Review: 64 Audio N8 – Luscious

64 Audio N8

 

Comparisons

Hybrid monitors seem to be getting more and more popular. A lot of manufacturers nowadays build these designs. Comparisons to other monitors are always good to get a picture of how the reviewed model sounds like. Not for me, but for you, the reader. If you have heard one or more of the models below that’s even better. This section should also provide you the info needed in order to find a suitable model for your taste. There are two other monitors that would fit this category very well, but both are not yet here – the Quatre by Jomo Audio and the Phantom by Empire Ears. Both models will arrive soon, if there is demand, I can compare the N8 to them as well at a later date.

All comparisons are done with their stock cable, as this is what you will get in the end. There is no use to compare models with anything else than with what they are supplied with. All mentioned prices are for their custom built versions. Some of them sell at lower prices in universal form.

64 Audio – A12t; with m20 module installed (12BA, 1999$)

The A12t is the next step up from the N8 in 64 Audio’s lineup. It’s a pure BA design and there are quite a few differences between the two. While both have a more prominent bass response, the A12t throws a meaner punch with higher resolution. The N8 is more relaxed and soft down low and comes in with a more organic approach to low ends. The A12t overall is more balanced, where the N8 is clearly warmer and lusher. The midrange of the A12t is more transparent and has higher resolution again. The N8 though is thicker and richer. Vocals on both models are smooth, but the A12t’s are airier and nimble with more emotions. The A12t has the ability to recreate the sound with a nicely holographic appearance where everything gets displayed in front of you. It reaches wider in sound stage dimensions and has more precise imaging. The N8 however does go deeper and has a more enjoyable factor to it. Where both again differ clearly is the treble tuning. The N8 is richer and has a slightly warmer sound up top, where the A12t is brighter and crisper with more energy.

64 Audio N8

64 Audio N8

JH Audio – Lola (2DD/6BA, 1745$)

Lola is also a hybrid design, yet a more unconventional one. The JH model uses its dynamic drivers for mid-range reproduction. There are two dynamics found in each ear piece of Lola. Almost all of Jerry Harvey’s models feature the tuneable bass-port. I have Lola set on 2 o’clock as this is the most enjoyable to me.
Both models have a similar deep bass response, though N8’s to me pushes more air and has a more organic presentation. It is richer and better textured as well. Lola’s midrange is lush just like N8’s. The 64 goes wider with higher resolution. Both reach fairly deep in sound stage dimensions with great imaging and layering. Where they differ the most obvious certainly is treble. Where Lola is laid back and not particularly revealing, N8 is more energetic, clear and crisp with brighter shimmer. Its upper midrange also is richer and more glowing compared to Lola’s. Lola overall is darker and thicker compared to the N8.

Noble Audio – Kaiser Encore (10BA, 2099$)

The Encore is a different beast than the N8. Its focus is more on clarity and precision. The N8 is more enjoyable on the long run, with a heavier bass response and more body down low. The Encore is lighter but has higher resolution and transparency. The Encore creates a wider sound stage with impeccable imaging and instrumental separation, which is achieved with more air compared to the N8. The N8 however is lusher and has more body in its mids. It also is richer from bass to mids, though the Encore bests it in the upper mids segment. The treble on both is energetic and rich, though the Encore’s can become too much for some, I don’t think the N8 will be a problem for anyone. The N8 is more emotional and thicker in vocals. The Encore has the ability to sound more open. Each monitor will appeal to different folk in my opinion, where the Encore might find more friends in people who are looking for a brighter more revealing signature, the N8 will find more takers when it comes to warmth and bass-lovers.

64 Audio N8

64 Audio N8

Editor’s note: upon request, a comparison to the Legend X has been added.

Empire Ears – Legend X (2DD/5BA, 2299$)

The Legend X and N8 are both similar in a few ways, yet differ in others. The Legend has a faster and deeper reaching bass with higher impact, more resolution and authority, while the N8 takes a smoother and richer approach to it, making it more accessible for some genres. The Legend portrays its bass more in the forefront, while the N8 does that too, it does so more subtle. Both models have a thicker midrange, but the N8 to me has bigger body with more weight. Sound stage wise the Legend goes wider and the N8 deeper. Both have precise imaging and great layering. The Legend takes the crown when it comes to overall resolution and micro-detailing. The Empire Ears model has a more energetic treble, while the N8 to me seems cleaner. Overall the Legend might be classified as the more dynamic and exciting and the N8 the smoother and more relaxed monitor.

