In-ear monitors have been a staple on worship platforms across the country for some time. I can remember just 15 years ago, seeing only touring bands using them and wondering what that experience would be like. I’ve now had several different custom in-ear monitors and they truly have their own unique feel and sound.
In past issues, I’ve written about switching from universal in-ear monitors to custom molds, and simply that difference is night and day. I do highly encourage musicians and vocalists to switch if at all possible. In fact, as worship pastors who are purchasing monitor systems requiring musicians to purchase personal in-ear monitors, I believe that our church/worship budget should be planned to offset team members’ expense.
This year, I was in need of a new set of in-ear monitors and I was extremely excited to be able to review the A6 model from 64Audio. When 1964 Ears came out several years ago, just the name alone piqued my interest. I very much wanted to try them, but did not have the opportunity until now. At Summer NAMM in Nashville 2017 I was able to visit a bit with Roman and Vitaliy Belonozhko…the guys/brains behind the product. These guys are super-easy to talk to and have super-cool accents, being from Ukraine! But, the best part is that they have understanding from the perspective of being worship musicians! The two Belonozhko brothers played in worship bands and also formed a band, “Sons Of Day,” with their other two brothers playing churches, camps, and festivals. Roman played guitar and Vitaliy played Keys and was also the sound engineer. Through that experience, they began to understand the kind of monitor product that would serve them (us) well. They experienced the same kind of audio problems that many of us have run into, and they were inspired with ideas to do something about them.
I asked them about the company name and name change…it changed from 1964 Ears to 64Audio in September 2015. The name originated from the musical high point in the year 1964. Not only was this year a turning point in Rock music, it was also an historic year in audio innovation and it happened to be a year of, now, highly sought after instruments. Because of the influence that resonated from 1964 and their commitment to making a great in-ear product, they called the company 1964 Ears. Over the years, they have grown in inspiration and have the desire to introduce a variety of new products, so they changed to 64Audio in preparation for that.
The A6 monitors that I’ve been using absolutely sound incredible. This is my first 6-driver monitor and the clarity is impeccable. As the worship leader, I’m able to hear the entire team in a way that I couldn’t before. On every model of in-ear monitors, both custom and universal, 64Audio has included their proprietary apex™ Technology. This apex™ Technology is a pneumatically interactive vent or “Air Pressure Exchange,” that relieves pressure on the ear drum caused by having a sealed speaker in the ear canal. There are two replaceable options, the M15 (-15dB) and the M20 (-20dB). I have tried both of them and there is a clear audio difference between them. With the M20 installed, there is more isolation and a reduction in outside ambient noise. These apex™ vents are so easy to install, I can do it with the monitors inside my ears! There is convenient storage for them in the 64Audio case.
One more proprietary technology that 64Audio has incorporated is one I am extremely excited about. All custom molded monitors they build are formed with their 3D-Fit process. This means that ear impressions are now scanned, digitally refined, and printed directly in acrylic as opposed to the traditional way of dipping impressions in wax. The 3D-Fit scanning provides a more precise fit that I can certainly attest to. I would have thought that molds are molds and my ears only have one shape, but no! These 64Audio ears fit better, smoother, and more precise than any I have had. They are easier to put in and take out… overall amazing!
The A6 model I am using retails at $1199. A2e’s start at $399 and have the same 3D-Fit and apex™ components. However, keep in mind that these should last several years. At four-years, that’s only $300 per year for A6’s. Very much worth it! If you’re playing a $2000 instrument, we must admit that it’s important to hear it!