The Official 64 Audio Thread | apex & tia Technologies

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  1. 64Audio


    64Audio_logo_1000.png


    We here at 64 Audio wanted to start a fresh thread for continuing discussion about our current and future products and plans.

    A lot has happened over the past year! We successfully delivered over a thousand Kickstarter A-Series and U-Series products to our backers, changed our name from 1964 EARS to 64 Audio, moved into a larger facility and skipped across the river into Vancouver, WA, designed and manufactured our own custom carrying case, retired our venerable V-Series line, began offering an upgrade program for Qi, V6-S, and V8 customers, transitioned to apex module technology for our custom and universal-fit products, and finally, the most exciting news for us... we recently announced our eighteen-driver A18 Tzar, U18 Tzar, and the Fourté -- the first IEM built entirely using tia, our patent-pending tubeless in-ear audio technology.






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    Click here to learn more about the revolutionary tia™ technology




    m20_HIRS_CLR.png
    Click here to learn more about apex™ technology




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    The 64 Audio U18 Tzar™ is the world’s first universal-fit earphone with 18 balanced armature drivers per ear. It is the pinnacle of in-ear sound, designed for the most discerning listeners, audiophiles, and musicians who are searching for the ultimate reference sound. Pairing up a massive collection of 8 low drivers and 8 mid drivers with the tia™ high and high-mid drivers, all in a shell that's actually smaller than our previous universal-fit flagship 12 driver! The result is an incredibly tight low end, super transparent mids, remarkable high-frequency extension, and an out-of-this-world depth and soundstage. The U18 is designed with a combination of tia drivers and conventional drivers. Sound from the low and mid drivers combines in the tia single-bore and blends with amazingly detailed highs from the proprietary open balanced armature tia high driver. A protective mesh covering at the end of the stem helps to keep out debris while apex™ module technology allows for customizing the sound signature and reduces air pressure inside the ear canal for fatigue-free listening. All of this technology is housed in an aluminum shell for unmatched durability and beauty with elegant copper inlay patina faceplates. We pushed the limits with innovation and design to pack this kind of punch in a super ergonomic universal-fit design and are thrilled to finally drop this bomb on the in-ear monitor industry.

    Technical Specifications:
    Transducer type: Eighteen precision balanced armature drivers
    Transducer configuration: 1 tia™ high, 1 high-mid, 8 mid, 8 low
    Impedance: 9 ohms @ 1kHz
    Sensitivity: 115 dB/mW
    Frequency response: 10Hz - 20kHz
    Isolation: -20dB with apex m20 module
    Crossover: Integrated 4-way passive crossover


    Features:
    tia™ high drivers
    tia™ single-bore design
    apex™ Module Technology
    Universal-Fit w/foam and Silicone Tips
    Anodized Aluminum Shells
    Warranty: 1-year Parts and Labor


    Price: $2,999 (USD)
    Click here to learn more about U18 Tzar


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    The 64 Audio A18 Tzar™ is the world’s first custom-fit earphone with 18 balanced armature drivers per ear. Designed for the most demanding listeners who are looking for the ultimate in reference sound, it features 8 low drivers, 8 mid drivers, and the incredibly smooth tia™ high and high-mid drivers. Sound from the low and mid drivers combines in the tia single-bore and blends with amazingly detailed highs from the proprietary open balanced armature tia high driver. The result is an incredibly tight low end, super transparent mids, remarkable high-frequency extension, and an out-of-this-world depth and soundstage. A protective mesh covering at the end of the stem helps to keep out debris while apex™ module technology allows for customizing the sound signature and reduces air pressure inside the ear canal for fatigue-free listening. We pushed the limits with innovation and design to fit such a driver package in a custom earphone and are thrilled to finally drop this bomb on the in-ear monitor industry.

    Like all 64 Audio Custom IEMs, the A18 monitors are 3D printed based on your uniquely shaped ear impressions and are fully customizable with a wide range of handcrafted finishes. They are inherently noise isolating and are designed to work with a wide range of personal audio devices including all hard-wired and wireless monitor systems.

