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Dood

64 Audio (1964 Ears) - In-Ear Monitors - V8 model review - FULL STORY!

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[url="http://www.64audio.com"]http://www.64audio.com[/url]

[b]THE JOURNEY[/b]

I thought I'd make this topic an info-review as I know that many ask how you go about getting in-ears made. Although the ordering process will vary from company to company the actual physical mould bit really has to stay the same, namely, needing your ears for an hour or so!

To start with though, I have to thank BassChat (again!!) for sending me on my way down the IEM route. It was about time! There were plenty of reasons, some I just used to justify the purchase:
[i]I want to listen to my music in wonderful clarity without annoying anyone in the house, I have a big set of 'tracking cans' that I use for recording a lot but wanted something super light weight that I could really get used to in and out of the house and finally I wanted something I could wear If I were laid on a cushion or sofa without the padding pushing them away all the time.[/i] Sure, I feel that those needs are secondary but hey, they're needs even if they could be 'fixed' with a set of generics from the local music shop!

From a professional perspective, I need some proper in-ear monitoring for gigging when necessary. I need a set of in-ears for recording (nice to travel light to studio sessions etc). I need a set of decent monitors for use with my video camera. My little Zoom Q8 records in stereo and you can monitor what the mics are picking up (even at very high source volumes it will not distort) but it really helps to be able to isolate ambient sound to that which the microphones are picking up for balancing each of the 4 inputs.

I also use these in-ears to, you know... just get some peace and quiet sometimes :)

I started researching online. Those who know me will also know that 'researching online' even for a new guitar stand isn't something that ever takes just hours. On the odd occasion I have spent weeks looking in to products to fit what I need. These in-ears are no exception.

[url="http://basschat.co.uk/topic/205633-in-ear-monitors-help-needed/page__hl__inears"]THIS[/url] thread started by our very own MoJoke which has now extended to over 400 replies and 40,000 views and counting has been an amazing help. EBS_Freak of the parish is a very knowledgeable gentleman and has been able to offer some superb unbiased insight in to in-ears following his own experiences. I must 'tag' TonyF here too. His experience has also been a great help too. Cheers!

The over-ruling recommendation that I too share, is to get in touch with [url="http://www.custom-inearmonitors.co.uk."]http://www.custom-inearmonitors.co.uk.[/url] Again, when looking for a product I need expert help. I contacted Paul originally via email to tell him about my situation and ask what he'd suggest. It was with a grin I happily replied to say yes when he offered for me to come down to see him and try out a full range of IEMs from different brands! I have to admit, I thought that wasn't possible - I mean, how [i]do[/i] you try 10 sets of moulded IEMs? Well the short answer is that you don't. In stock Paul has sets of IEMs from the major brands with replaceable tips. These are often known as 'universals' or sometimes 'generics' - meaning you don't need to have your ears profiled first. Same as buying ear buds from a music shop... only the goods are way more valuable!

Fast forward. On the day of the visit, I travelled down in my motor loaded up to the hilt with all sorts of reference music material. My advice if you do this: Take normal music, stuff you have heard a million times in high quality format. You want to know what these in-ears can do. Also, if you are going to be using in-ears for live use, then it might be worth taking some 'live performance material' too. I had some recording stems of my bass guitar in Wav format as well as some 'noisy environment' recordings too so that I could at least attempt to simulate wearing in-ears at a gig.

Paul sat me down and explained the process and that we would go through a whole range of different in-ears to listen to. I'd only have to sit there, be comfortable and relaxed whilst he did everything else to ensure each plug was fitted properly and the same each time. I selected the music and went from there. He also gave great advice on paying attention to certain types of music so I concentrated on say the midrange detail, what the low end felt like and did the top end have too much or too little of what I wanted.

He also kept me topped up with drink too :)

What I also like is that Paul was in no rush. He'd have been quite happy with me saying 'excellent, I've had a listen, I'll go away and contact you next week' if I needed.

He asked if I wanted to go ahead with taking some moulds and also offered to let me listen back to the in-ears later on again to double check to see what choice I had made and that I was still happy with it.

