Lyra II combines a single 8.5mm beryllium PVD dynamic driver and a unique liquid metal alloy...

Campfire Audio Lyra II

Rating:
4.35714/5,
  • Lyra II combines a single 8.5mm beryllium PVD dynamic driver and a unique liquid metal alloy housing to effortlessly deliver high fidelity music.
    – World’s First 8.5mm Beryllium PVD Dynamic Driver
    – World’s First Liquid Alloy Metal Earphone Housing
    – ‘Dusk’ PVD Finish
    – Premium Litz Wire cable; Silver-plated-Copper Conductors

Recent Reviews

  1. daduy
    Great Warm Sounding IEM
    Written by daduy
    Published Feb 1, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Build quality, sound quality, included cable and accessories
    Cons - can sound too warm, prone to sibilance
    Disclaimer

    I got this unit as part of Australia/New Zealand tour arranged by @d marc0, thank you very much for including me in this tour :)

    Introduction

    I am just another music fans in this world, I love listening to music, and that made me stumble into head-fi around 11 years ago when looking for the best way to listen to my music. I am not in anyway an audiophile, heck not even close, so please forgive any lack of details in my review. Most importantly this is my personal impression on the unit, most likely i heard things differently than you, my ears, my preferences, my brain :)

    I've listened to CA Lyra II for about a month. I've used them mostly with LG G6 and Hifiman Supermini . The source will be either my personal music or google play music.

    Music preferences

    My music preferences is mostly instrumental, whether it's Classical, Jazz, Celtic, New Age, etc. I also enjoy music with vocal on them, but my playlist is mostly instrumental. I would say around 80/20 mix.

    Example of the music I listen (not limited to):
    - Acoustic Alchemy
    - Tony McManus, Soig Siberil
    - Hawaiian Slack Key guitars
    - Gontiti
    - Fusion Jazz (Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Fourplay, Special EFX, you get the idea)
    - Akira Jimbo, Tetsuo Sakurai, Casiopea
    - Incognito
    - Europa Galante/Fabio Biondi, Musica Antiqua Koln, Rolf Lislevand
    - Yoko Kanno
    - Madonna

    Sound signature preference

    Hmm...not sure what my pref is, I used to enjoy Fostex TH-600 very much, but I don't own them anymore and now listen mostly to either Sony MDR Z-7 or Stax SR-3.

    My typical listening gear is: Sony UDA-1 -> Parasound Zamp v.3 -> Sony MDR-Z7 or Sony UDA-1 -> Parasound Zamp v.3 -> Stax SRD-7 -> Stax SR-3

    When travelling I usually use Sony MDR-1000x paired to the LG G6.

    Build Quality and Design

    I've forgotten how good CA made their IEMs, the build quality of Lyra II (or any other CA IEMs) is simply impeccable, the material and finishing is just top notch and you will have to hold them in your hand to really appreciate them.

    Fit wise, I never have any issue with CA IEMs, and Lyra II is no difference, they fit my ear nicely, I can easily listen to them for 3 hours without any issue.

    Sound Quality

    Ok the most important part for me, sound quality, so how do they sound? They have a smooth warm signature with an obvious mid-bass hump and another small bump in the lower treble region.

    This gave them a relaxing and laid back sounds signature, and the lower treble bump gave them a nice extra sparkle to make them sounds fresh.

    Lyra II has quite a good details as well, although due to the warm sound signature it's not that obvious. It's a kind of earphones that wants you to enjoy the music rather than analyzing them
    and pinpoint every fault in the recording.

    The first tip I used was a comply tx400 tips, and it was great, however I wish they would have just a tad less mid-bass, so I tried changing to comply comfort tips and notice that it increases the mid-bass a bit, making them sounding even warmer.

    I also tried some silicone tips, now this brings the mid-bass to a perfect level for me, however I notice now that some vocal music is quite sibilance. I am guessing this is caused by less mid-bass to counter those small bumps on the lower treble region.

    At the end I choose to go back to the tx400 tips, which provide the best balance for my taste.

    Comparison

    Lyra II vs Lyra I

    Lyra II sound signature is very similar to Lyra I, however the extra sparkle (upper mids/lower treble bump) has been added to Lyra II, which in a way made them a better earphones for my taste as the original Lyra is a bit too plain for me.

    In essence Lyra II is more enjoyable IEM compare to it's predecessor, however I have to point out that those improvement is subtle and not major

    Another thing worth noted is the inclusion of Lits cable for Lyra II vs the original Tinsel cable for Lyra I. I find the Lits cable much better in flexibility compared to the Tinsel ones. The tinsel cable can get a bit tangled and hard to unravel.

    Lyra II vs Hifiman RE800

    There are 2 big differences between the Lyra II and RE800, the first one is Lyra II have big mid-bass while RE-800 have a lean one, making the RE-800 sounding cleaner on the mid-ranges compare to Lyra II, however on the same side it makes them sounding a bit thin.

    After hearing Lyra II for quite some time and trying the RE-800 music sounds quite thin an dry, however once my brain got used to the sound signature, they're actually not that bad. RE-800 probably won't appeal for people who likes warm sound signature.

    The other one is the emphasize on the upper region, Lyra II have bumps on the upper-mids/lower treble while RE-800 have bumps on the trebles and higher regions. In general RE-800 sounds bright and clean, while Lyra II is more warm and full.

    Both of them have excellent sub-bass and details, I think both of them are equal in class, just different sound signatures.

    Summary

    I really enjoy my time with Lyra II, it's a great earphones with a great packages (Lits cable is very nice!).

    However during my listening period, there will be time when I hit a song that either sibilance, or too warm for my taste, fortunately this is something that can be fixed by a bit of EQ.

    At the end of the day, it's a solid build, warm sounding IEMs with a bit of sparkle on the upper mids, although it's not perfect, they are pretty close for my book. If you don't mind a bit of EQ than I believe you will find them a solid choice for mid-tier IEM.

    Thanks for reading.
      d marc0 likes this.
  2. ryanjsoo
    Campfire Lyra II Review – Dulcet Symphony
    Written by ryanjsoo
    Published Nov 28, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Balanced take on a warm, smooth tone, great dynamics and extension, Excellent build and ergonomics, Well-detailed
    Cons - Full-bodied sound won't suit everyone, Tip dependent fit, Not immediately revealing
    Introduction –

    Campfire have very quickly achieved mass popularity on account of their exceptional flagship earphones and unique designs realised through flawless manufacturing; something that extends even to their most affordable Orion. And like so many others, I hold their Andromeda and Vega in high regard, both are incredibly well-executed flagship earphones with distinct tonalities. However, Campfire’s midrange models aren’t quite so discussed and it brings me greater joy as a reviewer to evaluate these less coveted offerings that get overshadowed by the all alluring flagships and widely accessible budget models. The Lyra II perhaps best suits this description, at the time of writing, there are just 4 photos of the Lyra on Instagram and a mere handful of full reviews on the net. However, though sitting at the base of Campfire’s 3 dynamic driver offerings, the Lyra II is still not to be underestimated and its $699 USD asking price justifies Campfire’s confidence in its performance relative to the greater market. Let’s see how the Lyra II performs.



    Disclaimer –

    I would like to thank JD from Campfire Audio very much for his quick communication and for providing me with the Lyra II for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.



    Accessories –

    [​IMG]

    The Lyra II comes packaged within a bold red box that contrasts to the blue boxes of their balanced armature based models. Upon opening the box, users are greeted by Campfire’s terrific zippered leather case with faux shearling interior that is both protective and luxurious.

    [​IMG]

    Just inside lies the earphones themselves individually draped to prevent scratches during transit. Campfire include 3 pairs of foam tips, 3 pairs of silicone tips and 3 pairs of authentic spinfits with every earphone. They also provide some warranty papers and a decorative pin.

    [​IMG]

    It’s a nice package that offers buyers plenty of fit flexibility and Campfire’s signature case remains one of the best solutions on the market. I would like to see some Comply foam tips in future though the included tips are all of pleasing quality.



    Design –

    It doesn’t take long to appreciate the meticulous detail that went into the production of the Lyra II. The experience will be very familiar to Dorado or Vega users and smaller eared listeners will find a more agreeable experience here than with Campfire’s BA earphones.

    [​IMG]

    The Lyra II is very compact and smoothly formed, promoting an ergonomic fit. Utilizing liquid alloy, the housings feel almost impervious to any kind of stress and the finish is excellent with perfectly joined halves and a tasteful satin purple colour scheme that doesn’t draw attention in public. The plastic nozzles form a continuation of the protruding housings lending them towards a deep fit depth and a small ridge reliably holds tips.

    [​IMG]

    During wear, the earphones continue to impress, their small housings enabling minimal ear contact and excellent long-term comfort during my 2 months of testing. Due to their smaller size, they don’t lock into the ear quite like the BA Campfires but achieve excellent stability through fit depth and an over-ear fit. The Lyra II stay put perfectly during a recent 6km run and posed no issues during daily commute. Some driver flex was present but it is far less prevalent than on the Polaris and hasn’t caused any noticeable degradation.

    [​IMG]

    The earphones do have a small top-mounted vent but isolation remains very impressive with minimal wind noise when outside. Combined with their fit depth and when equipped with a pair of Comply foams, the Lyra II isolates almost as much as Campfire’s sealed armature earphones, putting them among the most attenuating earphones on the market. This makes them perfect for travel and public transport.

    [​IMG]

    The Lyra II utilizes a removable MMCX cable with custom beryllium copper connectors that promise to vastly increase longevity. In use, the connectors are solid with even tension and devoid of intermittency or wobble. Campfire’s silver plated Litz cable is also excellent, easily among the best manufacturer included units on the market. The cable has a typical round 4-conductor braid with smooth, supple sheathing that makes the wire both tangle resistant and super compliant. All terminations are well relieved, especially the beefy right angle jack, this is a fantastic cable.



    Sound –

    The Lyra II implements a single dynamic driver with an 8.5mm Beryllium PVD Diaphragm. In a world where driver count is pushing into the double digits, that specification might seem scant on paper but provides tremendous ability in real-world listening. I’ve had the Lyra II for about 2 months as of this review, during which it has received over 200 hours of burn-in. I did not note huge changes, the Lyra II was very pleasing out of the box with perhaps a slightly smoother and more coherent tone over time. As always, Campfire’s excellent SPC Litz wire delivers pleasing clarity and separation through cleaner bass tones and greater high-frequency extension. Buyers should not feel the need to excessively burn-in and cable swap, the Litz offers great synergy with the Lyra II’s warmer voicing.



    Tonality –

    The Lyra II is a warm, smooth earphone with a hint of additional treble energy creating a u-shaped tone. That said, subtle deviations tastefully enhance presence and clarity so the earphones sound quite balanced. Bass is full and fleshed out with lifted sub and mid-bass leaving the midrange slightly recessed and warmed. A progressive rise in emphasis within the upper mids imbues the Lyra II’s sound with a little extra energy, forming a smooth transition into their slightly enhanced treble. This may sound similar to Campfire’s Polaris, both earphones carry a u/v-shaped tone, but both are also very different in their approach, the Lyra II being warmer and more balanced, the Polaris clearer and more engaging.

    [​IMG]

    I found Comply foam tips to offer great synergy, toning down the earphone’s lower treble and evening out their tone. The Lyra II, though not an aggressive earphone in the grand scheme of things, can sound a little forward in the highs with wide bore silicone tips on certain tracks. That said, JVC Spiral dots do improve midrange resolution and bass is perceptibly tighter. As with anything, it will come down to preference. Since I prefer a brighter sound, I paired them with MS Spiral dots.



    Bass –

    The Lyra II’s low end is defined by boosted but linear bass that serves up thick, visceral notes with authority. Extension is instantly gratifying, decimating armature in-ears and competing very well with higher priced dynamics such as the venerable ie800. Sub-bass rumble is clear and controlled, well-avoiding muddiness, and a slight focus on mid-bass grants notes with a full-bodied tone that represents a step up in balance from similar earphones like the Cardas A8. They still don’t offer the most articulate, agile bass response I’ve heard, the ie800 outpaces them on complex tracks and the higher-end Dorado and Vega both deliver appreciably more control and definition, but the Lyra II provides a nice progression over the majority of in-ears sitting around the $500 price point.

    This style of tuning does create some bloat however, the Lyra II retains plenty of detail due to surprisingly great bass control. Moreover, similarly lifted sub and mid-bass creates a clearly more linear tone than earphones like the Polaris and ie800, benefitting bass definition, and the low-end of the Lyra II sounds very detailed with retrieval equivalent to most armature sets. Their linearity also grants each note with accurate texture and instrument timbre is well represented if warm when compared to leaner and more sculpted in-ears. So despite their emphasis, bass is tight and controlled, infusing the Lyra II’s sound with body and scale without leaning towards bloat or muddiness; this is a hyper-engaging low-frequency response that thoroughly impresses with its quality and doesn’t overstep any boundaries in its tuning.



    Mids –

    Though bass is the focus of the Lyra II in quantity, its midrange isn’t overshadowed in quantity or quality. This starts with a slightly darker tonal tilt that delivers a lusciously smooth, rich and natural presentation without the veil or muddiness usually associated with this style of tuning. Due to their overall balance, no bass spill is present, lower mids are only mildly warmed and male vocals are well-placed just slightly behind the Lyra’s boosted mid-bass. Upper mids are less present but have a steady rise towards lower treble that enhances clarity over neutral. Through this presentation, midrange elements never become overwhelmed by their grandiose bass response and the progressive nature of this emphasis retains very natural midrange voicing. Transparency does suffer due to their warmer, full-bodied tone, but male and female vocals are realistic and well-present, their added body counteracting the usual thin, raspy presentation that comes with the vast majority of clarity boosted in-ears.

