Custom Art Go One: Wireless Winner – An In-Ear Monitor Review

Select Comparisons

Custom Art FIBAE Black

Comparing off of the Black into the Go One, you’ll hear the latter is the tighter, crisper, punchier-sounding of the two. The Black comes off richer and fattier, largely due to its elevated lower-midrange. So, its presentation overall comes off stolid or passive. Whereas, the Go One will give you more bite up top, as well as a stronger contrast between its lows and highs. Aside from that lower-midrange discrepancy, this also comes from the Go One’s stronger extension either direction. Sub-bass rumbles and hits are more tactile on the DD-equipped in-ear, while the FIBAE Black’s thicker, more melodic low-end is more heard than felt. Up high, you can hear the Black taper off too, so you won’t get that slight edge in note sharpness the Go One has. So, it’s a contrast in intent as far as timbre is concerned; the moony FIBAE Black vs. the snappier Go One.

Technically, those advantages in treble extension account for several differences. The Go One’s got the darker backdrop, which allows its instruments to pop a lot more. It’s part and parcel with the punchiness difference I described above. And, the air between those notes is cleaner as well, which gives you stronger separation and clarity. By comparison, images on the Black can tend to smear into and congeal with each other. Imaging is also where these two diverge. As I’d mentioned earlier on in this review, the Go One has a more even, spherical stage compared to Piotr’s earlier efforts. The FIBAE Black is one such IEM. It has a lot more width than depth, and more width than the Go One, even. But, despite that, I personally find the more globe-like presentation of the latter much more natural. So, all around, I think Piotr’s made superb efforts in succeeding his single-driver hit with marked improvements in imaging, texture and resolution.

FiR Audio VxV

The majority of the Go One and VxV’s differences boil down to the highs. Where the former dips, the latter peaks, and this creates two vastly opposing tonalities. The VxV is a neutral-leaning monitor with crisp, clean transients, while the Go One, in spite of its capacity for separation and clarity through technique, is softer when it comes to raw attack. Cymbals crash and snares crack on the former, while I’ve mentioned how those instruments sound on the Go One in Presentation. When it comes to sheer clarity, details are pushed further forward on the VxV as well. Listening to triangles and bongos, you’ll pick up on the former’s ping and the texture of the latter’s skin  more obviously on the VxV. Whereas, the Go One shuffles them towards the back and incorporate them into that ensemble. So, like the Go One had more contrast and bite than the FIBAE Black, the VxV is crisper and airier due to sheer treble content, which’ll give you even more colours of EDC to choose from.

Technically, I think the VxV will give you a more impactful first impression. It’s got that wow factor from its clarity, and the imaging it’s capable of is nothing short of impressive. While I’m fine with the Go One’s more intimate, in-your-head stage, the VxV counters with one that’s ever-so-slightly out-of-head. That’s further bolstered by how these two in-ears arrange their images respectively. The Go One’s bigger, denser instruments are more forwardly-positioned and concave in shape, while the VxV’s align themselves along the periphery of its stage for a more convex presentation. Its notes will seem a tad further away as a result, which, combined with the air its higher treble response gives it, will lend it a more open tone. But, if you prefer a more concentrated arrangement with instruments radiating and vibrating close to you, the Go One’s image would be more desirable. As always, it’s all about a preference of colour, which these two provide a variety of immediately.

Oriolus Isabellae

The Oriolus Isabellae is, like the Go One, a vocal-forward, single-DD IEM. And, like the VxV, the differences it shares with the Go One largely come down to top-end quantity. The Isabellae has a brighter mid-treble, so its cutting characteristics are more similar to the VxV’s. More crucially, though, it’s got a much stronger low-treble, which can even get fairly peaky at certain volumes. That is never an issue on the Go One, which comes off smoother and more diffuse. Transients on the Isabellae are sat above the body of vocals and instruments as well, which gives it that crisp, peppy profile. Whereas, I’m hearing them level with (if not a smidgeon behind) the 2-3kHz range on the Go One, for a denser texture by comparison. You’ll hear a lot more muscle and meat on male vocals, baritone saxophones and violas, for example, on the Custom Art IEM, while the Isabellae will give you more of that stereotypical Eastern sound catered towards female vocals and violins.

Technically, though the Isabellae (again, like the VxV) will give you more of that wow-factor clarity, the gap isn’t as large here between it and the Go One. While the latter’s instruments will seem bigger, fuller and meatier, the raw dimensions of their stages aren’t far off. They position hard-panned sounds at around the same spot, even if they’ll seem a hair further away on the Isabellae for the same reasons they did on the VxV. I find the Go One has the more multi-faceted bass; more nuanced and textured. Whereas, this Isabellae’s, though nicely articulated, is more of a foundational element holding the rest of its FR up. The midrange is a toss-up between whether you prefer the thick, muscly tones of the Go One, versus the reedy-er, brighter ones of the Isabellae. Then, treble is a bit of a similar contest. So, for me, the Go One and the Isabellae are sides of the same coin. Whether brighter or warmer, midrange enthusiasts ought to be happy with both as their EDC.

Verdict

Custom Art’s Go One is the everyman’s EDC. It cleans up, refines and heightens what the FIBAE Black was capable of, yet retains all the smoothness and body that made it what it was. And, just like that very monitor, the Go One exceeds what a $500 in-ear is typically capable of as well. It benefits heavily from Piotr’s recent advances in 3D imaging and end-to-end extension. And, it’s got one of the stronger midranges I’ve heard from Custom Art, thanks to its ability to accurately adapt to the track, made all the sweeter by its dense, natural tone. It isn’t the in-ear for those who want crisp, tight edges or out-of-head stages. But, it’s a dream for those who want smooth, solid sonics with swinging dynamics and separation to boot. Custom Art are no strangers to IEMs that punch above their weight. Paired with in-house tech, Bluetooth connectivity and Piotr’s classic house sound, the Go One is an easy addition to that roster.

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ABOUT AUTHOR

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Deezel

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.

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