Introduction

Custom Art was founded in 2012 in Poland by a fervent audiophile, Piotr Granicki. They specialise in making handcrafted iems, be it in universal or custom form. For custom iems, Custom Art is one of the few that offers the option of crafting them either in silicone or regular acrylic. Their product line ranges from the entry level Music One to their flagship Harmony 8.2. Recently, they released the FIBAE 1 and FIBAE 2. FIBAE is also known as Flat Impedance Balanced Armature Earphone. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Piotr from Custom Art for the review unit of FIBAE 2. FIBAE 2 is a dual driver iem that features 1 driver for low frequency and 1 driver for high frequency. At the moment, you can purchase the FIBAE 2 at https://thecustomart.com/fibae-2/ .

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Specifications

  • Type: Universal-fit In-ear
  • Impedance: 7.1 Ohm @1kHz (+-0.5 Ohm 10Hz-20kHz)
  • Sensitivity: 113dB @1kHz @0.1V
  • Frequency Range: 10Hz-16500Hz (+-10dB into IEC 60318-4 coupler)
  • Detachable Cable Type: 2 Pin (0.78mm)

Unboxing & Accessories

The FIBAE 2 comes in a smooth matte black package like a gift box. After removing the lid, you can see the contents in the package. There is a transparent Pelican 1010 case. Inside the case, there is the iem, instruction manual, cleaning tool, pack of eartips and silica gel. The accessories are quite sufficient. It is a nice touch by Custom Art to provide the Pelican case for storage of iem as it has a strong build.

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IEM Build & Design

The FIBAE 2 shell is made up of acrylic and it has a smooth surface. On each of the faceplate, there is a white CA logo. The faceplate has nice green and blue highlights on it. There are some glitters on it with a shimmery feel to it. On the inside of each iem side, there are the model name in blue and red colour to differentiate between left and right respectively. The nozzle is slightly angled with 2 bores. The shell is turquoise in colour. I find the fit very good as it sits in my ears comfortably. The housing is rather light weight and the build is exceptionally good. In terms of visual appeal, this has to be one of the most beautiful iems I come across.

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Cable Build & Design

The cable is a detachable 4 core cable with 2 pin 0.78mm connectors. On the connectors, there are blue and red dot on the left and right side respectively so users can differentiate. The connectors has a transparent housing. The cable has a memory wire section that is enclosed in a transparent heat shrink tube. It is not very flexible due to the metal inside that helps to form the shape. The chin slider is made is made up of a transparent tube and the y splitter is made of a soft rubber material with strain relief. The jack is 3.5mm gold plated right angled with strain relief. It is basically your ordinary stock cable.

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Sound Analysis

Lows

The FIBAE 2 has a good sub-bass extension and it extends with a moderate rumble. The depth is there to provide the impact. I find the quantity to be sufficient and each bass note is delivered with finesse. It may not be the most punchy type of approach but the smoothness is just excellent. Bass texture is being rendered with ease. The decay is rather moderate and the attack is existent. Moving on to the mid-bass, there is a laid back approach to the way it presents itself. The quantity is good but some would prefer a bigger slam. The bass is just silky smooth and I find it to be very alluring. The smooth and creamy nature of the bass makes the FIBAE 2 a delight to listen.

Mids

The midrange operates in a smooth approach. The lower mids has sufficient quantity so male vocals will not sound hollow. It is presented with such a smooth approach that vocals benefit as such. I feel that it is very natural. There is no nasal feeling. The upper mids is controlled nicely. It is still forward but the mastery allows it to be presented in a mature manner. The details are there and the definition is clear. I find the vocals presented on the FIBAE 2 is simply amazing. The intimacy is good coupled with the space being rendered. Resolution is good for a dual drivers iem. To sum it up, it is smooth, polite and detailed.

Highs

The treble is extended greatly. There is no sibilance and harshness. The depth in which the FIBAE 2 treble reaches is good and I find the treble to have a very good control. The smooth nature helps to keep the treble soothing and relaxing for long listening. There is not much of sparkle but the fatigue-free listening is a strong positive. There is a good amount of air for space and it helps to lighten the overall presentation so the sound will not be very weighted and dense. Overall, the treble has a good extension and operates in a smooth approach with air.

Soundstage

The FIBAE 2 has quite a good width in its stage and this allows the sound to not be congested. It is open and the stage expansion helps to give a good open feel. The depth is not very close in and there is space. Positioning of vocals and instruments are quite accurate coupled with the imaging. Layering and separation is at a high level. Resolution is great.

