Disclaimer: The N8 by 64 Audio was provided at no cost for this review. 64 Audio is not affiliated with Headfonia and not a site advertiser. Many thanks for the opportunity and generosity.
About 64 Audio
64 Audio is a US based company that specializes in making custom and universal in ear monitors, they also dipped their toes into making studio/live belt packs. As you can find out in the interview we did with them last year, 64 Audio started out as 1964 Ears and has renamed themselves. Their core is the Belonozhko brothers who all manage different departments. They have been around for almost eight years already, and have started out because of a project their founder, Vitaliy, has been working on – an in ear monitor for his wife. This project later on became what we know today as 64 Audio.
They are also one of the few companies that bring out one technology after another. They have introduced tiatm (Tubeless In-ear Audio), apextm (Air-Pressure Exchange) and LIDtm (Linear Impedance Design).
You can consider tiatm as some sort of hat-less balanced armature driver that fulfills its job in a special acoustic-chamber and doesn’t put out sound via a regular tube and dampener system. This way the treble frequency response is more extended and the resonances of the tube are eliminated, giving a more enjoyable listening experience.
apextm is an interchangeable system that drastically reduces the pneumatic pressure on the eardrum, which can be found on regular custom IEM designs, and therefore enhances the safety of your hearing. Currently 64 Audio has two different apextm modules in their portfolio: the m15 and m20. Both have their own sound characteristics. They also have different isolation values, the m20 takes down ambient noise by 20dB and the m15 reduces it by 15dB.
LIDtm is a new technology by 64 Audio that was introduced with the A/U12t and tia Trió. It is responsible for an almost flat impedance curve of the IEM, enabling it to be completely unaffected by varying output impedance of sources. This comes in very handy for touring musicians, producers and audiophiles that connect their IEMs to an array of different gear. LIDtm and its impedance behavior enable the monitors to always sound the very best, no matter the source it is connected to.
64 Audio also is one of the few companies that 3D prints your custom IEMs. It works like this: you take your regular impressions at your trusted audiologist, send them to 64 Audio, they scan them with their hardware, edit the scan to make it printable as a custom in ear and then 3D print them.
64 Audio also closely works with many professional and award winning musicians and artists such as Alessia Cara, Seal, Bon Jovi and Beyoncé. This definitely says a lot about their reputation.
The N8 is a collaboration between 64 Audio and one of their professional clients – Nathan East. It is their first signature monitor and takes advantage of all of their proprietary technologies. While the name might indicate it is an eight driver setup, it is actually using nine in total. The name N8 is a word play by 64 Audio and is intended to be pronounced as „Nate“ (N-eight).
The N8 uses a nine Millimetre dynamic driver for low ends, six balanced armatures for mids, one BA for upper mids and a single tiatm high driver for treble. The interesting thing about the dynamic driver is, that it is not firing into a tube and damper system, but rather uses the entire shell as a tube. When I first heard about that, one important question came into my mind: Won’t every N8 then sound different? Taking room acoustics into account the low ends have to be performing at a different level then. 64 Audio then told me that they actually custom tune every single unit to the target curve.
The reason for having the dynamic driver firing into the shell directly is that, according to 64 Audio, the bass then becomes richer and smoother. We’ll find out in the Sound chapter how it performs.
The N8, as said above, comes with 64’s whole arsenal of proprietary technologies. The Linear Impedance Design makes sure your N8’s won’t get messed up by varying output impedances of your sources. It of course also uses the apex tech, but unlike the other 64 Audio custom IEMs I have, it isn’t tubed directly to the single bore, but also uses the shell as tube. I noticed that the N8 isn’t as prone to module changes as the A12t or A18 for example, maybe that’s the reason for that.
The N8 has a rated impedance of very low six Ohms and a sensitivity of 105 dB per Milliwatt. That suggests that it is an easy to drive monitor and you shouldn’t run into problems with any source. It’s frequency response measures from 10 Hz to 20 Kilohertz. Like all tiatm models, the N8 uses a single bore design with a protective mesh.
The N8 is available in custom shape only and will set you back 1699$. The build time for one set is three to four weeks.
The review continues on page 2