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Campfire Audio Atlas

Rating:
4.625/5,
  1. ExpatinJapan
    Truly a Titan
    Written by ExpatinJapan
    Published Jun 6, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Massive sound, balanced, immersion, great cable
    Cons - Fit takes a bit of trial and error
    Campfire Audio Atlas Review
    - Expatinjapan


    [​IMG]
    Campfire Audio Atlas baawwlz deep

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

    'Gigantic and Fantastic Sound.
    A truly massive sound. We’ve expanded our ADLC driver to a mighty 10mm and enclosed it in Stainless Steel – Atlas is a full range powerhouse.
    The result is a terrific sounding earphone with a dynamic signature that will convert even the most jaded listener to an Atlas fan.
    Designed and Assembled in Portland, Oregon USA.'



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    Unboxing, descriptions and specs

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    Campfire Audio Black Leather Earphone Case

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    'Atlas
    Gigantic and Fantastic Sound.
    Stainless Steel Body.
    Full Range 10mm A.D.L.C. Diaphragm Dynamic Driver.
    Designed and Assembled in Portland, Oregon USA.'

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

    Features
    Single Full Range 10mm Dynamic Driver
    Plasma enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (C.V.D.) Amorphous Diamond Like Carbon (A.D.L.C.) Diaphragm.
    Beryllium / Copper MMCX Connections
    Stainless Steel Body

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    'Our new stainless steel earphone bodies are drop forged and then CNC machined before being hand polished to a mirror finish.
    The weight of our stainless steel earphones in your hand feels good. The durability of stainless steel gives you peace of mind in daily use, knowing these are going to last.'

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    'New A.D.L.C. Diaphragm Dynamic Driver
    Expanding on the commercial and critical success of Vega, we returned to an A.D.L.C. diaphragm design for Atlas and super sized it to a new 10mm driver; up from 8.5mm utilized in Vega.
    For a quick background, A.D.L.C. (Amorphous Diamond-Like Carbon) is the hybrid of diamond and graphite carbon. It is a non-crystalline diamond. It is a material that has low density and high rigidity, important factors when considering diaphragm materials.

    In designing a dynamic driver, the diaphragm material used should be as rigid as possible to provide a wider range of frequency responses and lower distortion. Additionally, the density of the diaphragm material should also be as low as possible in order to increase fidelity.
    The 10mm A.D.L.C. diaphragm driver at the heart of Atlas achieves these goals; superior fidelity, excellent frequency response, and low distortion.'

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    'New Pure Silver Cable
    We’ve created an all new pure silver cable for Atlas that allows you to get the very best sound possible from your earphone, right out of the box. 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 micro phonics improving your daily experience with Atlas.'

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    'MMCX designed to last
    Our custom Beryllium Copper MMCX eliminates the traditional shortcomings of the connection and harnesses all of its benefits. Beryllium Copper provides a robust mating mechanism; one that is typically made from soft brass. This selection of a harder material extends the life of component and the earphone.'

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    '3D Modeled Awesomeness
    Tuning a high fidelity earphone is both an art and a science. To make something really special many critical factors need to intersect perfectly. This is why we choose to design and iterate with 3D modeled parts and take those parts into our final builds. It gives us an unprecedented level of control to capture the sound we’re trying to achieve. We think you’ll appreciate this refinement when you hear them yourself.'

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    Included accessories:
    Campfire Audio Black Leather Earphone Case.
    Campfire Audio Pure Silver Litz Cable – Pure Silver Conductors with Berylium Copper MMCX and 3.5mm Stereo Plug.
    – 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.
    Authentic Warranty Number Sticker – Matches Interior Warranty Card.

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    Atlas and Comet side by side size comparison.

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    Opus#2 and Campfire Audio Atlas and Comet

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    Opus#3 via Bluetooth to iFi xDXD and Campfire Audio Atlas.

    Sound

    As usual for aficionados of the burn in brigade I got over well over 100 hours on these humble beasts prior to review, for the other side of the heated debate....well you don`t believe in it anyway. So everyone is happy before we proceed. Head pie loves you all. (No, we don`t).

