When I started touring with Gino I was using some great universal Ultimate Ears (Superfi 5 pro). I had them for a few years prior, but had always lusted after some custom IEMs. The entire band uses 1964 Ears, and my first day with them was the first I heard about the company. 1964 Ears is a local company to Portland run by a very friendly staff and Chief Technical Officer Vitaliy Belonozhko. Each custom monitor is hand built at their office in North Portland. I’m definitely a sucker for local independent companies, and 1964 does an incredible job supporting local bands and artists. After talking to Vitaliy a bit, I decided to order some new ears. I ordered in November of 2012, a few weeks before Gino’s Tokyo tour. Vitaliy guaranteed that I would have the ears before I left on tour, and he definitely followed through with his promise.
Having the customs IEMs isn’t even a fair comparison to my older UEs. The customs provide the ultimate fit because they are made out of my personal ear molds. This provides the best isolation, which really makes a big difference when I’m on stage mixing monitors. I can clearly hear the mix better, translating to a better mix overall. Fit wise the 1964 Ears are incredibly comfortable and I can wear them for hours. It takes a little bit of getting used to taking them in and out, but once you do it’s second nature. I decided to go for the triple driver model mostly because I prefer flatter tuned monitors. 1964 does a great job offering many different customization options. I went with clear molds and custom wood faceplates. I brought a piece of purple heart veneer to Vitaliy, and he did an incredible job with the finished product. Sound wise the ears are incredible. The highs are very smooth, but with plenty of clairty. The mids are very balanced but clear as well. I find dialing in the midrange on these ears to be very easy. Low driver definitely provides a nice thump and solid low end. There are times I wish there was a little more bass, and times I’m more than happy with the low end. Maybe it just depends on how I’m feeling that day…. Overall they are very neutral and I love the sound. Referencing my studio mixes on these is a treat as well. These IEMs are incredibly affordable especially when comparing the custom UEs. There of course are many other brands out there, but overall I have been very happy with the quality and service from 1964 Ears.