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Campfire Audio Jupiter

Rating:
4.5/5,
  1. Loquah
    Campfire Audio Jupiter: Treble Perfected
    Written by Loquah
    Published Feb 28, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Great design, great accessories, amazing sound quality at all frequencies
    Cons - Treble is amazing, but overshadows lower frequencies just a bit
    The Jupiters are a stunning looking set of universal, multi-balanced armature IEMs fashioned out of aluminium and packaged with some of the best accessories I've ever seen. They employ a quad balanced-armature design with claimed frequency response extending from 10-28,000Hz!

     

    Design & Comfort

    CampfireAudioJupiter-glamour.jpg

    The Jupiters arrived in a compact cardboard box with colourful, but classy branding. Upon opening the box I was greeted by a gorgeous leather carry case which contains the earphones themselves in the plush, lamb's wool (or similar) interior. Also included was the second, TRRS cable for balanced use and a range of tips - foam, Comply Tx 400 (with wax guard), and silicone - in small, medium and large sizes. There's also a cleaning tool and an instruction manual.
     
    I normally don't discuss packaging in detail, but in this case the packaging eluded so strongly towards what comes next that I thought it important to share. You see, that tastefully simple box and the gorgeous carry case was just a glimpse of the quality and attention to detail ALO / Campfire Audio have put into the Jupiters.
     

    Design

    The earphones themselves are works of art - each an angular block of aluminium that is equal parts angular and smooth. They're surprising in that they're angular and chunky and yet feel light and comfortable once inserted.

    I saw initially worried about the size of the nozzles on the Jupiters because they're very wide,  but they're also quite short and that combo appears to work very well. As someone with ears that can be challenging to fit IEMs and tips to, the Jupiters are surprisingly comfortable.

     

    Cables

    The Jupiter cables have a very thin polyethylene insulation over a twisted metallic wire which looks wonderful with its slight hint of gold / champagne colouring. It also seems to minimise tangling and feels robust and hard wearing. The only drawback might be that it doesn't feel quite as nice as some of the high quality fabric / kevlar wrapped cables, but that's a matter of personal preference.

    Perhaps what is most impressive about the supplied cables is that Campfire Audio chose to supply a balanced cable as standard. The TRRS version of the cable isn't a cable with microphone as I originally assumed.  It's actually a cable wired for 2.5mm balance outputs like those found on Astell & Kern players.

     

    Accessories

    In addition to the great cables, the Jupiters come package with a nice range of silicon and foam tips, a cleaning tool (nice touch!) and one of the very best carry cases I've ever seen. The leather case is simultaneously understated and decadent with its gorgeous leather and woolly interior. What keeps it understated is the natural colouring of the natural fibres and materials (or well replicated synthetic copies of natural materials). There's no sense of bling, just a sense of quality and care.

     

    Sound Quality

    CampfireAudioJupiter-nozzlecable.jpg

    I've read a couple of reviews saying wonderful things about the Jupiters since my first listen to them and I have to say that I agree with much of what I've read, but not all of it.
     
    There's no doubt that Campfire Audio absolutely nailed their tuning of the Jupiters based on their marketing. They are a very balanced sounding earphone with an amazing sense of focus for a balanced armature design, however, I think it's important to note that the sound is balanced and neutral, not necessarily natural. I'll explain...

    Since reviewing the paradigm-altering Audioquest Nighthawks, my perspective on headphone and earphone audio had been permanently shifted. I now tend to evaluate earphones based on their ability to conjure the experiences, both auditory and emotional, of live music. To me, the more natural an earphone sounds, the better it recreates what I am used to hearing when I'm in the same room as the musicians. I use the word "natural" because "accurate" and "musical" are both tainted with ambiguity.

    I don't believe a 'phone has to be natural to be enjoyable, but naturalness is my holy grail sound so it's become one of my measures of earphones so I thought it was worth explaining.

     

    Treble

    Campfire Audio tout the Jupiter as having supremely extended highs (my words, not theirs) thanks to their proprietary technology. In Campfire Audio's own words:

     

    And there's no doubt that this approach has created stunningly smooth, articulate and extended treble. In fact, the Jupiters have some of the best treble I've ever heard from an earphone, but to my ears there is too much of a very good thing, particularly when using silicone tips.

