CustomArt FIBAE Impressions Thread

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  1. piotrus-g
    For the past couple of years Custom Art has been leader of silicone IEM manufacturing with some of the most iconic products renown and loved by head-fi community. With introduction of acrylic products in 2015 Custom Art joined the ranks of only few companies in the world experienced enough to work in both materials.

    In early 2016 we stumbled across interesting occurrence during work on IEM designs, which prompted us to investigate possible applications for In-Ear Monitoring. We discovered that our design resulted in nearly flat impedance and electrical phase plot of a Balanced Armature driver, reducing dramatically load for audio amplifiers and providing near-identical response (either frequency or CSD) when switching between sound sources with substantial difference in output impedance. In that moment FIBAE technology was born. In mid-2016 we filed for international patent on our Flat Impedance driver.

    [​IMG]
    difference in Impedance between standard BA driver and Custom Art's FIBAE design

    FIBAE stands for Flat Impedance Balanced Armature Earphone - world's first, revolutionary technology addressing the oldest industry problem for us - audiophiles - dependence on amplifier's output impedance. With FIBAE technology now IEMs will provide always the same sound signature.

    In 2017 early we came with two models - FIBAE 1 and 2 featuring our unique design and specially customized proprietary driver.
    In late 2017 we released FIBAE 3 (read full story behind the product here: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/customart-fibae-impressions-thread.854355/page-21#post-13864926 )

    New models to follow shortly.

    DSC_2137.jpg

    Let's talk IEM revolution!


    For more information visit our website www.thecustomart.com or message us directly info@thecustomart.com
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
    Custom Art Stay updated on Custom Art at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
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  2. nor.cal
    Can't wait to receive my FIBAE 2 and will leave impressions here.
     
  3. Navier
    Subscribed :L3000:
     
  4. Aerosphere
    This is very exciting.
    Sub'd!
     
  5. recondude
    20170708_104445.jpg

    I received my FIBAE 2 last Saturday and just wanted to post my initial impressions. In doing so I'll refer my other monitors as points of reference. These are Cosmic Ears CE6P CIEM, universals - Inear Stage Diver SD, Dunu DN2000J.

    THE ORDER

    First off I heard about FIBAE from the Custom Art thread. I saw the introductory 20% discount along with some positive comments from folks and thought I'd take a gamble! Order placed I then had ear impressions taken by Aid2Hearing in London. Very professional and friendly service provided by the owner Gisele. I have recently moved to a new build house and delivery drivers just cannot find it. Piotrus agreed that Gisele could deal with the whole order even though I had pre-ordered directly with him. As such Aid2Hearing sent my impressions to Poland and dealt with the monitors on return. In terms of the design, I like to have a good idea of what I am buying will look like and so I chose a combination shown on Custom Arts Facebook page. I had a few questions regarding timescales, differences between models etc. In total I probably sent between 8-10 emails to Custom Art. Nearly all were answered within an hour and at most two. Most importantly I was advised that my order was scheduled for production at the end of June. They were shipped to me on the 3rd of July. As a customer that honesty is worth it's weight in gold. I have been strung along too many times before (particularly with small audio companies) in terms of false promises - just another 2 weeks and then another 2 etc.

    FIT AND FINISH

    The monitors came in a nice black carton with the clear Peli case and other bits as advertised. On taking them out I was very pleased with my choice - I think they look gorgeous. In terms of build quality I cannot see any bubbles in the acrylic and the face plate join appears immaculate. My wife was impressed that they matched the kitchen work top! (bless).

    I went for recessed sockets. My existing Effect Audio Aries II cable fits perfectly. However my balanced Bax cable doesn't fit. I had asked Custom Art about the Bax cable when ordering and the advice was to have a flush fit so no that isn't an issue.

    My Cosmic Ears CE6P seems to fit deeper into my ear than the FIBAE's. As a result, although comfortable I'm always aware they are in my ears pressing against things. Additionally being six drivers each they are larger and protrude further out than the FIBAE's. In terms of the FIBAE's fit for me - all I can say is absolutely perfect! They 'melt' into my ears and I could happily have these in all day. I can eat and drink with no loss of seal either. I guess this is down to the combination of well taken ear impressions and Custom Art's production skill.

    As a side note, to further the personal production experience I would have liked a personal named case and my initials printed on the CIEM housing (like my Cosmic Ears). I just think it adds that little extra touch, for me anyway, others probably couldn't care less. That's not a criticism just a suggestion.

    SOUND IMPRESSIONS

    This is the tricky part! I have really difficulty in expressing what I hear objectively as opposed to subjectively i.e the mids sound really great! I'll have a bash. I do believe in burn in and my FIBAE's have about 15 hours on them at the moment so early days. All my listening has been with the Effect Audio Aries II cable.

    Sources:- Fiio X7 with AM3 module, Ibasso DX80, Chord Mojo and LG G5 with B & O module fitted.

