Before starting this review, I would like to share technical aspects and package details. Also, I am so thankful to Ken for giving me this great opportunity.
5Hz–20 kHz Frequency Response
115 dB SPL/mW Sensitivity
10 Ohms @ 1kHz Impedance
Less than 1% Total Harmonic Distortion
24K Gold Plated Lid
Durable PVD Finished Body
Dual Custom Balanced Armature Drivers + T.A.E.C. (High)
Single Custom Ported Balanced Armature Driver (Mid)
Specially Tuned 10mm Dynamic Driver (Mid + Low)
Plasma enhanced Chemical Vapor Depostion (C.V.D.) Amorphous Diamond Like Carbon (A.D.L.C.) Diaphragm.
Beryllium / Copper MMCX Connections
Stainless Steel Spout
Campfire Solaris earphone
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
Earphone Protection Sleeve
Lotoo Paw Gold Diana
Astell & Kern AK120
Package, Design & Isolation;
Solaris comes with the famous Campfire Audio box design, but this time box size is bigger than the other models have. When you open the box, first thing that you notice is the new leather case. Like the other Campfire cases, new case also made of quite high-quality genuine leather and again like other CA cases, inner surface is covered with soft cotton material. New case’s shape is square instead of other models’ rectangle shape. I really like the case, it feels and looks premium. Another great thing about Solaris is the new Super Litz cable. Cable itself is soft and tangle free and it looks gorgeous, but one thing that I don’t like is the memory wire. I wish it doesn’t have memory wire but you can get rid of it very easily. There are some instructions how to remove memory wire that some users already shared. Last new thing about package content is the new earphone protection sleeve. This is really great to store earphone safely. As you know, Solaris is made of aluminum and its paint can worn off if it hits somewhere, so this is great way to protect your earphone. Other accessories that come with Solaris are same as other models. Marshmallow tips, silicon tips and cleaning tool. In the and, package contents really great. Thumps up.
Campfire Audio made some design changes with Solaris, and this is way different than the old Andromeda, Jupiter, Atlas or Vega design. I really like the new design and color choice. Body size is bigger than any other CA earphones and ergonomically I couldn’t find any discomfort issue. It fits like a glove to me, but some people who has small ear might have some fit issue. Personally, I prefer Solaris fits instead of Andromeda or Vega. Overall, I do think that the fit and physical comfort of Solaris is very good. Like other CA models, Solaris is also made of beryllium copper MMCX connectors. I always prefer 2 pin connectors but Campfire is the only brand that I trust their MMCX connector, I never had any issue with Vega or Andromeda. Also, I never read any issues with their products about MMCX issue. In the past, there were some earphones that I gave up to order because it has a MMCX connector, but I can comfortably say that the Campfire Audio products are pretty solid in this regard.
Solaris looks really beautiful. This is the most beautiful IEM I’ve ever had. Much better than the pictures. Finish and workmanship are stunning. When I got the Solaris, I just looked like half and hour before listening. If you are using outside just be careful because it seems pretty like jewellery. Actually, it is jewellery.
Isolation is pretty good. I tried many different types of tips and I have never gotten any isolation problem. Also, Solaris very tip depends earphone. There is a slight difference in sound signature between some of tips and I’ll share my impression below.
Like Andromeda, Solaris has low impedance level, so you might get hiss with some of your sources. I’ve heard some hiss with my Lotoo Paw Gold Diana, and Megamini. AK120 and Opus #1 are much more acceptable hiss level when I compared to others. If you hear some hiss with your source, I can recommend to use ifi iematch which you can reduce hiss or minimize. Also, Solaris is easy to drive, so you can use them with any kind of source.
Before getting my product, I’ve read lots of things about Solaris. Some comments say speaker like sound, some other says holographic soundstage and bass light. For me, the overall sound itself is crisp and clear highs, musical and detailed mids with forward vocals, and powerful and bodied bass. Presentation is neutral and slightly warmer. I find Solaris works well for a wide variety of music while my tastes towards Vocal, EDM and Jazz. Most of people are comparing it with Andromeda and if I have to follow that path, Solaris is more like homogenized Andromeda for me. I think the biggest differences between Solaris and Andromeda is in the bass department. Bass is more pronounced and authoritative with Solaris and sub-bass can go deeper. As many of you know, Solaris using the same dynamic driver with Atlas but more bridled way. Bass quantity is not like basshead level but it is absolutely powerful and enough to satisfy to many people who loves bass. Mid presentation is smooth and detailed. Vocals are the most part that I liked it. Both male and female vocals are fantastic. I really like Reborn’s vocal performance, it is emotional and smooth and Solaris is doing the same emotional vocal presentation with more realistic tone. Solaris’ treble is my another favorite part of the sound. It is silky smooth and highly detailed with good sparkle. Although prominent trebles, I’ve never ever heard any sibilance or harshness in this area. Soundstage is massively wide and deep.
