Perfection Atlas?
Early impressions by Head-fier snk8699/Nick.

*Reproduced with his permission from his Head-fi post.




INTRO:

It takes about 5 seconds to realize that the Atlas was a labor of love for the Campfire team. This juggernaut is the culmination of their wealth of experience, trials, tribulations, user feedback, and technological discoveries. The Atlas doesn’t pull any punches, so take your blood pressure medication because there will be heart palpitations.

As with all things in audio, the whole doesn’t equal the sum of its parts. There will inevitably be comparisons to the Vega because they both utilize an A.D.L.C. dynamic driver (8.5mm vs. 10mm), but that would be selling the Atlas short based on what I’m hearing. I can concede that upon first listen this appears to be an incremental upgrade across the FR over the Vega, but I also know that some minor refinements in this hobby create the pricing chasms between competing products and can subjectively impact the overall enjoyment of the music. As I give the Atlas more listening over the next few weeks, I strongly suspect the Vega will be supplanted as my favorite dynamic driver IEM.

SIDE NOTE:

We are in the age of a headphone renaissance with so many manufacturers jumping at the opportunity to provide the best possible equipment at any given price point. Campfire Audio exemplifies  this philosophy by infusing  their Portland culture into marvelous metals, unique topologies, and original sound signatures. They stand out in a sea of homogenous me-too products. I could not be more grateful that Ken and Co. dropped the money on the roulette table and took that gamble to  bring their products to market. It’s a  great time to be alive!




DESIGN:

The Atlas and Comet are arguably the most visually striking models CA has conceptualized. It’s all in the small details. The hand polished stainless steel looks good even when mottled with fingerprints. Unlike the zirconium blasted aluminum shells of the BA models or the liquid metal alloy of the DD models, the Atlas and Comet have a matching finish 3D printed tip and applying/removing ear tips is quite effortless. The overall fit and finish looks and feels second to none.

The new silver cable is wound with a twist and purported to reduce tangling and micro phonics. I can attest that it works exceptionally well. I’m certain CA sought to address this since the Atlas is designed to be worn down and that will inherently make any IEM more susceptible  to micro phonics.

COMFORT:

Comfort is going to depend on a few variables: ear tip type, ear tip size, and wear preference. 

Unlike the other CA offerings which are designed to be worn over ear, the Atlas is designed to be worn down. The closest comparison I’ve personally experienced with this design would be the IE 800 / IE 800 S. Spending the necessary time to get  the fit just right will make or break the experience for some and I don’t want anyone to miss hearing what the Atlas can do.

There are three different types of ear tips: CA stock foam, CA silicone and Final Audio E Series edge style. I recommend checking your prejudice for a specific type of ear tip and take the time to try each one in all available sizes. In addition, cinching the chin slider up high and using a shirt clip definitely improvethe overall comfort.

Personal ear tip preference order:

  1. CA stock foam
  2. Final Audio E Series edgestyle
  3. CA silicone
I will admit that this one surprised me a little. I have smaller ear canals and typically always use the smallest size ear tip available; however, the smallest CA stock foam is always one size larger than the smallest of the other supplied ear tip types. This turned out to be a perfect match for me and effortlessly holds the Atlas in place without the need to adjust it two minutes later. It simply stays put and is super comfortable through some of my impromptu  dance moves. I suspect the body heat from your ears allows the foam to expand as well and that contributes to keeping it in place.

The Final Audio Series edge style is made of silicone and has a thick ribbed stem for rigidity similar to the Spin Fit tips. There are 5 different sizes available for this ear tip, sothe experimentation  options are endless and I actually preferred using two different sizes for the left and right.These ear tips render a slightly different sound compared to the CA stock foam, but I ultimately found myself adjusting it every few minutes as it slowly worked its way out of my ear.

The CA silicone is the only ear tip that is almost flush with the Atlas’s tip barrel and as a direct result means you will get a deeper insertion. I couldn’t get these to sit in place for me, regardless of the size. If you have experience with the IE800 and had trouble with the fit, then this will be a similar affair.

The Atlas can definitely be worn over ear with success, but it’s not as comfortable or ergonomic as popping them straight in your ears.


Photo:  Head pie

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS:

Naturally I couldn’t wait to hear these straight out of the box and throw the burn-in caveats to the wind. I promised myself that I wouldn’t provide anything less than helpful impressions to potential listeners and curb the emotional commentary, but some promises were meant to be broken. I will be the first to admit that when I heard reports regarding sonic improvements across the FR versus the Vega, I winced a little. More isn’t always better. Better is better.

