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Review: Custom Art Harmony 8.2 – Sound Done Right

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Disclaimer: I sent back my H8P to Custom Art to get it updated to the new configuration, the Harmony 8.2. The update was free of charge in return for this honest review.

 

Custom Art

Custom Art is a Polish based company that was founded in May 2012 by Piotr Granicki. Piotr was a reviewer at the time he started his own company and with the experience he had, he was convinced he could make great sounding monitors. The special thing about Custom Art is that they offer the choice between acrylic and soft silicone monitors. CA is particularly known for their silicone units even though their acrylic ones are also perfectly built. The big advantage of silicone is that the fit and as a result the isolation is even better than with acrylic units. A downside is that silicone is harder to work with and that the sound tubes and sockets don’t glue optimally to the silicone (so is said). Silicone also requires more maintenance. Both my 8HP are silicone while my Ei3 is an acrylic version. Click here to check out the full comparison between silicone and Acrylic.

Custom Art’s popularity increased a lot compared to a few years ago. Beside the fact that they simply make great monitors (best advertising there is) they also got a lot of new clients by successfully offering special editions on Massdrop. I of course visited Piotr’s Custom Art booth at Canjam Essen where he let me listen to his new FIBAE technology: Flat Impedance balanced Armature Earphone. In my Canjam Europe report I wrote: “With the Fibae technology it won’t matter what DAP or source you will be using. These 4 and 6.5Ohm units (if I’m not mistaken) will sound exactly the same no matter the source. The 4-driver especially sounded very good”. It certainly means we haven’t seen the last from Piotr and Custom Art yet.

The Harmony 8.2 & the H8(P)

The Custom Art Harmony 8.2 is an update of the previously reviewed H8(P) and it’s Custom Art’s new flagship monitor. You can only upgrade from the H8(P) models to the new Harmony 8.2. The Harmony 8 (Pro) is/was equipped with 8 drivers for each ear and it actually was the first 8 driver made with a silicone shell. The H8(P) has dual lows, dual low-mids, dual full-range and a dual tweeter. The Harmony was created to be a link between their Pro and Music series. It combines the musicality and accuracy of both series, tuned in “Harmony” to create a very coherent sound. The main difference between the normal version and the Pro version can be found in the treble region. The goal of their 3-way crossover in a Single Phase configuration is to make all the 8 drivers sound as one driver, and to deliver more details and a more spacious sound.

The idea behind the Harmony 8.2 according to Piotr is to have a sound that’s between both versions. Expect improvement in sub-bass region (cross-over from Ei.xx but more tamed), more vocal presence and less lingering in highs and less highs quantity (compared to H8P), more headroom for better depth without sacrificing width and spaciousness. The 8.2 features an updated driver configuration and crossover what results in improved headroom and a full/natural sound. The Custom Art 8.2 of course is an 8-driver custom monitor, it has a 4way cross-over in Single Phase configuration and it uses a dual low, dual full-range, dual mid, dual tweeter.

custom-art-harmony-8-2

Specs:

– 118dB @1kHz @0.1V
– 15 Ohm @1kHz
– 17,5 Ohm DC
– 10Hz-20000Hz (+-10dB into 711 IEC coupler)
– Damper-free design
– Silicone body
– Detachable cable

Breakdown

In contrary to a normal review I will use the same breakdown as I always do for my Custom Inear reviews:

  1. Build quality & Comfort
  2. Personalisation
  3. Cable
  4. Price & Accessories
  5. Customer Service
  6. Sound
  7. Competitors/Comparisons
  8. Driveability & Sources

1. Build quality & Comfort

My silicone Harmony 8.2 monitors look great and I can’t see or feel any flaws right away. Build quality compared to the H8P has gone up even more and the silicone now looks completely bubble free and slick. Except for the wiring the internals look very symmetric. As you can maybe spot in the picture, CA uses a mini PCB when the monitors are silicone, in acryl monitors they do not. The H8P also had 4 bores to deliver the sound but in the 8.2 there bores are further apart and instead of using glue, they now are fully inside the silicone which should make them more durable (and there’s no glue residue anywhere). The printing on the outside and inside of the monitor also is as clear as it gets (mine just say CA-1200 on both insides).

Where the sockets last time were flush, they now are recessed. It does look nicer and it probably is safer, but it also is a little harder getting your aftermarket cable inside. The advantage is though that silicone is flexible and you can just stretch it a little if needed. I didn’t have any issues trying different aftermarket cables. With eight drivers inside, the CA Harmony 8.2 is very small and it perfectly disappears inside your ears.

The fit of the 8.2, just like last time is perfect and I didn’t need to send them back for a refit. I’ve gotten used to using silicone monitors but I do remember that they can be a little harder to insert and remove in the beginning. On the other hand the comfort in the long run is even better than with acrylic monitors, to me anyway, but acrylic doesn’t bother me that much either. The fit and as a result the comfort and isolation is excellent. No sound comes in and goes out and you don’t have to turn up the volume all the way to listen to your music. I even think these are the monitors that isolate best out of my whole collection. I really can’t think of anything bad to report here, I don’t know how it could be even better.

By default, CA uses blue and silver wiring for left IEM and red and silver wiring for right IEM. If you want to change the wiring to all blue, all red or all silver that is possible though. CA uses clear tubing as the only option for silicone IEMs and it is the default option for acrylic IEMs, however upon special request CA may make acrylic IEMs with blue, red or black tubing. If you wish to change tubing color that is also possible.

By default the serial number is made Blue on the left and Red on the right ear piece, the serial number is a mandatory part of each IEM.

It continues on Page Two after the click HERE or below

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