1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

    Dismiss Notice

<a href="https://cdn.head-fi.org/a/10321934.jpg" target="_blank" class="LbTrigger" data-href="misc/lightbox"><img src="https://cdn.head-fi.org/a/10321934_thumb.jpg" alt="DSC_0807_cr.jpg" class="bbCodeImage LbImage" /></a> <br /> <br...

Custom Art FIBAE 7

Rating:
5/5,
  • DSC_0807_cr.jpg

    FIBAE 7 utilizes the world’s first, patent pending, Flat Impedance design. Featuring seven drivers: Dual Sub-Low, Single Low-Mid, Dual Mid-High, and Two Top-Firing Tweeters. FIBAE 7 is an epitome of natural sound, delivering even frequency response with immense details without fatigue.

Recent Reviews

  1. akared
    CustomArt FIBAE7 -- Let it flow
    Written by akared
    Published Jul 8, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - - Natural signature
    - forward and bodied vocals
    - slightly bright without bring sharp
    - imaging
    Cons - - not the most resolving TOTL
    - universal shells on larger side
    Disclaimer: the F7 was purchased directly from the CustomArt, Poland with full retail price. I am not affiliated with the company nor do I receive any kind of incentives or rewards for writing this review.

    Introduction: When it comes to the FIBAE line-up, I don’t think that lengthy description is needed given that the previous models such as F2 through F4 have been extremely well received by the audiophile community. Personally owning the F2 and F3 (both universals), I have grown to love CustomArt’s house sound – clear, forwardly positioned vocals, fun bass and never fatiguing signature. When Piotr announced the F7 anniversary model, I jumped right on and hope that they would have maintained the traits I love, SQ-wise, and the F7 does not disappoint!


    Build quality and fit: The anniversary model comes in universal only – the blue/lagoon-ish shell is gorgeous and the build quality is perfect as to be expected from CustomArt. The shells, though, are much thicker than those of F2 and F3 – kind of obvious since there are 7 drivers on each side. To my ears, the fit of the F7 is kind of tricky: using the same sized tips on both sides, the ‘tightness’ are not the same. I am not saying that there is any king of sizing inconsistency – I am mentioning this because my ears are not of the exact same shape and this does affect the sound that I perceive which I will talk about later in the review.
    TL;DR – perfect build quality as always.

    66175019_467916847373671_900471968422166528_n.jpg

    Sound: Piotr describes the sound signature of the F7 as “most natural sounding IEM in Custom Art’s portfolio” and, from my experience with his products, I couldn’t agree more. The overall signature of the F7 is, indeed, natural in a sense that no frequencies overshadow another. The elaborate, the bass is powerful enough to ‘feel’ and is not lacking by any means, the mids are dense and, consistent with the house sound, vocals are bodied and forwardly-placed, and highs are prominent without sibilance.

    Bass: Starting with the lows, the F7 definitely has a sub-bass bias over mid and upper bass. The bass extends really low where kick drums are easily felt while the control remains excellent. Rumbles are present and can really draw the focus if the tracks demand. While the bass is strong and fun, it is not stepping anywhere near the basshead territory. Mid and upper bass are not recessed, but they are not accentuated too much so they don’t occupy too much space in the audiovisual landscape and thus allows for other frequencies to cut through clearly. Speed is fast given the quantity and layering is very well executed given that the bass is BA-driven. On that note, bass texture is still not at the same level as the bass from dynamic driver (W900 comes to mind) but for what it does, the F7 renders its bass with grace and power. The bass has dimensions and dynamics -- definitely not your typical one-note bass associated with BAs.

    Mids: Midrange, to me, is the area that makes for breaks the IEM. My attention is, most of the times, on the vocalist(s) or instruments that drive the melody such as guitars or piano and the F7 does put those elements under spotlight. I have always loved that CustomArt execute vocals in a way that, does not really matter what the sound signature is (natural or V-shaped), the vocals always cut through with ease. The F7 follows the same path but with extra refinement – Vocals are of sufficient sizes, however, they are exceptionally dense and bodied while remaining not too warm nor too bright and without any sibilance – truly an exceptional balance. I can see, though, that this placement of vocals can be too forward for some: on some tracks (tracks where bass is not the focus – Asian tracks with vocals plus old school instruments such as drums, guitars and bass), vocals can come out as shouty at high volumes.

    One quick note: I do notice slight left ear bias in the midrange, especially with vocals, where I feel like the sound pressure on the left side is a little bit stronger that the right which gives a feeling of the vocalist being placed slightly to the left of the stage instead of the center stage. This could be due to the insertion problem I mentioned earlier in the fit section or some slight channel imbalance.

    Highs: The highs of the F7 is slightly forward and are really well extended. The higher octaves are easily heard and the presence of highest of highs contributes to the air that suffuses throughout the entire frequency response. The presentation of high frequency is exceptionally balanced – I don’t hear any bias towards lower treble, mid or high treble that to me, that is such a feat that gives the high frequency such a natural timbre. One other thing about the highs that impress me is, again, how the frequencies are presented with such body and authority without being sibilant.


