Oct 26, 201810192 views

Campfire Audio Solaris - Quad Driver Hybrid

Well, they're finally here: https://campfireaudio.com/shop/solaris/.
I think I'm about to place an order for them now. The ADLC driver Campfire has right now is easily my favorite DD and I think these would be the perfect compliment to the Atlas.

EDIT: Just purchased a pair. I'll be sure to drop my impressions here once I receive them.
Hideo Yamamoto, ODaily, and 22 others

Recently obtained the Solaris during my trip to Vancouver. Had my mind set on an end-game IEM so while there I tested a lot of cans and IEMs. Started off with Mr. Speakers Aeons both closed and open back, Audeze LCD2C, Audeze LCD-X (wished to listen to Ether 2 and C flows 1.1 but they didn't have them...) and then switched over to IEMs. I basically tested everything in the Campfire range going upwards. The only pair wasn't in the shop were the Andromeda S. As for how I tested, I had brought my XDUOO XD-05 amp with V5I opamps from Burson but I also tested on a desktop Questyle at the shop. I think it was the CMA 400i. So, I have to say that once I picked up the Andromeda, the jump in coherence and sound separation was made obvious. After I had enough of the first listen, I switched to the Solaris. I was trying to be as quick as I can while using them on the same amp moving back and forth. Solaris just felt like I was getting the same sound resolution and spot-on imaging but with a warmer tone and a much better extension in the bass and sub-bass region. The highs were also much more pronounced but not in an "in your face" kind of way but just enough to feel like you are getting the full reach you expect from the track you are listening to. Now, keeping in mind I was with a limited sound library, I was predominantly testing with classic high-res vinyl rips from Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Iron Maiden etc. and Jazz/Blues ranging from B.B. King to sax players like Candy Dulfer. In any case, I have had them for close to a month now. Listening to them unbalanced on my HD-DAC1 at home and I must say these are the best IEMs I have heard so far. This year of 2019 we will probably get to test a lot of contenders like the Noble Khans and much more at CanJam so I cannot say for sure if there won't be another UIEM that will take that spot this year but as far as personal preference goes these have, in my opinion, the perfect balance of tonality across the frequency spectrum. I simply love the warmth to the sound and that precise holographic imaging. Overall, lots of money spent and each penny was totally worth it. If anyone has heard these on a balanced setup, I would definitely like to know how they sound. *Quick observation on the physical aspect of these. As that has already been discussed in the thread as well, I must say that people with smaller ears might find them to be a challenge. Funny as it seems, even for a guy with big ears like myself, I practically did not find a single tip selection among the foams or Final E silicone ones in the package that were a good fit. Especially silicone tends to cause irritation in the canal after a relatively short listening session. When I switched to my Comply tips or my Dekoni bulletz the problem was solved. They stay firmly in place and the firm isolation makes for that nice bump in the bass. Cable is really high quality but there are definitely better ones out there in the 300$ price range where this one is placed at at the Alo web site. If this were Zeos, he would definitely bitch about the cable a little bit. Still, even after having said this, it still would not have dissuaded me from buying these.
I just picked up the Solaris the other day and wanted to say that your comments were among those that compelled me to take the plunge-- I've fallen in love with it. As I described in the Head-Fi write up I did I think the Solaris is a perfect marriage of the Atlas and the Andromeda. I've had the Atlas for over a month and was in love with its signature, but I think I like Solaris even more. Strangely I don't notice a tremendous decrease in bass going from the Atlas to the Solaris as so many seem to describe-- I'd say like 85% of the Atlas bass impact and all of its quantity and quality is there. It's just more in the center instead of at the front and it spread over a larger sound space all the while being dovetailed with a hefty dose of Andromeda loveliness. It's a tremendous IEM.
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Indeed. Everything about Campfire Audio-- their philosophy, policies, priorities and general way of going about business is so refreshing. I've never met Ken but I've seen interviews as well as posts he's made on forums and everything leads towards the view that he's genuinely good person with a passion for music who cares about what he does. I love supporting small grassroots businesses as a rule, but even more-so when their products almost seem tailor made to represent everything I value. In a world of fake and faceless corporate domination it's so refreshing. It helps that the Solaris looks so cool. If the god of the sun came down to earth for a bit I'm sure he'd want a pair.
I enjoyed reading your comments. Haven't any of you tried the top 64 Audio IEMs? (U/A12t, U/A18t, Tia Trio, Tia Fourte) I wonder how those compare to Campfire Audio efforts, especially Andros and Solaris.
Hey @jaydunndiddit , if you don't mind me asking what's your opinion on the Solaris vs the K10's (non-encore)? I recently got the K10's but i've always wanted a pair of campfire IEM's ever since the company came on the scene as I just loved the look of their IEM's and the appraise that came from them. Do you think if I own the K10 currently that there is any reason to purchase the Solaris? Thank you!
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Oh, no shrillness or sibilance at all. I also have some slight tinnitus and can be sensitive to it as well. The Solaris isn't as bright as the Andro or K10 which I felt could get a bit too happy up top on the wrong tracks. The Solaris tonally is just balanced naturally so well it's hard to fault unless you start nitpicking and just have certain personal preferences. I find them to transition from any part of the spectrum well and have good detail retrieval. And although this sucks for manufacturers, Campfire does offer a 15 day no questions asked return policy so you could sample them and send them back as long as you don't mind that hefty investment.
Awesome, that's great to know. My K10's highs don't bother me unless i'm about 70% volume on my iPhone X, and that's only with some tracks so i'm certain i'm good there with the Solaris if you feel like they're more tame. Yeah I was just looking at their return policy, I would feel very guilty returning them and having them take the hit. I wish I had more available options to try them out rather than half way across my country. Thank you again for the input and replys Jay, much appreciated.
It's "complement to the Atlas."