    Technical Specifications:
    Transducer type: Eighteen precision balanced armature drivers
    Transducer configuration: 1 tia™ high, 1 high-mid, 8 mid, 8 low
    Impedance: 9 ohms @ 1kHz
    Sensitivity: 116 dB/mW
    Frequency response: 10Hz - 20kHz
    Isolation: -20dB with apex m20 module
    Crossover: Integrated 4-way passive crossover


    Features:
    tia™ high drivers
    tia™ single-bore design
    apex™ Module Technology
    Hypoallergenic, hard acrylic shells
    Warranty: 2-year Parts and Labor


    Price: $2,999 (USD)
    Click here to learn more about A18 Tzar


    tiaFourté_HIRS.png

    The 64 Audio tia Fourté™ is a first-of-its-kind universal-fit earphone that takes full advantage of the patent pending tia™ system and everything we’ve learned up to this point in designing world-class in-ear monitors. The earphones are machined out of a solid piece of aluminum for a durable yet elegant look with beautiful copper patina finish inlayed on the faceplates. Inside, proprietary tia open balanced armatures are expertly arranged to deliver rich, natural sound in a brand new way. Featuring ground breaking technology such as frequency-shaping acoustic chambers in combination with an internal passive radiator that help to craft a visceral low end, smooth mids, and a luscious 3D soundstage. Get ready to hear detailed highs like you've never experienced before thanks to a custom open balanced armature tia high driver. Additionally, internal apex™ technology helps to vent air pressure from inside the ear canal for fatigue-free listening. We broke all the rules and started from scratch to come up with the tia Fourté and still managed to fit this ground-breaking technology into a shell that's smaller and more ergonomic than our Universal-Fit 12 driver model.

    Technical Specifications:
    Transducer type: 3 precision balanced armature drivers, 1 dynamic driver
    Transducer configuration: 1 tia™ high, 1 high-mid, 1 tia™ mid, 1 dynamic low
    Impedance: 10 ohms @ 1kHz
    Sensitivity: 114 dB/mW
    Frequency response: 5Hz - 22kHz
    Isolation: -20dB
    Crossover: Integrated 4-way passive crossover


    Features:
    tia™ system: tia™ drivers, single-bore, acoustic chambers, passive radiator
    Internal apex™ Technology
    Universal-Fit w/foam and Silicone Tips
    Anodized Aluminum Shells
    Warranty: 1-year Parts and Labor


    Price: $3,599 (USD)

    Click here to learn more about tia Fourté





    (Rest assured, our newest models were designed with and optimized for ultra-low impedance sources and cables!)


    Feel free to visit our website for more information about current and upcoming products and don't hesitate to get in touch with our Customer Service department for information or support. We also keep a pretty close watch here on Head-Fi so... if you've got questions about packing eighteen drivers into a shell that's smaller than a U12 or want to know more about constructing a multi-driver IEM without any tubes, we're all ears!


    www.64audio.com

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2017
    64 Audio Stay updated on 64 Audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    http://www.64audio.com/
  2. WCDchee
    Introduction

    I’ve been really honoured to be given the opportunity to review the new 64 Audio U18 Tzar as well as the TIA Fourte. Now I won’t be providing pictures because the units I have right now are pre-production samples. They are 3D printed plastic designs. That said, the sound has pretty much been finalised, and what I hear now is pretty much what you would get.

    Each of these sample units comes with a Whiplash Twag cable. I have been informed that both of these TIA models would come with really high quality cables that either match or exceed the performance of the Twag cables. Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with whiplash, Twag was their previous flagship and is a pretty expensive fully silver cable. Now, if the final product comes with a cable that is even better than the Twag, I think it would be safe to say that there would be no need at all to upgrade the cables, 64’s got you covered!

    I had a few sessions on the phone with a few of the guys at 64, and most particularly Vitaliy. We had a really great conversation where he shared the inspiration and the concepts behind TIA. For those of you who haven’t you owe it to yourself to watch the rendered breakdown of the TIA Fourte on the 64 Audio website. Basically, it’s a whole radically new approach to earphone design that has not yet been tried before.

    Personally, I find that many balanced armature earphones, especially with custom multi balanced armature earphones, have really strong colourations in their sound. The typical custom IEM with multiple balanced armatures has the sound passed down a sound tube to the ear. Try talking into a pipe, and you’ll realise that everything comes out honky and awfully coloured. There is a reason for this. The pipe, depending on its length, would exert its own character on the sound. It has multiple resonant frequencies, and this causes huge resonant peaks as a sound wave passes down the pipe. This is precisely what happens with most balanced armature earphones. In order to deal with these resonances, acoustic filters are often used, and this often impedes the transparency of the sound signal.

    Now, I’m not saying that sound cannot be done right with this traditional approach, but what if we could eliminate these colourations? That is precisely what the TIA aims to do. In most balanced armature drivers, the armature moves in a planar like fashion. This is good for producing sound. However, the problem comes when the sound has to squeeze out through a little aperture at the side. This creates a lot of distortions. With the TIA however, the largest surface parallel to the armature is opened up. This allows for direct firing of the sound waves without having to squeeze through a tiny aperture and allows for a really planar soundwave to be produced. This, coupled with the lack of sound tubes but instead, acoustic chambers to specifically tune the sound with their size and shape, allows for a far more extended response with much more detail and less in the way of resonant peaks.

