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Final D8000 Pro Review – Zen

Sound –

Tonality –

Final state that they targeted a reference sound more suitable for professionals with the Pro model relative to the vanilla D8000. While I do think both have their own colouration, the Pro indeed comes across as more balanced if not overtly so relative to some competitors. To my ears, it remains an extraordinarily refined and delicate headphone, all the while sacrificing zero resolution to its sibling. The D8000 Pro has a u-shaped character and slightly higher contrast. It has admirable parity between sub and mid-bass preceding a lick of upper-bass emphasis that instigates a warm, euphonic tone through the midrange, aiding genre versatility. The midrange itself has a slight upper-mid focus counterbalanced by reduced head gain, meaning vocals are clear but not excessively intimate. The top-end is smooth but with emphasized overtones that create a more delicate and airy note presentation.

In turn, the D8000 Pro is defined by exceptional openness in the top-end and a gorgeous, almost analogue-like tonality through its lower-end. As you should expect at this asking price, the D8000 Pro tops this off with extraordinary, linear extension into the periphery of human hearing. The highlight to me, is that is manages to achieve all of this with minimal weirdness in the note presentation or tonality. For all intents, the D8000 Pro sounds highly natural in all regards whilst sitting near the pinnacle of technical performance. While you won’t be amazed by the speed of its attack and decay, nor is it a perfectly linear instrument for professionals. What awes is the D8000 Pro’s unrivalled driver control that permits such a superbly organised performance without truncating its note structure.

Bass –

If I had to sum up the D8000 Pro in one word, it would simply be “balance”. Usually this is referring to its tonal properties, but here, I found this applying to its audio reproduction on a micro scale too. One could argue that the D8000 Pro has a slightly laid-back sub-bass response, but you also must factor in that this would usually be in relation to a more forward midrange if we’re going by the Harman target. In listening, the D8000 Pro comes across as a slightly warm, full headphone with an intoxicating euphonic tonality. Bass sits just in front of vocals and in-line with midrange instruments. Its seemingly bottomless sub-bass extension makes an immediate impression, with an uncanny ability to discern rumble and sub-bass texture like no other headphone I’ve heard, it’s that good. Notes lead in with a subtle pressure and a surgically controlled slam that never eclipses its textured and punchy mid-bass but lies in equal measure.

In summary, sub-bass is certainly not lacking but don’t expect an especially aggressive or weighted presentation either. I note a slight rise in the upper-bass, securing this as a warmer, fuller headphone over a bold and thumpy one. Though dynamic with huge range, the D8000 Pro manages to uphold an impression of finesse over brutish muscularity. As its bass is followed by a small lower-midrange dip, separation with the midrange is retained and bloom is kept to a minimum. It’s a slightly more coloured voicing than some competitors, but nothing that hurts the timbre of the bass itself. Tubbiness, bloat and muddiness are all avoided entirely as mid and sub-bass are well-balanced and the upper-bass isn’t over done. I suppose if you were expecting a perfectly accurate timbre, the D8000 Pro comes across to me more as a headphone tuned more for musical enjoyment, but it is a tonality of masterful execution.

Note presentation is unsurprisingly impressive too, being defined by its ability to discern fine details yet without coming across as aggressive or overly quick in decay. Control is excellent throughout and attack and decay are both equally natural. The combination of qualities contributes to a simultaneously well-rounded and highly-defined note. While a dynamic driver may linger a little more and derive more impact, introducing a more aggressive texture, the D8000 Pro is supremely articulate and resolving. The jaw dropping extension and all-around control equate to a dynamic performance with excellent timing that does so without emphasized slam that can harm separation. Conversely, pace and separation are not its greatest assets due to its heavier focus on a natural timbre. Rather, its bass texture sits on the smoother side due to its fuller voicing and more rounded note structure. I persist that Final have masterfully balanced all elements of the D8000 Pro’s musical performance here, delivering a performance with huge range, exemplary resolution and ear-pleasing life-like timbre.

Midrange –

The midrange itself showcases a masterful understanding of colouration albeit not perfect linearity. In so doing, the D8000 Pro manages to uphold more than respectable timbral accuracy and a highly natural voicing despite not being the most overtly reference tuning out there. This is in spite of the pro moniker touted by Final, as the D8000 Pro does come across as slightly higher contrast; and neither its tone nor overall balance are perfectly accurate. That is not to say, the D8000 Pro isn’t an enjoyable or versatile performer, far from it. Instruments do sit a little forward relative to vocals, and are empowered with a euphonic richness by virtue of a slight bump in low-end warmth and body. Meanwhile, the laid-back 3kHz region means vocals are slightly small in size and not overtly forward in position, being more laid-back. However, as they are flattered by enhanced upper-midrange clarity, vocals do tends to draw a little more attention, achieving the impression of balance.

In addition, a slightly brighter treble lifts clarity, openness and note definition. The vocal presentation is clean, delicate and articulate in turn. It has heaps of air and atmosphere but overall, an awesome ability to resolve fine details throughout the midrange without coming across as remotely stark or harsh. This is so due to the counterbalancing effect of its upper-bass which imbues a light warmth throughout and a more robust note body. The net result is a highly natural voicing with a gorgeous analogue tonality that doesn’t sacrifice definition, separation nor clarity. It is coloured to a small enough extent that it will appeal to those prioritising balance whilst imbuing its own character that makes it more forgiving and engaging than your vanilla reference headphone. The D8000 Pro achieves this with essentially zero drawbacks in terms of timbre or genre flexibility. In fact, to my ears, its ability to compensate for a little additional muffle in one recording or extra shout in another means it achieves even wider appeal than most. A beautifully tuned and balanced midrange in summation.

