The Custom Art - Harmony 8

AmberOzL

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Warm and relaxed signature, enjoyable enveloping sound, realistic tonality
Cons: Not for treble heads, overall resolution is while great not the best
I have the Harmony 8 (H8) for a while and I thought they are really good, good enough to make me write a review about them. I had shared my initial impressions in the Custom Art thread here but they evolved and changed, mostly in positive way. It is a part of the flagship duo Piotr has now. Harmony 8 is the one I am reviewing here but Harmony 8 Pro version also reached a quite success in masses. H8Pro differs from the vanilla version with its treble performance. I personally didn't like its treble (as I am usually very sensitive to bright trebles) and went for the vanilla H8.
 
Well let's start with the design shall we? H8 has 8 BA per side, its a silicone made ciem and there is a detachable cable as an option too, for a small extra cost. 8 BA's configuration goes on like this: Dual Low, Dual Low-mid, Dual full-range and Dual tweeter. The design is dumper-free and receivers are vented for a better bass response. Sensitivity is 107db @1khz @0.1V and the impedance is 50 ohm @1khz. Well enough with the technological specifications, let's talk about the silicone body. As most of you know, silicone doesn't really leave much of a room for interesting design but in Poland there is a guy who can do magic. Piotr has really improved himself and the way he works with silicone. He can really create unique designs and offers variety of options; from wood, acrylic and carbon fiber faceplates to interesting transparent, semi transparent and opaque colors. Some colors are metallic and at the end we have a chance to choose from matte or glossy finish. Believe me, the finish matters a lot, with some colors and combinations, specific finish can just skyrocket how good is your ciem looking. We also have custom artwork option too for the ones who goes after it.
 
Continuing with the design, each side has 4 sound tubes. My cable is default, black and braided. It is pretty much the standard cable for this job and I don't have any complaints except one, the Y-Splitter is positioned a little bit high for my liking. Apart from that all is fine. My very own H8 has purple transparent body color with yellow acrylic faceplates (love the contrast here) and glossy finish overall. They look much better in hands than they do in photos. Some of my friends who own many different customs also love the looking and build quality.
 
For the accessories, we also get the standard package. Everything you need is here and there is nothing fancy. Pelican 1010 case, small blue zipper case, desiccant and cleaning tool. Blue zipper case is very small, I don't think I will use it, I carry my Peli 1010 everywhere with me. Cleaning tool has 2 sides, one with brush and another one with the metal wire loop. Desiccant is really nice addition and very useful, a must for every ciem owner in my humble opinion.
 
Fit/Finish, it is the best. Simple as that. I got many ciems from Piotr, we have shared our fair number of refits, remolds etc. I think finally we managed to build the perfection in both fit and finish. Don't get the wrong idea, my H8 has the awesome fit from the day one, but before that I also received different ciems from Piotr and they all needed refit or remold. So what is so different this time? I think Piotr would agree with me, the biggest difference is very quality ear impressions with the correct material. Once you provide it to Piotr he creates the perfect fit and isolation for you. As for the finish, this might be one of the best ciems I seen in Piotr's gallery. It is not very unique, it is actually a rather simple design but finish is very good. I can't really find a single imperfection or bubble or something like that. 10/10 would recommend to everyone.
 
So fellas, lets jump into the sound section since it is the most important part always. In short, the sound is warm and relaxed with very high resolution and laid back presentation. I will separate this section to 4 parts, hope you enjoy it and it will be helpful.
 
Bass: Boom! The bass is enhanced, not like it covers the entire spectrum but quite enhanced. Mid bass is a little bit more enhanced than the sub bass. It creates the nice feeling especially with the bass heavy tracks, I can assure you, your ears gonna like it, oh they are gonna like it a lot. I don't find them very quick but they are definitely not slow either. It is punch and layering is wonderful. Details and textures are presented in a way that you fall in love with the bass presentation of this ciem. It has one of the best quality I heard in the bass section, despite the punch and enhanced quantity. So that's saying something, believe me. Why it has such a high quality you might ask? Well, it has the perfect control over the notes and its tonality is very realistic. Ability to show the different textures and layers in sound is just addicting. Also, despite the warm signature, the resolution is very high in this segment. So the bass is, punchy and powerful, extremely revealing and has awesome tonality. Be warned though, this is not a pure bass head ciem and keep in mind that, this level of high resolution can show the flaws of the tracks that you didn't hear with your other monitors. The bass definitely got an excellent point from me.
 
Midrange: It is also warm and slightly dark. Tonality is still superb, layering and depth just embraces you. The overall signature is neutral and natural. It is not upfront in your face. Detail levels are at the highest league no doubt, just slightly sitting behind SE5way ref. However they differ in presentation of midrange a lot. SE5way ref has in your face highly organic and very rich mids. H8 just takes things in more relaxed way. It still shows the details it still recreates the layers and depth, it still gives you the warm colored but full of micro details midrange. It just doesn't bring it very front, instead you just gotta relax and listen to it. You will feel that all those details, all those layers will embrace you into it and you are getting a special treatment. Isn't it just a surprise? I mean look at that, we have warm and colored midrange (though the tonality is very realistic), it is laid back, it is friends with relaxed treble which I will come in a minute..... And it still creates very high levels of detail with incredible layered, deep presentation. It is hard to achieve that in my experience but Piotr got it. I wouldn't say the midrange got an excellent point from me, but it is pretty darn close to it.
 
