Disclaimer: The star of this weeks’ picture Sunday is the A12t by 64 Audio. This post is a part of our Picture Sunday series.
Just a few months ago I have reviewed the sublime A18t, it has conviced me so much that I named it my CIEM of the year. Needless to say, when the new 12t was announced by 64 Audio I was excited.
The new A12t incorporates as the first model aside from the flagships the TIA technology, but contrary to the 18t and Fourté it also implements 64’s new Linear Impedance Design (LID).
The LID is, as the name spoils, able to make the A12t unaffected by output impedance, which enables it to have the same sound with any gear. This linear impedance behaviour makes the A12t the perfect monitor for audiophiles, audio engineers and musicians alike. Professional gear usually has higher output impedance than audiophile gear.
Vitaliy, 64 Audio’s CTO, was kind enough to give me a little insight on this new technology introduced with the A12t and Tia Trió. The LID tech is a specially designed circuit that selectively loads certain areas of the earphone. It sits parallel „on top“ of the crossover network and flattens out the problem areas of the impedance curve of an IEM. That made it possible for the IEM to have the same frequency response (+/- 0.5dB) no matter what it is connected to.
Apart from impressive technology used, the A12t looks gorgeous throughout. It’s my very first CIEM to have a clear shell. To be honest, I saw this exact design on 64’s Facebook page and it looked so good that I had to steal it. Designing a new custom IEM is the toughest part in my opinion. So I’m happy I found something I like that someone else took already 😉 Clear shells, aluminium face plates and white print on them. They look even better in real. I hope my pictures somehow can do them justice, but I don’t feel they do. The clear shells let me peek at the open TIA balanced armature drivers, though it is hard to get a good look. Since the nozzle is of round shape the acrylic breaks the light in such an unpleasant way that the picture of it gets bent… still cool to look at them though.
The A12t has a smooth midrange with sweet vocals, throws a punch that could knock out Mike Tyson with one touch and gives you all the TIA treble extension you need. It is rich, organic and has very high resolution and a sound stage to dive into. It matches very well with a wide array of DAPs, DAC/Amps and amplifiers. On top of that you will also get two APEX modules to change the signature to your taste.
One of the things that wowed me from first listen was the incredible sub-bass. It has an authority like I’ve not heard from any in ear around. It reaches deep and renders at a very high rate. The coolest though, is that it gets completely hidden when it is not needed. Most monitors I know have sub-bass bleeding into mid-bass, which is fine. The 64 approach though makes it seem that it is completely separated from the rest of the bass response. It makes me re-listen to so many songs to experience that bass, it lets me rediscover them in a completely new way.
If you own a pair of A/U12t’s, listen to Kraftwerk’s ‘The Robots’ or Siriusmo’s ‘Plastic Hips’ to see what I’m talking about… Those still give me goose-bumps.
By the way: Vitaliy also told me that implementing LID into the A18t and Tia Fourté is something they’re considering 😉
oooh, when is the review coming? will you do some cable pairings? (I have one but I’m still torn on what cable to buy)
it’ll go live in a few weeks.
Yes, the review will contain a few cable pairings. So far my favourite is the Black Edition Leonidas by Effect Audio, also great is the Gold Plated Silver Exo by Plussound.
I’ll try to get over as many cables as possible (budget wise).
Quick thoughts on A12T vs A18T?
Looking forward to the full review!
Thanks for your comment 🙂
A12t has more sub-bass authority and a smoother midrange.
A18t is more transparent and has higher resolution with richer upper mids. Treble is sparklier (is that a word?).
I’ll go more into depth in the dedicated A12t review.
So much I can tell you already, I like it a lot. 😉
I’m in love with them too (just got them in the mail this week). My first CIEM, too. I have been in love with my Campfire Audio Andromeda and Vega but fit and comfort have always been issues for me with every IEM I’ve ever owned. I have pretty big ear canal where mediums never give me a good seal but most large tips are too big and I get radial pressure/pain on top of regular fatigue within an hour or two of listening. I wear IEMs 75% of my work day each day, so CIEM was the last obvious step I needed to take. I went with the A12t as a coworker owns both the U12t and U18t.
The U18ts felt like I was in in a lab where all my analysis and monitoring devices are dialed in perfectly and I’m getting as accurate to the source as possible. Clinical, in the best way possible. A12t, in comparison, feels like I’m sitting in a room and am having the band play right in front of me. I’m hearing everything and getting full body of each instrument while still getting that nice treble in the air.
I also did not expect the huge difference in the A12t to the U12t. I don’t know if it’s just that CIEMs intrinsically have better soundstage by design or it’s something more subconscious, but to have a CIEM that disappears into your ear where you don’t even feel like you are wearing anything, the soundstage and height opens up into an absolutely insane amount. It literally feels like I’ve walked into a room with a band playing.
Definitely curious as to how A18ts sound compared to the universal…
So basically what you said in your reply! There’s a part of me considering getting A18ts down the line…but not before I get to hear the N8ts, as a hybrid IEM is one of the last IEM types that I don’t have in my lineup.
I don’t think I could ever purchase a universal without getting some kind of custom ear-tip on it ever again. With the custom mold aloing with the apex system, I’ve been able to have 5-6 hour long listening sessions with no fatigue or pain. That and the illusion of not wearing an IEM at all has just been too powerful to my brain/ears to ever go back to foam/silicone. I’m in fact getting custom eartips from Campfire, getting new ear impressions done so I can send them out next week!
Loved the Campfire Andromeda/Vega reviews on here too, they are right on point with how I hear them! You got a fan for life. Reading your reviews might be the first time I can make a judgement call on an IEM without having to hear it with my own ears first.