Pros: overall sound, especially bass and treble; stage, especially depth; design, wear comfort, build quality
Cons: require lots of tips rolling to find best option; source picky
Campfire Audio are a perfect example of brand development from scratch. Their IEMs lineup blew the market up, offering excellent quality for reasonable money. First 3 models — Lyra, Orion and Jupiter became a huge success, but CA continued expanding their lineup and offered full range of IEMs with unique single dynamic driver model Vega as a flagship. In this review, I'll share my impressions about Vega.
First of all, I'd like to thank Campfire Audio for providing me a sample in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
Usually, at the review's beginning, I should write about 50 lines of text, describing the box, IEMs design and unboxing impressions. I won't do this because you can easily see all that in few photos, saving read time. So, I'll try to be as laconic as possible in this part. Vega's retail price is $1300, so creators did their best to provide as much value as possible.
The box is standard for all CA products: small, plain cardboard box with stylish polygraph. Inside you'll get IEMs themselves (quite surprising, isn't it?), a perfect leather case for storage, three pairs of foams (different sizes), three pairs of single-flange silicone tips (also assorted), standard pack with spinfits, cleaning brush and metal badge with CA logo.
Earphones build quality is also superb. CA uses "liquid metal" alloy to cast small and comfortable cases that will fit any ears with ease. With appropriately selected tips you can wear them long without any traces of discomfort or fatigue. Sound isolation is on average level typical for this form-factor: it will be enough for almost any circumstances except noisiest ones (plane, subway, Formula-1 racing track, etc.).
Of course, Vegas have replaceable cable with MMCX connector. Creators have found probably best possible connectors with beryllium plating, offering excellent durability. New stock cables are softer than old tinsel wire, and this adds even more comfort in wearing. Definitely, CA's cables are one of the most comfortable wires available on the market: soft, lightweight, easy to untangle.
But let's go back to what's important: sound.
For this IEMs evaluation, I've used following gear.
- NuPrime DAC-10H and Resonessence Labs Concero HP as DAC/amps
- Apple MacBook Pro Retina 2016 as a source
- Audirvana+ as a player
- Lotoo PAW Gold, A&K AK320, TheBit OPUS#2, iBasso DX200 as DAPs
I've given earphones about 100 hours of burn-in before evaluation.
I'm not sure, should I say that proper tips selection is very important here? It's obvious for all IEMs, but for TOTL ones it's crucial. I've tried different options, but stock single flange silicon tips gave me the best possible sound (at least to my taste).
Campfire Audio decided that they don't want to make "typical" neutral sounding IEMs (they have Lyra II for such sound fans), so Vegas are colored IEMs, but they are a perfect example of coloration done right.
Mids are a bit recessed, and upper mids are slightly smoothed to make the sound even more "fun." Vega entirely separates vocal and move it forward, giving listener overwhelming sense of imaginary stage depth. Width is also good, but a bit narrower then Andromeda's. Mids resolution is good, but not absolute, like in balanced armature IEMs. I think this smoothing is done on purpose, as it perfectly fits general sound representation.
Treble is designed to balance lows and succeed in that. Highs here are prominent and have splendid resolution and attacks. Despite treble's quantity, it's not fatiguing and doesn't sound harsh. Highs here perfectly complement lows, giving a good overall balance. Treble in Vega shines, especially with high-quality recordings, having lots of treble details.
Of course, they are exceptionally picky when it comes to source selection. These earphones need immaculate control all over whole frequencies, but most of all I liked them with A&K. Its signature mids gives perfect synergy with this IEMs. Another good option is iBasso's new DX200, with it Vegas became fun bass cannon.
Style-wise, these earphones sound better with jazz, classical music, rock — styles where "fun" sound is better then "correct." But anyway, it's subjective and is a matter of taste.
So, to summarize all the above. Vegas are unusual earphones with unique and tasty sound. Of course, this sound representation isn't "one size fits all," but it's the best IEMs with colored sound, offering excellent built quality and unusual, engaging presentation. There are lots of fans of this model, and I definitely can understand them.
P.S. As usual, I've also made a fist impressions video.