How did I make my choice? Well I was looking for a well established brand with a known good customer support, some great product ideas and of course something that is going to be comfortable and sound great for years to come. (I like to settle with a brand you see, I'm loyal!) - In terms of sound, well I am a bass player and I need to hear my bass properly. I also like music that is deep that reaches down in to the subs. I mean, not massively over powering, but real lows with girth. Wait, I mean 'heft'! :) heh heh.. I also like my music with detail and clarity but not fatiguing in the top end. I probably rambled on for a good 20 minutes about what I wanted from a set of IEMs, but there's always a limit to what you can have....

Of course, there's one factor that stood in the room with it's plodding feet and snorty trunk. [i]Cost[/i]. Yes. I am a professional musician and as much as I'd like to cough up an unlimited pile of funds for the very best model, it ain't gonna happen. Even the 30,000 basschatters and the 160,000 subscribers for the magazine I write for (Guitar Interactive) read this alone. SO! I set myself a budget ceiling and stuck to it. Well, mostly...

Paul proceeded to get out models that he thought would be right and we set about picking through the minute details of some of the best branded IEMs out there.

I was filled up with drink, music at the ready and off we went! We played everything from Prog to pop, classical to metal. An honouree mention goes to David Maxim Micic because all of his songs sound amazing through decent in-ears and also my very good friends of SikTh and Audioplastik provided the necessary technical detail!

[b]CONFIGURATION[/b]

In-Ears come in many different configurations that in the case of 64 Audio are expertly installed in to solid ear moulds. Usually it is down to what drivers are per unit. Your freebie buds that came with your smart 'phone have a single driver in them and that is meant to be able to handle all of the detail across the whole frequency range. I have to say that considering the price of moderate buds, they don't do badly. However, In-Ears offer a [i]great[/i] deal more. When I discussed my needs, Paul suggested I start with a 4 driver system - that's right - four speakers per ear. Two Low, 1 Mid and 1 High. This offered a good balance of sound but the additional low driver meant more weight in the low end. We tried a number of brands with this configuration but also some with less to get an idea how they varied. Not to stop there though, we worked our way through the budget listening to units with 6 and even 8 drivers per ear!

I told Paul not to get anything out for me that were well over the budget as I'd only want to get those instead meaning having to mortgage granny off or something like that.

Happy with the day's listening my mind was pretty much made up.

It was time to have a look at my lug-oles!

[b]THE PREPARATION[/b]

Before you go to have In-Ears moulds taken, you MUST ensure that your ears are clear, clean and healthy. A trip to see the doctor is advisable and you must explain to them why you need really clear ear passages - better still, see an Audiologist instead and make sure you have no wax build up as far as the 'second bend' I think they call it. Something like that!

The moulds should always be taken by experienced personnel because it really isn't something you want to have messed up, not even slightly.

[b]PREAMBLE[/b]

It's actually quite a nice experience I found. This was the second time I've had moulds taken, the first time being when I had some ER ear plugs made by a local company. Quite excited actually as I'm going back to '64 Audio for some new ear plugs too. More on that later.


[b]THE PROCESS[/b]

Here's how you get from listening to Universals to receiving your In-Ears. Whilst I sat awaiting the familiar 'goo phase' I watched Paul preparing the syringe-able material. It looks a bit like a very very soft play-doh. Paul had already checked my ears over with the correct viewing tools and set about placing what I can only describe as a tiny tampon in my ear! Yes, it stops the product going too far down your ear and having a string on it also aids in the removal of it.

I'd also been asked whether or not I will be singing or at least moving my jaw lots, that can affect the final seal of the IEM. I said yes so we opted for what is known as an open jaw cast. Basically, whilst the moulds were taken I had to put a block between my teeth to keep my mouth open.

The material is very carefully and evenly squeezed in to one ear at a time and once in place is allowed to set. I think that took about 20 minutes per, I can't remember exactly. In that time you do get to enjoy silence though! Your ear canals are blocked whilst the moulds set.

