The difference between an ‘earphone’ and an ‘in-ear monitor’ is often a semantic one. When it comes to the 64 Audio tia Fourté Noir, there is no question we are talking about something more than just an ‘earphone’. Every fibre of its being, from the finish that is unique to each sample or the type and composition of the drivers suggests something ‘above and beyond’. In a way, though, that drive for ‘above and beyond’ defines much of what 64 Audio is all about.
64 Audio was founded by Vitaliy Belonozhko, a sound engineer who has been working with musicians and production companies for nearly two decades. He was one of those who discovered the advantages of IEMs over traditional floor ‘wedges’, wasn’t willing to put up with mediocre performance for gigging musicians and designed a better solution to in-ear monitoring. Founded in 2010, and today with a staff of over 70, 64 Audio has become the one of the most innovative in-ear monitor manufacturers in the industry, supplying products worldwide and to some of the best-known bands and engineers in the world. The company’s size might come as something of a shock to the typical audio enthusiast; somewhat like Westone, 64 Audio’s profile in the personal audio space is well-respected but has next to no reflection of just how far the company reaches into the wider in-ear world.
This is why where most in-ear designs rely on tried and trusted – and more than a little conservative – technologies, 64 Audio has the R&D resources to push the envelope. Technologies with names like ‘apex’, ‘LID’ and ‘tia’, aren’t just a small company reinventing (and in the process,
‘re-branding’) the wheel, 64 Audio excels in challenging traditional earphone designs to created legitimately unique and innovative audio products.
In fairness, LID (an acronym denoting ‘Linear Impedance Design’; a proprietary circuit that compensates for the non-linearity of driver impedance) isn’t relevant to the Fourté range of in-ear monitors, but both ‘apex’ and ‘tia’ are absolutely core to the design. The first is short for Air Pressure EXchange, and relieves air pressure problems caused by miniature speakers in a sealed ear canal. This is more than simply the changes in air pressure that one might experience when taking off or landing in an aircraft but the way air pressure in the ear canal changes when dealing with musical transients and dynamic passages of music.
At the same time, the tia tubeless in-ear audio incorporated into the tia Fourté Noir is a completely new design comprised of three major elements: open balanced armature tia drivers, the tia single-bore, and tia acoustic chambers. “By eliminating tubes and sound-altering dampers, the sound produced by the tia drivers is able to disperse freely and effortlessly, travelling to the ear in a more effective way,” says 64 Audio’s grande fromage, Vitaliy Belonozhko. “Sound in this manner yields an incredibly smooth and musical frequency response with a larger depth and sound stage than conventional in-ear monitors.”
The tia Fourté Noir’s design is built around a 50mm “pure beryllium” driver that according to 64 Audio has a frequency response of 18Hz-2 kHz (± 3 dB) and a high sensitivity specification of 97dB. The Fourté Noir’s circular, open-back enclosure is made of genuine Ebony wood with a mesh opening at its centre. Supplied accessories include a two-metre detachable silver Litz braided cable with a balanced 2.5mm connector and both 3.5mm and 6.35mm adapters, a travel case and a soft velour carry bag.