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Campfire Audio Atlas

Rating:
4.53333/5,
  1. yukitq
    Great sound, marred by poor fit + price tag
    Written by yukitq
    Published Sep 12, 2019
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Fantastic Build Quality
    Good Sound, especially for hardcore bassheads
    Good customer service
    Cons - Driver Flex
    Terrible Fit
    Expensive
    Can be way too much bass
    Review: https://audiorambles.com/campfire-audio-atlas/

    Introduction

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    Undoubtedly the undisputed Magnum Opus of Campfire Audio, the Campfire Andromedas have received critical acclaim since their release. While they personally didn’t fit my bill, they remain a staple recommendation within the community. Perhaps a victim of the Andromeda’s widespread success, however, Campfire have found themselves under significant scrutiny after the disappointing debuts of the “Io” and “Polaris V2”.

    Adding even more fuel to the metaphorical fire, their subsequent apparent failures to deal with community criticism on the Head-Fi forums, in particular, sparked even greater controversy.

    Today, however, we take look at the Campfire Audio Atlas, their former flagship.

    Before the introduction of the Solaris, the Atlas held its place in Campfire Audio’s lineup as the most expensive IEM, priced at $1300 USD. Utilising a single 10mm Amorphous Diamond-Like Carbon (A.D.L.C) diaphragm driver similar to the one used in the Campfire Vega, Campfire Audio sought to achieve “superior fidelity, excellent frequency response, and low distortion.”

    Build Quality, Fit, Comfort and Isolation
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    Aesthetics (9.5/10): While extremely adept at being dedicated fingerprint/scratch magnets, there is an undeniable charm to the Atlas’s stunning good looks blessed by its cleanly machined shiny metal housings.

    Build Quality (10/10): Come on, they’re machined solid housings made of metal. They look, feel and almost definitely are hardy. The MMCX connectors Campfire implements are also some of the best I’ve seen in the industry. To top it off, from personal experience with Campfire Audio, customer service has always been fantastic, and there were often a time where they’d send replacements for free even outside of the stipulated warranty period. Fantastic stuff.

    Fit and Comfort (0/10): Bzzz. Bzzzzzzzz. Why hello there. It’s the fly in the ointment. The Atlas managed to stay in my ears grand total of 0 times in the time I owned them. The unfortunate combination of weight (they’re HEAVY) and size spelled their doom from the beginning. They were worn over-ear, straight-down, tried with myriad pairs of tips, but alas, nothing seemed to keep them in.

    Oh, also, did I mention they had terrible driver flex? Shame.

    Isolation (?/10): How man test for block sound when mini sound brick no stay in ear? Me no see how.

    Sound
    Bass (8.5/10): It’s big, big bass from the Atlas. Mostly midbass though, and the emphasis is glaringly obvious upon putting them into your ears. Midbass on the Atlas is gargantuan and they’re totally unapologetic about it, placing instruments like bass guitar, cellos, and basslines in general at the forefront of the mix. See Dire Straits “Sultans of Swing”, or Lauv’s “Paris in the Rain”, for example.

    For its weight and power, it is surprisingly very tight, and very detailed, though not as detailed as say, the JH Audio Roxannes. Speed is very decent, also fairly remarkably agile for the sheer midbass attack.

    In comparison, subbass on the Atlas might seem weak, but it certainly isn’t limp. They dive deep and hit hard, though not reaching the lowest registers like the CE-5 and Z1R can do so effortlessly. Keep in mind though, relative to most other sets, the Atlas can still be considered subbass heavy. While they do manage to provide rumble down low, it’s not particularly detailed nor clean, and can sound quite muddy at times.

    The buttery and rich texture of the A.D.L.C driver also needs to be brought into attention, one of my favourite qualities of the Atlas’s bass. Guilty pleasure bass really, essentially.

    Mids (8.25/10):The heavy midbass emphasis does make itself known in the midrange, which experiences some spill-over on tracks which are more enthusiastic in the low end. Naturally, it also warms up the lower midrange, darkening its tone as a result. The lower midrange, however, is quite recessed in the grand scheme of things, lacking the weight and body for singers like Frank Sinatra to shine. Instruments like Electric Guitars also sounded a little blunt, lacking sufficient bite.

    Upper Midrange, on the other hand, received a slight boost from Campfire Audio, giving female vocals and the midrange in general some space to breathe, injecting some much needed air and detail. There’s little to say in this regard other than the fact that the peaks were well implemented, allowing female vocals to retain their sweetness, also infusing a greater sense of perceived speed.

    Midrange clarity resolution is great though, but detail retrieval can be a bit of an issue for an IEM with such an enormous price tag in comparison to the competition, as a result of the massive bass overpowering the minute bits of aural cues in the background. Midrange placement wise, they sit behind the bass and lower treble, a little further back in the overall sonic canvas.

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    Highs (8/10): To avoid a sound signature congested by the considerable bass response of the Atlas, Campfire have also understandably decided to also give the lower treble a little kick, achieving results similar to the bump in the upper midrange. More air, more detail, and an added bit of sparkle for a more exciting listen. Trumpets and cymbals on Michael Buble’s “LOVE” sounded natural and clean, albeit just ever so slightly dulled in comparison to top tier sets.

    The roll-off in upper treble cements the signature of the Atlas as a warm, v-shaped, and slightly dark IEM. The treble is clear and smooth till the drop-off, and lacking in the necessary extension required to fully enjoy tracks such as Elaine Page’s “Memory” from the Legendary “Cats” Musical. Though brighter signatures usually don’t sit well with me, I’d have like to have seen a greater quantity of treble in the uppermost registers.

    Getting a good seal on the Atlas is paramount to making the treble sound competent, because it is a shrill and sharp mess otherwise. Yet, as previously discussed, fit is the #1 issue on the Atlas, so good luck with that.

    Soundstage, Imaging, Seperation and Timbre (9/10): The Atlas’s width is above average, though it has magnificent depth. Headroom is quite neutered due to the lack of treble extension, causing a deficiency in soundstage height. Imaging is good, with instruments and backup singers occupying their own space across the soundscape, though precisely pin-pointing their location can be met with slight difficulty due to a slight hazy quality to the imaging. Separation is honestly poor for a kilobuck IEM, with elements from complicated tracks like “Little Talks” occasionally blending into each other. Timbre is mostly quite good, perhaps my only complaint might be the blunt presentation on Trumpets, Violins and the like.

    Conclusions
    The Campfire Audio Atlas certainly sounds great – but its signature is an acquired taste, one for the most hardcore of bassheads, who still place a high priority upon clarity and air.

    Additionally, the sizeable price tag of the Atlas would also drive many away, given the presence of other sets with greater resolution and detail within similar price range.

    The elephant in the room however, is of course, the absolutely atrocious fit of the Atlas, the literal worst out of any and all IEMs I have ever tried. A combination of size, weight (not quite that of the Celestial Heavens, but still) and driver flex make it an absolute nightmare to wear. As a result, little roads lead to this particular Atlas, and these are ultimately difficult to recommend.
  2. Watermelon Boi
    Campfire Audio Atlas: Dynamic juggernaut
    Written by Watermelon Boi
    Published Jun 11, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Nicely polished stainless steel earpieces
    -Suitable for both over-ear and straight-down
    -Basshead IEM with crisp upper frequencies
    Cons - Earpieces may be a bit thick for some
    -Vulnerable to scratches
    -Eartips/Cable sensitive
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    Campfire Audio Atlas: Dynamic juggernaut

    When I think about Campfire Audio (short in CA), the first thing that pops up in the mind is the CNC machined, metal earpieces with an angular design. This used to be the only design scheme CA used to have, however they recently started to change things up by releasing two new faces - the Comet and the Atlas. Comet is the cheapest 1BA model ever made by CA while Atlas is the new successor for Vega, the prior flagship single dynamic driver IEM.





    Packaging

    Atlas comes with the ordinary CA style packaging and packed with a decent amount of accessories – a black leather case, 3 pairs of silicone tips, 3 pairs of foam tips, 4 pairs of Spinfit tips, a cleaning tool, cable ties, 1 pair of velvet pouches, a shirt pin, and some paper works. It seems like CA recently started to include mesh pouches instead of velvets. The mesh pouches far more useful and easy to deal with, so I think I'll get some spare ones for my Atlas and some other IEMs. It's good to see them upgrading their accessories every now and again.





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    Earpieces

    Earpieces are made of stainless steel, CNC machined and hand polished. The surface of the housing is vulnerable to scratches, however the material itself is very well built and durable. The outer shape and design are quite similar to Comet, though Atlas is thicker and larger in dimensions.

    Being an upgraded model from Vega, Atlas houses a 10mm A.D.L.C (Amorphous Diamond-Like Carbon) dynamic driver which is larger than Vega's 8.5mm driver. A.D.L.C is Campfire's custom diaphragm created with a hybrid of non-crystalline diamond and graphite carbon. The results are low density and high rigidity which are the key factors for achieving low-distortion, clarity, and wider frequency response.





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    New design form

    Atlas is one of the first IEM from Campfire that could be worn with the cable straight-down which should be good news to those who disgust over-ear designs. I actually prefer over-ear and hate straight-down designs, so I'm sticking with over-ear since these fit comfortable either way.

    The earpieces are mildly weighty but not excessive. I'd say it's the right amount of weight to give a sturdy and premium feeling to it. There's a small vent on the back and the nozzles are also made of stainless steel with an approximate diameter of T500.





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    Cable

    The included cable is made of pure silver and has an MMCX termination without the earguides, making it ideal for wearing the earphones straight-down. It's soft, light, and doesn't cause any microphonics. Plus, the MMCX sockets are designed to be as small as possible which gives a seamless fit and appearance when attached to the earpieces.





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    Sound impression - Bass

    Atlas aims for a vibrant W shaped sound with an extra emphasis on the lower frequencies. Bass is definitely something that stands out a lot from this IEM. The imaging on the bass is massive but very well controlled. The sub bass quantity is slightly lesser than Empire Ears Legend X or Rhapsodio Zombie. It keeps its identity as a basshead IEM but suitable for more users.

    There are lots of basshead IEMs available, but what truly differentiates Atlas from others would be its extremely clear bass resolution. Atlas does a perfect job presenting the ultra lows without bloating it, which adds so much depth yet doesn't get overwhelming. Reverbs are highlighted but in a way that they're always tightly controlled. It knows when to decay fast or slow, plus never crossing the line where the sound would turn muddy.







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    Sound impression - Mids

    Mids are placed close to the ears and don't fall back or get veiled, despite the plentiful bass. The thickness is just around being neutral, gradually decreasing throughout the frequency as the sound flows from lower mids to higher mids. This makes Atlas suitable for both male and female vocals. Lows are definitely thicker with great quantity but vocals are energetic and always stay prominent.

    It has sparkly bits on the upper mids which adds some shininess to the sound, but not excessive to the point it would cause sibilance. Vocals from Atlas goes for a crunchy texture and helps the sound to be exciting and refreshing, though may also cause the sound to feel harsh if the source is recorded in low resolution or already has a harsh texture highlighted from the first place. Temperature is also neutral, properly featuring both warmth and chill.





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    Sound impression - Highs, etc.

    Much of the characteristics from mids also applies to highs. It's positioned slightly behind from the mids and smaller in quantity but just as prominent. Also, the highs are thinner than the low and mids, but still has a good amount of body and energy to it. The thinner body actually serves better when it comes to revealing the small splashes of treble details and that's the case here. Trebles also go for the crunchy texture but polished and don't seem to go harsh at all.

    Staging is impressively large for its size, forming a nice round shaped headroom. It stretches out well in both depth and width. No need to mention if it's good in separation - Atlas always manages to keep everything sorted out correctly.





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    Eartip/Cable matching

    Campfire Atlas shows quite a pretty clear difference in sound depending on what eartips and cables you use. For eartips, I've found these to sound the best with E-Pro graphene eartips, Acoustune AET07, and JVC Spiral Dots. Wide bore eartips provide a better open-field experience with shinier upper frequencies, though the sound may get too try if paired with eartips with much wider bores like Rhapsodio's Windwhirl eartips.

    While the eartips were easy to choose, the cable is the part where things may get a little tricky. I've found brighter sounding cables to work well with these, though Atlas hasn't worked the best with the ones that are made of more than one materials - leaving me to choose between copper or pure silver. Of course, there are still pros and cons between these two materials. Copper cables achieve the best tonality but could make an already bass-heavy IEM sound overwhelming with increased bass, while pure silver cables achieve better shine and airiness but may result the highs to sound a tad bright.





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    Matching with cables...

    And don't get me wrong, stock cables already show great combo with these IEM and don't particularly lack in performance either. Though finding a better performing cable to match well with Atlas would surely bring bigger satisfaction.

    You can't really say for sure if particular cables would sound great with Atlas, so I'd say it's a bit of a gamble. If you're looking to get a custom cable for these, it would be better to try out most cable options available to you and see what kind of cables work out the best. I found myself to prefer PW Audio Limited cable the best and I think I'll stick with this combo. I'll probably do a review for this cable later sometime, but in the meantime, I could certainly recommend this cable if you're looking for a cable upgrade.





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    Verdicts

    Atlas is a basshead IEM that doesn't sacrifice either clarity or upper frequencies. It has a more mature, revealing nature compared to that Vega and should be great enough to satisfy even non-basshead users as Atlas keeps the resolution crisp throughout the frequency range - from deep lows to deep highs, creating a strong W-shaped sound signature with elevated bass. It seems like Campfire started to change gears from their ordinary design concept and I'm curious how they'd pursue even further with their A.D.L.C dynamic driver IEMs.









    Thanks to Campfire Audio for providing Atlas for the review.

    I am not affiliated with Campfire Audio and none of my words were modded or asked to be changed.

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      Aslshark likes this.
  3. Dobrescu George
    Campfire Atlas - Absolute Impact
    Written by Dobrescu George
    Published Jan 29, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - + Excellent overall tuning, fun and revealing
    + Deep Bass reaching as low as it is you can imagine
    + Bass has good control, it doesn't bleed and doesn't cover the midrange
    + Midrange is organic and juicy, some of the best guitar solos there are
    + Sparkly treble to counter the strong bass, resulting in an excellent overall sonic balance
    + Comfortable, especially if used with foam tips or Final E Tips
    + Silver Cable and Premium Carrying Case included in the package
    + Interesting and unique design
    Cons - - Pretty pricey, but it is Campfire's Flagship, and they also have other offerings at more pocket-friendly prices
    - Driver flex if not using foam tips
    Campfire Atlas - Absolute Impact

    First look into Campfire Atlas, the current flagship from Campfire's current lineup. It relies on a 10mm full range dynamic driver, and it is assembled and designed in Portland, Oregon, USA. With a lot of competitors, it is time we put Campfire's fine work to the test.

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    Introduction

    Campfire is a rather well-known company among audiophiles, and for a good reason, being one of the "innovators", who design a whole range of new IEMs, and who do so in USA. This also means that you can rely on Campfire for great customer support and warranty service, and they will be quite open to answer inquiries, and provide adequate support for your flagship purchase. Campfire is known to offer both flagships, but also affordable earphones, including the little brother of the ATLAS I am reviewing today, which is named Campfire Comet.

    It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Campfire, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review is not sponsored nor has been paid for by Campfire or anyone else. I'd like to thank Campfire for providing the sample for this review. The sample was provided along with Campfire's request for an honest and unbiased review. This review reflects my personal experience with Campfire Atlas. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Campfire Atlas find their next music companion.



    About me

    https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/about.html



    Packaging

    First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:

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    When it comes to Campfire Atlas, things are quite interesting, as for a flagship, they have a really small and cute-looking package. Indeed, this time around, we see a truly expensive flagship packaged in a small cardboard box, which is finely crafted and hides the actually transport case inside.

    From the moment one touches and opens the actual transport case, it is easy to tell that Campfire is not joking around. The transport case feels like one of those extremely expensive bags you see models carrying around, with a really solid build, high-quality leather all around, and with the inside padded with a thick wool-like material. In fact, the transport case feels so awesome, that it is no shock that Atlas comes with each earpiece in its own protective soft material bag, to protect it from scratches, and considering that the cable they come with is a full silver cable, and that they also come with Final tips, and Comply tips, this has to be a package worthy of a flagship.


    In fact, this is actually one of the best packages I had the honor of unboxing lately, and everything feels truly high-end, making me smile as I go through each of those little details, that Campfire paid a lot of attention to. The transport case will be useful for future usage, the tip collection is great and provides a versatile and high-quality tip selection, and the cable, and the IEMs themselves look really well packaged, the package quality truly reaching my personal golden standard.



    What to look in when purchasing a high-end In-Ear Monitor

    https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/what-to-lookl.html



    Technical Specifications

    5Hz–20 kHz Frequency Response
    105 dB SPL/mW Sensitivity
    19 Ohms @ 1kHz Impedance
    Less than 1% Total Harmonic Distortion




    Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

    Starting with the build quality, Atlas is simply outstanding. It is a one-piece full stainless steel IEM, made to be rounded all-around, but still with a beautiful design, and they have a mirror finish that looks quite stunning every time you see it. The connectors are MMCX, which seems to not be everyone's favourite, but Campfire stated that they used a high-grade MMCX, with beryllium, and from what I can tell, I can confirm that those do not feel like they are the same MMCX as those found on entry-level IEMS, clicking in place better, and feeling more reliable. While, on one hand, having MMCX is not the best solution, it does open the world to aftermarket cables, if you'd want to get one.