Conclusion

The N8 is 64 Audio’s first signature earphone and they have done a wonderful job at creating this monitor in conjunction with Nathan East. This sure must be a delightful tuning for bassists, vocalists and audiophiles alike. It performs very well with all of my gear, yet truly shines when you give it some power to breath. The N8 is a great monitor for when you want to get back to the true meaning of this hobby – enjoying music.

The N8 is a monitor that will please many people, especially those who are after a warm and lush sound with a more forward bass tuning. 64 Audio goes the extra mile and tunes every single dynamic driver to each ear-shape specifically. Just so they can squeeze out that extra bit of richness and smoothness of the nine Millimetre driver. That brings me to the following question: are we getting closer to a custom Fourté and Trió? Of course creating the needed chambers for the tia drivers is a more complex trait and needs a whole lot more work than just custom tuning one driver, but an audiophile can dream…

Review: 64 Audio N8 – Luscious
4.7 (93.92%) 125 vote[s]

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

A daytime code monkey with a passion for audio and his kids, Linus tends to look at gear with a technical approach, trying to understand why certain things sound the way they do. When there is no music around, Linus goes the extra mile and annoys the hell out of his colleagues with low level beatboxing.

    26 Comments

    • Reply July 24, 2018

      crinacle

      Huge missed opportunity to compare with the Empire Ears Legend X IMO…

      • Reply July 24, 2018

        Linus

        Hi Crinacle,
        thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. 🙂

        I decided to take the comparison out, because I wanted to keep the review short and only have sub 2000$ CIEMs (with the exception of the Encore) in there. I can still add it though if you want.

        Cheers!

        • Reply July 27, 2018

          James

          Please give a comparison of N8 vs Phantom and/or Legend X! I’m having a lot of trouble deciding.. thank you

          • Reply July 27, 2018

            Linus

            Hi James,

            thanks for your comment.
            sorry I wanted to do that earlier, life got in the way…
            I’ll update the review with a comparison to the Legend X today, I’m still waiting for my Phantom to arrive.

            EDIT: A comparison has now been added.

    • Reply July 24, 2018

      Naveed

      Hi Linus,

      This review, (even though I already got most of the spoiler earlier through your kind comments on the teaser article), is God send to me 🙂

      As I am having the demo for selecting A12t or N8 today in couple of hours time.
      So far my impression from your analysis is N8 probably suits more for me, as I would prefer a more comfortable listening over a longer duration, instead of technically better sound on a short duration.

      Also I have ears that can get heavy very quickly, just by having an IEM in, even if its not playing any music. I hope Custom IEM and apex gonna help me over there and with its more organic soulful properties I can finally able to enjoy my music over a longer duration.

      Cheers,

      • Reply July 24, 2018

        Linus

        Hi Naveed,

        I was wondering when you’re going to pop up 😉
        Very glad you like the review, and I’m so excited for you. Please let me know how the audition went.

        The N8 really is great if you want to enjoy your music. The 64 Audio customs are the best fitting ones I have, so there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. I have read from many people that apex helped them with ear-fatigue. I never really had a problem with that though… ears differ 🙂

        Again, thanks for your kind words. Much appreciated.

        Cheers, have a great audio-day ahead!

        • Reply July 27, 2018

          Naveed

          Hi Linus,

          Yes I went there mate, finally. And finally fall in love with both (A12 and N8t) at the same time:)
          Love at first sight (or first hearing) =]
          I actually also demoed A6, as wanted to make sure additional drivers really makes a difference to me and at my desired volumes.

          I started with A6 as wanted to step up and observe any difference. A6 was surprisingly good. I am used to of Sure SE-535 and the difference was obvious. Every instrument sounds independent and clear and the sound stage and depth all at a different level for a triple driver fanboy of Sure. After seeing its size, I thought it will be uncomfortable in my ears, but it was actually once again very good in this regard. Maybe apex module was helping me somehow. Or maybe it’s placebo effect, whatever it was, it was working. Also liked all the low, mid and high, nothing was over the top and I really loved it.