    Instruments such as acoustic are also enriched by the Lyra II’s clarity and heightened lower treble enables crisp detail presentation. This is reinforced by impressive resolution, vocals sound immediate and layering is clearly defined. The Lyra II sounds lush yet clear, their smoothness set to delightful resolving power. Once again, linearity is key and the Lyra II’s smoothly sculpted tone reveals impressive background detail and intimacy within an inherently mid-recessed tonality. As such, these subtle deviations form a midrange response that is balanced enough to serve almost any genre and dynamic enough to invigorate poorly mastered albums. The Lyra II’s midrange impresses not only through its technical aspects but through a very fine balance of tonal forces.



    Treble –

    Campfire have approached the high-frequency tuning of the Lyra II with clear focus and maturity. The Lyra II doesn’t offer the most explicitly revealing tonality but it employs a small lower-treble lift to balance out its warm low-end and does so with exceptional refinement. Lower treble doesn’t have a narrow band spike nor does treble get uneven, instead feeding smoothly from the upper midrange. Their smoothly sculpted nature enables realistic instrument timbre and the Lyra II’s smooth nature doesn’t come at the cost of either clarity or detail. I also have to reinforce that smooth descriptors should not detract from the fact that this is a resolving earphone up top even if middle and upper treble clarity doesn’t excel. Elements don’t sound overemphasized rather, the Lyra II sounds a little crisper with cymbals and guitars at the cost of a little body, cymbals can sound slightly thin but never to the extent that they present as splashy.

    The earphones more reserved middle and upper treble form a well-integrated continuation of their elevated lower treble leaving higher elements such as strings smooth and refined with splendid texturing. Through this, the Lyra II doesn’t fatigue nor do they exacerbate sibilance but air and shimmer can sound slightly sedate. That said, actual extension is impressive, aiding instrument separation and placement, and the Lyra II delivers notes with excellent cohesion when things get complex. The TAEC sporting Dorado, Jupiter and Andromeda still hold a notable advantage in resolving power and extension, but the Lyra II’s smooth tuning and well-integrated presence zones culminate to produce a high-frequency response that is both resolving and musical. The Lyra II executes the typical energetic lower-treble response that many have come to love in an atypically refined fashion.



    Soundstage, Imaging and Separation –

    [​IMG]

    A wide stage can bring great satisfaction and is often employed as a marketing term for many earphones. However, depth adds an extra dimension to the music and it’s with this that the Lyra II excels. Width is still impressive, stretching just beyond the periphery of the head though again, the more extended Campfire’s sound more multi-dimensional yet. Still, the Lyra II has one of the larger presentations I’ve heard, especially for a compact, warm and well-isolating dynamic driver in-ear, all traits that would insinuate a more intimate presentation. This is the greatest testament to the Lyra II’s technical ability which enables greater vocal projection and resolution of layers and background details than competing earphones of similar tonality. Moreover, centre image is strong and imaging is very impressive on account of their great end to end extension and technical prowess. They don’t touch the armature based Jupiter, favouring natural decay and timbre over agility and raw immediacy, but among similarly priced dynamic drivers and even hybrids, the Lyra II is a very strong performer. Separation is also good but not outstanding, highs are nicely separated and their midrange is surprisingly layered considering their warmth, but bass can get a little busy due to their thicker tuning. The Lyra II ultimately errs on the side of smoothness and integration over vividness.



    Drivability –

    With a modest 103dB sensitivity and 17ohm impedance, the Lyra II is easily driven to volume by portable sources. It is notably hiss resistant, far more so than most armature sets and doesn’t differ much from sources of varying output impedance. That said, the Lyra II scales nicely with plenty of resolution to take advantage of higher end sources. I preferred to run them from a more neutrally tuned source like the X7 II though the Lyra II is balanced enough to pair with a musical source like the Shozy Alien+ too, I wouldn’t consider them to be overly source dependent. From my X7 II, the Lyra II sounded notably tighter and more defined with greater balance throughout. My HTC U11 served the earphones just find but deficiencies were present with notably looser bass and thinner, slightly more unnatural mids. A good smartphone will drive the Lyra II well, they don’t thrive on amplification but benefit from a resolving source.



    Comparisons –

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    Cardas A8 30th Anniversay ($350): The Cardas’ metal build is as magnificent as the Lyra II’s liquid alloy construction, but its brass construction feels even sturdier. It also isolates brilliantly but unfortunately, the cable is fully fixed and its cable-down fit makes it prone to microphonic noise. In listening, the A8 and Lyra II also draw many parallels, both are warm, full-bodied yet linear earphones with enhanced upper midrange clarity. Bass is similar on both in tone, the Lyra II is a little more linear, faster and more defined while the A8 serves up notably more visceral sub-bass, both have absolutely awesome extension for in-ears. Due to its greater balance, mids are notably cleaner and clearer on the Lyra II, where the A8 can sound somewhat veiled and dry by comparison.

    Both sound clearer within the upper midrange but the A8 is more vocal recessed while the Lyra II is notably more realistic and resolving. Treble is the largest differentiator, the Lyra II is notably more extended, open and detailed. The A8 sounds rolled off and thin, clearly lacking the extension and resolution of the Lyra II. However, this does somewhat benefit the A8 when it comes to soundstage size, the A8 has more width and almost as much depth as the Lyra II if at the cost of separation and imaging. I still think the Cardas is a terrific earphone for the money, offering a lot of the experience of the Lyra II for half the price, but the Lyra II easily justifies the price increase in performance and ergonomics.

    Flares Pro ($550-600): The Flares Pro is characterized by distinct brushed titanium housings whose small size doesn’t compromise solidity in the hand. They have excellent comfort and isolation due to their minute dimensions but can be prone to some stability issues with the wrong tips. Their cable is is removable at the y-split enabling users to connect an included Bluetooth module, I should note that Flare’s particular wireless implementation is the best I’ve come across by far. The Pro pursues a V-shaped tone in the same vein as the Sennheiser ie800 with enhanced clarity and a large middle treble boost. Bass is similar in tone, the Flare is cleaner, tighter and quicker with faster decay but it is slightly more reserved in its presentation. Mids are a little brighter on the Pro, with more neutral body and enhanced clarity. It is the more revealing earphone but some harshness and sibilance is present due to their lifted treble.

    The Lyra II is a bit warmer and more natural but both find a nice balance between musicality and neutrality, they just sit on the opposite sides of the dark/bright spectrum. Treble is the Flare’s downfall, it extends very well and is incredibly detailed but timbre is way off, it sounds even more artificial than the ie800 but is similarly resolving at a lower price. The Lyra II is almost as detailed but sounds a lot smoother and more natural. Those looking for the most absolutely resolving earphone around this price, will no doubt find a lot to like with the Flares Pro, it has a super clean, crisp sound with great agility. The Lyra II is more weighted and considerably more realistic but also a little less defined within the lower frequencies and not quite as technically apt within the higher frequencies.

    Dunu DK-3001 ($550): The DK-3001 has an incredibly solid stainless steel build undermined by a strangely designed cable and internal ridge that wears on the ear during longer listening. The Lyra II is more compact and far smoother with a large comfort and isolation advantage. The Dunu offers a sound that draws more parallels with the Polaris than Lyra II and lies in between the two in terms of overall balance, the Lyra II being the most balanced, the Polaris least so. It too is a u-shaped earphone though one that focusses more on deep-bass with a considerably cleaner lower-midrange than the Lyra II. Bass is a little less defined and dynamic than the Lyra on account of its less linear tuning though texturing is still very good. The Dunu has a markedly clearer midrange though vocals have more presence and body than the Polaris. As a result, it sounds more natural though still very slightly thin and raspy in the grand scheme of things.

    The Lyra II offers quite the opposite with a warmer lower midrange and a less coloured, smoother upper midrange, it is less revealing but richer and more natural. That said, the difference between the two isn’t great enough to make the Lyra sound explicitly veiled or over-warmed by comparison as it can from the even more vivid Polaris. Treble is similar in approach but far different in listening, the Dunu is slightly more detailed and extends further, it is markedly more open sounding and far airier but can sound a little crunchy on complex tracks. On the contrary, the Lyra II is smoother and more refined while retaining a lot of detail. Both have excellent stages, the Dunu separates better on account of its extension and clarity though the Lyra II images better in general, both extend beyond the periphery of the head in size. The Dunu really is an outstanding earphone that I appreciate more and more with time though its awkward ergonomics really detract from the experience, and it isn’t as well-rounded as the Lyra II as a result.

    Sennheiser ie800 ($599-899): The ie800 has even smaller housings made from a very tough ceramic. Both are comfortable, the ie800 has a more traditional cable down albeit shallow fit that isn’t nearly as stable and isolating as the Lyra II. In listening, the ie800 is markedly more v-shaped with a vastly more prominent high-end. The Lyra II has fuller bass while the ie800’s focus lies mostly within the sub-bass frequencies with less relative mid and upper bass. The ie800 is quicker but its sculpted nature means it can miss some details while the Lyra II’s more linear response is more resolving within the lower frequencies. Mids are brighter than the Lyra II by a fair margin, the ie800 has far greater clarity, slightly higher resolution and better separation but lacks the natural body and timbre of the Lyra II.

    Highs also sparkle far more on the Senn and extensions stretches further into the highest registers. The ie800 has noticeably more air and shimmer though treble also sounds a lot more artificial than the Lyra II and detail retrieval ends up being similar on both due to a somewhat narrow peak on the Senn. The ie800 has an advantage when it comes to soundstage space due to its shallow, vented design, it also images well due to its faster sound though the Lyra II is more linear and accurate overall. This is certainly an interesting comparison, the ie800 is technically superior in many aspects but its bright tone with somewhat artificial timbre won’t be to everyone’s liking nor its questionable fit stability. The Lyra II ends up being the more versatile in-ear despite being less resolving though lovers of absolute clarity will love the Sennheiser.

    Campfire Polaris ($599): The Polaris utilises the larger BA Campfire shell with sharper edges. That said, both were perfectly comfortable for me though the Lyra II isolates a bit more if you’re a frequent traveller. Both sit on the more musical, engaging side of neutral, the Lyra II is warmer and smoother while the Polaris is more v-shaped with greater clarity. The Polaris is bassier with a larger mid-bass hump while the Lyra II is thicker and more linear. Both have great definition, the Lyra is more textured, the Polaris is a little more agile. The Lyra II’s fuller bass produces a warmer midrange while the Polaris has a small dip into the midrange, making it sound more sculpted but also a lot clearer.

    The Polaris is notably more vibrant and brighter within its midrange and treble, while the Lyra II sounds more realistic and natural. The Polaris’ treble is more aggressively detailed with a considerable bump in treble energy though the Lyra II is more linear, detailed and natural. Its greater midrange and treble body make it the more nuanced earphone though it doesn’t brings details to the fore like the Polaris. The Lyra II has better treble extension and resolution of background details, the Polaris has better separation while the Lyra impresses with greater stage depth and imaging. This comparison represents how two theoretically v-shaped earphones can sound completely different, the Lyra II has a little more technical ability though the Polaris is more orthodox in its tuning. Through this setup, Campfire provide buyers with two distinct flavours of V, smart move.

    Campfire Jupiter ($799): The Jupiter shares the same shell as the Polaris but with a full Cerakote finish that makes it incredibly scratch resistant. As such, the Lyra II holds the same size and comfort advantage over the Jupiter though, being fully sealed, the Jupiter isolates the most of the bunch. Sonically, the Jupiter and Lyra II actually share quite a few similarities, both are warmer, fuller sounding earphones though the Jupiter represents a few step up in resolving power and balance at the cost of dynamics and bass extension. The Lyra II is bassier and a little more sculpted while the Jupiter, though warm and full, is even more linear throughout. The Lyra II has far more sub-bass slam and notably more visceral bass in general while the Jupiter is a lot faster and tighter with greater definition.

    The Jupiter has a more resolving high-end, mids have higher resolution and greater balance though the Lyra II has a touch more clarity that better flatters older recordings. Treble is better extended on the Jupiter and more even in tuning, the Lyra II’s added lower-treble aggression enhances detail presentation but saps body and texture. The Jupiter on the other hand, is incredibly linear with a sizeable resolution increase on top. It has greater treble body, detail and texture and is more even into the very highest frequencies. The Jupiter’s extension grants it with a rather grand presentation for a fully sealed in-ear and its lightning fast transience and resolution grant it with razor sharp imaging. The Lyra II actually has a little more depth and separation but doesn’t image quite like the Campfire’s higher-end BA earphone.

    Campfire Dorado ($999): The Dorado has the exact same housing as the Lyra II but employs a longer stem due to its hybrid design that places the two armature drivers in the nozzle. Both otherwise offer a very similar experience with concrete build and ergonomics. Sonically, the two differ quite a bit but still retain a similar style of tuning and voicing. The Dorado is immediately bassier and more V-shaped. It has bigger mid-bass but simultaneously offers greater bass control and speed. Mids are more recessed but have more neutral body and greater transparency as a result. It’s still full-bodied and slightly warm within the lower midrange but the Dorado is generally more resolving with clearer layering and background detail. This is because the Dorado is more even throughout its midrange and treble, lacking the upper midrange rise of the Lyra II.

    This can make them sound a little more laid-back within the midrange but what they give up in clarity, they gain in resolution and detail. Treble is also more detailed and quite linear with better extension, benefiting separation and space. The Dorado still lies more on the side of musicality and smoothness, it sounds cleaner and more neutral compared to the warmer Lyra II and is more revealing as a result. Their more extended treble and cleaner midrange really aid resolving power without the sculpting of the Lyra II and the Dorado sounds more consistent between tracks and genres. It represents a step up from the Lyra II in linearity and dynamics and a step down in balance.