    Atlas that figure that holds the world on his shoulders...Wrong!...he actually holds the celestial spheres of the starry heavens upon on his manly shoulders. A fitting name for an IEM set to take the place of the flagship to rule them all within the Campfire Audio family. It being fitting as in the past Campfire audio earphones being named after constellations. The Atlas, Comet and Cascade marking a new naming system and also a new direction in build and sound.

    I am a Campfire Audio fan. Admittedly and unabashedly so. Of their earphones and also the way they conduct themselves and do business. I have heard every CA earphone except for the original Lyra.
    I have also reviewed most of them, whilst technically from great to excellent I can only count a few that matched my personal sonic tastes. Each to his own ears.

    [​IMG]

    Which brings us to the Atlas, and the Comet, and the Vega, and the Andromeda....

    Multiple PM's asking me this and that about all four. As usual I was hesitant to answer, not just because I have a general first come, first served queue system with the odd leap frog, but early impressions can be sometimes in error for various reasons.

    With such variables as three different cables, stock tips versus after market tips, performance as an individual IEM, plus comparisons with other TOTL Campfire Audio IEMs. Also an Atlas vs Comet was in order...'bbuuuuttt the price point difference!, the different cable etc etc'. Yes, yes I know, I know and sympathize but the shell, the shell! Sure one is a DD and the other a single BA with a gaping valley of $1000 between them, but curiosity, for science and for Rohan I wanted to check it out.

    I would use a variety of daps in my testing:
    iBasso DX200 with Amp 1(and 4.4mm amp 4), Opus#2,
    Fiio X7ii with stock amp and 4.4mm AM3B.
    Opus#3, Echobox Explorer and Opus#1.
    Shozy Alien+, Opus#1S and Shanling M3s.
    ipod touch 6G with Flacplayer and Shanling M0.
    I also played around slightly with some Dac/Amps such as the Cozoy REI, iFi iDSD nano black , iFI xDSD and CEntrance DACportable.

    I also did a few impedance tests using the CEntrance Hifi-M8 with its impedance switch of 11,2 & 1 ohms.

    .....Overkill.

    Not everything is written up as some results were so similar as to render them null and just extra noise.
    In initial listening I stuck to using the stock tips, of which I preferred the Final Audio tips.

    I did a bit of tip rolling but mainly stayed with the JVC Spiral Tips as they fit me well and I have enough for comparisons. Ortofon came in a close second for aftermarket tips.

    Generally I stuck to FLAC files of 16/44.

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    iBasso DX200 and Amp 1

    Test tickle the ear drums time!

    Next up I hooked up the Atlas, Andromeda and Vega to a headphone switcher box so I could swap between them with ease.
    Then worked out the volume with a SPL Meter of each so I could quickly adjust to the same volume as I was cycling through them. Phew.

    I used the iBasso DX200 with amp 1 as it is a fairly neutral/reference dap/amp set up.

    JVC Spiral tips on all three earphones for consistency.

    Stock cables were used in this first foray.
    Litz for Andromeda and Vega.
    Silver for Atlas.
    Shuffle mode for randomness!

    It didn't help that the first track was Discharge :wink:

    Cowboy Junkies - Powderfinger
    Andromeda - Mids, smooth vocals, good for female vocals, large sound stage.
    Atlas - Smooth, more even overall
    Vega - More laid back, L or V shaped.

    Joy Division - Transmission
    Andromeda - less bass than the other two, big sound, but not enough low end.
    Atlas - Nice solid, quick bass, vocals and music even, nice detailing.
    Vega - Nice low end, quite concentrated sound.

    Radiohead - Airbag
    Andromeda - Nice clarity, mids and treble, male vocals not as lush as females, expansive.
    Atlas - Nice even approach to bass, mids and treble. A bit of everything. intimate and large sound stage co existing.
    Vega - Seems less as 'big' as the Atlas. Smaller driver, perhaps. The Atlas seems more consistent.