    Well that all sounds really good on paper, but how do they really sound?

    TIA FOURTE

    The TIA Fourte, in one word is magnificent. If you’ve read initial impressions of the Fourte, you would find that most people have described it to have this huge, spacious and airy speaker-like presentation.

    Tonally, it is a pretty uncoloured sound, with a bass response slightly north of neutral. The soundstage is very wide and tall, and has a reasonably good amount of depth. The resolution is top notch, among the small handful of the very best IEMs that I have heard. The TIA drivers really do their magic with the way that the IEM resolves space and air. The instruments and the sounds are so well separated with so much air and space between them. Imaging is sharp and precise, and each instrument and sound in the image has a great sense of body and solidity to it. It sounds so realistic.

    The highs are very well extended and smooth, uncharacteristically so for something so sparkly and extended. They are airy and precise, and everything has a clear, clean edge to it. The midrange of the Fourte is very accurate, yet rich and musical. The midrange TIA driver really lends a sense of transparency to the sound and the midrange comes across extremely clean and realistic.

    Now the bass is something really special. The problem with most balanced armature designs, is the bass. The bass rarely hits hard. Even if it does, it usually fails to come anywhere close to the impact and the power of good dynamic drivers. With the Fourte, the bass dynamic driver really brings the sound to life. It extends infinitely deep, and hits so hard and with such control that it really serves as a good foundation to the sound. On a low impedance source, the bass is just north of neutral. This results in a very natural, accurate presentation.

    In short, the Fourte is like hearing live music. It is open, spacious and airy, with an incredible sense of space, and, as live music always does, has a dynamic, impactful bass presence.

    U18 Tzar

    The U18 Tzar is a very different animal from the Fourte. Like what some others would have mentioned, the U18 Tzar is very similar to the U10. Similar, but not quite.

    The U18 is extremely neutral. There is a great sense of control and tact across the spectrum, and the sound is very uncoloured. There is a good sense of air, space and separation. The resolution is very very good too. It is what I would consider to be a true neutral reference. Unlike the Fourte, the U18 is much less sensitive to the output impedance of the source and the sound changes with different output impedances is minimal.

    In comparison to the U10, there are indeed many similarities. They are both very good neutral monitors. Yet, the U18 does so much more, so much better. Resolution is improved, the soundstage is larger, layering and imaging are much improved. And most importantly the bass. The U10 always had one fatal flaw to me, the bass extension. I could not be happier to report that the U18 is so much better in this respect. The bass extends much deeper than in the U10 with more body and kick to it. The bass of the U18 is rather special. It is the first time I’ve heard neutral bass that extends so well. Most earphones or headphones that go for a neutral response usually give up too much in the way of the bass extension.

    Now again, as with the Fourte, the U18 has wonderful rendering of the upper frequencies. The TIA really allows the highs to open up and to extend without peakiness, resulting in some of the smoothest, yet sparkly and extended top ends in the IEM world. Unlike the Fourte however, the midrange down to the bass takes a much more traditional multi BA approach. As such, it does not seem to have the same level of engagement and resolution that the Fourte has.

    Don’t get me wrong, the U18 is very good for what it does. It is an amazing neutral monitor. It won’t, however, give you the same sort of deep, thumping bass and explosive dynamics that great dynamic drivers are able to offer, it simply can’t.

    If I had to, I would liken the U18 to listening in the studio, where the sound tends to be cleaner, more controlled, and very uncoloured. It may not be the most lively or engaging, that’s left to the TIA Fourte, but it sure as heck is neutral and accurate. For those neutral lovers out there, you have to have the U18 in your list. It is the best neutral monitor I have heard to date.

    Some thoughts on TIA

    I started off believing very firmly in the dynamic camp. My reasons were rather simple. I always found Balanced armature IEMs, in their current form and implementation, to be extremely coloured with horrible midrange and upper frequency resonances resulting in a honky, pipe like sound.

    I believe that the TIA has really achieved what it has set out to achieve. It is, in my opinion, one of the best I’ve heard, possibly the best in BA technology. It is, after all, not a typical BA. It’s something new that has never been done before. Sure it’s extremely expensive, But I think that it has also achieved new heights that traditional balanced armature designs have till now been unable to achieve. I have never heard a BA extend so far and high with this much air and sparkle without resonant peaks. It is truly impressive.