    It's important to clarify here that there is in no way any harshness to this treble - it is absolutely glorious - but it's like adding too much sugar to a great dessert - it'll still taste good, but you might miss out on some of the more subtle flavours going on underneath. To me, the treble, as good as it is, diverts my attention from the overall musical experience. It encourages me to listen to details in the texture of guitar strings, the shimmer of cymbals and the breath in the singer's throat. That's all wonderful, but it's shadowing the magic occurring underneath. If you listen really hard, there's some equally amazing action in the mid-range and bass, but it all gets overshadowed by the treble.

    At this point it's worth noting that what I'm describing is a dream scenario for some people and the Jupiters will be the absolute perfect option for people seeking detail and clarity without harshness or sibilance, but for me, the balance is just a bit off when it comes to the ultimate, natural musical experience that is my benchmark these days.

    Using foam tips does tend to balance the highs quite a bit. There's still a slight emphasis, but the overall balance is better with foam tips in my opinion and if I owned a pair of Jupiters they would be permanently fitted with foam tips despite my preference for silicone tips because I don't like the way foam tips get manky and require regular replacement.

     

    Midrange

    You might think that the treble emphasis I've just discussed could leave the Jupiters sounding hollow and lifeless in the mids, but not so. The mids from the Jupiter are still excellent. Yes, they are slightly behind the treble in terms of their presence, but the quality is excellent and they sound natural and not at all hollow. My only complaint about the mids would be a slight lack of weight in male vocals. There's a tilt towards the upper mids that creates a great sense of texture, but at the expense of weight and body.

    The Jupiters are a great option for those seeking details without losing mid-range quality, but they won't suit people who love their mid-range full and creamy. Once again, foam tips will further enhance the mids by balancing out some of the extra treble and result in a really magical, slightly treble-forward sound.

     

    Bass

    CampfireAudioJupiter-socket.jpg

    Another of Campfire Audio's claims about the Jupiters is that they produce "subterranean bass" (their words) and the published frequency range suggests performance down below audible frequencies.
    Listening to the Jupiters suggests that the extension really is exceptional and the quality of the bass seems excellent, but the quantity is a bit lacking in my opinion. While I don't consider myself a bass-head by any stretch, the live music experience I discussed earlier includes some natural acoustic properties in rooms which result in a natural boost in the perception of bass compared to treble and mids. To effectively replicate that natural sound when there is no room between the speaker (earphone) and your eardrum, an earphone needs to provide the extra bass (or more accurately needs to pull back the mids and treble) in the same way that a room will. The Jupiters fail to do that and so, while the quality and extension of the bass is outstanding, the quantity isn't in the right proportions to the rest of the frequency range and the result is a slightly lean sound compared to my "natural" reference point.

    Once again, I can't stress enough that the quality of everything the Jupiters do is absolutely exceptional - these are an amazing piece of engineering and design, but they fall short of perfection in the tuning department for my tastes. Foam tips shift the sound slightly closer towards a natural / live sound, but there is still a slight treble emphasis.

     

    Image & Staging

    The imaging and staging from the Jupiters is equally excellent with a nice wide stage, good sense of 3-dimensionality and a tightly focussed image. Campfire Audio weren't kidding when they said that they'd created a multi-BA earphone with coherency similar to a dynamic driver. Normally, a multi-BA earphone will struggle to achieve the same level of focus as a single-driver dynamic, but the Jupiters pull off the same degrees of focus and it's very impressive.

    I'd say that the treble-emphasis works for and against the Jupiters here. The extra treble (and its amazing quality) creates some cues that stretch beyond the listener's ears which can be really fun, but at the same time it keeps drawing my attention to the soundstage is unevenly shaped. It's like most things fit in a nicely defined, oval-shaped 3-dimensional space, but then 2-3 sounds in each track seem to be outliers, just beyond that soundstage and it's not entirely natural. I'm being picky at this point so take this as a way of saying that the Jupiters are almost perfect rather than absolutely perfect when it comes to staging. Overall, they are highly enjoyable from a staging perspective.

     

    Summary

    To summarise all this I would say that Campfire Audio have 100% nailed the product they claim to be providing - none of it is marketing hype, it's all true. But that doesn't necessarily mean they're a perfect earphone for everyone. If you love clarity, detail and a relatively flat frequency response then you will absolutely love the Jupiters and should absolutely give them a listen. I'd go so far as saying they are one of, if not the best "flat-signature" earphones I've tried so far.