    Verdict –

    The Lyra II very much suffers from sub-flagship syndrome, constantly being compared to the Andromeda and Vega when it was never intended to compete with them. Its $700 asking price also puts it in a strange spot, there aren’t too many competitors at this price but the Lyra does risk becoming undercut by competitors lying closer to $500-600. That said, longer-term testing reveals that Campfire have created an incredibly well-rounded earphone that justifies its high cost. From the gorgeous liquid formed housings to ALO’s supple Litz wire, the Lyra II is the embodiment of premium design. This extends to their fit that is both isolating and stable, something that many competing dynamic driver models don’t achieve.

    [​IMG]

    Sonically, the Lyra II is also an oddity, serving music through warm lows and smooth highs. They’re an enchanting extension of the smooth, warm tonality augmented by layer upon layer of nuance and detail, very few earphones in this price range carry such a rich, natural sound. And compared to brighter competitors, the Lyra II can sound a little lacklustre but make no mistake, there is copious resolving power sparkling beneath their almost analogue warmth. Of course, the Lyra II is not without its faults, their long nozzles make tip choice very specific, their sound isn’t particularly agile and treble extension isn’t absolute, but their many strengths culminate to provide a complete experience, something that isn’t common and something that doesn’t come cheap.

    Verdict – 8.5/10, In a world of triple-digit earphones, the Lyra II offers a slightly scaled down experience at a vastly scaled down price. Because no particular element stands out rather, they all come together with great coherence and refinement with minimal compromise. The Lyra II isn’t analytical or neutral, but its cosy yet deceptively nuanced tones will be sure to delight.

    Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed my review, please see my website for more just like it:

    https://everydaylistening.net/2017/11/21/campfire-lyra-ii-review-dulcet-symphony/
      DAVID_54, crabdog, RyanM and 3 others like this.
  3. Brooko
    Campfire Lyra II - Quality Warmer Signature
    Written by Brooko
    Published Oct 23, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Build quality, sound quality, fit, comfort, high quality cable
    Cons - 7 kHz spike can occasionally be peaky
    [​IMG]
    Picture are default 1200 x 800 resolution - click (photos in tables) to view larger images.

    INTRODUCTION

    I think by now, most people on Head-Fi will know who Campfire Audio is. They've released a range of IEM's which have become incredibly popular in the comparatively short time Campfire has been in the earphone game. I've been pretty lucky to be included in the Australasian tours organised by Ken Ball and our own d marc0, and for the most part have come away thoroughly impressed with the products they have delivered (the Jupiter being the exception). Ken has continued to update the range, and I've reviewed them when the opportunity has presented itself.

    I first reviewed the Lyra back in June 2016, and whilst it did not fit my sonic preference, I was impressed with the overall signature and the package offered by Campfire. So here we are a year and a bit later – and Ken has released an updated version – the Lyra II. So what has changed , and are the changes cosmetic or real improvements. Read on to get my thoughts.


    ABOUT CAMPFIRE AUDIO

    Campfire Audio is a partner company or off-shoot to ALO Audio, and is run by ALO's CEO and founder Ken Ball, and a small team of like-minded enthusiasts and engineers. Ken of course is the CEO and founder of ALO Audio (2006) and ALO is very well known for creating high quality audio components – including cables, amplifiers and all manner of other audio equipment. Ken founded Campfire Audio in 2015 – with a vision of creating extremely high quality earphones with excellence in design, materials and of course sound quality.

    I've been privileged to not only have the chance to review some of their range, but also conduct direct discussions with Ken himself, and this culminated in Ken assisting me to recalibrate my own measurement gear so that it could more accurately reflect an IEC711 standard of measurement. The thing I have been incredibly impressed with in my dealings with Ken and Campfire is their absolute passion for sound and commitment to quality and service.


    DISCLAIMER

    The Lyra II earphone that I’m reviewing today was provided as a tour review sample – organised vis Ken Ball and d marc0. They have asked me for my subjective opinion and feedback, with no restrictions or caveats. I do not make any financial gain from this review – it is has been written simply as my way of providing feedback both to the Head-Fi community and also Campfire Audio. The Lyra II will be returned at the completion of this review. Campfire also provided the Lyra 1 (original) so I could perform side-by-side comparisons.

    I have now had the Lyra II for almost 3 weeks. The retail price at time of review ~USD 699.

    PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'. (or a base-line for interpreting my thoughts and bias)

    I'm a 50 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile – I just love my music. Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up. I vary my listening from portables (mostly now from the FiiO X5iii, X7ii and iPhone SE) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > USB > iFi iDSD). My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Sennheiser HD800S, Sennheiser HD600 & HD630VB, MS Pro and AKG K553. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs, and it has mainly been with my own personally owned IEMs - the Jays q-Jays, Alclair Curve2 and LZ Big Dipper. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).

    I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock. I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock. I am particularly fond of female vocals. I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences. I am not overly treble sensitive, and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880. I have a specific sensitivity to the 2-3 kHz frequency area (most humans do) but my sensitivity is particularly strong, and I tend to like a relatively flat mid-range with slight elevation in the upper-mids around this area.


    I have extensively tested myself (ABX) and I find aac256 or higher to be completely transparent. I do use exclusively red-book 16/44.1 if space is not an issue. All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line). I tend to be skeptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables (unless it was volume or impedance related), and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences. I am not a ‘golden eared listener’. I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 50, my hearing is less than perfect (it only extends to around 14 kHz nowadays). My usual listening level is around 65-75 dB.

    For the purposes of this review - I used the Campfire Lyra II from various sources at my disposal – both straight from the headphone-out socket, and also with further amplification. In the time I have spent with the Lyra II, I have personally noticed no change to the overall sonic presentation.

    This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.


    THE REVIEW

    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES

    The Lyra II arrived in the distinctive Campfire 122 x 81 x 54 mm cardboard retail hinged lid box. This time the box is a reddish/crimson colour and continues with the galaxy type theme. The top (lid) simply has the word Lyra II and a short description, and the front face has a picture of the Lyra II.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Lyra II boxAll the accessoriesTip selection

    The total accessory package includes:
    • 1 pair Lyra II IEMs
    • 3.5mm SPC Litz MMCX stereo cable
    • Leather zippered carry case
    • IEM cleaning tool
    • 3 sets of silicone ear tips (S M L)
    • 3 sets of Crystal foam tips (S M L)
    • 4 sets of Spinfit tips
    • Campfire Audio logo clothing button / pin
    • Campfire’s fold-out user manual
    • Campfire’s warranty card
    • 2 x velcro cable ties
    • 2 small red “individual IEM bags”
    The Campfire Audio carry case is very sturdy, but more “jacket or bag pocketable” than trousers. It measures approx. 115 x 75 x 45 mm and is zipped on 3 sides. When opened it reveals a softer fabric interior which will definitely protect and preserve your IEMs. The exterior is quite strong, and also pretty rigid. You also get two red “baggies” with drawstrings, and these are for housing each IEM to stop them knocking together (if you are really particular about your IEMs).

    All in all it is a very well put together package, and I applaud Campfire for taking on some comments from the earlier versions (the extra foam tips are a nice touch – as are the Spinfits).


    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
    ModelCampfire Audio Lyra II
    Approx price$699 USD
    TypeSingle Dynamic Driver IEM
    Driver8.5mm Beryllium PVD diaphragm
    Freq Range5Hz – 22kHz
    Impedance17Ω
    Sensitivity103 dB/mW
    Cable ConnectionStandard MMCX
    Cable Type (SE)~1.25m, SPC Litz
    Jack3.5mm gold plated single ended, right angled
    Weight (Lyra II + cable + tips)~26g
    Casing materialLiquid alloy metal


    FREQUENCY GRAPH

    The graph below is generated using the Vibro Veritas coupler and ARTA software. Ken Ball (ALO/Campfire) graciously provided me with measurement data which I have used to recalibrate my Veritas so that it mimics an IEC 711 measurement standard (Ken uses two separate BK ear simulators, we measured the same set of IEMs, and I built my calibration curve from shared data). I do not claim that this data is 100% accurate, but it is very consistent, and is as close as I can get to the IEC 711 standard on my budget. I suspect it is slightly down at around 9-10 kHz, but seems reasonably accurate through the rest of the spectrum.

    I do not claim that the measurements are in any way more accurate than anyone else's, but they have been proven to be consistent and I think they should be enough to give a reasonable idea of response - especially if you've followed any of my other reviews. When measuring I usually always use crystal foam tips (so medium bore opening) - and the reason I use them is for very consistent seal and placement depth in the coupler. I use the same amp (E11K) for all my measurements - and output is under 1 ohm.

    Any graphs are provided merely as a point of discussion, and later in the review I've included comparisons to other IEMs for similar reference.

    The first graph is the Lyra I, the second graph is the Lyra II, and the third graph is the Lyra 1 and Lyra II super-imposed over each other (both taken with same rig under same conditions, and volume matched).


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Lyra II freq chartLyra I freq chartLyra II and Lyra I

    The Lyra II is what I would call a quite well balanced monitor with a U or V shape (elevated bass and lower treble). The bass has fantastic extension and mid and sub-bass hump which really does add warmth and impact. The mid-range has some recession relative to both bass and upper mid-range (and lower treble), but doesn't sound overly diffuse or distant.

    Upper mid-range has a slow rise to a natural peak at 2 kHz, and displays very good cohesion between lower and upper mid-range with no dissonance or tonality issues. Lower treble shows excellent extension, and is accentuated compared to the mid-range. They have a narrow peak at 7 kHz, but its not as noticeable as on other monitors, mainly because of the added bass quantity.

    Overall I’d say that the Lyra II has a warm and smooth frequency response, with some heat in the top end (particularly with cymbal fundamentals), and has good overall balance. The bass on these is definitely north of neutral, but at the same time there is enough balance through the mid-range, and upper end detail boost in the lower treble to sound very coherent.

    As you can see from the graphs the drivers are matched almost perfectly (and some of the differences shown in my measurements are likely to be minor differences in seating each ear piece). They are practically identical. When Ken says his team hand-pick and match the drivers, it isn’t just “marketing speak”.


    BUILD AND DESIGN

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    First look at the Lyra IIExternal faceInternal face and nozzles

    The Lyra uses a ultra high density liquid alloy shell. This material was used because it had similar properties to the Lyra I, and as an acoustic chamber it continues to minimise vibrations, and allows an extended higher frequency range and natural tonality. The shell this time is finished with a “dusk” PVD coating, which provides a long lasting finish and should minimise marks and scratches.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    From the frontFrom the rearNozzles and vent

    The Lyra II measures approximately 20mm in length, 14mm in height and has a depth of approx. 20mm (including the nozzle). The actual main body is around 7mm thick. The nozzle itself is angled slightly forward and slightly up when worn, extends approx. 12mm from the main body (domed housing area and nozzle), and has an external diameter of 6mm. The shape is very ergonomic, and the Lyra is designed to be used with the cable over ear. The IEM shell is 3 pieces in total – nozzle, shell and back plate, but the seams are very smooth. There are L/R marking on the inside of both ear pieces and the Campfire logo is also discretely engraved on the outer face. There is a small vent or port adjacent to the cable exit on each ear-piece. The finish is a subtle dark gray matte. Internally the driver for the Lyra II is a custom 8.5mm beryllium PVD diaphragm transducer.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Lyra I vs Lyra IILyra I vs Lyra IILyra I vs Lyra II

    At the top of the shell is a beryllium coated copper MMCX connector, and when used with the supplied SPC ALO Litz cable, the connection is made with a very reassuring click. The cables do rotate in their sockets, but the connection itself is very robust. Unfortunately this is one of those things that only time can be the judge of – but the craftsmanship and material used seem to indicate longevity (to me anyway).

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Copper & beryllium connectorsY-split and cinch3.5mm jack

    The cable is ALO’s “SPC Litz” which is high purity sliver-plated copper wire encased in a very flexible medical grade PVC jacket. The male MMCX connector is again beryllium coated, fits very snugly, and has either a blue or red dot on the connector to indicate L/R. There is a 70mm length of memory wire for over-ear wear, and I’ve found this very malleable, but also holds its shape very well. The cable is approximately 1.25m long, and consists of two twisted pairs above the Y split which continue as a twisted quad right through to the jack. The Y split is small and light and houses an in-built cinch which works really well. The jack is 3.5mm, right angled, and has clear rubber housing. Strain relief is excellent. The jack will also fit my iPhone SE with case in place.

    FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION
    Fit for me is fantastic – the shells are very ergonomic in shape, and this includes the angle of the nozzles and also the placement of the cable exits. The shells (when fitted) do not extend outside my outer ear, and I would have no issues lying down with the Lyra II. The memory wire is also really well implemented here so that snugging the wires properly is easy. The fit is usually shallow with ergonomic shells, but with the rounded internal edges, I have no issues getting a pretty good seal by simply pushing the earpieces in a little better.

    And speaking of tips – those who’ve read my reviews will know that I have one ear canal slightly different to the other one (my right is very slightly smaller) - so I tend to find that usually single silicon flanges don't fit overly well. This is often even more of an issue with shallow fitting IEMs. My go to in these circumstances is a pair of stretched large Shure Olives, and they quickly became my default.