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    The cable is also quite stunning, a high-end Silver cable, which is both flexible and looks nice. It makes the thick, braided cables of more entry-level IEMs feel too thick and unoptimized, when you look at how thin yet trustworthy the cable of Atlas feels like. In all fairness, the only downside one could ever find to the cable is that it isn't balanced, but this seems to be a more controversial subject, and there are plenty of high-end Single Ended sources available, not to mention that Atlas is rather easy to drive, and has a low impedance, so it doesn't really require a Balanced source, actually being slightly prone to hiss, thing which is more present with some, if not most, balanced sources.

    The aesthetics are pretty much universally accepted as great. This is one of those IEMs, that everyone, regardless of their tastes, will like. The CA logo on the sides of the IEM is finely crafted in, and doesn't stand out, the MMCX connectors are placed exactly where they should be, and the vent port at the back is placed in such a way that you're very unlikely to mistakenly cover it while inserting Atlas in your ears.

    The fit and comfort are quite a different story though. I'm saying this because, Atlas is one of those few IEMs that I need to mention, when talking about driver Flex. This is a phenomenon where, you have to insert the IEM very slowly and carefully, and do the same when taking it out, because the driver flexes upon insertion, resulting in a "pop" sound. This will not affect the life of the driver or of the IEM, information confirmed both be Campfire, and other companies who design dynamic drivers, but it can be a bit bothersome. It seems that using any foam tips will eliminate the driver flex, but as always, foam tips do deteriorate over time, and they also cut some of the treble and even upper midrange impact.

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    I found great comfort both while wearing Atlas straight-down and over-the-ear, but they may work better for being worn straight-down for most people. The cables are not one bit microphonic, which is great, and the cables are fairly flexible and well-designed, so they don't hinder usage in any way.

    Atlas is a flagship, and I don't really expect people to wear them while jogging, but they can also be used that way without an issue, as long as you're wearing foam tips.


    The stainless steel body can get a tad cold, especially in the colder season, but this shouldn't prove to be an issue for usage in any way, and it gives a satisfying feeling to the entire IEM, knowing they are made of metal.

    The IEM shell itself is a bit large, but its very rounded shape will work with almost any ear, and the design has a rather long bore, without any hard edges or factors that could create discomfort. The IEM size itself may not work with the smallest of ears, but I expect most people to find excellent comfort with the IEM shell size, although, on a note, Campfire Comet, the little brother, which seems to have some design elements from ATLAS, is smaller in size. Overall, Atlas reaches my personal golden standard for comfort, aesthetics and fit, they are innovative, they can be worn both straight-down and over-the-ear, they do not have microphonic cables, and they are designed to have a comfortable shell.



    Sound Quality

    This time, the title of the review may not give it away quite that clearly, but Campfire ATLAS is one of the most impactful IEMs you can meet. In fact, the bass depth, impact and quantity is one of the best I had a chance to hear, and if you're a basshead, those will absolutely reach your soul. The midrange is not mudded by the bass, and the entire sound is rather clear, with a sparkly treble, so the overall signature can be described as a warm, thick, clear, very resolute, impactful, deep, well extended both ways, and dynamic.

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    To start with the bass, it is one of the deepest, largest, most impactful bass styles you will hear in an IEM. The depth the bass can reach is undeniably deep, the speed of the bass is natural, with a smoother texture, but with enough speed to keep up with post-hardcore, death metal, or trance, but without being faster than a natural bass would be. This is clearly a Dynamic-Driver type of bass, and not the more dry and quick bass BA drivers tend to have. The authority of the bass is quite incredible, and the amount of bass may feel a bit much before getting used to the epic and huge sound, but after a few minutes, you may begin wondering where was this style of sound all your life. Rich is a really good word to describe the bass when you put it in perspective. The bass drops in amount after 125Hz, resulting in a slightly recessed upper bass / lower midrange.

    The midrange is slightly recessed compared to the strong and heavy bass, and compared to the sparkly upper midrange / lower treble, so instruments relying on the lower midrange, or very deep male voices can feel slightly pushed back, but they are too slightly pushed back to cause any kind of dissatisfaction. It is important to note that this upper bass / lower midrange recession helps keep the bass in check and it also keeps the overall signature from becoming too thick and warm. It surely shows that Atlas was designed for a high-end market, being able to deliver deep impact, and strong kicks, without becoming wooly or too loose in the process.

    In fact, the midrange can hardly be described as pushed back, it would rather be at normal levels, compared to a strong and explosive bass, and a sparkly treble. I can wholeheartedly recommend ATLAS for anything including guitars, they sound really organic and resolute, revealing and painting textures in guitar solos, that you never knew were there. Female vocals feel enthusiastic, emotional and dynamic, opera songs bear strong emotion, and screams in the higher registers in either post hardcore, or metal, or even in pop, feel emotional and can bring a tear to your eyes.


    The same can be said if listening to a deeper song, like those of Jill Tracy, where Atlas is able to give a strong emotion to the entire song, especially with the large bass, creating a true atmosphere for the listener. Overall, the midrange can also be described as rich and organic, with a natural overall speed and excellent clarity, I'm actually quite impressed by how much detail they are able to reveal without becoming too overbearing. Interesting enough, the midrange doesn't feel analytic and fatiguing, but rather organic, rich and musical, the raw amount of details is presented naturally and not forced onto the listener.

    Atlas has a 2-4kHz elevation, with this elevation peaking into the 5-7kHz area, resulting in a really good sense of detail, and since this is where the odd harmonics of guitar notes are, resulting in some of the juiciest guitar solos out there, listening to some Slash, Architects, Polyphia or John5 being an absolute treat, like it would be to eat an entire cake in one sitting.

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    The treble is quite interesting, as it is actually well expressed, and it balances the warm bass, and the midrange, creating a true sparkle for music to shine with. The treble of Atlas can be described as full-bodied, and since the upper treble peak is around 8-9kHz, it tends to be quite pleasing, and it doesn't lose quite that much energy above 9kHz, leading nicely into 11kHz with some air and high-end extension. This being said, Cymbal crashes tend to sound fairly textury, and with a good amount of energy, electronic music having just the right amount of sparkle to be fun and engaging, while rock and metal gets enough impact to be fun and energetic.

    Overall, I can say with confidence that Atlas will sound good with most music styles, having its own way of delivering an impressive and dynamic sound, sounding epic, organic, and having a deep yet well extended tuning.



    Portable Usage

    The portable usage is fairly good.

    I named this entire area Portable Usage, because it takes into account multiple aspects of using a IEM portably, like how easy it is to drive, how much it requires a strong AMP to sound good, and how likely you are to use it on-the-go. This is because a IEM (In-Ear Monitor) is mainly made to be used portably, and not inside your home.

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    Back to the portable usage, Atlas tends to stack fairly well. Besides the fact that it scales quite well, so a really good source will pull much better sound from them, they are fairly easy to drive, a portable source like a NextDrive SpectraX doing the job incredibly well, as well as an iFi xDSD, or a Player like iBasso DX200, or a Hiby R6.

    On the other hand, those are some pretty expensive IEMs, and you are not very likely to take them out for jogging, and taking into account the fact that you need to use foam tips to avoid driver flex, they are fairly good instead of excellent for portable usage.

    Other thngs to take into account, are that they do not present cable microphonics, and they do have detachable cables, so using them on-the-go is not an issue, and the fact that they do not need much juice to sound very good, so you can use something as minimalistic as a FiiO BTR3 to drive them.

    They tend to sit well in your ears after you find their sweet spot, and you can totally walk or run while wearing them, you could use them for live performance, and I found excellent overall comfort when wearing them over-the-ear and straight-down, but the better comfort and sonic performance can be had while wearing them straight-down from my experience.



    Comparisons

    Campfire Atlas is a true flagship, and it is only fair that I compare it with only the best flagships out there, since by the time you're considering them, you're considering other interesting flagships as well. The main IEMs I'm comparing Campfire Atlas with are HIFIMAN RE2000, Dita Answer Truth Edition, Beyerdynamic Xelento. I considered comparing Atlas with IE800 from Sennheiser, but IE800 is quite outdated by this time, and the comfort difference is too high, when you take into account how much more comfortable Atlas is. As always, if you're curious for comparisons with other IEMs, don't hesitate to ask.

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    Campfire Atlas vs HIFIMAN RE2000 - Campfire Atlas is quite a different product from HIFIMAN RE2000, which is the current flagship from HIFIMAN, quite the titan of the audiophile industry. Starting with the package, RE2000 comes in a really impressive one, a leather box, with a good selection of tips, although no Final Tips like Atlas. Both IEMs come with detachable cables, and RE2000 relies on the better 2-Pin connection, but with the improved version of MMCX that Atlas has, it doesn't feel like the user would be unhappy with Atlas in terms of cables, especially since there is a wide selection of aftermarket cables available in 2-Pin format, but also in MMCX format, opposed to more exotic connectors like Linum's T2 premium connectors. The build quality of both IEMs is outstanding, with RE2000 having a more basic overall shape, but not being heavier, but being made to be worn over-the-ear, where Atlas is mainly created to be worn straight-down. Overall, both fit well, but with Spinfit tips, I had better fit with RE2000 in terms of Driver Flex, where RE2000 doesn't have any. With Atlas, using foam tips removed the driver flex, and it works well for the overall sound, but foam tips need periodic replacements. In terms of comfort, I got excellent results with both, and both are really well-made, but some will prefer Atlas's silvery surface or RE2000's golden surface. This being said, there is a Silver RE2000 out there, which has a silver finish, although it is a matte finish, where Atlas has a glossy silvery finish. When it comes to their sound, RE2000 and Atlas are quite different, with Atlas being the considerably more V-shaped IEM, and with a more organic sound, while RE2000 is much much more neutral and even, has less bass amounts, but with a tighter and quicker bass, has a more analytic sound, more focused on detail retrieval, and has a cleaner overall presentation, with less colouring, while Atlas has a more colored sound, with a more dynamic and explosive presentation, with considerably more sub-bass and bass, but with a larger dip in the lower midrange, with a more prominent treble peak, although RE2000 also has a similar treble peak, which helps it with its detail revealing abilities. The soundstage feels a bit larger in size with RE2000, and RE2000 has the same imaging and layering abilities as Atlas, but with the considerably stronger bass of Atlas, this is less of their focus, compared to the more neutral RE2000. Now, both flagships have very comparable levels of details and resolution, and picking between them should be quite easy, based on whether you want a stronger bass, and a more colored sound, if you like having more impact, and if you like a more natural speed, and a less analytic sound, RE2000 being the IEM with a more analytic edge, a less powerful bass, but with a quicker overall speed, where Atlas is the more fun tuned one, with a more organic overall sound, with more of a treble peak and sparkle in the 7-10kHz area, feeling more tuned to be fun rather than being absolutely precise.

    Campfire Atlas vs Beyerdynamic Xelento - Beyerdynamic Xelento is another really interesting entry, since it has a similar bass amount, when compared to CA Atlas, but there's much more to sound than bass. Starting with the package, Xelento clearly comes in the larger package, but there are a few catches, for example, the fact that although Xelento comes with two cables, one has a remote, and one doesn't, but neither isn't balanced, both being single-ended. The tips are proprietary for Xelento, so you won't be able to use normal Spinfit or Comply tips, or Final E-Tips, like you can with Atlas. The shape allows for a much shallower fit for Xelento, which is supposed to get a really shallow fit, where Atlas has a more medium fit. Xelento can be worn both over-the-ear and straight-down, but I found better comfort wearing Xelento over-the-ear, while with Atlas, the comfort is better while wearing them straight-down. The overall comfort is great with both IEMs, but they feel fairly different while being worn. Both Xelento and Atlas have detachable cables, and both cables are based on the MMCX connector, but Campfire designed an improved version of MMCX for Atlas, while Xelento relies on a more classical MMCX connector. Both Xelento and Atlas have some driver flex in certain situations, and both are similar in terms of how sensitive to hiss they are. The most important aspect, the sound, is quite different between the two. Although Atlas is plenty smooth in the bass, and the midrange is not very analytic, Xelento is the most smooth flagship I heard to date, as Xelento has a really interesting approach to sound, with a really thick bass, strong sub-bass, strong bass, strong upper bass, strong lower midrange, and slowly going lower and lower from there. This means that Xelento has a thick and warm sound, but with a really satisfying presentation, all while being really really smooth, without much treble impact or presence, being one of the most warm and smooth IEMs I heard, with the least treble quantity and impact, especially when compared with Atlas, which has a much more bright treble, more treble presence, more impact, presents guitar solos more juicy, has a more balanced overall sound. I would easily recommend Xelento more to someone who wants the absolutely most smooth and soothing sound, while Atlas would be easier to recommend to someone who wants a bass-heavy IEM, yet which has a good treble sparkle, with good treble presence and impact. Overall, Xelento still has its place as a flagship, having a good amount of resolution and detail, refinement, and being easy to recommend for people looking for a smooth, lean, clear, clean, yet friendly and relaxing sound, where Atlas is made for the music lover who likes a satisfying bass, yet prefers to have a more clear treble presentation, more detail, more juice in the guitar solos, more overall treble with their music.

    Campfire Atlas vs Dita Answer Truth Edition - Starting with the package, Dita Truth comes in a larger overall package, and has more glamour around its cable, which is designed by Van Den Hull, but the cables of Dita Truth, in exchange, are not detachable, which is quite a pity, considering that they are quite amazing IEMs. The fit and comfort is comparable, although Dita Truth is a larger IEM, with a more round shape, and can be worn only over-the-ear, yet both Dita Truth and CA Atlas are comfortable and easy to wear. The default cable of Dita Answer is a bit more springy. In terms of driver Flex, Dita Truth doesn't have any, but both Dita Truth and Atlas have some sensitivity to hiss, and both are best used with sources which have a lower output impedance. The sonic signature of the two is quite different, and actually at opposite ends, with Dita Answer being a pretty neutral to bright IEM, with a really clear and analytic sound, excellent detail retrieval ability, and with a really impressive overall tuning, where CA Atlas is a mildly V-shaped Signature IEM, with a really deep and strong bass, with a more natural, and slower bass, with a more recessed upper bass / lower midrange, but with more emphasis in the lower treble / upper midrange, where Dita Truth has most of its treble enhanced. The revealing abilities are better with CA Atlas, with more textures and more detail being revealed by it, but it is important to note that CA Atlas is quite a bit more expensive than Dia Answer, about 50% more expensive to be precise. Now, if you're looking for a lean and neutral sound, with a bright top end, yet which is fairly musical, and which has excellent revealing abilities, but with an analytic overall tuning, Dita Truth is still really easy to recommend, and people owning it are still in love with it, while if you're looking for a more thick sound, with considerably more bass, a more visceral overall presentation, with a clearly peak in the treble, around 7-9kHz, with a more V-shaped sound, and which is more tuned for fun, being organic and rich rather than analytic, CA Atlas is quite the performer, being really easy to recommend, and many of the owners being able to say how much they love Atlas.




    Recommended Pairings

    Since Campfire Atlas is fairly easy to drive, and an iFi xDSD or NextDrive SpectraX can do the job really well, and provide excellent results, those two devices would make a lot of sense for pairing Atlas with, if you're on a budget. On the other hand, if you're looking for getting a much better result out of them, and if you're ready to go for a more premium price tag, pairing CA Atlas with a Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ or an iBasso DX200 would make much more sense. Campfire Atlas is slightly sensitive to hiss from hissy sources, but as I always say, this is not an issue while listening to music, since hiss is many degrees lower in volume than actual music, usually being audible just when music is not playing, so avoiding a source with a high output impedance may be a good idea if you're trying to avoid hiss.


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    Campfire Atlas + iFi xDSD - I just reviewed iFi xDSD, and it simply stuck with me in terms of how convenient it is to use, since I can take it anywhere with me, and just strap it to my smartphone, and be done for the day. xDSD is really interesting because it is versatile you can also use Bluetooth, and other fancy features if you want to have a simpler setup, yet take advantage of Atlas's detailed and crispy sound. In terms of sonic pairing, xDSD is fairly neutral by itself, maybe with a slight warm tilt, so you don't have to worry about it, it won't color Atlas, but it should be noted that xDSD's X-Bass and 3D soundstage features might not be very handy with Atlas since Atlas is already pretty V-shaped. I would sometimes use the 3D feature, to tone down the bass, and tone the treble up a bit for Atlas, but more often than not, I kept both settings turned off. Of course, if you're a really diehard basshead, you can engage x-Bass on xDSD with Atlas, since it has zero distortion, and it will surely give you a new meaning for what bassy means.

    Campfire Atlas + iBasso DX200 - iBasso DX200 is what I would call a truly worthy DAP to drive a proper flagship, as it has all the abilities a proper Player should have, but with a lot of extras, including removable and interchangeable AMP modules, each with its own sound and abilities, like the newly released AMP7, and AMP8, and since you can replace the cable of Atlas, having a 4.4mm Balanced AMP module will surely come in handy. DX200 is also smart and can do Streaming, which is more and more important. The detail levels of DX2000 are ultimate in the world of DAPs (Digital Audio Players), DX200 being one of the Prime DAPs that money can buy at the moment of writing this review, and providing an overall technical performance comparable with a good Desktop setup of a similar price. The battery life will hold you long enough, and DX200 also has iBasso's amazing support, currently having its firmware updated to Android 8.1, with future updates still planned and even more new interesting features coming for it. The sonic pairing is quite interesting, as DX2000 is one of the most revealing DAPs out there, so it really makes Atlas shine, giving them a better overall speed than most other solutions, since it is also fairly quick, and with AMP1, it tends to cut a bit of Atlas's treble peak, and quicken the sound, resulting in a more balanced overall experience, being one of my personal favorite DAPs to pair with Atlas.