    First off I cannot hear any difference in sound signature between these sources. I guess that is the aim of the technology after all and, unless it's placebo effect, it works. Sound quality does change though and they scale across the sources. In particular i noticed more pronounced differences in the bass response than with other monitors. For example with Iggy Azalea's Black widow (I only chose this as Piotrus and other have referred to it on the thread as being a test benchmark.) there is fairly low bass impact using the LG G5 as the source. However change out to the Mojo and the bass is significantly deeper and impactful. The Fiio X7 and DX80 were along the same lines as the Mojo. The software I used for the phone was the Tidal app and I do find it's performance a little lacking in comparison to competitors (Qobuz) so that may have played a part in it.

    Anyway on to the sound break down:-

    SOUNDSTAGE - As wide as the Stagediver SD2 which is greater than the Dunu. There is clearly defined separation and layering between instruments. I don't particularly notice great depth but nothing appears congested.

    BASS - Depending on the source I hear clear extended bass that is impactful and does not bleed into the mids. I don't hear any bloat and the bass is only there when the music calls for it. It's presence is someway above that of the SD2 but not to the extent of the Dunu DN2000J - to be expected really as that is a hybrid dynamic driver. The CE6P is also more impactful, but again that's 6 drivers for you - but not by a significant amount.

    MIDS- This is where I start to really love the FIBAE 2's. Beautiful lush mids, female vocals such as Diana Krall are gorgeous. The mids to me don't sound forward or recessed, just where they should be. Kacy Hill's new album, Like A Woman, shows how vocals can be presented crystal clear (and it is a well mastered album anyway.).

    HIGHS - Again the FIBAE 2 shine here for me also. The highs are presented with such clarity, like sound on a cold frosty morning, so clear, far more so than the SD2 or DN2000J. I'm not a musician but I have attended many concerts by the London Symphonic Orchestra. I think that live classical music is always good to hear how instruments actually sound as the audiences are whisper quiet. At other types of live music there is usually to much else going on to really take on board the true sound of the instruments. To me the FIBAE 2 accurately reflects the true sound of strings, wind instruments etc that I have heard

    Ultimately have I enjoyed listening to the FIBAE 2. Absolutely - they just sound so musical and fun. The SD2 and DN2000J are now redundant. Would I take them over the CE6P. No, but just underneath as an excellent support act!

    That's it for my impressions. As I said I really struggle with conveying what I hear into words so please feel free to ignore my comments regarding sound or provide constructive feedback.

    Finally what I can do though, is as a brand new customer to Custom Art, give them the great big thumbs up for their service and production quality. I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them as a company to deal with. Do they have a model that's right for you - well only you can decide that, but but do consider the FIBAE 2 as it is in my opinion a superb all rounder for the money.

    Thank you Piotrus and team I'm very happy with my purchase.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
    Mayth, davidcotton, Wyville and 4 others like this.
  6. piotrus-g
    Thank you kindly!
    I'm really happy you are enjoying FIBAE2.

    On the joking side, while I'm glad they match your countertop perfectly :) beware of dropping acrylic IEMs on hard surfaces - long exposure to low-force impacts can produce micro cracks in lacquer - doesn't diminish performance but won't look good.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
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  7. Navier
    Which wood are these Faceplates?
     
  8. homzik
    Satin Walnut, I guess.
     
  9. recondude
    They are indeed Satin Walnut.

    Thanks for the advice I want to keep them looking tip top! :beerchug:
     
  10. Wyville
    The wood combines well with the cable too, I really quite like that!

    Nice review, btw! FIBAE-2 is not enough of an upgrade to tempt me to replace my beloved Ei.3, but I greatly look forward to seeing the higher-end models and especially the TOTL FIBAE.
     
  11. Deezel177
    Agreed. When the time finally comes for a flagship FIBAE IEM, I'd probably have amassed a ton of ideas to torture the Custom Art design team with...

    BA2C3245-C009-4292-A78A-69A4B9D997D4-1828-00000177CDFFB1BC_tmp.gif
     
    Wyville and piotrus-g like this.
  12. Wyville
    Hahaha! Same here! I enjoy the design tool way too much and am starting to think outside the box a little more every time. At the moment it looks like it will be at least another year before I can look at buying a TOTL, so that might work out very well considering a TOTL FIBAE is still a long way out.
     
  13. Deezel177
    Yup! I've spent the last few days coming up with cool designs that take advantage of cut-out faceplates. Even my FIBAE 2 that's currently in production is, in Piotr's words, "... very complex for silicone."

    Then again, nowadays it's more surprising for a company to be able to pull-off a design I submit, rather than the other way around :D
     
  14. Wyville
    Look forward to seeing how your FIBAE-2 turn out!
     
    Deezel177 likes this.
  15. recondude
    Thanks. I think the cable does look good but I would never spend that sort of money just for aesthetics. I bought it originally for the Cosmic Ears and found it brought subtle but very beneficial changes to the sound. I think it brings the same to the FIBAE's. I would have gone for the Ei.3 as they were tried and tested along with very positive reviews - but I got tempted by the pre-order discount. Glad I did!

    If Custom Art continue in the same way with the higher end FIBAE's then they may well be pretty special. I've probably reached my spend limit for IEMS though - most of my listening is with open backed headphones at home in a quiet room. Then again I could be tempted ............
     
    davidcotton likes this.
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