This is a new Swiss IEM company created by Samuel Harsch, a bloke that wasn’t new to the audio industry, that’s for sure. In 2004 he launched Harschacoustic and manufactured customised HiFi speakers. He also developed a quasi-linear phase filtering method of which he gave a presentation to the AES. A little more about Samuel from the site…
“From 2005 he was hired as an acoustics engineer at Phonak. He was in charge of the acoustic part of many research projects and various products such as custom made hearing protection devices called Serenity (passive and active) or the in-ear earphones Audéo PFE series that have won numerous awards and mentions on various specialised blogs and forums, both in audio quality and comfort.
He filed 7 patents for Phonak as inventor or co-inventor, including the patent of the interchangeable acoustic filters that was one of the key points of the success of the Audéo PFE series.”
We certainly were fans of the Phonak series and it was one of the biggest shames when they were discontinued and in spirit, this seems to be the perfect competitor.
Should know what he’s doing then! He has certainly proved that in the past!
Let’s move swiftly on to the accessories…
Harsch are a small company, they aren’t a UE, JH, ACS, or Lear of the CIEM world and I will be honest, I love an underdog, I think it’s a British thing. The reason I’m reiterating this is because it is usually a fake otterbox type design that is inevitably used by smaller companies; Jomo for example, the older days of Lear and Heir also. Harsch have gone a different route though, they give you a small briefcase like design. The case has a sticker with the company name, model, customer name and also a little note reminding you that the product is swiss made. Inside the box is layered with a soft generic padding to keep the product safe and secure inside. We also get the generic cleaning tool you come to expect with every CIEM product.
I like that they have tried to be a little different with the case, it slightly sets them apart from the generic start-up IEM company, something that they continue to do in a couple of areas as you will see.
Unfortunately that is it for accessories… no carrying pouch, shirt clip, warranty card, extra cable, jack adapter, CIEM gel or anything of the sort. This doesn’t actually bother me in the slightest but it’s worth knowing if you are someone that wants a little from your £375-£600 earphone.
Fit and Comfort:
The benefit of custom CIEM’s is that if they don’t fit comfortably, you send them back for a refit. Simple as that, and there shouldn’t be any questions asked really. Something that tends to be different between brands is insertion depth and depending on usage and specific needs this can be important. These particular CIEM’s are fairly deep, nearer to my UERM than my fairly shallow Vision Ears VE6. This means they isolate really well and they also are easier to slip in if they aren’t uber deep (apart from my right channel which is too tight).
The fit of these earphones offers great isolation and leaves them ideal for travelling as well as general listening in a quieter environment. The comfort should be really good, my left channel is brilliant and the only reason my right ear hasn’t been sent back is because of how busy I’ve been and it is not a life changing problem by any means. CIEM service is good right?
Aesthetics Design and Finish:
Harsch realise how important it is to stand out, they have done exactly that with ONE of their faceplate options (one of the most difficult areas to do something different now). Before that though, I’m going to start by talking about the options for the shell colour… not such a positive area. Your options are beige, clear, red and blue. That’s it, no more. The faceplate options are initially poor as well, with the option of no faceplate so it is the same colour as the shell as the first. The second option is a choice of two wood faceplates, just two? The third option is quite cool though, FABRIC?! They do have a few stock fabric plates but you also have the option to send in any fabric of your choice, what a good idea! I have one of the stock fabrics that you can see in the pictures. There are also 8 opaque colour options for faceplate. Overall the options aren’t awful but the shells are restricted, with just the fabric option redeeming it. That being said with 3D printing become more involved with CIEMs, some of the bigger players like 64 Audio are no reverting back to limited colour options, less than Harsch as it happens.
The shells themselves are actually fantastic with absolutely no bubbles or rough edges, the faceplate is also incorporated absolutely perfectly into the shell, probably a benefit of using such a thin and flexible material like the fabric, but it is very good nonetheless. It’s actually proving very difficult to fault the craftsmanship and finish. One of the reasons I actually think they look so good is that I have nothing else like them. Don’t get me wrong I prefer the beauty of my VE6 CIEM’s and the simplicity of my UERM but the design of these is cool, it is unique. Just think though, any fabric you like? The scope is pretty awesome really and I had actually planned to send something in with my impressions but forgot.
We get subjective with sound on the next page.