Custom Art FIBAE 3 – Through the Looking Glass

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DISCLAIMER: Custom Art provided me with the FIBAE 3 in return for my honest opinion. I am not personally affiliated with the company in any way, nor do I receive any monetary rewards for a positive evaluation. The review is as follows.

Custom Art is a company on the rise. Securing a place in porta-fi history with both their Music and Harmony line-ups, the Polish manufacturer’s recent efforts have been focused on breeding a new range of IEMs packed with unique and innovative technology. Enter: FIBAE. FIBAE stands for Flat Impedance Balanced Armature Earphone, promising monitors that maintain consistent sound signatures regardless of source. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the line-up’s latest: The FIBAE 3. Built from the ground up to adopt a reference philosophy, the FIBAE 3 marks Custom Art’s first foray into brighter pastures. But, it wouldn’t be a Piotr Granicki product without his more musical inclinations; resulting in a signature that balances exceptional clarity with boyish charms – a gorgeous amalgamation of transparency and fun.

Custom Art FIBAE 3

  • Driver count: Three balanced-armature drivers
  • Impedance: 7.3Ω @ 1kHz
  • Sensitivity: 110dB @ 0.1V
  • Key feature(s) (if any): FIBAE technology
  • Available form factor(s): Universal acrylic and custom acrylic/silicone IEM
  • Price: €525
  • Website: www.thecustomart.com

Build and Accessories

Custom Art delivered my FIBAE 3’s with a familiar slew of accessories: A soft pouch, cleaning tool, desiccant and their signature brochure; all nestled safely within a Peli 1010 case. I sincerely admire Piotr’s knack for simplicity, but part of me would love to see more from the Polish powerhouse. In a landscape rich with magnetic enclosures, logo-embossed packaging and personalised hard cases, presentation has become more crucial than ever. And, despite how immensely Custom Art has matured in terms of technology and sound, I’d want nothing more than to see their packaging do the same. The FIBAE 3’s come in a sufficiently functional package, but nowadays, sufficient may not be enough.

However, with all that said, competition is sparse when it comes to Custom Art’s fit and finish. This is my third pair of in-ears from Custom Art and they’re my best-fitting ones yet. Finishing was an extremely painstaking process due to the ambitious design Piotr and I decided to attempt, resulting in a couple, minute rough spots along the faceplate edge. But, the end result is absolutely stunning. For my FIBAE 3’s, Piotr asked if I wanted my pair to be his first attempt at using mirror foil faceplates – a highly reflective material that’s as difficult to work with as it is magnificent to behold. After agreeing to the idea and a short bout of brainstorming, we finally settled on a minimalistic “F3” cut-out design.

And while it’s gonna take Piotr a bit more practice and a few-thousand-dollars’ worth of high-end equipment to push the material to its fullest potential, I can’t say I’m at all disappointed with how my IEMs turned out. Paired with a light turquoise shell, the monitors embody a simple, clean and futuristic motif. Wholly surrounded by smooth, even surfaces, the shells boast excellent transparency; proudly displaying the IEM’s tactfully-arranged innards. The faceplates scream class, and the laser-cut designs display excellent precision. All in all, while Custom Art is in urgent need of a packaging revamp, the build quality they consistently put out continues to impress. Tackling bespoke design after bespoke design with inspiring enthusiasm, they are the epitome of unbridled passion, outlandish creativity and exceptional discipline.

FIBAE Technology

I gave a thorough outline of Custom Art’s innovative FIBAE technology in my review of the FIBAE 2 – with the inclusion of visual graphs and my own personal experiences with the feature. Click here to take a look.

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About Author

Church-boy by day and audio-obsessee by night, Daniel Lesmana’s world revolves around the rhythms and melodies we lovingly call: Music. When he’s not behind a console mixing live for a congregation of thousands, engineering records in a studio environment, or making noise behind a drum set, you’ll find him on his laptop analysing audio gear with fervor and glee. Now a specialist in custom IEMs, cables and full-sized headphones, he’s looking to bring his unique sensibilities - as both an enthusiast and a professional - into the reviewer’s space; a place where no man has gone before.