          Then I moved to A12 (it was the older non-tia version). The overall sound was very similar to A6 but I could notice some level of refinement, maybe because of additional drivers were helping with already very controlled distortion. Once again, I really liked the Audio 64 approach to keep the sound signature neutral, laid back and complete. So I finally picked it over A6.

          Next N8t, and I completely agree with you, it’s completely different sound compare to A6 and A12. You could imagine the two A* models like siblings and N8 as a distant cousin, from the same family background but still distant, quite distant.
          It was very pleasing, much more revealing in general (other than bass), maybe because of tia driver? (as the demo A12 was non-tia). I really enjoyed it but at this end I really enjoyed A12’s approach more, it was more relaxing for me. N8 was grabbing my mind little bit more, which I both liked and disliked.
          Also the difference in bass is very noticeable, to me N8 bass was staying longer, was more diffused and moving farther in distances, comparatively softer and it reaches to me more frequently. On the other hand A12 was a harder beat and responded quicker. I can’t tell which one I like more (bass wise), but I must say I am more used to of listening A12 kind of bass. N8 is very unique and different.

          Overall I feel more satisfied with A12 so ordering my custom A12t. I hope it will be as neutral and relaxed as A12 is, and Tia won’t make it too revealing and engaging like I noticed N8 =]

          Once again many thanks my friend for all your detailed response on my queries.

          Have a great day 🙂

          • Reply July 27, 2018

            Linus

            Hi Naveed,

            wow, that sounds quite like a journey. I’m happy you found what you’re looking for. You demo’d the A6, A12 and N8. That must have been fun. Though the A6 and A12 are no longer in production as far as I know.

            Can’t really say how the A12t compares to the A12, but from what I understand the A12 was warmer and less revealing than the A12t. It is neutral to some degree, but has a slight warmth and smoothness in it that makes it very enjoyable (to me).

            Congrats on your audio purchase, it’s a great monitor.

            No worries, I’m happy to help.

            Thanks, hope you’ll also have a great day.

    • Reply July 26, 2018

      Mac

      Hi Linus,

      Thanks for your review.

      I really interest to buy one ciem ,because of my ear canal left and right not equal ,that make me strict to fit ear tip tighter and feel bad when noticed a sound left-right not equal.

      Now I’m using encore along with AK se100 and lionheart 8 wire (To increase bass and vocal warmer than stock cable) I still enjoy the instrument separation from encore but encore have a little bit lack of deep bass as I loved.

      Do you think I should go for N8 or A12t ?

      Thanks for your oppinion.

      • Reply July 26, 2018

        Linus

        Hi Mac,

        thanks for your comment.

        If you’re used to the Encore and you like it, I’d suggest going with the A12t because the N8 might be too warm for you then. The A12t does have powerful bass and a great, smooth midrange with very precise imaging. The Encore though is richer in upper mids and treble. For a more detailed comparison see my A12t review 🙂

        Hope that helps.

        Have a great day.
        L

    • Reply September 6, 2018

      Gustavo Carvalho

      Hi Linus.

      Nice review, i`m on the fence between the N8 and the legend x, mainly looking for a warm sig with bass emphasis (my reference for this kind of sound is the HE 500), i currently have the UM Merlin v1 and sometimes find myself having to crank up the volume for the bass to come alive just enough to be hurt by it`s sibiliant highs.

      i`m actually leaning toward the N8 but am afraid that it`s mid bass is too soft, i also listen mostly to rock, folk and a few IDM songs.

      Which one do you think that will make me happier?

      Cheers!

      • Reply September 6, 2018

        Linus

        Hi Gustavo,

        thanks a lot for your comment, much appreciated.

        If it’s bass impact you want, go for the Legend X.
        I’m not sure though if the Legend would be the best candidate for folk, as it’s bass can be too much for some genres. The N8 has a more balanced tuning, with also great low ends. Both models don’t really lean towards sibilance, so that’s covered…

        Best of course would be to audition them first, if you have the chance.

        Hope that somehow helped.
        If you need more info, don’t hesitate to ask. Happy to assist.

