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Brief impressions: 64 Audio A18

Last year 64 Audio took the community by storm by not only replacing the ADEL technology with their in house designed ‘APEX’, but announcing two new premium flagships with TIA driver technology – the 18 driver U/A18, and the 4 driver hybrid Tia Fourte. A brief exchange with Vitaliy Belonozhko, 64 Audio’s founder and lead designer.

Q. 64 Audio’s house sound seemed to be characterized by a smooth and warm sound, suitable for stage performers. The A18 seems to be a departure from that in a new direction with a more neutral signature. Is the A18 designed with a different audience in mind, or was it simply the goal to design a technically superior iem than in its predecessors?

A. The design goal for the U/A18 was to be a top of the line reference sounding earpiece. We did have the audiophile community in mind when designing these.

Q. What was the philosophy behind the specific frequency tuning? Was it tuned for its stage, technical performance, or to simply ‘sound good’?

A. The philosophy was that with 18 drivers per ear, we wanted it to be the most transparent and precise sounding IEM.

Q. Most iems use one or two large bass drivers for the bass, where the A18 uses 8. Was there any specific advantage to using multiple smaller drivers?

A. The smaller the driver the faster it sounds. Because of their small size it takes 8 of them to achieve the low distortion, sensitivity and headroom that we desired.

Q. Where the Tia Fourte uses solely TIA drivers, the A18 only uses one for the high frequencies. Was there a reason for only using one there, and not for the midrange for instance?

A. With 18 drivers in the shell it is virtually impossible to have all the drivers in an “open BA” design. High frequencies suffer from tube resonances and tube distortion the most, so we opted for a “hybrid” approach with the U/A18.

Q. 64 Audio simultaneously released two new top tier products, the A18 and Tia Fourte. Were they designed to be complimentary, or just to make the most out of their respective technology?

A. They were designed to each cater to the 2 most common musical tastes that we see. U/A18 is agile, fast, detailed and sharp while the Fourte is luscious, warm, musical and deep sounding.  

Next page: sound impressions





Nic is currently in pursuit of a PhD degree in social neuropsychology, while trying not to get too distracted by this hobby. In pursuit of theoretical knowledge by day, and audiophile excellence at night. Luckily for him, both activities are not mutually exclusive which helps to lighten the workload. Always on the go, Nic's enthusiasm for hi-fi is focused on all chains of the portable system: iems, cables and daps.


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