    Sony Isolation tips also gave instant seal and brilliant results – but I had to be careful about some vacuum issues with any change of pressure. I also fit and had great success with Ostry’s blue and black tuning tips, Spin-fits, and Spiral Dots. The lip on the Lyra II is fantastic for every tip I tried and I credit the reason for a lot of the success with the tips I tried to the angle of the nozzle. It isn’t just good – it is perfect.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Almost every tip fitComply or Shure Olives were my preferencePerfect fit and great comfort


    SOUND QUALITY

    The following is what I hear from the Campfire Audio Lyra II. YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline). Most of the testing at this point (unless otherwise stated) was done with my FiiO X7ii (AM3A module) and large Shure Olives. For the record – on most tracks, the volume level on the X7ii with the AM3A single ended was 50/120 on low gain which was giving me an SPL range of around 65-75 dB.

    Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and most can be viewed in this list http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks.17556. There was no DSP or EQ engaged.


    Relativities
    • Sub-bass – has really good extension and even at my lower listening levels the rumble is clearly audible, but even though it's elevated, it doesn't sound over-done. The sub bass doesn't dominate with tracks like Lorde's Royals, but does give some impact without overshadowing vocals, and there is no really noticeable bleed (or masking) into the lower mid-range.
    • Mid-bass – has a natural mid-bass hump – providing good impact, and sitting elevated over lower mids and in line with sub-bass, and slightly elevated over the upper mids. Has good impact with tracks like Amy Winehouse's “You know I'm no good” or Feist's “The bad in each other”, but again doesn't dominate, although there is a very definite overall warm tonal slant.
    • Lower mid-range – there is a recession compared to sub and mid-bass, and also the upper mid-range, but does not sound too recessed or distant. Male vocals have very good presence and a nice tonality.
    • Upper mid-range – elevated compared to lower mid-range, and there is a gentle rise from 1 kHz to a first peak at just over 2 kHz. The result is a warm and clear vocal range, with very good cohesion and some euphony for female vocals to sound sweet and elevated.
    • Lower treble has very good extension, and really is quite even and sustained from about 5 kHz through to 10 kHz with just one major peak. This peak is a reasonably large one (7 kHz) which does emphasize cymbals, but because of the increased bass response, there must be some masking going on, because it really doesn't seem uncomfortably hot.
    • My measuring equipment tends to struggle with accuracy over 10 kHz, and its a hit or miss whether I can actually hear it. Upper treble doesn't show any sign of deficiencies to me.
    Resolution / Detail / Clarity
    • Clarity is pretty good despite the warmth of the default frequency response. Cymbals are clear but you don't get a huge amount of natural decay from them.
    • If there is too much bass present in the track, you can lose a bit of upper end detail.
    • Quite clean and clear in the presence area, with good detail around vocals and guitar (as long as there isn't too much bass guitar).
    • No signs of lack of resolution, however some who prefer brighter presentations may find these a little on the smooth side.
    Sound-stage and Imaging
    • Good directional cues, slightly outside the periphery of my head space – so good feeling of width and also of depth.
    • Separation of instruments and imaging is good without being overly clinical.
    • The applause section of “Dante's Prayer” was nicely presented with a realistic of flow around me. AS little more left right than in front or behind.
    • “Let it Rain” was pretty good. The track has a three-dimensional sense of spatial presentation – it is the way the track was miked. Not as good as I've heard it with some other IEMs but definitely pleasant enough to listen to. Sibilance is present - I know it exists in the recording. For me it is slightly more present than in other earphones – could be the 7 kHz peak.
    Sonic Strengths
    • Overall a warm and pleasing tonality with reasonable balance for a U/V shaped default signature.
    • Nice sense of staging as long as the track isn't bass dominant.
    • Both male and female vocals are presented quite naturally.
    • Reasonable detail at lower listening levels.
    Sonic Weaknesses
    • Can be a little bass dominant with heavier bass emphasised tracks (this will come down to preference)
    • While the 7 kHz peak is great for providing a nice amount of detail and clarity, it can get a little sharp with cymbals, and decay suffers a little.
    AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

    The Lyra II is not a hard IEM to drive with its 17 ohm impedance and 103 dB sensitivity. It was easily driven with all the sources I tried, and this included my iPhone SE and players like FiiO's X1ii (neither are power houses). My iPhone SE only needed about 40% of its volume for a comfortable 65-75dB and going over 50% volume was simply to loud for me on most tracks (pushing into the 80-85dB range).

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    practically any source will drive the Lyra II wellNo real need for additional amplifiers

    I also went back and forth (volume matching with test tones and fixed volumes using a few different combos – iPhone SE & FiiO Q1ii, X7ii with A5 and E17K, and X7ii by itself, and did not notice any appreciable difference between amped and straight out of a DAP.

    RESPONSE TO EQ

    Those who know me will likely guess that the Lyra II, while very pleasant tonally, is not my ideal signature. I normally gravitate toward a cooler, clearer signature. I just wanted to use a rough and ready EQ, so my first step was to connect the E17K to the X7ii, and drop the bass by about -4 dB. For me it was an improvement, as was taking the top off the lower treble (-4 treble) which allowed the mid-range to shine a little more. Most people who buy the Lyra II will be happy with the default signature, but its nice to know that it responds really well to some subtle tweaks.

    COMPARISON WITH OTHER IEMS

    Its always a hard one to try and pick earphones to compare with – and the Lyra II was harder because I simply don't have many DD based earphones at this price point, and none really with a similar tonality or default signature.

    In the end I had to simply go with what I had – so chose the Lyra I, HifiMan RE800 and RE2000, Rhapsodio RTi1 (all DDs) and the Big Dipper which is in the same price bracket,but is an all BA set-up.

    For the source, I wanted something very neutral, but with a good digital control, to make sure I could volume match. So I chose to use my new work-horse – the FiiO X7ii. No DSP or EQ was used. Gain was low (I didn't need any more). I volume matched using a calibrated SPL meter and fixed 1kHz test tone first. My listening level was set to an average of 75dB.

    Campfire Audio Lyra II (~USD 699) vs Campfire Audio Lyra I (~USD 749)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Campfire Lyra II and Lyra IFrequency comparisons

    This is the easiest comparison of the lot. When I first received the two (Lyra I and Lyra II) I set them up so I could easily swap between the two and simply listened. They sounded pretty much the same volume but there appeared to be some minor differences between the two. I then took an SPL meter, and sure enough, the volume was slightly (but measurably) different. I next volume matched and the differences seemed to disappear. As a final step I used one ear-piece from each ear-phone, and used the channel balancing feature on the X7ii to get both earpieces at close enough volume to essentially be undetectable. Then I listened again. Perfect stereo image. Once I measured them with the Veritas, what I suspected was confirmed. The Lyra I and Lyra II (despite what some other reviewers have said) sound exactly the same once volume matched (or at least they do to me).

    Physically they are also same shape, same dimensions, and I'm betting have same acoustic chamber internally. The difference is really the gloss black ceramic vs the mat dark gray alloy, and the very slight difference in sensitivity. The Lyra I also comes with the tinsel wire cable, while the Lyra II comes with the (IMO) more pliable and easier to manage Litz Cable. The Lyra II is also $50 cheaper.

    So what does this mean? If you already have the Lyra I and you want a similar experience to the Lyra II – simply buy the Litz cable. There is no upgrade path here. And if you don't have a Lyra and want to buy one – go the Lyra II. You'll get the same great sound, but with a better cable and slightly cheaper.


    Campfire Audio Lyra II (~USD 699) vs Rhapsodio RTi1(~USD 550)

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    Campfire Lyra II and Rhapsodio RTi1Frequency comparisons

    These two are both single DDs, both pretty ergonomic, both made of long lasting permanent materials, both a similar price point (RTi1 used to be around the $800 mark), and both have very good quality cables. I like the accessory package on the Lyra II more (better overall selection of tips and other accessories). The actual fit and finish of the Lyra II is better too. The RTi1 almost looks a bit rustic or hand-made, and the Lyra II also provides me better overall fit and comfort

    Sonically both have a warmer than strictly neutral bottom end, and similar presentation in lower mids. The big difference is in the upper mids. The Lyra II has a nice slow rise but no big peak (if anything I'd probably like a tiny nudge more in the presence area), but then a slow roll-off until it comes back stronger in the 7-10 kHz area. The RTi1 comparatively just keeps building, and has an early peak in the 5-6 kHz area. The difference between the two is the RTi1 sounding a lot brighter, but also somewhat hazy and peaky, where the Lyra 2 sounds smoother, more tonally correct and generally warmer overall. My personal preference between the two is for the Lyra II, and I also think it performs better technically.


    Campfire Audio Lyra II (~USD 699) vs HiFiMan RE800 (~USD 699)

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    Campfire Lyra II and HiFiMan RE800Frequency comparisons

    The RE800 is another single DD and is one of the two that HiFiMan released with their new topography driver. In terms of overall build, both are made from permanent materials, and HiFiMan recently announced that they were converting the early prototypes to removable cables. Campfire's build simply looks and feels more sturdy overall though, and it has a better cable (IMO or course). Both are extremely comfortable to wear.

    Sonically the two earphones are quite different. The RE800 is probably a lot closer to reference is you lowered the upper mid-range a little and took out the 7 kHz peak. It is clean, clear, but also a little thin. Upper mids appear a little coloured, and the 7 kHz peak can get “tizzy”. The Lyra II has a lot more bass presence, a much smaller upper-mid bump, and although there is definitely some lower treble emphasis, it is somewhat countered by the bass, and therefore not as noticeable. Again the Lyra II sounds warmer, smoother, and more natural. If EQ'd then both are wonderful earphones and can be easily adapted to suit most preferences. But out of the box, I prefer the Lyra II.


    Campfire Audio Lyra II (~USD 699) vs HiFiMan RE2000 (~USD 2000)

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    Campfire Lyra II and HiFiMan RE2000Frequency comparisons

    Not a fair comparison right? But lets forget price for a minute and just look at two very fine DD earphones. The RE2000 is of course the other earphone that HiFiMan released with their new topography driver, and is their current flagship. In terms of overall build, both are made from permanent materials, and both have pretty good replaceable cables – although I would argue that the Lyra II's cable looks better and I think will prove more durable over time. Both have ergonomic builds, but again the Lyra II has the more comfortable fit and the better external design.

    Comparing the sonic signatures and there is a real variation in signatures here. The bass response is very similar on both with the Lyra II being warmer and having more impact. Lower mids are quite similar, but the real difference again is in the upper mids and lower treble. Where the Lyra II has the small bump at 2 kHz, the RE2000 like the RE800 continues to build, and is actually quite consistent from 2 kHz to 10 kHz with just the odd trough. As a result you get a quite balanced, smooth and detailed earphone – but without the unnatural brightness that was present in the RE800. With the Lyra, the bass warmth is more present, and the tonality is a little smoother and darker – but with that added crispness around cymbals.

    This is actually a tough one to call – as both have their strengths. If I EQ the Lyra's bass back a touch, and trim the 7 kHz peak accordingly, then for my preferences I'd actually take the Lyra over the RE2000 – and especially so when taking into account the overall attributes – including price.


    Campfire Audio Lyra II (~USD 699) vs LZ Big Dipper (~USD 620-860)

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    Campfire Lyra II and LZ Big DipperFrequency comparisons

    This comparison is very different, pitching the Lyra II's dynamic against the 7 BA set-up of the LZ Big Dipper. When I reviewed the Big Dipper, I was so impressed, I approached LZ about buying the review sample (I do this with any sample I want to use purely for personal pleasure) – so I now own it. The Dipper I have has 3 tuning switches so you can change bass, treble and mid-range. My preferred combo is + bass, + mids, - treble.

    Both are made from quality materials – the Dipper is custom made with resin molds (similar to custom ear phones). Both fit incredibly well and are very comfortable, but the Dipper I would class as a sliver better in the comfort stakes. The Lyra II has the better cable overall (aesthetically). The Dipper of course has the ability to be tuned.

    Sonically these two might look similar on the frequency graph, but the bass response is quite different. The Lyra II is quite a bit warmer and also has more impact. The Dipper is more balanced (in terms of overall warmth) and the bass response is a lot quicker. The Dipper also has a lot more presence in the upper mid-range, but has more overall balance between upper mid-range and lower treble. The main area I have some issue with on the Dipper is the 2 kHz peak (it needs to be slightly lower IMO). The Lyra II is overall smoother, richer, but lacks in detail comparatively.

    This comes down to preference – and for me anyway (especially with my love for euphony with female vocals), the Dipper simply provides more options at a similar price point, and basically ticks more boxes for me. Once gain though – both are very good earphones.


    VALUE

    So how do I see the overall value of the Lyra II? $700 is starting to get into the upper echelons of price for an IEM, but the Lyra II has no real flaws, and the overall tuning is intentional, and for something which doesn't really fit my normal preferences, I have found being reacquainted with this earphone really pleasing.

    I wouldn't call the Lyra II a massive bargain at its asking price, but neither would I call it overpriced. I think Campfire have actually priced very fairly for the overall package, and I do think that it is somewhat unique in the earphones I've reviewed. This combination of signature and quality is not abundant in the market.


    CAMPFIRE AUDIO LYRA II – SUMMARY

    The Lyra II is an extremely well built and designed single dynamic driver IEM with a very good ergonomic fit, and is easily the most comfortable of the Campfire IEMs I've personally tried. The cable is also brilliant, and a step-up from the Tinsel cable which was supplied with the original Lyra.

    Sonically the Lyra II has nice overall balance but with a definite emphasis on lower end warmth – somewhat countered by a crisp and clear lower treble presence. To me it is a rich and lush earphone with a little top-end crispness.

    At RRP of $699 the Lyra II represents fair value for the quality you get, and I would recommend them to anyone who really likes this type of signature. For me personally they do not quite fit my overall signature preferences. I can see the appeal though and for anyone who like this type of signature they should definitely be considered. 4.5 stars from me – and that is mainly due to the price point. If these were priced a little lower I'd have no problems giving them a 5 star. Great build, great sound – great IEMs. Slightly better overall value compared to the original Lyra (cheaper price and the Litz cable).

