Custom Art of course, like any company, offers a whole series of personalization options. You can see the result of CA’s creativity on their Facebook page where they keep an overview of a lot of their hand made monitors. My silicone H8P had a kind of purple marbled and just like the first time I didn’t ask Piotr anything special design-wise. It turns out he likes the purple and the new monitors look somewhat similar to the old ones, just better imho, with a see-through purple color and face plate. One faceplate has the CA logo on it while the other just says “Harmony 8.2”. It’s all good to me as long as the finish is good, they’re in my ears anyway and last time I checked I can’t see what’s in my ears without using a mirror anyway.
CA offers standard colors and special colors. Next to that you can have a different canal color, a gloss (default) or matte finish and they have an impressive selection of wood for the face plates. If you want something particular they will check with you if they can do it and how much it’ll cost. Like with most companies, there almost are no limits as long as you pay for it.
For an overview of CA designs, check here. You can also create your own design with CA’s newest IEM creator here: http://thecustomart.com/shop/silicone-products/harmony-8-2-silicone/
The Harmony 8.2 came delivered with a stock cable just like it is the case most of the time when you get ciems. Lately however some custom inear companies have been offering upgrade cables from aftermarket cable makers and some are even using these special aftermarket cables as their stock cable, in example the Jomo Samba that comes with an effect audio Ares II cable. The more companies will do this, the more others will have to follow the same trend as the consumer will see it as something “normal”. I myself replaced the stock cable with 2 different cables. A balanced version of the EA Leonidas cable, which for the moment is my favorite balanced cable sound and comfort wise. The other is the good old EA Thor Copper in Single ended mode. The stock cable will work just fine but you’ll get even more out of your favorite monitor with a better cable, and it doesn’t need to be a $700USD one, like the Leonidas is. Thor goes for $149 on EA’s site.
Leonidas shows you all the fine detail and has a wide, spacious presentation with great layering. Thor is more concentrated but you get great bass body and mids. Of course you can also buy a balanced cable and use an adapter to use it in SE mode, I myself use the one that came with the Fidue A91.
4. Price & Accessories
The Harmony 8.2 comes in the standard Custom Art package with a Pelican 1010 inside a black box. Inside the Hard box you’ll of course find the monitor with the stock cable, a dry capsule, a cleaning tool with a little cloth and finally a comprehensive manual with the serial number. It’s a full package and there’s nothing special to say about it really, it has all you need.
Depending on where you are located you’ll pay a different price for the 8.2. The non-EU price starts at 3900PLN / €975 / $1062 (VAT excl.) European Union inhabitants have the pleasure of paying VAT and prices start at 4400PLN/€1100/$1199 (VAT incl.). Of course you need to add the cost of your impressions and the shipping to Poland to that price. For a TOTL 8-driver that is a very competitive price.
If you’re already a CA client and they have your impressions, then you shouldn’t have to send new ones to them. I think CA keeps your impressions for about 2 years. If you already own the H8(P) like I did, the upgrade to the 8.2 will cost only: 1050PLN/€260/$283 (VAT incl.) when you’re inside the EU and 850PLN/€199/$214 when you’re outside of the EU (VAT excl.)
5. Customer Service
Just like last time I didn’t really go through the typical way of ordering the monitors using the form, as I just arranged everything by email. To order, Custom Art in the new site works with a very clear order form. There also is a new CIEM creator tool like many of the other companies have, as mentioned above.
I have to say I have heard nothing but good about their customer service, the number of happy clients in the Head-Fi thread proves exactly that. I’ve always received a prompt reply to my emails and Piotr is even on Head-Fi replying to questions. If I remember well it only took two weeks or so to get my upgraded monitors back so I really can’t complain there. I suggest contacting Custom Art directly in case you’re wondering about their actual delivery time.
As mentioned CA is always tries to give the best service possible and they’re always ready to look at your specific requests for customization of the monitors. Top European quality!
Custom Art describes the Harmony 8.2 as following: “The 8.2 provides excellent sub-bass response, mid-bass is now more tamed and better-controlled. Vocals are more upfront without being too intimate or narrow, yet still emotional and natural. Clarity is improved over both previous versions and so is detail retrieval. High frequencies are leveled out in the middle between pervious Harmony 8 and 8 Pro outputs – not too little and not too much. We also improved depth of the soundstage without sacrificing Harmony’s renowned soundstage width and imaging”.
The three keywords that come into mind are: Resolution, detail and vocals. The 8.2 produces a dynamic and balanced sound but in comparison to most of the “reference” monitors it has a little more bass body and slightly warmer mids. But this actually is a good thing. The 8.2 delivers bass, mids and treble as one complete part and even though it isn’t fully neutral it’s quite linear comparing bass and mid body.
The Harmony 8.2’s soundstage is fairly wide but its presentation isn’t the airiest resulting in a precise and more intimate sound. I can’t call it concentrated by far though and instrumental separation is good, they’re just a little closer together. Depth is good and so is the layering (especially excellent on high res recordings) but the sound stage is wider than it is deep. The Jomo Samba in example goes deeper and has better layering but the Samba is king in this area. The 8.2 still is good though, let’s say it’s the prince and with high resolution recordings, you’ll hear how detailed, precise and layered the 8.2 really is.
Sound continues on Page Three, click HERE