One minute review
It’s been indecently long, but Final Audio has finally launched a pair of wireless active noise canceling over-ear headphones. And what’s more, the company has gone straight to the top table.
The Final Audio UX3000 doesn’t look or feel special, despite an interesting finish to most of the plastics used in their construction. But their specs, including aptX Low Latency Bluetooth, long battery life and active noise cancellation, make up for it. In addition, their relatively modest size and weight make them a realistic proposition for anyone who wants to listen in comfort.
Once they’re on your head, there’s almost nothing to worry about. Yes, the noise reduction here is good, not great – but their dynamics, their retrieval of detail and, ultimately, their musicality make the UX3000 an engaging and highly enjoyable listening experience. No genre is forbidden here – these headphones love all the music you like.
If you’ve been looking for wireless noise canceling headphones but were shocked at the price of the leaders in their class, Final Audio has some good news for you. Read on for our full Final Audio UX3000 review.
Final Audio UX3000: Price and Release Date
- now available
- $149 / £119 (about AU$200)
The Final Audio UX3000 Wireless Active Noise Canceling Over-Ear Headphones are on sale now for $149 / £119. Australian pricing has yet to be confirmed, but that works out to around AU$200.
This is approaching the entry level for active noise canceling wireless headphones, but that doesn’t mean the UX3000 has cleared the field. The Jabra Elite 85h cost just a little more, and the lively Urbanista Miami a little less.
Final Audio UX3000: Design and Features
- Bluetooth 5 with aptX low latency
- 35 hours of battery life
- Support for Google Assistant and Siri
Final Audio seems to have pursued nothing more radical than ‘compact’ and ‘nicely textured’ with the design of the UX3000. These are pleasantly lightweight headphones, fold up neatly (there’s a soft carrying case in the box) and come with ear cups that won’t threaten to swallow the little heads among us.
Despite the minimal weight, the UX300 feels sturdy. All moving parts look robust and all contact points have nicely graded padding under soft synthetic leather. All parts that are not padded are made of hard plastic, with Final Audio using a ‘shibo’ finish – ‘shibo’ is an old Japanese word meaning ‘a wrinkle on the surface of paper or leather’ and serves to protect the UX3000 a slightly more interesting visual proposition than most price-comparable alternatives.
The left earcup has a USB-C input for charging and an ‘on/off’ button for active noise cancellation. The UX3000 should last 35 hours on a single charge when ANC is turned off, and about 25 hours when turned on. When flat, they can be fully charged in about two and a half hours – there is no wireless charging option. The headphones can be used with ANC enabled even when there is no incoming signal, which Final Audio rather charmingly refers to as an ‘earguard’ feature.
On the right earcup is a 3.5mm analog input for wired listening and three convenient control buttons. One of them includes ‘power’, ‘Bluetooth pairing’, ‘answer/end/reject call’ and ‘activate voice assistant’ (Siri and Google Assistant are both supported). The other two are about ‘volume up/down’, ‘skip forward/backward’ and ‘play/pause’.
Each earcup has both internal and external microphones for call handling, voice assistant interaction, and active noise cancellation. Final Audio believes that its ‘hybrid’ noise cancellation methodology provides industry-leading noise cancellation and audio reproduction unaffected by the ANC – the full-range driver in each earcup is specifically designed to withstand the stresses placed on them by working ANCs. circuits.
Wireless connectivity is via Bluetooth 5 and there is compatibility with SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX Low Latency codecs.
Final Audio UX3000: Audio Performance
- Detailed and dynamic
- Nice tonal balance
- Not bothered by tricky rhythms and tempos
We might as well give up the chase here: keep the asking price in mind and the Final Audio UX3000 are a very successful pair of headphones indeed. They’re not remotely flashy in the way they sound, and they don’t try to impress you with over-confident bass or in-your-face soundstage. Instead, they offer accuracy and fidelity. That means they aren’t the most exciting listener at first – give them a little time though, and their poised, poised and insightful demeanor is very convincing indeed.
Acoustic design: Closed
Frequency range: 20Hz to 20kHz
Battery life: 35 hours
Active noise cancellation? Yes
Additional features: aptX Low Latency, multipoint connectivity
It doesn’t quite give you the whole story, but once through PJ Harvey’s Man-Size reveals a lot about what makes the UX3000 such a compelling pair of headphones. The song’s remarkable immediacy is delivered in full, with the transient distortion around the guitar and percussion sounds given due (but not overly) fame. The clenched attack of the voice and drums is palpable, and the general feeling of musicians performing as a unit, in the same place and at the same time, is more apparent here than with a comparable pair of wireless headphones.
Tonality is expertly judged, with convincing integration from top to bottom. Bass sounds are full and solid, with sharp punch and plenty of detail – and so is the brightly substantial top end. In between, the midrange communicates eloquently – again, the levels of detail are high and the singer’s character and technique are fully expressed.
The soundstage the UX3000 generates isn’t the most comprehensive, but it’s not limited either – and it’s really well defined. Besides ‘left-to-right’, the Finale has no problem describing ‘front-to-back’ on stage, and there’s no blurring of individual positions on it. They have no problem with the classic indie ‘quiet/LOUD/LOUDERdynamics of the recording, but are subtle and perceptive enough to also handle the harmonic variations from one pick strum to another.
Switch to David ‘Fathead’ Newman’s What’s New? allows the UX3000 to showcase the rest of their talents. They are absolutely sure of the slow rhythm and easy tempo of the recording, expressing it with real positivity and confidence. Picked tones from stand-up bass have weight, depth and detail left, but they are controlled with the proper authority. And when the uber-Ron Burgundian jazz flute really gets going, the Finale stays sweet and musical, where lesser designs can get shrill.
There are few downsides to the way the UX3000 performs. In absolute terms, they could sort the high end of the frequency range a little more fully than they do, but we’re really getting some criticism right now – and let’s not forget that asking price, shall we?
The active noise cancellation is effective enough to deal with most external distractions – we’re not talking Bose-esque levels of noise cancellation, of course, but we’re not talking Bose money either. And the fact that the Final can cut out a lot of ambient noise without changing their sonic stance in the slightest also puts them ahead of a lot of rivals.
Should I buy the Final Audio UX3000?
Buy them if…
Don’t buy them if…
Not convinced by our Final Audio UX3000 review? We’ve picked three more pairs of over-ear headphones to consider:
First assessment: April 2022