality, cable gets easily tangled, isolation, lack of accessories
Packaging & Accessories: 4/10
Build Quality: 8/10
Design & Look: 8.5/10
Microphonics (higher ratings means lower cable noise): 9/10
Sound Quality: 6.5/10
My final Rating: 6/10
Review Date: August 2015
Review Price: £50
First of all I would like to thank Mark from KS Distribution for sending me out the Final Adagio III for review.
The Adagio III can be found on AmazonUK for £50 and on AmazonUSA for $82.
Before getting into the review, I should state that Final has had a little bit of a re-brand, going from Final Audio Design to Final. The explanation from mark being: "The idea behind the name is that Final are the absolute pinnacle of headphone design. The Final destination for audiophiles, if you will. The head designer, who is now the CEO, seems to take his inspiration from super high-end Swiss watch designers and that's very apparent in the top-of-the-line products they produce."
With that out of the way let's get to it and see if it really is the "Final" design/audio quality that the brand intends to deliver!
Packaging & Accessories
The packaging and accessories were very disappointing. I know the earphones are only £50, but I still expect a little more than just a S, M, L set of silicone tips and a manual.
Earphones that are £10 even have a better set of accessories than this.
I feel that Final have really ignored consumers here, there simply isn't enough included for me to be happy about a £50 purchase. There should at least be a wider selections of tips, a shirt clip and most importantly a small carrying case.
The overall impression I had at the start was poor and didn't give a great impression.
The build quality of the earphones is good, although not flawless.
The earphones are terminated by a right-angled gold plated 3.5mm jack. The cable itself is quite thin, which is great in terms of cable noise, as it produces minimal microphonics. However the design of the cable means that it does become tangled quite easily, which was an annoyance when putting it in my pocket whilst being on the go. Speaking about the cable it becomes even thinner at the Y-split, where it is divided into the left and right channels.
The thing I love most about the build quality, is the design of the left and right indicator. It is indicated, by no matter which version you get with separate colours. This is excellent as it allows you to quickly know which side is left or right. In the set I had, left was indicated by white and red with right. There is of course a "L" and "R" symbol written to denote the sides too on the strain relief of the earphones.
Moving on, we have the housing of the earphones, which I think is well done - it is made out of plastic and coated with a slight glossy finish, to give it a nice shine.
The plastic itself seems strong enough to withstand knocks and falls, whilst also being very lightweight, which is great in terms of the comfort you have when these are in-ear.
Overall the build quality is good, but doesn't really come out as being anything special. The fact the cable got easily tangled was a little bit of an annoyance, but other than that, I love the design.
Design, looks, comfort and isolation
The looks of the earphones is very well thought-through. It has a futuristic-spaceship type look, which is really pleasant to look at.
The glossy finish of the earphones also gives it a nice appeal to it. Whilst in-ear they do stick out a little bit, due to their design it's a nice look they give-off. It's clear there was an emphasis placed on design and looks, as it comes out from the housing of the earphones.
I found the isolation of the earphones to be below average. Due to their relatively small nature, the earphones didn't block out that much background noise, meaning a lot of external noise did filter through with ease - no matter which of the 3 sized tips I used, there was a lack of isolation.
This is a shame, but could be changed if there was a set of foam tips included.
The comfort of the earphones was a little hit and miss for me. They are lightweight earphones which do sit in your ears, be it with a straight down cable or over-the-ear (as it can be worn both ways). The problem I found with comfort was the design of the tips, which were just overly large and bulb-esk. It meant that over time I felt the earphones slowly slipping out. This wouldn't have been a problem with other tips, if they had been included - however as there was no extra tips included - the comfort wasn't all that great. I should note I did have a good seal with the tips, just that over time, especially if I went running, the earphones would slowly slip out.
Now the sound quality was something I was anticipating in being good - as despite the lack of accessories and a not-so-impressive overall first impression, I was hoping the sound quality would blow me away. Unfortunately, this was anything but the case - the sound was woeful and was really disappointing. So much so that a set of £35 SoundMAGIC E10 earphones sounded better than these. Meaning not only a cheaper earphone sounded better, but its overall package was much better than what was included with the Final Adagio III!
In terms of its given price, the earphones were outclassed by earphones that were cheaper and my Fischer Audio Consonance that were once £50 when I reviewed them, completely blew them out the water.
