64 Audio has recently debuted its cutting-edge Volur In-Ear Monitors, featuring an array of technologies, including Isobaric Bass, Iso-Group, Tia Wave Guide, LID, and Apex. With a configuration of 2 dynamic drivers and 8 balanced armature drivers, cross-coupled over 4 ways, the Volur is a progeny of the highly successful 64 Audio Nio. Before delving into the intricacies of this IEM, let’s first decipher the significance of these technologies and their impact on sound enhancement.
In the pursuit of elevating bass performance beyond the Nio, 64 Audio explored multiple technologies until they ventured into uncharted territory with the Isobaric design. It's crucial to discern what constitutes a true isobaric design: two drivers firing into the same space, acoustically parallel and wired in parallel, effectively doubling the output volume. However, a genuine isobaric driver configuration involves a fully sealed coupling chamber with only one diaphragm exposed to the listener. Volur's Isobaric Bass design aims for lower distortion, enhanced damping, double power handling, and a more profound bass response. Notably, a high-precision textile mesh acoustic low-pass filter, initially developed for the Fourté Blanc, further shapes the sound.
While Isobaric design doesn't inherently increase efficiency like a standard dual driver setup, it offers sonic benefits. In Volur, the Iso-Group contributes to lower distortion, better damping, twice the power handling, and deeper bass response. Implementing this in-phase cone-to-magnet iso-group introduced challenges, such as a decrease in sensitivity due to series wiring. 64 Audio addressed this by collaborating with suppliers to develop a custom 9mm driver, accommodating the sensitivity change. Despite retaining the low-mid and high-mid sections from the Nio, they're now housed in an updated 3D printed housing with integrated acoustic tuning features.
Tia Wave Guide:
The Tia driver signifies an open balanced armature speaker design that unleashes the diaphragm's full potential. The Tia Wave Guide in Volur introduces a new dimension to the high-frequency sound, requiring innovative solutions due to limited physical space. The new Tia waveguide elevates the general amplitude of the highs, which necessitated the introduction of front and side diffusion windows for a smoother, balanced high-frequency response. This waveguide also serves as a mounting mechanism, ensuring precise driver positioning during manufacturing.
Air Pressure Exchange (Apex) is a patented vent that releases air pressure in a sealed ear canal while retaining standard IEM levels of isolation. With four module variations (mX, m12, m15, and m20), Volur users can tailor their listening experience. The internal construction of the Apex system is redesigned to maximize space for the LF bore incorporated into the mid-driver housing.
Linear Impedance Design (LID) is a patented circuit that corrects the non-linear electrical resistance of the multiple driver-sets comprising this 10-driver IEM. It ensures consistent sound across various source amplifiers, preventing variations in frequency response.
Design and Build Quality
In my assessment, Volur emerges as the most aesthetically pleasing IEM in the entire 64 Audio universal in-ear monitor lineup. The faceplate, crafted from responsibly harvested New Zealand Paua shell, adds a unique touch to the matte black aluminum shell. While the cable is functionally sound, its design could benefit from an aesthetic upgrade to match the elegance of the IEM. Nevertheless, Volur impresses with both its visual appeal and robust build quality. The inclusion of a circular leather carry case, three types of eartips (Foam, Spinfit silicone, and wide-bore silicone), a shirt clip, and a cleaning cloth enhances its usability.
Comfort and Fit
Thanks to its lightweight aluminum shell, medium bore size, and ergonomic design, Volur offers a comfortable fit. The shell size, consistent across all universal 64 Audio IEMs, appears optimal for a wide range of ear sizes. The positive feedback from Indian users over the past two years underscores the importance of prioritizing comfort without compromising on sound quality—a balance that many IEM manufacturers often overlook.
For this review, I utilized a Sony NW- ZX707 DAP with the stock cable and SpinFit eartips. After thorough listening sessions, Volur revealed itself as a warm and rich sounding IEM. It achieves a near-perfect balance, making it a versatile choice for all audio enthusiasts, regardless of their bass preferences. The customizable Apex modules allow users to tailor the bass and sound performance according to their preferences.
Bass: Volur boasts head-filling bass with exceptional quantity and quality, surpassing other 64 Audio universal IEMs. The low frequencies are not only powerful but also clean, devoid of any muddiness or bloating. This makes Volur an excellent choice for those who demand both quality and quantity in bass from their IEMs.
Midrange: While the midrange might take a slight step back compared to the bass and treble, the right amount of body and weight in vocals compensates for any perceived deficiency. The holographic nature of the midrange adds warmth and depth to vocals, creating a floating sensation inside the listener's head. Sibilance is notably absent during the listening experience.
Treble: The treble in Volur is exceptionally clear and sparkly, maintaining its brilliance without overshadowing the other frequencies. The edges are well-rounded, eliminating any sharpness during playback. The synergy between technical strength and musicality is evident, creating a holographic sound that immerses the listener in a multidirectional array of instruments.
Soundstage & Imaging:
The expansive soundstage of the Volur is intricately influenced by the choice of the Apex module. In this evaluation, I utilized the M15 (Grey) module, and I'll walk you through my experiences with each Apex Module.
mX Apex Module (Black): The mX module, offering -10 dB isolation, creates a more expansive and open sonic landscape. It widens the soundstage, subtly distancing the audio from the listener, and effectively moderates bass power. Optimal for those seeking an open, transparent sound with controlled bass.
