Final Audio has gained a lot of appreciation from me over recent months. The EVA 2020 really convinced me that Final has a lot of show for, and their interesting library of products present a wide array of quality gear. A new Final model has now reached my desk, the VR3000. This is a set of earphones tailored toward gaming which you don’t see a lot of. Most game audio paraphernalia is catered to over-ear headphones with attachable mics and 3D audio. However, not everyone is going to gravitate towards over-ear, and most of the time they can end up being pricier than IEMs. The VR3000 wants to make your game audio simple and affordable, so let’s see how well they accomplish that.
What You Get
If you’re familiar with the packaging from Final’s B series of IEMs then the VR3000 won’t surprise you. The plastic container pulls out to reveal all of the mains contents, which include the earphones themselves, an assortment of four ear tips, ear hooks, and a storage pouch. This is a nice variety of items that give you everything you could possibly need with a product like this. The ear tip selection, in particular, is a big plus including five different options in total.
Look and Feel
I’m a fan of the sleek, matte black design Final presents on the body of the VR3000. The angular shaping for the ABS housing definitely reminds me of the aesthetic of a gaming product. It’s almost reminiscent of the Xbox One controller and would make a stylish pairing when connected. It’s the same design as other Final IEMs such as the B1 or B2, but without the silver gloss. The fit is also just as solid, with the structure of the outer shell sitting just right in your concha. The tips also provide a secure, comfortable fit that isn’t the least bit distracting. The lightweight design makes it so you never feel like the body is that much pressure on your ear, and throughout hours of listening, they never felt fatigued. The cable uses attachable ear hooks that can be replaced, and don’t force you to lock into a specific mold. I like this design, and would actually prefer to see it used with more IEMs in the future.
Final adds some special components to the VR3000’s interior design that enhance the earphones for the interactive experience. Gaming headphones have a lot going on in them besides their driver systems, so it’s interesting how Final approaches that when dealing with an earphone. The VR3000 features an “f-Core DU,” which is a 6mm dynamic driver unit that uses a brass housing, making it less affected by magnetic force. IT uses a voice coil with an ultra-fine CCAW and assembled with minimal adhesive, reducing the weight of the parts. In terms of performance, this system also aims to improve the time response of the diaphragm. Then of course there is the attached remote, which adds three control buttons and a microphone for voice chat.
Although Final has marketed the VR3000 as a gaming earphone it doesn’t stop you from using it for multiple applications. Casual listening is still obtained, and thanks to a low impedance of 18 Ohms, you can get a nominal level that is easy to drive from most 3.5mm headphone outputs. The OFC cable should send out a competent signal that you won’t need to crank up the volume to get a suitable loudness. Game audio is as dynamic as they come, and the VR3000 does a good job presenting a viable output that gives you all the possibilities for range.
One of the basic prospects of game audio is putting the listener right at the center of the action. IEMs have the advantage of potentially creating a more involved headspace, where the soundstage makes you feel like a more active participant in the soundstage, rather than a spectator. However, in my experience, earphones rarely achieve this goal in their soundstage. More times than not, the stage set on most IEMs present a boxed-in, interior that restricts the sound when it wants to naturally expand. I wasn’t expecting much from an earphone at this price range, but Final really brings the goods here.
The imaging and spatiality of the VR3000 feel natural and expansive, making for one of the better options at this price range. Pan movements appear accurate and are positioned gracefully in a stereo image that prioritizes the separation of elements. From listening to a few jazz and classical tracks, you can tell that sound effects and modulation have plenty of room to play around in. Space itself isn’t the deepest response I’ve heard, and I still don’t think it holds much of a tee to even one of the cheaper over-ear gaming headphones. However, the VR3000 is definitely one of the better stages you’ll find on an IEM in general.
I played a bit of the intro section to Cyberpunk 2077 using the VR3000 and got some pretty interesting impressions from the earphones. First off, the layering is exceptional. I was playing in a small space, but the one location provided a good combination of music, ambiances, foley, hard effects, and dialogue that mixed together with articulation. I always felt spatially aware of what sound was coming from what source. Your character’s voice appears like it’s emanating from your own mouth, and the NPC dialogue has a front-facing presence. Ambiances fill the space well across a linear stereo image but don’t receive the top or bottom end emphasis that would really help create a more detailed stage. Diegetic music proved to be a small weakness of the earphones as well, with some tracks struggling to really choose a position in the stereo field, and failing to communicate the space it occupies. However, non-diegetic music mixes way better with the heavy sound design in action sequences, using the expansive stage to present a more impactful image.
The bass response offers a respectful kick and a heavy accent for a low end that doesn’t make an immediate impression on you. What you get is a fittingly dynamic bass that gives you a surface level idea of the effect certain elements have. It’s a balanced response that gives you most of what you’d expect in terms of timbre, but maybe too clean for some.
One of the highlights of this sound signature, the mid-range offers some crisp details for a full spectrum of resonance. I mentioned how well dialogue comes across in the VR3000, and the mids do most of the job lifting vocal ranges with textural flavor and detailed flourishes. Sound effects bounce around the sound field with mid-band boosts and clarity.
The treble is clear but doesn’t add any significant flavor to the sound signature. Some high range content can sometimes present a thin image but doesn’t deter the response on a whole. Overall, there are some nice details, but not a focus on the VR3000.
There is definitely a bigger market for gaming earphones than what might be perceived, and the VR3000 makes a good case for them to be more common. While the VR3000 offers similar qualities to an over-ear headphone, but still doesn’t compare to some of the more popular gaming headphones. However, for $84.99, this is a great substitute for those who prefer an in-ear design.
Pros and Cons
Pros: Soundstage, fit, build, crisp mids
Cons: Thin highs, lacking depth
The Final Audio VR3000 is available at Audio 46.
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