Ken Ball’s latest venture in Campfire Audio seemed to get off to an explosive start with Lyra, their first universal IEM to hit the market. It did not ride solo for long though as Campfire had two more earphones up their sleeve, one cheaper in Orion and one that at $899 is now the most expensive in their range. Jupiter is Ascending but instead of starring Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum we have 4 balanced armature drivers. Instantly this is something that I find cool about Campfire, they have developed a unique range of products. Not unique as in this is the worlds only 4 BA universal but unique as in each product is its own thing, something that is not always the case as I discovered with 64 Audio’s A Series. The Lyra was a fun sounding single dynamic driver model, this is a much more balanced quad driver. Beyond the packaging these are completely different earphones, each one designed from the ground up for a specific purpose and I really do commend that. It will also be the reason that this review won’t be a comparison to the Lyra at every turn, lets touch down on Jupiter. While I am talking about being impressed by what Campfire are up to I will add that it’s a real breath of fresh air to see a new flagship IEM that is not in double figures for drivers. I will eat my words if they come out with the worlds first 16 driver universal later this year but it honestly seems like they are not caught up with the driver wars and just focussed on letting their products do the talking, be it their single BA, single beryllium dynamic or their multi driver.
The packaging is small, the box an understated cardboard. Compared to something like the q-Jays this is no where near as grand or special but looking past that we get a good haul of accessories. One things for certain what they lack in overall presentation they make up for in carry pouch. With its own aesthetic specific to the Jupiter, the weathered leather (yes real leather with this model) of the case is stylish and the internal faux sheepskin gives all the loving the earphones deserve.
Tips are just as well thought out, with measurements taken to put together the most suited tips for their earphones. Silicone and Comply may stand out to you but it is the more generic looking foam tips, almost akin to what you get from a company who won’t fork out to include Comply, that are the star of the options. These actually fit my ears nicer than Comply and do without the dulling of the sound Comply is known for, these are one of the few foam tips I actually opt to use on an earphone. I am also a big fan of Spinfit with these.
Rounding up the tightly packed box was of course a standard issue cleaning tool but also another cable. I will be honest with you guys and say for the best part of half and hour it had me puzzled. It was indeed the same stock ALO Tinsel cable so was it by accident that I got a second one. Then I noticed a difference, the y-split was a different colour?! Still that made no sense. It was only when I checked the website for clarification that I realised it was terminated differently. Instead of the pre-installed single ended TRS 3.5mm jack it has a balanced TRRS 2.5mm termination. You know, thats probably the closest we have to an industry standard for portable products that have balanced capabilities. Since Astell & Kern implemented it ALO have made the change from Kobiconn and a lot of other DAP companies have decided they will try it as well. The cable came in clutch for me since here at Inearspace we have a AK240SS, AK380, Cayin N5 and Opus #1 that all use it. I think it is great additional accessory and even if you don’t own something to use it with just yet, when upgraditis grabs a hold of you it won’t be long before you do.
One of my biggest praises for Lyra was its metal shell and that is going to apply to the Jupiter as well. But wait a second, the Jupiter is much bigger. I don’t know if I want a big hunk of metal in my ear. Maybe weight is the reason why they opted for aluminium on the housing for Jupiter instead of Zinc, although they seem to focus more on how well it isolates and dampens the four drivers inside. Whatever their reasoning for aluminium, its nice on my ears because it doesn’t weigh a lot. I do want to say that Campfire did metal earphones of this form factor first, now other companies have see the light they are jumping on board fleeing from acrylic and bringing forth durability. I mean JH Audio re-released their entire universal siren series just to be metal. The same goes for Noble and their makeover K10U. That being said I still cant think of many more metal wearing custom come universals, the cheaper Trinity Delta being the only other one that springs to mind. I love a metal housing simply for its build quality and my piece of mind when handling it but with the Jupiter Campfire have used it to make a beautiful aesthetic as well. The olive brown colouring may strike you as odd but with its clean cuts, matte finish, rose gold screws and uncoloured sound bores, these things are quite the lookers.
The cuts and angles of the housing may initially impress on looks but as with all things Campfire there is most likely underlying reasoning, in this very case I would presume ergonomics. The sound bores angle upwards, synchronising nicely with my ear canals and the shell while undeniably a touch large (a bigger faceplate profile than the 10 driver Heir Audio IEM 10.0), it seems to nestle in the contours of my ears just right. That being said the edges of the housing can make them selves known after a while.
The cables are the same as the Lyra and my opinion stays the same, check that article out here.
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