    Once again I’d like to thank Ken and Mark for making this opportunity available.


    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  4. emptymt
    Warm Musicality and Great Improvement over Lyra
    Written by emptymt
    Published Aug 6, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - excellent forward bass, sweet exposing mids, sweet treble that does not get in the way, build quality, nice cables, accessories, comfortable, sounds decent from a phone.
    Cons - Bass can be a bit too forward some times, sibilant vocals on poor materials, slight congestion on busy tracks, it's more expensive brothers are much better.
    Hi everyone, Before I start the review, I would like to thank Campfire Audio for making this awesome IEM.

    This review is made by myself based on my observation and listening pleasure of The Lyra 2 and Lyra (Mostly Lyra 2) for a bit over a month.

    I have no affiliation to Campfire Audio in any way and everything said here are true facts, based on my experience and opinion of course.

    The pricing of Lyra 2 in Australia is 1099 AUD, as for The lyra, I can’t exactly remember but I think its in 800+ range, but no matter as it has been replace by Lyra 2 so the review will be made according to these data.

    I can say outright that both IEMs are quite nice, but to simplify very quickly, I do think that the Lyra 2 Is overall better than Lyra, this will be explored as critically as possible in the review below.

    The Lyra in this model is the second revision, evolution of the lyra’s
    Lyra -> Lyra (2nd revision) -> Lyra II (3rd revision)
    I never heard the first gen so no comments on that one.

    INTRODUCTION (If you read my other review, you can skip this lol)

    I'm an Indonesian working as a Web/PHP Developer in Melbourne, Australia.

    Other than programming/coding, listening to music is another one of my hobby.

    When I start my headphone hobby, music listening has been a very rewarding experience for me and has helped me in many aspects of life other than music enjoyment, although, with the booming price of high end headphones/IEM, it has become a bit of a heavy hit on my wallet >_<.

    Starting from almost 4 years ago I've been a big fan of metal music, and nowadays my everyday music listening always incorporate metal tracks, I guess you can call me a Metalhead although I wouldn’t describe myself as the most extreme head-banging type, I also listen to other genres occasionally, but metal music is my focus.

    I don't actually listen to all kinds of music, for example, Classical music, therefore it is important to understand that this review is based on my observation on the kinds of music I like, and those are mainly:

    - Metal (many type, mainly the extreme one (Death, Doom, Black, Extreme Prog), like 95% off the time)

    - Rock / Metal (mostly Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson, Riverside(rock/metal), Radiohead or something like it)

    - EDM (Mostly trance, uplifting)

    - Jazz (Norah Jones, Diana Krall and the likes)

    - Indonesian Song (it's basically the Indonesian version of pop, guitar used is mostly acoustic guitar, sounds natural and relaxing however, mastering of the song is usually poor, this is good to test how good a headphone/IEM handle poorly recorded material)

    Genre's excluded from my impressions (I never / don't listen to these types of music anymore)

    - Rap

    - Classical

    - Bollywood stuff

    - Reggae

    PACKAGING

    The box is typical Campfire audio, Space themed colored thick carton that enclosed the leather/cloth carrying pouch(depending on your product), with fluffy cushion insides to protect the IEMs.

    Model name is described at the front of the box using stickers, with some little descriptions on it.
    20170730_185512.jpg 20170730_185516.jpg

    STORAGE CASE/POUCH

    Very nice and practical, it has soft/fluffy materials in the interior, to protect the IEMs, I found the protection to be superb, and is quite slick. Some competitor uses hard-case plastic for their products which is bulky and possibly better for protection, but less practical and not as easy to take around (bigger, heavier, etc).

    No complain whatsoever, I prefer this rather than bulky case.
    20170730_185727.jpg 20170730_185735.jpg
    the black one is Lyra II's

    ACCESSORIES

    3.5 SE terminated cable (SPC LITZ cable for Lyra II)

    2 Velcros for cable management.

    Eartips (4 spin fits, 3 silicone, 3 foam)

    2 tiny red pouch (possibly to store the tips once opened)

    CA pins

    IEM cleaning tool

    Storage Case/Pouch

    Documentations

    The treasure box itself

    Warranty card ( Lyra II only )


    BUILD QUALITY, Comfort and Ease of use.

    The IEM itself utilize a single dynamic driver. The driver is made of Beryllium which is a very expensive material, Full size headphone that use beryllium for its driver construction is priced very highly (ehem ehem Utopia), not so for the Lyra II though, I think the pricing is alright. Other than that Beryllium is also toxic for humans, Ken must have put a significant effort in the construction of this IEM and also safety for his staff, and the end result is excellent.

    Quick google research on Beryllium’s negative effects:

    “People who work closely with beryllium as part of their employment have the greatest risk of developing health effects from beryllium. However, people who have had only infrequent exposure to beryllium may still develop health effects. Some individuals develop health effects shortly after exposure, while others may develop health effects many years after exposure has stopped.

    Once a person has been exposed to beryllium, they have a lifelong risk of developing disease even if exposure stops.

    Beryllium usually affects the respiratory system, although it can affect other parts of the body as well. Listed below are different types of illnesses or health effects associated with beryllium.”

    The housing is excellent, Liquid Metal alloy casing that feels premium and more expansive than plastic materials that are used by some competitor, the paint used also feels very high quality, some ergonomics concern of the housing of other models has been addressed here, the new housings has no hard edges, inserting ear-tips is way easier and less bulky ensuring comfort on the ears.

    the one with Thicker Cable is Lyra II

    The cable of the Lyra is still using the thinner cable, while Lyra 2 is using the higher quality one (SPC Litz) albeit being a little shorter(some cost saving measures here), but much less prone to tangling and most likely provide better sound quality and durability.
    I just wish the cable in Lyra 2 to bit a little longer as it can be quite short in some situation, especially for taller people.

    Over the course of the review period, there was 1 day where I hear some ticking noises in the Lyra 2, this could because of many thing, it could be a phone glitch or maybe a driver flex phenomenon as it is using a dynamic driver, Driver flex on dynamic driver IEM’s is a common side effects on Dynamic Driver IEMs, as long as it doesn’t persist, there is nothing to worry about here, in my case the ticking noises disappears the next day, but it’s worth mentioning here.

    Noise Isolation is good despite the existence of the ports, I use it when commuting on a bus and train, it blocks the outside noise nicely, at work people usually tap me in the back to get my attention when working, so I guess that’s saying something.


    SOUND ANALYSIS

    The Signature

    The Lyra 2’s signature according to my ears is on the warm side, but still has some sparkles at the top with slightly forward vocals that is interestingly quite exposing of the source. I feel some dips in the lower treble region compared to the mids and the bass as I found that in some of my metal tracks (The Gallery by Dark Tranquility for example), the guitar sounds a bit pushed back.

    Compared to Lyra 2 the Lyra is more akin to what you find in a warmish IEMS, thick smooth across the range with strong bass performance but can sound veiled but more forgiving if compared directly to Lyra 2, so there are some change to the sound signature here.

    Sound signature based on quantity and focus in Bass, mids and treble:
    Bass -> Mids -> Treble

    The Bass

    The bass sounds big and full, and forward, speed is good although it’s still not as fast as Oher BA driver IEMs in the upper model (Andromeda), bass punch is good but not thundering like the Vega.

    I didn’t detect any significant bleed to the mids(just a little bit perhaps), and is not boomy despite being full and forward in the mix, and makes way for the mids very nicely.

    Details are good, but in my opinion this not the tightest bass that I have heard in the CA line-up and I don’t think that it is designed to be that way, it feels to me that the bass is tuned to please first rather than being accurate, but this works quite well, and for me the details provided is still very good and the bass doesn’t sound dull at all.

    Extension through sub-bass is good, and enough to satisfy, but I think the mid-bass is where it shines, probably due to that dynamic driver, very nice snap with enough thickness but not too much and still allows the snaps to be quite detailed.

    Bass speed is also excellent, but it’s still not as fast as BA driver, not as distinct and coherent for extremely fast blast beats drum, but still good enough to not make it sound diffuse and blurry.

    On Metal and Rock tracks, I feel that the bass instruments positioning is too forward, which is a little unnatural as it sounds a lot closer and fuller to you compared to the other frequencies, but it’s not too bad and actually makes a distinct feature for this IEM.

    I couldn’t find any particular weaknesses on the bass, so, good performance here on the Bass, nothing to bad here.

    The Mids

    The Mids is slightly forward and has good body to convey that emotions, but interestingly can be quite exposing of sibilance.

    Guitars both electric or acoustic, sounds excellent on this, it sounds sweet and full with enough bites that does not offend the ears.

    On the upper mids/lower treble, I feel a little bit of dip as some bright guitar sounds can be a bit pushed back behind the mix. This does not bother me much as I didn’t find many tracks where this happen, but it could be a bit of a let-down when you hear the guitar solos that does not take center stage, again pretty rare, nothing to worry about.

    The vocal is more interesting though, on a well mastered tracks, it sounds excellent and smooth and despite the warmish atmosphere that this IEMs can make it sounds clear and well defined, growling vocals can sound quite nice on this, up close and personal without being too shouty.

    Unfortunately, this technical ability can sometimes backfire when fed with less well recorded records, on some tracks the forward vocals can reveal the imperfections so well that you listen to them sibilant and it feels right next to you and it can be harsh (both male and female), this could be really annoying for vocal fans as many recording available today is not as well produced / mastered too hot and getting a very nice quality recording is not that easy and probably close to impossible on some albums.

    I would like this to be handled better, being exposing is good but it does not need to be harsh, and considering the target market of this IEMs judging by the sound signature, this should be handled a bit better IMO.*

    * (I heard the Andromeda ,Vega and also other headphones that I have in the past with the same tracks and set-ups when I reviewed it in the past, it too expose the sibilant, but it’s not harsh on the ears, but both are more expensive, so you got what you pay for there)


    The Treble

    Treble is quite smooth, but this surprise me a bit as it’s not toned down too much and is quite apparent in the music, especially the cymbals, you can hear the simmers and has a little bit of airiness to it, but not too much, possibly due to that port allowing some air in.

    Treble extension is standard at best and the treble decay is quite quick, although the clarity of the treble is still nice and does not get buried too much in the music, they are there mostly to complete the music but has less focus, I would say that on a lot of tracks that I played, lots of areas where the treble supposed to shine is not achieved / short-lived in this IEM.

    Overall the treble is tuned to be sweet, and only expose the parts that helps in making the music sound musical by giving that spark of energy at the top without getting offensive.


    Soundstage, Imaging and Separation

    Overall The soundstage size is okay for an IEMs, due to the bass and mids being forward, it could seem small, but not overly so in my opinion, that little bit of airiness helps out just a little bit, so it’s not super constricted by any means.

    Imaging is good for IEM, I would say it has ok width but ok depth and good height, due to forward mids and bass, I don’t feel much change of width positioning in a lot of tracks.

    Separation is also good, I only detect a little bit of bass bleeds very rarely, nothing to worry about, the bass presence is there while the vocal still sounds distinct and clear with the treble accompanying the music. Instruments are well laid out and does not clash and get mixed to each other, but there are some occasions on very busy tracks where congestion happens.

    Metal Artist / Albums tested critically
    (and some comments with the Lyra II IEM, if there is something bad):

    Opeth - Blackwater Park, Ghost Reveries, Damnation, Morningrise, My Arms Your Hearse
    Draconian - Arcane Rain Fell, The Burning Halo
    Doom:VS - Aeternum Vale, Dead Words Speak
    Alcest - Ecailles De Lune, Le Secret, Kodama, Les voyages de l’ame, Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde
    Amon Amarth - With Oden On Our Side
    Amorphis - Silent Waters, Under The Red Cloud
    The Angelic Process - Weighing Souls With Sands (super drony and atmospheric albums by default, but a bit too congested with Lyra 2 due to forward bass, not the best albums with the lyras )
    Aquilus - Griseus
    Babymetal - various random tracks
    Be’lakor - Stone’s Reach, Vessels
    Cynic - Focus Remastered, Traced In Air (last 3 songs in Focus has a sibilance that is a little harsh)
    Dark Tranquillity – The Gallery, Fiction (The lead guitar can sound a bit pushed back in The Gallery)
    Death - Human, Individual Thought Patterns, Symbolic, The Sound Of Perseverance
    Edge Of Sanity – Crimson, Crimson II, Purgatory Afterglow
    Emperor – In The Nightside Eclipse, Anthems To The Welkins At Dusk (some congestion and sibilance on both, drums sounds a little too forward)
    Fleshgod Apocalypse – Agony (some congestion in some parts)
    Gojira – From Mars To Sirius, The Way Of All Flesh
    Immortal - At The Heart of Winter
    Insomnium – Across The Dark, Above The Weeping World
    Les Discrets - Septembre et ses dernieres Pensees
    Moonsorrow – V Havitetty, Verisakeet
    Dissection – Storm Of The Lights Bane, The Somberlain
    My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
    My Dying Bride – Songs of Darkness Words Of Light
    Ne Obliviscaris – Portal Of I (bass speed lacks a bit in super fast blast beats in “Forget Not”)
    Nile – Those Whom The God Detest
    Nirvana – Nevermind
    Novembre – The Blue, Materia (bass a bit congested in Comedia openner)
    Persefone – Core, Shin-ken, Truth inside The Shades
    Porcupine Tree – Deadwing, Fear Of A Blank Planet, In Absentia
    Rapture – Futile, Silent Stage
    Riverside – Out Of Myself, Second Life Syndrome (Soma sharp sibilant vocals on some tracks)
    Septic Flesh – Communion, The Great Mass
    Shylmagoghnar – Emergence
    Slowdive – Souvlaki (sibilant vocals on many tracks)
    Swallow The Sun – The Morning Never Came, New Moon, Hope, Songs From The North III
    Tool – Lateralus
    Trees Of Eternity – Hour Of The Nightangle
    Tristania – Beyond The Veil
    Windir – 1184
    Wintersun – Wintersun


    As can be seen from above, there are not that many Album/Tracks where the Lyra 2 can sound unpleasant, so it’s a very nice all-rounder for Metal


    Pairing and Comparisons

    I tested the Lyra2 and Lyra using:

    Samsung Galaxy S8+

    I have the international version, which I believe use the exynos processor with better DAC chip than the US one, it sounds ok, although at higher volume the phone kinda lose control and can sound distorted at time, but if you’re a mid to low volume listener, this could work in a pinch.


