Campfire Audio Polaris review - expatinjapan


Campfire Audio Polaris review
- expatinjapan

https://campfireaudio.com/shop/polaris/

'Polaris
Exciting All New Hybrid Design – Emotionally Engaging and Highly Resolving. Designed and hand assembled in Portland, Oregon USA.' - CA Website.

This review took a while to come out, not through a lack of interest or fascination towards the Polaris, but its arrival was eclipsed by the release and subsequent arrival on the doorstep of Head pie HQ by a trio of awesomeness. Cascade! Atlas! Comet! who through their unique newness and glittery stainless steel bodies begged me to cast aside the Polaris for a time like a penguin toy with its squeaky mouth broken and review the new flesh. But finally Polaris has it day and shows it not lacking in either stylings or sound.


Unboxing





`Campfire Audio Textured Black Earphone Case`



'Campfire Audio Litz Copper Cable – 
High Purity Conductors with Berylium Copper MMCX and 3.5mm Stereo Plug'



'SPINFIT Tips (xs/s/m/l) – Campfire Audio Earphone Tips(s/m/l) – 
Silicon Earphone Tips (s/m/l) – Campfire Audio Lapel Pin – Cleaning Tool'



'Dual Finish
Polaris is designed to combine 2 excellent finishes; a Cerakote Lid and Anodized Body. This visually striking combination is as durable as it is good looking' - CA Site




Campfire Audio Polaris and Campfire Audio Jupiter -
Note the longer nozzle on the Polaris.


'Superior MMCX
Our custom Beryllium Copper MMCX eliminates the traditional shortcomings of the connection and harnesses all of its benefits. Beryllium Copper provides a robust mating mechanism; one that is typically made from soft brass. This selection of a harder material extends the life of component and the earphone.' - CA Site.



Specifications

20Hz–20kHz Frequency Response

97.5 dB SPL/mW Sensitivity

16.8 Ohms @ 1kHz Impedance

Features

Beryllium / Copper MMCX Connections

Machined Aluminum Shell

Cobalt Cerakote™ Lid

Anodized Blue Body

8.5mm Dynamic Driver with Polarity Tuned Chamber™

Single Balanced Armature High Frequency Driver with Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber™ (T.A.E.C.)



Price

US$599 from Campfire Audio 
or one of their recognized dealers: https://campfireaudio.com/dealers/



Build

With beryllium / copper MMCX connections, a machined aluminum shell, cobalt cerakote™ lid and anodized blue body makes for one solid and long lasting earphone shell.





Sound

As per usual the Campfire Audio Polaris has been put through its paces and been allowed time to break or burn in to satisfy the whims of those that care about such esoteric matters and for those who do not, well no harm done.

A variety of sources/daps were used to unlock the secret sonic sauce of the Polaris, mainly FLAC tracks were used, some album art samples seen in the photos.

The Polaris as we have seen from specifications in an earlier section consists of a 8.5mm dynamic driver with polarity tuned chamber™ and a single balanced armature high frequency driver with tuned acoustic expansion chamber™ (T.A.E.C.).

So one DD and one BA to simplify things with some of Campfire Audios patented chambers that seem to give their earphones an edge over some of the other competition.
.

I am not a fan of the nowadays popular one DD and two BA earphones that have increased in production these last few couple of years. A personal matter of sound signature preference as the one DD and two BA being more often than not a lively and energetic V shape. My personal preference being more of reference sound, more flatter, with maybe a bump in the  mids for a bit of lushness.

But enough about my preferences. So in short I was curious about what a one DD and one BA configuration might yield.


“Beauty is truth, truth beauty, —that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know” - Keats


Austin Osman Spare artwork seems complementary to the styling of the Polaris, at once mysterious and revealing at the same time.
The Polaris is a bit of a mystical earphone in itself, placed at a price point well above entry level, just a hop and a skip beyond mid tier and below that of post $1000 realms of audiophile no return.

Consisting of a large sound stage that is expansive and controlled,  one looks towards the center to see that which is hidden but is met with an infinite sphere, whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. It has larger width than depth to my perception.

The word Control springs to mind and not in a William S Burroughs interpretation. Campfire Audio excels at constructing an earphone that defines the word. Fast yet delicate, detail and spaciousness, deep bass with punch yet rounded where called for, reaching trebles that extend into infinity yet are tempered with prudence so that their fortitude exhibits justice towards the original recording.


As expected the 8.5mm dynamic driver delivers wholesome amounts of bass. No overly oodles of it or splashy or murky. Control being the byword yet again.
Treble extends enough to be a complement to the bass, reflecting in a sense the 1DD/2BA configurations resulting in a soft underlying V shape. This is tempered by the 1 BA driver bringing some mids to the show.
One might notice on closer listening that upper bass and lower mids aren`t featured as prominent points in the overall performance.


The Campfire Audio Polaris is a bit of unicorn amongst Campfire Audios stable of wild horses, thoroughbreds and stallions. Its look whilst borrowed from earlier editions shells diverts with its longer nozzle. I am at pains at times to see where the Polaris fits in, is it a replacement for the discontinued Nova? it certainly improves upon its treble, The Jupiter? Well it does have more upper mids, yet the Andromeda perfected the technical Jupiter. The Dorado even, their sharing a longer nozzle 1DD/2BA Dorado vs the Polaris 1DD/1BA.

The Polaris stays consistent with earlier offerings yet veers slightly away from a neutral zone to a more energetic sound. One might even say low end sound signature for those who want a high end reproduction. The V signature being more common in lower end earphones which make weaker sources, bad recordings sound all the much better.

But the V is something sort after by many for various types of music, reference sound isn`t for everyone nor for all types of music. To some reference can seem too sterile or clinical and this where a finely tuned and smooth V styled earphone comes in. Like the Dorado it delivers that rich, musical and full of energetic body with strength focussed at either end but tempered by mids and without the fatigue and sibilance which often plagues the lower end models of the DD/BA and V stylings.


Overall

The Campfire Audio Polaris has wowed many of my audio friends. More often than not in the last year it seems the model most lust after. Priced securely in the mid range of Campfire Audios line up ones conscience can rest assured that one is not spending too less nor too much to get high end sound.

If one is a fan of hybrid earphones dynamic drivers and balanced armatures combined the Polaris is no brainer. Great fit, excellent build and immersive soft v shape that does not fatigue.

The Polaris is a fun earphone that is suitable for the budding audiophile armed with a decent smartphone or the grumbling aged audiophile seeking to put a spark back into their portable gear relationship.



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