12 Comments

  1. Kal on

    I recently saw your write up on the EE phantom. How do you think the fibae 3 compares with the phantom? thanks

    • Deezel on

      Hi Kal,

      The Phantom and the FIBAE 3 are COMPLETELY different IEMs. The Phantom is a balanced piece with a slightly warm tone, but it has very little colour on its own. It’s overall presentation – from timbre, to texture, to staging, etc. – is determined by the pairing (whether it be the DAP, cable or track). But, it achieves this balance through an elevated mid-bass for warmth, counteracted by an extended treble for stage cleanliness. A neutral lower-midrange and a rise in the upper-midrange gives it presence, but the bass (again) prevents it from going too lean. The Phantom concludes its signature with a linear and relaxed upper treble, to maintain its organic tone and balance.

      The FIBAE 3 has a sub-bass bias, which makes its low-end more rumbly and visceral, but dry and tight in texture. The Phantom achieves similar physicality through sheer bass extension, though the FIBAE 3 is definitely growl-y-er here. The FIBAE 3 has a linear mid-bass which gives its low-end a brighter tone, a drier texture and its vocals leaner body. Balance between the lower-midrange and upper-midrange gives the FIBAE 3 an equally-present vocal range, but the Phantom’s notes are much denser and richer – because of mid-bass heft and the linear upper-treble.

      The FIBAE 3 dips in the lower-treble, which makes it more forgiving here than on the Phantom, but its articulation becomes more diffuse as I mentioned in the review. The Phantom is more tactful and rounded here, particularly with instruments like hi-hats. Finally, the FIBAE 3 implements a huge rise in the upper-treble for clarity, crispness and air, while the Phantom obviously goes the opposite direction. This makes the FIBAE 3 a lot brighter than the Phantom, and gives notes an airy edge. The Phantom – again – chooses to form more rounded and refined notes for a more natural presentation.

  2. Vel on

    Can u compare FIBAE 3 with the earsonics velvet if possible?

    • Deezel on

      Hi Vel,

      Unfortunately, I haven’t heard the Velvet yet, so I can’t comment. My apologies. 🙂

  3. Albert C on

    nice review!
    is it a giant killer? does it stack up against totl flagships I’m terms of micrpdetail? (I’m guessing not)

    • Deezel on

      Hi Albert,

      Well, that of course depends on what kind of giants you’re interested in killing. 😀 The FIBAE 3 is an impressive performer in extension, clarity and definition, but it has drawbacks of its own compared to the most well-renowned flagships on the scene. IEMs like the Zeus-XR or the A18 will best it in terms of note resolution, solidity, and – above all – soundstage expansion and headroom. But, what makes the FIBAE 3 impressive is those differences aren’t as large as the price gap suggests. If you’re shooting for TOTL quality, the FIBAE 3 might not necessarily do it for you. But, if you’re looking for some of the best technical performance the mid-tier has to offer, then the FIBAE 3 will absolutely shine.

  4. Peter V on

    I am curious how this compared so Custom Art’s previous Music Two IEM?

    • Deezel on

      Hi Peter,

      The Music Two is very similar to the FIBAE 2, except it’s significantly less bass-y. So, with that in mind, the comparison between the FIBAE 3 and the FIBAE 2 – for the most part – should apply.

      • Peter V on

        Thank you for your quick reply and disregard of my initial grammatical error 🙂

  5. Syracuse on

    That is some great value right there. Putting this on the short list for expansion.

  6. Syracuse on

    I had the 8.2 and while it is an excellent ciem the tonality and treble didn’t please me. This on the other hand looks like incredible value for money.

    • Deezel on

      Hi Syracuse,

      The FIBAE 3 is brighter, more open and more energetic than the H8.2, but it retains intimacy and engagement in the midrange. I think it’ll prove a mighty contender in the bang-for-the-buck space.

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