The strikeout, I find myself not being able to explain. I love female vocalists. Jenny Lewis and Shirley Manson are often mentioned in my reviews, and I was really looking forward to listening to their stuff on the E3000. As I said in my Elear review, sometimes I like sparkle (neutral), sometimes I like seduction (warm). But here, female vocals get really buried in the sound, it sounds like they are singing in the middle of the band, and just can’t get their voices out. Even Jenny Lewis, whose voice tends to leap forward (excessively so sometimes as she can get hot in the upper-midrange), can’t seem to break through. Male vocals seem ok, and I am not hearing any other issues in the midrange, so I am kind of at a loss.
That issue with female vocals is the one thing that is stopping me from telling everyone that they must go out and buy this now. Well, ok, with its slower, warmer sound, speed metal freaks might want to look elsewhere, as well. But still, I wouldn’t want to be without the E3000 come bed time.
The E2000, compared to the E3000, sounds really thin. Now, once adjusting to the E2000, you realize it isn’t thin at all; it just has a leaner, more neutral tuning to its big brother.
Bass has a little less body, and still doesn’t really dig into the lower bass, but the impact is still solid. However, the bass is still one the looser side, and since the E2000 is going for a neutral tuning, I find it a slightly bigger issue here. Still, it isn’t a huge problem, and it is really the only issue that the E2000 has, and despite the looseness, the bass still doesn’t bleed up.
The midrange is clean and neutral, and I am not hearing any weird peaks or valleys. Although it doesn’t have the body of the E3000, like I said before, it most certainly is not thin sounding. More importantly, the voices (especially the female ones), take their proper place in the sound stage. This still isn’t the IEM for people who like their vocals to jump out in an unnatural way. Voices just sound right.
While still, just slightly to the smooth side, the treble has a bit more to say with the E2000. It might be mostly due to the smaller body in the bass and mids, but the treble feels like it has more of a presence. It still isn’t harsh or strident in any way, so there is no need to run away in fear. This also brings a little more air to the proceedings.
The sound stage on the E2000 is also excellent, but maybe not quite as big as the one on the E3000. The width and depth might be just a touch smaller, but it is still excellent for the asking price. It should go without saying that the E2000 (or the E3000 for that matter) will provide the last word in resolution or transient response, but it doesn’t embarrasses itself there, either.
Honestly, if they could just tighten up the bass, the E2000 would be a virtually perfect entry level IEM. It still is damn close. It plays well with anything that doesn’t require extremely tight or deep bass, and for the average joe, would be any easy first pick.
In the last year or so, I have had the chance to review now four difference, budget priced IEMs, and each has a unique strength to bring to the table. The Base Audio G8 was like a rock concert for the head; great, if you want to feel like you are in a mosh pit. The Brainwavz M100, with its stout build and rugged cable, is a great choice for an out and about person. But the most comfortable and versatile of the lot are the Final Audio E2000 and E3000. And of the two, I find the E2000, the cheaper model, to be the most well rounded. Odd issue with female vocals on the E3000 aside, Final Audio really did a great job with both of these models. I have said this time and time again, but I love seeing cheap gear step up and deliver great performance. I wouldn’t want to be without the E2000 for general listening, and taking leisurely strolls around the neighborhood, and I wouldn’t want to be without the E3000 when I want Dvorak to play me to sleep.