Final Audio ZE8000 MK2 Review Leave a comment

Right at the beginning of this year, Final Audio released the ZE8000. It became their new flagship true wireless earphones, showcasing their companion app and 8K sound. To cap off the end of the year, Final Audio has now launched the next version of the ZE8000 with the MKII. This upgrade looks to add new features, and upgrades to the 8K mode. Let’s see if the MKII succeeds in that. 

What You Get

  • Final Audio ZE8000 MK2 Earbuds
  • Charging Case
  • Ear Tips (5 Sizes)
  • USB-C Charging Cable
  • Acoustic Tool
  • Dust Filters

Look & Feel

For the most part, the ZE8000 MKII doesn’t change much about the design. If you weren’t a fan of the odd shape of these stemmed earbuds the first time around, then you won’t be won over by the MKII. What has changed is the proprietary ear tips, which now have additional wing fins that use some extra pieces to add more comfort. I don’t think the MKII is more or less comfortable than the previous version since I’ve always found them to fit me well. If anything, the MKII does feel like it’s more secure in my ears. 

Final Audio ZE8000 MK2 case

Design & Functionality

The ZE8000 MKII has a few updated features. These features can be accessed through Final’s connect app which you can download on IOS or the Google Play store. On of the most notable improvements was felt right away. The MKII is noticeably louder than the last model, giving you more headroom for gain adjustment. With many true wireless earbuds having issues with achieving a comfortable amplitude, you don’t have to worry about that with the MKII. Its sonic improvements are centered on Final’s 8K sound, which does its best to fine-tune individual frequencies over Bluetooth. For the MKII, Final utilizes FIR filters to refine the signal processing even further.

You also have different noise control modes, including noise-canceling, wind-cut, voice-through, and ambient sound. Nothing about the strength of the ANC has changed except for the fact that you can now deactivate noise control with the touch sensors. You can expect good ANC, but not on the same level as other industry leaders. It does a good enough job at reducing the most obtrusive sonic obstructions. The Pro EQ and volume leveler also make a return, but the EQ doesn’t see much change in terms of more nodes to play with. 

Bluetooth

The ZE8000 MKII offers Bluetooth 5.2 and a Qualcomm chipset for high-resolution audio with low latency. The best-supported CODEC you can get with the MKII is aptX Adaptive, which has a sample rate and bit depth of 24bit/98kHz. 

Battery Life

You’ll be able to get five hours of playtime from a single charge of the MKII. The case adds fifteen hours, with only five minutes of charge being able to supply the earbuds with 45 minutes of playtime. For the price, this isn’t the most efficient battery life, as other models offer more for less.

Final Audio ZE8000 MK2 pair

Soundstage

I’ve been impressed with what Final Audio can do with a soundstage over Bluetooth, and the ZE8000 MK2 brings forth their best efforts. These earbuds make your music feel very large, showcasing a level of scale rarely found on true wireless earbuds. Everything feels like it takes a complete shape in the mix, with a level of spatial imaging that enforces depth and dimension throughout the response. The headspace doesn’t bring the sounds outward though. The soundstage feels like it has a strict cutoff to how far its soundage can protrude outward. However, when you’re listening to music through the MKII, you can still easily localize positions and perceive how everything layers on top of each other.

Low End

The bass has a lot of velocity and impact that should satisfy anyone listening. You get a substantial tone that possesses a clear timbre with heavy grooves and vibrating patterns. It compliments bass instruments by establishing a well-textured foundation the the emerging detail. Its presence is always felt while sticking to a tight and well-concentrated area of resonance. Everything comes through with a natural strength while displaying great balance which isn’t an easy combo. 

Mids

Some of the midrange response gets a bit shaky for me. There are times when the mids will feel alive, and others when they don’t feel well-supported enough. This could be due to a lack of gain in some of the fundamental frequencies, which results in some hollow instruments, snares specifically. Vocals have good transparency though, coming through the cleanest over the MKII. They have a commanding presence, giving the surrounding instruments much-needed emphasis.

Highs

While the highs don’t offer the most precision in the sound signature, they make up for it with great texture and smoothness. There’s an airiness to the timbre that allows the highs to feel more free in the mix, offering more spacious elements and height. I usually like adding a small amount of high shelf if an in-app EQ is offered, but I didn’t need to do that here. They don’t quite sparkle, but the timbre has a gloss to it that I find to be very flavorful. 

Summary

I was not expecting an update to the ZE8000 so soon, but the updates seem worthwhile. If you were impressed by the 8K sound, then the MKII only makes the sound more polished. I don’t think the timbre is perfect, especially in the mids, but the ZE8000 still responds in a precise way that other true wireless earbuds just can’t match. If you already own the ZE8000, I’m not sure the MKII adds enough on the other fronts to warrant the upgrade though. Only in terms of pure sound and fit does the MKII add anything worth noting. However, if you’ve never owned the ZE8000 before, the MKII is what you should focus on. 

Pros

Cons

  • Wide soundstage
  • Spatial imaging depth
  • Impactful bass
  • Smooth highs
  • Improved fit
  • Companion app support
  • Hollow mids
  • Disappointing battery life

 

The Final Audio ZE8000 MK2 is available here. 

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