    Richard Ashcroft - Crazy world.
    Andromeda - Very similar to Atlas but missing that nice low end of bass.
    Atlas - Just full, fun, pumping. everything in sync.
    Vega - Laid back in a sense, maybe needs foams to really shine. Constricted.

    PJ Harvey - Joe
    Andromeda - large sound stage detailed, but lacking the lows PJ needs to shine.
    Atlas - Deep and dirty. focused and expansive where needed.
    Vega - Fun, but low end is not as present as the Atlas. loses something. Can be quite linear at times with silicone tips.

    Death in Vegas - help yourself
    Andromeda - Excellent, soaring highs, expansive, detailed, airy, beautiful.
    Atlas - More subdued than the Andros, but concentrated.
    Vega - Peaceful, even, airy.

    Pixies - Wave of mutilation
    Andromeda - delicious, thumping mids and drums, large and spacious.
    Atlas - Fairly even. a bit of everything, wall of sound but with excellent layering.
    Vega - Needs a bit of volume to really get kicking.

    Hole - She walks on me
    Andromeda - The Andros quite shine surprisingly, but too much mids for this track
    Atlas - Quite even, could do with a bit more low end for this track. smoother than Vega.
    Vega - Hard rock, this is what the Vegas were for. fast, hard hitting, baseball bat in the face.

    The Verve - Bittersweet symphony
    Andromeda - A perfect track for the Andros, soaring and large sound stage. Excellent timbre and layering.
    Atlas - Enough of full sound to make the track enjoyable.
    Vega - Nice, not accurate, too much low end.

    The Fugees - The score
    Andromeda - Enjoyable, but a bit tame.
    Atlas - Nice. great, a perfect storm. head nodding.
    Vega - Nice low end, but missing those mids.

    DJ Champion - No Heaven
    Andromeda - Surprising to me this track shines with the Andromeda. large, detailed, fast.
    Atlas - Even, balanced, deep bass, needs a bit more space and detailing.
    Vega - Nice thump to the bass, missing detailing and sound stage.

    Creedence Clearwater Revival - Fortunate son
    Andromeda - Pleasant, decent, but lacks some body and energy.
    Atlas - Balanced, decent sound stage and instrument separation.
    Vega - Great for rock, a bit of lows and highs.

    Beethoven - Mass in D major, Op 123, "Missa Solemnis" : Benedictus.
    Andromeda - Large sound stage as usual, vocals too far forward, focus on highs
    Atlas - Perfect. Just simply beautiful. Full. Symphonic.
    Vega - A little too linear for the many notes and vocals.

    Norah Jones - Seven years
    Andromeda - Friendly enough and a joy, but lacks that bass and mids that the Atlas brings. Too airy.
    Atlas - Full, even, just enough of everything, accurate.
    Vega - Has that warmth NJ needs, but lacks dynamics, needs more highs and mids.

    Black Flag - My war
    Andromeda - Very good.
    Atlas - A bit too much low end for this track.
    Vega - A bit disjointed , not enough clarity.

    Belly - Red
    Andromeda Nice and dynamic, just lacks the body depth the Atlas has.
    Atlas - large sound, exquisite layering.
    Vega - Nice and deep, once again shines with rock.

    Coldplay - Don't panic
    Andromeda - nice and smooth, creamy and nice highs.
    Atlas - Just more dynamic, everything nicely in tune. Enough lows, mids and highs to please.
    Vega - Subdued, a bit dark. Not enough highs for CP.

    Slayer - reborn
    Andromeda - Very good, but needs a bit more low end to really enter into it.
    Atlas - Even sound overall. head bangin'
    Vega - Fast and furious, a bit light in the lows and mids.

    The Cardigans - Erase and rewind
    Andromeda - Nice and lush, erotic. Mids for miles. excellent separation and sound stage.
    Atlas - Everything the andromeda does and with more body, just a bigger sound.
    Vega - Lows focussed.

    The Chemical Brothers A taste of honey.
    Andromeda - Great low end , expansive and full. treble extension.
    Atlas - Full bodied, low end depth. holographic and expansive.
    Vega - Nice low end, boom boom

    Enough!? I think so. More jazz, EDM, country music, pop etc please.....Sorry.

