Hailing from Poland, Europe, Custom Art has been making some of the best IEMs in various price ranges for a while. They have had the legendary Harmony 8 series, a flagship IEM loved by the connoisseurs and desired by consumers. The iconic Fibae series gave us some of the best mid range IEMs like Fibae 3 and 4. Known for its technical capabilities, we still have the flagship Fibae 7 ultimate. With a mixed feelings in my heart, it seems like this iconic European brand is changing it’s strategy. They do not have the most of the Fibae’s BA only lineup anymore. The 3×3 was the last only BA IEM that was available for about an year before getting discontinued this June. Thankfully the newer generation of IEMs are highly capable. Equipped with hybrid drivers they are coming for the mainstream consumers. The first one of this lineup was the Fibae 5. An IEM that isn’t a flagship but can do everything without any hiccups. Exhibiting excellent details and resolution it takes the legacy of the Fibae lineup ahead. Even though it has hybrid drivers in it’s heart the first one labelled as hybrid by Custom Art is the new H3 pro. This has a simpler set of drivers but knowing what Custom Art is capable of I have my hopes high.
Priced at €700 or $700 for Universal and €800/$800 for the custom fit version H3 pro houses an interesting 3 drivers setup. Two DD drivers are responsible for the Lower and mid range while a single planar driver takes care of the highs. A setup that has a lot of promise as we all know DD drivers are known for their bass capabilities and planar drivers are loved for their treble extension.
Get one from these links:
UNBOXING AND ACCESSORIES:
No surprises here. We get an exactly same set of accessories as the Fibae 5. Same box, same packing material, same tips and carry case. What’s different is the cable. Hybrid 3 pro ships with a Null Audio Ethos cable which isn’t as good looking as the Fibae 5 cable. I will suggest you guys to opt for the 8w upgrade cable. It’s asking price of $85 is totally worth it.
If we look into the details, we get a Null Audio Ethos cable which has 4 cores of 5N copper wires. This black cable looks decent but aesthetically doesn’t live up to the price range. We get much more eye catching default cables with IEMs at a much lower price range.
The good thing is the low profile which is much easier to handle and easier to carry around. It isn’t bouncy and feels reasonably supple with fairly low microphonics. It does have a bit of memory but is easily manageable. The cable guides doesn’t exert any pressure or induce any discomfort and along the 3.5mm jack, cable slider and Y-splitter are minimal in size. I definitely would have liked a cable similar to the Fibae 5 but one is supposed to upgrade it anyway so… its okay I guess.
At first glance, it looks exactly same as the Fibae 5. I used to love the filled in shells of the Fibae 3 and 4 but thanks to the DD and moving parts these new gen Custom Art IEMs are shipping with an airy shell. This resin shell is as strong as anything else available in the market but it might not survive a fall of more than 3 feet on a hard surface. The shape, design and ergonomics are very similar to the 3 and 4 but are bigger. It is not as ergonomically designed but the fit is fantastic (if fit is a concern get the Custom version).
The boxy shell design with the nozzle flowing out of the shell might feel a bit odd to some but once placed inside, this IEM has a very good fit thanks the curvy edges and small size. The nozzle too is not big and doesn’t feel odd when used with foam or small tips. It has slightly shorter nozzle than the Fibae 5 and is more stable inside my ears. There are no vents but a port that can be partially closed with the acoustic filter.
Let’s talk about durability. Will this stand a drop from 3 feet on the floor? It can, Custom art is known for their build quality, the IEM feels solid and sturdy in the hand but try not to drop your IEMs, just to be safe.
PAIRING WITH CABLES:
EFFECT Audio Cadmus 8w:
Out of the Signature Series This is the cable of choice for me. It has the balance and details and the slightly mid favoring signature is a delight especially for those who like vocal tracks. The improvements in stage are appreciated as always.
Oh, Don’t worry, H3 pro is not V shaped but this cable definitely gives it different dynamics to work with and this IEM pulls it off effortlessly. It easily moulds into a mid forward IEM with tighter lows with slightly less energetic highs. It doesn’t lose any of its dynamics, sonic abilities or crispiness.
To my delight, notes in the mid range, especially the vocals have taller notes and are a bit more emotional and full. Notes across the spectrum have excellent finishing definition and clarity. Thanks to faster decay we get w lot of air in between notes. Treble has similar lively feel and extension remains the same but are slightly less forward.