    • Reply November 13, 2018

      Jeff Geer

      I hope this is the right place to leave a comment regarding the N8 giveaway..there is no clear location or link from the giveaway entry page to be sure..
      Either way ..i would love to try out these awesome looking (and probably amazing sounding monitors)

    • Reply November 16, 2018

      sigit hartarto

      as usual. getar review. thanks

      • Reply November 16, 2018

        sigit hartarto

        Great*
        btw I’m wondering how will oriolus mk2 or reborn compare to 64audio N8?

        • Reply December 25, 2018

          Linus

          Hi Sigit,
          sorry for the late response, I don’t know how I missed your comment.
          It’s been too long since I’ve listened to the MK2, I don’t want to compare them based on memory, especially if the last session is over two years in the past… Sorry I couldn’t help more.

    • Reply December 25, 2018

      AlexX

      Hi Linus!

      Thanks for great review!

      Do you happen to have Schiit’s Modi (humble Modi 3 version) as DAC and Magni as amp combo?

      Because that’s what I currently have, and I am contemplating getting myself N8 customs… So wondering whether that’s a good combo (numbers check out, but they’re merely numbers…;-) )…or I should perhaps also invest in a bossier amp?

      • Reply December 25, 2018

        Linus

        Hi Alexx,

        thanks for your comment. Much appreciated.
        Unfortunately I don’t have the Schiit stack, but I think you’d be safe with the N8. It does enjoy additional power but doesn’t crave insane Watts.
        The N8 is a fantastic monitor which I enjoy to bits. If you have the chance give it a go. I think 64 Audio has a loaner program for US citizens if you’re interested in it. I’m not sure if they’re offering the N8 for that too, but definitely worth a shot.
        Cheers and merry Christmas.
        L

    • Reply December 25, 2018

      AlexX

      Checking if comments are getting through, they seem to be fond of getting lost 🙂

      • Reply December 25, 2018

        Linus

        Hi Alexx,

        sometimes it takes manual confirmation for some comments to get accepted by the system. Like this time in your case. 🙂

        Cheers

    • Reply January 13, 2019

      Alisemizer

      That’s nice

    • Reply February 6, 2019

      Ryan Eagon

      Great review! I’m using a WM1Z with Shure 846’s. I’ve grown accustom to the “Shure House Sound” wonderful mids with laid back highs, and of course the wonderful lows and sub-bass of the 846’s is hard to match.

      I’m looking at a custom monitor IEM for personal listening and also live use (drummer)

      I’m leaning toward the N8 or A12t. Thoughts?

      Also, does 64 audio do digital scan impressions?

      • Reply February 6, 2019

        Linus

        Hi Ryan,
        many thanks for your comment.
        If you want something more like the 846 you might want to give the N8 a go. It’s definitely the lusher of the two if you’re after some meat in the sound.
        The N8 definitely would be a good choice as a drummer. I’m playing drums too, but haven’t been in front of a proper drum-set in years. Kids and all… 🙂
        64 Audio does make a digital copy of your physical impressions. If you’re a first time customer you will need to send them your impressions, but it can’t hurt to ask if they take scans too. Their CIEMs have the best fit btw.

        Hope that helps.
        Cheers,
        L

    • Reply March 2, 2019

      Claire Chua

      Hey Linus,

      I’ve been really stuck between whether to get 64audio or JHaudio CIEMs, because I know most of the industry still largely uses jh audio and it seems to be more robust in terms of durability. I guess where I’m really stuck is that 64audio seems to have all this unique technology like tia and Apex but i was wondering if they really do make a difference in the ear fatigue/quality of the sound. Looking to get the N8 from 64 or the angie’s from jh.

      • Reply March 2, 2019

        Linus

        Hi Claire,
        thanks for your comment!

        You’re right, most of the pro industry uses JH CIEMs. I think JH Audio, UE and Westone are the biggest players there, though 64 certainly is catching up.

        Recently I have been giving the N8 more eartime again, as it falls right in with some of the reviews I did in the last couple of weeks, and I must say, I’m really enjoying coming back to it. It’s a great sounding CIEM. I don’t have any experience with the Angie, sorry. The only JH monitors I have are Layla and Lola, out of these two I prefer Layla…

        As for your question about ear-fatigue. Yes, I do notice that the pressure that’s built up by the closed CIEMs being higher than with my 64’s. They are more comfortable to wear over time, but the other CIEMs aren’t uncomfortable by any means either. Just depends on how long you want to listen. 🙂

        Hope that helps.

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.