64 Audio A18s Review

64 Audio A18s

Today we take a close look at the all-new 64 Audio A18s – their latest flagship CIEM retailing for $2,999 USD.

 

Disclaimer: 64 Audio provided the A18s at no cost, I only had to pay to import them. 64 Audio is not a site advertiser or affiliated with Headfonia. The A18s remains 64 Audio’s property and can be asked back at any time. Many thanks for the generosity and opportunity!

About 64 Audio:

64 Audio is an American brand of universal and custom fit In Ear Monitors seated in Vancouver, Washington. They have been previously known as 1964 Ears before they rebranded themselves to 64 Audio. The company was started by Vitaliy Belonozkho, who is also their chief sound engineer.

Back in 2010 the company was started after Vitaliy was building a monitor for his wife. Now, nine years later, they are one of the driving forces in the field. 64 Audio is one of the brands that continuously pushes the envelope for technologies. They have brought many inventions to the market. With their tia drivers they have introduced a completely new balanced armature driver, of which you can think as a hat-less design where the membranes radiate freely.

64 has also introduced apex modules, which stands for Air Pressure Exchange, these help your eardrums handle the pressure built up by conventional, fully closed CIEMs. Think of it as a secondary eardrum, placed in the audio path before it reaches your human eardrum. Apex relieves pressure and thus makes it easier for your ears to handle the audio waves.

Aside from these two inventions, 64 Audio has also released LID – Linear Impedance Design. This flattens the impedance curve of the monitor, making it more resistant to varying output impedances of many sources. Since 64 Audio is a pro-focussed brand, it only makes sense that they release a monitor that works well with high impedance pro-gear as well as low impedance audiophile electronics.

Many professional musicians use 64 Audio custom IEMs on stage. You can find performers like Beyonce, John Mayer, Bon Jovi and many others on their artist roster.

We checked out quite a few of their products here on Headfonia in the past. If you want to check them out, you can do that right here:

A18tA12tN8Tia FourtéTia TrióFourté Noir

About A18s:

The A18s is 64 Audio’s latest introduction. It is their co-flagship CIEM next to the A18t, which has served as reigning king over the lineup since late 2016. Throughout all the years, the A18t has been recognized as one of the absolute best monitors available. And after four years, 64 Audio decided to not introduce a successor, but a second flavor to it. The A18s is exactly that. It builds upon the A18t, but is meant to have a warmer and fuller sound.

Since 64 Audio’s main clientele is the professional musician, it only makes sense, that they introduced the A18s as a monitor aiming at them. With LID they included a vital technology for them in the A18s. It ensures the user that their CIEM will always be faithful to the original frequency response, even when the output impedance of the source is going crazy high.

The A18s comes with a total of 18 balanced armature drivers per side. Eight low-end drivers are accompanied by eight mid-range drivers, a single high-mid driver and a single tia high driver. The tia driver sits right at the end of the nozzle, which you can peek at if your shells are clear or translucent.

Of course the A18s will also come with 64 Audio’s apex technology. As with all their custom IEMs the apex modules can be swapped out. Every set of A18s’s will come with both modules, so you can go from m20 to m15 in just a couple of seconds. The m20 is installed as standard module, while the m15 is sitting in the supplied carrying case.

64 Audio A18s

64 Audio A18s

The A18s has a nominal impedance of just eight ohms, while its sensitivity is rated at 106dB/mW. The drivers are assigned frequencies by a four-way passive crossover. Due to the virus outbreak and state wide lock-down, the build time for one set is currently eight to nine weeks. You can shorten the time down to six business days when you pick the rush-order option. This comes at an up-charge of 249 USD though.

The A18s can be bought either directly from 64 Audio, or one of their global retailers for $2,999 USD. Every custom IEM from 64 Audio comes with a two year limited warranty.

More about the A18s on the next page!

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A daytime code monkey with a passion for audio and his kids, Linus tends to look at gear with a technical approach, trying to understand why certain things sound the way they do. When there is no music around, Linus goes the extra mile and annoys the hell out of his colleagues with low level beatboxing.

    7 Comments

    • Reply April 30, 2020

      Josh

      Elysium is from Germany, not Italy.

      : )

      Thx for the write up.

      • Reply April 30, 2020

        Linus

        Hi Josh,
        thanks for your comment.
        VE is from Germany. The designer of the Elysium, who works for VE, is Italian. 😉
        Cheers

    • Reply May 2, 2020

      Giovanni

      Would you make any comparisons with Fourte/Fourte Noir? Thank you.

      • Reply May 3, 2020

        Linus

        Hi Giovanni,
        thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

        The A18s certainly is closer in sound to the Fourté Noir than the Tia Fourté. The Tia Fourté is brighter, lighter and sharper overall. I know people had problems with the Tia’s top end. It can be quite pushy and forward. The A18s doesn’t sound like that at all. The Tia Fourté does have superior technicalities though. It spreads a wider stage and has an overall airier presentation.

        The Noir and the A18s sound more alike than the Tia Fourté and the A18s. Both have a warmer signature, but the Noir to me sounds a bit fuller and thicker. The bass on the Noir is also denser and thicker. It has more impact and punch as well. The A18s is a bit thinner in the mids, but not too much really. The Noir is just a hint fuller bodied. In treble I think both are pretty similar. The staging is also rather on par with them. The Noir however presents the musicians more in front of you than the A18s.

        Hope that helps.

    • Reply May 3, 2020

      Giovanni

      Thanks for your detailed answer Linus, seems you have a preference for the Noir which, from what you say, has a bit more of everything. Is that a correct understanding or A18s has also area were it does things better than the Noir?

      • Reply May 4, 2020

        Linus

        Hi Giovanni,

        it really depends. The Noir is a fabulous monitor, and one of the very few universal IEMs I pick for non-review listening sessions. But the A18s has a certain transparency in the mids, which the Noir hasn’t. The Noir has fuller notes, which is not to everyone’s liking. The A18s has a sound that’s a bit airier. Also I can switch signatures with the A18s by replacing the apex module. Can’t do that with the Noir.

        Hope that helps.

    • Reply May 5, 2020

      Giovanni

      Thank you Linus for the additional comments, this is helpful.

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