Is this the cable for this IEM? Yes and no. Yes, if you want a mid forward sound and no if you want a more musical outcome.
Let’s move on to the Ares S then.
EFFECT AUDIO Ares S 8w:
This is a proper copper cable with thicker and fuller notes. The 4 core version is more balanced and doesn’t help the lows as much as we expect from copper cables.
If you want your IEM to respond to cables and make it warm, thick and organic, this is the cable to get under $500. This is a cable that can make even the sharpest IEMs lose their attack and that’s what it does with the H3 pro.
Lows have more weight, subs are more or less same but the mid bass is fuller and punchier. Mid range notes and vocals gain a lot of body and texture. It still retains good amount of finishing definition and clarity. Treble is reasonably sharp but does lose the extra bit of sharpness and energy in the upper treble range. The improvements in stage are much better than the stock cable but the fuller note doesn’t leave a lot of air in between.
Is this the best cable? Same, yes and no. If you want warmth and smoother notes, this is the perfect cable but if you want to retain the bite and sharpness and can do with slightly lesser bass body then opt for the Cadmus 8w.
To be honest, this IEM is meant to be paired with SPC cables. It’s dynamic drivers like the way SPC and hybrid cables deliver the power. Is this different from the stock cable? Signature wise, no. All we get is a bigger stage and filling notes. Attack, presentation, sonics, tonality and timber remains the same.
Is this upgrade worth it? Oh definitely. If you like the stock sound, this is one excellent cable to invest in.
PW Audio 1960s SE:
Can I take this IEM to the Flagship levels? Hell yeah!! The potential of this cable takes this sub$1000 to the level of Flagships like Noble Khan. Khan is a bit more aggressive, this pairing is forgiving.
We get excellent control and some of the best dynamics. Subs have better presence, notes have superb texture with pleasing tonality while the definition is sky high. Increase in stage dimensions is nearly doubled and this added space provides excellent cue placement and air even when notes now are more full bodied. Treble is relaxed yet agile and lively.
The most impressive part is the synergy and cohesion this cable brings into the equation. I have heard analytical cables with huge stages but hadn’t heard a cable this much capable in synergy and cohesion. It’s transient effects and the way notes are formed is captivating.
PAIRING WITH SOURCES:
I have used a handful of Custom Art IEMs and even when they were BA based IEMs, I never faced any issues when it comes to source matching. Thanks to the Flat impedance technology these IEMs are not demanding when it comes to sources. Most of them will sound very good with any source. Same is true for H3 pro too. It has an impedance of 7ohm and sensitivity of 110db which is plenty loud. I have paired it with weak sources like my Mobile phone and powerful sources like Micro Signature and the response from this IEM is reasonably uniform. There are no compressed or jarred feelings even with the Infinix GT10 pro.
Yes, the qualities of the source do reflect on the IEM, with Micro Signature it sounds open and slightly fuller with pleasing tonality and timber. When paired with a dongle like Fiio KA5 we get excellent balance and details with slightly tighter notes. In conclusion I can say that one can pair this beautiful IEM with mostly anything but yes, it’s an expensive IEM and do it a favor and get at a decent dongle for it and it will not disappoint you.
Custom Art IEMs are known for their excellent technical capabilities and the H3 pro stays true to this. It has the similar technicalities of the Fibae 5. The DD drivers are tuned to deliver excellent control and precision while the planar driver delivers excellent resolution and clarity.
Tonality and timber are very much neutral while the overall decay speed is a bit on the faster side delivering crispier notes. There is a hint of warmth with right amount of sharpness. It’s soothing while hitting the right spots.
I am using a generic wide bore tips and the stock cable, Fiio KA5 and Shanling UA5 as source.
I have been looking for this. Sheer perfection. It not only has excellent control and synergy it has the best balance of speed, body and weight. This balance gives it an unparallel dynamic range which harbours one of most capable and versatile range of notes under its belt and the amount of effortlessness is simply mind boggling. This type of range is something only flagships are able to pull off.
Is it a bassy IEM? No, not really upto the bass head levels but when it hits, its mouth watering. Stupendous performance. What surprises me is the dynamics. It’s surprisingly outstanding. Its accuracy is captivating.
