As promised, here are some cable options to pair with tia Fourté.
plusSound X-Series GPC Litz: The most naked, transparent cable I’ve found. This is what I use when I am comparing IEMs, as it gives what I consider to be the truest, most natural tone. There’s a touch of warmth and a little extra body. The treble is warmed ever so slightly, which is very nice for the likes of Encore and Fourté.
Effect Audio Thor Silver II: The unusual silver. This one smoothes out the highs and attenuates them to some extent. It creates a bizarre liquidity, flowing around you in a dizzying three-dimensional display. The power of Fourté only amplifies this, taking you into Wonderland territory. When you finally gain your feet, it’s like listening to whole new gear. Fourté seems to mimic the traits of the LCD-2 with this cable.
Effect Audio Leonidas: Take the liquidity and 3D holographic qualities of Thor II, increase transparency and treble clarity, thicken the bass and warm the mids, and you’ll have some idea what Leo is about. But you won’t be prepared for the apocalyptic musicality. If Fourté is a fantasy, Leonidas twists it into a fever dream. This is my favorite way to listen to these earphones.
Ordinarily I would suggest pairing a brighter monitor with a warmer source. And I guess I still do. But I’ll be honest with you, nothing I’ve thrown at Fourté has sounded bad. On the contrary, it’s all sounded so very, very good.
My main DAP is the Opus#2 by theBit ($1,149, Review HERE). With neutral-warm tuning, immense soundstage, and the ability to resolve at the highest level, Opus reveals the truth of the transducer like none other. Fourté is at its most transparent and realistic here. Dimensionality deepens, and layers become more observable. Notes take on extra weight, feeling properly tangible, and the background is pitch black. No hissing whatsoever. In simple terms, Opus#2 pushes tia Fourté to its limits.
I’ve been testing out a preproduction unit of Cayin’s soon-to-be-released N5 2nd Gen, the N5II. This player sounds so good with everything, and Fourté is no exception. It’s maybe a little less warm than the Opus#2, but still organic and musical. Clarity and resolution is top shelf, and soundstage is quite big. The N5II is dynamic, vivid, and refined to a fabulous degree. Even though it nudges Fourté a little more into the bright category, it remains free of all harshness or fatiguing elements. This device also gives off no audible hiss. After many days of sessions that lasted hours, I can say the N5II>tia Fourté is sonically flawless and a system anyone should feel proud to own.
If you’re looking for something a little closer to the budget-range—and after buying these IEMs, I can understand why—I can recommend the Shanling M3s. Tuning wise, it’s more like the N5II than the Opus#2. A slightly brighter sound, though not really bright per say, and definitely not cold. The M3s has leaner notes than the others and a slightly smaller soundstage. Like the N5II, it is clean and astonishingly smooth. Compared to the other DAPs, Fourté lacks just the barest amount of depth and resolution on the M3s, but the final result is like supreme honey on the ears.