Disclaimer: The CustomArt Harmony 8 Pro sample was gotten free of charge from CustomArt, I only had to pay for my impressions and for shipping them to Poland.
CustomArt Harmony 8 Pro – Mindblowing
Last year, somewhere around October or November, I received a message on our Facebook page. “If I was interested in reviewing a new custom monitor?” someone asked. After some back and forth messaging, I got in touch with Piotr and here we are now.
CustomArt is a Polish based company that was founded in May 2012 by Piotr Granicky. 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 CustomArt is that, in contrary to most other CIEM makers, they use a soft silicone to produce their monitors. The big advantage of this is that the fit and as a result the isolation for the one using the monitor 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)
My custom hearing protection I use at concerts (Variphone) is also made out of silicone but the Harmony 8 Pro was going to be my first silicone inear monitor.
What are we reviewing?
The Harmony 8 (Pro) is equipped with 8 drivers for each ear and it actually was the first 8 driver made with a silicone shell. You get 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, and to deliver more details and a more spacious sound. The combined volume of all eight of Harmony 8/8Pro’s drivers is around 255mm3 – that’s less than volume of single CI-22955 driver (276mm3) – one of the most commonly used woofers in In-Ear Monitors.
This is my first 8-driver monitor that I review and it will be very interesting to compare it to the Earwerkz Legend R. The Legend R is a new USA made 8-driver and it will be in my possession in a week or two.
In contrary to a normal review I will use the same breakdown as I did for the Comic Ears CE6E, 1964Ears V6S and the Rhines Stage 5:
- Build quality & Comfort
- Price & Accessories
- Customer Service
1.Build Quality & Comfort
The custom hearing protection I use was made a couple of years ago and still fits great. The silicone feeling never bothered me and so I was convinced I’d like the Harmony 8 Pro as well.
The H8P is very well made and it actually is the best isolating monitor I have. Compared to all my other acrylic customs, it stays in my ears longest without breaking the seal but it also is my tightest fitting monitor. That means it’s not as comfortable as the Rhines Stage 5 but the overall comfort level is very good. In contrast to other users I never had any issues with inserting the silicone monitors: it’s push and turn as usual and they go in my ears very easily. The canals don’t go in too deep and once they’re in you couldn’t tell the difference between acryl and silicone.
While I don’t have any complaints at all about the build quality, you can’t get the same level of finish as you can get with classic acryl monitors. They just aren’t that smooth and slick but at the same time it does have its charm. One thing that does concerns me a little is the durability of silicone as it is known for not adhering well to other materials and I’m not sure for how long the glue near the flush sockets and the sound tubes in the canal will hold. Time will tell I suppose.
Silicon doesn’t seem to allow doing the same level of finish and personalization that acryl does. At the same time CustomArt has proven to be quite creative and the pictures in their album on their Facebook clearly show that.
I didn’t have any requests for customization and in the end my monitors turned out to be lilac metallic with silver metallic swirls and white artwork as you can see in the pictures. It’s not a design I would have chosen myself and it doesn’t allow me to check out the internals but it does show us what CustomArt is capable of doing in terms of creativity. My monitors are featured somewhere in the album as well.
So while you can get to a certain agree of personalization, I do think the acryl monitors are better suited for detailed designs. While custom IEM companies love to show off their designs, I do see a new trend within the community. Most of my friends nowadays order fully clear shells with just a small logo on the faceplate or even nothing at all. They want to admire and show off the craftsmanship of the internals, it seems the quality of the assembly is getting more important each day.
The standard cable that comes with the H8P is a twisted 3-way silver looking cable. The memory wire effect is the result of a short pliable piece of metal wire. I haven’t noticed any microphonics and I quite like how the cable sounds. I did try switching to a balanced Linum cable when using the Astell&Kern DAPs, but it didn’t produce a sound I was looking for as it decreased bass just a bit much, but more on that in the “Sound” part.
After a few months the only minor issue I have with the cable is that the length of the cable after the Y-split isn’t the longest. Sometimes it also tangles from the Y-split up but luckily it easily untangles so that’s no real issue.
The stock cable doesn’t look too spectacular but sound and comfort wise I can’t complain about it at all. It’s a bit soon to talk about its durability but so far so good. (More on aftermarket cables in the Sound part)
It continues after the click