Now it’s getting interesting, many things have been said about the A18t and so far, it mostly was praises. Everyone expects from a flagship monitor a stellar performance, especially if it comes with the price tag the A18t goes for. The A18 Tzar actually offers two different signatures, depending on the module you have installed in your monitor. The following impressions are based on the M20 module, as it comes pre-installed, a comparison to the M15 is located at the end of this chapter.
The A18t at first impresses with its mighty sound stage that stretches far into all directions. A lot of out of your head experiences are what you will get with the Tzar. The 64 Audio strikes with its balance and coherence. Instruments are carefully placed in the constructed room with the right amount of air between them to easily separate them from each other. It extends very well into both ends of the spectrum, and sports incredible layering and imaging. I came across many in ear monitors in my past, and a lot of them are constructing big sound stages, but a good number of them also forget that it isn’t all about size, it’s also how you render in depth. The resolution, and especially how precise you can recreate every note in the background. This is something the A18t has masterfully done. Every little detail is clear and clean, it doesn’t matter if it’s the voices in the center or a small cymbal in the back. The entire frequency range has a touch of harmony and incredible clarity over it. The A18t can be considered as a forgiving monitor that manages every genre and bad recording well.
64 Audio has dedicated eight balanced armature drivers just for low-end reproduction. Bass is powerful and fast with beautiful texture and impact. It has this sort of liquidity to it that makes you want more. Lows reach far down with very nice sub-bass rumble. On certain tracks you can hear that the dynamics are achieved on a very high level. Thankfully lows are also staying in their own territory and don’t blend into lower mids and don’t overshadow some of the mid clarity.
Speaking of which, with again eight drivers for midrange and one additional BA for upper mids, 64 doesn’t joke around. Mids have great body with excellent weight in tone. Their presentation is smooth and well textured with superior layering and great richness in their upper segment. Every note has an organic and musical touch to it, with life-like character and weight. Instruments and voices sound just right, as they should.
Now off to treble. Think about it again, there is only one TIA driver taking care of all that high notes, this becomes even more impressive when you hear the A18t’s treble. It is one of the, if not the most extended I’ve heard. It is incredibly airy and rich. High notes shimmer greatly but aren’t exactly in-your-face bright. Some monitors fail at this miserably, the 64 doesn’t. Treble is soft, crisp and articulate. You have to hear it to believe how much it stands out from the rest. I like my treble a little more forward with a hint of warmth in its upper regions.
Change the supplied M20 APEX module to the M15 counterpart and you’re in for a treat if you’re looking for some rich treble. I didn’t expect the change to be that big to be honest. Bass weight and body lean more towards a lighter presentation with a softer hit. Mids are more in line with the rest on M15. The biggest change for me though was the richness and energy of the high notes. Treble got to a level of richness I haven’t heard before, which has put a wide grin on my face. People on the subway at 6 AM in Vienna don’t seem to be overly thrilled by happy people though. The M15 Tzar is also less forgiving of poorer records. Bass still has good body and texture, but I was missing some of the punch and impact of the M20 module on certain tracks, my ideal would be a combination of both modules: the dynamics and body of M20 with the awesome treble richness and energy of M15.
Page four is all about aftermarket cables and their effects on A18 Tzar as well as good sources to pair it with!