My initial impression of the Atlas in comparison to the venerable Vega after 10 hours of listening through my Hugo 2 is that it simply does everything better across the gamut. It could be the increase in driver size, the polarity tuned chamber, the new silver braided cable, but I can’t unhear these noticeable differences in detail, speed, texture, and nuance.

TREBLE:
The high frequencies cleave instrumental notes with aplomb while simultaneously supplying more detail. The timbre has increased to a degree I can only describe as liquid realism; the treble appears in the mix and decays fast enough to tickle my eardrum at times. I don’t want it to come across as hyperbole when I say it’s some of the finest treble I’ve ever heard, but it is beyond reproach on even the most sibilant of test tracks.

MIDS:
The mids have increased definition and stand more in the spotlight.They even manage to steal the show during complex passages with the other two frequencies in full effect. I’m hearing the male vocals as having more bite and rasp in the chest while female vocals are angelic and smooth, which is exactly how I like them.

BASS:
The bass to end all bass. The bass other bass wishes it could be. There are plenty of people who don’t enjoy a lot of bass and I was in that same camp years ago. I didn’t even know I liked bass this much until CA came along. I now subscribe to an old GM slogan: it’s not more than you need, it’s more than you’re used to. That being said, the bass is indeed larger in  both scale and physicality than the Vega, but irrationally embodies more textural detail and impactful speed. These elemental improvements  together create a unified, organic whole across a wider range of music genres. It’s also worth noting that the bass will inevitably settle down and become more refined with more hours of use.

SOUNDSTAGE:

This is a little more difficult to articulate, but the Atlas is more spacious and every frequency yields more delineated notes. The Atlas can at times feel like you’re drowning in a sea of detail and that renders moments of serious emotional engagement. It’s a good thing we’re all here to feel feelings because with the Atlas they will be felt.

I can’t say I’m speechless after writing down so many thoughts, but my heart is racing with excitement. The Atlas commands your attention from the very first listen and sets out to accomplish things that I didn’t think were possible with a dynamic driver: (a) treble with unmatched breadth and realism, (b) effortless and  unencumbered mids, and (c) bass with speed, impact, and textural detail. CA further proves that you really can have it all.


‘Its scarily good!’ - Nick
 


Opus#1S Dap review
 - expatinjapan

http://www.audio-opus.com/?page_id=17532

The Opus#1S is the next version of the Opus#1. A spectacular and easy to use dap with a linear sound and efficient and speedy UI. The Opus#1S builds on the success of its predecessor.

Opus#1S and Campfire Audio Comet

See the earlier Opus#1 dap here:

Head pie has also reviewed the Opus#3:

And the Opus#2:

 Unboxing









 Opus#1S and Jomo Haka

Opus#1S case






Opus#1S dap and Jomo 6R with Double Helix Cable (balanced 2.5mm).

Opus#1S and Shozy Hibiki Special Edition

Build

`Enhanced ABS Solid Body and Tempered Glass
Available in 2 colors Lapis Blue and Palatinate Purple`

Build as in all Opus daps I have is solid and built to last. I have encountered no issues with either the body, buttons, screen or Micro SD slot to date.



Opus#1S and Campfire Audio Polaris



Build is solid and sturdy. 
This is the fourth Opus dap I have had the pleasure of carting around town with no issues in its construction. Above it looks likes it is in peril, but is in fact a reflection of a tree.

User interface

The Opus#1S echoes the UI of the other Opus daps, straight forward, simple, efficient, fast and very easy to use.

Simple swipe down Android style for access to shortcut icons, and also to the settings.
On the player menu accessed through a three lined icon in the top left there is `songs, albums, artists, genres, folders, favorite, playlists`
One can also swipe left or right to change the track.

With the swipe down menu it also shows the Settings cog icon. Tapping on this opens up the various options available:
Device: Screen (brightness, auto display off etc), Audio (equalizer, gapless), Output (Line out, L/R Balance, Gain L/M/H), Timer (sleep), USB (connect mode MTP/charging, USB DAC).
Personal: Language and input.
System: Date & time, Storage, Initialize, Update, information.



USB DAC function

ifi Audio Nano iDSD Black Label and Opus#1S to Campfire Audio Orion.
*Insert Star Wars prequel #1 `Its working, its working` gif.

