iBasso DX120 focussed on pure music fidelity. Balanced 2.5mm, single ended 3.5mm and line out 3.5mm. Dual micro SD slots.

















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.



Hidizs AP80 feedback as posted to the Head-fi thread and earlier to Hidizs.

Earlier thread of photos and video of menus and UI

Time to weigh in with the feedback updates I have sent to Hidizs in a bid towards transparancy. 

All in the best interest that they have a chance to improve on the final product before delivery.

So far I have recieved two beta firmware updates that have improved things. Most of my feedback is firmware related.

I wrote a small piece on my blog of early impressions but will reserve my final review write up for when the finished product is ready to ship. Its too early now whilst people are buying blind on pretty pictures, websites and the information from the lucky few reviewers: nothing like having a device in hand.

Make no mistake. I do think this dap is fairly well complete as is. It just needs a few more tweaks under the hood, and the volume wheel.

My role as I see it is to inform, not to hype.

attachThumb2543346

—————————————-

Feedback (early/first)

Its a fairly responsive ui as i showed off in the video
 (EDIT: UI is now more responsive faster with 0.08 beta FW)

I am still exploring the sound. Seems good so far. Towards neutral.
(EDIT: seems a tad bit brighter into 0.08).

Exiting to the main menu can be confusing at times.
 (EDIT: seems one has to exit the Hiby player to go to the main menu).
(EDIT two:  "IryxBRO, post: 14451364 “There is an option for that - you press Hidizs logo at the left top of music app to go to main screen without exiting app. Music stays playing and you at main screen”

Exiting to main menu cuts off the music. Please change this. 
(EDIT: fixed. See above).

EQ works but isnt so strong, thats ok.
I like it better that way (even though I myself dont use EQ).

MSEB settings buttons seem a but laggy and unresponsive. Also quite small buttons.
(EDIT: font can be changed. S/M/L. After FW 0.08 beta - Even the smallest setting is responsive now- I only tried the small font under fw 0.07 when I gave feedback)

The volume control wheel is a bit small but too late for that now.
(EDIT: maybe not?)

But the drag up menu -
Small( -is great for adjusting volume).

Main volume slider on the screen when using the volume wheel disappears too fast.

I havent tested bluetooth.(EDIT: seems fine but havent tried many codex)

It worked easily with DH1000 - i havent tried any other devices (tried the audirect Beam no problems) - with cables. Instant connection


Feedback email 2.

Also the radio needs to search at 0.05 not by tens.

Feedback 3

I see LDAC is coming. Good.

Does it come with a screen protector on?
I tried putting the on the one from the box. It wasnt a perfect fit on the curved edges.
(EDIT: Some say theirs came with protectors on? I cant tell on mine. Maybe not).

Also the volume wheel top circumference needs some um roughness/texture to it, now its too smooth. I need two fingers to turn it.
Indentations etc cross hatching (i cant think of the right word). 
See photo:
attachThumb2543345

I might have some grain in the far low end sound. I need to recheck it wasnt my earphones or the track. (Firmware 0.07)

*i am enjoying it. (EDIT: jury is out after last 0.08 update. Need more listening time. A bit brighter, vocals a tad too forward).

attachThumb2543350

———————————-

In closing its a great, even excellent sub $150 dap.

Quite a surprise what is coming out these days: daps, dacs and earphones.

I look forward to further FW updates and other tweaks as we move forward.

Enjoying it as we speak on my commute with Campfire Audio Atlas.

attachThumb2543356
Beautiful screen.

Campfire Andromeda Retro Review - The Winner




Introduction: Campfire Audio is a well known audio company that produces great IEMs (and now a headphone too) and has gained even more fame with their recent 3 big ear turners, the Cascade, Comet and Atlas. Of course we're not talking about those now (I could probably review the Comet at least at a later time, if my budget allows it) as you can see with the first picture and the obvious title, we're talking about the mean green machine known as the Andromeda.

I've had the Andromeda for a long time but have skipped reviewing them because a lot of people have done so before. And yet as each new Campfire Audio product comes to light, I feel the urge to tell the world that the Andromeda is still here, it's still relevant and still pretty in green. Please note that I won't be as exhaustive as I normally am since a lot of the nitty gritty details have been tackled awhile back.

Specifications:
10Hz–28 kHz Frequency Response
115 dB SPL/mW Sensitivity
12.8 Ohms @ 1kHz Impedance
Dual High Frequency Balanced Armature Drivers + T.A.E.C.
Single Mid Frequency Balanced Armature Driver
Dual Low Frequency Balanced Armature Drivers
Beryllium / Copper MMCX Connections
Machined Aluminum Shell
Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber™ (T.A.E.C.)


Unboxing: One of the things I love with Campfire Audio is their minimalist boxes, everything fits in a compact space that's pretty and functional (and recyclable) though the material isn't the sturdiest, the cardboard holds up well through handling and age.


