During the review process the most used source probably was the SP1000, as it’s my daily driver and comes to the office as well. Here I mostly hook the Fourté up to the Chord Electronics Hugo2. I usually like to connect monitors to warmer sources as well, such as the Mojo or L3 Pro by Luxury&Precision. With the 114 dB sensitivity the Fourté doesn’t require any extra amping and is perfectly comfortable mating with portable gear. If you want to shape the sound a bit, you can still give additional amplifiers a go, I won’t stop you, but to me there is no audible win for it.
Astell&Kern – SP1000
The SP1000 has a very resolving and dynamic signature on its own with just wonderful upper mids and treble. The Fourté benefits with incredible layering and separation. Bass is controlled and engaging. Mids super transparent and clean with sniper like precision. Treble is rich and energetic. For a true portable audio setup the sound stage is sublime. It incorporates a depth and width I have not experienced from any DAP other than the SP1000.
The Mojo is one of the warmer sounding sources I have used with the Fourté, also it is one of the most sold items globally and I guess many readers will be able to get a picture of how the Fourté sounds with it. Mojo gives the Fourté a punchy low end with great extension, a smooth and easy to listen to midrange with good emotions. The treble is very well extended but softer in tone. The sound stage is big with excellent imaging and separation. Compared to its bigger sibling or the SP1000 it is not as layered or extremely precise, but still very resolving and detailed. I am sure a lot of people would like this pairing.
Chord Electronics – Hugo2
The Hugo2 probably is the DAC/Amp with the highest resolution I own. Its micro detailing abilities are unmatched. Just like the Fourté it does everything with ease. Both together simply can’t step a foot wrong. It is amazing how detailed and precise Fourté can sound with the Hugo2. For some this might be a bit too forward in the upper registers again, but to me it makes Fourté so insanely realistic in terms of imaging. Everything appears right in front of you and you truly feel like you’re in the middle of all events. Bass is tightly controlled. Mids are very transparent and emotional. The sound stage is out of this world with a holographic appearance. I can only recommend this if you’re after the best pairing, give it a go and listen for yourself.
Luxury&Precision – L3 Pro
The L3 Pro is again warmer and smoother with great amounts of musicality in it. It makes up for a great pairing if you’re into a lush yet detailed sound for your Fourté. Treble is softer with a richer tonality, it doesn’t have the bite from other pairings but certainly is easier on the ear for many. Midrange is nicely bodied and emotion-filled. You’re trading some of the resolution and transparency for a softer and warmer sound. If that’s something you fancy, check out the L3 Pro.
The Fourté’s price tag makes it hard to compare it to other in ear monitors, so I’m just going to compare it to some of the other flagships I have here. All of them are in custom shape though. There is 64 Audio’s own co-flagship, the A18t. Jerry Harvey’s twelve driver Layla. Noble Audio’s Kaiser Encore and Katana. Empire Ears makes its Headfonia debut in a review with their recently released Legend X.
All mentioned prices are for their custom built variants. Some manufacturers offer their universals a bit cheaper. Comparisons are done with the stock cable, as that is what you will be getting in the end.
The Kaiser Encore is not too different from the Fourté. Both sport a similar tuning with more forward treble. Mids on both are greatly transparent with good imaging abilities. Though the higher rendering and resolution of Fourté makes it even easier to distinct between the instruments. Fourté’s bass goes deeper with more body. This is a part that I find lacking on the Encore. It does have a good bass response, but it at the same time has a lighter approach than most other top of the line monitors. Both monitors have an exceptional and outstanding tuning of highs with a more forward appearance. The Fourté is by far more extended and cleaner up top, where Encore has a richer upper-mid segment. The sound stage of Fourté is bigger by a good margin in width and depth, whereas they don’t differ too much in height. Fourté overall has a more holographic transported picture.