    Chord Mojo

    I believe the Chord Mojo drives the IEM’s to full potential, interestingly both The Lyra’s scale very well compared to the s8, and unexpectedly I think the Lyra(not Lyra 2), actually scale more, but still not enough to beat the Lyra 2.

    The warmness of the mojo can be felt compared to the S8, but The lyra’s sounds superb on the mojo, details pop out and way more dynamic, overall the instruments sounds more detailed and sweeter on the mojo than the S8.

    Comparisons

    Lyra 2 vs Lyra

    There is no question in my mind, that then Lyra 2 is the better of the 2, I was using the Lyra 2 for a week before I try the Lyra, straight away I feel that the Lyra is more muddy and has less clarity, it feels like it is veiled compared to the Lyra 2, and the vocals not as forward, On the other hand that veiled feel and less forward vocals makes it more forgiving than Lyra 2.

    As a metal fan there are some situation where that veiled feel adds to the experience(for example, Darkthrone), it feels more atmospheric in my opinion.

    But I would take the Lyra2 over Lyra anytime.

    Comfort

    About the same, Lyra a little bit smaller housing and longer cable, Lyra 2 thicker cable that is not as tangle prone.

    Durability

    Thicker cable on Lyra 2 feels more durable

    Looks

    The cable looks nicer in Lyra 2


    Summary

    The Lyra 2 is a good IEMs, The Lyra is an ok IEM.
    I think the pricing should be a bit lower as for what I get with the current pricing, I feel like I would be more inclined to spend more on the Andromeda, Jupiter, Vega as they are a lot better than the Lyra’s in my opinion.
    I think this IEMs is made to feel the gap and target a specific target of audience who likes the warm signature, the vocals bother me a bit on bad recordings, but other than that nothing else is wrong or annoying for the IEM’s.

    Lyra 2 : 4 stars

    Lyra : 3 stars
      Zyklonius and d marc0 like this.
  5. alffla
    Vivacity of Sound
    Written by alffla
    Published Jan 16, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - -Energetic sound with strong but tight bass, W shaped sound signature, great undistorted sound
    Cons - -Treble sometimes a little sibilant, form factor doesn't feel secure
    calyraii_7.jpg

    The Lyra, released back in 2014-15 was refreshed along with Campfire Audio's dynamic and hybrid lineup as the Lyra II, and is a personal single dynamic driver favourite.

    You should be ashamed of yourself if you're an audiophile or earphone enthusiast and aren't already acquainted with the name Campfire Audio. A small boutique earphone maker that started off making cables as ALO Audio, they've released hit after hit with their original lineup of Orion, Lyra, Jupiter, followed by the critically acclaimed Andromeda alongside the Nova. In late 2016, they released the more bassy and energetic hybrid Dorado and the fiercely powerful single driver Vega.

    catrio2.jpg

     
    Where does this place the Lyra II in the lineup? Well, it's hard to say since one of the things that I admire about Campfire Audio's products is that it's difficult to pick that one is definitively better than another and hence there's no fear of an older release being made obsolete by the newer ones. I've tried all of their lineup and actually prefer some of the cheaper offerings. The soaring highs and clean cut sound of the Andromeda isn't quite for me, and while the Vega is extremely engaging, and the Dorado has its own special energetic flavour, I've found that the Lyra fits my tastes better than any of the others.

    Summary for the lazy

    lyraiiradarchart-08.png

     
    Pros
    -Audio quality sounds very clean and undistorted
    -A refined amount of bass, upper mid and high boost (a gentle "W" shaped sound signature) makes for a balanced sound which still has enough pressure and energy for musicality
    -Great liquid alloy build quality
    -Campfire Audio's cable is sturdy, beautiful, and non-microphonic


    Cons
    -
    Exhibits a smidgen of harshness at the very high notes which seemed to be resolved over time (burn in is real? )
    -Fit doesn't feel as secure as some other IEMs


    calyraii.jpg

    Specs

    Driver Configuration (per side)8.5mm PVD Beryllium Dynamic Driver
    Frequency Response5Hz-22Hz
    Sensitivity103 dB SPL/mW
    Impedance17 Ohms @ 1kHz
    Cable3.5mm plug Litz Wire Cable by Campfire Audio
    AccessoriesFaux leather earphone carrying case
    2 small carrying pouches
    3 pairs of Foam tips (S, M, L)
    3 pairs of Silicon tips (S, M, L) 
    3 pairs of SpinFit tips (S, M, L)
    1 Campfire Audio logo metal pin

    I'm sure someone is going to ask, so I'm going to say it now - the Lyra II has the same specs as the original in terms of driver design, the only difference is the packaging and housing material (it used to be a glossy black ceramic instead of the "Dusk" coloured liquid metal alloy shell used now)

    calyraii_2.jpg

    Design and Comfort

    Having reviewed the Campfire Audio Dorado before, which features the same liquid metal alloy earphone housing with the same form, I don't want to spend too much time going over the build quality and design for the Lyra II. Like the rest of the new released lineup, it has excellent and sturdy build quality that's a little heavy due to its metallic nature, but is fitted into a small but sturdy package that will leave you feeling confident that it will last. The Lyra II is "Dusk" coloured, as opposed to the rose gold of the Dorado. It is also different to the Dorado in that it has a shorter, more standard length to the sound nozzle which lends itself to a more comfortable experience.


    calyraii_4.jpg

    I picked the SpinFit tips as my eartips of choice for the Lyra II. I initially used the medium black silicon tips but found that the insertion was too deep as it allowed the nozzle to lie level with the end of the tip as well, so  it was a little uncomfortable and seemed to boost the highs too much that it became sibilant. For what it's worth, the Campfire team recommend using foam tips, but it feels a little dark for me and so I settled for SpinFit.
     
    calyraii_6.jpg
     

    Well balanced musicality

    I've come to expect a certain sort of "house sound" to Campfire Audio's products - Ken Ball and his team have always remarked that they simply design it based on the kind of sound they enjoy, and I must say they have exceptional taste. Their products generally lean a little brighter sounding with very extended highs, and always have a very tight, clean kind of sound throughout the entire frequency range - but not with the Westone kind of overly smooth and polite cleanness.

    The Lyra II possesses the qualities of a dynamic driver sound with a warm, full bodied sound, but eliminates the flaws that many cheap designs exhibit. With tight bass notes that go deep, and a certain precision in the highs that rivals balanced armature designs, it places right at the top of high end IEMs. It has one of my favourite sound signatures - a gentle W shaped curve with well-balanced boosts to the bass, mids and extended highs, making it a personal favourite.

    calyraii_12.jpg

    Its soundstage is not the widest, with more height than width, but the sense of height to the presentation brings into focus a very enjoyable spaciousness that gives room for every instrument to breathe.

    The Lyra II's bass frequencies brings a a lot of warmth to the sound, and while hefty and deep reaching enough to effortlessly blast out bass heavy tracks, it's also quite fast, with deep subbass tones only lingering on for a fraction of a second. The result is a solid hitting bass that doesn't bloom too much, leaving ample room for textural detail reproduction.

    calyraii_9.jpg

    Mids are natural sounding with even distribution throughout this region. It doesn't sound like a completely flat midrange, but the Lyra II puts out plenty of pressure throughout to maintain decent instrumental and vocal presence and energy. The midrange frequencies aren't pushed unnaturally forward, and typically don't become the focus in more layered tracks, but they are undoubtedly well resolved. Coupled with the generously extended high end, there is a bit of emphasis on light airiness and openness in the sound, which again reinforces the Lyra's slightly bright sound tuning.

    calyraii_13.jpg

     
    calyraii_14.jpg
     
    With a fast bass range as well, there is a feeling of precision and energy noticeable in its very snappy and authoritative snare drum reproduction that weaker dynamic driver IEMs often lack. The Lyra II is able to crack out clear snare drum attacks with impressive surgical precision and energy - attack is quick and focused more on high end impact crispness than lower frequency body. The very high frequencies are very extended, sometimes to the point of being slightly aggressive at times - this was especially noticeable when I first tried the Lyra II with the stock silicon tips, and seemed to be tamed over time but may be attributed to the better fitting SpinFit tips.

    Comparisons

    Campfire Audio Vega 

    To me, the Lyra II is like the Vega's little brother. The tuning is very similar, and I would say in terms of technicality, the Vega is better, with an even cleaner sound, an awesomely deeper reaching, tighter and heavier hitting bass, a similar midrange but even more precise and impressive highs. But after extensively comparing both, I feel that the Lyra II is more comfortable for a leisurely listening experience - the Vega is like an unrelenting juggernaut of sound which becomes a little fatiguing in extended listening sessions for me.

    Campfire Audio Dorado

    A much warmer, boomier bass is the most noticeable difference, and the midrange generally a little more recessed in comparison to the Lyra II. Dorado's highs have the cleaner, more exacting sound of balanced armatures and are slightly more extended though.

    Shure 846

    The 846 is well known for its bass prowess, but the Lyra II is no slouch either and excels in different areas. The 846 bass is harder hitting but has a drier, more flat thwacky sound to it  whereas the dynamic driver of the Lyra II reproduce a more natural sounding rounder impact. The 846 also rolls off at the highs (using the neutral filters) and has a fuller lower mid range and will have a darker sound in comparison.

    Oriolus mk2

    The Lyra II has a tighter, more surgical precision to it's sound that the Oriolus which exhibits a more robust, flatter mid-high to high range but at the expense of sounding less extended in the highs. The Oriolus' bass is also fatter and a little "lazier" with slower decay as the rumbling notes last longer. Soundstage is more wide than high here. If I only listened to dubstep and trance I would probably choose the Oriolus over the Lyra for an even warmer, rounder sound with heavier bass.

    calyraii_16.jpg

    Measurements

    Disclaimer: I'm still a beginner at measuring IEMs, and am only using a Vibro Veritas for my setup. Accuracy should not be trusted before 10Hz and after 10000Hz (according to the Vibro site). But overall I have found decently accurate results with this cheap measurement setup.

    campfire-audio-lyra-measurements-15jan2017.png

    A personal favourite

    The Lyra has rekindled my love for single dynamic driver designs in an industry that has been incredibly reliant on multi-driver balanced armature designs with a focus on bigger numbers rather than perceived audio quality. This is another example of Campfire Audio's dedication to getting the best sound out of every one of their designs. I find myself constantly going back to the Lyra II for its dynamic driver warmth which gives enough liveliness coupled with its refined precision to its sound that really resonates with my personal tastes. The Lyra II isn't cheap - but it's an earphone I would surely recommend to someone wanting to drop their money on one high end purchase.
     
    Originally posted on my own blog
      ryanmatic, Hi-Fi'er, wahsmoh and 7 others like this.
    1. Jackpot77
      Great review.
      Jackpot77, Jan 17, 2017
    2. alffla
      @Jackpot77  Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. Hope it was informative.
      alffla, Jan 17, 2017
  6. Jackpot77
    Lyra II - the comeback constellation: a smooth and soulful sequel to the original Campfire Audio single dynamic driver
    Written by Jackpot77
    Published Nov 25, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Warm and engaging sound, powerful but not overdone bass, great build and ergonomics, beautiful midrange, smooth and clear treble
    Cons - Treble may be too laid back for some, not for fans of lean "audiophile" style bass
    20161125_141334_HDR.jpg
     
    20161125_142520_HDR.jpg
     
    Campfire Audio Lyra II – initial impressions
     
    When I first started writing reviews on this site, it was as a way of trying to pull the thoughts running through my head about the gear I was listening to and try to make some order out of them, as much for my benefit as for anyone reading them. For me, trying to understand what I like and dislike about something as primal and emotional as music is a lot more difficult that it first seems. If someone asks me what my favourite meat is, I would say chicken, but if someone asked me why I liked chicken, trying to describe the flavour without saying “it tastes like chicken” I actually find pretty tough. When I first heard the Nova from Campfire Audio, it took me a while to describe the sound, but what I liked about the sound came a lot more easily – the unique almost vinyl-esque tuning drew my attention into the music, rather than how it was making it, and gave me a real appreciation of the tuning expertise that was used to make it sound so “real”. Fast forward a few more months, and after a few random PM exchanges with Ken Ball @ Campfire Audio, I have been very lucky to get the chance to hear the three newest models from their IEM range (the Lyra II, the Dorado and the Vega). Given the positive press their previous flagship the Andromeda has garnered  and my previous experience with the Nova, I was very interested to hear the sort of tuning the Campfire team could come up with using their new liquid metal housings and bespoke dynamic driver arrangements, and whether they could address some of the personal issues I had with the Nova’s signature without losing that unique feel to their “house” sound. First up, the Lyra II.
     
    Disclaimer – the Lyra II were provided to me free of charge by Campfire Audio on a loaner basis for the duration of this review solely for the purpose of listening and writing up my honest and unbiased impressions. If I want to keep them afterwards, I will need to purchase them off Campfire Audio (at time of publishing, I am seriously considering it).
     
