Published on April 26th, 2017 | by Greg0
Final Audio Sonorous III: Bigger, And Better, From Japan
Plenty of companies offer a flagship model that is premium, luxurious, ambitious… and expensive. And many firms have a range of options in their lineup, including lower-cost alternatives that may share some of the DNA from their higher-end versions. But few brands can claim to occupy the vast range between the $5000 audiophile Sonorous X headphones and today’s affordable, friendly pair that doesn’t compromise on its background and brings some sophisticated technology to the consumer/prosumer home audio market.
The Final Audio Sonorous III over-ear headphones offer a distinctly premium look- at a glance, you could be forgiven for thinking these cost quite a bit more than they do. Even the cables are classy, a detachable set that is thick and sturdy, with hefty plugs that put to shame those from just about any other set you’ll try. Similarly, the headphones themselves are fairly heavy, weighing in at 410 grams- enough that you’ll notice them, and clearly more aimed at library listening rather than on-the-go with a portable device. They offer a fairly restrained, matte black finish with metallic accents, and only the stainless steel rail feels like a step down visually, while the earpads are synthetic leather rather than the real thing (or velour). The brand, which isn’t well-known yet in the USA, has an interesting history- dating back to 1974, it was previously connected to Molex (a major cable/connector company). Now independent under the parent company S’NEXT, they still manufacture and produce audio gear in Japan.
The Sonorous IIIs use a titanium diaphragm driver unit, and succeed impressively in their aim- providing transparent, crystal clear reproduction, with a broad soundstage. Their acoustic profile tilts slightly towards cool, and they’re a low impedance set that can drive just about anything, even your mobile devices, smartphones, or tablets. We burned them in for a couple of dozen hours before testing them across genres, finding plenty to like- especially for complex classical pieces where every instrument has space and room. On hip-hop tracks with lots of bass, you’ll feel every hit, perhaps thanks to their “BAM” mechanism. Short for Balancing Air Movement, it creates vents for this closed-back set to still put forth some pressure and a strong low-end. On pop songs, there can be a little muddiness in the mids, but you’ll fawn over any song where you can appreciate some resonance.
Now, the Sonorous IIIs don’t offer in-line controls or a microphone for voice calls, and they aren’t built for travel- they don’t fold up, and we were a little sad that a good shell case wasn’t included. These don’t come in a variety of pretty colors, and the branding is fairly visible. But Final Audio has created an incredibly solid pair of over-ear headphones that were made to last, sure to draw admiring looks, as they are pretty unique. The Sonorous IIIs reward careful attention and quality source material, and will scale to just about any amp or DAC, handing any lossless high-resolution file with aplomb. Experience the deep Sonorous III for around $399 online and in stores.