Noble Audio – Katana (9BA, 2099$)
Katana is a neutral monitor with high precision and musicality. Fourté is more treble-forward compared to Katana, which has more accessible highs with a hint of warmth in them. Fourté again is more extended. Its bass is airier and more organic with bigger body. Katana misses out on sub-bass rumble and extension, while it has also a lifted mid and upper bass presence. Midrange on Katana seems lighter and hollower. Both models have a generous sound stage with impressive instrumental separation, but again, Fourté manages to tickle out a higher resolution and renders with bigger care. Fourté’s sound stretches wider and deeper around your head.
Layla and Fourté couldn’t be more apart in my opinion. Layla is a good margin fuller and darker. Her treble is much softer and laid back compared to the energetic Fourté. Layla extends maybe a touch wider into sub-bass, but Fourté reproduces bass more organic, airier and tighter. Of course Layla offers you the ability to tune bass response to your liking. Midrange of Layla is not as clean or transparent than Fourté’s. Layla does not create a sound stage like Fourté’s, it’s noticeably smaller and more compact held.
64 Audio – A18t (18BA, 2999$)
Many people ask for this comparison as they are torn between the two flagships. Both share the same core-DNA but like most siblings they are also different in their own character. Fourté is brighter and more energetic in highs, where A18t is warmer in lower mids with a rounder and more forward mid-bass. Both models have incredible transparency and resolution. The A18t to me is a portion fuller in its mids, where the Fourté has a the ability to portray the sound more in front of you. The A18t is no slouch when it comes to that either, but the smoother mids of Fourté just make it easier to see everything before you. Both models again have a sick treble extension. Fourté to me sounds clearer in that regard, whereas the 18 has a richer tone. Both are wonderfully airy and clean. The 18t can also be bought in a custom shell for the best possible comfort, if that’s something you’re concerned about, with the M15 module you can also get a more treble-forward tuning, although you trade in a good amount of bass body for it.
The Legend X is one of the newest monitors in my possession and it is one hell of a contender. Just like Fourté the Legend X doesn’t seem to make any mistakes. The dual Weapon IX dynamic drivers of the Legend produce a very visceral and pumping low end. Fourté’s to me is higher resolutioned though. The Empire monitor has more mid-bass body and a warmer lower mids department. Overall mids are lusher and fuller with the Legend X. Fourté is more precise in mids, with higher resolution. Stage dimensions wise the Fourté surpasses Legend X by a good bit. The top section of Legend X is softer and not as forward as the Fourté’s, the 64 Audio extends even wider into treble with more air. Instruments are separated very well on both models, with high imaging capabilities. Fourté as well as Legend X have impressive layering and imaging, where you can feel and see everything in front of you.
The tiatm Fourté doesn’t come cheap, but what you get in return is an incredibly unique signature that does everything so easyily. I have yet to come across tracks that just don’t sound right with the Fourté. I once let a colleague of mine listen to the Fourté, he is really into two-channel HiFi, and he also said that it is like nothing else he has ever heard. It reproduces music so effortlessly with an insane ability to cover all emotions while keeping all details in front of you.
It is a monitor that is unlike any other on the market. Not only for its sound, but also because of the internal construction and the out-of-the-box thinking of 64 Audio. I am a person that admires innovations and different ways of thinking. 64 Audio did exactly that when they came up with their tiatm Fourté. Its build quality is outstanding, and the fact that each pair is 100% unique with the different Copper patinas makes it even more attractive. The only thing I would like to see is a bigger selection of supplied tips.
If you are a fan of brighter signatures with head-scratching clean sound and you have the money to burn, go for it, there is nothing like the Fourté on the market. It sounds mighty impressive straight out of the box, but bring an aftermarket cable in the chain and experience it in new ways. Fourté plays well with any source, no matter if ultra high end digital audio player or cheaper audiophile solutions. Fourté will always bring out the best.
Here’s the link to the Recommended Universal IEM ist, on which you will now find the tiatm Fourté.