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  1. mejoshua
    Fatfreq Harmony debut
    Written by mejoshua
    Published Nov 26, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Great tonality and resolution for its class
    Cons - Single BA bass, extension
    Introduction:

    Not to be confused with Polish company CustomArt’s previous generation of earphones, also named Harmony 8.2, the Harmony is Singapore-based start up Fatfreq’s maiden entry level offering consisting of a single full range BA driver set up set in a universal acrylic shell. What is unique about this particular model is that they collaborated with a local artist to create the faceplates that characterise this model. Also, they are utilising a vented design, which does contribute to a slightly more open sound.

    The Harmony is priced at SGD$218.

    Fatfreq provided me with the Harmony in return for my honest opinion. I am not personally affiliated with the company in any way, and neither do I receive any monetary incentives for promoting the product.


    Technical Specifications:

    - Single Balanced Armature with custom tuned bass port
    - 20hz to 20khz


    Build Quality:

    I love the faceplate design, a collaboration with a local artist @sincerelycherise. The layers of depth portraying an image of the seashore is gorgeous, and makes you want to stare at it all day. Even though the acrylic is not perfect by standards of several times more expensive custom IEMs, you would really be nitpicking at this price point to find fault with it. Personally it does not bother me much, and it hardly detracts from the beauty of the faceplate.


    Accessories:

    The Harmony comes with a sturdy IEM case with foam padded interior. Inside the case you will find a little box of supplied silicone tips of different sizes as well as an ear tip cleaning tool. The bundled stock SPC cable is generic, and for those who might want to consider a performance boost, cable rolling might be an option. However, swapping cables might alter the sound signature subtly, and I find that the stock tuning with the bundled cables hits the spot in terms of tuning.


    Sound:

    Even though it is a single balanced armature configuration, it is not very sensitive. In fact, when it comes to volume levels you can actually turn it up for it to sound its best. Volume levels match dynamic driver setups which generally seem to like more power. The Harmony has a very pleasing and easily likeable tuning, and plays well with most genres that do not require boosting of specific frequencies to sound best. I would characterise the tuning as a gentle U shape.


    Now, it is by no means a boring and flat presentation – there is enough energy up top to keep things interesting, yet not too much to tip the balance into harshness, sibilance or fatigue.


    Bass is more mid than sub, which is typical of single BAs, yet remains quick-paced and punchy. Bass heads need not apply though. There is more sub bass presence than you would expect from a mere balanced armature which I suspect is what keeps things tight and fast. Mid bass has satisfying authority, and on most tracks you will not be left wanting.


    Mids are more clear than musical, that is, there is a nice clarity but for my personal preferences I’d have liked a little more weight to the notes for some tracks. That being said, however, timbre is pretty much spot on, which is essential to me as a musician. Voices neither sound muddy or thin, but carries enough weight to convey a natural and lifelike quality.


    Like I said a few paragraphs earlier, the treble strikes a wonderful balance here. I am particularly sensitive to treble so if you are like me, the Harmony would be just right for you. There is no hardness in the treble tuning, even with a slight peak in the presence region to keep things shimmery. Cymbals sound correct, without splashiness and peaks. If you are a treble head though, you might be disappointed. I love the tuning as it is because it means you can listen to it for hours without fatigue.


    The Harmony does not have the last word in resolution – but frankly no one is expecting it to. For this price point though, I would like to suggest that it is probably top of its class. Unless you are a resolution geek or are used to many times more expensive IEMs, the detail that the Harmony churns out is satisfyingly good. I’d just say that you will not be left feeling like you need more detail.



    Comparisons:

    *do note that all impressions are comparative in nature!


    Campfire Comet (Single BA) $299

    The Comet is Campfire Audio’s entry level offering, one that is beautifully machined and also looks like a work of art, but would appeal to those who dig an industrial, machined aesthetic. Being a single balanced armature as well and priced close to the Harmony, it would make a worthy competitor.


    The Comet’s midrange seems a little hollower sounding, and stage is not as expansive as the Harmony. The stage seems a little more centred and smaller – feels more in the head. There is less treble clarity but focuses on midbass and low mids. Cymbal work sounds a little recessed. The bass on the Comet is less defined and less realistic, with a ‘slower’ feel overall. However, the Comet packs more of a punch with greater impact so depending on genre you might prefer the Comet’s presentation. There is also a general sense of greater air and space around the instruments on the Harmony than the Comet, with greater definition of instrument sounds and note edges.



    Jomo Haka (Single BA) $499

    Jomo Audio is another local company who have already built a name for themselves. The Haka is also their entry level offering featuring a single BA.


    The Haka’s presentation is even smaller than the Comet, with an emphasis on the midrange. Staging is small, and compared to the Harmony the sound appears a little veiled. There is a sense that there is a lack of clarity across the board. The treble here again like the Comet, sounds recessed compared to the Harmony, perhaps tuned to reduce fatigue for long listening sessions. However, I much preferred the sound of the others to the Haka, unfortunately.


    Fitear F111 (Single BA) $699

    The F111 was my daily driver some years back, and it still remains one of my favourite treble tunings in an earphone.


    Like any of the other single BAs, bass extension is not a strong suit, with some emphasis on the midbass. However, timbre is pretty much spot on, where the F111 would tilt gently to the warmer side of things and the Harmony tilts gently to the less warm side – I would characterise both as having very very good/accurate timbre though. If you do not do a side by side comparison you’d be hard pressed to find the more accurate one. What the F111 lags behind the Harmony in is the area of resolution and detail. Even though the driver configuration is the same, the Harmony presents detail more effortlessly with focus, and the F111 sounds just a little hazy in comparison. Staging is more height than width, and falls a little short of the Harmony which has slightly less height but more than makes up for it with more width and stereo separation.


    Kinera Sif (Single Dynamic) $69

    Priced at a fraction of the Harmony, I find the Kinera Sif punching way above its price point, but falling short of the Harmony’s balance and timbral accuracy. Compared to the Harmony, the Sif’s mids sit a little further back, with even thinner notes. The Sif also has a harder treble which may be fatiguing after a while, and some upper midrange peakiness that may be annoying to some. The bass on the Sif is also a little more boomy, and on some tracks there may be some bleeding into the mids. Overall, both tuning and technicalities considered, the Harmony sits a few notches comfortably above the Sif.


    Like the Harmony, I really dig the Sif’s aesthetics. Even though it is a simple plastic shell, with the Kinera brand emblazoned it exudes a simple elegance. The Harmony however would appeal even more to the aesthetically inclined with its semi custom art design on the faceplates.


    Conclusion
    Audition one if you have the chance. At its price point and as an entry level offering, the Harmony presents incredible value. In the market right now, the Harmony stands in my opinion as one of the best single BA earphones you can get your hands on.

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