    If, however, you are looking for an earphone that accurately recreates the sound of live music and real-life instruments then you should probably look to something with a bit less treble and a bit more bass - something like the Noble K10, Audiofly AF180 or Shure SE846.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. ArrancarV
      Thank you for the review on Jupiter! It reaffirms my decision to get these in the near future :)
      ArrancarV, Mar 1, 2016
    3. 1clearhead
      It reassures that I'm hearing the same thing and ironically I love this signature and this preference.
       
      Great review!
      1clearhead, Mar 18, 2016
    4. Vekk
      Jupiter compares to ER4sr or Noble Savanna? Which is better ,in term of, overall balance ? and flat signature sound?
      Vekk, Jan 27, 2017
  2. The Newbie
    Absolutely Perfect
    Written by The Newbie
    Published Feb 5, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Very solid build quality on every aspect, extra cable for balanced sources, sound quality is amazing.
    Cons - Price. May be a little large for some ears.
    I would like to start off by saying that I am by no means an expert on technically evaluating audio equipment.  I am just a guy who likes music, movies and anything to do with audio equipment.   I do however own more than a handful of IEM'S and headphones along with DAC'S, preamps, and headphone amps.  I've been obsessed with audio for over 15 years, but it's never been more than a hobby.  So I don't have the technical knowledge, like so many of the authors of reviews I have read on Head-Fi.  I just want to share how these have impacted me emotionally.  (and they've made a pretty big impact)
     
    I bought the Campfire Jupiter earphones the other day after seeing them online and reading the handful of reviews that exist right now.  I was very impressed by what others were saying about them and by the build quality of the Jupiter.  It was plain to see that countless hours had gone into building the entire Campfire lineup.  It's the first time, in a very long time, that a new earphone really got my heart pumping.  So I pulled the trigger and bought me a pair.
     
    When the Jupiters showed up at my house I was even more impressed by them in person.  The feel of them in the hand is an experience all by itself.  Not only are they better built than any other IEM's that I've seen, the look alone is breathtaking.  Even the cables are something special.  They look and feel kind of like shiny steel cable, but they are soft on the skin and very flexible. 
     
    The one thing that worried me about the Jupiter was the size.  I was afraid that they would be heavy and bulky, which would lead to  discomfort and fatigue while listening to them.  But, once I put them on, my fear was replaced with happiness.  (And, at this point, I hadn't even listened to them.)
     
    Ok... I finally get to a place where I can plug these in and listen to them.  I was immediately impressed.  So my goal was to listen to as many genres as I could and find out where the weakness was with these guys.  I spent at least three hours jumping around listening to all sorts of music and I really couldn't find anything that sounded bad.  The bass, mids and highs were clear and balanced that... I mean it's very hard to describe the sound.  It was sort of like the earphones changed according to the type of music you were listening to. So when I threw on some classical, the bass was warm and inviting while the mids and highs were bright and clear. It was beautiful.  Whenever you throw on something like "dub step" (or any bass heavy music) the bass stepped up its game and really came to life. Never overwhelming and never muddy sounding.  And even though the bass was pulsing through your bones, the mids and highs were right there with it.. balanced and clear and not harsh.  I've never listened to anything like these. 
     
    Later I watched a bluray and hooked the Jupiters up to my theater. I might add here that I have a dedicated preamp and headphone amp in my theater equipment stack. I didn't just plug them into the headphone stage on my surround preamp. I watched the movie "Fury" and once again I was blown away.  The sound stage (image) is almost 360 degrees.  I expected a nice image from these, but not like this.  Everything about the Jupiter earphones is just perfect.  
     
    I feel like I may be rambling a bit.. so I'll try to sum up my experience.  
     
    Absolutely blown away by:
     
    - The balanced detail from the lows, the mids, and the highs. It creates a very real sound stage and a very intimate experience for the listener. 
     
    - The incredible  (and hard to describe) way they adapt to whatever you are listening too.  Providing huge bass when called for and smooth warm bass when called for. And all the while, the mids and highs are right there with the bass, in perfect harmony.  
     