    Campfire Atlas + Hiby R6 - Hiby R6 is a middle child in the world of DAPs, being priced fairly high, as an upper midrange DAP, and having a lot of competition, yet not necessarily providing the best technical sonic performance, but winning a lot of ground in terms of actual performance from its RAM and CPU, acting more like a really smart DAP, that is really easy to use for Streaming and other online services, having the quickest CPU of this moment, and the Hiby Music app, which I also use on my smartphone, so not a bad choice at all. With R6, Atlas tends to catch a bit of hiss, since R6 has a fairly high output impedance, but using something like iFi iEMatch surely is an easy fix for the issue, and I can't hear the hiss while listening to music anyways. The sonic pairing is quite good, R6 being mostly neutral, and providing a really good partner for the "fun tuned" Atlas. R6 also can place Atlas in a highlight in terms of detail retrieval and overall technical ability, and while it doesn't get quite as good as DX200 technically, it is simpler, if you're looking for a simpler device.



    Value and Conclusion

    Campfire Atlas has been a truly interesting IEM to review and listen, and it I am most certain that it will become a favorite for many other music lovers.

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    Starting with the package, it comes in a small and boutique-like little box, that is cute to hold, and should not raise any suspicions with your favorite carrier. As small as it is, the package has enough space to include some really handy accessories, like the extra premium carrying case, the large collection of tips, and the excellent Silver Cable. This means that Atlas reaches the golden standard for a package, and it has everything a flagship should have, including a premium and useful carrying case, a premium cable, and everything else you may expect from a high-end product.

    The build quality is just as solid, and you're looking at an IEM made from one piece, one that will hold you forever, one that is sleek to watch, comfortable to wear, and one that is made to last, worked finely in every aspect, including the MMCX connectors which are slightly redesigned to last you for years. In fact, it would also reach a golden standard for build quality, fit, and comfort, if it didn't have a bit of driver flex, but that issue can be alleviated by using foam tips, which I wholeheartedly recommend with Atlas.

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    The sound is as impressive as the IEM design and the price tag is, a dynamic, explosive sound, well extended at both sides, a V-Shape with a really strong sub-bass, but which manages to keep it all under control, and which manages to deliver the kick it should. The midrange is one of the most juicy you can find, especially if you love to listen to guitar solos, and female vocals, having a lot of emotion, detail, and presenting everything clearly, and full, with a unique richness. The treble comes to complete and compete with the strong bass, to offer a good balance between the lows and the highs, offering the balance Atlas requires to be fun and enjoyable, offering the sparkle that will balance the entire sound.

    You can pair it with almost any decent portable, but it scales up with your source, so if you can afford a higher-end source, you will be getting one of the best sounds you could out of Atlas, and you can also get the advantage of a more refined overall experience. You could take Atlas with you on a jogging session, or to walk and to explore your surroundings, including taking it out in the Winter or in full blown summer, without having to worry.

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    At the end of this review, if you're looking for a V-Shaped Signature Flagship, with a very strong Sub-Bass and Bass, with a really clear overall tuning, with a juicy and detailed, yet musical midrange, and with a sparkly treble that will counterbalance the strong bass, with a fun and playful, dynamic yet detailed signature, you should totally check out Campfire Atlas, one that makes history in music.



    Playlist used for this review

    While we listened to considerably more songs than those named in this playlist, those are excellent for identifying certain aspects of the sound, like PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you're searching for new most, most of them being rather catchy.

    Bats - Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date

    Eskimo Callboy - Frances
    Incubus - Summer Romance
    Electric Six - Dager! High Voltage
    Kishida Cult - High School Of The Dead
    Dimmu Borgir - Dimmu Borgir
    Breaking Benjamin - I Will Not Bow
    Thousand Foot Krutch - The Flame In All Of Us
    Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
    Infected Mushroom - Song Pong
    Attack Attack - Kissed A Girl
    Doctor P - Bulletproof
    Maximum The Hormone - Rock n Roll Chainsaw
    Rob Zombie - Werewolf, Baby!
    Escape The Fate - Gorgeous Nightmare
    SOAD - Chop Suey
    Ken Ashcorp - Absolute Territory
    Machinae Supremacy - Need For Steve
    Ozzy Osbourne - I Don't Wanna Stop
    Crow'sclaw - Loudness War
    Eminem - Rap God
    Stromae - Humain À L'eau
    Sonata Arctica - My Selene
    Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back
    Metallica - Fuel
    Veil Of Maya - Unbreakable
    Masa Works - Golden Japang
    REOL - Luvoratorrrrry
    Korn - Word Up!
    Papa Roach - ... To be Loved
    Fever The Ghost - Source
    Fall Out Boy - Immortals
    Green Day - Know The Enemy
    Mindless Self Indulgence - London Bridge
    A static Lullaby - Toxic
    Royal Republic - Addictive
    Astronautalis - The River, The Woods
    We Came As Romans - My Love
    Skillet - What I Believe
    Man With A Mission - Smells Like Teen Spirit
    Yasuda Rei - Mirror
    Mojo Juju - Must Be Desire
    Falling Up - Falling In Love
    Manafest - Retro Love
    Rodrigo Y Grabriela - Paris
    Zomboy - Lights Out
    Muse - Resistance
    T.A.T.U & Rammstein - Mosaku
    Grey Daze - Anything, Anything
    Katy Perry - Who Am I Living For
    Maroon 5 - Lucky Strike
    Machinae Supremacy - Killer Instinct
    Pendulum - Propane Nightmares


    I hope my review is helpful to you!

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    This review has also been posted on Audiophile-Heaven: https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/2019/01/campfire-atlas-absolute-impact.html
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    Contact me!

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      gugman likes this.
  4. Medikill
    A Great pair of IEMs which lacks usability
    Written by Medikill
    Published Dec 5, 2018
    3.0/5,
    Pros - Build quality
    Sound signature - especially the sub bass
    Cons - Driver Flex
    Fit issues
    Easy to scratch
    Preface:
    Unlike 5 or 6 of the other reviews about this product and extensively in the Campfire Audio range in general, this review was not sponsored in anyway nor was this a review product or an item given for review. I purchased this with my own money.

    This is a very honest review. I understand that some will disagree with my statements but so be it.

    I honestly believe, psychologically, if you are given a product free you will inherently more likely to provide a more positive review. It is human nature, i may not know headphones very well, but i do ample medical knowledge to make this claim with confidence.

    With that said, i urge you to take the; whether directly or indirectly biased reviews with a grain of salt. Moreover, since i own these now and am $1700 + lesser i have no reason to fabricate the truth.

    As with my other review i will keep this succinct and to the point, instead of the plethora of synonyms.

    Packaging:
    Great, as one would expect at this price point, simple yet full of accessories. Wide selection of ear tips (silicone, final audio and in house foam) & the usual CA inclusions. The box is nice, no corners where cut in the packaging which is always a good sign.

    The carrying case provided is very nice, i have grown a liking to the interior faux wool feel of CA cases.
    Cable is also very nice, Silver litz cable which is well made.

    Build:
    One word. Exceptional.
    The stainless steel housing is very aesthetically pleasing, albeit easy to scratch.
    The build quality conveys the price of these IEM's, you're definitely getting a hefty package for the price.

    Fit:
    This is where the problems begin.
    It is incredibly difficult to get a good seal, and the driver flex is ridiculous.
    There needs to be a way to balance the pneumatic imbalance as otherwise you will not hear any sound emitting from the IEM, this is exacerbated by using silicone tips as it increases the friction between the internal auditory meatus and the exterior of the silicone tip which in theory does create a very good seal, however without removal of the negative pressure generated the only place the pressure goes is into the headphones and the driver = driver flex. The fix is a one way valve like some competitors have implemented (64 Audio ADEL / APEX ). Or using Foam tips (i will get into later why this is not ideal).
    Next the headphones are very heavy. It's a double-edged sword, in one hand you have a very nicely finished metal IEM but then there is it's inherent weight which makes it very difficult to keep inside your external auditory meatus.

    It is evident more thought was given to the design rather than it's ergonomics. A good fix is to wear them over ear but this also doesn't work most of the time. Symbio Wide bore are by far the best tips to use for these IEM's - the hybrid design allows for a good seal and reduced driver flex.

    Don't expect to perform any locomotion wearing these as the IEMs will fall out unless you keep reinserting, which if you do. Driver flex.

    Sound:
    Bass: Incredible. Visceral. Sub-bass is expansive a step above the Vegas and the 64 A U8's. Mid bass is responsive and fast. In general the bass is tight and punchy. Only in inherently bass heavy music will be bass overtake the other signals otherwise it is still very well controlled which makes for a very pleasant listening experience.

    Mids: Can be represented as regressed at times. However it is closer to reference compared to other V shaped IEMs. Not as good as the Vegas or SE846.

    Treble: Female vocals sound very pleasing, males as with a lot of IEMs is lacking. There is sibilancy at times (however i do have very sensitive ears and accordingly to audiology results i can hear well at 20,000 - 21,000 Hz, so compared to a majority of the populous who have reviewed these, this is unlikely to be a problem for them due to age related cochlear degeneration = reduced high frequency hair cells in the cochlear). Otherwise the highs are very nice. No complaints.

    Overall sound: V shaped. With a nice bass emphasis.

    Comparisons:
    CA Vega: The Vegas have a more refined sound, closer to neutral, although still V shaped. The atlas is superior in the Bass. But i would say the Vega is superior in every other aspect, although i didn't have problems with sibilancy with the Vega's so subjectively i would say the Atlas has a wider sound stage. The fit of the Vega's is much easier and there is far less driver flex (if any). However, for the basshead the Atlas is the better choice. If refinement but still energetic is your thing, the vegas.

    I should note i was using a FiiO Q5 & Chord mojo to listen and using Tidal Hi-Fi for tracks. I listened to mainly pop, R & B and Hip hop.

    I think they match nicely with the Q5 and the Mojo, i like that the Q5 has the option to add even more bass.

    Closing statement:
    I would advise those looking at purchasing these to go in store and listen to them first. Ensure you are able to get a good fit to avoid being in the same position i am (i don't live near anywhere which has the CA range to try out).

    These are great sounding IEM's don't get me wrong, however, not very practical, as unless you plan to sit still and listen to music they will not be useful and i would urge you to look else where.
      DAVID_54 and WhatToChoose like this.
    1. Rockwell75
      You lost me at internal auditory meatus. All the driver flex issues disappear if you use either the silicon tips or the foamies.
      Rockwell75, Feb 12, 2019
  5. ngoshawk
    Atlas: a weight lifted for your sound
    Written by ngoshawk
    Published Nov 30, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Excellent fit and finish.
    Fantastic bass.
    Litz cable.
    Quality, quality, quality.
    Sound, which typifies a Flagship
    Cons - Driver flex.
    Fingerprint collector.
    Nothing else.
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    QP2R & Atlas-Joe Satriani & What Happens Next defines the raucous nature of the Atlas. This…thing…ROCKS! Holy buckets.



    Diamonds from Los Lonely Boys loses that sibilance up top, which many have. Crank it up and enjoy.



    The opening bass smash of Charlie Brown from Coldplay is thunderous and concise. No slop there. Follow that with Junior Brown’s Lookin’ For Love, and your evening is set. Done, over. You have experienced all the emotion you need for one evening in those four songs. But you resist the urge to do a mic drop, well…because you might damage the goods first of all; but more importantly (no really it is more important) you want that savage rawness of standing there enveloped by sound you know is not only good, but incredibly satisfying. Satisfying, because in those four songs you have spanned decades and genre equivalent to a trip down a starlit California desert two-lane highway in an Aston Martin convertible. You, the open road, the stars, shooting and regular, and your music. Emotion does not convey the sound, which coddles your ears and cranial matter. You experience it like you are doing something illicit, but oh…so…good. And BAD at the same time. I mean Baaaaaaddd…



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    The Atlas has about 100hrs on them Much less so far than @Kervs has on his review pair, but the feeling is the same. He told me to wait, be patient and wait some more. So, after my initial listen, I did. I played the Atlas continuously for 4 days, a total of about 80hrs.


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    Pairing with an old favorite, my Shanling M5, Bob Marley’s Is It Love epitomizes what I am feeling at the moment. I begin to understand further the passion wrought under the roof of Campfire Audio, and the sheer fanaticism fashioned by its followers (and yes, I am one). To think the Atlas is still a single Dynamic Driver one, which is not much larger if at all than competitors and you have to wonder what the other companies might be doing wrong. This is the stuff of legends, from the old west. Think Clint Eastwood and his legendary movies, and you get the point.

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    I want to thank Ken & Caleb for the Atlas. All they ask is an honest open review, and as usual I would not have it any other way. This is shaping up as a foundation shaker, much the way the Vega did not that long ago.

    Specs:

    Driver: 10mm Single full range dynamic driver
    Diaphragm: Plasma enhanced Chemical Vapor Depostion (C.V.D.) Amorphous Diamond Like Carbon (A.D.L.C.) Diaphragm.
    Sensitivity: 105 dB SPL/mW
    Frequency Response: 5Hz–20 kHz
    Impedance: 19Ω @ 1kHz
    Material: Stainless steel body
    Connectors: Beryllium / Copper MMCX
    Cable Material: Pure Silver Litz
    Cable Length: 1.2M (4 feet)
    Plug: 3.5mm Gold plated

    Included items:

    1 Campfire Audio black leather case
    1 Campfire Audio pure Silver Litz cable with Beryllium Copper MMCX and 3.5mm stereo plug
    1 Pair Campfire Audio Atlas IEM
    1 Pair IEM pouch
    1 Set of Final Audio tips (xs/s/m/l/xl)
    1 Set Campfire Audio Marshmallow tips (s/m/l)
    1 Set silicon tips (s/m/l)
    1 Campfire Audio lapel pin
    1 Cleaning tool
    1 Warranty card

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    Gear used/compared:

    Unique Melody Mentor V3
    Unique Melody Maestro V2
    Campfire Audio Jupiter
    64Audio U8

    Thebit Opus #2
    Macbook Pro/iFi xDSD/xCAN
    Shanling M5
    Shanling M3s
    Questyle QP2R

    Songs used:

    Too bloody many to list all, but you want songs, so there you go:

    Coldplay-All I Can think About Is You
    Coldplay-A Message
    Coldplay-White Shadows
    Dona Onete-Sonos de Adolescente
    Los Lonely Boys- Heaven (en Espanol)
    twenty one pilots-Trees
    twenty one pilots-Car Radio
    twenty one pilots-Heathens
    Damian Marley-Everybody Wants To Be Somebody
    Damian Marley-So A Child May Follow
    Damian Marley-The Struggle Discontinues
    Ziggy Marley-Lighthouse
    Ziggy Marely-See Dem Fake Leaders
    Mark Knopfler-Laughs And Jokes And Drinks And Smokes
    Santana w/ Mana- Corazon Espinado

    The new twenty one pilots album, Trench


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    Unboxing:

    Warren Zevon-Excitable Boy ran through my head as I unboxed. But, unlike the song, no one was killed, and I did not have a cage for the bones left behind. Maybe it was my bones quaking in anticipation, but I matched the song beat-for-beat and rather enjoyed the comparison of song and CA Atlas.

    One has come to expect unique tidy, neat packaging from Campfire Audio, and the Atlas does not disappoint. Presented in a small box, with stars alight and a camping scene (duh, Campfire…) you come to appreciate the simplicity of box. No extra room. No added room. No wasted space. This could be a cost saving technique as well as a resource saving technique; and I do approve.

    Unwrapping the plastic, you open the box from the front, much the way Indian Jones opened the treasure chest in Temple Of Doom. Yet again, you are not disappointed as a simple rectangular black pleather box presents itself, adding to the intrigue. You take the black case out, unzipping slowly, so you can savor the moment. Then, just like the glow from the treasure chest, the light glistens off the polished chrome of the Atlas. And you are glad.

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    With one IEM nestled inside of a soft cloth pouch, then the other nestled inside another cloth pouch, the glisten is blinding even from inside the pouch. Oh wait, that’s the light I was shining upon them for full glory. Nonetheless, the chrome is not missed upon removal from each pouch. And you are again, glad. Adorned with the silver Litz cable, you do get the feeling of finding treasure. Very, very valuable treasure. One would not be wrong in that assessment, either.

    Under the black carrying case, inside the tan box, under a secret shelf, lies the other tips, the CA lapel pin, a cleaning brush, and a small manual. Nothing fancy, but all functional and needed. Yet again, CA included the right amount of material in the package and added with the included Final Audio-E tips.

    Caveat: The included Final Audio-E tips are the first silicon tips I have actually liked enough to replace my beloved Comply (or Unique Melody foam) foam tips. To me, that says with what care Ken & Co chose the included gear. They…are…good…

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    There are some products, where you simply want to get the box open and get to the listening. I don’t fault those companies one bit. But there are times when you really do want to savor the opening moment, relishing that first look into your purchase and the accompanying sidekicks. The Campfire Audio Atlas would most definitely fall into the latter category. And you are glad.

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    Fit-N-Finish:

    When one reviews, sometimes a rut is fallen into. A rut of following the same format, the same way, using the same songs, and the same gear, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah…I know I am guilty of listing the same songs, and mostly the same gear. But I do like to throw in random songs, which I use during the test. This would most definitely be one of those times.

    There is not much you can say about the Atlas at first beside that it is shiny. Very, VERY shiny. While some might find that look garish, I find that shininess fit with the Atlas character.

    Using the standard Comply tips, I find the best fit, and the deepest of bass. But, after a longer session, my ears do begin to hurt a bit. Something, which does not happen often. So, switching between the Final E and the Comply’s I get a good variety and can listen for longer periods. That false sense of fit (that fear of the expensive IEM falling out, and me crying…) of the Final E is a bit disconcerting, but I most likely will not be dancing with these on…so…

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    Made from three pieces (including the nozzle) of polished alloy, there is a “hatch,” which covers the back like a trunk. That way there is easy access to the innards for dissection, errr mounting. Final fit is very good, as one would expect. I can recall from my Nova review that the halves were matched quite well, except for one spot. That did not bother me, and neither does the fit of the Atlas. With an even seam, like you would find on an expensive Jaguar (or Toyota), you need not worry about mismatched seams. Impressive, but expected from Campfire’s capable technicians.

