Disclaimer: I’ve bought these CIEM myself after borrowing the universal version first.
I have now gradually tried a small handful of in-ears of the universal version of The Custom Art, which has led to an emptier wallet. The last universal in-ear I tested was their Harmony 8.2, which I fell in love with, which is why I just had to own them in a full blood CIEM version. They have now become a part of my reference setup, and for a good reason, they simply sound amazing.
The Custom Art themselves writes that it is an in-ear that lies in the middle of their previous Harmony 8 Pro and current EI.xx. Thus, here’s talk about Harmony’s higher frequency range and EI.xx’s lower frequency range, which together form the basis for The Custom Art Harmony 8.2.
Type – Custom In-Ear (CIEM)
Materials – Acrylic/ Silicone
Impedans – 17,5 Ohm
Frequency response – 10Hz – 20kHz
How’s the sound?
Source: Aune M2 with FLAC-files
Amplifier: Aune B1, Aune X1
DAC: Aune M2, Aune X1
Comparison headphones: The Custom Art EI.XX
I’ve previously had their EI.XX for testing, which is an in-ear with a more subdued treble and the rest of the sound image was tuned with more warmth to it. With The Custom Art Harmony 8.2, you can immediately notice how the damped treble has been refined and has now become more highlighted. It’s very much present, although you may not notice it, because it’s just there. There is a very nice harmony between the treble and the middle tones, which makes the treble velvety but at the same time more detailed. All that is called sharpness is not to be found with Harmony 8.2, but on the other hand a good control in the upper regime. Again, we come to the details that open everything up and leave nothing to chance because this is transparency in first row. The music songs that have been on the shelf for the last decade, because they have been heard to much, gets a new meaning with Harmony 8.2 and you’ll experience the songs again.
It may probably already be felt, but The Custom Art Harmony 8.2 is not an in-ear tuned to the bright. If you compare them with the EI.XX, they sound neutral but with a touch of warmth. I consider EI.XX to be a very warm in-ear, which may make Harmony 8.2 seem more neutral than what it really is. What the warmth does to the in-ear is great, as it can make its songs a little more cheerful to listen to.
The midrange is something for itself and cannot be described better than – ‘Love at first sight’. It simply stands so nice in the foreground and harmoniously harmonize with the rest of the sound image. The vocals are brought to life, as with the little warmth, grows in one’s ears. There is a fine control, even the lower vocals are clearly visible in the sound image, with a good volume getting all inboard. You have a better sense of how one’s favorite songs should sound, because here are a good amount of nuances and details in the vocal.
The vocals are beautiful in the sound image, but they are not the only ones, because the instruments are also beautiful. It is played with such conviction that even the smallest instruments can be pointed out in the sound image. So, there’s a nice sound image which surely can spreads it wings. So even though they are a little in-ear, they manage to perform with a beautiful result. It’s not just the fine width, but you also get a good depth in the sound image, which means that instruments and vocals are beautiful in the overall sound image.
When bass is to be spoken about, there are many opinions about what good bass is and it can also be perceived in the choices The Custom Art has made. As mentioned earlier, I have had their EI.XX for testing, which I think is an entirely phenomenal bass, as it was not something I had previously tried in an in-ear. It was both rich, voluminous, but not least, there was plenty of it. It was a bass that I liked a lot, but then I heard The Custom Art Harmony 8.2, which is in a whole other league. The large amount of bass had disappeared, but replaced by a bass of a completely different quality. The transition from the midrange to the bass is a bit harder, but is somewhat nicer. Because Harmony 8.2 works like, when there’s must be bass, there’s bass, but if not it’s totally quiet, which fits well with the midrange and treble. If you start talking about the different branches of bass, i.e. low / middle / upper bass, you will be able to hear difference compared to the EI.XX. There is a little less bass at the low end, which gives you a slightly more powerful base. It sounds more neutral, as it comes from a living room, and not from a discotheque. Here you add a little warmth and get a nice firm and detailed bass which is more than enough.
Conclusion of The Custom Art Harmony 8.2
Now I have gradually been sitting with these beauties in my ears for a while, and there is a good reason for that, because I simply had to grab the big wallet and acquire me a couple. It’s an in-ear that has surprised me in so many ways, because of all the velocity they throw into my ears. The treble manages to keep up to a slight level that does not in any way tire my ears. The detail of the higher frequencies is at a level where many others must throw the towel in the ring. Next, we have the midrange, which is placed beautifully in the foreground, and performs the beautiful vocals of the sagas with such conviction that it favors more. The bass offers an adequate amount of bass that does not provide more than what’s needed. It stands rocky and only appears when it is called.
It’s a wonderful in-ear, which is clearly in the top of the in-ears that have been in my ears. It’s not for fun that I had to use my hard-earned money, because they simply sound harmonious – ‘May the Harmony be with you!’