First Look (in pictures) at Campfire Audio Solaris

*** Full review of Solaris has been posted here: https://twister6.com/2018/12/27/campfire-audio-solaris/


… Of The Sun!!!

Campfire Audio Solaris Hybrid IEMs were announced today (October 26th), and I received these new CFA flagships a few hours ago (sent to me as a review sample).  I know there is a lot of excitement around this release, and of course everybody wants to know how it sounds.  A comprehensive review takes time to complete, and even out-of-the-box sound impressions take a while.  Obviously, I’m not ready to share about the sound of Solaris yet, besides, Ken (the Man behind Campfire Audio) suggested to let them burn in for about 5-6 days before critical listening.  He also kindly asked if it’s possible to share first impressions about Solaris, even if it’s not related to the sound.

For as long as I have been writing my reviews, I don’t ever recall making an “unboxing” post.  But as we all know, a picture is worth a thousand words, so before I’m ready to share with you thousands of my words, let me start first with a few dozen of pictures to tell their own story.

Campfire Audio website.


Design Spec:

  • 5Hz–20 kHz Frequency Response
  • 115 dB SPL/mW Sensitivity
  • 10 Ohms @ 1kHz Impedance
  • Less than 1% Total Harmonic Distortion

Design Highlights:

  • 24K Gold Plated Lid
  • Durable PVD Finished Body
  • 2 Balanced Armature Drivers with Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber (T.A.E.C.) (High)
  • Single Custom Ported Balanced Armature Driver (Mid)
  • Specially Tuned 10mm Dynamic Driver (Mid + Low) w/Plasma enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (C.V.D.) Amorphous Diamond Like Carbon (A.D.L.C.) Diaphragm.
  • Beryllium / Copper MMCX Connections
  • Stainless Steel Spout

Cable:

Super Litz cable is made from four large conductors of Silver-plated Copper Litz wire. Each conductor is individually comprised of a selected set of particular diameter strands. The Super Litz cable is the perfect balance of physical gauge and performance. The cable is terminated with our custom beryllium/copper MMCX connectors and over-molded 3.5mm plug.  Optionally, you can order a separate cable with 4.4mm termination.

Included:

  • Campfire Audio Premium Leather Earphone Case
  • Campfire Audio Super Litz Cable
  • Final Audio E-Type Tips (xs/s/m/l/xl)
  • Campfire Audio Marshmallow Earphone Tips (s/m/l)
  • Silicon Earphone Tips (s/m/l)
  • Campfire Audio Lapel Pin
  • Cleaning Tool
  • Earphone Protection Sleeve

Unboxing:

Accessories:

New Leather Case (next to old one for comparison):

Cable (with optional 4.4mm cable):

Close up of MMCX connector:

Regular SPC Litz vs Super SPC Litz:

cfa_solaris-33

Design:

Family shot (Solaris, Andromeda, VEGA):

The Fit:

cfa_solaris-38

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24 thoughts on “First Look (in pictures) at Campfire Audio Solaris

    1. It’s in the last picture 😉 They are larger then other Campfire iems, but the fit is quite comfortable, especially with over the ear cable support. Also, they are not heavy at all.

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    1. yes, heard about it. I hope Noble will finally attend canjam NYC this year so I can take a listen. also, want to hear the latest Sony hybrid as well. Will be an interesting comparison to Solaris.

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  1. Just out of curiosity, I’ve been using a Campfire Andromeda for the last two years. 50% of the time using my Samsung Galaxy S9+ Phone and IFI Iematch (not the best sound quality I guess but I absolutely despise the hiss coming trough when listening to acoustic music or silent classical pieces with intermezzos) and 50% via the IFI Micro IDSD Black Label (not a bad combination at all but it’s not portable which is troublesome as I also listen alot at work or on the move).

    As such I’ve finally put aside enough money to get myself the end game portable setup (budget of around max 4000 euro for cable / dap / IEM).
    Also sometimes getting comfort issues with the Andromeda if I have to listen for very long times and often I have my IEM’s in for hours on end due to software development and trying to zone out 🙂

    What combination do you think I should give a try?
    Genres are listed below and as you can see I really enjoy to get carried away by amazing vocals (hence why I often listen acoustic music). However I can also appreciate the fun signature my Campfire audio Cascades are able to bring with EDM or poppy songs in general. They can turn a dull song into a rather fun one at times.

    Have you got any recommendation for a setup to try out perhaps or aim for? 🙂

    If I listen to alot of the following genres:
    – Folk
    – Singer Song Writer
    – Acoustic
    – Relaxing / Chilled out playlists in gneral
    – Rock / Metal
    – Jazz / Blues / Soul
    – Classical Music

    Sometimes listen to EDM aswell and almost never listen to rap or r&b.