    The cable is the staple Litz 4-wire of pure silver. Giving a crystal-like sound, the Litz compliments the Atlas perfectly. What may be overly bassy, and almost untamed with a pure copper/hybrid is crystalline clear through the Litz. This is one special cable, especially since it is OEM. A bit thinner than I would like, and prone to a bit of tangle, it isn’t perfect in the ergonomics department, but one does not listen to ergonomics (there is zero microphonics). Soft and supple, the cable really is a sight to behold and use. This is an exceptional cable.

    Beryllium-Copper connectors compliment both the MMCX end and Atlas connection. No problems, easy to connect without much force, and they stay. With a 3.5mm stereo plug, you have an extremely good single-ended cable. Part of my test will be with a Norne Vorpal balanced cable, which came with the Jupiter when I purchased it for comparative purposes.

    My only qualm is that the chrome is prone to fingerprints. One need not worry too much as you will not be looking at them but listening.

    So, one is left with a rather unique looking shell, not unlike the shape of an older canon polished to absolute brilliance as if it is waiting for inspection. Then it can get down and dirty and to work. The parallel is not lost on me.

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    Sound extraordinaire:

    Morph from twenty one pilots new album, Trench sounds simply sumptuous with the Comply in tow on the QP2R. This song alone defines the character and quality of the Atlas. Good Gawd, this is good. Deep reaching bass, not tainted by the somewhat-typical “shrouding” done in by foamies. Rich mids, which are so good that it could make one cry. Detail of treble wrought like almost none I have heard. I am amazed yet again that a single DD can deliver such quality. This is a righteous set up, not to be messed with. Plus, the new twenty one pilots album absolutely rocks. This…is…good…stuff.

    I will admit, I’m not sure if a normal review format is the right way to do the Atlas. It does not really fit into the normal format of bass/mid/treble/separation/etc…Just seems like a disservice to such a different critter. The simple truth is that this is a 10mm Plasma-enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (C.V.D.) Amorphous Diamond Like Carbon (A.D.L.C.) Diaphragm of a single dynamic driver. That is one heckuva mouthful but says a lot about how CA goes about their business. The heritage of Campfire (at least at the TOTL level) started with the Jupiter (comparo below), followed by the Andromeda, Vega, Cascade, then the Atlas. Now continuing the stellar descriptors, the Solaris graces our presence, with what is heard on the grapevine as the last iteration of a single dynamic driver. This is as far as CA can go, so the word is. By that tongue, if the Solaris is “better,” then I may not even need to go there. The Atlas is that good in its own right.

    I have been lucky enough to participate in some pretty fancy tours, with gear of which many call their epic, TOTL, end-game items. From the 64Audio Forte to the Unique Melody Mason V3 (Mentor V3), to the others; some really good kit has graced my ears. I do not mean to state that from this I glean and hover over all of you by crowing about what I have hears. No, indeed no.

    The above listed critters propose to lay the foundation upon which I have learned and plied my “trade.” Where I have honed my “skill” (really lack-of compared…) in order to draw those dreaded comparisons. Those dastardly barons of highfalutin penthouse gougers, who tell us we MUST try this, or purchase that. They sit there looking down from their crown thinking that they are bilking us. But, what they do not know is that they are PROVIDING us with the necessary means to fully envelope our listenings. To engulf us in musical repose of such grandeur that we ought not go any higher, lest we get altitude sickness.

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    It is precisely this level at which Campfire audio strives to attain. That highest of the high. But, dear reader without the pretense, attitude or mockery of some. There is a humbleness wrought from hard west coast work ethic. An ethic that belies the typical west coast perception of playing. Oh, there is play, but after the hard work is wrought through the fabrication of metal, wire, solder and other. This fabrication is why we gleamingly look like the candy store scene in A Christmas Story. It is precisely why. We want the best we can attain, but also harbor not to spend the equivalent of a mortgage payment (OK, most of the time). And here is where the true gem of what Campfire Audio shines. Little did we know that there was this want of niche for TOTL, but truly affordable items. One can certainly spend significantly more (and I do not fault you one bit), but once you hear the mystic of what Campfire Audio proposes to you, dare I say that you are hooked. And, to be honest, it is OK if you are not, we do not fault you for that, lest the world be a boring place. But it is because of artisans like CA, that we exist to cherish and try any of the above-mentioned items. For they truly do prose forward a product of such quality that you could sit down on that park bench and be completely satisfied with what you have achieved.

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    I do not say this lightly (and if you are still with me), but the Atlas may be all you need. You will certainly purchase others, but as I work through my queue; I come back to the Atlas for comparison (not fair to the lesser monied items, but oh well). I come back to make me truly gauge how the others sound. And I do think that is fair, for lately many have produced a quite worthy sound. And in many ways that sound is a result of trying to replicate what Campfire Audio has achieved. That is one mighty compliment of which Ken & Co should be proud. For not only are they at the top of their game (shoulder to shoulder with those more expensive TOTL’s), but they are a beacon of which others shoot for, guided by the vision set forth from the beginning. A pretty good deal in my mind.


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    So, without further to do (too late you churlishly add…apologies), I will do my best to “quantify” what it is about the Atlas that makes it so good, and so right in the world of over-priced, over-hyped TOTL’s. I do not mean to insult the others, truly I do not for I enjoy in my covey a couple of those in which I speak, but to state what has been triumphed from the Atlas. A TOTL at which Campfire could have stopped and been done. I would been happy as well. Thankfully they did not.


    Quantifications:

    Using different tips, the Atlas takes on a different character (as many do…). I can state that with the Final E tips, I enjoy that more open energetic sound, and the added sparkle up top is almost ethereal in level. The bass takes on a taught snappy level of which there are few peers. The 64Audio Forte comes to mind as well as the UM Mason V3. Both of those are tuned differently but reach such levels. From memory, the Forte is brilliant in its response to attacking music, which highlights the upper reaches. But it does not have that sparkle of which I speak. It is brilliant for how crystalline the sound is, but with an attitude. An attitude of “this is good…really good and I know it.” And that is what makes the Forte one of my all-time favorites. It has attitude and isn’t afraid to show it.

    The Atlas on the other hand has a grace and dignity of sound, that when that sparkle shows, it is as if the queen proposed a snowy walk on a Christmas eve. Your breath is taken away, but in that soft, silent snow-falling way. You respect that sound the same as the Forte, but on a level of appreciation not held by the Forte. Again, it is that grace of production, which is superb. Mids, which show in Tyler’s vocals on Nico And The Niners make you really appreciate what that single driver has done. Not perfect, no but with a clarity that clearly defines how far a DD can go. Crystalline of structure, Josh’s drumming is clear and crisp through the Questyle QP2R. With the right amount of treble at all levels, you realize that the Atlas is not only very good, but of such quality that you start to forget your others, which have 28 balanced armatures, and 6 dynamic drivers. If this can be achieved with one…

    On Bandito from the album Trench (a fabulous album), the bass line is taut, deep and fast. There is a certain crispness wrought from the combination, which is just about right. Not too much, and with sufficient reach you experience the bass, not feel it. Anticipating that solo a bit over halfway through the song; you start to reach for the volume…getting ready to turn it up. There is a bit of rumble in that anticipatory part, with the right amount of bass guitar reverb. Then it hits, and you turn the volume knob to just the right loudness and enjoy. The synthesizer sings clear and true, with Tyler’s voice coming through at the right level, slightly off left, then back to the right. It just works in song and the Atlas presents itself as true as one would find from another at a more expensive level.


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    For the last thousand words I have gushed unabashedly about the Atlas. Most without redo or structure. I have not done that on a review for a good bit of time. And as I stated at the beginning of the prose, this critter does not warrant a “regular review.” I am not ashamed of what I wrote, nor do I think it is overly-gushing. It is the honest ramblings of someone who let the music flow and words while hunting-and-pecking around a keyboard. And after all, isn’t honesty what one wants when they are about to make such a purchase?

    The Atlas is superb, really quite stunning in its presentation.


    OK, now for the more mundane aspects, but needed to make that informed decision:

    Using Pet Cheetah as a guide, I evaluate the bass. Here there is rumble, with decently quick decay, but a bit behind the others. Where the Forte was just darn quick (not fast), and the Mason V3 smooth, the Atlas is a bit loose. There is (to me) a bit of bleed into the lower mids, which can be a bit of a bother. While that rumble is appreciated here, it carries on a bit longer than I would like. Don’t take this wrong, the bass is superb, but falls behind the other TOTL’s.

    Where on Ziggy’s Dragonfly that rumble of bass, is appreciated, it takes the same approach as above but again fits into the song. I’m not saying the bass is sloppy, not at all; just a tad slow in developing. On Lighthouse it is perfect. So, one could say it is song-dependent.

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    Vocal-wise there is nary a complaint. Ziggy’s voice is about as good a voice as they come. Rich of sound, far of reach, with what I will call impact, the Atlas provides a perfect place for the duplication of that melodious voice. Such a perfect song and represented true here.

    This is also a good song with which to gauge sound stage and instrumentation. The Atlas provides a wide sound stage, a good wide stage. With good height and depth, there is a cubbishness to the chamber, which is very much appreciated. Each layer is distinct and true. Instruments can be clearly heard and separated as a result of that layering. At this level, there is no hiding if there was a deficiency. Thankfully there is not one.

    Crisp treble without sibilance comes through on You by Ziggy. There are some early notes, which could make someone who is treble sensitive (like me) dislike the sound heard. The Atlas takes that with aplomb. There isn’t any, and while not the highest of reach song, there is good definition to the treble. Distinct would be an apt descriptor of the treble.

    David Bowie’s voice on Lazarus can become a bit piercing under the wrong IEM, to the point where you cannot enjoy the song. The Atlas provides just the right amount of presence for his voice, which is such a succinct voice, with an almost regimented feel on this song. That is the part, which could become grating. Not so here, which is good.


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    Comparo:

    Campfire Audio Atlas ($1299) vs 64 Audio U8 ($1099):

    This would probably be the closest “rival” comparison, since they are in the same price bracket. Meant to be the bass-holder of the lineup, the U8 takes a fair bit to get used to in terms of sound. Almost muddy or in a well sounding, you soon realize the fine qualities the 64Audio provides. A bass that not only reaches down low but is so well controlled you wonder why all bass does not sound this way; you are wrought with a solid sound at an affordable price, which can compete well above its price. No, really! This coming after I have heard the Forte and U18T. In fact, they are the reason for the purchase. I liked what I heard, and I wanted to add a 64Audio to the collection. Having a bit less punch to the bass, the U8 is an excellent sounding IEM, with a wide sound stage. A bit more forward mids than the Atlas, they are excellent nonetheless. A bit less treble push, the U8 is definitely tuned to rock out, and it does that very well. On Roger Daltry’s Certified Rose, you can feel the sensuous nature of Roger’s gravely voice. A bit more subdued than the Atlas, but no less spectacular, the U8 arrives at the same end as the Atlas, but just takes a different path. I like both very much, and as Roger says, The Love You Save today may very well be your own.


    Campfire Audio Atlas ($1299) vs Campfire Audio Jupiter ($799):

    This would be what I consider the first-generation Campfire Audio flagship vs the third gen flagship. After the Jupiter came the Andromeda and the Vega. And after the Atlas now comes the Solaris. When the Atlas was released, it was so released to much accord and acclaim. And after listening to it, while taking the opinion of others I value, the Atlas can hold itself against much higher competition. The Jupiter is what set that tone, or baseline so those, which followed could do what they do best; perform at the very highest level. And in this regard, the Atlas comes through with flying colors. The Jupiter has a very different tuning than the Atlas, with luscious mids that to me are somewhat recessed. It takes me a bit of acclimation any time I pop them back in. After about 10-15 minutes, I’m back on par and I really appreciate what CA did for those mids. They are just smooth. Bass representation is accurate but not on par with the Atlas, but that is OK. The bass is good, but not what it was meant to provide.


    Campfire Audio Atlas ($1299) vs Unique Melody Mentor V3 ($2099):

    I use the Mentor as my “palette cleanser.” The V3 is the critter I use between review units to give me a bit of perspective. Give me back a little of what I search for and what I perceive as my peak. I enjoy doing this, because it reminds me of what exactly I like in my sound: sublime detail retrieval (as stated in my review slightly better than the Mason V3 to me), superb bass presentation and layering the size of rock strata in Wyoming. At this stage in my review career, the Mentor is my top, my peak, my TOTL if you will. And that makes me glad. It is that good. The Atlas is also good, very, very good. While it does not have the layering or retrieval of detail on par with the Mentor; it does provide more energy. This IEM is meant to be used, not enjoyed so to speak. And in that vein the Atlas betters the Mentor. Easier to use, and throw in your bag for wherever, the Atlas wins in the versatility aspect. Sound-wise, I lean towards the Mentor. It simply has too much going for it. That is not a slight against the Atlas, far from it. But when you look at something that cost roughly twice the price, you get into those subtler difference, which make the difference.

    That said, the Atlas through the iFi xCAN and my trusty Shanling M5 sounds simply sumptuous and delectable. A sound not to be missed or dismissed.

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    So, what now?

    Through all of this pontification, I thought often of the journey this little chrome critter had through the audio world. How its “ancestors” laid the course for what was to come. For what the sound of one small company (not anymore, mind you…) could provide us with their vision of simplicity, cost efficiency and sound engineering (both versions). I also started my journey into the upper end with one of the Campfire Audio products, the Nova. I thoroughly liked it. And liked it a lot. But as often with this “hobby” we find something else, something further upstream. That led to various iterations of various products, many I auditioned, and consequently sold as I did with the Nova. Some I have kept (and will for a long, long time). But something stuck with me.

    From the mechanical shape of the first generation of CA products to the sleeker models such as the Dorado and Vega to the current more svelte, chromed look of the Comet and Atlas; the journey was still progressing. We have been privileged to witness the birth, teenage years and maturation of a brand, which many hold as the dearest of the dear. The one, which you know will be there. That journey has now been eclipsed at the Atlas level by the Solaris, and as stated elsewhere here, this may well be the pinnacle of what one company can provide with a single dynamic driver. If that may be the case, I eagerly anticipate what might come next, but also know that indeed the journey was the story. And that is one damn good story to tell.

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    Roger Daltry’s word in Always Heading Home ring so very true in this regard, and I find it fitting that a hero from my youth ties the end of this package known as a “review” together. Nearly closing the curtain on a line, which can go no further. The ball glove you retire knowing it has given you so many good memories, and still will as you hand it off to the next generation. Always heading home, indeed.

    I profusely thank Ken & Caleb for the trust given. Their product can go toe to toe with any on the blue marble. I do not say this lightly. It is a special product, and the tie between the beginning and the Solaris. Worthy of flagship standing would be an understatement.

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      gugman, JesusCrew, snk8699 and 2 others like this.
  6. Moonstar
    TOTL Sound Inside a Solid and Unique Shell
    Written by Moonstar
    Published Nov 21, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Solid Build Quality and Unique Design,
    TOTL level sound tuning,
    Great Bass Performance,
    Vocal Performance,
    Detailed and Forgiving Treble Presentation
    Cons - Housing is a bit heavy,
    Shiny Metal Surface is Prone to Scratches,
    Finding the Right Tips Takes Time
    TOTL Sound Inside a Solid and Unique Shell


    About Campfire Audio and Atlas IEM:

    Campfire Audio is a US based company located in Portland – Oregon, which is specialized in the production of In-Ear Monitors.

    Campfire Audio launched there first In-Ear Monitors in summer of 2015 with three models, which are the Jupiter, Orion and Lyra.

    After the success of these models, Campfire Audio introduced the Nova and Andromeda in spring of 2016 that are milestones for the company in the audiophile market. The Lyra II, Dorado, and Vega (fall of 2016) are the there first IEM’s with a liquid alloy metal housing and the Polaris (August 2018) was the latest model right before the new Comet and Atlas came out in April 2018.

    The Campfire Audio Atlas is a single dynamic driver IEM same as the Vega but features a bigger speaker unit with a 10mm diameter dynamic driver (the Vega utilized an 8.5mm unit) with the same A.D.L.C. (Amorphous Diamond-Like Carbon) diaphragm technology.



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    Disclaimer:

    The Atlas In-Ear Monitor was provided to me by Campfire Audio as a review sample. I am not affiliated with Campfire Audio or any third person beyond this review and all these words reflect my true, unaltered opinions about the product.

    Original Post: https://moonstarreviews.net/campfire-audio-atlas-review/



    Warranty:

    Campfire Audio Atlas includes a 1 year limited liability product warranty covering defects due to manufacturing and assembly.



    The Price:

    The Comet is sold for $1.299,00 USD and is available on Campfire Audio’s Official Store under the following link;

    Purchase link: https://campfireaudio.com/shop/atlas/



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    Package and Accessories:

    The Campfire Audio Atlas In-Ear Monitor comes in a pretty, small, orange cardboard box with turquoise patterns same as the Comet IEM and carries a sticker in blue that shows a picture of the Atlas and some information about the product.

    This box is including the following items;

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    • 1 pair x Campfire Audio Atlas Monitor
    • 1 pcs x Campfire Audio Pure Silver Litz Cable with MMCX connectors
    • 1 set x Campfire Audio Marshmallow tips (small, medium, large)
    • 1 set x Silicon Ear Tips (small, medium, large)
    • 1 set x Final Audio Silicone Ear Tips (extra small, small, medium, large, extra large)
    • 1 pair x Protective fabric pouch
    • 1 pcs x Clearing Tool
    • 1 pcs x Campfire Audio Pin
    • 1 pcs x Campfire Audio Black Leather Earphone Case
    • 1 pcs x Warrant Card & instruction manual


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    The Campfire Audio Atlas has a rich package with lots of accessories. The package is including the very comfortable silicone ear tips of the company Final Audio, which I know from my Final Audio E4000&E5000 review.

