Campfire Audio interview - expatinjapan

Campfire Audio interview

HP: Welcome to Head pie.

HP: First of all tell us a little about yourself and the company, present and historical.

CA: Audio Line Out known as ALO audio was created in 2006 in my basement, then moved to a out building in my back yard, then on to a rented building, then one more rented building move. Finally I ended up buying a 5050sf building in beautiful South East Portland where ALO and Campfire currently reside.

 Campfire Audio was a dream of mind from the first day I made my first cable a long time ago. This was well before the iPhones and when headphones and IEMs were everywhere. The funding and networking needed to start a earphone/headphone company was way out of reach back then. So I just had to work hard and save up for many years.
I own ALO and Campfire in total with no outside investors or borrowed capital. So for many years I modded headphones for customers as well as made cables and amps. Modding headphones is a lot of detailed work, total disassembly, add damping and tuning elements and then a total re wire. The improvement when doing this is only incremental because you are starting with a known boxed in position with the given headphone.
I wanted to start for the ground up and have far greater control over everything. This is what Campfire is today, I think we are on a very positive trajectory and I think we have only scratched the surface of what is possible.

HP: Please tell us about your current product line up.

CA: ALO has a large line up so I will focus on Campfire Audio only.

Campfire audio have a dynamic driver line and a balanced armature line of IEMs with one dynamic hybrid.

Orion - single BA driver

Nova - dual BA driver

Jupiter - quad BA driver

Andromeda - 5 BA driver

Lyra II - single dynamic driver

Dorado - dual BA high and one dynamic driver

Vega - diamond dome dynamic driver

HP: Your production style is quite unique and many are made and assembled by yourself and staff. Please tell us about some of the processes, pitfalls and successes.

CA: Sure for one we try very hard not to be influenced by other IEM companies and what others are doing. Everything we do we want to do in a different way than everyone else. One of my goals is to provide a product that is unique in look feel and sound. Therefore my process is rather unconventional by design, internal motto is "unconventional by design" I do all the tuning via a wide array of methods tools and materials. Many of my processes are incremental and take tremendous amount of time and experimentation. I feel that having a creative fire if a huge key to what Campfire is all about. Both me and my engineer use to shared a painting studio long before ALO and Campfire Audio, we are both painters and trained artists. I no longer paint as cable making long ago kind of filled my artistic needs. But I use to paint and show a long time ago and I feel that me and my mechanical engineers affinity to the arts is really at the core of Campfire Audio uniqueness.

HP: What cables do they come with. Do you have any other after market cable options?

CA: Yes we recently switched the cable that comes with our IEMs. This cable is really what I see as a upgrade cable but it comes stock with all Campfire IEMs. Being a cable maker and knowing how much a cable will improve your earphones we wanted to include something far better that what others are offering. So our stock cable is a silver plated copper litz cable and its a wonderful cable.

Litz cable that comes with all Campfire Audio IEMs

Then we also offer a more complex 8 wire round woven silver and copper IEM cable called the Reference 8 IEM cable. We are now working hard to provide termination options for, 2.5mm balanced (currently have) 3.5mm balanced and 4.4mm 5 pole (for Sony player)

ALO Reference 8 cables

HP: If you have several products up and coming. Could you tell us a little about them.

CA: Developing new and exciting products is really what we are good at and something I feel honestly that I was built for. We do and I typically never stop tinkering and pushing the envelope of what is possible. Releasing new products is is double edge sword, many customers get angry when we release new products, and many feel the pace is too fast. However the high end IEM market is tremendously competitive and a company not in constant motion will be in trouble.

HP: Can you share any specs etc with us?

CA: I can not really talk much about the things I am working on or have completed but not yet released. I can say however that we have been working on a headphone for a number of years. I could have released it by now but I keep finding things that I want to make better so it keeps getting delayed. I really want this to be something special so have very high standards before I will let it fly.

Campfire Audio at a Tokyo headphone show
(Fujiya Avic show)

HP: How would you describe your companies products sound signature?

CA: Different... we want to be in our own category and not like akin to any other model or company. Additionally we want to push the audible envelope, we want our sound to be wide, clean, exciting, natural and most of all fun.

HP: Tell us a little about any future plans for your company.

CA: We have big plans and are only limited by funding for projects and the workforce to make our products. I have some pretty awesome things on deck and beyond so Campfire is going to burn bright and long.

CA instagram

HP: Anything else you`d like to add?

CA: Yes I want to clarify the name quickly, Campfire Audio, the name is referencing our personal love of the Pacific Northwest. I am a big fan of getting to nowhere and enjoying getting away from civilization. Sitting in front of a campfire at night preferably in the middle of nowhere is where I want to be. The sound, sight and smell of a campfire at night is to me mesmerizing and akin to a long listening session with top audio equipment. My mind and I are transported elsewhere, back and forward in time and its very meditative and special to me. Its a similar experience when I am staring into the fire. pic of this summers expedition, I have VW Syncro Van that serves to get me to nowhere :-) drew the CA logo with a lighter.

I personally want to thank all my customers who make everything possible. I want to give a nod to all the hifi'ers out there who are able to appreciate all things that make good sound. I am all about getting closer to the best sound possible and to those who share my appreciation for awesome sound and I want to salute you. I know how much my Andromeda or Vega IEM makes my day that much better and how much the music enhances my life, helps me think and make sense of things in such a crazy world.

 Nathan from Ohm Image and Ken of Campfire Audio in Tokyo.
(e-earphone show)

Thank you!

Let me know if you have any more questions.


HP: Thank you for your time Ken, and sharing with us about Campfire Audio.


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