Let me explain. When an upper bass note hits with after decay residue what we usually get are softer note that land with a cushioned feel and the hardness at the finishing region is comprised. H3 pro aces this with superior control. The hardness is intact while the energy of the decaying note drops rapidly yet stays on for a small while, exhibiting excellent weight, cohesion and control. Subs and mid range notes have similar feel. The actual notes have excellent transparency and energy while the decay starts at a lower energy but stays for a while, bestowing the H3 pro with mud free yet full bodied notes. Try finding an IEM this capable under $1000. I will wait.
Sub bass extension is superior to its counter parts and the rumble is very good too. Mid bass is fuller with a dynamic area of impact. The way this IEM adapts to the need of the tracks is simply mind blowing. What an IEM. What a low end.
I love the mid range. And the clarity we get here is superb but this is the weaker side of this IEM and it eats IEMs like Monarch mk2 and 64audio Duo for lunch. Just imagine where it stands. Then why do I think it is its weaker point? It’s the presentation. It changes with the filters but one has to change filters and one filter will satisfy only one set of listeners. Let’s discuss the scenarios first. The stock brown filter has excellent clarity, Superior finishing definition and energy. Its crispier notes deliver excellent resolution and traction. But while it’s a hit for those who like details and clarity, for the other half it can be a thin, dry and not so smooth sounding average performer. For those seeking body and fuller notes can switch to the stock narrow bore tips or Spinfit CP100. It brings in juicier notes and reduces the sharpness a bit, but if you have to trounce the sharpness, switch to the yellow filters. It takes the energy level down a bit and pushes the IEM into a more pronounced W shaped presentation. A detail seeker (like me) will feel dissatisfied with this.
So here are the scenarios.
1. Brown filter: Fantastic details, Crips and more balanced but thin and dry for the lover of smoothness.
2. Yellow filter: Juicier and solid but lack the extra bite that some of us enjoy.
I love details and clarity and the Brown filter is brimming with these so here’s a more detailed analysis with this fantastic filter.
Vocals have a bit more pop and sound superb with excellent texture and precision. Notes have the right amount body, both thin and thick, depending upon the track. The decay is paced superbly. I am in awe the way this IEM nails male vocals. It brings sharpness with artists like “The Weeknd” and has the required throatier body with “Dua Lipa”. With “Papa Roach” we get the middle ground, not sharp, not thin, sheer accuracy. I don’t always run out of superlatives but this IEM has so much going for it that it has made me lose words.
Instruments around the vocals are slightly less energetic to be less on the face. They still have superb accuracy and clarity. It has the bite but it’s the playful type that leaves an impression that makes us come for more but doesn’t leave a negative impression. Air between instruments is superb too. There is no additional or excess energy in the upper treble region and it blends nicely into the lower treble.
Love this tuning, perfect for those who like technicalities without being sharp or thin, dynamics without being edgy or dull.
After delivering an impressive mid range we are treated with an excellent treble performance. Powered by a planar driver, this treble region is tuned around the Fibae 5 and performs exceptionally. Keep in mind that I didn’t get any chance to work on Fibae 7 while the Fibae 4 is very good, it doesn’t have the endless type of extension we get with the Fibae 3 and I am happy to report that we are being treated with the Endless type treble extension here, without compromising details or transparency. There is barely any drop in the upper treble region but the slightly less energetic notes are there to make this IEM comfortable for longer listening sessions. What we do get is enjoyable spark and lively presentation, superb transparency, resolution and definition.
Coming from balanced upper mids there are no demons in the lower treble region. In fact the whole treble region is devoid of any unnecessary, uncomfortable sharpness or peaks.
Layering and separation are excellent with very good contrast between back and foreground acts across the spectrum. We get some of the best air between instruments.
IMAGING AND STAGE:
Hybrid 3 pro has a well rounded stage. It has above average height, one of the best X-axis width and decent Z-axis depth but the stage has excellent presence both behind the head and superb depth below the ears. It has a well rounded stage distribution and no area feels busier or cramped. It places most of the instruments and some of the vocals out of the head while bass and rest of the vocals are placed inside the head.
Imaging is excellent with top notch cue placement and plenty of air between instruments. Thanks to Planar driver, sonics are much better than what we get with Monarch mk2. There is no boxy or restrained feeling to worry about either.