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Comparisons

Custom Art FIBAE 2 vs InEar StageDiver 2

The FIBAE 2 has more sub-bass quantity than the SD2 and SD2 has a slight edge in the extension. The sub-bass on both is rather clean without any muddiness. I find the FIBAE 2 to approach it in a smoother manner while SD2 tackles it in a clinical approach. SD2 has a quicker decay. Both present the bass rather tightly. There is a good rumble on the FIBAE 2 and this helps to improve the dynamics. The bass note on the FIBAE 2 has slightly more weight than the SD2 but it is still agile. The mid-bass on the FIBAE 2 has more body and the slam is quite addictive to listen to. SD2 is rather dry here. The lower mids on the FIBAE 2 has more body than the SD2 and male vocals are presented in a more organic manner. The upper mids on the SD2 is slightly more forward but it commands less control. FIBAE 2 is able to master the upper mids smoothly yet retaining a slight crisp. The midrange of FIBAE 2 is not congested and is similar to the SD2 but it definitely has more body. Treble on the SD2 is slightly extended with more definition. Articulation on both is precise. I find the clarity rendered to be similar too. There is more air on the FIBAE 2 and there is more space. In terms of soundstage, SD2 and FIBAE 2 has approximately the same width but the depth of FIBAE 2 is more close in for vocals intimacy. Resolution on the FIBAE 2 is slightly better.

Custom Art FIBAE 2 vs Campfire Audio Nova

The sub-bass on the Nova has slightly more quantity than the FIBAE 2 but FIBAE 2 wins in the clinical aspect as it is being presented more cleanly. The extra level of refinement helps in aiding the bass control and tightness. Decay on the FIBAE 2 is significantly faster and that the impact is greater as such. Nova has more body and its rumble is slightly slower. The mid-bass on the Nova has more quantity but it is more laid-back than the FIBAE 2. FIBAE 2 has a quicker mid-bass presentation and is able to keep up with busier tracks. The lower mids on the Nova is slightly thicker due to is quantity and male vocals are rendered better. However, FIBAE 2 takes a different approach to the reproduction of vocals as it is more balanced. The upper mids on the FIBAE 2 is forward and has more definition. In this aspect, the FIBAE 2 is superior to the Nova and there is more crisp with an organic feel to it. Moving on to the treble, FIBAE 2 has the edge in the extension and details. There is no sibilance and harshness on both. The definition on the FIBAE 2 is more clear. The Nova is more congested than the FIBAE 2 as FIBAE 2 excels in its stage width. The depth is very similar. I find the FIBAE 2 to have a better resolution than the Nova.

Custom Art FIBAE 2 vs Noble Sage

The FIBAE 2 has less sub-bass quantity than the Sage. It has similar extension as the Sage. The FIBAE 2 presents itself in a smooth approach while the Sage operates in a more clinical approach. Decay on FIBAE 2 is slightly tighter with more rumble. The pace of FIBAE 2 is quicker due to less weight. The mid-bass on the Sage has more body and it is able to deliver the slam in a more punchy manner. Bass texture is smoother on the FIBAE 2. Each bass note on the Sage is articulated with a cleaner hit and it has more attack. The lower mids is slightly thicker on the Sage and it is able to benefit male vocals. The upper mids on both is equally forward and there is definition. Intimacy is maintained for the female vocals reproduction on both. In the treble section, the FIBAE 2 and Sage have similar extension. There is slightly more air on the Sage and there is no sibilance and harshness on both. The FIBAE 2 is much smoother in its treble. There is additional sparkle on the Sage to provide liveliness. Both iems have similar width and depth. The expansion of stage is natural. Resolution of the FIBAE 2 is same as the Sage.

Custom Art FIBAE 2 vs CTM VS-2

The sub-bass on the FIBAE 2 has more quantity and extension than the VS-2. FIBAE 2 presents itself in a warm and smooth manner. It is more musical. Decay on the FIBAE 2 is similar to the VS-2. Bass impact on both is good. Rumble on the FIBAE 2 is more addictive to listen to as it has slightly more speed. The body on both is very similar with the VS-2 being more weighted in its approach. The mid-bass on the FIBAE 2 is presented with more finesse and control. It is present at the right moment. The slam on the VS-2 is slightly greater. The lower mids on the FIBAE 2 is more balanced than the VS-2. Both are not thick in their presentation and each presents itself in a rather polite way. The upper mids on the FIBAE 2 is more intimate and female vocals shine as such. There is more definition and crisp on the FIBAE 2. For stage wise, the FIBAE 2 has a great expansion in its stage and the depth is not too close in for more space in all directions. The FIBAE 2 has the slight edge in its resolution.

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Conclusion

The FIBAE 2 is a smooth sounding dual BA drivers iem that is capable of tackling vocals with ease. The non-offensive approach is a soothing listen and details are in abundance. Resolution is at a high standard. The sound signature of FIBAE 2 is quite spot on. The overall package is very good with a Pelican 1010 case. The build quality of the FIBAE 2 is excellent and it is handcrafted with a beautiful design. In market now, there are many dual BA drivers iem and I have to say that the Custom Art FIBAE 2 is easily one of the top dual BA drivers iem.

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