We’re all far more than familiar with Campfire Audio. The Oregon-based company has garnered a strong and loyal following for their robust American-made designs, and musical sound tunings with a focus on soundstage and sparkle. However, while the company has produced many models to suit many genre and tonal preferences, they’ve never tackled the professional market – that is, until now.
Welcome the Satsuma and Honeydew, their latest duo of models targeting music professionals. The Satsuma is a single full-range BA earphone with a reasonable asking price targeting a balanced midrange positioned to be most suitable for vocalists, keyboards and guitars. Meanwhile, the more bombastic Honeydew utilises a custom-built 10mm LCP dynamic driver offering a richer sound profile suited towards electronic artists, drums and bass. Both models adopt a new housing design with a lower profile fit.
The Satsuma retails for $199 USD and the Honeydew for $249. You can read all about CFA’s new models and treat yourself to a set on their website here.
I would like to thank Caleb from Campfire Audio very much for his quick communication and for providing me with the Honeydew and Satsuma for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
- Page 1: Intro, Unboxing & Design
- Page 2: Satsuma Sound Breakdown & Comparisons
- Page 3: Honeydew Sound Breakdown & Comparisons
- Page 4: Verdict
Behind the Design –
Both the Satsuma and Honeydew sport CFA’s solid body design. The driver is placed within a 3D printed chamber that gives CFA finer control over the sound output in addition to reducing resonances for an overall more refined and resolving sound.
Tuned acoustic expansion chamber is a 3D printed sound chamber that replaces the regular tube and damper system of a traditional BA earphone. This is instead a tubeless design addressing loss of extension and resonances experienced with spouted drivers. TAEC can also provides the impression of a larger soundstage.
LCP Dynamic Driver (Honeydew)
Liquid crystal polymer dynamic drivers have become very popular recently for their desirable acoustic properties. It is a very hard material which permits a thinner, lighter weight diaphragm for a more agile transient response and a more detailed sound. Compared to metal-plated or metal drivers, they are cheap to produce which brings down the cost of the overall earphone.
Those at all familiar with Campfire Audio earphones will note an essentially identical unboxing experience to past models with a flamboyant foiled sleeve that folds open to reveal a hard box within. Opening up the lid reveals the carry case and a separate box for other accessories. The case is the same as those included with the last crop of CFA earphone albeit finished in canvas as opposed to cork. Similarly, the earphones come with 3 of CFA’s very handy IEM pouches with separate compartments for each earpiece that prevents scratches during transit. Inside are the ear tips, 3 pairs of silicone tips, 3 pairs of memory foam tips. In addition, CFA have partnered with Final Audio to provide 5 pairs of E-tips that I find generally give me the best fit and sound experience. As before, a CFA pin is provided alongside warranty papers and a cleaning tool.
Where the company’s former designs exuded a utilitarian toughness, the new designs depart with a more chic and fun aesthetic. This applies not only to the vibrant colour schemes and shape of the housings but also to their construction. The shells are now moulded ABS resin. And while they do retain the polished stainless steel spout, neither feel nearly as dense and solid in the hand as past CFA earphones. This disappointed me as the premium BOM has always been a selling-point for CFA. The execution leaves few complaints that said, the finish remains flawless, similarly the metal nozzles impress as before. The mating between the 3-piece construction showcases tight tolerances with no sharp edges or awkward seams. I love the intensity of colour the company has been able to achieve on top albeit they are quite visually loud which may polarise some buyers.
As before, the earphones utilise Beryllium MMCX connectors of the company’s own creation. The engagement is noticeably more substantial than most connectors and they are very reliable in my experience, far more so than your standard MMCX connector. The cable as well showcases strong ergonomics and construction quality – it may no longer be so apparent, but CFA did start life as a cable company and this experience shows here. The cable is supple and tangle-resistant with low memory. The ear guides are well shaped, slightly improved over past models with an inward curve that better hugs the shape of the ears and head. This promotes a comfortable and stable fit. The right-angle 3.5mm connector is moulded with excellent strain relief and it is case friendly.
Fit & Isolation –
While the build is no longer as flawless as before, the fit is the best I’ve experienced from a CFA earphone. The new shells are compact, similar in dimension to the DD shells on the Dorado and Vega. However, they are now lower profile, sitting flusher with the outer ear. The same metal angled nozzle remains and, as before, they provide a comfortable medium-deep fit. However, due to the revised housing shape, over-ear fit and much lighter construction, they are the most stable fitting CFA earphones I’ve tested yet.
The compact dimensions and rounded inner face also promote long-term comfort with no hotspot formation for my ears. The fully sealed Satsuma provides strong isolation, not quite as much as the metal shell units, but easily enough for frequent commuters, especially with foam tips. The Honeydew is vented and does let in a little more noise but is certainly above average for a vented-DD design. This also makes it a great choice for daily use and commute. One thing users will be happy to hear about is that the Honeydew has no driver flex, a common issue on past CFA earphones.