Once there it's a case of taking the moulds out VERY carefully. It's very interesting seeing your ear canals when the moulds are removed! Mine apparently are very narrow.

After the casts are carefully packed away in a shipping box, we had some paperwork to do which involved me having the even more difficult choice of deciding if I wanted a specific colour choice for my in-ear shells and should I want any graphics or writing on the outside. Well, I did save a little bit of my budget for that :)

The options are vast - [url="https://www.instagram.com/64audio/?hl=en"]Here's[/url] 64 Audio's Instagram page with lost of examples!

Once all of the paperwork had been done and I have handed over the artwork (in the file type specified) it was time to pay and watch my order go on the pile with [i]many[/i] other customer's moulds.

**** You do of course have the option if you have moulds taken already to use 64 Audio's rather good online '[url="https://www.64audio.com/designer/#model"]designer[/url]' app! Which is very cool indeed! You can select the in-ear you want, colour scheme AND upload your artwork to see what it will look like on your device. Once done, you can save your work or of course go on to make an online order and purchase, all from your desk! Check it out, I sat and played with designs for ages, maybe, thinking about my next set of monitors!

Waiting time from start to finish on this occasion was about 5 weeks I think and I was kept up to date via email from both Paul and 64 Audio as to where my order was in process. A shiny box arrived on my doorstep...

I should very quickly mention that I was just in time for 1964 Ears to rebrand to 64 Audio and that they now do a 3D scan of each mould received to keep on file. So when I come to order my ADEL Ear Plugs soon, I won't have to go for another set of moulds because my recent details are on file!!!

64 Audio take over the whole manufacturing process from this point onward. Check out the website as they have a massive amount of information available about each model and how they will suit your needs.

[b]ABOUT[/b]

64 Audio say it better than I so I'll put the link here: [url="http://www.64audio.com/about"]http://www.64audio.com/about[/url]

[b]SPECIFICATIONS[/b][list]
[*]Four Low, Two Mid, Two High Precision Tuned Armatures
[*]Integrated 3-way passive crossover
[*]CenterDrive™ technology
[*]Triple Bore Design
[*]3D Soundstage
[*]Hypoallergenic, hard acrylic shells
[/list][list]
[*]Impedance: 18 Ohms at 1kHz
[*]Sensitivity: 117dB SPL @ 1mW
[*]Freq. Response: 10Hz – 20 kHz
[*]Noise Isolation: -26dB
[/list]
[b]ACCESORIES[/b]
<p>
[list]
[*]64 Audio Personalized Case
[*]48 or 64 inch detachable cable
[*]Cleaning tool
[*]Shirt clip
[*]Round Sticker
[/list]


[b]QUALITY and CONSTRUCTION[/b]

I can't fault the product at all! As you'll see in the photographs, it's a completely seamless device and opting for see-through shells means that you can see the electronics inside and it looks like a piece of art. Flawless.

This particular model has eight drivers per ear piece - Four low, two mid and two high. I can't figure out how they manage to cram all of that in to one small ear piece!

Each set of drivers has it's own separate 'bore' down the ear canal too meaning that the three frequencies are mixed at your ear and not inside the shell. I understand that aids with musical separation. Well, it works whatever it is!

[b]SOUND[/b]

It's always very hard to describe sound, especially as we all want different things. The deep lows are there, the detailed midrange is there, the top end has a vocal clarity. I especially found that listening to bowed cellos a real eye opener, I could clearly hear the bow vibrating against the strings in one particular piece. Bass Guitar had punch and the kick drum provided a deep pulse.

[b]CUSTOMER SERVICE[/b]

A+++++ as they say on eBay! From The Custom IEM Company and 64 Audio that I still continue to be in touch with now discussing products (hence my comment about ear plugs earlier)


[b]VALUE FOR MONEY[/b]

Given my budget at the time (which was about a year ago I think, maybe longer) and the models that were current, this is as about as good as it gets in that ~£800 'bracket'. This was the only 8 driver in-ear I could try and was the only one that delivered the sound I was looking for in that price bracket. The V8 model has actually been phased out now in favour of the new ADEL technology (A series) in ears. Furthermore, the general prices of 64 In-Ears - or IEMs in general have seemed to come down quite a lot too meaning that if I ordered now I'd get more for my money.

