1. Build quality & Comfort
The FIBAE 2 we reviewed came in an acrylic version but the new FIBAE 3 we’re reviewing here is in silicone, just like the Harmony customs we reviewed. The FIBAE 3 is also available in an acrylic version (https://thecustomart.com/shop/acrylic-products/fibae-3-acrylic/)
I have to say I really like the feel of silicone. Yes they’re a tad harder to get in your ears but the fit is even more comfortable and you just feel the silicone less. The weird thing with the FIBAE 3 is that for some magic reason it is a dust, hair and fluff magnet. The moment you take them out of your ear, it’s like the all the dust floating in the air is drawn to it, and it’s extremely hard to get it off the silicone (even if it’s kept in a Pelican case). I have no idea why this is happening as none of my other silicone monitors share this behavior. It’s a bit annoying as I need to clean them each single time I want to use them, but that’s just how it is. For some other reason the left serial number in blue is also disappearing.
Next to that the FIBAE 3 is perfect. It’s soft, has a perfect fit, perfectly finished recessed connectors (2-pin, no option) and an incredibly nice face plate closing. The canals and twin-tubes are perfectly terminated as well, and the inside build/setup is perfectly symmetric.
Comfort wise these are absolutely great and you can wear them for hours without having to take them out or feeling any pain afterwards.
Gone are the days of filling out a form to personalize your monitors. CustomArt’s shop is equipped with a monitor building application. For the silicone FIBAE 3 you can find it here: https://thecustomart.com/shop/silicone-products/fibae-3-silicone/
CustomArt allows you to personalize the left and rights differently. For each side you have different options for the shell, the canal and the face plate. You can also have the CustomArt logos left and right for free if you want that (see pics).
The builder tool is very easy to use and it gives you a very good idea of how your finished monitors will look like. You have the choice of a whole bunch of colors and the face plate possibilities are almost endless. For my review sample, Piotr sadly didn’t have a lot of time to come up with something special regarding design. I was quite happy though to see he finished the shells in light blue with light colored wooden face plates. In the center of the face plate you have a small round CustomArt logo “engraved” in the silicone on both sides. The design is simple but really nice, it’s hard to do anything wrong with it.
With the online tool it is also possible to upload personal art or text for on the face plates. You can save and upload designs at any time so you can easily compare your different creations to each other before ordering.
Cable-wise the FIBAE 3 came with a standard/stock grey 1.2m copper cable with a typical 2-pin finish. In the beginning I have used this cable but during the last few weeks before the publication of this review I have been using the FIBAE 3 in combination with the Effect Audio Horus. While that is the best sounding cable for the FIBAE 3, I don’t see anyone pairing a $1500 USD cable with a $650USD monitor anytime soon.
The FIBAE 3’s sound should stay unchanged depending on the source used, but I did find the cable to have a nice impact on the sound. If you’re a believer of cables, like I am, I fully suggest testing different cables with the FIBAE 3.
4. Price & Accessories
The 3-driver FIBAE 3, both in universal as well as custom mode, starts from €525 or more or less $650USD. Looking at the crazy market prices for CIEMs nowadays, that makes the FIBAE 3 a really affordable monitor.
Besides of course your monitors, you will also get a carton box with on the inside a Pelican 1010 case. Next to that you’ll find a wax picking tool, drying pellet, zipper case and the typical CA Manual/warranty card with the serial number inside that Pelican box.
For €525 Euro that’s a nice set of accessories to get and I don’t think anyone should complain about a lack of extra accessories at this level, but some naturally always do. Of course the selling price might go up depending on the level of personalization you’re asking for, but for me the FIBAE 3, just like the FIBAE 2, has a very good price/quality ratio.
5. Customer Service
As said earlier CustomArt now has a monitor building app which reduces the communication with the company. I myself have always been in contact by email and I never used the configurator but Piotr as usual is always quick to reply to questions and suggestions.
I’m convinced CustomArt’s customer service is nothing to worry about, au contraire. And the posts in the different Head-Fi threads also prove this over and over: CustomArt is a please to work with.
Another thing I like is how Piotr, who was a reviewer himself before he started his business, compares the different model’s tonality to each other. He looks at bass, mids, treble, headroom, imaging, depth, warmth and brightness. The overview can be found on his website and the only down side to this is that you can only compare two models at the same time. When you compare the FIBAE 2 and 3 you get a chart like this:
I really like the FIBAE 2 and so my expectations for the FIBAE where really high. I was also a bit worried because I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to beat the 2’s performance, but once I put the FIBAE 3 in my ears, I immediately heard that Piotr pulled it off again.
The part on sound continues on Page three, with also comparisons and source synergy