Final Audio Design Heaven VI Review

 

Introduction:


Final Audio Design (FAD) is certainly one very special company. To start with they are from Japan and like a lot of things that come out of the country they are very premium and boutique. FAD have an uncanny way of making single armatures do things it should be physically impossible to do with great bandwidth, coherency and detail. This is one of the latest offerings and their new top model in their Heaven series, taking over from the Heaven IV that I previously reviewed. This is notably more expensive than the IV with a price tag of roughly 415 pounds without shipping taken into account but I have found various deals taking it to just over 300 pounds with shipping included.


This review will not be fully complete as a lot of the earphone is the same as the Heaven IV with all the numerical Heaven earphones sharing the same housing (there is also the Heaven V that sits in the middle) and cable, just materials and tuning are different.


You can find the Heaven IV review here:


http://www.inearspace.co.uk/inearspace/Final_Audio_Design_Heaven_IV.html




Set-up:


At the moment I have been reaping the benefits of the all in one packages that are the high end DAPs with the most notable being the iRiver AK100, HiFi ET MA8 and MA9 and lastly the Colorfly C4. Not to be forgotten is the iPod Classic rigs that I still do use with amps such as the JL Acoustics Balanced Amp proto and Lear FSM-02 V2, the LOD being that Forza Audio Works Low rider copper.


When at home there has just been one set up that I have been and that is the Rein Audio X3-DAC too the Violetric V200 on -18 gain with all cables being from the Charleston Cable Company.


I think it is also worth mentioning that I have been using a lot more high-resolution files such as those in 24/96 and 24/192.


As for tips that I have used with them I have not found much better than the Sony Hybrid.




Build Quality/Design:


These use a chrome housing and although I really like the colour of the housing, I am not sure I like the brown cable. Everything else is the same as the heaven IV so check out that review.


 


Accessories:


Packaging is updated from the IV and we now get the new snakeskin box and also the cigarette like box has lost its spring clasp and is now fully padded inside making it all that much better. As for tips you get the two different types like you did with the IV.



Burn-In:


By what I am about to write I do not want to cause any upsets or arguments as this topic can be seen as a sour subject. These have had roughly 100 hours now of use and burn in combined. As burn in is not scientifically proven this all could be mental and happening in my head but in the case that it does happen I recommend burning them in as in my personal experience I have noted improvements which have a massive impact on my enjoyment factor, so don’t make any irrational decisions after listening to them out the box.


Sound Quality:


While in the past I have found FAD stuff to be quite unique and different and perhaps good in certain areas, I have never found them the easiest of recommendations even though certain individuals could easily love them. These are the first that I think are simply an easy recommendation in terms of sound and because not only do they do little wrong, they do a lot very well. They have good balance with no real areas making a big stand out. They also are very musical with a very lively sound and that is backed up with a rather spacious sound that is also very engulfing. They impress very largely in the fact that they can do deep bass all the way to their airy upper highs and everything is very dynamic in between. The sound is also further on the thicker sound, very full and not anemic. The fact that they are a single armature based earphone should be immediately forgotten and you should not be brainwashed by the stereotype of this type of earphone, FAD no how to work some magic with these type of drivers.


Soundstage and instrument separation:


I said that the IV had a really large spacious soundstage and this keeps that trend. You do not have the best right to left usage but you have a marvelous center stage and a great distance from the music, not too close that is too much in your face but certainly not distant. That being said right and left staging is still existent and your also treated to good depth that goes with it giving you a truly three dimensional experience. Shamefully it cannot stand up to what the Rhapsodio R^2 and Tralucent 1plus2 offer but this is still in upper group of IEMs in this area.


Instrument separation is nice but I do not feel that it is done with the best sense of air and black space between instruments when comparing to other top IEMs. I mean it is good but I do not think the speed is quite up to the EX1000, Heir 4.Ai, R^2 and 1plus2.


Bass:


Man this is unbelievably good, how a micro driver brings this powerful and meaty a bass to the table is beyond me and I am just thankful it does. The mid-bass is has just enough body to give of the slightest amount of warmth and the power is really good while the speed is quick enough to not miss a beat. The real genius is how deep they go because I just was not expecting it. I think we get the slightest lift as we get a bit deeper, not one that makes them sound silly and sub-bass orientated that sounds darn right wrong but just enough so it is almost visceral enough to be felt in your tummy. One thing is for sure it offers a stunning deep sub-bass and a mid-bass that is both fast and well bodied with one strong impact. Oh and of course no meddling with the midrange from the bass.


Midrange:


One of the statements that FAD made about this earphone was that it is the first earphone to perfectly recreate human vocals. Now I have to say that this is a bit far but these present the midrange in a way that is so marvelous I do not care about their false statement. It is really lush, like really lush, I mean it defines lush. It has a good character while perhaps being slightly more generous in the upper mids, which really boosts this lushness. Timbre is beautiful, natural and well hitting, brass sounds really good especially. Vocals have just an amazing something to them that just is so attention capturing. No they are no perfectly recreated but they are very honest and have great emotion. These are not an earphone that gets easily congested but in the midrange I did feel just a few times everything was just struggling to keep up ever so slightly.


These are really transparent and they are ruthless to bad recordings and so rewarding when you give it something well recorded.


Treble:


Now I think I may be the only one finding them to be like this but I find the treble to sometimes be a bit hot and show signs of sibilance. After the small sibilance spike I find them to be smooth and extended with little sparkle but I do hear just moments of sibilance when the track shows it. Maybe this is just because these are ruthlessly revealing. The treble also does not ooze the most clarity and this is something I have not actually disliked, as they are still great in detail.


Conclusion:


I think these are a great buy as even though I do prefer the sounds of other earphones ever so slightly (these are still easily in my top 10 sounding), these have amazing isolation, comfort and come in such a beautiful package that these may be the best all around, on the go earphones ever. Yes they are that good.