The Harmony 8.2 has great detail retrieval but looking at the H8P that’s no surprise at all. L/R balance is very good but the 3-Positioning could be a little better. Piotr managed to make the 8.2 detailed and musical at the same time, in fact it’s a great mix between a more analytical and a musical monitor. The tuning is fairly neutral but it does have a little more bass body and the mids – which also have great body – are a little to the warmer side while the treble section is easy to listen to.
Bass is tight and fast, just like in the H8P, but it has more body with the same great punch. Bass goes quite low with good layering yet there still is a little room for improvement. To me the 8.2 has the right amount of bass and it’s always fully under control. While this isn’t a monitor for bass heads or fans of really deep rumbling bass, I’m convinced the mast majority (like me) will love how Piotr did the bass tuning on this one. The mids are where the 8.2 shines most: they’re musical, detailed and they have a good amount of body that’s perfectly in line with the bass. Like I said the mids are tad warmer sounding but that contributes to the musicality. What I really love about the mids is how natural they sound. It’s like they’re singing right next to you and I really like that. Some might call them a little more forward but everything just fits in perfectly. Looking at everything, the mids have the best layering of the Harmony 8.2.
Treble is softer than on the H8P or it seems that way because of the weightier mids. Treble is detail and precise while staying musical. They maybe don’t have the furthest extension but you will never feel you’re missing out on anything and you’ll never find them to sound sharp or harsh. Listeners who expect more of treble might be more interested in the H8P which is pretty famous for its treble.
The 8.2 is a good all-round performer with –to me at least – the mids as their best part but the whole package simply is really good. It might not be as flashy or draw as much attention as a Noble K10 or UM Maestro but the 8.2 always delivers a quality sound with all sources. The 8.2 is like any really good Barcelona player such as Iniesta where the K10 would probably be Messi, if you know what I mean.
The Jomo Samba is the TOTL 8-driver from the Singapore based Jomo Audio. This monitor is part of their Pro series and it is an incredibly good ciem as well. The Samba is more spacious and has better layering throughout but the Harmony 8.2 has more bass and especially mid body, this makes voices jump out even more than on the 8.2. Samba’s sub bass goes deeper on the other hand and it has more rumble. Especially the mids are very different and Samba’s treble is more energetic and further extended. Two great monitors, two of my personal favorites.
The 8-driver Legend R is less tight and fast and has a very airy presentation compared to the 8.2. CA’s unit also has more body and the special thing about the bass is that it is hidden more in the Legend R. When needed it will show up with great depth and rumble though. Treble is about the same imho. The Unique Melody Maestro 12-driver has a wider and deeper stage with an airier presentation and better separation. The 8.2 does have more mid body then the Maestro while treble is more extended on the Maestro. On the 5-driver Lime Ears Aether bass is completely different as the sub bass switch lets you choose the amplitude but overall I would say sub bass reaches deeper but the 8.2 has more mid bass body and bass is tighter and faster. The 8.2 also shows more mid body and treble is further extended on the Aether.
8. Driveability & Sources
The Harmony 8.2 (118dB @1kHz @0.1V & 15 Ohm @1kHz ) is easy to drive and it doesn’t really need any amplification. Yes it will sound slightly different from the source or amp you’re using but there’s no real need for any special amplification in my eyes. According to Piotr “the 8.2 works with any sound source – high or low impedance, keeping differences in frequency response to minimum. Now, with higher sensitivity, bigger headroom and lower overall impedance, you can fully enjoy Harmony 8.2 from any DAP”
Straight from the Chord Hugo there is noise or hiss. It has a wide sound stage, nice layering and it sounds a little smoother, I really like this combination. Out of the ALO CV5 there’s some audible noise in the background but you do get the added tube smoothness, in some way it’s comparable to the Hugo but the CV5 does makes the voices very smooth.
Straight out of the Cayin i5 DAP (unbalanced only) you immediately notice how easy it is to drive the 8.2. Volume wise I never went over 15 out of 100. The full bodied i5 adds a little bit of bass and body in exchange for a little less detail and precision. There’s only very little noise audible on quiet passages. The latest L3PRO from Luxury&Precision nails it sound wise and especially in balanced mode it makes the 8.2 a little more spacious sounding with really good depth. They still need to work on the UI though, but the sound is sublime. The Chord Mojo delivers great dynamics and makes the 8.2 both musical as detailed, I do miss the depth and layering of the Hugo however. The AK70 + 8.2 is full bodied like the i5 but it’s more refined and completely silent. On the top level AK380 the 8.2 sounds precise and detailed with good depth and width but it’s a more forward sound, especially the vocals.
Fio’s newest A5 (the E12 replacement) is dead silent but seems a bit too powerful for the Harmony 8.2 as volume is too loud even at the lowest level (just past the channel imbalance)
After comparing it to my other customs it really shows that the Harmony 8.2 is a great monitor that takes the best bits from other monitors and puts them all together. There still is room for improvement in the sub bass and treble compartment but overall this is an excellent monitor that performs no matter what source you are using and no matter what music you’re listening to.
Custom Art and Piotr have done an excellent job with the Harmony 8.2 and I personally am very happy with the upgrade, I really do think it is a better general performer than before. This definitely is a recommended custom and you get a lot in return for the reasonable asking price. Put this one on your list!