Today I am glad to tell you about a remarkable novelty from the Polish company Custom Art, my beloved, that is the FIBAE 4 CIEM model.
I have been watching this brand for a long time and am impressed with its steady development in the field of high-quality sound. Piotr Granicki formed his company in 2012, and in just a few years, CA’s hard work brought impressive results. Among the audio valuers, CIEM / IEM Harmony and the FIBAE line-up have gained much popularity. It so happened that I missed the FIBAE 1 and FIBAE 3 models, but I still enjoy listening to FIBAE 2 and the recently released single-driver BA model FIBAE BLACK.
I can only wish from the pure heart the team of Custom Art to continue to experiment, develop and expand the range of their beautiful CIEMs. And now let's get close to their FIBAE 4.
Text: Alexey Kashirskey aka Hans Barbarossa
We thank the Custom Art for providing a sample to listen to.
Single Low, Single Full-range, Single proprietary High, Single proprietary Super High
Top Firing Balanced Armature Drivers
Flat Impedance technology
115dB @1kHz @0.1V
8.1 Ohm @1kHz (+-0.95 Ohm 10Hz-20kHz)
Low % THD
0-21000 Hz (+-20dB into IEC 60318-4 coupler)
Custom or Universal fit
FIBAE (flat impedance balanced armature earphone) is a patented technology, thanks to which Custom Art earphones do not depend on the different output impedance of the sound source / amplifier. Whether it is 10 ohm, 3 ohm, 1.8 ohm, or the resistance is generally close to zero - where most low-impedance, multi-driver BA IEM “their face”, FIBAE will sound harmoniously and accurately play the songs.
Appearance, kit and ergonomics
The earphones can be ordered as a custom (CIEM, and in a universal (IEM) version.
A few words about the standard procedure for CIEM:
In order to start working on your CIEM, you must first go to the center of hearing, take a impressions/imprints and send it to the CA laboratory. After that, it remains only to look forward to when the finished product comes to you.
FIBAE 4 comes in a small black cardboard box. Inside there is a transparent plastic case “PELI CASE” with all the charms and an additional black zipper case for storing and conveniently transporting earphones. In the case we find: the CIEM with a replaceable cable, a drying pellet, a wax brush for the care of sound pipes and guarantee documents-instructions.
Design for your CIEM, you can choose to your exquisite taste. In my case, it is a transparent green-red shell that smells like spring greens and is saturated with the rays of the May sun!
Everything is done exceptionally high quality, and the acrylic shell of the earphones is so beautiful that it is impossible to just put it in your ear without a long adoration before. It is practically an art object.
In each earphone about four BA receivers/drivers went in: one is responsible for low frequencies, the second - for all frequency range, the third and fourth – for Highs.
On the front of the earphone's shell there are two sound pipes. On the back of the case has a brand logo.
The cable is 4-wire, silver, with "separate ground". It is extremely convenient and light, length 1.2 meters, standard plug (2pin, 0.78mm), 3.5 mm corner jack.
And now it is time to listen to music!
Listening (audio testing) was conducted on: MyST DAC 1866OCU V.2, Lotoo paw Gold, iBasso DX220 (AMP1 MK2), iFI xDSD, iFI micro iDSD Black Lable, Cayin N3 & QLS QA-361.
With all sources, the FIBAE 4 played at a high level.
The sound of FIBAE 4 is well balanced, smooth, with excellent working out of micro and macro nuances, accurate massive impact in the sub bass area, thick and bass relief, even naturalistic middle and reliable, amazingly clean high frequency range.
The low-frequency range is neatly forced, due to which the FIBAE 4 produce a massive and organic picture with striking elaboration of timbres and a contrasting transfer of the depth of space. The musical canvas emerges in a dense and naturalistic manner, with a slightly darkened background and a powerful, well articulated, rolling bass.
Accurate and full-blown drums punch right up to goosebumps and respond throughout the body. Wow, that's cool!
The mids are fed smoothly, evenly and thoroughly, in an analog manner. Here, each sound has its own weight, volume and texture. This is a thick and very musical manner, with an amazing drawing of the contrast and all the details of the composition.
The positioning of musical instruments in virtual space verified and realistic. Each sound image is clearly in place. Vocal parts do not disturb the ear with sharp bursts and do not grieve with failures, they sound smooth, pure, natural and at ease.
Guitars sound massively and vigorously, with proper pressure and expression, with their rumbling manner they blow up a musical act.
The mids is slightly bogged down in a dense and massive manner of the low-frequency range and clearly interacts with it.
High frequencies are transmitted cleanly, clearly and precisely, in a smooth and comfortable manner. They are moderately restrained, charming, with good articulation and an elegant light accent. They do not have excessive brightness, and there is a great working out of the range, with enviable correctness and a natural, extremely musical sound. It is possible that someone in some compositions will not get a bit of gloss and sparkling, but personally I rather like it, and I don’t want to change anything. Here quality takes precedence over quantity, and this is more important.
The musical material FIBAE 4 is given in an easy V-shaped manner, the main domination falls on area of low-frequency range, here the sub-bass reverberation clearly outlines the volume of the picture, and the high-frequency register unobtrusively and elegantly tints it, as if competently set backlight in the photograph. The middle remains smooth and slightly detached. Everything together turns into an organic, authentic and very musical picture, with a massive and comfortable manner.
The virtual scene is quite voluminous, it is proportionally arranged both in width and in depth.
It is also worth noting excellent coherence of drivers and lack of phase distortions in these CIEM. It’s really great.
The bottom line
Lows - timbre rich, with a powerful clap, but without busting, a bump in relief and a well articulated, harmonious bass.
Mids - detailed, clean, smooth, unobtrusive, with a good transfer of textures. Neutral and naturalistic.
Highs - accurate, clean and smooth, without a hint of scattering and distortion, sound elegant, comfortable and natural.
Well what can I say, I once again applaud Custom Art while standing!
FIBAE 4 is a striking model. CA again set the bar for portable audio as high as possible, and they did it not by increasing the number of drivers, but by delicacy in the development of each component of the headphones and their complete harmonization. How can you not remember the Latin expression Victoria Concordia Crescit - “Victory comes from harmony”!
Ordering FIBAE 4 is possible both in universal (IEM) and in custom (CIEM) version. On the official website of thecustomart.com the price for this model is approximately 725 Euro. Yes, not cheap, but I can assure you that it is worth it! Well, against the background of today's trends in the audio market, this amount for such an exceptional sound looks quite humane.
Sound, ergonomics, design, workmanship.
Price (although against the background of competitors it is quite democratic)