Campfire Audio have been hard at work in recent years and their small handful of in-ears has quite quickly become a diverse range. Along the way, Campfire Audio introduced some unique technologies; their tubeless tweeters (T.A.E.C) that effectively extend treble, polarity tuned chamber that enhances bass control and ported armature drivers that enhance range. The brand new Solaris is a 4-driver hybrid that implements all of these technologies into one coherent package. It brings a new housing design and a slightly increased $1499 USD asking price. In addition, the Solaris carries a new style of tuning exemplifying everything Campfire Audio have learnt on their journey to the present. You can read more about the Solaris and purchase one for yourself here.
*Please note that these are very early impressions so take my comments with a grain of salt. Campfire Audio also recommended burn-in prior to the full review to ensure optimal performance!
“Holographic presentation. Intimate detail retrieval. Soaring highs, engaging mids and impactful bass. Music sounds like music with lifelike performances, superior layering and unbelievable imaging.” – Campfire Audio
Initial subjective impressions suggest a VERY wide soundstage and a presentation that centres around considerable upper-treble sparkle. Indeed, imaging comes across as quite holographic due to this style of tuning in addition to some impressive technical traits. Separation is also truly terrific.
Those concerned about excessive bass in light of Campfire’s recently released Cascade and Atlas pursuing a more Vega-esque signature will be relieved to hear that the Solaris sits more in-line with the more balanced Andromeda. In fact, the Solaris has less bass than the Andro when measured, however, it appears to have similar quantity in listening likely due to its improved extension. Decay isn’t quite as lightning fast as the BA Andro but lies clearly on the faster side for a dynamic. Control is terrific out of the box and I’m told it will improve with time. The driver’s quality is maximised through a delightfully linear tuning with light sub-bass emphasis. The Solaris’ low-end will be sure to impress.
The midrange is quite unique and is quite unlike any other Campfire Audio earphone. It has pronounced vocals and, like the Comet, employs a 4K dip which is almost becoming a characteristic of CA earphones besides the Polaris and Andromeda. Though this style of tuning usually produces a smoother, fuller, even warmer voicing (as seen on the Jupiter), as the higher frequencies have been brought up, the Solaris actually sounds quite extended with a midrange presentation that I would define as velvety. Vocals are more forward than even the Andro though as the upper-midrange isn’t too forward, they don’t bother or overwhelm the Solaris’ presentation.
Treble instantly impresses with its extension, a trait brought to immediate attention by a rather substantial upper-treble lift. This produces a very open, sparkly presentation with great micro-detail retrieval and presence. Instruments sound a touch tizzier than I am accustomed to, but this style of treble tuning isn’t sharp like earphones with an isolated lower-treble peak. Moreover, it doesn’t fatigue with its brightness as the Solaris has a dip in the middle-treble that increases its composure on brighter tracks and creates a cleaner background. The result is an earphone with a crisp, detailed foreground and an immensely clear background that still maintains great separation and sense of space.
Early Verdict –
The Solaris is immediately the most technically impressive earphone we’ve seen from Campfire Audio yet. This earphone isn’t an evolution of the Vega but it also isn’t an Andro replacement. Rather, the Solaris is a new breed of Campfire Audio earphone that takes defining traits of its predecessors and combines them into a harmonious ensemble.
Stay tuned for my full review!