Campfire Audio Solaris - raising the bar?

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by mscott58, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. mscott58

    mscott58 Friend

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    So looks like Ken Ball at Campfire Audio has yet another trick/IEM up his sleeve - with the not-yet-released "SOLARIS". While there's already a Solaris in the HP world (the Audio Valve Solaris - http://www.audiovalve.info/to/solaris.php) I don't think anyone will get these pieces of ear jewelry confused with a ~$5K headphone amp.

    The below teaser is from the upcoming Tokyo Headphone Festival show in a few weeks, October 27th and 28th 2018.

    [​IMG]

    In fact the web-page for the show even has the above image as its background, and it's currently the first picture a bit down the page. Pretty prime placement!

    Ken also has a teaser of his own at his Campfire Audio website: https://campfireaudio.com/solaris/. No details, just the date of 10/26/2018. So I'm using incredible logic to guess that Ken's launching these on the second day of the Tokyo show.

    I reached out to Ken about the Solaris and while he's understandably staying tight-lipped about them before the apparent launch, he did mention that he's been working on them for around two years and they should "be a new bar" for CFA. If that includes eclipsing the Andromeda (pardon the pun) then color me curious.

    The Solaris case looks very well finished, with the metal parts appearing to be milled on a high-end CNC machine to get that level of detail. The grill on the port is also interesting, and different from any of other of CFAs IEMs that I've seen. However, they also look pretty darn big/deep! I wonder how far they'll stick out? I've just gotten used to the Equinox and how they're flush with the outside of your ear, versus my K10s that used to stick out quite a ways. That appears to be a lot of space to fit drivers into, and wonder if the Solaris will go the BA path of the Andromeda or the DD path of the Equinox/Atlas/Vega?

    On the critical side, I could see some at risk of experiencing "CNPF" (that's "Continuous New Product Fatigue") from Campfire. The Equinox was just announced a few months ago, and the Atlas & Comet a few months before that. Great to see Ken pushing the envelope in new product design and release, but that's a lot of new IEMs (and one CIEM) within a 6 month period, and the pace of releases was already pretty high for the past year or two as well. Wonder what else might be in the pipeline, or if Mr. Ball is going to take a breather after this one?

    Eager to hear the news coming out of Tokyo in a few weeks (any Friends going to the show?) and then hopefully get my own ears on them sometime soon.
     
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  2. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Without details it’s hard to form any opinions. I look forward to hearing more about it though!
     
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  3. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    I can only guess at the price that these will be at...
     
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  4. mscott58

    mscott58 Friend

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    Yeah, I was thinking about that as well. Currently the top IEMs in CFA's lineup cost as follows (all in USD, from the CFA website):

    Andro = $1,099
    Vega = $1,299 (although currently discounted to $1,099)
    Atlas = $1,299
    Equinox = $1,499

    The Equinox is a CIEM, so the "C" part likely costs a lot more due to 3D printing and finishing the custom shells. However, the mill work on the Solaris looks pretty complicated, so also probably expensive. And without knowing what type of driver is used it's all a big fat guess.

    I'll guess anyway, and hypothesize that the Solaris comes in somewhere at or above (hopefully slightly) the price of the Equinox. Ken has so far kept mostly off the crazy price escalation train that other IEM/CIEM brands have been riding on (Sony IER-Z1R at $2,300, JHA Layla at $2,725, 64 Audio Tia Forte at $3,599...) and hopefully he continues his prior approach. IMO the Andros punch above their price point, and would hope to see the Solaris do the same.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
  5. KenBall

    KenBall Owner - Campfire Audio

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    Hey Guys,

    We are committed to not gouging our customers, its sad to see others taking advantage of customers and frankly ruining the market. Loyalty and brand trust is way more important to us here at CFA. Not to sound cocky or anything but if we are comparing sonic and build value we could ask for well into the 3K+, easy... based off sheer performance of the Solaris vs competitors offerings, we choose not too gouge. I think people will be happy with the price and even happier with the performance.

    Stay tuned.

    KB
     
  6. Bina

    Bina MOT - Shanling

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    Campfire seems to be huge in Japan and Hong Kong. There might even be some fakes of Andromeda on Taobao, that tells you how popular they are.

    Also, same grill was already used on Comet and Atlas also has similar.

    CA is listed on Canjam Shanghai, taking place weekend after Tokyo, so I hope I will be able to try Solaris there. Always liked sound of BA IEMs from CA.
     
  7. La Cenric

    La Cenric Friend

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    Calling it now, hybrid design with Andromeda tuning as the target
     
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  8. Bina

    Bina MOT - Shanling

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    That would be dream
     
  9. iemcamp

    iemcamp Rando

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    After this statement I can't wait!!!
    Have Andro and Atlas and love both, although it seems I prefer DD. I think I will have to decide between Solaris and Sony IER-Z1R in the near future. Fingers crossed for a DD inside Solaris...
     
  10. KenBall

    KenBall Owner - Campfire Audio

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    Yo Iemcamp.

    Sure Im biased.. but, I did a covert A/B Solaris / Z1R when I was at the HK audio show recently... all I can say is :) :):):) feeling pre-tty good. I did really like the Z1R but the price is too Takai. I think we are now just entering a very exciting time for high preforming IEMs advancement. I do wish the driver technology was better, but I do see some recent movement for finally for better performance. I think there is still a lot of room for improvement.

    Ken
     
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  11. jowls

    jowls Never shitposts (please) - Friend

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    Any hints on the general tuning objective for Solaris @KenBall? ;)
     
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  12. mscott58

    mscott58 Friend

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    I heard Ken was going more for an Ultrasone Edition 10 type of sound...
     
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  13. iemcamp

    iemcamp Rando

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    Concluding from Ken words Solaris at least will be cheaper.
    Besides price, recreating Ultrasone graphs would also be quite an achievement. :)
     

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