M12 Apex Module (Gold): The M12 module, with -12 dB isolation, brings the soundstage slightly closer while enhancing bass impact. Vocals maintain a strong presence, harmonizing well with both bass and treble frequencies. This module caters to those desiring a more proximate yet impactful listening experience.
M15 Apex Module (Grey): Offering -15 dB isolation, the M15 module draws the soundstage even closer, especially in comparison to the mX and M12 modules. In my experience, this module strikes a balance, delivering a satisfying bass quantity alongside a soundstage that aligns with my personal preferences.
M20 Apex Module (Silver): The M20 module, featuring -20 dB isolation, elevates the volume, making it an ideal choice for users in busy environments. The bass becomes more potent and physical compared to the M15 model, resulting in an intimate soundstage. This module suits those who prioritize powerful bass and heightened volume in noisy surroundings.
The soundstage performance is notably influenced by the chosen Apex module. Volur exhibits the capacity to span a width comparable to the Fourté, catering to those who appreciate a broader auditory experience. Simultaneously, users seeking a more intimate soundstage can find satisfaction in the Volur, especially when paired with specific Apex modules.
The holographic nature of Volur's sound imparts a distinct sense of directionality. It allows for a nuanced perception of the sound's origin, creating a heightened sense of spatial awareness. This, coupled with an inherent ability to discern distances between the listener and the audio source, contributes to an immersive and engaging listening experience.
Value and Competition
Priced at around $2500 in India (approximately INR 2,26,490), Volur positions itself competitively within the 64 Audio lineup and against other high-end brands. A comparative analysis with other 64 Audio models (U12t, Trio, U18s) and competitors like Fir Audio Krypton 5 sheds light on Volur's unique strengths.
64 Audio U12t vs. Volur: Both IEMs showcase nearly identical sound performances, making it challenging to distinguish between them in a blindfold test. Volur, however, excels in the bass section, offering a more powerful, deep, and physical experience. The subtle differences, such as Volur's thicker and more energetic sound, cater to those seeking a sub-bass and mid-bass emphasis. Soundstage-wise, both IEMs offer an extremely wide experience, and the choice between them may boil down to individual preferences.
64 Audio Trio vs. Volur: Volur's bass impact is noticeably more powerful, with superior treble and midrange separation and clarity compared to the Trio. The holographic nature of Volur's sound and its wider soundstage make it stand out in resolving complex musical passages. While the Trio may appeal to those on a budget, Volur offers a more impactful bass, better separation, and a customizable soundstage for those willing to invest more.
64 Audio U18s vs. Volur: In a head-to-head comparison, U18s exhibits slightly more energy and detail than Volur. However, Volur stands out for its cleaner treble and midrange, attributed to the new Tia Wave Guide technology. The tough decision between these two excellent products underscores the strength of Volur's updated technology.
Fir Audio Krypton 5 vs. 64 Audio Volur: The comparison reveals Krypton 5 as a grander and thicker-sounding IEM, while Volur maintains an easy-to-listen-to nature with linearities contributing to separation and cleanliness. Krypton 5 may cater to those seeking a more physically tangible music experience, while Volur appeals to those desiring an easy-to-listen-to IEM with a wider soundstage and detailed sound.
It's crucial to note that these comparisons reflect personal impressions, and individual preferences may vary. Each of these five IEMs excels in its own right, offering a compelling choice based on user preferences and budget constraints.
Pros and Cons
|Powerful and physical bass||The cable could be improved, and a swappable audio jack is preferred|
|Thicker and warm midrange|
|Crisp, detailed, and musical treble|
|Easy to drive|
|Smooth and easy to listen to|
|Beautiful faceplate and comfortable for extended listening sessions|
The 64 Audio Volur stands as a harmonious amalgamation of the U12t, Nio, Trio, and U18s, crafting a unique listening experience that resonates with audiophiles seeking the pinnacle of versatility. If you are on the quest for the best 64 Audio universal IEM, equipped with alluring Apex modules for sound customization, the Volur emerges as the prime choice. Its reasonable price, especially in the context of the 64 Audio lineup and other premium brands, positions it as a standout contender.
The aesthetic allure of Volur extends beyond its sonic prowess; the faceplate design is not only visually striking but also ergonomically crafted for extended listening sessions. Adding to its appeal is the ease with which it can be driven, demonstrating compatibility across various sources without the finicky nature often associated with high-end chi-fi IEMs.
Volur transcends the trend of marketing-centric, tech-heavy specifications that often confound users. Instead, its acclaim is rooted in practicality, delivering tangible improvements in sound quality without the obscurity of unnecessary features.
A nod to 64 Audio's Research and Development prowess is in order. Their meticulous approach has birthed technologies that genuinely enhance the auditory experience. While the timeline for product development may be unhurried, the outcome consistently sets new benchmarks in the audio industry.
In unequivocal terms, I extend my highest recommendation for the Volur to all enthusiasts contemplating a new IEM investment around the INR 2,50,000 mark. It beckons to be experienced firsthand, offering a sonic journey that transcends expectations.
To those who have accompanied us on this auditory expedition, thank you for your readership and support. It's imperative to clarify that this 64 Audio Volur unit is our personal acquisition, procured with our funds. This review encapsulates my candid perspective and experience with the Volur. Not swayed by external influences, 64 Audio neither solicited nor guided our review. Should you seek guidance or wish to immerse yourself in the Volur's auditory splendor, feel free to reach out, especially if you're in India. We are but a message away, poised to assist. Once again, thank you for your engagement with this review, and until the next exploration into the realms of audio excellence.