Overall, I really like Solaris and it sounds really special. I was stunned what I was hearing and I didn’t want to stop listening since I received.
The treble is one of my favorite part of the sound. It extends quite well and has a nice sparkle without being too much. Who doesn’t like Andromeda’s highly extended trebles may like Solaris’ smooth and less spiky trebles. But of course, it doesn’t extend like Andromeda’s highs. There is less treble energy and extension when I compare with Andromeda, but this is already more than enough I believe. Some of you guys knew S-EM9, its trebles are really detailed and prominent. When I switched back to the Solaris to S-EM9, S-EM9 felt like rolled off and veiled, but of course it is not. My ears are accustomed to the prominent trebles of Solaris, maybe you can guess more or less how much is the quantity.
As I said before, Solaris is really special in high frequencies. Trebles add air and space between instruments. Every instrument is very easy to listen. Cassandra Wilson – Tupelo/Honey Angel. Cymbal, trumpet, strings and every other instrument are crystal clear. I listen this song many times with Solaris. The reason that I listen many times is enjoyable to listen with Solaris, not because it’s a great song. It is great but not my favorite songs from Cassandra. I highly recommend Solaris owners to listen this song.
Trebles are very easy to listen to for long periods of time because of the smooth and relaxed tone. I have listened Nils Lofgren – Keith Don’t Go Live Performance (it is available on Tidal) many times with pleasure. The guitar sound is extremely crisp and airy and you can hear every scratch and details in the music. Cymbals are clear and shimmering without sibling.
Solaris’ mid frequencies are well textured and tonality is smooth. Instrument and timbre tonality are a tad thicker. Overall tuning is U shape and mids are a bit recessed because of prominent bass and treble frequencies but vocals are pretty forward. One aspect that stands out in the sound of the Solaris is the vocal. Vocal presentation is forward and lush and it makes vocal sound emotional and smooth. Both male and female vocals are well presented. Lifelike instruments separation and smooth vocals that make you smile while listening music. Mids are rich and warm, and super clear with excellent separation between instruments.
I read some comments mentioning that Solaris has bass light and I couldn’t understand how its bass light. Solaris’ bass quantity is absolutely great in terms of quantity and quality. It is not like Vega or other bass heavy earphones but I never call it is lack or bass light. Of course, this is not bass head earphone, if you are looking like earthquake bass, Vega or Atlas are better choice that’s for sure. I love Andromeda bass, it is fast, detailed and highly coherent, but sometimes I wish it has a little bit more bass. And now with Solaris my dreams come true. Bass has great quantity level and it is not dominating or bleeding other frequencies. Also, it is not boomy or too exaggerated. Atlas’s diamond carbon dynamic driver doing its job greatly. Bass sounded so natural with just the right amount of presence that I really impressed. If you are a bass-head or who likes tons of bass I’d recommend look somewhere else, but Solaris’ bass is strong and powerful enough to feel punch and rhythm in the music. It’s all personal preference though. Bass is well controlled and pretty fast for a dynamic driver. When I compared with my Oriolus Reborn, I noticed that Solaris’ bass is way faster and recovery time is noticeably better. The Solaris’ low-end is well controlled very well articulated.
Solaris’ soundstage is impressive to my ears. Not the best but one of the largest that I’ve experienced. With 3d and holographic presentation easy to pin point every instrument in the stage. I understand when people call it sounds like speaker. In some instrumental tracks, Solaris sounds like speakers are in front of you.
Solaris vs Andromeda:
Andromeda is one of the most popular and well-known IEM in audio community and Solaris has some serious trouble against Andromeda in terms of popularity because Andromeda’s glowing spotlight hard to shut down. But Solaris is not trying to beat it because it has very different sound character and technical specs. I know this is cliché but this is most like to compare apple and orange, so same as here, Hybrid and Balanced armature is not fair to compare, but let me do it gently.
