Campfire Audio Atlas

Rating:
5/5,
  1. Benvoka
    Campfire Atlas review: The Supervega?
    Written by Benvoka
    Published May 15, 2018 at 6:41 AM
    5.0/5,
    Pros - strong and deep Bass, for those who like it

    a resolution that is more known from analytical (c)iem

    very refined and natural sounding highs

    fun listening experience
    Cons - a little bit the ergonomic factor
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    This is my first review in English and on Head-Fi. So I feel quite excited. For German-speaking Headfiers: You can find my German reviews on avguide.ch.

    But enough talk about my insignificant persona as a reviewer, because there is good news everybody! During my stay at the CanJam in Munich, I got the pleasure to meet the Campfire crew as well as receiving a sample of the brand new Campfire Atlas.


    Accessories:

    Nothing new. It is still a Campfire Audio product when it comes to the packaging. New is a set of silicone tips from Final Audio. So there are no more Spinfit-tips. For my part, I don't miss them, because they tend to move way to much in my ears. This has also something to with the 'special' Campfire ergonomics you find in many of their products.

    Fit / Comfort:

    With the right knowledge, experience and the right tips, I think everybody will get a comfortable and perfect fit. The Atlas stands out of most ears quite bit and I wasn't always comfortable with the cable over the ears because of this. The Atlas can easily be worn in the common style (cables down), but here I felt a little irritating pull from the weight of the Atlas.
    Also, the logo sticks out. So some people might experience some discomfort at least for a while. But hey! Most of us are not drawn to Campfire because of those ergonomic aspects. Right?

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    Cable:

    I can't say something about the sound quality of the new “pure silver cable” that comes as the stock cable. In my experience, good silver cables give indeed additional detail and resolution. Unlike from some other great sounding cable from ALO I couldn't make out a lot of cable noise. That's all I can say about that and I leave a more detailed review of the cable to a more seasoned “snake oil voodoo doctor” (please don't hate me).


    Well, but how does the Atlas sound?

    Bass:

    I was not only kidding when I told Caleb and Ken at the CanJam (Munich/Germany) that you should never register the Atlas as a boxer to a boxing match. Yeh, he just punches hard and often below the belt. Unfair! The A.D.L.C driver has an enormous sub bass that decays slowly and beautifully, unlike any BA driver. So much that it might feel a little over the top for many that prefer a more classical, analytical approach. The bass goes even deeper than on the Vega which sports the same kind of driver material but a little bit smaller.


    Mids:

    They seem a little more laid back and recessed to me and I reckon a little U or W shape of the whole frequency spectrum. To me, the mids are quite natural sounding and I enjoy folk music on the Atlas as much as I did on the Vega. Here the mids and the highs shine and the Atlas reveals to the last one of us, that he isn't all about bass at all. Female vocals seem very lively and oh boy, strings just reverberate beautifully in an awe-inspiring interplay of the mids and the bass.


    Highs:

    The first time I put the Atlas in, I used the foam tips, because of my experiences with the Vega. After 1 minute I changed to the silicone tips as I realized that the Atlas is a beast that doesn't need to be tamed here like his little brother. To me, the highs are as much as a highlight as the bass. I even compare them to the Andromeda's. They are sparkly, well extended and sometimes even a little bit on the hot side. Strong but delicate. There is a beautiful sense of air to them. Well, this a dynamic driver. So to me, it is extremely astounding that I actually enjoy the hell out of the classical “sibilance frequency” around 6k. I asked Caleb how they did to manage to achieve this little marvel. He replied that it has a lot to do with the prolonged shape of the Atlas and the distance from the driver to the ears. So I will never ever complain again, that the Atlas sticks out of my ears.


    Soundstage and imaging:

    A pity I don't have my Vega anymore to compare. But from my memory, the Vega had a tad more depth and less with than the Atlas. To me, the Atlas has a wide and reasonably deep soundstage that never feels artificial or like a cheap effect.

    The imaging and separation are precise yet on a good level coherent. Different instruments seem to be on the same wide and deep stage and not in different little rooms. Something I prefer over an excessive and unnatural “I can throw darts at the artist”-sensation.

    Burn-in:

    Well, this is not a long-term review. I have received my sample some days back. Speaking from my experience with the Vega there will be at least some impact on the sound quality. My Atlas is running 24/7 except for some short breaks. My brain might trick me, but I feel the bass is getting tighter and a more controlled. A process that started to happen recently, which gives the mids and the highs more spotlight. I will try to keep you folks upgraded on my impressions as the burn-in process advances.


    Overall impression:

    Is the Atlas a Supervega? When it comes to the size of the driver: yes! Also, the Atlas has a deep, prominent but also controlled bass. But when it comes to the “in the middle feeling” of the Vega the Atlas follows a different path. The experience is very engaging and manages to immerse, but it feels more like in the second row and not on the stage with the artists.

    Also, I experienced the Atlas a little less visceral but not at all less powerful than the Vega. Campfire Audio managed to create something very special here once more. To me, the Atlas is very fun to listen to but packs also an astounding resolution. Even more than some of my monitors that are specially made for analytical listening. This amazes me everytime I put the Atlas into my ears.

    I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to test the Atlas that early with my free sample. Congratulations to all at Campfire Audio! You created something special once more that makes the whole audiophile scene richer. Thank you for this as well.

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    p.s. I detest giving stars for something that is that complex. I solely give 5 stars for the readers who want to be fooled by them.

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    1. twocentsear
      How do the Atlas compare to the Andromedas in terms of soundstage and imaging?
      twocentsear, May 19, 2018 at 8:22 PM