Would love a decent iem. My ears dont like the fit and spit them out....
Tips and cable layout matter so much. I was pretty much against Noble products because I could never get them to seat correctly. Turns out, anything with a firm sheath or memory wire is just a no-go for my ears. Same with more silicone tips as foam just stays put. Even with larger nozzle IEMs, a small size foam is pretty perfect. Same with the Solaris. I jist cut the memory wire off the stock cable and went with some Comply foam and they're incredibly comfortable despite easily being the largest IEM I own. For the longest time, I would only stick with teardrop shapes or barrel-style due to fit. But, with cables and tips I've been able to expand in that regard. What IEMs were you having problems with prior? I'm sure I could recommend something that would work for you.
A bit late to the party here (but better late than never I guess). I'm new the world of high-end IEMs and Campfire Audio-- I picked up the Atlas a couple weeks ago and have absolutely fallen in love with their immense and engaging sound. I'm looking at one day picking up another pair to complement them and was thinking of either the Solaris or the Andromeda. You are the first person I've come across who has really articulated a dislike of the Andros-- in stark contrast to many of the arbiters of internet audiophile opinion who seem to share, rather oddly, a distinct allergy to bass (I'm starting to wonder if this is because so many of them are advancing in age to the point that their decayed hearing has a harder time picking up higher frequencies, but I digress). Anyway given that we both love the Atlas I'm curious to hear your opinion on how they stack up against the Solaris and if you think the two of them make a good complementary pair. Thanks! Edit: lmao I literally just read the intro to your post where you said "these would be the perfect compliment to the Atlas".
Yeah, the Andros were admittedly a letdown after the hype. I felt the same about the 6XX. I think it really boils down to what music you listen to. My taste is very eclectic and changes on a whim but for those that only listen to say country, classic rock, acoustic, etc. would be in love with the Andros. Even with classical, the Atlas surprised me. Listening to something like O Fortuna by Carl Orff when the drums hit is an immense experience something like the Andros could never reproduce if you've heard something like that live. Same with certain guitars, cello, upright bass, etc. There is a body there that the Andro just can't get right to my ears and they come off as thin (even though they really aren't) by comparison. Why "audiophiles" are allergic to bass I'll never understand but I'm glad we have manufacturers not catering to the whim of all those that want incredibly forward mid-centric headphones or something that's overly bright and thin. And honestly for the Atlas to be so V-shaped, I don't think they sound all that sucked out in the mids as their FR measures. It's weird honestly but they were a gamble I took and they turned out to be one of my favorites and have been my dailies since I got them.
i'm a huge CA fan (Vegas and Jupiters). The Solaris look remarkable for sure, congrats on your purchase. I recently bought RHA CL2 Planars though and they're so epic I'm hoping I'm done. Looking forward to your review!
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Ha, no. This hobby is a rabbit hole. However, not as much as my automotive hobbies so I won't complain. Anyhow, I had to wait a bit longer than expected as Ken Ball from Campfire recommended these to burn-in proper before giving any final impressions so I obliged. I also wanted to try the silicone tips a bit more as I typically only use Comply (SmartCore, both styles). In short, my takeways from prior still apply. I really enjoy them. A lot. I did not like the Andro or Andro S. At all. Pros--The Solaris is easily better than the Andro and one I would highly recommend. It has a sound sig that doesn't wow you since one specific thing doesn't stick out. There is an incredible amount of balance among the entire spectrum. The housing design gives the sound a lot more echo/reverb effect (or at least make it mroe pronounced to my ears). It never sounds artificial and only highlights what's in the track but this is the one thing they do well that I haven't quite noticed from an IEM before. And