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    iBasso DX200 and Campfire Audio Atlas.


    There is a good amount of cues above to point us in a general direction of what the Atlas is.

    Did the Andromeda and Vega have a baby? I think so...in some sense.

    The Atlas certainly eclipses and replaces the Vega for sure, but the Andromeda still holds it own and reserves its particular sonic niche that is loved by many.

    So where are we? Where am I? why am I?

    At this stage I should use the recently formulated system for categorizing audio components in a testing condition formulated by Nor. UA. S. (North University for the study of Audio (State).
    DKBT or Dynamics, Kinetics, Balance, Transparency.

    The Atlas certainly scores high in each of the groups, whilst there are subsets within this new evaluation system that is steadily gain traction amongst European and South East asian reviewers it seems to have not yet caught on the English speaking world. I myself am still learning and look forward to more reviews that use the system.

    So the Atlas with stock cable.
    'Gigantic and fantastic sound' says the Campfire Audio website and I can't argue with that, it is a great summary.

    Pixies - 'Gigantic'

    So what do the notes for the Atlas say? Is it congruent overall and consistent?

    Smooth, more even overall,
    Nice solid, quick bass, vocals and music even, nice detailing,
    Nice even approach to bass, mids and treble.
    A bit of everything. intimate and large sound stage co existing,
    Just full, fun, pumping. everything in sync, Deep and dirty. focussed and expansive where needed, More subdued than the Andros, but concentrated,
    Fairly even. A bit of everything, wall of sound but with excellent layering,
    Quite even, could do with a bit more low end for this track. smoother than Vega
    Enough of full sound to make the track enjoyable
    Nice. great, a perfect storm. head nodding
    Even, balanced, deep bass, needs a bit more space and detailing
    Balanced, decent sound stage and instrument separation
    Perfect. Just simply beautiful. Full. Symphonic
    Full, even, just enough of everything, accurate
    A bit too much low end for this track
    large sound, exquisite layering
    Just more dynamic, everything nicely in tune. Enough lows, mids and highs to please.
    Even sound overall. head bangin'
    Everything the Andromeda does and with more body, just a bigger sound
    Full bodied, low end depth. holographic and expansive

    So what we have is a fairly balanced and well tuned single dynamic driver earphone, that produces a full sound, smooth, large sound stage, great layering and timbre, detailed, accurate, holographic.

    'Gigantic and fantastic' sound indeed. Whilst it does make me want to put the Vega on the shelf, the Andromeda still holds a place in the Campfire Audio line up.

    [​IMG]


    Where next?

    Well Ken was kind enough to send an extra silver cable so I could test all three against each other with the Litz and also the new Atlas silver cable.

    Hell, I might even throw in some Reference 8 and SXC-8 impressions If I get over excited.

    So lets see what we get when throw the Litz into the fray, Litz for everyone!

    Litz - Andromeda - Smooth, expansive, nice mids and treble. Silky vocals.
    Litz - Atlas - They lose some smoothness, and mids, and bass is ok, but some fullness is lost overall. Better with the silver imho.
    Litz - Vega - Vega is Vega, a L to V shape depending. With silicone tips the Vega could benefit from some cable rolling.



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    ALO Audio silver Atlas cables 3.5mm and 4.4mm

    Onwards and upwards. Every cloud has a silver lining.

    Silver - Andromeda - Nice full, adds to that holographic sense the Andros have. A bit more low end. Better with the Litz. imho.
    Silver - Atlas - Similar in a sense, but just that lovely low end and overall balance between the bass, mids. treble and vocals is addictive.

    Silver - Vega - Smooth. a bit more on the softer linear side. Refined. A bit fuller. Dunno, maybe Litz for Vega.
    Silver - Atlas - deep and full. Gigantic.

    NOTE: Atlas is more designed so non memory wire, though you can do over the ear with memory wire, but it sits better over the ear with no memory wire.

