Custom Art - FIBAE 3

Custom Art - FIBAE 3 (Universal) – Triple Detail Formula



Custom Art Website




Fibae 3 page

Specifications

  • Drivers: Three Balanced Armature, Single Sub-Low, Single Full-Range, Single High
  • Sensitivity: 110dB @1kHz @0.1V
  • Impedance: 7.3 Ohm @1kHz (+-0.9 Ohm 10Hz-20kHz)
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz-21000Hz (+-20dB into IEC 60318-4 coupler)


Available in Silicone (Custom) or Hollow Acrylic (Custom or Universal fit) body

Price: Starting from €525.

Design

The Fibae 3 here is the universal fit version, which arrives in a very simple package that consists of a Pelican Micro 1010 case and 4 pairs of standard eartips (3 single and 1 dual flange tips); there may be some additional accessories with either the full retail Custom or Universal versions. The cable is already attached and the connection is really tough, which should be expected for higher IEMs of this range.

It may not be mentioned on the CustomArt website yet, but their in-ear models are available in both universal and custom options. From this universal version, the build quality and finish is already really good. The shells are made of good quality acrylic, with a fine finish with no bubbles inside and smooth on the outer part. Of course, the color option is available for the universal fit as well, and on the design here it’s possible to see the inner setup through the translucent material. The Fibae 3 consists of a separate single Balanced Armature driver for the low frequencies, single BA driver for mids and single BA for highs, and the nozzle is divided in 2 bores.

The ergonomics and fit of the universal Fibae are perfect. The shape is very close to a custom fit IEM filling most of the outer ear. Unlike many of the universal custom-like shaped in-ear models, which are usually a hit or miss for many people, the Fibae is much better shaped and slightly more compact with a lower profile fit; a bit tight like Custom made IEMs but still really comfortable. Obviously, the eartips selection plays an important role; the included eartips didn’t give a decent fit and seal, so I opted for the SpinFit C800 and new CP145, and wider dual-flange tips. The isolation is very high with either of them (if a bit higher with the SpinFit), lowering the outside on noisy crowded areas to minimal, and probably of the highest isolation level among universal IEMs before going to Custom made options.

As for the cable, it is quite the standard one you would get from most Custom in-ear manufacturers, three twisted strands on the lower half and two on the upper part for each side, comfortable and low in noise. The 2-pin sockets are flushed, though the connection is very tough. There’s the usual memory wire and simple plastic tube that acts as cable slider.


Sound Quality

Gears used: PAW Pico, Hidizs AP200, Aune M1s, xDuoo X10, Headamp Pico Slim. Music files mostly in FLAC and WAVe formats.

With a ‘Reference’ tuning in mind, right from the start the Fibae 3 strikes with impressive transparency and very high level of detail. The overall tonality leads towards the bright signature with a strong lift on the very upper midrange and whole treble frequencies, yet very controlled as an IEM at this price range should perform. The presentation is too effortless, airy, and rather neutral and despite the upper tilt, the Fibae 3 remains relatively smooth (no peaks) and well weighted for a detail oriented IEM.

Bass

For a reference tuned IEM, the whole low frequencies are presented in a very linear way with almost no added flavor or coloring to them. The balance from sub-bass and all the way up to the upper-bass is well kept, with total control and impressive high speed taking full advantage of the balanced armature features to their best. With just a single driver (and not a large one within a 3-BA configuration) the bass quantities are just slightly above of neutral for what a flat reference tuned IEM could be, with a very faint hint of warmth that exchanges fullness on notes for a ‘technically’ strong texture, accuracy and equilibrium between attack and decay. The bass is clean and thus lacks the rumble and sheer power of more musical oriented multi-BA sets, not to mention hybrid sets which add the dynamic counterpart to complete a full and richer balance. It’s not a weakness on the Fibae 3 side as it wasn’t design for that purpose. Moreover, the Fibae 3 low-end also deviates from the more clinical/analytical popular models, such as the Etymotic ER4 or DBA-02 pure TWFK setup, that are missing in sub-bass reach and overall fullness next to this CustomArt IEM.

Midrange

The whole midrange is very transparent and articulated with a very high level of detail. It has a brighter tonality easily perceived through the upper mids with a lot of sparkle and energy for upper instruments, with a slight preference for strings and cymbals over wind instruments. However, the lower mids and male vocals do not feel missing or recessed, as the midrange keeps a little bit of forwardness on the whole presentation without breaking the balance for a ‘reference’ monitor. There’s still fullness to the sound with a fairly enjoyable warmth, that while may give up on the overall sense of musicality and sweetness, it pays off with so much micro detail and a very refined linear response.

Treble

The high frequencies have a very strong lift from lower treble to the upper regions. The Fibae 3 not just classify as having a ‘bright’ tilt; there’s an abundant quantity of treble, and for some can be too much. However, the Fibae 3 doesn’t really carry a very aggressive or too hot treble, that sounds artificial or throws off the overall balance. Technically it is excellent, very resolving and too effortless. The detail is probably the best feature on the Fibae 3, with ultra fine micro detailing that at first might call the listener’s attention too much. The approach of the single BA tweeter unit acts very different from what heard from the TWFK dual drivers or the ED single (when used for ‘highs’ driver alone), as they present a more forwarded detail and can be overwhelming. The Fibae 3, while still strong in treble, is more leveled and smoother, probably due the less peaky lower treble part (just in comparison to the more treble happy tuned sets). Sibilance can be present, but more because the played track asks for that and less from the IEM itself.

While the stage dimensions are not too large on the Fibae 3, it surprisingly shows a good sense of width, especially for this specific tuned type of signature. The depth and height are less, though the imaging and precision is worth praising. The right to left channels separation is easily noticed, but the linearity and less aggressive nature makes it less engaging next to fuller sounding IEMs like the DK-3001 with its hybrid and more open design. Nevertheless, the resolution and speed is much higher and too effortless.

Conclusion

The Custom Art FIBAE 3 is undoubtedly a very strong contender among the mid-tier range of IEMs. It strikes with a rather flat yet balanced full range response, with amazing clarity and great resolution. It’s very difficult not to be impressed by the so high level of micro detail, speed and accuracy the Fibae 3 packs with just 3 Balanced Armature units inside. The build quality also is very solid, as far as acrylic in-ear gets with custom-like shape. The universal fit is well thought too, and a safer bet for those who don’t want to go for a full custom in-ear fit and still have a comfortable earphone with high isolation. The signature may not appeal to everyone – the Fibae 3 would not offer too much emphasis on lower frequencies nor a very strong sense of musicality in its midrange. The treble quantity is plenty, and can be too much for more aggressive genres, however, the Fibae 3 remains reasonably smooth with excellent control. Nevertheless, the high level of detail does not arrive in a too analytical fashion or very lean sound, but rather in a more enjoyable presentation.

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