Without the filters this IEM feels hollow. It still has the same kind of details, texture and resolution but the after decay effects are more prolonged and are the notes have compromised bases. They are way too wide at the floor and feel hollow. Bass is flattish while the mids and vocals are nearly similar (with energy and emphasis) the treble is a a bit sharper with a bit of extra finishing energy. So that’s the first question answered.
The Grey filter increases the bass quantity by a small margin. It provide a bit more mid bass body and considerably more rumble while the sub-bass gains tiny bit of volume. The area of impact is bigger, so is the punch. One good thing is the notes fire up instead of moving horizontally, leaving room for cleaner air between other instruments. We get more overall coloration too as the signature is more W shaped where the instruments along with the vocals are pushed back as the bass takes the driving seat. Vocals still have similar pop to them but the notes are not as tall as the mid treble or mid bass. They are juicier and fuller though. Treble plays the supporting role with similar energy and attack as the brown filter but it feels elevated because of the less energetic mid range. Sonics are slightly less prominent and transparency of micro details are slightly lowered too.
The yellow filters are more balanced and delivering more precision and accuracy by reducing the bass quantity and providing more energy to the mid range. We get much tighter and lighter bass notes, they are there but aren’t heavy or impactful. It definitely cuts out any mud or loosened notes. So is this filter good for detail hogs? Kind of, mostly because it definitely has superior transparency and clarity but on the down side we get some extra sharpness that can make the whole experience uncomfortable, especially with rock or metal tracks. I definitely would like to have a bit less attack and no prizes for guessing, I am back to the brown filter for this review.
It’s excellent to have options but these filters need a bit more work, putting these in isn’t a child’s play either and they need a bit of refinement before they reach the sonic levels of Apex Modules by 64audio. The treble especially is a bit off with both the filters
Really? What competition!! None, you are looking at the wrong segment. Comparison against IEMs under $1000 is silly. This IEM has a stupid amount of superiority over them. Its technical superiority is silly. All the competition it has is against IEMs priced over $1000. The next IEM that can match up to it is it’s elder brother Fibae 5 and after that only Effect Audio Gaea is capable enough to match up. Monarch mk2 stands nowhere close this beauty.
Even Gaea bows out to the level of lower end dynamic range of this. Gaea is no competition for sub-ass presence and is hotter with sharper treble range that gets a bit uncomfortable with longer sessions. Stage is similar and sonics actually are better with the H3 pro. Vocals too are better on the Hybrid 3 pro. H3 pro is a stupidly capable IEM.
It has no competition my friends, none stands against it in its price range. If you love technicalities and want to experience one of the best dynamic range and the best details under $1000, this is the IEM to get.
And ohh.. Don’t worry. I will put it against its big brother, Fibae 5. Let’s dance!!
VS Fibae 5:
Fibae 5 is a precision tool in its own. It easily surpasses its asking price and indulges with flagships with a better cable. Its planar highs are kind of similar while the BA mids has a different type of presentation. The DD lows are a bit fuller and needs no filters to sound good.
Please have a watch:
I know what to expect from a given IEM. While this was on its way I wasn’t exactly overjoyed which I should have been. I took Custom Art lightly. It took me a while but I realized the capabilities of a Dynamic Driver, even when it’s in a hybrid system. And the Hybrid 3 pro is a monster. All it needs is a better cable (The 8 core upgrade cable gets this job done too). The technicalities it delivers is worthy of much more than the asking price suggests. I am literally blown away by this IEM. If given a decent cable it has the potential to take on any IEM around $2000 without breaking into sweat. Custom Art could have easily placed Hybrid 3 pro (with a better stock cable) as a slightly cheaper side grade to the Fibae 7U and it would have passed easily. Add a top quality cable hear it rise up to flagships with pleasure.
I know this decade isn’t over but guess what this is the best IEM of this decade so far. No other IEM ticks more boxes than this splendid IEM. Superb bass performance is paired with excellent mid range clarity, treble definition and extension. The stage is excellent too. For a $780 IEM, this is revolutionary. Mind blown!!
Custom Art, hats off. Bow down to the best IEM of this decade, till date.
All I can do it praise this IEM. I simply can’t ask for more at this price. It has everything most of us look for. One of the most common questions we face is “Can you live with this IEM for the rest of your life?” Guess what, This is that IEM for me. I will pair it with Shanling UA5 or Questyle M15 and that’s it. It does a lot of things I love and no other IEM is as technically, dynamically capable as this, under $1000.