    They are also a set of foam ear tips (Campfire Audio calls it Marshmallow) and silicone ear tips with a large bore.

    The Campfire Audio Atlas monitors came in fabric pouches (each monitor has its own pouch) that protects from any scratching.

    The Black leather case with zipper has a Campfire Audio logo on the top that looks very stylish and a faux shear ling lining.

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    There is also a cleaning tool and a pin with Campfire Audio Logo, which is a nice addition.





    Design and Build Quality:

    The Campfire Audio Atlas is made of three (3) CNC machined stainless steel parts, same as the Comet, which have had also a very different design language then the former models.


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    On the front of the housing is the sound nozzle with a machined grill spout, which has the same unique appearance that the Comet has.


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    On both sides of the monitor shell are the Campfire Audio logos and at the bottom of the Monitor shell is the Beryllium Copper MMCX connector that looks pretty robust with the mating mechanism.


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    The all stainless steel housing has a polished glossy appearance that looks very shine and fells rock solid in my hands, which seems a bit prone to screeches.


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    On the back of the monitor housing is a very small pressure compensation vent.


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    Campfire Audio Pure Silver Litz Cable:

    The Atlas comes with the Campfire Audio Pure Silver Litz Cable, which is a 4 core braided silver wire cable with a medical grade transparent PVC coating.


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    This cable has beryllium copper MMCX (Micro Miniature Coaxial) male connectors and sports a gold plated, right angled 3.5mm 3 Pole (TRS single ended) headphone jack with a semi transparent plastic housing.


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    On those connectors are left (blue dot) and right (red dot) markings that are easy to recognize.


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    The cable sports a metal Y splitter in silver color and a transparent plastic chin slider.


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    Fit, Comfort and Isolation:

    The stainless steel housing of the Campfire Audio Atlas has not the biggest shape in my In-Ear Monitor collection, but is noticeable bigger compared to the smaller brother, the Comet.

    The Atlas is pretty comfortable to wear without any pressure or hurting of my ear channels, even after some long listening periods.

    I have read some driver flex issues and have noticed a small pressure and flex when I have use the stock FA and Regular Silicone tips, while there is no flex when I am using the marshmallow foams and some Spifit tips that came with the Comet and have bought separately.

    The noise isolation of the Atlas is above average and slightly better than those of the Comet. The isolation is pretty ok to use it in environments like bus, metro or train.


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    Features:

    The Atlas sports a special designed “Single Full Range” dynamic driver same as the Vega IEM but with a bigger diameter of 10mm (instead of 8.5mm for the Vega) that has an Amorphous Diamond-Like Carbon (in short A.D.L.C) Diaphragm, which is a combination of diamond and graphite carbon.

    The custom Beryllium Copper MMCX eliminates the traditional shortcomings of the connection and harnesses all of its benefits. Beryllium Copper provides a robust mating mechanism and should extend the lifespan of the component and the earphone.

    Plasma enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (C.V.D.)

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    Technical Specifications:



    • Driver Units : 1 x Full Range Dynamic Driver
    • Driver Diameter : 10mm
    • Special Features : A.D.L.C Diaphragm
    • SPL : 105 dB/mW Sensitivity
    • THD : less than 1%
    • Impedance : 19 Ohms
    • Frequency Response : 5Hz - 20kHz
    • Earphone connector : Beryllium Copper MMMC (Micro Miniature Coaxial Connector)
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    The Drivability:

    The Campfire Audio Atlas is an easy to drive In-Ear Monitor with an impedance of 19 Ohms, which makes it to an ideal IEM for the use with portable sources like phones, tablets, etc. It can be driven to very loud volumes without the need of an external amplifier. But there is a small improvement when you listen to the Atlas with a small external amplifier or DAC/AMP like the Chord Mojo or the xDuoo XD10.


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    Sources:

    a) In Ear Monitor : Campfire Audio Atlas, 64 Audio Adel U8, Hifiman RE2000

    b) DAP/DAC : Cayin N5II, Chord Mojo, Fiio M7, Audirect Beam, xDuuo XD10



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    c) Albums & Tracks used for this review:

    • Morbid Angel – Drum Check (Spotify)
    • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
    • Metallica – Sad But True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
    • Opeth – Damnation (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
    • Slayer - Angel Of Deaths (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Rush - Leave That Thing Alone (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Sonya Yoncheva – The Verdi Album (Spotify)
    • Sertab Erener – Aşk (Spotify)
    • Minor Empire – Bulbulum Altin Kafeste (Spotify)
    • London Grammar – Interlud (Live) (Flac 24bit/44kHz)
    • Laura Pergolizzi – Lost on You – Live at Harvard and Stone (Tidal H-iFi)
    • Dire Straits – Money for Nothing (DSD 64)
    • Steve Srauss – Mr. Bones (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
    • Charly Antolini’s – Duwadjuwandadu (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Casey Abrams – Robot Lover (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • GoGo Penguin – Fanfares (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • The Glitch Mob – Mind of A Beast (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
    • Lorde – Team (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
    • Tom Player – Resonace Theory “Album” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
    • Deeperise feat. Jabbar – Move On (Spotify)


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    Sound Analysis and Comparisons:

    The Campfire Audio Atlas is written after a burn-in process of approx. 80-90 hours. I have used the medium sized marshmallow ear tips and stock pure silver Litz cable which came in the box together with the Campfire Audio Atlas.



    The Sound:

    The Campfire Audio Atlas is an In-Ear Monitor with a V shaped sound signature that is producing some strong, deep and subwoofer like bass, pronounced and slightly bright upper midrange and a forgiving, non-fatiguing treble presentation.

    When it comes to tonality, I can describe the Campfire Audio Atlas in the sub-bass & mid-bass range as warm, in the middle range as slightly warm, and in the upper midrange and treble as somewhat warm and bright. This very precise and nicely calibrated warmth and brightness levels have saved the Atlas from hollowness and gave it a very musical and detailed presentation.



    The Bass:

    The Campfire Audio Atlas has a subwoofer like, very deep, near perfect bass structure that has a wide area. If the existing bass in the recording is increasing, Atlas does also increase the intensity, quantity and depth of the bass presentation.

    The bass comes from a wide and gigantic range, which allows an overall controlled representation even in very complex passages and high volumes.

    Campfire Audio Atlas can be considered as the peak of its price segment in terms of bass- detail, quality and depth performance.



    The Sub-bas:

    The sub-bass of the Atlas occupies a very wide area, are very deep and extend perfectly for an In-Ear Monitor. One of the most notable features of the sub-bass presentation is the well-adjusted amount of rumble and control in this area.

    The sub-bass area has the highest emphasis in the bass region. This massive bass from the sub-bass area is slightly reduced and controlled in the mid-bass region and is pretty improved in the upper bass zone. Everything sounds controlled and the bass layers are easily separated from each other, which makes the presentation in this region sophisticated and on a very high level.

    Briefly, the sub-bass of the Atlas deserves a full score and are solid in terms of extension, depth and quantity.


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    The Mid-bass:

    The Campfire Audio Atlas has a strong mid-bass presentation, which is tight and doesn’t sound loose and is not mixing in to the midrange. The mid-bass emphasis is decreased to increase the control, speed and detail in this area, which makes the bass character suitable and successful with almost any music genre.

    The absence of negative conditions such as a mid-bass hump or muddiness makes the Atlas to a very special In-Ear Monitor. The mid-bass is not overshadowing the instruments due to the spacious soundstage and this tuning is allowing a quite dynamic and energetic presentation, which is a big advantage for the Atlas over other IEM’s with strong mid-bass character.

    The CA Atlas shows also a great performance with instruments such as bass guitar, drums, contrabass and other percussion instruments and it's nice to hear that the Atlas is not adding any extra bass to the original recording.



    The Midrange:

    The midrange of the Atlas is slightly recessed due to the V shaped sound signature and shows a transparent and quite detailed tonality. The overall tonality is a bit warmer than neutral and is quite realistic because of the well-tuned lower and upper midrange.

    The nicely tuned depth of the lower midrange and the good pronounced upper midrange allows the Atlas to perform very realistic with both male and female vocals.


    [​IMG]



    Vocals:

    a) Male Vocals:

    The most criticized area of an IEM's is in most situations the male vocal performance. In most cases, I've found that female voices are generally more successful than male vocals.

    But this situation has changed with the Campfire Audio Atlas, because it is equally successful in the performance of the male and female voice.

    One other plus point of the Atlas is that there is no mixing or hollowness with male vocals, which was the reason for the pleasant moments while I have listen to vocals such as Dave Gahan, Freddie Mercury, B.B. King or Eric Clapton.

    The Campfire Audio Atlas is showing a pretty true and realistic tonality and timbre.


    [​IMG]



    b) Female Vocals:

    The Atlas has a pronounced upper midrange and pretty good extension in this area, which gives female vocals a transparent, airy and detailed presentation. This is also one of the reason why both female and male vocals are equal successful with the Atlas

    The Campfire Audio Atlas has a mildly warm, transparent and full sounding female vocal presentation, which makes it pretty musical and I didn’t hear any issues such as sibilance or harshness. The voice of females is neither thin nor too thick, which makes the Atlas in many music genres such as rock to trance music successful.

    The Campfire Audio Atlas performs very well with mezzo soprano and soprano female vocals such as Sonya Yoncheva IL Trovatore Giuseppe Verdi, where the ups and downs in her voice where very gentle and controlled.



    Instruments:

    The performance of the Atlas in terms of instrument separation and placement is one of the strengths of this IEM. The separation of the vocals form instruments and instruments form other instruments is phenomenal. The air between instruments is pretty natural and they are neither too close nor too distant from each other. When it comes to the tonality, the Atlas has a fairly warm and musical instrument presentation. Especially Eric Clapton’s guitar performance in its “Unplugged” album was very enjoying listening to.

    Instruments such as pianos are sounding a bit thicker and softer in the bass region and slightly warmer and brighter in the midrange and treble range. I have found the technical ability and musicality also quite successful with almost any instrument I have listened with it.



    Upper Midrange:

    The Campfire Audio Atlas has a pronounced, pretty detailed and slight bright upper midrange that has also good extension. The peak of the upper midrange is between 1 – 3 kHz which is responsible for the airy and detailed presentation. The upper midrange sounds controlled and is more pronounced than the treble range, without to be harsh that makes it ideal for long listening periods.

    Atlas shows a good performance in terms of control, detail and clarity in the upper midrange when instruments play at high distortion.

    For example, when I listen to instruments such as cymbals, drums or to guitars the upper midrange transition is good and shows also a nice clearness, which rarely to find in a bass focused IEM like the Atlas. Guitar solos played on high distortions like in Megadeth’s “Sweating Bullets”, Slayer's “Angel of Deaths” and Rush's “Leave That Thing Alone” sounding clear, detailed and pretty clean.

    Instruments such as violins are mildly shiny and their extension is solid. Pianos have no loss of upper midrange presence and extension, while flutes sounding stirring and vibrant.


    [​IMG]


    The Treble:

    The treble range of the Campfire Audio Atlas is a little bit less pronounced compared to the bass and upper midrange regions and the character of it is slightly thick, musical and airy. The peak in this range is around 8k and there is a fast but controlled roll-off in the upper treble area. The most detailed area in the treble range is the lower treble area, while the detail level is starting to decrease slightly in the upper treble area.



    Lower Treble:

    As I mentioned before, you can hear that the treble lower treble is more pronounced than the upper treble range, which lowers the treble detail in the upper region slightly compared to the very nicely detailed lower regions.

    The lower treble range is pronounced and has good extension with instruments such as hi-hats in jazz records, while crash cymbals have a slightly shortage in extension. Instruments like flutes are emphasized and energized in the lower treble range, while the emphasis and extension is decreasing in higher notes and is showing a softer timber. The same situation can be observed / detected with other instruments such as violins or pianos.

    The well pronounced, airy and detailed lower treble presentation brings an advantage to those who like this tuning in genres like EDM or Trance music. The fact that the treble range didn't fall too far behind the lows made me happy while listen to trance music.



    Upper Treble:

    The upper treble range of the Atlas comes a bit from the background and shows a lightly but nice shimmer. One of the remarkable pros of the Atlas IEM is the mildly pronounced and relaxing presentation in the upper treble range, which is resulting of a slightly roll-off in this area. This tuning is especially with fast genres like metal music and songs that need additional treble emphasis, such as symphonic music noticeable.

    The upper treble range is behind in performance in terms of airiness, extension and detailed and it seems that Campfire Audio has had the target to make the upper treble musical and fatigue free.


    [​IMG]


    The Soundstage:

    The soundstage of the Campfire Audio Atlas is pretty large, spacious and airy. The soundstage depth is also as good as the width and the existing depth is quite sufficient for many music genres. The deepness of the stage is an important factor for the silence of the background.




    Comparisons:

    [​IMG]



    Campfire Audio Atlas versus 64 Audio U8:

    The 64 Audio U8 is an In-Ear Monitor with 8 Balanced armature drivers (4 BA’s for the lows, 2 BA’s for the mids and 2 BA’s for the highs). The Campfire Audio Atlas on the other hand, is a single dynamic driver IEM, which features one full range 10mm A.D.L.C. Diaphragm Dynamic Driver.

    Both the 64 Audio U8 and the Campfire Audio Atlas are very capable IEM’s especially in the bass department.

    [​IMG]


    Bass:

    The 64 Audio U8 is producing a gigantic bass for an IEM with Balanced Armature Driver. The Campfire Audio Atlas on the other hand has some subwoofer like bass presentation and is a big rival in this field.

    The sub-bass depth of both IEM’s s nearly identical, but the Atlas has the upper hand because of its dynamic driver, which can produce a wider range of sub-bass frequencies. The U8 has less sub-bass extension compared to the Atlas.

    Both In-Ear Monitors sharing a strong and controlled mid-bass presentation. The main difference is the character, because the mid-bass of the U8 are hitting harder, while the mid-bass of the Atlas is greater. The Campfire Audio Atlas is more successful in terms of bass quantity and emphasis.

    The 64 Audio U8 has the upper hand in terms of bass speed, which is a result of the use of Balanced Armature drivers. The Campfire Audio Atlas on the other hand has the upper hand in terms of overall bass detail.



    Midrange:

    The 64 Audio U8 and The Campfire Audio Atlas sharing a V shaped sound signature where the midrange is slightly recessed. The Midrange of the U8 is warmer and thicker in terms of tonality, while the Atlas sounds a bit more neutral, transparent and with more volume in this frequency region.

    Both IEM’s are very successful while presenting male vocals due to the deep and fairly strong lower midrange presentation. The 64 Audio U8 is a little bit better while presenting bass baritone singers, while the Campfire Audio Atlas is a hint more successful with baritone singers.

    The female vocal presentation of the 64 Audio U8 is a bit veiled compared to those of the Campfire Audio Atlas, which shows more transparency that is needed for female voices.

    Instruments sounding in general thick and warm with the 64 Audio U8, while the Campfire Audio Atlas shows slightly less warmth and thickness compared to the presentation of the U8The Atlas IEM is superior to the U8 in many aspects, such as the extensions of violins, brightness level of pianos or the tonality guitars.



    [​IMG]



    Upper Midrange and Treble:

    The 64 Audio U8 shows a recessed upper midrange in direct comparison to the mildly recessed presentation of the Campfire Audio Atlas. The U8 has also a darker tonality compared to those of the Atlas, which shares additional sparkle and brightness.

    The Campfire Audio Atlas is superior to the 64 Audio U8 is in terms of treble extension, force, detail and quantity, which makes it more suitable for genres such as metal or symphonically music.



    Soundstage:

    Both In-Ear Monitors have a suitable stage width for a realistic instrument placement.

    The 64 Audio U8 doesn’t sounds as spacious and airy like the Campfire Audio Atlas due to its quite warm tonality. The Campfire Audio Atlas has the wider stage, while both IEM’s performing quite similar in terms of soundstage depth.


    [​IMG]




    Campfire Audio Atlas versus Hifiman RE2000 Silver

    The Campfire Audio Atlas has a sharp V shaped sound signature, while the Hifiman RE2000 Silver shows a mildly V shaped tuning and the overall tonality of the Atlas is warmer and full bodied compared to the more neutral presentation the RE2000 Silver.


    [​IMG]


    Bass:

    The CA Atlas shows more sub-bass depth, extensions and quantity than those of the RE2000 Silver. The sub-bass of the RE2000 Silver goes petty a pretty deep register but has less emphasis.

    Both IEM’s sharing a strong mid-bass presentation, but mid-bass of the Campfire Audio Atlas hits greater and is superior in terms of quantity and fore, while the Hifiman RE2000 Silver has a more balanced presentation.

    The bass of the Hifiman RE2000 is tighter, more controlled and faster than those of the Campfire Audio Atlas, which makes it more successful in this area.



    Midrange:

    Both of this IEM’s sharing slightly warm and musical midrange presentation, while the midrange of the Hifiman RE2000 is more upfront compared to those of the Campfire Audio Atlas.

    The lower midrange of the RE2000 Silver is more upfront and compared to those of the Atlas. The male vocal performance of the RE2000 is superior to the Atlas in terms of detail, while the Campfire Audio Atlas is more successful with female vocals due to its more pronounced upper midrange presentation.