    I have been informed that both models will come with proprietary cables that are even better than the current twag cables, and I’m really looking forward to that. Also, the final production models would have an aluminium chassis. This is something I’m really looking forward to, especially for the TIA Fourte. If you’ve seen the TIA Fourte breakdown video, you would realise that the chassis plays a huge role in the tuning of the sound via the shape and size of the resonance chambers. Based on my experience, the material of the resonance chamber plays a huge role in the resultant sound, just like how the cabinet of speakers are so, so important. From my experience, a metal chassis tend to, in general, give a better sound due to better acoustical properties, as they tend to have better resonant properties. Thus, I’m really looking forward to listening for this improvement when I receive the final production versions.

    Stay tuned for more updates and comparisons to other flagships!

    Comparisons

    64 Audio U10 & U12 – The 64 Audio U10 and U12 were the first two IEMs to feature the ADEL technology in the 64 Audio lineup. They also signified 64 Audio’s entrance into the premium Custom IEM market, and showed big improvements from their previous lineup. The U10 was the neutral reference type monitor, detail and accuracy oriented, while the U12 was the more fun sounding earphone with a bigger bass and a warmer and smoother tonality throughout.

    Now as I mentioned previously, the U18 is pretty much tonally almost identical to the U10. But, and here’s a big but, it is truly better in every single perceivable way. It is more transparent, more resolving, and much more open and layered. It also extends much deeper than the U10, not at all lacking the bass extension that the U10 lacks.
    With regards to the U12, the U18 handily bests it in technicalities. However, it’s not quite an apples to apples comparison. The U18 is a reference tuned monitor, something the U12 is not. I would instead compare the U12 to the Fourte. The Fourte pulls ahead so much, it’s pretty much night and day to my ears. The bass hits way harder, is much more controlled, and the soundstage, separation and layering was truly something else. The U12 is a good headphone when paired with a good source, but the Fourte is truly something else. It is not as thick and smooth as the U12, but is definitely more accurate and engaging.

    Empire Ears Zeus and Effect Audio Arthur – The Zeus and the Arthur have taken the IEM world by storm, being the first 14 driver earphones on the market. Unfortunately, I was never quite taken in by the sound. The Zeus was tuned alright, with a slightly warmish take on neutral. The Arthur on the other hand had a warmer sound, with a gentle top end. I personally preferred the more accurate tuning of the Zeus. That said, I could not appreciate the technical abilities of the Zeus or the Arthur. I felt them to be lacking in every possible way compared to the Fourte. I won’t comment too much because perhaps, the sound is just not my cup of tea.

    Rhines stage 7 – The stage 7 is a rather dark sounding IEM with a prominent mid bass and lower mid section and a top end sparkle. It is overall a pretty warm, bordering dark sounding IEM but with a relatively clean edge due to the sparkle on the top end. There is a nice sense of space to the sound, but on complex tracks can get a little congested. In comparison, the Fourte has a less coloured sound just slightly on the warmish or darksish side of neutral. The stage 7 is much richer in comparison. The Stage 7 is also more forgiving, with a gentler, smoother presentation and signature than the Fourte.

    The Fourte also has a greater sense of space, more precise layering, and a much more dynamic and powerful bass. The resolution and transparency are again kicked up a clear notch. If there’s one reason one might pick the Stage 7, it would be in the tonality. Now I’m not saying that I like the tone better, but some people might. The Stage 7 has amore coloured, richer and lusher tonality which could make your music sound more engaging if you’re into that kind of sound.

    Custom Art Harmony 8.2 – The 8.2 is generally a dark sounding IEM, significantly more so than the Fourte. It has a big body in the lower mids and the bass, with a smooth and gentle top end. In terms of the staging, it is somewhat on the smaller side in comparison to the Fourte. It has a decent sense of space, but nothing too fantastic to be honest. I honestly don’t think there’s much of a comparison here to be honest, but like before, different strokes for different folks. I know a lot of people who like warmer, richer sound signatures, and the 8.2 would probably fit them better. The big lower midrange abd bass body, though, does make it very fun and enjoyable to listen to.

    Noble K10 – The Noble K10 is not a new design, and has been replaced by Noble. However, I choose to add it in this comparison because it is a sound that many people are familiar with. The Noble K10 does not quite compete with the Fourte on a technical front, it is a 3 year old design after all. However, the K10 has a very lush and romantic sound signature, with a huge bass presence. It is smooth and rich, and provides a really intimate, lush performance. It is great for low level listening, and has a more relaxed presentation than the more agile, aggressive nature of the Fourte.

