On the first of May 2015, I reviewed Polish custom in-ear monitor brand Custom Art’s flagship. It was named the Harmony 8 Pro. Featuring 8 balanced armatures and a silicone shell it interestingly was not a sole flagship with these specifications. Instead, Custom Art had split personalities with their 8 driver flagships and customers were left with a choice between a standard and pro version at the same price. While options are always good, I think it is nice to see a brand release an assertive and sole choice for their flagship, it shows confidence in products and says this is what you want! That is why to my excitement Custom Art recently opted to streamline their Harmony Series to a single model flagship. This was done with the discontinuation of their previous 8 drivers and launch of the new Harmony 8.2! Still featuring an 8 BA configuration but improving the sound based on customer feedback and finding a happy medium on the treble, which was either strong (pro) or relaxed (non pro) last time around. Perhaps these are the changes that are needed to really ascend Custom Art’s flagship into the upper echelon of CIEMs!
One big surprise for me with 8.2 was the price. Inside the EU (with taxes) the original Harmony Series came in at €925 but there has been quite the inflation over the two years between releases. To be a proud owner of a Harmony now will set you back €1100 and being a UK citizen, with the recent drop in the pound, it is an even more significant increase in price sadly! One thing I really can respect though is how Custom Art treats previous owners. This is something I took the time to appreciate in the last CA review and really is a positive to buying from a smaller boutique brand in comparison to one of the corporate giants like Ultimate Ears and JH Audio! If you had been an owner of an original Harmony 8, you can upgrade that to the new 8.2 for €260, meaning between the initial purchase and upgrade you have paid less than a brand new 8.2. I think that is a cool perk!
I took advantage of being able to upgrade the old and it was as simple as sending my 8 Pros back and having some 8.2’s returned, no extra impressions or hassle. I was however handed the option to have the monitors returned as they were designed previously with a silicone shell or swap to one of their newer acrylic shells. They started work in acrylic shells last year for the EI.3 and Massdrop exclusive EI.XX and this innovation benefited all their previous models, which now have the option of an acrylic body. While I was curious to how the build quality was for these shells, silicone is much rarer and the comfort of my 8’s was top notch so I decided to stay with what I knew and loved. Because of that decision physically these are identical to the Harmony 8 Pro I had so now I would recommend giving that review a little read if you have not already, because, build, comfort, design, options and package all still apply here!
The only minor change on my monitor was in the colour. It still features my logo but it has a lighter shade of red and silvery grey instead of black. It is a bit more translucent with an easier peek into the guts of the earphone. It is still overall a similar glittery design but I kinda like the lighter tone this has.
There is also one difference when it comes to designing your IEM. Literally just the other day Custom Arts new site launched with a great graphic CIEM designer to help visualise your products outcome!
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