while I wouldn't say they have a huge soundstage, they have a very holographic one. They can recreate the room/studio/venue in a way that others can't. If they only had one "trick" it would be that. Mix that with their tight bass (although I could use a bit more oomph), smooth impactful mids and sparkly airy treble. They are also easy to drive, and not nearly as hissy as the Andro nor as reactive to device OI. They do change a bit with higher OI but its slight. I still listen to them at or under 1 ohm for optimal performance. The Atlas hisses the least but requires more power, just for comparison. There are no extremes in their sound and I am OK with that. I can easily listen to them all day (8 hours or so daily) and feel no fatigue from them whatsoever. Cons--the shells are huge. With that said, they fit me fine but my wife has small ears and they stick quite far out of her ears. Laughably so. She said they felt fine and didn't cause any discomfort but I think that should be stated. The stock cable, while premium and built very well, quite frankly sucks due to the memory wire. I was having a bad time with fitment for a week of so until I swapped to a cable that didn't have the memory wire. They now sit in my ears and stay there. For whatever reason the memory wire doesn't conform around my ear and just slowly tugs them out of my ear. I have this same issue with Noble as well and the same "fix" worked as well. Regarding fit, it feels a lot like Noble now that I think about it. The shells are very close to the Noble K10U in fit and shell shape. The Solaris has longer stems for deeper insertion so I think that's why they fit better in general. Regarding tips, I still prefer foam over the Final E tips. The foam give the sound just enough thickness. The slight bass bump (maybe 2-3 dB) is also welcome and for certain music genres is almost necessary. They do deaden the highs a bit but unless you're a treblehead I doubt you're going to care (I welcome the "smoother" highs for certain genres). The Final E tips do lessen the bass but allows the mids and highs to breathe easier and they sound more effortless and airy. If I am listening to acoustic or rock, I tend to prefer the Final E. Everything else I miss that thickness and impact and go to my foams. There really isn't a right or wrong answer here and ultimately boils down to preference. I enjoyed both and I'm just finding things to nitpick about. Other than that, I have no other complaints about the Solaris. I would definitely tell people to get them over the Andro (any flavor) as they do everything better (to me) and fix the shortcomings I had with them previously. Really, if you can afford them, get them. Sorry for this being so long-winded but I guess I had more to say than I originally thought. Hope I was of some help :) Edit: Also wanted to share the only frequency and distortion measurements I have come across: www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/campfire-solaris-iem-measurements.7004
Thank you! So helpful to hear all bout these gorgeous earphones. They read like an impressive feat of engineering.
Hesus--- I think I'll wait 15 years until the tech gets to around 300$. I just don't have that. Maybe when my car's paid off. Look fab though. I will be getting those close backed Focals doe.
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thanks for the reply, sincerely appreciated. I sure will.
I know this comment is old as shit, but they are on here right now.
They are a pretty set of ear bling, and I'm sure they sound amazing. Can't wait to hear thoughts.
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Agree, my personal library clocks in at the 6 figure file mark and you can find just about every genre represented (No opera, no show tunes, not a lot pre-1960). I appreciate cans/iems that can play well with most of my library. Still looking for that one "all-rounder to rule them all" on the full sized can part. The K10u works with just about everything I've tried so far, I think I've found my IEM happy place. The Elex was close to being what I need but the upper mid/lower treble transition isn't quite as linear/smooth as I would like and it's missing 5-10 hz in bass extension. I'm seriously considering the HE-6SE but not sure I want to lay down that much cash.
EDIT: Nvm, saw your thoughts! Thank you for that -----Did I miss your thoughts on the Solaris? Very curious!