Custom Build Choices (Personalization)
Due to the 3D print I guess 64 Audio can’t offer too many shell colors, as you are faced with only three options: transparent, black (solid) or charcoal (translucent).
For the face plate, you get to pick your poison out of a multitude of different colors, wooden options or Premium options, such as carbon fiber, brushed aluminum, rose gold or others. To further style your face plate you also have the option to print either the 64 Audio logo, ‘apex’ or the model logo on it. Of course, you can also send in your own artwork if you want to have it printed on your CIEMs.
Does it stop there? No, it doesn’t.
You can now also put custom artwork on your protective case that ships with the model, plus you can have your name printed on its lower end. You can also pick between many different choices for your premium cable that comes with the A18t. Do you want black or white? 48“or 64“?
64 has definitely understood, that this is a very personal product and therefore needs to be designed for each and every user individually!
During all the changes you set, the 64 Audio design tool will display a preview of your custom IEM for your visualization.
All these choices will affect the final price of course, so it will vary between 2999$ and 3199$
I went with solid black shells and Wood Wenge face plates, with the wording ‘apex’ on the left piece and ‘A18’ on the right, both in silver. The cable I picked was in black with a length of 48 inches.
64 Audio provides one of the most back to basics packaging out there. There is no over-designed or eccentric outer housing that holds the CIEMs. They have chosen to use a just big enough cardboard box that holds the personalized hard-plastic carrying box, in which you can find your new monitors. Each ear piece is neatly kept separated from the other by a small plastic wall. To both pieces attached is 64 Audio’s premium cable that ships with all their higher tier units, this cable alone has a market-value of 129$. It’s terminated to a 3.5mm right angled stereo plug. This cable is tidily twisted around the cable-holder on the bottom of the carrying box. You will also find a dehumidifier cap, a shirt-clip and a cleaning tool. The A18t and U18t come with both Apex modules with the M20 fitted as standard. Next to all this there was also a round 64 Audio sticker, which shortly after unboxing made it’s way on to my laptop.
All in all, packaging is very basic, nothing really outstandingly shocking. The personalized case and the premium cable are a nice touch though, so is the M15 module.
Now when it comes to top of the line gear we all expect a certain standard of build quality and craftsmanship that goes with it, and I have to say, happily this has been the case here. The CIEM itself is made in perfect shape, with nothing that would raise my attention or demand a refit. There’s not a single sharp corner on the shells. The face plate is perfectly finished without any signs of glue, neither on the part that attaches to the shell, nor near the 2-pin socket.
Now when it comes to comfort I have to give a massive shout-out to 64 Audio. I don’t know if it is the 3D printing or simply outstanding perfection, but these are the best made custom in ear monitors I have ever had in my ears. Yes, some customs are better made than others, all of them fit me well, but most of the time I have this pressure relieve when I take out other customs. With my Tzar it’s like I haven’t even worn them at all, they just perfectly fit my canals. No single pressure point in there.
Isolation depends of course on the module you have put in, the M20 module takes down ambient noise by 20dB and the M15 module, you guessed it, 15 decibels. This is lower than what most other custom monitors offer, as they usually go to -26dB. But to be honest, the difference isn’t that big and when you’re listening to music you won’t notice at all.
The 2-pin sockets are flushed, so you will be able to roll any cable on the A18t that you desire. We will take a look at how a few of them alter the sound of the A18 Tzar later.
This model features a single bore design, where the TIA high driver sits in the nozzle, which also acts as a sound-chamber. If you look at the top of the nozzle at the right angle and light you can see the TIA driver. I tried to capture it with my camera but couldn’t work out a decent photo, sorry.
64 Audio’s website tells us that the A18t features a four-way passive crossover design and has an impedance of only nine Ohms. Sensitivity is rated at 116 dB/mW. These numbers tell us that it is a very sensitive monitor and that it might be picking up some hiss from your source, though I did not detect any on most of mine.
All about Sound on Page 3!