    Campfire Audio Vega – The Campfire Vega is, in my opinion, the earphone that really comes closest to the Fourte. It is the earphone that had me switching back and forth with the Fourte. The Vega is comparably darker, thicker and richer. It is also smoother and gentler than the Fourte. However, the Vega also has a huge sense of space. Staging and imaging and top notch on both, and the quality and the presence of the bass, as well as the slam on both models are incredible. Where the Fourte has a more uncoloured tuning, the Vega sounds richer and lusher. In terms of resolution, they were really quite close, it was a tough fight. The Fourte however takes the cake in terms of resolution, the openness of the soundstage and imaging. It also pulls ahead in terms of the speed of the attack and having a cleaner leading edge.

    The Vega however, by virtue of the sound signature, creates very weighty and solid images in the soundstage, and possibly pulls ahead of the Fourte in this regard. I would be hard pressed to pick one because they just sound so, so different.

    Personally though, I find the Fourte to just sound bigger because of not just the way it stages, but also because of the speed and dynamics. I would probably give it to the Fourte.

    Jomo 6 V2 – The Jomo 6 V2 is the neutral monitor in the Jomo line up. Both this and the U18 are tuned rather similarly. So there’s not much to talk about on that front. However, the U18 is a significantly better monitor with better end to end extension, staging, and resolution across the board.

    Conclusion

    Most of my comparison above is with the Fourte than with the U18, and with good reason. The U18 is tuned very differently from the above other IEMs, and really aims to compete with neutral references such as the UERR, the Jomo 6 V2, the etymotics, etc. Theres really not much to compare in that sense, since they pretty much sound really close. However, I have found myself switching back to the U18 time and again after comparison due to the superior technicalities and the significantly better bass extension and weight.

    What I really want to talk about though, is the Fourte. I have had the fortune of listening to it today on a really special setup, the Auralic Vega fed by the Auralic Aries and driven off the Auralic Taurus headphone amp. This is a full Auralic stack, with some really high quality wireworld interconnects and power chords. The desktop setup added up to some 13-14,000 dollars worth of equipment, and is truly a top flight desktop system. I also tried some of the above mentioned IEMs with this setup, but the Fourte really pulled ahead hear. The sense of space, the imaging and layering was tremendous, the resolution was incredible and the bass, oh boy the bass, they were like freaking subwoofers in my ears, they went so deep and hit so, so hard when called for. I don’t mean that its overly exaggerated or elevated, it just hit so, so hard and shook my skull when called for. In fact, it’s only slightly elevated from neutral, yet somehow, when driven well, it scales up so well and plays so, so beautifully.

    Now it might seem like I’m just caught up on the hype train. I’m really not. There are so many things on the market these days, most don’t impress me. Those I have written about above are pretty much among the few I feel are worth writing about. The Empire ears I have put in because I’m pretty sure people would be asking for it.

    The TIA Fourte is really just that good. It is among the small handful of IEMs that can really scale to such an extent and if you can afford it, go for it, you will not be disappointed.
     
    Afghan Vet and bidn like this.
  3. jmills8
    Time to save money.
     
  4. DWbirdseye
    Hey Chris has the tuning changed for the 2 new models since I auditioned them at RMAF. Will the Tia Forte be available as a custom sometime next year? Thanks!
     
  5. CalvinW
    Can the universals u18 or fourte be customized? I hope it's not just the black shell again.
     
  6. DWbirdseye
    We will all find out on Friday when the order bank opens up for the 2 new models.
     
  7. WCDchee

    Hi calvin do check out the pictures above that's how the universals will look like :) they will not be plastic but fully aluminium milled shells which would probably explain why unlike previous universals they are no cheaper than the customs for the U18 :)
     
  8. CalvinW
    Sounds good! Thanks! I thought those were just prototypes but if they do end up somewhat like that, I would definitely appreciate it more than a plain black shell.
     
  9. Jalo
    Since this pair is so new with no review in sight, what is the return policy for universal and how does anyone choose between the U18 or the Tia Forte without even knowing how they sound?  And when are they available for delivery?
     
  10. CalvinW
    +1 Want to know to since I would like to get on the black friday sale but no reviews in sight 
     
  11. WCDchee
    I will be receiving the pre production samples of both models by tomorrow and will post up a detailed impression above by Friday so everyone has something to go by on Black Friday :)
     
  12. Jalo
    Will you have all of their (APEX) modules?
     
  13. DWbirdseye
    Excellent!
     
  14. CalvinW
    +1 Looking forward to it. Do you have a U12 that you can do size comparison with?
     
  15. jeffri
    Looking forward to more reviews for these! :D
     
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