The Fourté Blanc is 64 Audio’s current top-of-the-range model. It performs a bit more superficially than the regular model, less neutral, but a little bit more dramatic and with a certain amount of punch. The Fourté Blanc is, therefore, not an absolutely neutral studio monitor but rather an excellent IEM for hi-fi use. If you appreciate a slight glossiness in the treble and bass, then the Fourté Blanc will take your breath away.
I cannot give a clear answer to the question of whether these headphones are worth the money. It depends on your passion for music, your personal listening conditioning and, last but not least, your wallet. The 64 Audio Fourté Blanc is not a mass-market product but the spearhead of the design skills of a US manufacturer that specialises in explicitly high-quality products.
Even in this price range, the decision when buying a supposed all-rounder remains a simple question of taste, and one should not miss the opportunity to listen to these headphones as a comparison. For me, the Fourté Blanc is one of the best headphones I have ever heard. To my ears, they offer a thrilling, musical and excitingly analytical sound that allows me to “experience music”. If you are sensitive in the treble range, then you will probably want a differently tuned model.
I have to make a slight deduction in points for the price. At over 4,300 euros, the Fourté Blanc is downright expensive. However, as we all know, the last few per cent of sound gain is particularly expensive, as are limited editions and exclusivity.
- outstanding resolution of details
- first-class low bass
- balanced silver cable included in the price
- high retail price
- slight bass and treble emphasis
In the “Blanc” version, the sophisticated Fourté in-ear from 64 Audio is being sold in a limited edition of 500 units worldwide. The manufacturer from Vancouver, Washington State, describes their current top model as a new interpretation. If you are prepared to put 4,300 euros on the table, the 64 Audio Fourté Blanc is an excellent IEM for the hi-fi market.
64 Audio Fourté Blanc – almost like jewellery
First up, we are dealing here with reference-class wired in-ear headphones. Unlike that of the standard Fourté model, the ergonomically flawless universal-fit housing is no longer just made of anodised aluminium but now has a snow-white outer shell made of ceramic, similar to the special black Fourté Noir model that came before it. As a further decorative element to this design, the lid has a shimmering green outer plate made of copper. The Fourté Blanc is, therefore, almost like a piece of jewellery.
The construction is identical to the Fourté. Unlike the A- and U-series models, it uses a four-way system equipped with a dynamic driver and three balanced-armature drivers for the mids, trebles and highs, which are separated by a passive crossover. The entire system works without any sound tubes, which are usually found in designs with balanced-armature drivers (tia, Tubeless In-Ear Audio). The patented air pressure exchange (Apex) in the housing, which is supposed to lead to a less fatiguing listening experience, is not user-definable, as with the Fourté, but corresponds to the m20 module with a reduction of 20 dB.
The Fourté Upgrade
For the limited edition, 64 Audio has souped up and reworked the Fourté in a number of areas. The dynamic woofer, for example, has been retuned and, according to the manufacturer, acts in a more linear fashion with less distortion. For the cabling, a particularly high-quality copper is used (27 gauge Cardas Grade 1). The soldering is done with Mundorf Supreme solder. The package includes two new cables of about 1.2 m in length, both with a straight connection to the sound source; these are connected to the headphones via a non-recessed 2-pin connector. The connection is tried and tested, but to me always seems less robust than the IPX version. A word of caution: It would be really nice if the cable ends were provided with a recognisable left/right marking. In addition, the cable is somewhat smelly when new.
The version of the cable with a 3.5 mm jack connection is silver-plated. In contrast, the second cable has a core of pure silver and is equipped with a balanced 4.4 mm plug (Pentaconn). The list price for this cable alone is 999 US dollars. Finally, nine fitting pieces, six made of silicone and three of memory foam, are also included.
Thanks to the ergonomic housing shape of the 64 Audio Fourté Blanc, the result is a durable as well as comfortable and secure first-class wearing experience with good passive external attenuation in both directions. Typical of in-ear monitors, the cable is routed from behind the ear. This takes a little getting used to, but with a little practice, you get used to it, and it is advantageous to a permanently secure fit, which ultimately has a significant influence on sound reproduction, just like the right fitting pieces.
Above all, the choice of cable is probably determined by the player you are using. If you have the option of a balanced connection, you should, of course, choose the right cable because it offers a better signal-to-noise ratio thanks to a higher output level. Due to the lack of a comparison at the correct level, I am not in a position to comment on any sound differences between the cables.
How the 64 Audio Fourté Blanc sounds
For my tests, I used a Shanling M3X DAP and the Dragonfly Cobalt DAC. In the price range of around 4,000 euros, you have to expect top sonic performance. In general, 64 Audio’s Fourté Blanc is tuned very similarly to the most expensive Fourté model to date, which is aimed less at professional musicians than at discerning music listeners. However, the bass has been retuned, and it is supposed to sound less distorted and more linear in the limited edition.
My basic impression was that the Fourté Blanc delivered a first-class performance, but this was partly dependent on my taste. The tuning is not completely linear but slightly emphasises bass and treble. This is already the case with the Fourté, but here it was somewhat more pronounced.
My subjective first impression of the sound was that it was outstanding because these headphones do not fail in any musical parameters: the bass was enormously precise and acted in a controlled manner up to high levels. It reproduced contour, pitch and dynamics flawlessly and, at the same time, reached down with spectacular depth without, in my opinion, producing overemphasis. At this point, I would like to remind you once again of the necessity of careful selection of the best possible ear-fitting pieces.