    - Build quality and looks are stunning.  I can't imagine I will ever have an issue with these. Maybe in the cable.. maybe.. and that's just if I am swinging these above my head like a lasso on a regular basis.  But, the cables can be replaced.. so yee-haw cowbow! 
     
    The Campfire Jupiter really could be the earphones that could replace all of your other earphones. Or at least a huge % of your earphones. They really can do it all.
      1clearhead and WayneWoondirts like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. The Newbie
      i don't think they overshadow the mids.  i think the bass, mids, and highs are all perfect.  I love these IEM's more than any other i've owned or heard.  If you can pick em up for a deal, I say go for it.  They are great.  and if you don't like them, just wait until B stock runs out and sell them.  pretty sure you'll get your money back.  but I honestly wouldn't worry about it.
      The Newbie, Feb 27, 2017
    3. linux4ever
      I would agree about the sound signature as explained in this review. On some songs though (depends on the recording I guess), the highs might slightly (Very slightly) dominate the mid and lows. And this is rare and even when that happens it didn't make it bright or harsh. And very importantly get a fatigue free listening experience.
      linux4ever, Mar 25, 2017
      The Newbie likes this.
    4. The Newbie
      Ya I can see your point. But like you say.. this may be down to the recording, format or equipment. I have put a lot of hours on these things and I wish I could have a brand new pair to compare my old ones to. Curious if the new ones are more harsh than broken in ones.
      The Newbie, Mar 25, 2017
  3. WCDchee
    Exciting, Fun, and Full of Energy
    Written by WCDchee
    Published Feb 4, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Energetic, Fun, Expansive sound
    Cons - Can be a little thick in the lower mids and the midbass
    Disclaimer: The Campfire Jupiter was sent to me by Ken Ball from ALO for the purposes of this review.
     
    The very first time I read about the Campfire Lyra, I was pretty intrigued. It was ALO's first foray into the world of IEMs, They looked really impressive, beryllium coated drivers (like my focal speakers), ceramic chassis, and what not. The price caught my eye too. For a newcomer, those prices weren't cheap at all. I tried them soon after, and was pleasantly surprised by the Lyras. Yes, they weren't cheap, but they delivered top notch sound quality. They were very well tuned as well. Naturally, I was extremely curious and excited about the new Jupiters when I heard about them. 
     
    Packaging and accessories
     
                                                                                                                           IMG_5572.jpg  
    The Jupiter, along with the other Campfire IEMs, have a relatively simple packaging. it comes in a small box that barely manages to fit in the carrying case and some accessories. 
     
                                                                                                                           IMG_5576.jpg
     
    It comes with 3 pairs of silicone tips, 3 pairs of comply tips and another 3 pairs of what seems to be some sort of third party foam tips. It also comes with a earwax cleaner and a campfire audio pin badge, a nice little touch. There are two included cables, a 3.5mm trs cable for single ended use, as well as a 2.5mm trrs cable for balanced use. The cables provided are the ALO tinsel cables which are, in fact, upgrade cables by themselves.
     
                                                        IMG_5573.jpg            IMG_5575.jpg  
     

     
    The carrying case is, without a doubt, the most beautiful earphone carrying case that I have ever seen. It is made with nuback leather, and is lined on the inside with a nice, soft, cushy and furry lining which protects the jupiters from shock. From my experience, nuback eventually develops a wonderful patina over time giving you a unique, one of a kind carrying case for your jupiters.
     
    The packaging is not the most elaborate. I've seen a whole range, from the beautiful, luxurious packaging of the Dita earphones, down to the dead simple packaging of the Flare Audio IEMs. The Jupiter, I find, strike a good balance. I actually like how the packaging is minimalistic and green, made out of minimal cardboard and nothing else.
     
    Build Quality
     
    The Campfire Lyra has a Ceramic chassis. This gives it more than simply a luxurious look and feel. The Ceramic helps greatly in the resonance control being the resonance chamber. 
     
    Now the Jupiter is slightly different. It's not made of the same exotic material as the Lyra is, but the build of the Jupiter is no slouch either. It is CNC milled from a solid block of aluminium, and finished with a beautiful bead blasted titanium styled anodizing. It is built like a tank, and holding it in my hands, I have absolutely no doubt that it is a solid, quality product.
     