Moar specs and stuff



Specifications

24bit / 192kHz High Resolution Sound
Cirrus Logic CS43198 x 2EA Dual DAC
ARM Cortex-A9 1.4GHz, Quad-Core CPU DDR3 1GB

SNR 123dB, THD+N 0.0007%, Crosstalk – 140dB, Output 3.1Vmrs ( Unbalanced )
SNR 125dB, THD+N 0.0005%, Crosstalk – 142dB, Output 3.4Vmrs ( Balanced )

Low-clock-jitter sensitivity: 50ps(Typ)
4inch TFT Wide Touch Display (480 x 800), IPS Panel

WAV, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF, DSD, WMA,
MP3, OGG, APE(Normal, High, Fast)

Internal Memory 32GB
External Micro SD Card Memory 256GB x 2EA

Enhanced ABS Solid Body and Tempered Glass

Ultra Power Saving Mode 







The audioopus/thebit dap family.
Anti clockwise from 1 o`clock. Opus#1, Opus#1S, Opus#3 and Opus#2.


Sound

My brief Fujiya Avic show impressions from late 2017. 
I cannot write much more without going into inaccurate imagination territory.

I did spend some time with both though.

Using the Andromeda with stock Litz SE cable to try to stay semi reference for the day.

I really enjoyed the S1 and thought it was a step up from the #1 . Perhaps incorporating a few tricks from #3 and esp #2 daps.

But as always its a matter of taste.

I wrote above
“I A/B’d the original Opus#1 with the new Opus#1 (and volume checked with a spl meter).
As we know the original Opus#1 is quite linear, the new version of the Opus#1 mark 2 is more dynamic, deeper, fuller and bolder.”

But show impressions, fast and only surface can be informative, yet also not the be all and end all.

Photo from the Fujiya Avic Headphone show in Tokyo, Japan. Late 2017.

Further listening revealed that the Opus#1S is in my opinion a step up from the Opus#1, not necessarily only in sound, but more importantly in power.
Users in the prehistoric age of portable audio used to rubber band strap portable amplifiers to boost their players which at that time lacked decent power.

These days daps generally have oodles of power and it seems to be increasing as time goes by and each company tries to create a one stop shop dap.

The Opus#1S certainly benefits from the extra power and as one who likes to have plenty of body and layering to my music without having to stretch the volume and gain controls to their furthest extension.
The Opus#1 was no slouch and I still remember my `wow` response when first coupling it with Campfire Audio Jupiter IEM. 
The Opus#1S is more neutral tuned dap whereas the Opus#1S tilts a bit towards the warm side, though not excessively so and never veers into muddy territory.


The Opus#1:
Cirrus Logic CS4398 x 2EA Dual DAC
ARM Cortex-A9 1.4GHz, Quad-Core CPU DDR3 1GB

The Opus#1S
Cirrus Logic CS43198 x 2EA Dual DAC
ARM Cortex-A9 1.4GHz, Quad-Core CPU DDR3 1GB

The Opus#3:
Burr-Brown PCM1792A DAC
ARM Cortex-A9 1.4GHz, Quad-Core CPU & DDR3 1GB

The Opus#2:
SABRE32 ES9018K2M x 2EA Dual DAC
ARM Cortex-A9 1.4GHz, Quad-Core CPU DDR3 1GB

All of the Opus Daps have 2 ohms output impedance on the single ended jack, and 1 ohm output impedance on the balanced jack. I often use multi driver BA IEMs and find I get a truer response and result by using the balanced jack. Those with single dynamic drivers or headphones would generally be ok with either.
The 2ohm jack/port is also more forgiving for the lower priced earphones also. Sacrificing some detail for smoothness.

Opus#1S and Campfire Audio Polaris

Further on the sound....

I would recommend reading the earlier reviews of the Opus#1, Opus#3 and Opus#2 featured on Head pie as they have some good insightful comparisons of the earlier models previous to the Opus#1S.

To quote from the earlier Opus#3 and Opus#2 reviews:

"I found the Opus#3 to be more resolving overall.
The Opus#1 has a vocals forward signature at ordinary volumes, whereas with the Opus#3 seems the music is up with the vocals, making the sound more engaging and richer and there is more definition.