Everything was also just right in the mids. Details, sound neutrality, acoustic, electronic and distorted instruments were reproduced with aplomb and accuracy while being differentiated and musically interwoven in equal measure. It was even possible to listen deeply and analytically to complex mixes.
The treble range extended up into the silvery sky. This constantly brought out details in the spatiality of the individual sound sources, which were distinguished perfectly from each other across their transients and also in their temporal responses. Mixes were thus reproduced cleanly and immaculately, with breath-taking analytics of space, stereo panorama, depth of detail, dynamics and timing.
You can hear the scratching of the bow and the brief use of cellos and basses in “Star Whisperer” by Tori Amos and be surprised by the reverb in the guitar intro of Slayer’s “Repentless”, then be transported into an electronically illuminated, three-dimensional sound stage during “Celestial Echos” by Boris Blank and Malia.
The listening experience was completely unstrained and dragged me deeper into the music. It felt coherent, my foot started tapping, and I embarked on a rich sonic voyage of discovery, which in addition to the outstanding analytical resolution, also offered an unparalleled intimacy and musicality.
At the same time, the Fourté Blanc slightly emphasises basses and high-mids/trebles in hi-fi style. Indeed, a certain nasality might be detected.
But above all, the Fourté Blanc sometimes overshoots the mark in the treble range, in a similar way to the Sennheiser’s HD 800 S. This has advantages in terms of detail resolution, airiness and spatial perception. However, with borderline material with borderline harsh highs, such as “Toxic” by Britney Spears, it can also be distracting.
When it comes to a technically reliable assessment of the boundary between euphony and overemphasis, the Fourté Blanc is, in my opinion, somewhat beyond believable. “70th Floor” by Erosion features distorted guitars mixed at the absolute limit of harshness, and here the Fourté Blanc definitely sounds too harsh and, as a consequence, too lifeless in the bass. Conversely, however, the pure BA models U6t and A12t were marginally too tame for me in this respect. Here, the regular Fourté may hit the sweet spot for many listeners.
However, I must also concede that I seem to enjoy the treble presence in coherent mixes, which of course, may have to do with conditioning and an age-related drop-off in treble. Conversely, I concede that my assessment also changes in relation to the treble range with a focus on the aforementioned critical listening material.
64 Audio Fourté Blanc and Fourté in comparison
Actually, the 64 Audio Fourté does sound similar, but in the details, it sounds somewhat different. Not quite as spectacular in the bass, slightly tamer in the treble, but more lively in the midrange and generally more linear. Subjectively, the Fourté Blanc managed to cast a deeper spell on me at first. I thought I noticed a more controlled bass response and an enhanced detail resolution, which had a positive effect on three-dimensionality and dynamics. However, another person who listened had the opposite impression and preferred the Fourté, which they found more balanced in the midrange. A further listener found the Fourté Blanc to be too treble-driven and the bass too powerful and undefined. The reasons for this can be speculated upon. For myself, I believe that a good part of a sound evaluation does not take place via the eardrum alone but via the corresponding part of our brain and its conditioning (Link: This is how we test.) There are probably also specific preferences for certain sound tunings (dynamic versus BA drivers, degree of analytics). In addition, listening comparisons always depend on the order of comparison. Another difference, besides the fit of the in-ears, is likely to be the playback level, which is quite different for different listeners and tends to be higher for me, with the exception of my Custom IEM A12t, also from 64 Audio.
Equally exciting, of course, is the comparison with the multi-BA models from 64 Audio, which are aimed more at the professional user. I had the comparatively affordable U6t and the custom A12t headphones at my disposal. Basically, between three and 18 BA drivers per side are installed in these IEMs, which, as in the Fourté Blanc, are passively divided into three to four frequency ranges, depending on the model. The U18t, for example, uses eight parallel midrange drivers, while the Fourté Blanc manages with one driver in each path. In the Fourté models, the dynamic bass driver takes up a lot of space in the housing, which is why the sonic goal for their development has to be achieved differently and thus sounds different.
The U6t had already impressed me with a very coherent sound without overemphasis. A break between the frequency ranges was not audible. This trend was continued by the U12t and A12t, but they complemented the sound image with an extended range of details.
Once again, it is all a matter of taste. I perceived the bass response in the Fourté Blanc (and Fourté) as superior and, in comparison with the U6t and A12t, had the impression that the bass was more differentiated with more detail, contour and detachment. My fellow reviewer had a different opinion and clearly preferred the version with multiple BA drivers, as they perceived the bass response as more controlled and seamless towards the midrange.
In comparison, in my opinion, the Fourté models revealed the layers of sound and space in Devin Townsend’s “Moonpeople” more clearly. In the interpretation of “The Comedians” by Roy Orbison, I notice only slight differences between the Fourté models. The snare lacked body in the mix, while the interplay of bass drum and bass was superbly apparent. The A12t had slightly less air to the top in comparison. However, on this track, I perceived a different midrange expression resulting from the different design principles.
Two tangible advantages I attribute to the A12t: As a custom model, its fit is naturally superior to the Fourté models. As a result, at least for me, the listening experience at lower levels was comparable to that of the Fourté. I could, therefore, definitely imagine a custom model of the Fourté.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic + Balanced Armature
- Frequency response (headphones)5 - 22.000 Hz
- Impedance10 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)114 dB
- Cable length120 cm
What's in the box
- TrueFidelity foam ear tips (S, M, L)
- SpinFit silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
- TrueFidelity foam ear tips (S, M, L)
- 3.5 mm premium cable, pearl colour
- 4.4 mm shielded Silver Core cable
- Premium leather case