    Both IEM’s sharing a quite natural and musical instrument tonality, while the Hifiman RE2000 Silver performs slightly better in terms of overall instrument detail retrieval because of its great midrange area. The Campfire Audio Atlas is showing a more pronounced and sharp upper midrange presentation, which makes it slightly more successful in terms of upper midrange detail rendering.


    [​IMG]


    Treble:


    The treble range of both IEM’s is not very emphasized and upfront and sharing a lightly bright and soft tonality. The Campfire Audio Atlas and Hifiman RE2000 Silver showing similarities in the lower treble region, while the upper treble range of the RE2000 Silver is more pronounced and detailed than those of the Atlas In-Ear Monitor.



    Soundstage:

    Both IEM’s showing an ideal soundstage for a precise and natural instrument placement. The soundstage of the Hifiman RE2000 Silver is wider and airy compared to those of the Campfire Audio Atlas that is otherwise more successful in terms of soundstage depth.



    Conclusion:

    The Campfire Audio Atlas is one of the most impressive IEM’s I have listened to date. It does so much things right that I have had hard times to find something to criticize about it. The Atlas will satisfy many audiophiles, while listening to a wide variety of genres, because of its strong low end, lush midrange and vocal presentation that performs well with both male and female vocals. The slightly recessed but otherwise detailed upper treble range makes the Atlas to a forgiving and ideal IEM for those who want to listen music for long hours.



    Pros and Cons:

    • + Solid Build Quality and Unique Design
    • + TOTL level sound tuning
    • + Great Bass Performance
    • + Vocal Performance
    • + Detailed and Forgiving Treble Presentation
    • - Housing is a bit heavy
    • - Shiny Metal Surface is Prone to Scratches
    • - Finding the Right Tips Takes Time
      gugman, karanehir35 and B9Scrambler like this.
    1. karanehir35
      Great review ... Well done!
      I listened to. It's a headset that plays exactly that.
      karanehir35, Nov 25, 2018
      Moonstar likes this.
  7. B9Scrambler
    Campfire Audio Atlas: To Endure is To Experience
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Nov 18, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Built and material quality - Powerful, bass-forward sound signature
    Cons - Driver flex (no longer an issue, it has gone away) - Weight
    Greetings,

    Today we're checking out Campfire Audio's flagship single-dynamic earphone; Atlas.

    Based out of Portland, Oregon and headed by Ken Ball, Campfire Audio has solidified themselves as a luxury earphone maker who forges their own path, creating headphones and earphones the way they want. They have introduced unique technologies alongside some iconic designs (Andromeda anyone?) in the past, like T.A.E.C. (Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber), a 3D printed chamber that helps extend the treble response of their custom balanced armatures. Their unique A.D.L.C. (Amorphous Diamond-like Carbon) non-crystalline diamond-carbon coating is designed to reduce distortion, improve clarity, micro detail, and overall dynamics of their full-range dynamic drivers. This latter tech can be found in the new 10mm dynamic set within the Atlas’ stainless steel, hand polished housings.

    I have spent nearly two months with the Atlas, experiencing everything this product has to offer. In a time where multi-driver hybrids are the norm, going back to the Atlas' coherent, well-tuned single dynamic is a refreshing change of pace, proving more isn't always better.

    Let's take a closer look.

    IMG_4776.JPG

    Disclaimer:

    Thanks to Caleb with Campfire Audio for arranging a sample of the Atlas for the purposes of this review. The thoughts within are based on my own subjective experiences with the Atlas. They do not represent Campfire Audio or any other entity. No financial incentive was provided to write this review. At the time of writing the Atlas retailed for 1,299 USD. You can learn more about the Atlas and purchase it here on their product page: https://campfireaudio.com/shop/atlas/

    Source:

    For at home listening the Atlas was plugged into my TEAC HA-501 desktop amp with my Asus FX53V sourcing music. For portable use, the HiFi E.T MA8 handled source duty. Its powerful, near neutral sound complimented the warm and bassy Atlas beautifully, though it did introduce some background hiss. An iFi iEMatch solved that issue. My Shanling M1 also spent some time in the driver's seat, again complimenting the Atlas well. The Shanling M0 and HiFiMAN MegaMini also sounded fine, but their warmer stock signature congested the Atlas' sound somewhat. The Atlas was also powered perfectly by the Radsone ES100 over Bluetooth (LDAC) connected to my LG G6. The Atlas is very, very easy to drive and you won't need an amp to enjoy them.

    Personal Preferences:

    I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures in my headphones I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even and natural mid-range response, with reduced mid-bass. The HiFiMan RE800, Brainwavz B400, and thinksound On2 offer examples of signatures I enjoy.

    Specifications:
    • Frequency Response: 5Hz-20kHz
    • Sensitivity: 105dB SPL/mW
    • Impedance: 19 ohms @1kHz
    • Distortion: <1%
    • Driver: 10mm dynamic
    IMG_4926.JPG IMG_4928.JPG IMG_4929.JPG

    Packaging and Accessories:

    I've said in the past that packaging is important to me as a consumer because it’s my first impression of a product, and in life first impressions are often everything. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean I expect something extravagant and hyper in depth. A minimal unboxing can be just as engaging as a multi-tiered experience, and in some cases is even more rewarding. Minimal is something Campfire Audio does brilliantly.

    Similar to the Comet, the Atlas arrives in a compact orange box. On top is a calming blue sticker adorned with an image of the Atlas and the usual CA branding, along with some highlighted features. The sticker wraps around to the front flap you pull to open the lid and contains another image of the Atlas along with legal info and Campfire Audio's address in Portland. On the rear you find a minimalist hand-drawn image on a mountain scene under a night sky. Stars speckle the rest of the packaging with a small tepee tucked away on the left side, along with the CA logo above. It is such a simple box, but it is interesting to examine and explore.

    Lifting the flap reveals a black leather clamshell carrying case. Inside you find the Atlas’ ear pieces nestled within their own individual felt bags to protect them from bashing against each other during transit and scratching that wonderful, hand-polished, mirror finish. At the base of the package under a hidden floor that you might have overlooked were it not for the notch to pull it up with, you find an accessory kit that is both extensive and useful. Novel! In all you get:
    • Atlas earphones
    • Twisted pure silver cable terminated in Beryllium Copper MMCX connectors
    • Ear piece bags (x2)
    • Final Audio Type E silicone tips (xs/s/m/l/xl)
    • CA silicone tips (s/m/l)
    • CA Marshmellow foam tips (s/m/l)
    • CA lapel pin
    • Cleaning tool
    From the small size of the box, I doubt you would expect such a comprehensive selection of accessories to be included. CA does their customers well, and the environment too due to the limited amount of materials involved, all of which should be recyclable should you wish to dispose of it. Why you would want to do that, I don't know, you weirdo. This package should be on display somewhere. The inclusion of Final Audio Type E tips was a pleasant surprise when CA first announced the partnership earlier in the year. I came across them first on Final’s E2000, one of the better sub 100-USD earphones I've heard. Picture Sony Hybrids made from a much more durable silicone and that’s basically the Type E tip. It’s a stellar product that is plenty worthy of inclusion with a premium offering like the Atlas.

    IMG_4950.JPG IMG_4953.JPG IMG_4943.JPG

    Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

    Campfire Audio has built a reputation of offering high performance products with distinctive designs, made from durable materials. The Atlas is no different. Visually similar to the Comet released around the same time, the Atlas features drop-forged, CNC machined, hand-polished stainless steel shells. Their retro look is unlike anything else currently on the market, hearkening back to products from the 40s and 50. For some, those products are hair dryers, others, laser pistols. I happen to fit into the latter camp, finding them quite fitting in the hands of the Master Chief.

    IMG_5219.JPG

    The three piece shells are immaculate in their construction. While seams are present, gaps are minimal at worst and can barely be felt unless picking at them with the tip of your fingernail. Unlike most earphones, the slatted grills protecting the drivers from debris are not separate pieces. No, that is part of the forging process. The CA logos on the sides serve multiple purposes, from announcing the brand to providing grip when inserting or removing the Atlas from your ears. When comparing build with the Comet I was surprised to see that the edges of the logo were sharper (not in a bad way) and better defined, and that everything fit together just that much tighter. I guess I shouldn't be surprised given the price difference, but the Comet was already so well built that seeing clearly visible improvements was unexpected.

    Campfire Audio's direct relation to ALO Audio means they have access to some pretty bad@$$ cables. The all-new Silver Litz cable included with the Atlas is certainly a head turner. The four twisted strands are uniform and neat, branching off into groups of two when passing through the y-split. This design is inherently more durable than others. There is no soldering within the y-split where the lower half of the cable ends then reconnects to new sections heading to each ear piece. Here it is just four long strands, twisted together to make one glorious cable. While the y-split doesn't feature any strain relief, the clear rubber portion at the top does pull out to reveal a well-integrated, somewhat hidden chin cinch. The 90 degree angled plug is made from a translucent, white rubber letting you catch a glimpse of the cable passing through and how it connects to the TRS jack. It is quite compact with a 4-5mm extension to help ensure compatibility with device cases, be that for a cell phone, DAP, or whatever you happen to have the Atlas plugged in to. At the other end of the cable you’ll find two compact MMCX plugs with red (right) and blue (left) dots to denote the channel. Campfire Audio equips their earphones with Beryllium Copper MMCX connectors which are said to be more durable than your typical copper plugs. I haven't extensively tested this myself, but then I also haven’t been conservative with removing the cables on my Polaris and Comet samples. The cables on both of those still connect with the same solidity present when they were brand new.

    Comfort is where I found the Atlas making a small stumble. The steel shells are fairly bulky to accommodate the 10mm drivers, and quite heavy. Whereas this would have been fine with a low profile design like that used on the Polaris or Andromeda, the Atlas takes on a more universal barrel-shaped housing. On the plus side, you can wear them equally easy cable up or down, something I saw users wanting from a future CA product when perusing various interweb forums. The downside is that they are still reasonably long, which combined with the weight means gravity takes hold putting extra pressure on the ear canal. Wearing the Atlas cable up alleviates this for the most part, but cable down the weight is noticeable. I can wear them for an hour and a bit no problem, but after that they need to come out to give my ears a break, something you should be doing anyway. Overall I find the Atlas fairly comfy and ergonomic, and I appreciate the flexibility to wear them the way I want, but they won’t disappear like other earphones using a lower profile design and/or lighter materials.

    For a dynamic based earphone, I found the Atlas to isolate quite well. Better than most actually. There is only one itty bitty vent right at the back of the housing which doesn't leave a lot of opportunity for outside noise to weasel its way inside. Even with silicone tips in place, no music playing, I could sit at my workspace in the office and have a reasonably serene experience. Sure, I could still hear chatter, phones ringing, and typing from those around me, but it was all dulled significantly. Tossing on foam tips only made it better. Well done Atlas.

    IMG_4941.JPG IMG_4949.JPG

    Sound:

    Tips: Choosing the right tip for your earphone can absolutely make or break how it sounds. Get a poor seal and say goodbye to your bass. Treble and mids usually get pretty harsh in that instance too. On the other hand, get the right seal and the magic is unlocked. The Atlas is one of the most tip sensitive earphones I've used, and one of the most important to get it absolutely right on.

    You see, the Atlas suffers from driver flex. Not the usual “crinkle crinkle” you get from other earphones, but the kind that builds pressure to the point the driver comes to a near stop. With my usual medium tips, I could rarely find a seal that would also let music come through. This forced me to drop a tip size down to small. Once done, no more flex. I really don't understand why this works since the seal feels just as solid as it does with medium tips, but hey, who am I to argue with what works? Foam tips avoid the flex issue entirely so if that’s your preferred tip style, you''ll be set.

    With the right size silicone tip found, I was free to experiment. Wide bore tips, like CA’s stock option, offered the most 'balanced' experience lowering mid- and upper-bass to let the mid-range and treble stand up more. Medium bore tips like RHA's dual density option brought out the sub-bass but also enhanced upper treble a touch making the Atlas even more v-shaped. Small bore tips like the Final’s Type E pumped up the mid-bass and narrowed the sound stage slightly, giving the Atlas a more bass-focused sound. For my tastes; the wider the bore the better.

    Edit May 10, 2019 - The Atlas's driver flex has gone away. No idea how many hours of use it took, but it is gone. I'm free to use any tips I want without even a hint 'o crinkle.


    The Atlas is characterized by a very powerful, refined, v-shaped signature with a warm tonality and bass you can wrap yourself in. What does that mean? It means they've got a lot of bass but it's good so you don't mind being smothered by it.

    The depth for one is ridiculous. On Kavinski's “Solli” just seems to extend and extend, providing some intense visceral feedback. It's not as physical as Massdrop x Mee Audio's Planamic, but those are a bit of a one-trick pony and extremely unique when it comes to their low end presentation. The Atlas' driver presents itself like the traditional dynamic driver that it is, and certainly isn't a bad thing. Texture is great, it's really quite quick for something that offers up so much bass, and it's well controlled, though sometimes it inches its way into the lower mids. Not a full on bloodbath, just a light trickle. Now, if you're an EDM fan like I am, you're going to want the Atlas in your corner because holy heck it can slam and carry a track like few others can. On Getter's “Headsplitter”, from the first low note that hits at 28 seconds I knew I was going to be in for a treat. As 42 seconds passed by, I was awash in a turbulent sea of bass that made me chuckle out loud with a stupid grin on my face. I get that this isn't the sort of traditional “audiophile” experience a lot of people want to be reading about when someone is covering a 1,300 USD earphone, but screw it. Sometimes people just want to be entertained. That's where the Atlas comes in. This thing is hella fun.

    The mid-range is lightly recessed, carrying over the same natural warmth as heard in the low end. Male vocals have a certain dryness to them I've heard elesewhere in Campfire's lineup, while female vocals are intimate and sweet. This is evident in the contrasting vocal styles of Big Boi and Sarah Barthel on Big Grams' “Fell In The Sun”. Midrange timbre sounds excellent and quite accurate as evident running through King Crimson's live rendition of “Indiscipline”. As contrived as it sounds, closing my eyes and leaning back in my chair I can almost fool myself into believing I'm chilling in the front row watching these guys go wild with their instruments during the guided improv sections, then lean into the mic to spout some goofy lyrics. It just sounds right and does a good job of keeping me in the music and away from thinking about what I'm listening to. Unless of course it's a bassy track. Then I know exactly when I'm listening to.

    The Atlas' treble is elevated and doesn't shy away from applying some shimmer to cymbals, chimes, and whatnot, yet it doesn't do it in a way that is overly aggressive or offensive. Big Grams' “Drum Machine ft. Skrillex” is an easy one to test this on since it is rife with high pitched sounds that can be plenty uncomfortable on peaky earphones. The Atlas handles it with ease, letting you enjoy the rythmic, thumpy beats. Treble is handled very well on the Atlas, countering the massive low end while at the same time complimenting the mid-range by giving it lots of detail where other earphones would come across muddy or overly smoothed over. Extension is impressive too with peaks that roll off just before becoming sibilant or overly aggressive. This is an earphone that can be listened to for long periods without causing early onset fatigue.

    The Atlas' soundstage falls into that “deceptively large” category I like to shuffle a number of in-ears into. At first it seems pretty intimate with vocals that tickle the ear, but then you hear effects that sound like they're way off in the distance. The Atlas as a result displays some impressive depth and width with very accurate imaging. Tracks are layered and instruments well separated. Given these qualities, the Atlas is pretty awesome for gaming and movies. I really enjoyed them with more competitive games like CoD and PUB, yet they still worked well to immerse me in the cockpit of my Impreza in DIRT Rally.

    Overall I am nothing if not impressed with how good the Atlas sounds. Something with a low end this powerful and authoritative really shouldn't be this articulate and clear. It's smooth, refined, and makes for a very satisfying listen. TOTL all the way.

    IMG_4956.JPG IMG_4963.JPG

    Select Comparisons (volumes matched with Dayton Audio iMM-6):

    Campfire Audio Polaris: Last year when I reviewed the Polaris I said that it “takes your average 'consumer friendly' tune and imbues it with the level of technical proficiency you want from a top tier earphone.” The same could be said about the Atlas, though it takes a different approach.

    Compared to the Atlas, the Polaris is colder, leaner, and lighter with a snappier but less refined, slightly rougher presentation. Bass is neither as elevated nor hits as hard. Texture goes to the Polaris though it lacks the same sense of physical feedback when the bass starts slamming. Mids on the Atlas are thicker, warmer, and more organic, though male vocals display the same sort of dryness to them. Placement is recessed on both though I don't find it obscured on either as a result. Clarity is similar too. Treble on the Polaris is more dull and dry, lacking the shimmer and sparkle of the Atlas. Atlas is similarly crisp and detailed with greater upper treble emphasis, though the BAs in the Polaris feel like they're in a touch more control with sharper notes. Polaris' presentation always felt spacious but flat to my ears. Atlas has a similarly wide sound stage but comes across much deeper giving it's presentation a more rounded and open feel.

    In terms of build, both are gorgeous. I love the Polaris' industrial, angular shells and the contrasting combination of blue painted aluminum with the Cerakote coating on the exterior face plate. This is a stark contrast to the Atlas' reflective, cohesive, polished steel look. The Polaris' shell is iconic and immediately brings to mind Campfire Audio. I'm not sure if the Atlas' design language, shared with the Comet, has reached that level of infamy yet, but it surely will if they keep it going on future releases. Cables are equally excellent on both with the Atlas' lack of memory wire and clear sheath with silver wiring taking the style trophy. Fit for me, hands down, goes to the Polaris which feels like it was designed for my ears. With EarNiNE's tips in place, it slots in perfectly with zero fiddling required. No driver flex either. Atlas has an advantage in a more universal design that is more compact and works both cable up and cable down.

