Short Report of the "Fabolous Ears"
When visiting the German High-End HiFi-Exhibition in May, a new custom IEM was introduced by Claus Zapletal from Berlin. Details in www.fabsearphones.de. It is a two-way 3-driver system which is very small and therefore extremely comfortable to wear. In Germany their retail-price is a very competitive 550,- Euros. After Claus took my ear-canal impressions and some waiting-time for the production, the listening sessions began during my holidays. Here is my report of these wonderful IEM´s.
Keep in mind that this report is based on my personal impression.
The pictures show the Westone ES3 and the Fabolous Ears...
Test setup and comparison
Players: Creative Zen Touch, Cowon iaudio7
Amplifier: Meier Porta Corda
IEM´s: Fabs (Fabolous Ears), Westone ES3 with 120 Ohms adapter
Music: Pop and Rock and very few classic recordings. (John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Idol, Juli, Christina Stuermer, Bruch, ...).
My first impression was that the musical reproduction was rather unspectacular with no particular frequency enhancements. This is normally a good sign, because it represents a linear frequency response. This is true also for the Grado RS1 which performs in a very similar way. The sound is very musical and shows a harmonically correct performance throughout the entire frequency band. Especially the reproduction of female voices, violins and piano is very beautiful, natural with fast attacks. Basically the Fabs are soft performers with no harsh sibilances and a very deep and powerful but good controlled bass. If that is your preference you might have found the right IEM´s. If your sonic taste is more towards a superfast hard bass with very short decay and a little brighter reproduction, you might consider the Westone ES3.
B) Westone ES3
Where the Westone ES3 outperforms others (except the AKG K1000) is the tremendous fast effortless impact throughout the entire frequency range - when used with Jan Meier´s 120 Ohm adapter. However there is a price to pay: sometimes the sound tends to be a bit bright and on some recordings even a little harsh. But still their performance is spectacular. However a headphone amp is necessary. I use the Meier Porta Corda which makes the overall performance a little bit softer.
The Fabs don´t need a separate amplifier because of their high efficiency, however a good amp might further improve their performance.
The included pictures show my heavily used ES3 and the Fabs with an added shirt-clip (taken from my Etymotics and simply attached to the cables) to reduce cable microphonics.
I personally love both IEM´s, despite their different characteristics. For portable use without amp the Fabs are my top favorites. It is a pity that I cannot use my old UE10´s anymore due to allergic reactions (they had a soft shell, which I heard isn´t produced anymore). It would have been another interesting competitor.