Monday, 15 December 2014

Review: Final Audio Design Heaven VIII

Firstly I would like to thank Robin over at Hifiheadphones for lending me these for a quick review, I will try and write as honest a review possible.

Gear Used:
iPod Classic 7G > Silver LOD > JDS Labs C5D > Heaven VIII
Dell XPS 15 > JDS Labs C5D > Heaven VIII (media monkey as media player)


Tech Specs:
Driver - Balanced Armature
Weight - 29g
Cable Length - 1.2m

Packaging, Accessories and Build Quality:
Well the packaging is like most of FAD's other IEM's, a very sleek black box with reptile skin texture, this separates in to 2 parts, and you are greeted by some black fake fur. The IEM's are neatly placed via ties to the fur, a very luxurious albeit a little over the top packaging, underneath the fur intray you will find all the accessories. A little info is included on the back of the box.

The Heaven VIII comes with an array of single flange tips, and also a metal carry case the same as the Heaven VI. The carry case does scratch very easily, but protects the IEM's and looks stylish. They don't include a lot of accessories, but all the essentials are there.



Build quality, well what can I say, they are definitely up to FAD standard, all metal housing with a premium finish, the flat cable feels better than previous Heaven IEM's, and all feels very well built. The 3.5mm jack housing has metal on it, and it will fit most phones even with cases on, I have no worries about build quality. The housing is a love or hate theme though, the gold will put some people off, but the sound more than makes up for the looks.


Comfort, Isolation and Cable noise:
Comfort is better than the Heaven VI, I find they fit in better but cannot be worn with the cable over the ear. The supplied tips are great, and come in enough sizes to fit most people, I have no problems with the stock tips and can wear these with no discomfort, for extended listening sessions.

Isolation is also very good, fine for day to day use and enough to get you run over if you're not careful. I would not have any problems using these everyday as my go to IEM's.

Cable noise is present but not in a big way, there is a little when walking but not enough to spoil your listening experience when out and about.


Sound:
Lows:
Lush and full, I am always impressed by the lows on FAD's BA models, they never lack any extension or body considering they use a single BA driver. The lows have incredible detail and articulation, listening to Diana Krall you can hear every pluck of the double bass, and every note decay perfectly. The timbre and tone is spot on, the decay is realistic and the body is just incredible. The lows are also very controlled and never bleed or distort any other part of the spectrum.

Mids:
As with most FAD models the mids is where they stand out, and these are no different, they just grab you with their rendition of emotion in a singers voice, they captivate you, mesmerize you with their realistic portrayal of your music of choice. You will never miss a detail in the mids, but also they don't hurl the detail at you, it is there, if you listen you will hear it. Both male and female vocals excel, acoustic and jazz really come alive with these, you can hear the resonance from an acoustic guitar, every subtle pick and pluck at the strings is audible. As you can guess, I am impressed by the mids on these, incredible detail without any harshness.

Highs:
The highs are great on these too, they never get over the top or sibilant, but have enough presence to keep everyone happy. They have the excellent detail retrieval but not at the expense of your ears. They extend and decay realistically, as with the rest of the spectrum, they just top off an incredible IEM, they are not lacking in the slightest.

Soundstage and Instrument Separation:
Soundstage is wide and deep, with plenty of out of head experiences to be had. They don't have the largest soundstage but they are definitely not lacking.
Instrument separation is excellent, there is plenty of space between each instrument.


Conclusion:
Yet again FAD have come out with an exceptional IEM, the first time I heard these I knew they were something special. They just have such an incredible presentation, never fatiguing, lush and realistic. The whole spectrum is there, nothing is lacking, they render emotion in a singers voice like no other. I really am impressed with these. I would be very happy with a pair of these as my go to IEM's, they are perfect for portable and home listening headphones.


Sound Perfection Rating: 10/10