    HiFiMAN RE2000 Silver: The RE2000 is an amazing sounding earphone. To my ears, the cheaper, silver variant even more so. At “only” 1,500 USD it makes for a more apt comparison with the Atlas.

    Getting this out of the way early, neither version of the RE2000 competes with the Atlas in terms of build. Their traditional looking rubber sheathed cables, somewhat generic hardware (jack, y-split, etc.), along with the plastic accented housings lack the premium look and feel of Campfire's offering. Fit is better for me though since they adopt a light weight, lower profile over ear design. Some noted issues with the rear edge of the housing causing discomfort though, so as always fit is personal and what sits great in my ear may be unbearable in yours.

    In terms of sound, the RE2000 Silver is still slightly skewed with mildly boosted upper and lower frequencies, but it is considerably more balanced than the Atlas. Starting with the bass, the RE2000 digs just as deep but lacks the authority of the Atlas providing a leaner, more dainty experience. The HiFiMAN's mids are more forward and again, have a leaner weight to their notes. It is more accurate and articulate, pulling more detail than the Atlas. Almost makes the Atlas come across a bit stuffy. Almost. Treble on the Atlas is elevated more and with a higher peak giving it a more shimmery presentation. The RE2000 shows more control with a tighter presentation and more air between notes. Both are exceptional in terms of imaging and layering with the RE2000 showing slightly better separation in a wider, deeper stage. Atlas for TOTL entertainment, RE2000 for TOTL accuracy. I wouldn't strictly say one is better than the other, just that they each excel in their respective specialities.

    Final Thoughts:

    The Atlas is an experience. It's a powerhouse both visually and in the way it sounds. Yeah, it’s not perfect and suffers from driver flex that with the wrong tips can be intrusive, and the weight does tire your ears out after a while, but neither of these are anywhere close to being so much of a handicap as to hold the Atlas back from greatness.

    And that's the thing. This IS a great earphone. The uniquely bass forward sound signature engages you with your music. The new design language takes Campfire Audio in an exciting direction and is a treat to the eye, or at the very least unique and interesting to look at. The Atlas is different, exciting, and absolutely worth looking into if you want a TOTL earphone that breaks from the norm.

    Thanks for reading!

    - B9Scrambler

    IMG_4828.JPG

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****​

    Some Test Tunes:

    Aesop Rock - Skelethon (Album)
    Hail Mary Mallon - Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
    King Crimson - Lark's Tongues in Aspic (Album)
    King Crimson - Starless and Bible Black (Track)
    Supertramp - Crime of the Century (Album)
    Infected Mushroom - Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
    Gorillaz - Plastic Beach (Album)
    Massive Attack - Mezzanine (Album)
    Fleetwood Mac - Rumors (Album)
    Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels (Album)
    The Prodigy - The Day is My Enemy (Album)
    Tobacco - F****d Up Friends (Album)
    Felt - Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
    Michael Jackson - Thriller (Album)
    The Crystal Method - Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)
    Jidenna - Long Live the Chief (Track)
    Skrillex - Ragga Bomb (Track)
    Big Grams - Run for Your Life (Track)
    Funkadelic - Maggot Brain (Track)
      ngoshawk, Moonstar and Dsnuts like this.
  8. Cinder
    Absolute Luxury With A Price to Match
    Written by Cinder
    Published Nov 6, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Luxurious case and accessories, many eartips, outstanding construction, appealing visuals, great cable, MMCX, great midrange expression, massive bass performance, good treble articulation
    Cons - Midrange can flatten out on dry mastering styles
    [​IMG]
    Campfire Audio Atlas Review: Absolute Luxury With A Price to Match

    Campfire Audio is not a new name to the Hi-Fi scene. Based in Oregon, they set out to build world-class personal-audio products and, to that end, they’ve had consistent success. The Andromeda, an earphone that Campfire released in Spring of 2016, is wildly popular, even today. This is a feat that not many other brands could even begin to dream of. After all, the Andromeda demands its large following in spite of its $1100 price tag. Today, however, I’ll be reviewing the Atlas. It’s one of Campfire’s newest IEMs. Imbued with new proprietary technology and a little Oregonian magic, the Atlas may just set a new standard of quality at its price point.

    You can find the Atlas for sale here, for $1299, on Campfire Audio’s official web store.

    About My Preferences: Heads up, I’m a person! As such, these words are my opinion, and they are tinged by my personal preferences. While I try to mitigate this as much as possible during my review process, I’d be lying if I said my biases are completely erased. So for you, my readers, keep this in mind:

    • My ideal sound signature would be an extended sub-bass with a leveled, but textured, mid-bass.
    • I have a mild treble sensitivity.
    Source: The Atlas was powered like so:

    HTC U11 -> USB-C adapter -> earphones

    or

    Hidizs AP100 3.5mm out -> FiiO A5 3.5mm out -> earphones

    or

    HiFiMAN SuperMini -> earphones

    or

    PC optical out -> HiFiMe SPDIF 9018 Sabre DAC 3.5mm out -> earphones

    All music was served as MP3 @320Kbps or as FLAC.

    Tech Specs
    • Driver: 10mm A.D.L.C dynamic driver
    • Cable Standard: MMCX
    • Frequency Respons: e5Hz–20 kHz
    • Sensitivity: 105 dB SPL/mW
    • Impedance: 19 Ohms @ 1kHz
    • Total Harmonic Distortion: Less than 1%
    Sound Signature
    Sonic Overview:
    The Atlas is a warm IEM with a strong low-end presence. Extension in both the upper and lower register is top notch and is undoubtedly maximized. There is a peak near the 2KHz mark that surmounts an otherwise mildly recessed midrange. Outside of the midrange, the treble gently slopes upwards, giving the Atlas a sparkly upper-register. In the lower-treble one can find a 6KHz peak.

    Sonic Breakdown:
    Treble: Songs used: In One Ear, Midnight City, Outlands, Satisfy, Little One, Show Me How To Live (Live at the Quart Festival)

    Leave it to Campfire Audio to develop an IEM with a low-focused sound signature with an incredibly competent treble. I would expect a lesser company to have to compromise on the presentation and quality of the upper register but Campfire Audio makes no such concessions with the Atlas. Attack and decay are quick and even, not waxing or waning too quickly or too slowly. As such, expect detailed texturing and accurate timbral representations from the Atlas.

    Strings sound sweet and precise through the Atlas — Outlands was an absolute pleasure to listen to through it. Each component of the symphony was distinct and textured in its own right. The treble’s airiness only aided to the outstanding sense of depth and direction that the track has. Transients and background details are captured with extreme prejudice. Little One was a piece of cake for the Atlas to resolve, and the unique details of a live recording of Show Me How To Live were all caught and displayed.

    Midrange: Songs used: Flagpole Sitta, Jacked Up, I Am The Highway, Dreams, Too Close, Little Black Submarines

    The Atlas’s midrange maintains the core set of characteristics that many would pin as the Campfire Audio house sound: substantial evenness and a high degree of vocal intelligibility. On a more technical level, one can say that Atlas’ midrange is fairly level. It doesn’t have a large hump or spike in the upper-midrange and doesn’t have a bloated lower-midrange. While its clear that the Atlas isn’t targeting a 100% life-like sound, it does a great job maintaining natural tonality in spite of its thicker sound profile. Given the midrange’s profound transparency, it is quite malleable, shifting in subtle ways according to the mastering of whichever track is playing. The drier mastering of Flagpole Sitta translates into a drier presentation in the Atlas’ midrange, which contrasts strongly with its large bass staging. By comparison, the wetter and mellower mastering of Jacked Up allows the Atlas’s midrange to sink into a lower-energy state and deliver a softer tone — a feat that tenser IEMs simply can’t pull off.

    Due to its warm tilt, the Atlas has a preference towards male vocals. While it isn’t as pronounced as it would be in a poorer tempered midrange, it is something to note. Furthermore, on tracks with consumer-grade mastering, vocals can have overly sharp edges. While it is a subtle effect, at this price point nitpicking is fair game.

    Bass: Songs used: Moth, Gold Dust, In For The Kill (Skream Remix), War Pigs (Celldweller Remix)

    It is clear that it was intended for one of the Atlas’ main selling points to be its bass. It is one of the parts of its sound signature that stood out to me the most upon first listen at CanJam SoCal 2018, and it is still one of the more stand-out features six-months later. The Atlas sets out to deliver a larger-than-life bass experience, generating a strong mid-bass paired with a responsible and tightly controlled sub-bass. It's an impressive feat and demonstrates just how well Campfire Audio is able to leverage their 10mm dynamic drivers. Bass extension is great, as is to be expected from a dynamic driver. But what you get from the Atlas is much more than mere sub-bass presence. From the Atlas, you get intent and control down to the deepest reaches of its sound profile. No part of its lower-register has been left to chance. Each and every part of the spectrum was carefully tuned and attenuated, ultimately crafting some of the best bass that a TOTL IEM can provide.

    But what should be made the clearest is how well the Atlas maintains a natural and controlled midrange in the face of such a large bass presence. Never one, even throughout the chaotic drops of War Pigs or Gold Dust, did I catch the Atlas slipping up. I never found bass bleed either, a facet of the Atlas that is excellently portrayed by In For The Kill.

    Packaging / Unboxing

    [​IMG]
    The Atlas’ packaging is minimalistic. I greatly approve since its small size makes the Atlas’ packaging easy to store/display.

    Build
    Construction Quality

    [​IMG]
    The Atlas’ shells are made out of stainless steel, polished to be almost mirror-like. There is a real heft to them too. But as with all things Campfire, the Atlas’ weight strikes a well-refined balance: not too heavy to be uncomfortable, but heavy enough to convey a serious sense of quality.


    [​IMG]
    The bottom of the Atlas’ shells reveals its MMCX connectors. They are sturdy and firm and don’t give a lot of rotation with the stock cable. It’s clear that Campfire did not skimp out on quality MMCX components.


    [​IMG]
    The Atlas’s nozzles are very interesting. They don’t follow a bore design, as the Atlas has a single driver, and aren’t perforated using circles or a simple grid like most other IEM nozzles are. Furthermore, the nozzle’s debris filter is far more sophisticated in geometry than I’ve seen. It isn’t just sitting flush with, or inside of, the outer perimeter of the nozzle. It is actually extruded onto the top of it, leaving a small lip behind. This likely doesn’t have a function but is a nice touch that, together with all the other small details Campfire puts into their products, leaves behind an overall greatly positive impression.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Campfire packaged the Atlas with a four-core silver cable. It is, obviously, detachable. The cable is on the thinner side but doesn’t feel frail or in need of babying. It is using a simple twist geometry and has ample stress relief. The Atlas’ cable is terminated with a simple 3.5mm jack, though if you want different terminations it should be easy to find one to suit your fancy that is compatible with the Atlas’ MMCX connectors. The fit-and-finish of the Atlas’s cable is top notch, and easily one of the best in its class (that is, the class of cables that actually come with the product you are buying, not third-party cables).

    Comfort
    The Atlas is somewhat large for a piston-style IEM. That, combined with its weight, makes it only viable to wear with the cable over the ear for extended periods of time, at least for me and my ears. Once you find the right ear tip combo, it should be fairly easy to get a comfortable seal. After all, the Atlas comes with tons of options!

    Accessories
    Inside the box you’ll find:


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    • Final Audio Tips (xs/s/m/l/xl)
    • Campfire Audio Marshmallow Tips (s/m/l)
    • Silicon Earphone Tips (s/m/l)
    • Campfire Audio Lapel Pin
    • Cleaning Tool
    • 2x IEM bags
    • 1x Semi-hard leather carrying case
    The Atlas is not a cheap IEM, and its accessory package certainly reflects that. You get an outstanding selection of eartips; from the quality Final Audio eartip set to Campfire’s own foam eartips, no expense is spared.


    [​IMG]
    Let's talk about the carrying case that Campfire includes with that Atlas. Though it is semi-hard, and not completely rigid like a plastic, it is incredibly sturdy. Its external faces are all leather, and its internal faces are a super soft and cushiony lining material that is more something you might expect to find lining a fur-coat than a mere IEM case. Still, Campfire spared no expense.

    Summary
    The Atlas truly is a top-of-the-line earphone; both in price and in quality. Its immaculate build quality, top-notch carrying case, and greatly varied eartips give it a truly comprehensive physical package. On an audio level, the Atlas crafts for itself a unique sonic identity, not falling in line with industry trends or selling itself out to the temptations of using rudimentary consumer sound signatures. It maintains the highest degree of excellence, and it is clear to see that great care went into each aspect of the Atlas’ being. I can heartily recommend the Atlas to any listener who is serious about audio and wants an engaging and fun IEM that maintains a level of uncompromising physical quality.

    As always, happy listening!
      B9Scrambler likes this.
  9. audio123
    Campfire Audio Atlas - Bass Bliss
    Written by audio123
    Published Oct 31, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Bass, Details, Sparkle
    Cons - Slightly Heavy Housing
    Introduction

    Campfire Audio is a company based in Portland, Oregon and they specialize in making in-ear monitors (IEMs), headphones and cables. Their current lineup consists of IEMs like Polaris, Andromeda and Vega. Recently, they have released 2 new IEMs – Atlas and Comet. I would like to thank Campfire Audio for the review unit of the Atlas. At the moment, you can purchase the Atlas from Campfire .

    [​IMG]

    Specifications

    • Driver Configuration: Single Full Range 10mm Dynamic Driver
    • Frequency Response: 5Hz–20 kHz
    • Sensitivity: 105 dB SPL/mW
    • Impedance: 19 Ohms @ 1kHz
    Unboxing & Accessories

    The Atlas comes in a rectangular orange colored package with turquoise pattern. On the front, it shows the brand name, image of iem, model name and short description of the iem. After opening the package, there is a semi-hard black zipper case with faux shearling lining which contains the Atlas. Each side of the Atlas is protected with a small grey pouch. At the bottom of the package, there are Campfire Audio Marshmallow tips (S, M & L), silicone tips (S, M & L), Final E tips (XS, S, M, L & XL), cleaning tool, Campfire Audio pin, warranty card and instruction manual.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    IEM Build & Design


    The Atlas has a stainless steel body with smooth surface. On each side of the Atlas, there is the Campfire Audio logo. The nozzle is straight and it has an unique metal mesh design. The build quality on the Atlas is superb. It utilizes MMCX connectors.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Cable Build & Design

    The cable is made of pure silver and it has 4 cores. It uses MMCX connectors with translucent housing. On the beryllium copper MMCX connectors, there are L & R markings to differentiate between left and right respectively. In addition, there are blue and red dots on the left and right respectively. The y-splitter is silver in color. Lastly, the jack is 3.5mm gold plated right angled with strain relief. There is the Campfire Audio logo on the jack.

    [​IMG]

    Sound Analysis

    Lows

    The Atlas has great sub-bass quantity and it is extended well with nice depth. The sub-bass reproduction has body and it is able to provide fantastic impact. The rumble is expressed in a natural manner. There is a good engagement level. The bass decay is moderate and the expression is not the quickest. The punch is sufficient with a tight control. The bass texture is rendered smoothly which provides an enjoyable listen. The mid-bass has moderate amount of body and the slam is presented with a weighted feeling without any signs of density. The bass has both authority and quantity.

    Mids

    The midrange is slightly warm and it has excellent details retrieval. The vocals are expressed in a more laid-back manner. The lower mids has good amount of quantity and male vocals benefit without any signs of hollowness. Emotions are conveyed effectively. The upper mids has a little bit more forwardness and it helps to push female vocals for the intimacy. The midrange is rendered cleanly and boasts fine transparency level.

    Highs

    The treble on the Atlas is extended in a moderate manner with sufficient amount of body to ensure a fatigue-free listening. It is able to present the smoothness and provide the sparkle to inject excitement into the overall sound. The crisp is well defined. There is no sibilance or harshness. The amount of air rendered is moderate which gives space at the top end. The treble presentation has good engagement level and commands a tight control.

    Soundstage


    The soundstage has moderate naturalness and the width has great magnitude. The depth is slightly closed in with sufficient space rendered. Positioning of vocals and instruments is fairly accurate.

    Comparisons

    Campfire Atlas vs Campfire Andromeda

    The Atlas has more sub-bass quantity than the Andromeda and it has the ability to create an impactful slam. The extension is slightly greater with more depth and the sub-bass reproduction on the Atlas has higher engagement level. The bass texture on both is rendered smoothly and the bass decay on the Andromeda has more pace with agility. The mid-bass on the Atlas has more body and the slam is delivered with a weighted feeling. Each bass note on the Atlas is articulated with a stronger hit and delivers extra punch. The midrange of the Andromeda is more intimate than the Atlas. The lower mids on the Atlas has more body than the Andromeda and it sounds thicker. Male vocals are better expressed. The upper mids on the Andromeda has more forwardness and it boosts female vocals for a higher intimacy level. The treble on Andromeda has slighty better extension and it expressed in a smoother manner. There is no sibilance and harshness. The Atlas is slightly more aggressive which provides a teasing bite. The amount of air rendered on the Andromeda is greater. Lastly, in terms of soundstage, the expansion on the Atlas sounds more natural. The width magnitude for the Andromeda is slightly greater while the depth on the Atlas is less closed in.

    Campfire Atlas vs Beyerdynamic Xelento

    The Xelento has more sub-bass quantity than the Atlas and it extends less. There is a fuller sub-bass reproduction on the Xelento. The bass texture on the Xelento is rendered with extra smoothness. Bass decay on the Atlas has greater speed than the Xelento and the agility provides a higher engagement level. The mid-bass quantity on the Xelento is slightly more and the slam is fuller. Each bass note on the Atlas is articulated with extra definition and it hits with authority. The midrange of the Atlas has higher transparency level than the Xelento with less body. The lower mids on the Xelento has more body and there is additional lushness. It is able to tackle male vocals effectively. The upper mids on the Xelento has more forwardness and female vocals are presented with a good control but not as lively as the Atlas. Moving on, in the treble department, the Atlas is able to render a greater amount of air. There is no sibilance and harshness. The extension on the Atlas is greater. The Atlas has better crisp and boasts additional sparkle to inject excitement. Lastly, in terms of soundstage, both expands in a natural manner. The width magnitude is greater on the Atlas while the depth of the Atlas is more closed in.