The sound stage on the Opus#3 is much larger than on Opus#1, on  height and width. Making the Opus#3 more exciting, intimate and engaging. But its incremental and not absolute.
The Opus#3 sound stage is increased in the width, slightly in the height whilst not much more in the depth.
The sound stage increases when using the balanced out, as does instrument separation.
They both retain the characteristic smoothness of the Opus brand, more so when using the 2 ohm single ended out, things get a bit more apart when using the balanced out.
Instrument separation is cleaner on the Opus#3.
When I turn up the volume louder the Opus#3 seems to cope better with it.
In summary, its very close to call in terms of sonics but the Opus#3 just pulls ahead on the single end, and more so on the balanced out.
In terms of extended listening sessions I would pick the Opus#3 over the Opus#1.
The Burr-Brown dac just adding that extra little something."


Opus#2 review 'Sound is neutral towards reference with a hint of warmth here and there at times, it packs detail and resolution with a deep depth of musicality that at no times alters its intent as an accurate player. The instrument separation is brilliant, and with a sound stage that doesn't disappoint'.

'The Opus#2 departs from the earlier models in its ability to achieve a wide sound stage, in height, width and depth, its speed, effortlessness, detail, neutral transparency and separation.
Highly resolving and detailed without using any tricks of boosted treble.
The Opus#2 veers slightly onto a warm edge at times, but my emphasis is on slightly, If anything it gives a sense of fullness, of weight and gravity.
It comes across as neutral, transparent and all those other goody good good audio buzzwords we like to hear and read being bandied about. But the Opus#2 is the real deal in this matter.'

So where does the Opus#1S fit in all this?



The Opus#1S has more power than its predecessor and that alone is worth the extra investment in my opinion. One cannot have too much power, better to have oodles in reserve rather than stretching the machine so that its sounds like it is straining to perform.

If I can run most earphones etc on low or medium gain I am happy, rather than having to max out on high gain all the time.

Whilst the original Opus#1 is no slouch itself and generally has a more linear, detailed, fast and pleasant sound quality, the Opus#3 has a more detailed and extended high end, the Opus#2 the flagship generally neutral, layered with a bit of warmth in the low end.

I have not heard the Metal Opus#1 as of the time of this writing.

The Opus#1S fits nicely into the scheme of the line up, adding as mentioned before more power into the mix, depth and a musicality which could be described as dynamic.
It is full, deep (one could use the term warm though not entirely all of the story - a little bump to the mids perhaps), smooth with a richness, larger sound stage and a nice blackish back ground.

If you like a bit of spirit, a little bounce in your step on a sunny day the Opus#1S would be a good companion. It doesn't lack anything from the other Opus daps, of course it is true they scale up as you go but the Opus#1S holds its own and delivers a beautiful, full, accurate sound with a low floor noise, decent sound stage and a slight warmth of mids.

Opus#1S and Kinera SEED (early prototype build).

Opus daps screen and size compared

The lighting isnt ideal, but you can get the general idea.

Opus#1, Opus#1S (shown without case)
Opus#3, Opus#2


Opus daps 1, 3 and 2
(Opus 1S is the same size as Opus#1, this photo is from the Opus#2 review)


Price
The Opus#1S is US$399.00 from Musicteck.

The earlier Opus#1 can be also purchased from Musicteck for US$249.00.



Overall

The Opus#1S is more warmer in the mids compared to the earlier Opus#1 which is more of neutral sound. It is not to say that the Opus#1S fully departs from a linear or neutral sound, just that it has some extra smoothness, warmth, depth and energy.

The Opus#1S is more powerful than the earlier edition.

It is a dap that is a pure player, no wifi or internet connection. It has internal memory and also two Micro SD slots. Enough for a sizable music library on the go.

As a stand alone player it is a pleasure to use from the simple UI, selection of settings, size, sound and overall ease of use.
In the market of today it has a few competitors of varying sizes and sound signatures. Opus#1 or Opus#1S would be pleasing for most entering into mid fi territory.
One must as usual do their reading and research themselves and find the dap which suits best their needs in term of function and sonic signature.

The Opus#1S, smooth, deep, lush and rich, decent sound stage, a touch of mids, room for memory expansion, a stand alone player ie no wifi, black back ground and an easy UI makes it one of the main choices out of many options for a decent player on the go to enjoy the universality of the musicality of music.

Opus#1S dap and Jomo Haka



Thank you to TheBit audioopus for sending the Opus#1S to Head pie for review





































































This magical little beast has me excited!