Disclaimer: The tia Fourté by 64 Audio was provided by the manufacturer for this review. 64 Audio is not a site advertiser and is not affiliated with Headfonia. Many thanks for the opportunity and generosity.
About 64 Audio
This is my third 64 Audio review now, and I hope you don’t get annoyed by the same introduction to the brand each time, but I feel it tells exactly who 64 Audio is and what they do. So here it goes one more time.
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.
apex 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.
LIDtm is a new technology by 64 Audio that was introduced with the A/U12t and tiatm 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.
About tia Fourté
The tia Fourté is one of two models by 64 Audio that is solely available in universal form. The reason for this is, that the Tia models use specific acoustic chambers in which each driver performs. Getting each of these chambers packed into a custom shell is a near impossible trait. Imagine the process that would be necessary to get it done. The chambers need to have one exact size and shape and need to be at the optimum position to ensure the drivers sound like they should. Maybe this would be possible for some moulds, but certainly could not be offered for any ear-shape. So while I think it’s too bad they can’t offer it, I completely see and understand why. If you really want the superior comfort of custom shells, why not get a custom tip made by a third party? It’s a solution, maybe not the best, but a way around.
The Fourté was officially launched in November 2016 and currently resides at the absolute top of 64 Audio’s list of products. With only four drivers it is proof that the driver wars are long over and that you can create an outstanding and unique product without going full bonkers about the number of drivers implemented. The Fourté uses a ten millimeter dynamic driver for lows, a single tiatm mid-driver, one upper-mids BA driver and a single tiatm high-driver. That’s it. All drivers reside in 64 Audio’s patent pending tia system with carefully positioned chambers in which the speakers work. 64 Audio got rid of all tubes and dampers in the Fourté. I don’t know if any other company is doing that at the moment. It’s great to see manufacturers thinking out of the box and create something new in order to unleash a new sound.
Fourté uses a four way passive crossover and a single bore design. The drivers are protected by an aluminium mesh, so don’t fear any earwax or debris falling in. An internal apex M20 module is installed to take down ambient noise by 20 decibels while offering reduced pneumatic pressure. It also ensures a proper phase response by switching from pressure-based to velocity-based amplitude. With 114 dB sensitivity per Milliwatt and only 10 Ohms the tiatm Fourté is pretty easy to drive. You shouldn’t run into problems driving this little gem. Under typical use the Fourté has a measured frequency response of 5Hz to 22kHz. I don’t know the dB variances for it. When asked, 64 Audio confirmed that there is no audible benefit of burn-in for the tiatm Fourté.
Due to the complicated build process and the number of orders 64 Audio is facing for Fourté, there is a waiting time of six to seven weeks to receive them.
tiatm Fourté sells for an eye-watering price of 3599 US Dollars. On rare occasions 64 Audio also offers them with slight visual blemishes at a lower price in their B-stock sales. Make sure to check that part of their website on a regular basis, as they usually sell within the shortest of time.
More about the Fourté on Page 2