For the longest time driver count for silicone CIEMs has always lagged behind acrylic CIEMs--we're at, what, 10 drivers per side now with acrylic CIEMs from every major brand--but where have you seen a silicone pair with more than 5 drivers per side?
Custom Art hails from Poland and made its splash with a single-driver silicone custom earning 9.2 points with ljokerl:
Now they are apparently intent to show that as an up-and-coming CIEM brand they can throw the punches at the top as well as the bottom end of the market with the Harmony 8…
Impressions start to arrive:
1/ First impression by tomscy2000 in!
I had a quick listen to someone else's custom Harmony, so take these impressions with a grain of salt, as the sound will be different from what it'd sound like with a truly-customized fit.
Overall, it sounds very nice; quite organic and cohesive. It's not an "ultimate neutrality" kind of sound, though, so strike those notions from your heads. Basically, it has a somewhat relaxed treble shelf, just without roll-off, so the treble ends up sounding more like that of the RE-262 (a bit more presence than the 262, though). It seems designed for zero harshness, while preserving a lot of intrinsic detail. Overall, the midrange is warm, with slightly (and I really do mean just slightly) relaxed upper-mids, but has very good presence and transparency. What really makes the Harmony stand out, however, is that from the lower midrange down, it's so composed and resolving. The woofers achieve a kind of layering and texture that is truly on TOTL level. At the same time, while it does have a little bit of bass shelf elevation, it's measured and controlled, and I doubt it'd ever feel overwhelming for anyone, even so-called "bass haters" like me (that's really a misnomer). If I had to characterize the Harmony in terms of CA's other products, I'd say it possesses the tonal balance of the Music series, but the separation and transient speed of the Pro series. Vocals are a hybrid of the two.
excerpts of my first impressions for the non pro version:
I've been in contact with Piotr since his release of his 330pro v1 model, and followed through with the v2 only to end in the Harmony 8 land.
First, build quality, as usual, is outstanding. Piotr, i know you have had a huge load of work, and i really really want to state that i have not encountered better craftmanship in 3 years of high end CIEMS and in 20 years of headphones….not speaking of customer service, but this, everybody knows it by now. Fit is very good, maybe a bit less on the right side, but nothing to complain about for the moment. Isolation is more than good!
…..where and how do i start….: (sooooo, no burn in for the moment……we will see if different in a couple of days!)
As already stated, soundstage is enormous, Ibasso DX50 alone with the H8, stock cable is very very clean and wide. The low spectrum is precise, even at low volume. I think this is what is called to have a 3D soundstage. I'm surpised to have this for the first time. It's impressive how you physically hear some instruments behind you. Even more, there is like a physical distance you feel en between the instruments, and it reveals details i haven't heard before. Sometimes you hear some bass moving in the soundstage, like coming from deep inside of you and then making it's way somewhere else.
It is a warm and enveloping sound, the vocals beautiful, female vocals impressive, highs are still cristall clear yet never harsh.
Listening to "Laura" from Bat for Lashes right now (FLAC)
Listening to a freshly vinyl ripped file of Vladimir Vysotsky (guitare and vocal + a good portion of melancholy….for those who know…..yes i know, not my fault, my mother speaks russian and loved him in the 80's ) really really moves me to the bones.
i think someone spoke of an somptous sound…..this hits the spot i think.
i'm still trying to figure out if i prefer them just straight out ouf the dx50 or paired with my headstage arrow 3G: I'd say straight out the dx50 you have a bit more neutral sound.
Amped, the bass become even more textured but not invading.
Let's resume this in average points:
Build quality : 10/10 shells are perfectly crafted, some bubbles here and there, but thats nothing i would consider as bad point
Cable: 10/10 very flexible, no microphonics at all and thin as good as it gets, you just forget it
Sound : i wouldn't dare to rate this, too personnal, please make yourself an idea with reading the different impressions. For what it's worth, for me, i'd give it a 9.5, but only because i should listen to some other TOTL Ciems before being able to get real comparisons!
Customer service 20(!) /10 ….
Let's hope for more reviews to come, i'll update this first page as they follow
Happy reading to all and more importantly, happy listening!
First impression of the H8 pro version: http://www.head-fi.org/t/716065/first-ever-8-driver-side-silicone-ciems-the-harmony-8-8pro-by-custom-art-first-impression-p-1/75#post_10642578
Finally we come to the sound. It is quite balanced with a little bit bass emphasized. Piotr sent an E-mail to me to introduce the H8 pro (my former order was H8). He told me that the H8 pro vision was added with extra 15db. So the +15db in treble seems to me just awesome, not too bright, not too dark. The treble offers a very high class clarity and transparency. The entire middle freq sounds totally smooth and enhances perfect with the high freq. The mezzo-soprano is just like drugs. I really cannot stop listening (Album: Das Lied von der Erde/ Christa Ludwig, Kollo, Bernstein)…. The bass tastes not light but colored with scale and reverberation and it goes a little bit up to the mid to support the male vocal.
Other pics of H8 pro on their way to their owner:
Impression from MrButchi (dude i always wanted to know where your nickname came from!!)
Enough with the intro, here are my quick impressions about Harmony 8 Pro (hereinafter H8Pro) :
- the isolation is top notch. I don't hear anything from the outside world. Just a husher in a train going full speed with windows open (people taking the RER in Paris will understand what I mean).
- it is a little warm, not too warm, but not neutral. it confirms that I probably would not have enjoyed the Harmony 8.
- the bass is incredible. it is incredibly present, without being overwhelming. On "Contact" (Random Access Memories), I could feel like a rumble in my ribcage - of course not like the one you'll get in a club, but definitely the same physiological feeling.
- the trebles are extremely present and engaging, yet not tiring. They are very precise, and the violins for instance have a great body, the cymbals have a very natural decay, etc.. I guess this is an advantage of the slightly warm signature.
- the mids are also very lush yet velvety, maybe liquid? I always have a hard time speaking of mediums.
- what impresses me the most is that there is a lot of everything, while not stepping on each others' toes at the same time. Usually, I would either get enhanced bass or precise trebles, with decent mids, or good bass and trebles, but with recessed mids (worst case). Here, the signature seems very balanced: there is a lot of everyone. Maybe ever so slightly more bass, but I would need more time to confirm that.
- the soundstage is very wide, and has very good depth. Not sure about height yet. To give you an example, I discussed EXTENSIVELY the end of "On every road" (Dire Straits) with a pal from a French forum I hang out at. I don't know that song all that well and listened to it 10+ times while describing to him what I heard (this song is a make or break for him). He has extensive high end experience, and currently is with Tralucent Ref 1, and told me that the soundstage and separation I described were unbelievably coherent and that the location of the instruments were one of the best he had heard speak of. Not to oversell the soundstage, but this experience validated my initial perceptions that the soundstage is both very big and precise, while remaining realistic.
- the whole remains very musical. It may sound corny, but listening to Ein deutsches Requiem (which I had never listened to before for full disclosure) nearly brought tears to my eyes, the choirs being so moving. I only had that sort of feeling at the opera before. Now, I'm not saying that the H8Pro will make you listen to a live orchestra, that would be BS, but they DO have the ability to convey a whole lot of emotions.
Edited by whoever - 12/6/14 at 2:07pm