Final Audio Design Adagio III Review

Model: Adagio III
Brand: Final Audio Design
RRP: £69.00
Review Score: 4.5/5
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Best Earphones Guide Star Buy - 4.5/5

Incredible precise, clear detailed sound with a refined hi-fi character - sheer joy to listen to.

Final Audio Design are best known for their high end headphones. This time round they’ve produced a more affordable set of earphones. Find out how they sound in our Final Audio Design Adagio III Review.

The Adagio III earphones are positioned in the middle of the Adagio range in terms of price. At this level, they need to out perform everything in the £30 band by a long shot. Looks aren’t everything and the sound needs to match up to that price tag, read on to see if they can match our expectations.

Final Audio Design Adagio III earphonesFlowing Design

The box is a simple affair with a sharp, clean design with real bells or whistles. The earphones are safely tucked away in a plastic insert (see photo in the slideshow below). Here you’ll find the earphones and 2 extra sets of eartips (giving you small, medium & large) – that’s it. No vast array or eartips, cable clip, case or pouch to be seen.
On one hand this can be viewed as a good thing: Final Audio Design must have confidence in the way that the Adagio III sound with the included eartips…but a storage pouch/case would have been a nice addition to help keep them safe and sound.

The Adagio III’s have a very nice flowing shape to them which is very appealing. The outer ends of the earpieces are almost turbine like with air vents that allow the audio drivers to react quicker making them more dynamic. The earpieces are coloured to help you identify left (white) and right (red) and they are nicely finished off with the Final Audio Design logo.

As you’d expect from a high end manufacturer, the materials used and standard of manufacture is very high. On first glance, the cable looks to be a little on the cheap side – however, it is incredibly light, feels soft and is very flexible…not at all like a cheap cable in the slightest. The jack plug and cable split are both understated and clean looking molded plastic parts – this again keeps the weight very low without sacrificing any strength or usability.  The cable split has a sliding adjustment so you can keep the cables together nearer you ears if you feel the need.

In use, they feel incredibly light & we mean really, really light. There is no drag from the cable at all when you turn your head. The earpieces are so light that you are virtually unaware that they are even in your ears at all.

The Final Audio Design Adagio III have clearly been designed to listen to – smartphone users won’t find a microphone or control button. This gives us a high expectation of how they should sound…

Detailed Soundscape

Before we get stuck in – it is worth noting that we listened to these after running them in for over 20 hours to make sure that we were hearing their true character. All testing was done using a Sony Xperia Z3 & Google Play Music as a source.

The first thing that you notice when listening to the Adagio III is the level of detail and space. The stereo image is wide and very precisely presented. When you have amazing crisp detail combined with an accurate stereo image – you can hear many more layers within the music.

The bass is big, rounded and warm – it isn’t overly pronounced and manages to remain punchy. The mid range is scooped towards the lower end giving the sound a more hi-fi like character. The upper mids are crisp and snappy. Treble is detailed and very spacious.

We have found them to have a bit of an excessive accent around 6kHz (we dipped this 3dB with EQ to compensate). While this isn’t an issue with all music, it can be with some, particularly is there is a trace of sibilance in the vocal – it can make it more pronounced. With this EQ in place it brings the frequencies back in line & the sound is really quite exceptional.

Comparing the sound character of these to something like the SoundMAGIC E50S would be a bit like comparing listening to vinyl (Adagio III) vs CD (E50S). The Adagio III have a definite refined hi-fi style sound – done in a controlled way that retains all the detail and delivers sheer listening pleasure.

Final Audio Design Adagio III Review Conclusion

We like the FAD Adagio III earphones a lot – the detail and overall sound quality are truly something special. While it is a shame that there is no microphone/button, this does mean that you put them on to listen to music: no distractions, just pure joy. We would have liked to see a storage case included, but you can easily pick those up cheaply enough so its not a deal breaker.
While the price tag will leave a lot of people thinking twice, Final Audio Design have delivered where it counts – the sound matches the price and then some. The Final Audio Design Adagio III are a great set of earphones that are ideally suited to anyone that is serious about their music.

Pros:

  • great detailed sound
  • precise stereo image
  • refined hi-fi character
  • audio joy

Cons:

  • no microphone/button
  • no storage case

Review Summary:

Sound: Fantastic sound, big, clean, detailed & crisp

Design: Beautifully styled looks (if a little quirky)

Quality: Very well made, the cable could be a little more heavy duty

Value: The price is quite high, but worth it for the sound quality

Sound: 4.8/5
Design: 4.6/5
Quality: 4.4/5
Value: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5
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Model Manufacturer RRP (£) Available Colours Rating
Adagio III Final Audio Design 69.00 4.5

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