CAMPFIRE AUDIO RANGE FOR 2020 – FIRST IMPRESSIONS
A quick look at the in-ear models in our office will reveal our love for Campfire Audio, so when they announced they were updating two of our favorites – the Solaris and the Andromeda – and starting to ship a new headset, we couldn’t wait to try them out. Well, we got them and fell in love. There will be a full article on the new Campfire Ara, but first let’s put our thoughts on the entire 2020 Campfire Audio range.
ANDROMEDA 2020 – IMPRESSIONS
Visually, the 2020 Andromeda is almost identical to the old one. The only difference I noticed is that, while the previous version had three small openings on the end, the Andromeda 2020 has slots. There are a number of internal changes to the structure and construction of these in-ear headphones, all intended to improve the construction process and tone the sound, but visually it is the same look as the Andromeda.
Sound-wise, it’s definitely the same sound, but with some subtle differences, the most notable being the improvement in the upper-mid range. Vocals seem a little more open and small nuances – like a slight growl or rasp – are much clearer. With the Andromeda 2020, moving from Steven Wilson to Anet Tayib on Steven Wilson’s “Pariah”, Wilson’s voice has a clearer quality, while in Tayib’s lower register we find more emotion. The differences are certainly subtle and I wouldn’t go out and buy a new pair of Andromeda 2020 to replace the current ones, but it does represent an evolutionary step in in-ear performance.
SOLARIS 2020 – IMPRESSIONS
As soon as you take it out of the box, you will see that the 2020 Solaris has undergone major changes to its appearance. The 24k gold on the front of the dome has disappeared and has been replaced with a black lacquer. Looking closer we’ll see that they are significantly smaller, which addresses what was a problem for some: the helmet could be uncomfortable because it was too big for some people’s ears. So what we have here is a smaller, simpler design. If the previous version was reminiscent of a British luxury car, the 2020 Solaris is an elegant Italian sports car.
Even though they have changed the helmet, the sound is still 100% Solaris. The engineers had to work hard to get the same sound in a smaller room, but they did it, it’s all there. That full, round bass, those revealing mids and articulate highs (maybe even more articulate than in the old version) are here and they haven’t given up an inch of soundstage despite being 20% smaller. This new slimmer design, combined with the same sound, is enough to make us fall in love with the Solaris again.
CAMPFIRE ARA – IMPRESSIONS
The Ara is Campfire Audio’s new model, with a retail price of $1,299, between the Andromeda and the Solaris. Visually, they fit the aesthetic of Campfire Audio’s main line of headphones, with the same angular chassis – this time in a natural titanium finish. Inside they have seven balanced armature speakers per side and the latest in compartmental technology from Campfire Audio.
Sound-wise, they occupy a small place in the Campfire Audio range. While the Andromeda has a more “fun” fit and tighter bass, and the Solaris has a more balanced output thanks to the low-end design that controls the bass, the Ara sports a full array of balanced armature speakers and superior clarity and separation. intense with a neutral reference setting. The Ara is tremendously coherent and articulate, with an incredible sense of separation between instruments. We highly recommend giving them a listen if you like more balanced and neutral in-ear models that reveal every last detail of your music.
Campfire Audio enters the world of in-ear models with its improvements in technology and design. We’re looking forward to spending more time with the updated Andromeda and Solaris and I hope to spend several hours on the Ara so I can do a good article on them.