64 Audio A12t/U12t Impressions

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  1. ceeloChamp
    It occurs to me that there aren't a lot of impressions about the A12t/U12t, as an owner of the A12t I feel obliged to gift you with my personal opinion. I paid full price for these A12ts and 64 Audio is not forcing me against my will to write this...

    For the entirety of this review I was using DX200 AMP3 as my source

    Fit/Build:
    I bought the custom version, so the fit is fantastic. They did an outstanding job making these, the quality is superb...they cost $2000 so they damn well better be superb. The Koa wood I ordered looks outstanding, but I would have liked to have more options for custom design. The only qualm I have with the build is a small one. The 2-pin connector area housing is a bit small, because of this I cannot fit some of my cables 2-pins fully into the IEM. The cables are able to go in enough to work, but I worry they will come out.

    **I have tried the universals and I found them to have a good fit, but I cannot comment on specifics.**


    Sound:
    prelude: The A12t are undoubtedly better than their older brother the U12/A12, but share a similar signature. The Tia helps maintain an authoritative bass while clearing up some of the mud from the last iteration. They work well with most genres, but if you like Classical, or Metal I'd suggest getting something like the Andromeda, or upgrade and go for the U18t/A18t.

    The A12ts are good, they are very good, these headphones play music really really really well, but they feel like they are missing a personality. They are the straight-A student who doesn't have any hobbies, the person who is good at everything, but doesn't have any foibles or quirks. The highs are clear, the sound-stage is vast, the background is black, the mids are ever present, they are somehow both warm and clear, and that bass...wow that bass....If any headphone was capable of producing the fabled 'brown note' I imagine it would be a headphone from 64 Audio.

    Bass:
    I had heard the old U12s without the Tia and I will say that they have been noticeably re-worked. I'll start by talking about what many are going to consider the best feature, the bass. The bass is large, larger than the Vegas, but since these are BA IEMs it doesn't bleed into the the mids quite as much. It is also quicker and able to keep pace with faster music, but also has this frightening, primal rumble....like drums in the deep. My issue with the Vegas, and the previous U12s, was that I felt that they were all bass, but I don't feel this way about the A12ts. The addition of the Tia has really put balance into the other frequency ranges of the A12ts.

    Highs:
    The highs aren't excessive, I've been listening to a lot of my Galaxy V2s, which at times are a very sharp headphone. Because of this I find myself cringing in anticipation of a piercing high-note that never comes from the A12t. While the highs don't hurt, they still sparkle, it's a pretty fantastic balancing act that 64 Audio has accomplished with their Tia technology.

    Mids:
    The mids are good, nothing to write home about, but considering how deep the bass is and how clear the highs are that is impressive. To me they still feel a bit recessed, vocals and guitar have a nice timbre to them, but still sound a bit muffled. With the Vegas I didn't really feel like I could listen to Rock, but I do feel like I can with the A12ts, especially with the m15 Apex module, which reduces the bass and opens the sound-stage up a noticeable amount.

    Music Genres and Your A12t:
    --I've picked a handful of genres and used artists that most people will be familiar with--
    Folk-ish:
    (Artist: Sturgill Simpson) As I said in the brief 'mids' section I find this to be a difficult genre for the A12ts, because I find that the mids are not the highlight of this particular IEM. I'd rather be listening to my Andromedas, but these still sound competent and are laid-back (aka a bit warm/muddy), but it is still enjoyable.

    Rock: (
    Artist: Nirvana) Sounded pretty damn good. The BA were able to keep pace with faster riffs, same muddishness, but I really enjoyed going through Nirvana's catalogue again.

    Metal: (
    Artist: Mastodon) Didn't have the clear sound that other BAs have, but it didn't feel too slow for the genre like some DD IEMs sound with metal. If I were a metal-head I'd want something a bit clearer/faster. I don't think warm sounds match very well with faster metal.

    Electronic: (
    Artist: Deadmau5, Sylvan Esso) Outstanding. This is the sweetspot for these, I think. Often times there is female vocals in Electronic music and the A12ts did the female vocals very well, then the bass drops...its a fun experience. The m20 is even better, it makes the sound-stage smaller and really pushes air into your brain.

    Rap: (
    Artist: Notorious B.I.G) Great. Great bass and highs make both the beats and the lyrics standout in a good way...again listen with the m20 module.

    Classical: (
    Artist: Vivaldi) I found it kind of hard to separate all the instruments. The sound-stage is very wide and opened with the A12ts, but to distinguish between all the instruments I found myself continuously turning the headphones up.

    Punk: (
    Artist: Idles -- "Brutalism" is a great album, if you are a fan of the genre, or looking to get in, download it.) This actually wasn't too bad. I found the A12ts to lend a nice warmth to a somtimes harsh sounding genre.

    Female Vocals: (Artist:
    Sheryl Crow) Female vocals sound soft, but not saccharine. There is a nice airy-ness coming from the Tia that gives female vocals an interesting timbre.

    Cables:
    Stock:
    Not bad! I actually used the stock cable from my Iphone X and the sound was pretty good...I don't like the stock ear-guides though
    Leonidas: The best match, in my opinion this cable makes everything sound better.
    Rhapsodio SG 2.98: Nice sound, clear, warm, a really good pairing
    Rhapsodio Silver: Pushed the highs to almost too almost too bright of a place, but cleaned up the signature a lil
    Triton8 Hybrid: Helps clarity while maintaining the bass

    TL;DR/Conclusion:
    In closing, the A12t does a lot of things well, but they are missing the X Factor. It reminds me of the Sennheiser HD650s, they sound amazing, but I never wore them...why? Because they aren't bad-ass, they don't get into trouble, because they don't take a ton of chances. Would I buy the the A12t again? Absolutely. Would I recommend them? Yes. If you are looking at these you need to like music that has bass. If you are getting them to listen to Metal, or Classical, I'd look elsewhere. If you are getting them to listen to Rap, Electronic, and more modern indie music...then get them and do yourself a favor, get them custom.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
  2. ceeloChamp
    67E61FA5-AFCF-46E8-A0D8-3F5ED4BEB139.jpeg D8DE9A55-2383-440E-8F7E-5E747336A458.jpeg
     
  3. Ike1985
    Try listening to them with some Dopethrone and the M20 module. Slow and heavy, I find that massively heavy and slug-slow doom/stoner/sludge metal sounds great with A12 and A18.