Package Details:
Andromeda In-Ear Monitor
CA SPC Litz cable
Genuine Leather case
3 Pairs of Comply foam earphone tips
3 Pairs of silicone earphone tips
3 Pairs of Spinfit earphone tips
Earphone clearing tool
Small CA branded pin
Owners Manual


Build/Fit/Design: The Andromeda follows the shell design of the Orion, Polaris and Jupiter where the shell is CNC'd into the sturdy industrial/angular shape you see in the picture. The thing with the shell, some people cannot fit it comfortably due to differences in ear shape and size though it fits me like a glove and for that it gets my thumbs up on fit and comfort, with the right tip, the Andromeda can sit in my ears for hours on end. On a parallel note, it annoys me to a certain degree that the look and color was copied by a certain IEM company and is nearly constantly mistaken for the K.O. even if the Andromeda uses a Beryllium MMCX connector and the other one is a 0.75mm 2 pin connector. Still, for me, it's a good and memorable design and yeah, the color is just perfect (Yes, I love green) as it both looks and feels good in hand and in my ear.


Cable: The included cable is the much lauded Campfire Audio clear SPC Litz cable, with a 3.5mm L-plug with the Campfire Audio logo on the top, a metallic Y-splitter with a plastic chin adjuster and terminating in a Beryllium MMCX jack. The cable itself is thin, light and very flexible, this was the first time I've ever experienced such flexibility and simple beauty in a cable.


Sound Stuff:  When my wallet was ready for a good IEM, I sampled a lot with varying prices, brands and designs and in the end my ears decided on the Andromeda. Out of the box it was exactly what I wanted paired with my WM1a, easy to drive, a bit of warmth, nice bass, good mids and pretty highs! After a long, long time of listening to these babies, the following is what I've been hearing using the stock cable and the WM1a on v2.0 firmware. Note that due to the low sensitivity, the Andromeda can demonstrate a low hiss, though this has not been the case for me with my DAPs or phones.

Lows: The Andromeda presents a good amount of sub-bass, extension and great bass separation. Low rumbles sound natural and smooth with moderate impact and fast decay, this leads to an overall clear bass resolution. Mid Bass has a good amount of body and delivers a balanced slam that's neither aggressive or weak, coupled with a warmth that makes for a great musical experience.

Mids: The mids on the Andromeda is one of it's strengths as vocals and instruments are neutrally placed and presented in a very clear and detailed manner where layering of instruments and vocals are easily identified in a wide open space. Even with all that clarity, there is a lot of body and smoothness in it's rendition giving sweet life to both male and female vocals in whatever genre you play.

Highs: are one of the other strengths that the Andromeda packs, there is a great amount of extension and airiness that doesn't lead into harshness or sibilance as there is great control in this area. The body of the treble is full on with each note being crisp, detailed, smooth and well separated. The highs effectively convey the emotional energy needed for each track without being fatiguing.

Soundstage: is probably the best known feature (here) of the Andromeda with a generously wide soundstage that gives you a realistic and natural feeling of width and depth on each track that is both spatially accurate and positionally correct.


Conclusion: So easy to love, the Andromeda captured my ears and heart then and it still does today. It is in my book, a compelling choice for audiophiles that want a piece of the high end without gutting your wallet (too badly) bonded with a sound signature that will please nearly anyone that doesn't require enormous amounts of bass in every song with its warmth, detail, clarity, technical proficiency and large soundstage. The Andromeda is my winner.

Pros: Warmth that doesnt overwhelm, great overall clarity and detail, sparkly and airy highs, great soundstage and layer separation. Great build quality, fit is comfortable (though some may disagree, experiment with tips), accessory package and cable is good. It's Green.

Cons: Maybe a bit more bass kick wouldn't hurt, no option to choose what termination (2.5mm, 3.5mm, 4.4mm) comes with it, at flagship levels, I believe that it should be a valid option.

Nitpicks: None comes to mind.


Sound testing was done using a Sony WM1a (Primarily), a Hiby R6 (for comparison) and a phone (for checking driveability) volume matched to 90.X db of safe hearing and calibrated using a 1kh tone on a dedicated DB Meter, all sources patched through a switcher.

Test tracks used:
A Different Way - Lauv
A Foggy Day - Van Morrison
A Question of Lust - Depeche Mode (Live 1988)
Alive - Pearl Jam
Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
Cheap Thrills - Sia
Come Away With Me - Norah Jones
Come Round Soon - Sara Bareilles
Country Road - James Taylor
Deeply Disturbed - Infected Mushroom
Discover Tokyo - Shuta Hasunuma
Do what you have to do - Sarah McLachlan
Dream a Little Dream of Me - Ella Fitzgerald
Get Lucky - Daft Punk
Hail to the King - Avenged Sevenfold
Ignorance - Paramore
Is This Love - Bob Marley
It's a Long Way To the Top - AC/DC
Lithium - Nirvana
Marian Hill - Breathe Into Me
My Curse - Killswitch Engage
One Day - Matishyahu
Photograph - Ed Sheeran
Pull Me Under - Dream Factory
Send My Love - Adele
September - Earth Wind and Fire
So Far Away - Martin Garrix
Staying Alive - Bee Gees
Sugar - Maroon 5
Sunday Morning - No Doubt
The Day The World Went Away - Nine Inch Nails
Way Down Deep - Jennifer Warnes