[b]REGRETS[/b]

Well that's my one regret! The first of the A series came out just as my V8's arrived and by the time the A8 or A12 models (with 8 and 12 drivers respectively) were advertised I had already had my V8's a little while. Budget certainly won't allow me a nice new set of A12's any time soon!

I also appreciate that in the grand scheme of things, I didn't pay very much for my in-ears. That's the same price as buying a couple of budget speaker cabinets for your bass. But as my first steps in to pro-moulded IEMs I think that actually, I made the right choice - a very, very good choice.

[b]OVERALL[/b]

10/10 - Amazing

[b]CONTACT[/b]

Website: [url="http://www.64audio.com"]http://www.64audio.com[/url]

The BassChat IEMs thread: [url="http://basschat.co.uk/topic/205633-in-ear-monitors-help-needed/page__hl__inears"]http://basschat.co.u...age__hl__inears[/url]

64 Audio V8 details: (discontinued) [url="https://www.64audio.com/product/1964-V8-Custom-In-Ear-Monitor"]https://www.64audio....-In-Ear-Monitor[/url]

[b]ADDITIONAL[/b]

As I'd mentioned earlier, the V - series appears to have been phased out now. The new A - series feature [url="https://www.64audio.com/adel"]ADEL[/url] technology which protects your hearing and also delivers improved listening experiences I understand. I am ready to rip an arm off to try these, even in a universal model, especially the U12!! I've hyperlinked to the ADEL page as the graphics explain better the new technology.

Edited by dood

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[url="https://scontent-lhr3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/l/t31.0-8/12356810_638245852984906_8780108097880213191_o.jpg"][/url]

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Great review dood. Also worth mentioning that a set of standard single drivers in a set of standard earbuds (think iPod headphones ones) are usually dynamic drivers, not balanced armatures - which naturally develop more bass than balanced armatures - That's why I would always recommend bolstering the amount of bass drivers. That's not saying that balanced armatures are lacking in the bass... it's just for plentiful bass and headroom, you need a bit of safety in numbers in the lows. (Two is enough - they'll quite happily rip your head off with more than enough bass - any further drivers in the low is a bonus).

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[quote name='EBS_freak' timestamp='1463757252' post='3053907']
Great review dood. Also worth mentioning that a set of standard single drivers in a set of standard earbuds (think iPod headphones ones) are usually dynamic drivers, not balanced armatures - which naturally develop more bass than balanced armatures - That's why I would always recommend bolstering the amount of bass drivers. That's not saying that balanced armatures are lacking in the bass... it's just for plentiful bass and headroom, you need a bit of safety in numbers in the lows. (Two is enough - they'll quite happily rip your head off with more than enough bass - any further drivers in the low is a bonus).
[/quote]

*Points* That's him!!! The one who knows loads of stuff!! Thank you for the extra info'! Brilliant :)

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I've recently taken advantage of 64 Audio's upgrade offer and have ordered a new set of ADEL A8 models as I have been so pleased with the V8. I'll be back with a review of those too!

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I've got a set of the rather awesome 64 Audio ADEL ear plugs too! - They're here already. Will post some pictures very soon.

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My ear plugs were in a bass case which was nicked ages ago and I've always threatened to have them replaced. I'm gigging and rehearsing a lot and think I'll give the EP-Custom's a go. Dan I like the way you've figure the the cost as the same as a couple of decent cabs. Never really thought of IEM's in that respect although it does make a lot of sense!

I still use my amp/cab for live work but I may dabble in IEM (I have a set of Shure 215's) and might use my laptop/recording interface at my next trio gig and see how it works out for me. Our desk is a Presonus 16.0.2 I think and we can all set up monitor feeds and control them via an iphone app. Worth a look I think!

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