    Nice impressions.

    Also well produced electronic music with a very deep sub bass sounds great with A18/A12.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
  4. kdphan
    thanks for the review.

    Can't wait to try these at Canjam Socal with the same setup (DX200 + amp3)
     
  5. PunchLine
    Thank you for the review. Always great to receive detailed input from an actual consumer.


    Now, I must say, your review has turned me away from the 12t. How on earth an IEM with 12 drivers can botch the mids? And mind you, most frequencies are in the mids. Furthermore, through millons of years of evolution, our ears have become expertly tuned to that range.


    I have an IEM with 5 drivers and the clarity, separation and layering are just incredible. The boutique behind the product claims the “driver-count wars” has only degrade the SQ. Maybe the boutique is right. I know that my 2-way monitors produce the most amazing sound…Are we just being taken for an expensive ride by 64 Audio and their likes?
     
  6. pithyginger63
    mids are recessed, but definitely not botched. nothing about this iem seems botched to me. it is far better than my old 4 driver iems
     
  7. PunchLine
    For me, “recessed” means placed at the back of the stage, in essence masked, or ever overwhelmed, by bass and treble.
    Usually, a decent sound mix brings the vocals and rhythm to the front. Am I missing something?
     
  8. ceeloChamp
    There are definitely IEMs with less drivers that have a more linear sound. But i wouldn’t say anything about the A12t is “botched” the sound is fantastic, but it may not suit everyone’s tastes. The mids are present, but they are not the star of the show and they are recessed.

    I am going to continue comparing this A12t/U12t to the Campfire Audio. Both the Vega and Andromeda are half the price of the 64 Audio, and they both do certain things well...the Vega does bass very well, and the Andromeda does everything else fantastically, but i’d Take the A12t over both. The reason being is that the A12t is a solid performer across the board and also has standout bass and clear highs. The mids are recessed, but not to the point where they are muddied out like they were in the previous iteration.

    I’d say it is an expensive IEM, but for what you get it is not that much more expensive then comparable models.

    @PunchLine what kind of sound do you like? What kind of music?
     
    jgosroc likes this.
  9. PunchLine
    Thanks for the added wealth of information.

    My taste is music is wide-ranging, but I use the IEM only when riding my motorcycle/bicycle:
    Electronic, deep house, R&R, some pop. You know, “fuel” to keep me going…
     
  10. ceeloChamp
    You are welcome, if my impressions help one person then i’m happy.

    Given what you said about your taste in music, though, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the A12ts. Reach out to 64 audio and they will send you a demo pair
     
  11. ceeloChamp
    I don’t ever plug headphones in to play video games, but yesterday I was forced to because I was annoying my girlfriend and I have to say these A12ts performed OUTSTANDINGLY...great for both movies and video games. The sound placement was unreal, and the bass gave everything a life that was sublime
     
  12. sleeping_citizens
    Wow, your comparison with the Andromeda/Vega is exactly why I got the A12T. I own both pairs and came to the same conclusion! Trippy. And I did hear the universal Tzars along with the U12Ts before making my decision. The Tzars sound amazing, of course, but the 12Ts felt more my style. Tzars were like I'm listening to my music in an audiophile lab where all of my devices and monitors are dialed in perfectly. A12Ts are like I'm sitting in the room with the band. After being an Etymotic-head for 10 years, it's been time to expand my "IEM flavors".

    I'm still listening to my Andromeda and Vega, too. A12T are my first CIEM and it's made me realize I can't ever go back to universal. Fortunately, I found out Campfire will make custom eartips; I'm sending out ear impressions to them this week.

    [​IMG]
     
    ceeloChamp likes this.
  13. ceeloChamp
    @sleeping_citizens it sounds like we had a similar experience, we even have similar looking A12ts (you have good taste :wink: )

    I agree with you about customs, I love them. I just ordered a pair of Fourtes which i’m Really excited about, but these customs are so comfortable and perfect I know i’ll Have to get another pair some day.

    I actually sold my Vega, I think the A12t does everything it does, but better!
     
  14. sleeping_citizens
    Ha! Well great minds think alike and all that jazz... :wink:

    I only recently found out that there are companies out there who make custom eartips for basically any universal IEM out there. I was going to go with Snugs until I heard from Campfire that they make their custom molded eartips own in-house.

    I'd probably consider selling my Andromeda/Vega once I had a few more CIEMs in my lineup (really interested in hearing 64's upcoming N8T hybrid IEM).

    Did you give the Tzars a listen before going with the 12t?
     
  15. ceeloChamp
    I did not, I actually had originally placed an order for the u8s then they mentioned the n8ts were coming out, but I didn’t want to wait, then I heard the u12s and liked them and when I heard they added the tia to the u12s I decided to go for those. I am really excited to hear the N8t though when they come out.

    I bought a pair of Fourtes after only hearing them once and I hope I like them...eek. I think my next CIEM is going to be the Legend X, but I really should hold off for a little while.

    What’s your next CIEM?
     
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