The Custom Art Harmony 8.2

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I would like to thank Piotr from Custom Art for providing me with a review sample of the 8.2 in return for my honest opinion.

Introduction

Custom Art (more specifically Piotr), is a highly respected manufacturer in the business, known for his excellent craftsmanship of both his own products as well as reshells. Custom Art also happens to be one of the very few companies that can work with both acrylic as well as the more complex silicone, another demonstration of skill when it comes to craftsmanship. A hobbyist gone pro, I imagine Piotr embodies the dream of many an audiophile. Sitting around designing and listening to ciems, I could settle for that. Then again, I probably have a somewhat simplified and romantic image of what’s really required to keep a company running. And what’s more, I’d hate to rely on reviewers like myself to evaluate my passion and lifework. Needless to say, I have a great amount of respect for someone so young running such a successful company.

But Piotr really needs little introduction, and neither does his flagship the Harmony 8. After a successful collaboration with Massdrop on the EI.XX, it was time to take a fresh look at his flagship, taking previous critique from the community into account. The result was a newly designed crossover, along with replacing at least half of the drivers depending on the previous model.

Custom Art 8.2
-Drivers:                    8 BA drivers; 2 low, 2 mid, 2 full range, 2 tweeters
-Design:                     4-way crossover in single phase configuration, 4 sound bores
-Frequency range:    10 Hz – 20 KHz
-Impedance:              17,5
-Sensitivity:                118 dB
-MRSP:                       €1100

Build & Design

Piotr has a long-standing reputation for his craftsmanship, and my 8.2 can only bear witness to that. The 8.2 fits excellently, snug and precise without any pressure areas. The fit is a bit different than usual. It goes in slightly more downward and deeper, sitting around the bottom part of the inner ear. At first I didn’t realise it so it wasn’t inserted deep enough, resulting in a leaner bass response with a less full and lively sound. It took a slight adaptation, but other than that the fit is very good. Even within the canal the fit remains snug in a positive way. Overall the isolation is outstanding, and I rate the fit among highest in my current lineup. With its 8 BA drivers, its size is slightly smaller than most of my other ciems, which manifests itself primarily on the lower part of the outer ear. The 8.2 sits almost flush within the ear, slanting more inwards towards the bottom.

For the design I went for an Icewood White faceplate contrasting a dark brown transparent shell with a playful white swirl. The faceplate is finished with a glossy coating, and the model specification ‘Harmony 8.2’ is engraved in small brown writing. I miscalculated the color of the faceplate a bit as it turned out to be more of a cream than white, so the white twirl and faceplate don’t match completely unfortunately. But I’m hoping my Photoshop skills are adequate enough to camouflage it on the pictures. However, I take full responsibility for the slight design error. In retrospect, the color was accurately displayed on the website, I just didn’t think the white swirl through properly. It still looks good though, it didn’t really necessitate going into detail on the these additional sentences as it probably isn’t giving any relevant info. I’m just a bit of a stickler for the way colors match and contrast each other. Anyways, fit and finish are both good so no overall no complaints.

Accessories

The 8.2 comes with the standard ciem accessories: a cleaning tool and pelican case that you’ll receive with most customs. Custom Art also throws in an extra adorable little blue soft carrying case. Its smaller in size than a regular soft padded carrying case, which makes it very practical and compact for transporting the 8.2 with its standard cable. On the other hand it is too small for including a thicker upgrade cable, for whomever this might apply. So in my case the tradeoff of size is on the wrong side as I tend to use different cables; but in its standard setup it is undeniably a very useful and thoughtful addition, as the standard Peli cases are unnecessarily large for day to day use. The cable itself is a generic UE style black twisted 3-wire that is commonly used by many companies such as EarSonics, Lime Ears and Perfect Seal.

Page 2: Sound impressions
Page 3: Comparisons and concluding thoughts

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About Author

Nic is currently in pursuit of a PhD degree in social neuropsychology, while trying not to get too distracted by this hobby. In pursuit of theoretical knowledge by day, and audiophile excellence at night. Luckily for him, both activities are not mutually exclusive which helps to lighten the workload. Always on the go, Nic's enthusiasm for hi-fi is focused on all chains of the portable system: iems, cables and daps.

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