    Ok, ok...I know you are probably wondering about this

    Reference 8 - Atlas. Quite pleasant. And enjoyable. A bit treble rich at times. A bit of a triangle sig at others. fast and busy. Silver wins.

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    Random earlier testing.

    Ok onwards and sideways..

    4.4mm ALO Audio silver cable

    iBasso DX200 Amp 4 : Just MOAR gigantic. This my preferred choice for the Atlas at the moment.

    iBasso DX200 Amp 4S (first listen actually) : Smoother than Amp 4, a bit more fuller overall(?). Amp may need more burn in, Amp4 seems more controlled. Amp 4S has hard hitting bass. A bit slower than Amp 4.

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    FiiO X7ii and Amp AM3B 4.4mm: : Nice and light, not as full and hard hitting as the DX200 with less layering and timbre. Perhaps reduced mids ever so slightly.

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    FiiO X7ii and amp AM3B to Campfire Audio Atlas.



    ALO Audio SXC-8

    A heavy cable, not for everyone. one can get the memory wire to work with the Atlas with a bit of fiddling. Perhaps better for more stationary listening. I would like to see one for IEMs without the memory cable, I think it would sit better.


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    iBasso DX200 Amp 4 : Increase of sound stage and separation. Bass controlled. Excellent and exquisite layering. Truly expansive. Pure Heaven, the real one.

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    FiiO X7ii and AM3B 4.4mm. Now this is great. Lovely everything. Brings the X7ii to life. Retains the Atlas signature but with more smoothness and purity of sound.

    A definite step up in all areas from the stock cable, but ergonomically not for everyone.
    Buuuut thhe soouuunndd!



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    SXC-8 and the Atlas - Its doable. Without its memory wire might sit easier.

    EDIT: Additional cable comparison links:

    ALO Audio SXC-8 vs Litz from the CA cascade review

    https://www.headpie.net/2018/05/alo-audio-sxc-8-vs-alo-audio-litz-cables.html

    ALO Audio Tinsel vs Litz vs Reference 8

    https://www.headpie.net/2017/03/alo-audio-tinsel-litz-and-reference-8.html


    An interlude:

    Pointless? mebbe...but lets have some fun.

    Campfire Audio Cascade (no filter) versus Campfire Audio Atlas with the ALO Audio SXC-8.


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    Well, we know how delightful the Atlas sounds when paired with the SXC-8 over ear with memory wired SXC-8 (I may try to remove it).

    First impression is that the Cascade is slightly laid back compared to the in your face Atlas.
    The Cascade slapped me in the sweet cheeks on first listen, now the Atlas is doing the same same, but different.

    Color me a bit shocked and surprised, not the result I was expecting to be honest.

    Now I could do a bit more fiddling with the filters to see if I can replicate the Atlas more fullness and gigantic sound scape...but to be honest i have done enough cable rolling and am a bit tired. inspiration may return later in the game...but for now thats enough.

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    iFi xDSD fueled by the Shanling M0 was a pleasure to use and also performed well with the Atlas.

    Surprisingly even the diminutive Shanling m0 is quite the beast itself and using the Atlas with it as a traveling kit was quite satisfying.

    In closing we come full circle back to the statement from Campfire Audios website:
    'Gigantic and Fantastic Sound.
    A truly massive sound. We’ve expanded our ADLC driver to a mighty 10mm and enclosed it in Stainless Steel – Atlas is a full range powerhouse.`


    The above all is true, gigantic sound, certainly a powerhouse and contains a full range with a massive sound. It is a solid performer and deserves its rank at the top of the Campfire Audio pyramid.

    Price

    US $1,299.00
    Available from Campfire Audio
    https://campfireaudio.com/shop/atlas/
    And recognized dealers (and their distribution networks)
    https://campfireaudio.com/dealers/

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    Traveling kit

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    Not much is needed to satisfy on a travel light day.
    A Shozy hard cover case, Atlas, Andromeda, some adapters and tips
    and the simple but powerful Shanling m0.