    About me: been into music since I was old enough to walk, and now been into the audio gear scene for a couple of years. I’m in my late 30s, a long time rock music fan and aspiring to be a reasonably inept drummer. Listen to at least 2 hours of music a day on my commute to work – prefer IEMs for out and about, and a large pair of headphones when I have the house to myself and a glass in my hand. Converted most of my library to FLAC and 320kbps MP3, and do most of my other listening through Spotify or Tidal HiFi. I am a fan of rock, acoustic (apart from folk) and sarcasm. Oh yeah, and a small amount of electronica. Not a basshead, but I do love a sound with some body to it. Please take all views expressed below with a pinch of salt – all my reviews are a work in progress based on my own perceptions and personal preferences, and your own ears may tell you a different story.
     
    20161125_141242_HDR.jpg
     
    Tech specs
     
    Frequency – 10 Hz to 28 kHz
    Sensitivity – 102 dB SPL/mW
    Impedance – 17 Ohms @ 1kHz
    Driver – single 8.5mm Beryllium PVD driver
    Housing – Liquidmetal alloy
    Connection type – MMCX
     
    20161125_141354_HDR.jpg
     
    Unboxing
     
    The Lyra II follows the usual Campfire Audio presentation style, coming in a small box just marginally bigger than the hard leather carry case it contains. The box is a dark burgundy colour, with silver constellations patterned on the outside and a nice picture of the IEMs on the front. There is also a brief description of the technology inside and the Campfire branding, but no major graphs or specifications. The box opens up to show a nice black leather carry case inside, with the usual Campfire Audio embossed logo and zippered closure. Removing the carry case, there is a false floor on the box, underneath which the various loadout of eartips (foam, silicon and Spinfit in various sizes) and a Campfire Audio pin are nestled, along with a cleaning tool, warranty card and small booklet with more technical information on your purchase and instructions on how to use them for those people unfamiliar with operating high tech ear-gear. Opening the carry case completes the gear list, containing the IEMs and silver litz cable, some Velcro cable ties and two small velour bags to keep the heads of the IEMs from clunking into each other when they are stored, all nestled in the fluffy fake wool interior of the case.
     
    The accessory package is simple but comprehensive, with the beautifully designed carry case and the well thought out cable and tip selection giving a premium feel to proceedings, proving that you don’t need to inundate the buyer with technical data or hundreds of add-ons in order to give a high-end unboxing experience. The small footprint of the outer packaging also has more practical use, as it makes it far easier to store than the usual foam filled presentation boxes you tend to get with other IEMs in this sort of price bracket.
     
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    Build quality and ergonomics
     
    The Lyra was the first dynamic driver IEM produced by Campfire Audio, and came with a unique ceramic housing (as opposed to the machined aluminium used on the other items from their original lineup). For the sequel, the Portland-based manufacturer have decided to go with a Liquidmetal™ alloy housing, maintaining the smoothed off curves of the original Lyra, but reducing the size and weight compared to the aluminium models considerably.
     
    The use of Liquidmetal is an interesting but logical choice for the high-end IEM market – the substance is actually an amorphous alloy rather than a literal “liquid metal” (such as Mercury), but it brings various qualities to the table that normal metal shells find difficult to match. It is lighter and stronger than titanium, extremely durable and resistant to both corrosion and wear and has a glass-like melting point due to its densely packed atomic structure that allows it to be moulded almost like plastic while hot. For a company known for its finely honed internal tuning structures and excellent shell designs, this is a logical evolution, allowing production of high volumes of complex casings with greater ease than traditional metals. In practice, the shells are light, very strong and fit beautifully in the ear, giving the feel of a piece of machinery designed to last.
     
    Campfire Audio also deviate from the norm with the connectors, using a standard MMCX style socket but bolstering the connection points with a custom beryllium copper fixing, which they claim is more robust than the usual brass connectors found on most IEMs. This should lead to increased longevity of the connector over multiple cable connections and disconnections. In use, the cable clicks into the housing with a very solid sounding thud, and seems to be pretty locked in, with less play or wobble than most other MMCX style IEMs I have used. A few weeks is obviously nowhere near long enough to test the claims of the manufacturer about how long the connectors will last, but initial impressions definitely don’t give me any cause to doubt Campfire’s marketing copy here.
     
    When mentioning build and ergonomics, the Silver Litz cable included as standard with the Lyra II is definitely worthy of mention, with a quality of build and design that goes above the usual “standard CIEM” style cables included with most IEMs. The cable is sold as a standalone item on the ALO Audio site for $149, so this should give you some indication of the overall quality – while some may feel the need to break out a more expensive “upgrade” cable to complement an IEM in this price bracket, the tightly braided and minimally microphonic cable definitely makes that more of a “nice to have” than an absolute necessity. The only gripes I have are with the memory wire portions around the ears, which I always feel don’t play brilliantly with the rotating connection offered by an MMCX connector, and the L-shaped plug at the end. While the L-plug is a nice and sturdy example of this type of connector, I find the pin just slightly too short to fit comfortably into the audio jack of my phone with a thick third party phone cover fitted, due to the circumference of the connector housing where it meets the pin – one possible area for improvement in an otherwise excellent design.
    Overall, the unusual metallic build, ergonomic and light shape and excellent cable give a very strong impression of quality – a pretty good start.
     
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    Sound quality
     
    Test gear:
    LG G5 (with HiFi Plus 32-bit Sabre DAC add-on)
    Hifiman Supermini
    Fiio X7 (with AM2 module)
    Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (straight from the output jack) and with iFi iCan SE
    Test tracks (mainly 320kbps MP3 or FLAC/Tidal HiFi):
    Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – S.O.B. / Wasting Time
    Blackberry Smoke – The Whipporwill (album)
    Slash – Shadow Life / Bad Rain (my reference tracks for bass impact and attack, guitar “crunch”)
    Otis Redding – Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay (vocal tone)
    Sister Hazel – Hello, It’s Me (bass tone)
    Chris Stapleton – Whiskey And You
    Elvis – various
    Leon Bridges – Coming Home (album)
    Foy Vance – The Wild Swan
    Daft Punk – Random Access Memories (album)
    Aerosmith – The Definitive Aerosmith
    Mavis Staples – Livin’ On A High Note
    Twin Atlantic – The Great Divide / GLA
    The Darkness – Permission To Land
    Led Zeppelin – Mothership
    Shawn Mullins – Soul’s Core
    Sammy Hagar & The Circle – At Your Convenience (live album for audience sounds)
     
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    General impressions on the sound signature
     
    The original Lyra was widely touted as a very bassy and not particularly bright earphone, but with the Vega taking the top slot in the current Campfire Audio lineup for the bassy dynamic driver sound, where exactly does the Lyra II fit? It actually fits very nicely alongside the Vega in the range, with a warm smooth sound, sporting a less emphasised treble and a clear and engaging tonality. It is surprisingly well balanced, with a nice thickness to the bass, an intimate and emotive vocal presentation and excellent separation and layering through the midrange into the lower treble. In terms of extension the Lyra II actually does stretch reasonably well into the upper treble with a nominal top end around 28kHz, but with comparatively less emphasis on this element of the spectrum than the midrange or bass, the highs can come across as a little smooth or rolled off at times. The technical capability of the Beryllium PVD driver keeps the sound feeling very coherent and full throughout, giving a good level of impact and weight to more uptempo songs and a great smokiness and clarity to vocal delivery. Overall, above neutral bass, forward mids and a smooth clear treble – these IEMs are actually reminiscent of one of my favourite pair of over-ear ‘phones, the Audioquest Nighthawk. The ‘Hawks are a slightly polarising headphone, but for those who have heard (and like) that signature, that should be endorsement enough, and should explain my generally positive comments below.
     
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    Highs
     
    The treble is arguably the weakest area of the frequency response on these IEMs, and certainly won’t be the “go to” tuning for people looking for Grado or HD800 style “sizzle” in the top end. For me, the treble is beautifully presented and sits just inside my personal preference for a darker but still crystal clear and uncrowded top end. Cymbals fizz but die away quite quickly, with hi-hat and other metallic percussion still audibly present in a track but sitting more into the background of the sound than front and centre at the top of the soundstage. Starting with my sibilance/screechiness testers, “Whiskey and You” by Chris Stapleton has enough of the usual harshness of the vocal delivery to sound like the same song, but is smooth and rounded enough to slide smoothly through my earholes down into the brain without disturbing any of the audio furniture along the way. “Starlight” by Slash and Myles Kennedy sounds as helium-filled and rapier-like as usual, but again steers clearly away from any shrillness in the sound and presents Kennedy’s falsetto with authority and weight. I suspect the only way you could find sibilance with this IEM would be with an audio magnifying glass and some truly awful experimental opera consisting of fat people screaming the letter “S” over and over again – certainly nothing in my music collection has ever come close.
     
    The overall treble signature is slightly recessed compared to the mids and bass, but is smooth and has a nice level of clarity – to think of a suitable analogy, it carries the same sort of clean and clear sound as ringing a bell, rather than the screaming wail of a rock guitar. The overall note weight in the highs (something I was a fan of on another recent IEM I have heard, the IT03) is substantial here, with a solidity that I personally prefer over the more traditional “sparkle” that people sometimes refer to. Despite the lack of high treble emphasis, the sound is still reasonably spacious – this doesn’t give a huge amount of air to most recordings, but the higher ranges still feel like they have room to breathe and don’t sound congested or too dark to me. Comparing to notes and less reliable audio memory of the Nova (which I no longer have in my possession), the Lyra II gives the feeling of having a little more headroom on the stage for the user to appreciate the cymbals and high notes, leaving a slightly brighter (but still not bright) impression than its metallic younger brother. Think low-ceilinged music bar rather than orchestra venue and you would be on the right lines there.
     
    Despite the more muted nature of the treble, room sounds and other spatial cues are audible on the periphery of the sound – as a lot of the spatial information our ears process occurs above 16kHz, this would seem to back up the stated frequency extension on the original technical specs. Personally I haven’t tested the absolute limits of my own hearing (I am depressingly average in that regard on the sine sweeps I have previously done), but suspect due to many years of loud rock concerts it fails a fair way from the upper limit anyway.  
     
    As originally stated, this won’t be ideal for people with a preference for super-crisp and sharper treble presentation, but if you are looking for something a little smoother and more laid-back which can still carry all the necessary information into your ear, the Lyra II will certainly appeal.
     
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    Mids
     
    Moving into the midrange, one of the main strengths of this IEM starts to shine through – vocals. This IEM can really handle male and female vocals, bringing a beautiful smoothness and weight to the delivery without losing any of the underlying texture in raspier voice, and capturing the emotions of the singer very well. Feeding the Lyra II some Chris Stapleton, the gritty tones of his “Traveller” album sound just as raw as normal, but with an added layer of honey added to paper over the rougher edges as it hits your eardrums (I do love the album, but am of the belief that it was mixed and mastered in the middle of a building site by a deaf person using a brick). This type of slightly sweet vocal tuning can easily become cloying or syrupy, but this is very nicely implemented here, with the vocals still retaining enough bite and space to avoid getting clogged up in the rest of the sound while still retaining the trademark smoothness. Listening to Otis Redding, the reeds in his voice can still clearly be heard, but the already buttery-smooth overtones of “Try A Little Tenderness” sound like someone has taken his throat for a gentle massage just prior to hitting the recording studio. The Lyra II – the audio equivalent of cough syrup for vocalists.
     
    Switching to instrumentation, guitar based fare sounds great through these IEMs, with a nice thickness to the notes and crunch to rock guitar that ticks my personal preference boxes very nicely. The sound is thickly layered here, giving the impression of a solid wall of sound coming towards you with more complex guitar tracks without getting muddy or confused. Listening to “Growing On Me” by The Darkness, the twin guitar lines drift left and right in the soundscape with a slight but discernible delay between the both (as it should be) – while the “lag” between the two competing sounds is clearer on some of my other gear (like the all-BA Vibro Aria), there is still enough separation there to fill the background of my mind with a nice sense of detail. Despite the smoothness it imparts to vocals, this is still an IEM that can deal with weighty guitar riffs without smoothing the edges. Plugging “World On Fire” by Slash into my ears, the crunching riff plows its way through the track with enough bite to keep the listener on their toes, with a slight tradeoff in the razor-cut edging to the notes that some of my other IEMs can provide being counterbalanced nicely with a greater sense of weight to the riff that has got my foot tapping as I’m writing this.
     
    Trying some electronica, “Go” by The Chemical Brothers sounds good, the rhythm of the hi-hats playing well against the driving bassline without getting lost in the sound, and the euphoric synth-laden chorus sounding a little muted in comparison to the bass and midrange underpin, but still present enough to be enjoyable. Piano based tracks (both electronic and acoustic) fare better, with a nice natural timbre to the sound that sounds almost live in some instances. For lovers of electronica, these may not tick all the boxes for certain sub-genres, but still have enough overall competence to avoid me reaching for another set of IEMs if one of my favourite Prodigy tracks appears on a random playlist.
     
    In terms of placement, the midrange on the Lyra II is reasonably intimate and forward, not crowding the listener too much but definitely taking a step forward compared to the more laid back treble, but not overstepping past the bass. The overall shape is a little reminiscent of the bass and vocal driven tunings Aurisonics used to be famous for, and to my ears is subtly enough done to differentiate from the “usual” V shaped offerings out there at the moment and still sound pretty damn good in the process.
     