The lows were very pronounced, with the mid-bass being the main talking point. The mid-bass of the Final Adagio III was overwhelming and often lacked control. I felt the mid-bass slam was really powerful, which is great for bass-heads, but the lack of control left much to be desired. The sub-bass was also very present, which was nice to hear, but yet again didn't have that finesse to it, where it was cut off.
Due to an overly done mid-bass with little control, the mids were greatly affected and were very pushed back. I felt there was a lack of coherence in the mid-range, where I would have liked to see the Final Adagio III be more present. The highs also were slightly disappointing, where they were rolled off and did lack that little extra sparkle that you would expect.
With the highs being rolled off and the mids having to be pushed back, the overall sound signature was V-shaped. This isn't to be that surprising when it comes to earphones in the under £50 category, however this was more than anticipated.
The soundstage on the other hand was fantastic, which was odd as the rest of the presentation was rather poor. The soundstage provided a nice instrument separation and reasonably well-done depth to the music. However, the width is what let it down and that was evidentially present due to its narrow housing design.
I was also impressed with its decay too, where it gave off a nice sound signature to the earphones.
Sound Quality Ratings
Conclusion & Closing Thoughts
Overall, the Final Adagio III were disappointing, from the opening impressions to the final burned-in sound quality. There just wasn't enough for me to be that impressed about.
I think the design of the earphones is well thought out, but at its given price, I was expecting more than just looks. I wanted better sound quality, a better cable and a better set of accessories to have been included.
I just can't see myself ever recommending them, due to the fact that there are many other better earphones out there at its price range or even at a cheaper price.
Hope you enjoyed my review!
These are okay,with a good, albeit slightly bassy,sound.They come with 3 different size earbuds,so they should fit most people and I find that they fit me very well and reasonably comfortably.I've tried them out on a variety of different sources and found they perform pretty well with all of them.On DAB radio 5Live comes across clear although the heavy bass does give the impression that everything is slightly muffled.6Music is a little more succesful as some of the music they play benefits from the extra bass.On a Samsung mp4 playing Bob Dylan's John Wesley Hardin the extra bass helps flatten out the harsh treble of his harmonica playing and really highlights the bass playing,but '90's electronic band Kreidler were by far the most succesful sound.Finally I've tried them on Spotify via our pc.Soul legend Millie Jackson's funky Caught Up sounded pretty good,but oddly a couple of tracks I played by '70's funk icons War sounded harsh and tinny.However,'80's influenced (think Human League) Department M again sounded very good.
So,upsides;mostly a clear sound slightly weighted towards the bass,a better fit and at least as comfortable as most earbuds I've tried and quite an attractive design.Downsides;despite being bass heavy I did find them a little tinny with some material and they seemed to work best with modern electronic music,so I don't think I'd recommend these to anyone with a large collection of pre-'80's music.Other than that the biggest drawback is the price,which seems quite high given that I really don't think the sound they produce warrants such a high price and you don't get an on wire volume contro or a carrying case.
Headphones are important to me as I am currently quite unwell and spend time in a sick bed or at hospital and I like to take something to watch and listen to (films, audio-books and/or music) while others feed their soap, reality TV addictions.
I usually use headphones not ear-buds but I thought I would give these a go. They are not my first pair - I have previously had tried Altec Lansing Female Specific ones and Rokono (formally MonsterBass) both were very comfortable. According to the blurb on the Altec packaging women's ear canals are smaller than men's - this would explain why most other buds make my ears sore. I put the smallest of the covers onto the tip and tried them. They were alright, though I can't say that they were as comfortable as Rokono or Altec.
The first thing I tried was a dvd - and the sound was good, voices were clear. I also tried a couple of audio books and again the voice of the narrator was unblemished.
The problem came when I tried to play some music. I put on Linkin Park's "Living Things" and waited to sing along only to wonder where Chester had gone. There was the bass and rhythm but the lyrics had almost disappeared.
Don't get me wrong I love window rattling bass, but only when I can actually make out the rest of the music that goes with it. As someone who likes to howl along with the songs it is was disappointment to be left singing karaoke to a bass track.
If you want some earphones which you can use for watching movies and tv shows or for listening to audiobooks then these might suit you, but if you are listening to music, especially music with an already heavy bass you might want to try elsewhere.
To be honest I'll be sticking to my lovely Rokono ear buds for hospital and my headphones for home.