High –

If you want delicate, extended highs with a wicked clean transient response and an intoxicating ability to craft atmosphere, the D8000 Pro certainly fits the bill. Like its bass, treble doesn’t have the overt speed and concise note attack of something like the AMT-based HEDDphone or an electrostatic headphone system, even some planar competitors like the HE1000se or LCD-4(z). Rather, the D8000 Pro lies near this pinnacle of current planar capability, expending some definition for a more natural timbre. The tuning also isn’t perfectly even here, with a mild middle-treble trough and a bump throughout the upper-treble. This means its note presentation is slightly wispier and more delicate and with enhanced sparkle and energy. The foreground, however, is impressively even with natural attack and decay properties forming very well textured notes, despite a little thinness. It does mean some quicker competitors here have a leg up on note definition and bite, but the D8000 Pro is still able to effortlessly discern fine details on complex tracks – think cranking up the sharpness on a still image, while edges become more apparent, a less overtly sharpened image can portray more fine textures.

Above, the background is immaculately clean and dark with a small middle-treble trough preceding a bump in upper-treble energy and sparkle. This draws focus to the D8000 Pro’s exemplary top-end extension, able to discern micro-details in an effortless manner and present all fine nuances in perfect balance, with no element overshadowing another. Again, you don’t get that huge perception of speed and crunch provided by some competitors. In so doing, it isn’t a hugely holographic presentation and doesn’t immediately floor you with an overt micro-detail presentation despite them being very apparent and easy to discern. Rather, this is a grounded and focused presentation that simply sounds natural and pleasing in timbre yet with huge detail density. The upper harmonic lift does mean note body is slightly thinner in return for enhanced separation and micro-detail presence. Irrespective, the treble response showcases superb control, TOTL detail retrieval throughout and a natural and highly refined voicing. This is surprisingly hard to come by alongside such a strong technical performance.

Soundstage –

The D8000 Pro has extraordinary flexibility in its ability to craft a space around the listener. I was stunned by the overt depth and atmosphere displayed on Beach House’s ethereal “Space Song” which quickly scaled down to a cozy room on John Mayer’s “Gravity”. Like many aspects of soundstage and imaging, this is an ability all headphones naturally exhibit but very, very rarely to this extent. Width stretches far beyond the head but depth too projects in equal measure. I feel the ability of the D8000 Pro to portray such scale and dimension is due to its uncanny ability to project. Better yet, its scale is reinforced by perfectly coherent imaging. Vocals occupy a strong centre image and directional cues are super sharp. Each element in the stage is easy to localise with pinpoint accuracy. This presentation is highly layered with slightly enhanced foreground/background contrast but still heaps of nuance in-between; you are able to discern almost every layer in a vocal harmonization for instance. Transients are fast, fading in and out of the stage in an almost, but not quite holographic manner. Separation is strong but not the highlight of this headphone, especially relative to summit-fi competitors. It tends to prioritise atmosphere and scale over huge ability to highlight fine details in the foreground. Of course, do note this is relative to the best of the best available at this time. Its ability to organise and space combined with its mix of extension and refinement means the D8000 Pro excels with everything from classical to electronic.

Driveability –

With a 60 Ohm impedance and a 98dB sensitivity, the D8000 Pro is not especially easy to drive, but doesn’t beat on your source like many high-end headphones either. Of course, a good desktop source is highly recommended and would make most sense if allocating such a budget to an audio setup. In addition, I did find the D8000 Pro to be more transparent to source colouration than most headphones even beyond output impedance.

Output Impedance Sensitivity

Planar drivers generally aren’t sensitive to output impedance but to assess, I compared from my Topping A30 Pro (0.1 Ohm) with a 50-ohm impedance adaptor. I experienced a drop in volume but minimal change in frequency response. Suffice to say, this headphone will pair nicely with tube amplifiers or a solid stage amp with a higher output impedance should you desire the colouration.

Driving Power

The D8000 Pro will not play well with most portable sources, a larger DAP like the iBasso DX200 is the least you will want. From my Sony Xperia 5 II, I was using 80% volume but experienced a large bass roll off and huge loss of dynamics and overall note definition. Amongst my desktop sources, I found the A30 Pro provided the cleanest sound. Of course, there are much higher end sources you can experiment with as well.

Suggested Pair Ups

For my preferences, I most enjoyed the D8000 Pro’s with more analytical sources that can aid note definition, a good complement for its slightly wispier note presentation and warmer low-end. On the contrary, if you are sensitive to highs, a warmer source can be employed to bring up the bass and it has plenty of control and separation to stomach additional warmth. The D8000 Pro reflects the colour of the source more than most so source pairings are definitely something to consider. As it is not too inefficient, even something like the THX789 and Topping A30 Pro is sufficient to get a good performance in terms of drive and soundstage expansion, while dynamics and fine detail retrieval can be further improved with better sources if you have budget to spare.

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