Custom Art FIBAE 3

Introduction

Custom Art was founded in 2012 in Poland by a fervent audiophile, Piotr Granicki. They specialize in making handcrafted iems, be it in universal or custom form. For custom iems, Custom Art is one of the few that offers the option of crafting them either in silicone or regular acrylic. They have a series of iems built with the FIBAE technology. FIBAE is also known as Flat Impedance Balanced Armature Earphone. I would like to Custom Art for the review unit of FIBAE 3. At the moment, you can purchase the FIBAE 3 from Custom Art.

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Specifications

  • Driver Configuration: 3 Balanced Armature
  • Impedance: 7.3 Ohm @1kHz (+-0.9 Ohm 10Hz-20kHz)
  • Sensitivity: 110dB @1kHz @0.1V
  • Frequency Range: 10Hz-21000Hz (+-20dB into IEC 60318-4 coupler)

Unboxing & Accessories

The FIBAE 3 comes in a smooth matte black package like a gift box. After removing the lid, you can see the contents in the package. There is a black Pelican 1010 case. Inside the case, there is the iem, instruction manual, cleaning tool, pack of eartips and silica gel. The accessories are quite sufficient. It is a nice touch by Custom Art to provide the Pelican case for storage of iem as it has a strong build.

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IEM Build & Design

The FIBAE 3 shell is made up of acrylic and it has a smooth surface. On each faceplate, there is a black CA logo on gold foil. On the inside of each iem side, there is the model number in blue and red color to differentiate between left and right respectively. The nozzle is slightly angled with 2 bores. The shell is translucent purple in color with gold glitters. The housing is rather light weight and the build is good.

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Cable Build & Design

The cable is a detachable 4 core cable with 2 pin 0.78mm connectors. On the connectors, there are blue and red dot on the left and right side respectively so users can differentiate. The connectors have black housing. The cable has a memory wire section that is enclosed in a transparent heat shrink tube. It is not very flexible due to the metal inside that helps to form the shape. The chin slider is made is made up of a transparent tube and the y-splitter is made of a soft rubber material with strain relief. The jack is 3.5mm gold plated right angled with strain relief.

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Sound Analysis

Lows

The FIBAE 3 has moderate sub-bass quantity and it is presented cleanly. It is extended well. The bass decay has sufficient agility to handle demanding tracks. Bass texture is rendered in a smooth manner. The rumble is quite natural. The mid-bass has acceptable body which helps to prevent a dense feeling. The slam is delivered with control and pace. Each bass note is articulated precisely with good definition and packs enough strength for the impact to be felt. The bass performance demonstrates good finesse.

Mids

The midrange takes on a nice forward presentation and pack details. It is expressed with a high engagement level. The lower mids has good quantity and it is able to tackle male vocals with ease. There are no signs of dry and hollow feeling. The fullness helps to convey emotions effectively. The upper mids on the FIBAE 3 is presented with great forwardness which benefits female vocals significantly. With good crisp and excellent definition, it leads to a strong vocals performance.

Treble

The treble has great extension and it takes on an energetic presentation. There is no sibilance and harshness. With a high level of details retrieval, clarity is showcased well. The amount of air rendered is great which gives an open feeling. There is sparkle which gives an exciting bite to the overall sound. The lively approach is able to captivate listeners and it creates vibrancy.

Soundstage

The FIBAE 3 expands in a natural manner and the width has great magnitude. In addition, it provides a spacious feeling. There is minimal congestion. Positioning of instruments and vocals benefits from the stage and there is a high precision. The depth offers a moderate amount of space.

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Comparisons

Custom Art FIBAE 3 vs Custom Art FIBAE 2

The FIBAE 2 has more sub-bass quantity than the FIBAE 3 and it sounds fuller with extra musicality. The FIBAE 3 is able to extend its sub-bass greater with more depth. The bass decay on the FIBAE 3 has faster pace than the FIBAE 2 and bass texture on the FIBAE 2 is smoother. Each bass note on the FIBAE 3 is articulated with extra precision and the hit is stronger. The FIBAE 3 has the edge in agility. The mid-bass on the FIBAE 2 has additional quantity and the slam is expressed with a more weighted feeling. The midrange of the FIBAE 3 is more lively than the FIBAE 2 and it boasts a higher level of transparency. The lower mids on the FIBAE 2 is fuller in terms of quantity and the body helps to tackle male vocals effectively. The upper mids on the FIBAE 3 has extra forwardness than the FIBAE 2 and it increases the intimacy level of female vocals. Next, in terms of treble, the FIBAE 3 has better extension and it is brighter. The amount of air rendered on the FIBAE 3 is slightly more with sparkle. The FIBAE 2 takes on a smoother approach with additional body. Lastly, for the soundstage, both expands in a natural manner. The width of the FIBAE 3 is greater while the FIBAE 2 has a more closed in depth.

Custom Art FIBAE 3 vs Earsonics ES3

The FIBAE 3 has more sub-bass quantity than the ES3 and it boasts better extension. The sub-bass reproduction on the FIBAE 3 is more impactful. The FIBAE 3 has better engagement. The bass decay on the ES3 is quicker with agility. Bass texture on both is rendered with similar smoothness. The mid-bass on the FIBAE 3 has additional quantity which helps to express the slam in a weighted feeling. Each bass note on the FIBAE 3 is articulated with a stronger punch. The midrange on both has similar details retrieval. The ES3 has a leaner midrange. The lower mids on the FIBAE 3 sounds fuller than the ES3 and this benefits the expression of male vocals. The upper mids on the FIBAE 3 is slightly more forward than the ES3 and this contributes to female vocals sounding more intimate. The treble on the FIBAE 3 extends better and operates with a brighter approach. The FIBAE 3 has slightly greater amount of air but the ES3 is smoother. Crisp on the FIBAE 3 is better and the extra sparkle adds bite to the overall sound. Lastly, FIBAE 3 has a natural soundstage expansion. The FIBAE 3 excels in the width magnitude while the depth of the FIBAE 3 is slightly more closed in.

Custom Art FIBAE 3 vs P.EAR.S SH-3

The FIBAE 3 has more sub-bass quantity than the SH-3 and the SH-3 has greater extension. The FIBAE 3 has a fuller sub-bass reproduction while the SH-3 expresses it in a more clinical manner. Rumble on the FIBAE 3 is presented in a natural manner. The mid-bass on the FIBAE 3 has additional quantity and the slam is expressed in a full manner. Each bass note on the SH-3 is articulated with slightly more strength. The bass texture on the FIBAE 3 is rendered more smoothly than the SH-3. Bass decay on the SH-3 is slightly quicker and there is a higher engagement level. The midrange on the FIBAE 3 is fuller than the SH-3 and it benefits vocals reproduction. The transparency level on the SH-3 is higher. The lower mids on the FIBAE 3 is slightly thicker than the SH-3 and it helps to express male vocals better. The upper mids on the FIBAE 3 has a little more forwardness and the female vocals has higher intimacy level. For the treble, the SH-3 has greater extension. The amount of air rendered is greater on the SH-3 which gives a light and airy feeling. There is more treble body on the FIBAE 3. The FIBAE 3 has additional sparkle. Lastly, the FIBAE 3 expands naturally for its soundstage. The SH-3 has greater width magnitude while the depth of the FIBAE 3 is more closed in.

Conclusion

The FIBAE 3 is a musical sounding iem that is able to produce impactful bass, smooth midrange and sparkly treble. It has a lively sound with great extension on both ends. The engagement level operates at a high standard. The Custom Art FIBAE 3 delivers an impressive performance to clinch one of the top spots for triple balanced armature iems.

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