    Campfire Atlas vs Sennheiser IE800S

    The Atlas has slightly more sub-bass than the IE800S and it boasts greater extension. The sub-bass reproduction on the Atlas is more impactful and it is able to deliver an extra kick. The bass texture on the Atlas is rendered smoother. Bass decay on the IE800S is more pacey with the additional agility. The mid-bass on the Atlas has more body with the slam having a weighted feeling. Each bass note on the Atlas is articulated with a stronger hit and it is able to bring out the impact. The midrange on the Atlas is more lively than the IE800S. The lower mids on the Atlas has more body than the IE800S and results in a full-bodied expression of male vocals. The upper mids on the Atlas is more forward which contributes to the intimacy level of female vocals. Next, the treble on the IE800S is slightly more extended and takes on a smoother presentation. The amount of air on the IE800S is greater. The Atlas has better crisp and the extra sparkle for the engagement. Lastly, in terms of soundstage, there is a natural expansion for both. The width magnitude for the IE800S is greater and it is able to provide a spacious feeling. The depth on the Atlas is more closed in.

    [​IMG]

    Conclusion

    The Atlas is a lively iem that is capable of producing punchy bass reproduction, exciting midrange and crisp treble. It boasts an excellent level of details retrieval and the bass produces great impact. The treble has nice crisp with the sparkle for an extra bite. In addition, it has solid build quality and comes with a quality silver cable. The Campfire Atlas provides a captivating listen with its powerful sound.

    [​IMG]

    For more reviews, visit audio123.
  10. Kervsky
    Reaching for the Stars
    Written by Kervsky
    Published Oct 11, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Responsive, deep and strong speaker like bass; spacious, nicely detailed and emotive mids; balanced treble, crisp with extended reach; a goodly wide soundstage, with great layering and separation; fun and engaging signature, easy to love, tough design, great stock cable, useful and generous accessories.
    Cons - fitting can be a fidgety fight filled with failure and fortune.
    [​IMG]

    Introduction: Campfire Audio doesn't need much of an introduction as it's already a well known and respected audio company, but did you know that Campfire Audio started with Ken Ball and ALO Audio, creating amps, hand building fine cables, growing and improving their craft then eventually creating Campfire Audio and getting much acclaim and success from their varied line of IEMs through the years from 2015. However, in 2018, big changes were set in motion, first with the release of that really spiffy Cascade headphone, and then the amazing stainless Comet (review is HERE) and it's literally big brother in body and sound, the Atlas. All three were a shift in Campfire's general product line, in the materials used in making them and the results are apparent in the happy faces of their owners. However, something else was brewing while we thought it was safe to open our wallets, Campfire Audio had a wildcard revealed when they made the Andromeda S, a spin on their classic IEM with stainless steel as the new material and a change in one of the balanced armatures, promising more bling and bang for your ears to love. But before I forget that I'm not reviewing that, I'd like to reinforce the notion that, yes, today I'll be reviewing Campfire's top of the heap IEM, Atlas.

    For now, just a short trivia of sorts, Campfire Audio has been giving names to their IEMs from celestial objects/bodies, and while some are pretty obvious in their naming, like the Comet, Andromeda, Polaris, Vega etc, the Atlas doesn't really mentally summon an image of a celestial body. Instead, one would think of an ancient titan that holds the universe on it's shoulders, an idea that easily dwarfs out other imagery. But to be scientifically correct, Atlas (it's modern designation) is a member of the Pleiades open star cluster (M45) and is also known as the Taurus constellation, with a designation of 27 Tauri Aa1. Geek mode off.

    I'd like to thank Ken Ball and the crew of Campfire Audio for the chance to review the Atlas in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. You can buy the Campfire Audio Atlas at the Campfire Audio website or locally if you have an official retailer for Campfire Audio products.

    [​IMG]

    Specification:
    Driver: 10mm Single full range dynamic driver
    Diaphragm: Plasma enhanced Chemical Vapor Depostion (C.V.D.) Amorphous Diamond Like Carbon (A.D.L.C.) Diaphragm.
    Sensitivity: 105 dB SPL/mW
    Frequency Response: 5Hz–20 kHz
    Impedance: 19Ω @ 1kHz
    Material: Stainless steel body
    Connectors: Beryllium / Copper MMCX
    Cable Material: Pure Silver Litz
    Cable Length: 1.2M (4 feet)
    Plug: 3.5mm Gold plated

    For something some considered big and made with exoticly hard materials, the Atlas is easy to drive with and push to loud volumes with even the most decent of sources my Sony XZ Premiums 3.5mm jack. The Atlas, like most good ear gear, scales to the source you provide and will sound better as you feed it better gear/music.

    [​IMG]

    Unboxing: As always, Campfire Audio packaging is as compact as could be made with a rectangular USA Made “French Paper Company” Paper box, very little space is wasted and yet the design is simple, interesting and for me, effective. The blue motif Atlas infographic sheet is in front and wraps a good portion to the right side. The base paper has stars speckled all around and at the bottom, the montage of a mountain with a starscape above it with the Campfire Audio brand in the middle of that scene.

    [​IMG]

    Contents:
    1 Campfire Audio black leather case
    1 Campfire Audio pure Silver Litz cable with Beryllium Copper MMCX and 3.5mm stereo plug
    1 Pair Campfire Audio Atlas IEM
    1 Pair IEM pouch
    1 Set of Final Audio tips (xs/s/m/l/xl)
    1 Set Campfire Audio Marshmallow tips (s/m/l)
    1 Set silicon tips (s/m/l)
    1 Campfire Audio lapel pin
    1 Cleaning tool
    1 Warranty card

    [​IMG]

    Cable: The Atlas comes with a pure Silver cable made inhouse by Campfire Audio, a clear departure from their usual cable, this bewitching Silver Litz cable is made with the Audiophile comes with the usual Beryllium MMCX connectors and a standard 3.5mm gold plated plug. "The pure silver conductors provide additional resolution and refinement to an already exceptional sound. This cable is also wound with a twist that reduces tangling and microphonics improving your daily experience with Atlas." (From the Campfire Audio Atlas page.) And I have to say, the Atlas does sound better with it, along with the cable that does have a smaller amount of microphonics and from trying to use it on the move, proves to be quite tangle resistant. The cable is also pretty soft and flexible, yet gives a good feeling of durability backed by Campfire Audios experience in making cables.

    [​IMG]

    The basic design materials are the same as the other Campfire Audio cables, a 90 degree transparent 3.5mm gold plated plug with the CA logo, the flat metal bead cable splitter, the plastic chin adjuster and the Beryllium MMCX connectors with colored dots for Left Right identification. The Silver Atlas cable is twisted vs braided, drawing more of a similarity with the pure copper cable that came with the Comet than the SPC Litz that came with the Andromeda, this does help avoid tangling and looks just as good as previous constructions.

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    Build/Design/Fit: Very much like the Comet before this, the Atlas is shaped quite similarly as the Comet and is made from drop forged stainless steel, made from 3 major pieces (Nozzle, main shell and back shell) the seams are not totally invisible but they do work with the symmetry of the Atlas' shape and design, having been CNC machined and polished does create a more fluid looking design. It's a quite bigger and heavier than the Comet, building the Atlas around the 10mm ADLC driver would naturally require a wider design quite the opposite of the single vented balanced armature construction of the Comet. There is a small pinhole sized vent at the back of the Atlas to reduce back pressure and help with the bass much like speaker bass reflex systems, something the Atlas does quite well (see sound analysis below)

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    Some have said the weight is a bit uncomfortable especially with long use, though I personally find it quite alright and once the Atlas is inserted well, it stays in me ear like it wasnt there and can last for the better part of the day and night. (As a background, I confess to actually eating my Spinach and other veggies when I was a kid). Whether it's looped on the ear or left hanging, both modes are fine with me with the Atlas, but over the ear is a bit familiar and does help reduce the perceived weight of the Atlas, especially when one eventually uses 3rd party or upgrade cables that weigh more than the lighter silver stock cable.

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    Fit, seal and comfort is quite tip dependent on all designs that utilize a tube like design (since most parts do not even touch the ear for support and assistance with sealing, unlike IEMs with universal fit shaped shells) and with the Atlas, I found that the easiest fit, seal and comfort is the Marshmallow tips that come stock on it, next would be the Final Audio tips and even the stock silicone tips are good enough for use though I find myself using the smallest tips in all types. For 3rd party tips, the best fit seal and comfort I found was with JVC Spiral dots, followed by Acoustune AET06 and lastly with Symbio W tips. As noted in most feedback from Atlas users, incorrect insertion can cause driver flex to cut out the audio due to pressure building against the driver diaphragm, there are times this does happen but can be adjusted to prevent from happening (Inserting the Atlas while lifting your upper ear and opening your mouth usually helps in this). Other than the Marshmallow (or Comply) tips being squished before insertion and letting it expand and seal, short tips helps minimize the pressure build up (Spiral dots, small tips).

    [​IMG]

    The Atlas nozzle tip is like the Comet, strong, prominent, grilled and secure. None of the tips I used were easy to take off (and some, to put on) so that should alleviate any fears of tips left in people's ears. And like the Comet, the beautifully hand buffed body can be quite an OC person's nightmare (oh no, a smudge!!!) but that smooth mirror finish stainless steel frame also lends to an easy clean and quite a sturdy build.

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    The Atlas 10mm driver is one of the highlights of it's design, it's bigger than the Vega's 8.5mm and shares the same material design for the diaphragm, an Amorphous Diamond-Like Carbon (ADLC) that's a hybrid of non crystalline diamond and graphite carbon, a low density and high rigidity material. The more rigid the diaphragm, the more it can provide a bigger range of frequency responses at lower distortion and the lighter/less dense the material is, the easier it is to move and respond, increasing the fidelity of the sound it generates. The Atlas diaphragm achieves this and it shows in how it performs.

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    Sound Analysis: Back when I first heard the Atlas, I was overwhelmed by the quality and strength of it's bass, a bass that does not overrun the mids or takes away from it, allowing the vocals and instruments presented to stand on its own with detail and presence while the treble brings air and crisp without the harshness or sibilance from reaching too high. It was quite amazing and behind the scenes I've always thought that it sounded like good table speakers were plugged into my ears. Given that imagery, For this review, I only started listening intently with the Atlas after over 400+ hours of music playback, I mixed and matched different tips but used the stock Final Audio tips for sound analysis and various DAPs and DACs but mostly with the WM1a.

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    Bass: The Atlas' bass is arguably one of it's best aspects that will entrance your ears with its ludicrously large and competent speaker type feeling and sound. Sub- bass wise, listening to Jeremy Soule's Dragonborn, you can visualize large drums being slammed to the beat with the skin membranes vibrating to each strike and the reverberations going way down deep, slowly fading, the notes quite resonant and audible till the last note dies. Its speed is far from languid but neither would it be called fast as the lingering vibrations sound almost natural with a bit of flair for the instrument used. In general, the sub-bass is a little slow in decay and yet can easily resolve without distortion or overlapping near continuous grungy bass riffs and the reverb from it like the one on The Day The World Went Away where if the decay is too slow, it will overlap into a mess, and bad distortion control and resolution will make this song quite annoying to listen to. There is an organic level or crunch to the Lithiums bass guitar, which leaves one with an impression of realism, an unembellished bass sound that is clean and detailed.

    The bass on the Atlas is just as great, with a weighty punch following a good attack, the amount of air that the 10mm diaphragm pushes is quite amazing and yet doesn't feel overwhelming like on first listen. The refinement of sound shows in its ability to present detail, layers and texture. Creep by Stone Temple Pilots exposes just how the Atlas' bass is quite balanced and unboosted, the full elements of bass, control and overall quality is quite wonderful, like a free standing speaker in your ear, pulling out the bass in a track and presenting it in a pleasant and palpable way that your ears will say domo arigato gozaimasu (thank you very much) while weeping silently in pleasure. For the sake of not going overboard and writing every song with a even a hint of bass and describing how the Atlas makes it sound good ad nauseum, I'll end the bass section saying the Atlas is quite likely, THE top of the line when it comes to bass, if you love bass and you like the rest of the sound section, you can't go wrong here.

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    Mids: Mids are life, or so I tell myself every time I have a chance to review gear with a beautiful mid frequency and the Atlas is no exception, the transition between the bass and mids is smooth and even with the humongous power of the bass, none of it bleeds or impedes the mids, yet its influence shows in the warmth exhibited in every note played. As some people have mentioned, that the Atlas is a the lovechild of the Andromeda and the Vega, I would handily say it may be just that. Though the bass is better than the Vega, the mids are not as detailed as the Andromeda, still they do both present the mids as beautiful and musical, providing a goodly amount of resolution and detail but falling quite short of being usable for surgical dissection of music.

    Balance is the equation with the Atlas as the lower and upper mids are relatively just a bit above neutral placement and benefit from equal portions of thickness and clarity, as again with Dragonborn, the Atlas is able to convey an organic and natural sound that are easily presented as both an individual sound and yet coherent with the whole, instruments, male vocals and female vocals sing and chant throughout the track, channeling emotion and energy throughout the song, I almost feel like marching off to my imminent doom against a dragon. Pandemic by Devin Townsend is a wall of complicated sound, a testament to the ability of the Atlas to resolve in time, separate and layer elements of a track, you can hear instruments, effect, female and male voices from the near cacophony of continuous sound, making the experience quite enjoyable and musical. Though the Atlas' bass is the obvious highlight, the mids are definitely not far behind with every song you throw at it sounding good, detailed, capable and quite importantly, musical.

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    Treble: The Atlas being on top of the Campfire Audio lineup means only one thing, it can't go 2 out of 3 against the others in their stable and truth be told, its treble is not something that's lazily tweeting it's tunes. Balanced precariously between air, crisp and glare, the Atlas inherits the Andromeda's highs and dishes out a combination of crisp clarity and bodied control, the delicate harmonics on Deeply Disturbed sound natural, reaching a point where it COULD turn harsh, but instead gently trails off just a little bit faster than normal, like the cymbal crashes on A Question of Lust (Live) the initial hit registers in the expected position and fades out without much linger, a level of tuning that can give you the best of both worlds with extended highs and precise control. ALA.NI and her song Cherry Blossom is a sibilance nightmare for badly controlled and overly boosted treble gear, recorded with so much potential for sibilance, the Atlas reaches near the harsh tip of the "S" and rounds what would have been a sharp edge into a more listenable tone, you get most of the grit and sparkle without the subsequent bleeding of your eardrums at the minimal cost of not being the best of the best.

    In terms of air, space, layer and extension, Kill em All from good ole Metallica in their era of near wall to wall sound gives the high hats their due, sounding clear and present as cymbals crash all around, harmonics splash unhindered and the guitars, drums and vocals nearly scream into your soul with all the power thrash and metal can muster, and yet, they never sound harsh or crowded, managing a good deal of space and a comfortable sound that adds to the energy and musicality the Atlas can present.

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    Soundstage: The Atlas soundstage would lean towards inheriting the Vega side as opposed to the Andromeda which roughly translates to the stage being wide from side to side but not as much as the Andromeda which is known for its wonderfully wide stage, however the front and back distance is able to go quite deeper, allowing for the placement of instruments, vocals and sounds to be articulate in layering and imaging, this is hinted with the amount of air and separation the Atlas is able to display and what better way to test this out is with songs that have a lot of different sound sources playing at the same time like Pandemic, each sound has it's own layer that is comfortably spaced, and thus does not ever sound congested and adds to the overall feeling of musicality as opposed to a maddening rush of near incoherent sound.

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    Conclusion and Final Thoughts: The Campfire Audio Atlas, is probably the best there is in its class, anything better will likely sound radically different and most likely cost a lot more. Priced above both Vega and Andromeda in the lineup, it's an easy upgrade if you love both and want both at the same time, with some caveats. Far from being perfect, if you desire the kind of sound that only dynamic drivers can deliver and still want the best of what a balanced signature can offer in the shell of the Atlas, then this is your ticket to ride. But for the rest willing to go beyond single dynamics, those seeking different sound signatures and wanting more detail than what the Atlas can deliver, there are always others options.

    Standing on its own merits, the Atlas is quite a balanced and musically adept IEM. It's ability to draw out the best bass in every track and present it to the listener as demanded by the music is quite incredible, setting the stage for the mids which is admirably eloquent in detail and smooth in presentation. That, coupled with a treble adorned with a healthy sprinkling of sparkle, lots of crisp and air, blending into a wide stage and accompanied by an accomplished level of layering and separation, all to bring you closer to the TOTL sound (Top Of The Line) border of no dynamic driver land, where beyond lies the shells of IEMs filled with balanced armature drivers. See below for the TLDR pros and cons.

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    Sound testing was done using a Sony WM1a (Primarily), a Hiby R6, Zishan Z1(for comparison), Audirect Beam (for computer convenience) and a phone (for checking driveability) volume matched to 90.X db of max volume for safe hearing below 8 hours of use and calibrated using a 1kh tone on a dedicated DB Meter, all sources patched through a switcher. More information will be available on the About Me page (once I find the time to write it up.)
    1. ngoshawk
      Brilliant review, mate. You upped your game and you deserve the weekend-front page spot. Hope mine is 1/2 as good. Excellent job.
      ngoshawk, Oct 12, 2018
      Kervsky and B9Scrambler like this.