Modern wisdom says super warm headphones are best paired with neutral or brighter sources. Too much of a good thing can spoil the day. And if you’re dealing with budget DAPs, I would certainly steer you in that direction. However, some of these high-end devices have enough resolution, clarity, and openness, that even when they lean warm, the sheer performance of the pairing wins out.
Take the iBasso DX200 with AMP8 ($899, Review HERE). This was my reference player for most of the sound impressions. While the DX200 is known to be on the brighter side, some of its amp modules actually tip it the other way. And AMP8 is possibly the warmest of them all. Yet… FIBAE ME utterly shines. There is so much dynamism, soundstage, and detail, ME can’t help but showcase a vivid and, dare I say it, clear, voice.
Astell&Kern’s A&futura SE100 ($1,599) is awfully close to neutral, with just the tiniest hint of warmth. Clarity exudes. Resolution slays. It gives FIBAE a kick of transparency, while accentuating that seductive smoothness they both share. The soundstage is grand. The bass is tight and deep. Treble extends and almost twinkles. No question, this is one of the finest couplings you can make.
The Opus#2 ($900, Review HERE) is the king of transparency. Not because it’s bright, or thin, or overly airy. f**k no. It’s so natural sounding I always forget I’m listening to a device. It just gets out of the way. Timbre, note weight, dynamics, soundstage, resolution… it’s so effortlessly correct. If you’re seeking a top performer to reveal everything FIBAE ME is capable of, without adding any color, or lacking any power, this is a great choice.
For a more wallet-friendly player which still unlocks ME’s greatness, I can recommend the iBasso DX150 with AMP7 ($499, Review HERE). Now, don’t think that excludes the stock module, AMP6. No that sounds great, too. But AMP7 is a lot of fun with DX150. I haven’t tried AMP8 yet. That’s been on the DX200 since it arrived, and I’m in no hurry to remove it. This pairing sounds so aggressive. Violently musical! The bass drivers are about to bust out of the shell. Treble really comes alive. It’s like FIBAE just took a hardy dose of meth and now believes if it jumps high enough, it will take to the skies and soar like Superman.
Finally, I recently wrote about the Cayin iHA-6 ($699, Review HERE). A desktop amp! It’s so clear and transparent, so detailed and dynamic. Using the Opus#2 as the DAC, this setup added a f**k-ton to the technical attributes of ME, while boosting its natural talents. The pure liveliness that much power can give to even a highly efficient IEM is a wonder to behold.
While we’re on the subject of pairings, here are some friendly cable pair-ups to consider:
Effect Audio Leonidas: My favorite wire for ME. It’s tight, controlled, high-resolution, and supremely transparent. FIBAE doesn’t need any extra warmth or bass, and Leo doesn’t give it. Instead, it refines to perfection what’s already there.
HanSound Agni: My second favorite. This one adds a touch more brightness, increasing light and detail, which are things a warmth monster like ME needs help with. But it is also a very smooth, liquid cable, and plays nice with Custom Art’s tuning.
Effect Audio Thor II Bespoke: The 8-wire Thor sounds impressive with ANY IEM… so far as I’ve tested, at least. But I will say FIBAE ME just doesn’t need the increase in low-end this cable provides. It sounds amazing, but not necessarily the best. Well… it depends on my mood! Sometimes MORE is not better. And sometimes it is. I still favor this cable above all for my Legend X. PS: the 4-wire is just perfect.
plusSound Exo Tri-Copper: Tri-Copper is a weird cable. It’s salvation for some IEMs, and doom for others. For thin earphones with weak bass, it can really beef shit up. But for IEMs which are already outrageously beefy and warm… goddamn! Not helpful! FIBAE wants silver!
Clean and clear are the traits you want to push with FIBAE ME. They don’t need any additional help in the “musical” category. 😉
Nice write-up! Quick question….any idea as to which of these two cables from Moon-Audio you think would work best with the Fibae ME?
– Bronze Dragon IEM cable ($200) – (reviews consider them “warm, full, musical” with plenty of “detail and subtlety”)
– Silver Dragon V1 IEM cable ($195). – (reviews consider them “clean, clear, pure, and detail-oriented sound”.
Both were TAS Headphone cable of the year………..many thanks!
I have not heard the final tuning of BLACK. From what I have heard, I prefer ME.
I enjoy ur reviews— I have an order in for the CA Fibae Black—but also have an opportunity to get the ME for a discount and would have to reshell—
I know it is all subjective–but in ur opinion do u prefer the ME or the Black?
Thanks. Glad you liked it.
Sorry, Csaba, I still have not had the pleasure of trying the R6, or the R3.
Great review Pinky!
I’d searched for something like these.
Have you tried them with Hiby R6?