    Technicalities: The F7 impresses with its exceptional balance across the frequency range but how does it perform when it comes to technicalities? The first minute of listen did not give that ‘wow’ factor – the F7 does not try to impress by pushing details at you nor surrounding you with ridiculously big soundstage. Resolution-wise, the F7 is not the most resolving IEM out there (offerings like Empire Ears Zeus and Vision Ear VE8 come to mind). Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely NOT saying that it is not resolving since it is definitely not the case and resolution is relative (as I will elaborate more in the comparison section). However, once you let the F7 sit in for a little while, it will start to show its prowess – spatial cues rendering is top-notch – you can really pinpoint where each note originates from thanks to its 3D soundstage and excellent imaging ability. This is not a stage that totally surrounds you with a wall of sound (think FAudio major) or with depth and strong bass (think Empire Ears X line-up) like most of the V-shape IEMs. Instead, the F7 offers soundstage that is more natural – it gives the feeling of being in an semi-open space as opposed to being in a concert hall. I used the word ‘semi’ here because it is definitely not the most open sounding IEM but I have heard a lot of this really ‘open’ sounding products that sacrifice the integrity of the stage for the sheer size and openness. I would say that the F7 strikes a great balance between openness while maintaining the coherence of the stage. Speaking of coherence, the presentation of the entire frequency range sounds coherent – as if the F7 is driven by a single driver. Natural timbre is maintained across the frequency range and not one part of the spectrum stands out as outlier – remarkable feat for 7-driver IEMs. Note size is average; however, it is the density and power of each note that stands out. Note edge is distinct – each note has its own boundary and does not bleed over not does it blur out the overall presentation and this gives the feeling of space and separation. For me, personally, this ability really grows on me the longer I listen to the F7 as I kept discovering the little spatial details (Oh, I did not know that this note comes from behind my head!) from even the tracks that I have been listening to repeatedly. Kudos to the CustomArt team :)


    Select Comparisons

    CustomArt FIBAE3: I did a number of sessions of A/B-ing the F3 and the F7 because my initial impression of the F7 is that it is like the F3 on steroids. I would stand behind that statement but with come elaborations. I feel like the F7 has a similar overall frequency response to the F3 ina sense that they are both quite a W-shape IEMs. Starting from the bass, both IEMs have sub-bass focus. The difference comes to the power and layering where the F7 hits harder and extends slightly lower – kick drums sound more physical. The upper bass of the F3 feels more bloated next to the F7 – there is more definition that results from the more resolved note edge on the F7. The mids share similar forwardness but the F7 is much more bodied which can make the F3 sounds hollow. The F3 has bigger note size and more diffuse note edge while, again, the F7 is more defined and is much denser – this gives vocals throaty quality. Comparison of the highs follow the same trend – notes are clearer on the F7 and are more controlled. With its more defined notes, the F7 offers better separation and significantly improved imaging. Timbre is better and more natural (organic) on the F7 as well due to its denser notes while the sheer sized is more confined. One thing that contributes to the slightly plastic timbre of the F3 is that even though the notes are big and on a brighter (leaner) side of the scale, the transient is quite slow. F7 have that problem handled and now the timbre is much more natural. F3 is ‘open’ sounding, but the stage feels small coming from the F7.

    CustomArt FIBAE2: The F2 is what started it all for me – I fell in love with it and then bought the F3 and later the F7. My beloved CustomArt house sound started with the F2 – nice and bodied bass, forward vocals and present but not offensive highs. Back when I got the F2, its ability to render spatial cues blew my mind. I was watching a movie with the F2 and on many occasion I though someone walked into my room – turned out it was the room in the movie. Wow. F2 gives this feeling of being in a live-performance and being surrounded by the performers. Comparing the F2 to the F7, I found that the F7 improves the good traits from the F2 and brings them onto new heights by enhancing the technicalities such as resolution and separation. Switching from the F7 back to the F2 feels like putting a resolution filter on – I am not saying that the F2 is not resolving – it is just not as resolving as the F7 and there is a ‘blur’ factor coming directly from the F7. Maybe this is also because of the more lifted mid-bass on the F2 that slightly bleeds and blur out the entire presentation (again, the word ‘blur’ is relative). Vocals are more forward on the F7 and highs have significantly better extension. As with the F3, the stage dimensions are more extended on all three directions on the F7.


    Verdict: The F7 is my favorite TOTL IEMs yet. With sublime technicalities equipped with toe-tapping musicality without pushing the details at your face, the F7 strikes a balance that I have never heard before on the market and in a good way. Currently, my pair is back at CustomArt for reshelling into customs and I can do more comparisons and update my impressions once I got it back.
    1. pinkzeppelincult
      Solid review! Any chance you can do a more detailed comparison with the Zeus? I love the latter for the most part but I've always wished it had a better bass extension and less mid-bass bias. Would the 7 do the trick?
      pinkzeppelincult, Jul 17, 2019 at 1:30 AM

Comments

To view comments, simply sign up and become a member!