    Thanks in advance

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    1. with so many daps, cables, and iems, and your budget being high enough, there could be hundreds of different combinations. If you have comfort issue with Andromeda, obviously Solaris is not for you, it’s bigger. If you listen to local music files but also do some streaming, you might want a source that can support apps or connect to your phone. If you are not a seasoned audiophile with trained ears, you might not appreciate as much a difference between $500 dap and $3000 dap. With cables, can never go wrong with a pure copper cable, something like Effect Audio Ares II…. Your reference to “euros” makes me believe you are not from US, but EU 😉 I would recommend listening to different iems/sources first, maybe if you get a chance to attend a local CanJam, they have those in a summer time in London, for example, or High End audio show in Germany. Sounds like you definitely need some iems with a smoother/warmer sound, not too much bass emphasis, comfortable small shell, etc. You might enjoy something like Westone W60 or W80 (those are discounted now since I think these models are on clearance, possibly due to upcoming replacement?). Westone have the most comfortable universal shape shells. Cable, you can go with Linum SuperBax, it’s very thin and lightweight, you won’t even notice it’s there, and something like A&K SP1000M is pretty high end, on a level of SP1000 SS, but $1.1k cheaper…. That can all fit your budget, bu then you can find a setup at 1/4 of the price which might sound close in sound to your ears… Just remember, there is no such thing as end game when manufacturers keep releasing new products every 6months….

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      1. Thanks for the swift feedback.
        Yeah currently I’ve been switching back and forth between two idea’s.
        In terms of DAP I had my eyes set on the SP1000M as you recommended.

        In case of IEM’s, I was considering sticking with the andromeda’s because once I get a good seal / fit with the JVC spiral Dots I don’t have much more discomfort than with any other IEM I think. Most of the time it’s the in ear scractchy / itchy feeling that makes me take ’em out rather than pain due to the andromeda shell.

        Excuse my stupidity but could you maybe point me towards some resources or explain what a balanced cable exactly does other than increase power / volume? Is it well worth it for Andromeda’s for example?

        Second path I was considering is buying an IFI xDsD and streaming Spotify from my Samsung S9+ via bluetooth Aptx-HD to the Micro DAC. That would be super convenient but I’m not sure how much sound quality I’d be sacrificing compared to the SP1000M with a balanced cable for example 🙂

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      2. balanced is just termination, 3.5mm single ended vs 2.5mm balanced (or 4.4mm balanced) – types of connectors where you can 4 wires separated, having L+/L- and R+/R-, instead of combining the ground from left/right side and having separate L+ and R+. Cable not gonna do much, just a different soldered connector, what matters is your source and the part of the amplifier circuit driving single ended vs balanced. Not always, but with many sources balanced has a lower noise floor, better separation, and wider soundstage, and as you mentioned – higher power. SPKM and xDSD sounds like good sources for you. True, no need to rush, A&K daps are quiet and you might feel different with Andro pair up to SPKM. Comfort of IEM could improved with a different cable, for example Campfire also includes their own ALO cables that have memory wire, I hate those, they cause comfort issues for me, so replacing with another cable that has pre-shaped earhook or soft without memory wire will improve the sound (look into something like iBasso CB12s hybrid cable for $100, and it comes with mmcx connectors already).

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      3. Hmm thank you for the kind explanation regarding balanced vs single ended. As I personally often fail A/B blind testing regarding Spotify Extreme quality and a FLAC file with my Andromeda’s plugged directly into my Samsung Galaxy s9, I’m not so sure my ears will be able to tell the difference between the SP1000m and a IFI xDsD. I’ll try to get a test setup somewhere to see what my ears can tell me.

        Regarding the cable I agree totally with you that I’m always fighting the memory wire of the stock cable.. It’s so **** frustrating in my opinion. I’ve broken one before but I had a free replacement so I haven’t bought a new cable yet. I was just never sure what cable to get that doesn’t have that stiff memory wire. I just want to put my IEM in and have the cable gently rest over my ear instead of floating around like a retard. I’m always afraid if I pull it down too hard that it will either mess with the seal or break all together 😦

        The Linum superbax looks interesting though I’m not sure how much memory wire that one contains 🙂
        I’m however certain that a better cable would definitely help the comfort along 🙂

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      4. Additionally I’m still trying to figure out if the Micro xDsD allows for a balanced cable. In terms of spotify streaming, that one looks like a really sweet way to just hook it up via bluetooth and then putting my IEM’s in with the balanced cable.

        Question at that point is more towards how fast does it charge, does it get me trough a day and how is the noise floor on it (hiss levels) :-p

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      5. Figured I’d leave an update here.
        In the meanwhile I got impressions done and according to the audiologist, I have exceptionally small ear canals and outer ears.
        As such they’ve confirmed that the only universal option they deem comfortable for me are Westone’s up to 3 BA drivers with their small foams or their best recommendation was to go for a Westone ES30 (Custom Version). The other alternative was Etymotic but due to the size of my ear canal, I won’t be able to push them in deep enough to make use of the deep insertion so I’ll end up with a frequency response that is incorrect.

        They’ve confirmed the sound quality would be slightly less than say a Campfire Andromeda on my ES30 (being built) but that the diminishing returns are not worth losing my sleep over because the CIEM with those 3 drivers should be more than sufficient and allow me to enjoy listening to music while forgetting I have them in 🙂

        I hope they are right so I can enjoy some pain free sessions 😛
        Just a bit scared of how much SQ I’m giving up on but excited to have my first IEM that really fits properly.
        On the other hand I have to accept my ears just don’t tolerate the big housings so I guess this is probably the best thing I can get.

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