Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Sources: 27" iMac (5K Retina display, 4GHz quad-core engine with 4.4GHz turbo boost, 3TB Fusion Drive, 16GB SDRAM, OSX Yosemite, PureMusic 3.02), HP Z230 Workstation Win7/64, Tidal & Qobuz lossless streaming and Spotify Plus 320mbps on both computers, Fore Audio DAISy1, COS Engineering D1, Aqua Hifi La Scala II, Metrum Hex, AURALiC Vega, Questyle QP1R (AIFF), Apple iPod Classic 160GB (AIFF), Astell& Kern AK100 modified by Red Wine Audio (AIFF)
Headphone amps: April Music Eximus DP1, Aura Vita, Bakoon AMP-12R, Questyle CMA-800R (x2), Eversound Essence, Vinnie Rossi LIO
Headphones: Forza Audio Works recabled Audeze LCD-2/XC & Sennheiser HD800; MrSpeakers Alpha Prime, Ether & Ether C [on review], stock HifiMan HE1000 (3.5mm, 6.3mm, 4-pin XLR), ALO-rewired Beyerdynamic T1 & T5p; Aëdle VK-1; Campfire Audio Orion, Lyra & Jupiter [on review]
Review component retail: £3700, €4'599, CHF4'800, $4'999

Final refer to their Sonorous X as sitting at the zenith of their prestige headphone series. Zenith plus prestige equals extreme build leading to a luxury price tag. For extreme build, think 50mm dynamic Titanium driver fitted into a pure aluminium baffle. Add gold-leaf and stainless steel surfaces, 16Ω impedance and big numbers of 105dB sensitivity and 630g weight. On luxo pricing and positioning, look at £3'700 in the UK, €4'600 in Europe, $5'000 in the US. Local VAT might slightly alter the EU figure. Further on looks and to qualify the target audience from the go, it's fair to call out bling. But when one woman's gaudy is another man's sexy, we leave it at that.

Those who feel that Audeze headfi helmets are too heavy won't like today's Final one gram better. Just like fellow aluminators Magico and YG Acoustics do who throw raw mass at the perennial issue of enclosure resonance, albeit of floorstanding speakers, so our clearly resourceful Japanese apply that recipe to their top circumaural headphone model. A Magico earspeaker if you will. Once more, this is an extreme deliberately prestigious effort. That means no concessions at being reasonable. There's only the passionate pursuit of top performance and craftsmanship. One could argue that long-term wear comfort is part of that very equation but with perhaps some neck support from a long-backed lounger, many may find the weight here quite doable indeed.

Before moving on, readers really ought to pause to peruse Final's history which dates back to 1974. Known earlier as Final Audio Design and still so in their URL, the unfortunate English abbreviation shortened the name to Final again. Prior focus on different electronics and loudspeakers over the decades has currently narrowed down on high-performance headphones and IEM; plus OEM of the same. Today Final are dedicated headfi transducer experts.

Japanese culture values mastery in any discipline. They view lifelong apprenticeship as a prerequisite, doing something well its own reward. As the above stock photos promise, with Final one encounters the same spirit. Having seen them at various shows over the years, I confess to never having stopped. I'm ashamed to say, this was based purely on their big loud cosmetics. My brakes finally screeched at the 2015 HighEnd Zürich show. Final's EU representative Christoph Umbricht based out of Switzerland displayed.

Briefly sampling a hybrid BA/dynamic Pandora Hope X via Astell&Kern's top AK340 DAP proved how it was dangerously high time that I overcame my primitive glitter reflexes. So here we are a few months later, starting at the very top of the Sonorous range.