    The budget minded might consider the Campfire Audio Comet and the Shanling M0

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    1, 2, 3...all you need for everyday audio listening

    Tips and fit

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    I tried the stock tips (mainly skipped the foamies as I prefer silicone)

    I was not sure what size to use.
    Maybe a smaller than usual I was suspecting for the deep insertion.
    Smaller sized JVC spiral tips did the trick (a size or two smaller than my usual).

    Stage one
    Ortofon was nice
    Echobox x1 tips seemed ok
    Some cone shaped foam (not into foam)
    Some smallish double flange tips
    So small, cone-ish or thin and not short and wide
    Sized down one size.
    Symbio Mandarins are out
    The flanges from I dont know where will give another try.
    Ortofon I will try again also. But might loose some body.

    Stage two
    I wasnt having much luck with my usual size of JVC Spiral tips and went a size or so smaller.
    That was good.
    No driver flex or suffocation of the music to zero. Also inserted easily for both Comet and Atlas.
    Ortofon was also good, slight cone shape. A bit thin in the lows but other wise great and comfortable.
    I dug out some Echobox Finder tips - the cone shaped ones. They seemed ok for fit and sound.
    Some small double flanges also worked well. Good seal. Great music accuracy.
    I tried some foams that were cone shaped and they were good.
    I’m not a foam tip user though. Just for science.
    Short and fat EB and Foams didnt work.
    I also tried the Symbio Mandarine tips but didnt have success. I find they are great with the Dorado and ok with the Vega.
    Also I have to give the supplied silicone tips a try now I have a general size decided on.
    Spiral tips are my general go to tips.

    Used final audio tips today
    They seemed to muffle either end a bit for me. A good fit though.

    Pretty much decided on three tips
    Final Audio, stock
    Jvc spiral tips (smaller than my usual size)
    Ortofon tips

    Each with pluses and minuses.


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    Overall

    The Campfire Atlas like the fore runners in the Campfire Audio line up has surpassed its predecessors.
    Once again the Campfire Audio team has taken what they learned from an earlier set of products and refined to produce an earphone that goes that step further.

    Blurbs are usually mostly hyperbole and propaganda but the Atlas one rings true:
    'Gigantic and Fantastic Sound.
    A truly massive sound. We’ve expanded our ADLC driver to a mighty 10mm and enclosed it in Stainless Steel – Atlas is a full range powerhouse.
    The result is a terrific sounding earphone with a dynamic signature that will convert even the most jaded listener to an Atlas fan.'

    I can`t really expand on that, it contains the essence of what the Atlas is all about.

    A solid stainless steel shell, with a beefy driver nestled inside along with the CA technology.

    The Atlas. Hardened steel, massive sound, detailed and immersive with an expansive sound stage.

    Truly a Titan!

    'To see a World in a Grain of Sand
    And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
    Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
    And Eternity in an hour' - William Blake.

    [​IMG]
    Opus#2 and Campfire Audio Atlas.


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    Thank you to Campfire Audio for sending Head pie the Campfire Atlas for review.
    1. ExpatinJapan
      ExpatinJapan, Jun 8, 2018
      rantng likes this.
  2. Benvoka
    Campfire Atlas review: The Supervega?
    Written by Benvoka
    Published May 15, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - strong and deep Bass, for those who like it

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

    very refined and natural sounding highs

    fun listening experience
    Cons - a little bit the ergonomic factor
    [​IMG]

    This is my first review in English and on Head-Fi. So I feel quite excited. For German-speaking Headfiers: You can find my German reviews on avguide.ch.

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


    Accessories:

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

    Fit / Comfort:

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

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Cable:

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


    Well, but how does the Atlas sound?

    Bass:

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


    Mids:

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


    Highs:

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


    Soundstage and imaging:

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

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

    Burn-in:

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


    Overall impression:

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

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

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

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

    images

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    1. twocentsear
      How do the Atlas compare to the Andromedas in terms of soundstage and imaging?
      twocentsear, May 19, 2018
    2. pmrcrazzy
      Love the low end super smooth and buttery!
      pmrcrazzy, Jun 19, 2018