    Sound Impressions
     
    The Jupiter is, in general, a very fun and dynamic sounding earphone. If you're looking for a neutral reference, the Jupiter isn't going to give you that. It is definitely a coloured sound, coloured but fun. It has a really nice spatial presentation of the music as well.
     
    Highs: The Jupiter has a very very sparkly upper range. if there are any high frequency details or instruments, you're not going to miss it. It will shimmer and sparkle its way into your ears. They are, however, adequately controlled enough that they do not become sibilant. This makes them very addicting to listen to on instrumental tracks. Guitars and violins, for example, spring to life. Now some people might find that increased sparkliness a tad unnatural, and I wouldn't blame them. Give it time though, and you would find it really gives life to the whole presentation. It also helps in the reproduction of air and space, something that I am very grateful for.
     
    Mids: The mids in the jupiter took a little bit of getting used to on my part. The Jupiters have a pretty unique midrange tuning. Theres a dip in the upper mids, with a kind of a bump in the lower mids. This makes the midrange quite a bit heavier and more weighted than I am used to. There is also a slight sense of thickness and darkness in the midrange. Having said that, Despite the dip in the upper midrange especially, the midrange is by no means recessed when taken as a whole, nor is it distant. The vocals retain a good presence, neither too near nor too far, with body and weight. 
     
    Bass: The bass of the Jupiter is another area which contributes to the fun sounding nature of the earphone. There is a noticeable bump in the midrange, giving it lots of punch and life in the lower registers. It is neither bloated nor slow, and has good impact. Of course, the bass isn't quite like the bass of the best dynamic drivers. The sense of realism and naturalness isn't quite the same. However, it never stops it from being an energetic, fun bass. It does, though, smear a very slight tad into the lower mids, which might explain the increased thickness in the midrange. 
     
    Soundstage and Imaging: Now, this is my favourite part of the Jupiters. Of all the IEMs that I have tried, the Jupiters have some of the best, most expansive, open and immersive soundstage. It is wide, with an equally good depth and height. Listening to big orchestras is a real pleasure. The space which it creates is vast, instruments are layered very accurately in all directions, and imaging is pinpoint. The natural airiness and space in the recording is masterfully reproduced as well. Now, if you read back to my assessment of the other aspects of the Jupiter, it may seem like I wasn't impressed with the other aspects of the Jupiter. I assure you though, that isn't the case. The Jupiter is an impressive IEM. It's just that the staging of the Jupiter is that good. It's really, really nice.
     
    The Jupiter is a pretty resolving IEM. It's not a detail monster that's going to rip your tracks apart and expose all the flaws, but it never sounded veiled, always retaining a good sense of transparency. It is especially good at resolving spatial cues and air, which probably contributes to the exceptionally open sound of the Jupiters.
     
    The Jupiter, despite all that it does right, isn't without its flaws. Personally, I found the Jupiter to be a tad thick in the lower mids and the midbass. I would also prefer a tad bit more presence in the upper midrange. These are, however, pretty much mostly personal preferences, and I'm certain that it would suit a lot of people very well.
     
    The Campfire Audio Jupiter isn't a cheap earphone. At 899 dollars, it definitely plays among the higher end in the universal IEM market. In my opinion, it has definitely earned its place as the flagship of the Campfire IEM line.
      jinxy245 and d marc0 like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. KB
      Fidelity King, Do you own a pair of Jupiters? I ask because we use a state of the art all in one SoundCheck / Listen Inc audio analyzer, each unit is tested with the full battery of audio tests that include rub and buzz, preceptual rub and buzz as well as a few distortion tests. In addition we have not had any issues with what you are suggesting or "falling apart" drivers.
       
      I do know that if you shock the drivers, particularly the dual low driver, drop it on a hard surface from the reed can stick to the magnet causing the BA to buzz wildly. But if this was the case you would not have to que up a certain track to notice it.
       
      Ken  
      KB, Feb 5, 2016
    3. jinxy245
      Great review, thanks! These seem to be a dream...I only wish there was somewhere to demo! Perhaps one day at a met....
       
      Thanks again.
      jinxy245, Feb 6, 2016
    4. dBel84
      Thanks for this review. I have never wanted to delve into custom IEM but these universals seem to have closed the gap in performance and are a testimony to Ken's commitment to SQ and QI..dB 
      dBel84, Feb 7, 2016