Treble: Silky smooth. Yup that's it. It is definitely relaxed and laid back. I would even call it dark-ish. Don't make this fool you though, it doesn't mean it lacks the details and air. It has the details, though maybe not the most detailed treble I heard. There is a fair amount of air between the instruments and the general layering is quite large with 3D feeling. Coherence between the midrange is specially awesome. There is no sharpness here, the treble is not bright nor ear piercing. So if you wanna sparkling treble, you might go for the H8Pro variant though I myself find its tonality a bit off. I prefer this realistic note recreation without the bright treble. I can listen to them for straight 6 hours without feeling a bit of tiredness. There is not much to say, it has the dark perfection. Without hurting my ears, it has a very high level of details, air and coherence. I think without making it brighter, things wouldn't go much better here.
 
Presentation: Despite being a dark monitor, it is very big and 3D. It is laid back so it doesn't bring you to first row, right in front of the singer. Presentation is neutral, it is very big, but not the biggest. Instrument separation is also very close to the top of the chart. Air? There is enough to feel the music lively and not congested. This is a big success considering the dark signature. What I like most about presentation is there is an exceptional embracing feeling that you live the music, rather than listen to it. I mean, the every small thing; like beyond excellent bass, laid back mids and treble and their coherence, warm but full of details note recreation, relaxed and not focus oriented signature.... All of them mixes in such a way that whenever I put the H8 in my ears, I just forget about them. Yeah I forget about them and I just lose myself in the music. The music calls me, the harmony calls me. I get surrounded by it and just give myself to it. I am pretty sure, if you change a single aspect of this monitor, this feeling would be lost. It is a very special, not seen in every monitor feeling. I am glad, I have H8 with me, cuz whenever I just want to lose myself and don't think about the problems in real life, it I put them in my ears and magic happens. The presentation has a big role in it cuz it is big enough to make you feel it is not congested but it doesn't lack the focus either. It is in perfect balance in short. Very large and very big soundstages usually have a problem with focus. I am not sure it is a good idea to give other products name here but if you ask me in PM I can give you a few names.
 
So my journey with H8 continues as I am falling in love with them more and more every day. Exceptional imagining, enveloping musical presentation, beyond this world bass quality and very, very good midrange and treble H8 just shows you don't need to be astronomically expensive in order to be a good ciem. Just put them in your ears and let magic controls your body, flows in your veins. Yup, they are that good.
 
Since we are talking about custom in ear monitors, I should talk about customer service too it is equally important in this industry. You can create a good product but if you leave your customers unsatisfied and/or unhappy, things are not going to be good and smooth for you. Well most of you know Piotr and how awesome he is. To me, he created new page in customer service standards. He brought the level so darn high, I am not sure how many other companies would be able to follow it is lead. As I wrote before, I got quite many different ciems from Piotr (custom tuned unique project etc etc) and we probably talked via email more than thousand times easily. What can I say? The man turn out to be a prophet or something. He is extremely helpful, always offers new and different choices, always polite and kind, brings surprises to the table. I mean I can't write how awesome he is here or this review won't be finished in 3 hours at least. What I can say is, just go buy one of his products, the one that suits your preferences most. You won't be disappointed, I can give you my word.
 
That's my review of H8 folks, hope you all enjoy it. I would say if the sound signature suits you, go for it. It is seriously awesome.
 
For more information, please visit:
 
http://www.thecustomart.com/pro_audio-harmony.php
 
Test Albums:
 
Adele: 21
Arctic Monkeys: Whatever People Say I am, That's What I'm Not, Favourite Worst Nightmare, AM
Burial: Untrue
Cake: Fashion Nugget
Daft Punk: Discovery, Random Access Memories (Édition Studio Masters)
Depeche Mode; Playing The Angel
Dr. Dre: The Chronic, 2001
Eminem: The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP, The Eminem Show, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (Deluxe Edition)
Fort Minor: The Rising Tied (Deluxe Version)
Hotline Miami OST
Iron Maiden: The Number Of The Beast, Piece Of Mind, Powerslave, Somewhere In Time
Jay-Z: The Blueprint, The Blueprint2, The Black Album
Kanye West: Late Registration, Graduation
London Grammar: If You Wait,
Nina Simone: The Very Best Of Nina Simone Vol1,2
Norah Jones: ...Featuring
Otis Redding: Otis! The Definitive Otis Redding
Pulp Fiction OST
Stromae: Cheese
The Doors: The Doors, Strange Days, Waiting For The Sun
Tool: Lateralus
AmberOzL
AmberOzL
Thanks Synthyss, hope it can be helpful.
dulty
dulty
Thanks for an excellent review. You really love those things :)
AmberOzL
AmberOzL
Thanks dulty. Yeah I definitely love them, they have a very relaxing sound without losing from transparency. One of my favorite tunings in the iem business :) Also that bass quality, man this layering capability is something should be heard.
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