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Final Audio Design's Piano Forte earphones promise concert hall sound at bank-breaking prices

Amar Toor, @amartoo
April 20, 2011
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Behold Final Audio Design's latest high-end earphones: the Piano Forte X-VII Series. Each of the four models that comprise the series features a large neodymium magnet driver, nestled inside a rigid metal housing made of alloy powder and natural resin, designed to minimize bad vibrations. The driver is a hefty 16 mm in diameter, and boasts roughly three times the surface area of your garden variety earphones, resulting in enhanced low frequency soundscapes. Final Audio Design also added a proprietary pressure ring to each model's diaphragm (to ward off sound artifacts), as well as special pressure vents (to optimize air pressure around the diaphragm). Internal air pressure, on the other hand, is kept in check thanks to the X-VIII Series' metallic earpads, which allegedly allow your ear to naturally adjust to any barometric shifts. Each of the four models comes in a unique metallic housing, reportedly capable of delivering different audio blends. But they all share one important characteristic -- they're really expensive. At the high end of the price spectrum are the X-G and X-CC models, which will put you back some ¥220,000 ($2,668). Bargain hunters, meanwhile, will have to settle for the VIII, priced at a slightly less obscene ¥80,000 ($970). Granted, these earphones may very well warrant that kind of cash and scientific hyperbole, though it's certainly difficult to gauge their value without taking them out for a spin ourselves.

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