64 Audio’s patented Apex Technology has propelled the brand in recent years, and paved the way for future groundbreaking innovations like our patented Tia, LID, and 3D Fit. In most IEMs models, Apex is implemented via interchangeable modules; with the three exceptions being our fully tubeless Universal IEMs (Fourté, Trio, and Duo) which feature internal Apex. The intricacies of Apex can be read in its patent filing (#10,441,470) but we wanted to take an opportunity to dive into the real life applications/benefits.
The main goal with Apex was to solve the problem of ear fatigue. Musicians, engineers and audiophiles alike can all relate to the feeling of ear-exhaustion after only a couple hours of using IEM’s. A major contributing factor to that fatigue is pneumatic pressure. The almost “vacuum” effect you get when inserting IEM’s, the pop of the seal breaking when you remove them, and the underwater effect while wearing them is how this pressure manifests. With Apex that is all gone!
Everything from inserting, wearing, and removing the IEMs becomes a much more natural and painless process. Since your ears play such a vital role in your body’s equilibrium, you’ll also feel a lot more in-tune with your surroundings, as opposed to feeling like you’re physically isolated.
These benefits increase as you move through the various module options: m20, m15, and mX (offering the most open feeling experience).
Isolation and Noise Attenuation:
Using in-ears to monitor your performance or mix, rather than trying to overpower the noise around you with large scale speakers, allows you to bring the noise down to earplug levels and build a mix from that quiet starting point. If executed correctly, you can help preserve your hearing by making sure the mix in your ears is quieter than the noise outside of them (stage volume, venue volume, crowd, etc).
Relieving pneumatic pressure can’t come at the cost of noise isolation. The m20 module was designed to offer the type of isolation that people have come to expect of an IEM. All but one of our models (N8) comes standard with the m20 module.
If you’re wanting to feel a bit more open, and want to hear more of your environment you can opt for the m15 module.
If you want to get as close to an “ambient port” as possible, without being completely open, our mX module rides that line perfectly.
Shaping Your Sound:
Beyond the physical and attenuation benefits, Apex plays a serious role in shaping the sound of 64 Audio’s IEM’s.
Similar to Open-Back headphones, our IEMs featuring Apex give you a much wider and more realistic sound-stage. The width of your mix is no longer locked in your head but seems to extend outside of it. When mixing, you’re able to get a clearer picture of where your instruments/tracks are sitting within the stereo field. As a performer, creating separation between instruments is vital to achieve clear and uncluttered monitoring. When listening to recorded music as an enthusiast our Apex technology gets you closer to experiencing the intended imaging and even ambient environment of the recordings. That width is increased depending on which Apex modules are being used, mX being the widest sounding of the three.
Along with the ability to shape mix width, Apex modules directly affect the frequency response of the IEM’s. Most of our IEM’s are designed and shipped with the m20 module installed, with one exception being our N8 model. N8 was designed with our m15 module and ships with that module inserted. The reason for this is how our Apex modules affect low-frequency response specifically. As you get a more open sound with our more open modules like m15 and mX, the bass is slightly attenuated; N8 required the m15 module to achieve the kind of bass response we needed.
Although the modules technically only affect the low frequencies, this psychoacoustically affects your perception of the whole frequency range. With our three Apex modules, you’re able to quickly switch between three unique sound signatures within the same IEM model.
Bonus: Earplugs and Occlusion
In addition to in-ear monitors, Apex is also used in our custom earplugs because of the ability to quickly switch between 3 levels of attenuation on the fly. Because the apex modules release pressure in the ear, it allows you to wear custom earplugs for longer periods of time without fatigue. A reduction in the occlusion effect (amplified internal voice volume) is also very noticeable, and adds to their ease of use.
The m26 solid plug (orange) is made available for the earplugs for extremely loud environments. M26 doesn’t feature any of the benefits of Apex and isn’t recommended to be used with IEMs.