64 Audio Fourte Blanc Review
If you’re at all familiar with top-shelf IEMs, then you already know that 64 Audio consistently puts out some of the most highly praised and anticipated releases. In 2016, the company released the first of the Tia line, the Tia Fourte. What makes Tia IEMs so special is their driver configuration, which eliminates tubes in favor of a specially designed acoustic chamber, a feature that the company touts for producing an expansive sound stage and a “smoother” frequency response. The Fourte Blanc adheres to the same design principles and is the obvious follow-up to 64 Audio’s Tia Fourte Noir that came out in 2019. Like the Noir, only 500 units will be made commercially available. With such exclusive manufacturing and a $3,699 price tag, I have to ask: really? Is all this hype actually worth it? Let’s go over some of the design peculiarities of the Fourte Blanc before jumping into what it sounds like.
What’s In The Box?
-64 Audio Fourre Blanc IEMs
-2 pin 3.5mm Pearl Premium Cable
-2 pin 4.4mm Silver-Core Cable
-Firm Carrying Case
-Six Pairs of Silicone Ear Tips
-Three Pairs of Foam Ear Tips
Look and Feel
As I look at the images I took for this article, I have to say: pictures don’t really do the Fourte Blanc justice. The white coloring can look a bit plasticky, but once you’re up close with it in person, the metallic housing (specifically an anodized T6061 Kaiser aluminum shell) is much more apparent. Even with this sturdy metal build, the Blanc is notably lightweight. This characteristic, in tandem with its particularly thin and flexible silicone ear tips, led to pleasant and airy fit. You’re probably familiar with the clogged-ear, awkward-air-pressure feeling that most IEMs bring with them when they first enter your ear canal. This was never really an issue with the Fourte Blanc, which seemed to slip into my ear canals’ with a goldilocks fit with absolute minimal hassle.
As for looks, the Blanc is pretty playful. It features the 64 Audio logo against teal and tanned-yellow tie-die splotches. The cable is complimentary to this aesthetic with a white-silver glimmer, and features a four-way multi-twist braid design that makes it durable.
The Fourte Noir is a tubeless in-ear monitor that contains just four drivers: three armature drivers, and one dynamic. A four way cross over system delegates low end to the dynamic driver, while mids, high mids, and highs each get their own dedicated armature driver. As I previously mentioned, the tubeless design is made possible by a specially designed acoustic chamber, which aside from expanding the soundstage, also helps in eliminating resonance and distortion.
Drivers: 3 Precision Blanaced Armature Drivers, 1 Dynamic
Frequency Response: 5 Hz – 22 kHz
Impedance: 10 ohms
Sensitivity: 114 dB
Cable: Silver Plated OCC Copper Wire 26 AWG
Well, the design principle certainly doesn’t disappoint. I found the sonic image of the Blanc to wrap 270 degrees around my head, sending tracks with hard pans flying over my shoulder from behind. Such a wide staging resulted in a dramatic contrast when it came mono parts. Vocals felt like they were situated deeply behind my forehead and emanating from within my head. Kick drums had a similarly drastic center quality, and were further fortified by the Blanc’s low-heavy balance.
Though the EQ balance was more energetic and dense than it was transparent and spacious, layering and distinction was certainly achieved by its exceptional imaging. Frequently IEMs are stuck to a left-right, linear image. The Fourte Blanc pushed past that, and is of a rare and elusive breed of IEMs that actually produces a noticeable depth as well as an impressive width.
To be frank, bass heads aren’t going to be disappointed; in fact, they’ll likely have found one of their new favorites. The Blanc’s overall balance is dense and full, yet still found room to send bass utterly rumbling through my head without masking mixes. Frequently IEMs achieve this by boosting the subs and attenuating mid bass to provide power without the risk of mud. The Blanc, however, runs this lower boost well into the mid bass and even the low mids all while maintaining a general clarity. Its rumble and drive gave me a Siren’s temptation to pump up the volume past recommended levels and get lost in its hypnotically powerful lows.
The Fourte Blanc enters its mids with only slightly less power than it put into its lows, before evening out around 1 kHz. The kids balance is noticeably slanted in favor of low mids, though keeps the center loud enough to retain a natural and full timbre. This resulted vocal fundamentals getting more of a boost than vocal fry, even with higher pitched feminine singers. Snare drums had a satisfying boom present in their deeper transient, and acoustic guitars had an emphasized low end hum in the lower strings that was slightly favored over the bright ring of higher strings.
Highs (and High Mids)
I feel it’s necessary to talk about the high mids relative to the highs rather than the mids proper. It seemed to me that the high-mid boost present in virtually all headphones and earphones was inserted a little further up in the frequency band than usual. While high mid features like vocal fry wasn’t a dominant trait, sounds that occupy that blurred line where the high mid become highs seemed to take on some extra amplitude – cymbal decays, clicky kick drum transients, and strummy guitar transients. Though the Blanc didn’t have what I would call airiness, it gave extra teeth to hi hats and the buzzy overtones on synths. Though there was a mix of opinions on the Blanc’s treble response here at the store, I found it managed to avoid harsh sibilants and welcomed the unrestrained highs that it was capable of producing.
Maybe it’s the acoustic chamber design, maybe its the finely tuned crossover system, or maybe its both, but the Fourte Blanc is absolutely packed with a big, driving tone that doesn’t thin out at any point. It’s almost cruel for 64 Audio to limit production to 500 units, as it’s heavy tone and and large sonic image (though perhaps not its price) gives it potential for mass appeal. Regardless, the Fourte Blanc should be on the radar for anyone seriously considering a hefty and valuable upgrade in their listening set up. It quite literally won’t be around for long.
64 Audio Fourte Blanc is currently available for purchase from Audio46.