Review: Custom Art FIBAE 7 – Dynamics!

Custom Art Fibae 7

8. FIBAE Comparisons

 

Because of the typical technology used, the most obvious monitors to compare the FIBAE 7 with, are the other monitors in the FIBAE product line-up. That means we’ll be comparing them to the FIBAE 2, 3, 4 and Black as these are the only ones in our possession at he moment.

The FIBAE 2 probably is the lightest, thinnest sounding one with the most neutral signature. The clarity is really good and you get a clean sound from top to bottom. Body-wise the F3 is lighter and so bass, mids and treble don’t have the body of all the other FIBAE units. FIBAE 2 is a good neutral monitor but once you’re used to better performing 3, 4, Black and 7, it’s tough to go back to the 3. That being said, on it’s own it’s still a strong monitor in it’s price class.

The FIBAE 3 is a silicone custom monitor and it also has a more forward sound compared to the others where the vocals are more upfront. FIBAE 3 has nice body but like the FIBAE 7 it has that special lower mid vs forward upper mids/vocal tuning. Bass is tight and fast but like in the 7 the layering isn’t the strongest point. The lower mids are rich, smooth and very musical. The vocals are energetic and more forward. The treble section is very much like in the FIBAE 7. These two monitors share a lot of similarities but the F3 probably is more neutral and less technically advanced. FIBAE 7 is wider, more spacious, more airy, has better decay, dynamics and is richer in detail. I still really like the FIBAE 3 as well though.

CustomArt Fibae 3

CustomArt Fibae 3

FIBAE BLACK is very different from top to bottom. FIBAE BLACK sounds smoother in the delivery. The BLACK’s bass kick is nice and bass is tight and fast with a great punch in the delivery. Bass goes down low when needed and the layering is really well done, I really love the BLACK’s bass. That being said, the 7’s bass comes in harder. The mids in the BLACK are more even compared to those of the FIBAE 7, and have a nice amount of air and space. They aren’t as clean and clear though. The FIBAE 7 also has that more forward mid + vocal presentation and sounds more aggressive. FIBAE BLACK sounds slower, fuller, smoother but not as detailed. It’s more laid back. The treble on the BLACK is sparkling and energetic and also has an airy presentation.

The FIBAE 4 also has that more intimate feeling and the sound stage width and depth is smaller than that of the FIBAE 7 but better than that of the black. The 4’s mids also aren’t as spacy and airy sounding as in the FIBAE 7 is, so that feeling is enhanced. The level of detail, the staging and dynamics are all good but they’re not at the level of its big brother. The FIBAE 4’s mids sound more even and have great decay and timbre. They’re not as clear and clean as those of the 7 but much more than the BLACK. The 4’s voices (like in the BLACK) are softer, less aggressive, smoother and they sit more in the mids, where they come out more with the 7. The treble in the FIBAE 7 is much clearer and further extended as that of the FIBAE 4. To me the FIBAE 7 is the higher end version of the FIBAE 4, which is really good at its own level. The 4 is the most balanced and linear of both monitors, the 7 is the technical best and clearest, yet most forward sounding.

Conclusion

So far I have liked every single monitor Piotr has created and it’s no different this time. The FIBAE 7 again is a step up from the previous models in all possible ways.

The FIBAE 7 delivers a very specific, unique signature with a good low end, smooth lower mids, more forward vocals, and a sparkling top end. The FIBAE 7 has really great dynamics, staging and stereo image, and that combined with the right amount of body, naturalness and detail retrieval make it a musical, yet special sounding, technically strong monitor.

At this time the FIBAE 3 is featured on our recommended buy list and it will probably be replaced by the FIBAE 4. Following our internal rules, each company can only have 2 models on the best gear list, but there absolutely is a spot reserved for the FIBAE 7. Recommended!

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

6 Comments

  • Reply November 12, 2019

    ERIC BUBERWA

    I am a big fan of music, local on stage performer. I like especially the alternative classic rock and other genres of music and for that matter i am a big fan and user of variety of IEM’s. I am excited to yet try FIBAE 7 because they seem to be a game changer

  • Reply November 13, 2019

    SC

    In your opinion, does the F7 eliminate the rest of the FIBAE lineup i.e. if you have the F7, then there isn’t much use in having any of the others? Or is there still a place for the rest of the lineup? I own the Black (hoping it returns from Custom Art soon from repair/fitting work) and see resell deals pop up now and then for some of the other models. It’s always tempting since Custom Art has a reasonable owner transfer system. Would I benefit from pairing the Black with other FIBAE models or would it be best to hold off for the F7?

    • Reply November 13, 2019

      Lieven

      Is F7 the technical best? Yes, but it also different enough from the other FIBAE models to be complementary. If you can affors having the BLACK/Four as well as the 7, I would certainly do so. If you can only afford one it depends on what signature you like most. The comparisons are in the article. Good luck and thanks for the comment.

      • Reply November 13, 2019

        SC

        Thanks for the reply. I am in the position where I don’t have enough experience to know how to correctly correlate the comparisons to my own ears. So, I keep reading reviews in the hopes one day I’ll get to try things out and better train my ears to understand what’s going on 🙂 Thanks for the recommendation – I’ll keep my eyes open for the F4 or F7.

  • Reply November 16, 2019

    Baptiste_C

    Hello Lieven,

    I have a serious interest to buying a new custom IEM for music listening (50%), mixing in night club (25%) and playing drums in a jazz band (25%). Also record and mix sometimes. I listen to every genre of music techno, house, jazz, us old school rap, classic, country, pop, rock, and every king of modern commercial production.
    My IEM portfolio is all Earsonics (buy the way I am French) and I have several Fiio sources to feed them.
    I have the ES3 : that I like for their articulate smooth delivery and were my 101 class in decent music listening.
    The custom EM32 : that I adore for their bass and their overall ability to display the body and the soul of the sound in the entire spectrum even at medium volume but I wish for a bit more dynamics.
    And finally the S-EM9 : that I really like for its dynamically detailed sound but at times it sound skinny and a bit too bright for me. It gives me the sensation that I am being pointed at by a flashlight right in the face.

    Therefore the perfect IEMs for me would be a perfect balance between macro and micro details in the sound. And being preferably darker than brighter sounding but displaying descent stereo/staging, dynamics, clarity and transparency without the need to being the best or excelling in all these areas.
    I would love bass that are well extended and tight with a capable sub (but slightly north of neutral in quantity). I would like organic mids (cause despite having a love affair with bass, emotional verve comes from the mids). And finally well extended treble but remaining smooth and never peaky.

    I would like to have an advice to select a European (mainly to avoid import tax) 1100/1200€ max custom IEM. I had in mind the FIBAE 7 and the Earsonics EM64.
    Are other options available out there?

  • Reply November 20, 2019

    Wylfsyn

    I tried FIBAE 4, 6 and & last week on Audio Video Show in Warsaw. I’ve even met Piotr Garlicki in person:) As for my ears FB 6 seduced me with it’s powerful bass, 4 and 7 models were just behind. Mass drop edition just played lows as good, as my Polaris Mk2 from Campfire Audio.
    Note: As Piotr said, every CA IEM can be ordered as universal.

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