Last year I reviewed 64 Audio’s flagship custom IEM, the A18t. It has left me in awe, so much that I named it my personal CIEM of the year 2017. I fell in love with the Tia treble, the immense transparency and the massive sound stage. This is also one reason why I had high expectations for the A12t. I haven’t heard its predecessor, the A12. I know Berkhan reviewed the universal version of it quite a while ago, but I haven’t had any sound-picture of it myself. Needless to say I was very eager to get a listen to the 12t. The following impressions are based on the M20 module. Keep on reading for a description of the M15 module.
After first inspection and fit testing I plugged the A12t into my Hugo2 and fired in some usual tracks. What first struck me was the powerful bass. Namely the sub-bass. I have never heard a monitor bring out such a punch. In my Picture Sunday post about the 12t I said it throws a punch that could knock out Mike Tyson, I stand by those words. Bass is fast, very well resolutioned and extended with excellent texture and layering. The great thing about its sub-bass is, that it doesn’t necessarily blend into mid-bass. It has the ability to give it a good boost, but when it’s not needed, it doesn’t overwhelm you. Bass in general has good body, weight and is tightly bound with incredible control. If you’re curious of what I’m talking about, I invite you to listen to Kraftwerk’s ‘Robots’ or Siriusmo’s ‘Plastic Hips’. The first track is great for hearing A12t’s wonderful resolution while the latter shows you what a mean punch can be. Both tracks still leave me with goosebumps and wide open eyes.
Usually when we at HFN get new gear, we tell the others about it in our dedicated WhatsApp group-chat (Nathan, where are you?!). When the A12t came I told the guys that I really liked what I heard, but I needed to get used to being beaten up from the inside of my head 😉
Mids are wonderfully smooth with great transparency. They are a little recessed, but not to an extent where instruments and vocals are pushed too far into the background. They still are well positioned and appear in a realistic distance. Instruments are separated with care and the right amount of air between them. The levels of transparency are good, layering and resolution are top. Mids carry great weight with them and voices can come across very emotional and breathtaking with an almost holographic feeling. The sound stage has wonderful dimensions in terms of width and depth and reaches out of your head at many times. Lower mids sport good amounts of warmth while upper mids are more neutral.
High notes are smooth and show the impressive Tia extension and air. While treble is not the most forward, it is still sparkly and clear. Highs are nicely energetic and can give certain notes a decent bite. Fortunately there is also no sibiliance to be heard in critical areas. Usually I enjoy my upper mids and treble with slight warmth and richer tonality, but I am not missing it at all here. They just perfectly blend in the overall picture. I haven’t found any Genre or track the 12t doesn’t sound great with. Of course the general rule applies: the better the mastering of a file the better the sound in your ears. This one became particularly apparent recently when I listened to Jack White’s latest album ‘Boarding House Reach’ on TIDAL and later on a 24/96 file. The high res file sounded remarkably better as it very likely enjoyed a different and better mastering.
Changing the supplied APEX modules has quite an impact on sound. Bass gets tamed, yet still retains great body and thunder. Mids are thinner with enhanced transparency. Upper mids and treble now are richer and slightly more forward than before. The A12t is also less forgiving with the M15 module. Though I really dig the top section, I must say that I have been going back exclusively to the M20 module for the rest of the reviewing period.
Read more on the next page.