The most distinctive differences between two earphones are “smoothness vs sharpness” and they harmonized the music from their own character. Andromeda sounds magical and crystal-clear highs are truly fantastic. Andromeda’s wow factor comes from its hyper detailed trebles and super holographic soundstage. The sound of Andromeda is astonishing and I’ve never heard that kind of presentation from any IEMs. On the other hand, Solaris is another animal. It sounds clear and vivid on first listen and it felts Andromeda sounds thinner when I switched back Solaris to Andromeda. Also, Andromeda does not make you feel excited as Solaris. This is where dynamic driver shows its power. Solaris have more body and bass is more dominant in general presentation. Andromeda bass is faster and quicker decay, but not by far. Solaris bass is surprisingly well controlled and faster than I expected from a dynamic driver. I’ve realized it better especially, compare to Andromeda. Instrument tones are more realistic on Andromeda. Solaris is much more musical and livelier, so it is not trying to produce reference like sound. I can say the Solaris’ highs are silky smooth while Andromeda is highly sharp and it has more sparkle, but Solaris trebles don’t extend as high as the Andromeda, because Andro has more sparkle in the treble. Both earphones are highly detailed in the treble area, but Andromeda shows its details more forward way while Solaris shows smoother way. Both Solaris and Andromeda have pretty wide soundstage but somewhat Andromeda feels airier. Solaris has better depth. Both earphones are pretty sensitive.
Well, there is no winner as you expected, there is a preference. Who likes flat, reference like sound and accurate tonality with amazing clarity, Andromeda is a better choice. On the other hand, who prefers warmer, bodied sound with high level of detail with resolution and breathtaking forward vocal present, Solaris is better. If I have to choose one of them. I choose…err…Solaris. Because it suits better than Andromeda to my personal preferences, but that doesn’t mean that Andromeda is bad or it lost. It is absolutely not. Andromeda is really special to me and always it would be. I’m happy that I’ve both in my collection.
Before sharing my tip impression I’ve to mention that these impressions might change your experience because of ears anatomy, ergonomic wise and sound preferences. Also, all tips that I used are L size.
Spiral dots are one my favorite tips that I have used, but with Solaris, I’m not impressed what I have heard. Bass has good rumble but somewhat lost their magic. Also, I couldn’t get good seal. I had to fix fit for every 10-15 minutes. I’ve never experienced this issue with my other IEM’s that I have.
CP500 is the newest Spinfit’s product. It is designed for wider nozzle earphones. Nozzle diameter size is 5.5mm which is great for Solaris. Personally, new full black color looks great but what about sound? Well, sound is pretty disappointment for me. I tried with different sources but the result didn’t change. CP500’s outer material is pretty soft, and it makes sound thinner and bass light. I couldn’t get a good seal and the isolation was also disappointment. Tips are wrinkling inside my ear and therefore cannot provide a good isolation. I was very hopeful with these new CP500, but result was pretty awful.
Symbio W Peeled:
This is my favorite tips with Solaris. Fits well, sounds well, looks well. Symbio peeled fit is much more secure than Spiral dots and CP500, it is going deeper and giving a better seal. Treble is less energetic than the CP500 but still prominent. Bass is more authoritative and powerful than the other tips. Soundstage is felts narrower than AET07 but very close in this regard. Overall sound is prominent bass with nice tamed trebles. Symbio peeled better than original Symbio (with foam) to my ears.
AET07 is my 2nd favorite tips with Solaris. Main sound differences between AET07 and Symbio peeled is the high frequencies, but overall, they are very similar. On AET07 high frequencies are more prominent and clearer and it felts its soundstage is more open and airier. Bass is a tad of less punchy than Symbio peeled. Also seal and fit is very close to Symbio Peeled. I believe many people may like AET07.
Well, Ken did it again. Every Campfire Audio product have some impact on the audiophile community, and now it is time for Solaris. Like other successful Campfire products, Solaris is another amazing IEM. I am truly amazed by its sound, design, and build quality. This is the most beautiful IEM in entire Campfire Audio products for my personal taste. The new Super Litz cable that comes with is really great with Solaris and no need to upgrade. Sound wise, low to high is every frequency has some special tuning like Andromeda. This is not reference sounding IEM, this is more like musical engaging and dynamic IEM which always wants to dance with you. To wrap things up, Solaris is absolutely deserving new flagship status in Campfire Audio.
Also, I would like to thank to Campfire Audio price policy. Nowadays IEM prices goes up and most companies increasing their price with every new model, but Campfire Audio still tagging a great price and I’ve always respected. Hope they won’t change their price policy in the near future.