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    Bass
     
    The bass on the Lyra II is a solid, meaty affair, with a nice balance between mid-bass chocolatiness (yes, that is a word) and sub bass rumble. They play very well with stringed bass instruments, the nice extension into the deep lower registers allowing both texture and rumble to present in equal measure. In terms of extension, these are rated down to 10kHz and do seem to be reasonably bottomless, handling “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk with authority, the bass dropping right down through the spectrum without dissipating. Putting “Heaven” by Emile Sande through the mix, the sub-bass driven synth riff that kicks the song off layers very nicely into the vocals, playing off the solid and punchy boom of the bass drum to create the effect of sonic ripples running through the soundscape and add a nice level of physical substance to the tune. The playoff between drum and rumble highlights the nice balance across the bass range, with possibly slightly more mid-bass emphasis than sub, but nowhere near enough for me to hear a hump or “thumb” in the usual bass ranges typical of more V shaped tunings. In terms of overall presence, while this is still nicely balanced, there is definitely more bass than a strictly neutral offering, the bottom end sounding thick and full, but still retaining good detailing and not encroaching on the rest of the frequency spectrum.
     
    Putting my two favourite bass test tracks through the Lyra II, it handles both well. “Hello, It’s Me” by Sister Hazel takes full advantage of the aforementioned chocolatiness (seriously, look it up), the fluid basslines kicking the song off with velvety smoothness and a dash of texture and rasp floating in the mix from the bass strings vibrating like chunks in a chocolate McFlurry. “Bad Rain” by Slash and Myles Kennedy is dispatched easily as well, the snarling bass riff that kicks in around the 22 second mark reaching deep and growling at the listener with real attitude, bolstered by the visceral boom of the bass drums provided by the beryllium driver to give a solid foundation for the track to really grab the listener.
     
    Percussion and drum sounds definitely benefit from the fact they are being produced by a dynamic driver, with the Campfire-designed driver proving very proficient at generating a level of slam and visceral roar that can sometimes border on basshead-lite in terms of the way it moves air against my eardrum. Ironically, it’s a semi-acoustic track that really makes me feel this, with James Bay’s rendition of “FourFiveSeconds” from the BBC Live Lounge sessions album making the entire track shake with the impact of one very well recorded bass drum that underpins the gentle guitar riff running through the song. Despite the impact, the dynamic driver used here never feels slow or sluggish, and while it may lack a picosecond in terms of response compared to an all-BA setup used in similarly priced offerings from companies such as Noble, the speed is more than quick enough to handle most complex tracks with the same level of ease, with the added slam a dynamic driver can bring.
     
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    Soundstage/separation
     
    The Lyra II has a decent if not huge soundstage, extending a little outside the head in both directions along the X axis and having a small but pretty much circular overall soundstage shape. Placement within that staging feels pretty accurate, with “Better Man” by Leon Bridges allowing me to place the Hammond organ in the back right of the studio and the saxophone hovering on the rear left behind the front and centre vocal. Separation is very good, but doesn’t leave the crispest impression sometimes due to the actual thickness of the notes in some passages. That being said, I have yet to find anything that make the Lyra II sound congested or smeared, so the thickness definitely adds to the overall  solidity of the signature rather than obscuring anything. Playing “Burning Love” by Elvis and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra off their recent collaboration allows the sound to envelop the listener, with instruments jumping out on either side of the staging while still remaining part of the overall orchestral sound.
     
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    Tip and cable choice
     
    The recommendation from the Campfire Audio founder Ken Ball is to run these IEMs with foam ear-tips, and after trying various other configurations (single flange silicone, SpinFit and other assorted goodies from my tip collection), I have come to the unsurprising conclusion that he knows what he is talking about. The overall sound and comfort offered by the included foam tips seems just about right for my personal tastes and ear anatomy, so for once there has been no need to resort to external help (not even Comply tips added anything major to the seal). The cable is a similar story, being of sufficient quality for me not to think about resorting to a third-party solution.
     
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    Isolation
     
    ​The Lyra II is a vented dynamic driver so won't have the greatest sound blocking capability you will ever hear, but the small solid alloy shells and the solid seal provided by the foam tips in the box allow for this to be used quite comfortably on public transport or in the middle of a particularly nasty family row without much sound leaking in from the outside. Certainly enough to get you run over if you cross the road without looking with these in, so you have been warned.
     
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    Power requirements
     
    The specification on the Lyra II imply they are easy to drive, and hold true in the real world, with my comfortable listening volume sitting at around 60% on my LG G5 and in the 50s on the Fiio X7 (AM2, low gain). The driver used is capable of some great dynamics so does seem to appreciate a powerful source and the benefits that can bring in that regard, but are more than capable of being driven from any of the usual mobile sources you may have to hand without any issue.
     
    In terms of DAPs I have used, the Lyra II sounds good just straight from my LG G5 without HifiPlus module, but plugging it into the Hifiman Supermini and Fiio X7 really allowed the extra power and detail on tap to shine through. It won’t radically alter the sound you are hearing, but this is definitely an IEM that can scale with more powerful and resolving gear.
     
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    Comparisons
     
    Vibro Labs Aria –  the Aria is a quad-armature IEM from Vibro Labs, currently priced at $499, which is a few hundred dollars cheaper than the current RRP of $699 for the Lyra II. The Aria is tuned for an unusual U-shaped sound with good extension at both ends, a decent midrange and high levels of detail. These IEMs really opened my eyes to “other” tunings apart from the standard audiophile V shape and more mid-forward IEMs I had previously been used to, and offer an interesting contrast to the Lyra II with its more organic and rolled off top end. Looking at the packaging first, the Aria comes in a more traditional CIEM style package, shipping in a clear Peli case with the Vibro Labs branding, with the IEMs and cable held safely in a laser-cut velour insert. The IEMs also come with some Comply foam tips and a standard Westone-style 2-pin cable. The Campfire packaging looks a little more premium, with slightly more in the way of accessories and a more practical but slightly less robust carrying case. Isolation and comfort are similar on both, with both fitting snugly into my ears and providing a good seal with foam tips. The Aria housings are considerably bigger than the small and light Liquidmetal housings used on the Lyra II, and sport a huge bore size, so if you have smaller ears or ear canals, the Campfire IEM may be more comfortable for longer term wear (or wear when lying down). Moving on to the music, the Lyra II has a higher overall bass presence than the Aria, specifically more thickness and traditional bass “slam” in the lower end that is more typical of the classic dynamic driver sound. In terms of low-end extension, the Lyra II surprisingly goes almost as low as the sub-bass focussed Aria, with a thicker and slightly more textured feel to the bass without losing anything in terms of detail. The speed of the dual-BA driver just about has the edge on the slightly slower feeling beryllium dynamic driver used in the Campfire product, but it doesn’t feel like a massive gap. Overall, the bass from the Lyra is more “present” in most tracks, with the greater emphasis on sub-bass leading to a cleaner and less emphasised lower end sound on the Aria. Moving to the midrange, the overall thickness felt in the bass also makes its presence felt for the Lyra II here, with a beautifully rich and textured midrange compared to the more dry but equally emotional sounding Aria. The mids on the Aria are actually more neutral than recessed, but definitely feel further backwards in the mix and leaner than the more organic and full sounding Lyra II. Treble is very different between the two IEMs, with the Lyra II sporting a clear but slightly rolled off feeling treble tuning, compared to the light and airy Aria – fans of treble extension will certainly favour the Aria here. In actual fact, for most music, the Lyra II is equally as capable of rendering clean and clear higher frequencies, but just layers them further back in the soundscape compared to the more U shaped upward slope of the Aria. In terms of texture, the Lyra II conveys plenty of substance and grit to notes, but with a thicker overall weight than the more dry sound offered by the Aria. They both convey emotion in vocals very well, with the Lyra II pulling slightly ahead due to its more emotive and forward midrange to drag plenty of raw feeling out of the sound. Separation and definition feels leaner on the Aria, but actual prowess is pretty evenly matched for both IEMs. Soundstage-wise, both are reasonably evenly matched, with neither straying too far outside the confines of the listener’s head. These are both very well tuned IEMs for someone looking for a laid back and warm vibe to their music – the Aria has an overall more dry and airy sound, compared to the meatier and more emotional performance given by the Lyra II. These are definitely horses for courses – if you like heavy rock music and singer/songwriter style acoustic guitar, the solidity of the Lyra II will be an easy recommendation, but if you prefer electronic music with a more spacious and dry sound, the Arias won’t disappoint either. For my music collection, the Lyra II works better with my main staples (and preferences), but the Aria is still something I would listen to for certain genres without any hesitation.
     
    Noble 5 (universal) – I had the Noble 5 in my possession for a few weeks just prior to receiving the Lyra, so this comparison is from my review notes and general sound impressions – no direct A/B was possible unfortunately. As far as construction goes, the 5U uses the original Noble “fat coffee bean” style shell design, which is noticeably bigger and less comfortable than the super-small housing of the Campfire IEM. The accessory package is similar, with the only main differences being the hard Peli-style case and greater tip selection for the Noble compared to the less bulletproof but more pocketable Campfire carry case and smaller tip loadout. Moving on to sound, the bass on the N5 is centred more around the mid-bass region, and lacks the balance and depth of the Lyra II. The bass on the N5 isn’t bad, but the excellent tuning on the Campfire rounds out the bass more to my liking than the heavy mid-bass “thumb” of the Noble. Texture and detail is well matched on both, with the N5U BA driver giving the impression of slightly more speed than the Lyra at the cost of the more organic feel and natural decay. Midrange is won for my preferences by the Lyra II, with a thicker and richer sound, packing more emotion into the music. There is also a slight peak I can hear in the N5U between the mids and the treble, leaving it feeling quite fatiguing and “hot” on certain tracks, compared to the more laid back and clear treble of the Lyra II. Soundstage is won by the Lyra II, with a larger and more open feel to the music than the more closed in N5U. Detail levels are actually similar, with neither IEM giving an overall impression of being considerably more detailed than the other. Again, different IEMs for different styles of music, but unless you really favour a sharper and more raw sounding high-mid/low treble area or listening 100% to electronic music, the Lyra II can satisfy your basshead cravings as well as the N5U while also giving a smoother and more emotional feel to the music, with a richer and technically proficient sound to match the N5U. For my preferences, the Lyra II wins here by a canter.
     
    Astell & Kern / Beyerdynamic AKT8IE – this is another bassy single dynamic driver I have recently acquired, based around a miniature version of Beyerdynamic’s reknowned Tesla driver technology. This is the “Mark 1” version of the IEM, which is purported by some so be slightly more bassy than the latest “Mark 2” revision, just for clarity. Original retail was around the $1000 mark, although these can now be had cheaper on the second hand market (like mine). In terms of presentation, the Astell & Kern packaging is definitely a high-end affair, with a large multi-sectioned hardboard box and multiple areas to unbox, compared to the slick but minimalist approach of Campfire. If packaging matters, the AKT8IE will definitely turn more heads than the unassuming Campfire box. Moving on to the build and ergonomics, the AKT8IE is made out of an unspecified material that looks like a cross between metal and ceramic (and is probably neither) – they are a “concha-fit” style IEM, so are designed to fit in the outer bowl of the ear rather than inserting further in. For my own physiology, they provide a shallow but secure fit, and are actually more comfortable than the Lyra II in that aspect. Due to the unusual oval shape of the IEM barrel and their own bespoke tips needed for the Beyerdynamic product, I find the isolation to be slightly better on the Lyra II, however. Moving through to the sound, the AKT8IE provides a similar tuning to the Lyra II, with a lovely warmth to the bass and slightly rolled off treble. In terms of bass, the AKT8IE has slightly more overall presence to my ears, with a still pretty well balanced but more lower-midbass centred sound, and more sub-bass capability. The bass is more omnipresent than the more controlled tuning of the Lyra II, and can colour some tracks unexpectedly if there is bass in the recording. In terms of extension, the very capable Tesla driver extends down just as low as the Lyra II, and exhibits similar speed, but feels just a tad softer in overall execution to me. Moving through to the mids, the AKT8IE is slightly more forward than the Lyra II, with the vocalist feeling slightly closer to the eardrum. In terms of raw emotion, both are excellent at wringing out all the feeling from a track, but the AKT8IE feels slightly more laid back in the process due to the slightly softer presentation. Details are similar, with the AKT8IE seeming to have the slight edge in resolution and overall clarity, highlighting the softer guitar accents and other microdetails in a song very well but but pulling them a little further back into the musical landscape so making it less easy to spot on first listen. Treble tuning is similar on both, with the AKT8IE being even less forward than the Lyra II but again, seeming just a tad more detailed and airy. In terms of power, the Lyra II is slightly easier to drive than the A&K/Beyerdynamic collaboration. Overall, the AKT8IE feel slightly more refined, and provide a laid back but detailed stroll through the musical landscape in comparison to the Lyra II’s thicker note weight and more muscular jog – in a straight shootout, I couldn’t call it conclusively between the pair of IEMs, with the AKs probably just nudging it overall if I had to choose just one and price was not a consideration – in terms of value, there certainly isn’t anywhere near $300 worth of sonic difference between these.
     
    Campfire Audio Vega – the Vega is the current “big brother” of the Campfire range as of late 2016, sitting at the top of the pricing tree at $1299 and sharing the TOTL billing with its all-BA sibling the Andromeda. It shares an identically shaped housing and also uses a single 8.5mm dynamic driver like the Lyra II, but the driver technology and tuning of the Vega is different. Instead of beryllium, the Vega’s driver diaphragm (the thin film that moves to generate the sound) is made out of non-crystalline diamond, and is the first IEM sold commercially to do so according to the Campfire Audio website. As the packaging and ergonomics are identical, it is this driver that differentiates the two IEMs. So, is the price difference of $600 worth it? Looking at the bass frequencies first, there is a notable difference between the Vega and Lyra II, with the Vega producing considerably more bass than the Lyra II. Despite the increase in volume, the Vega’s bass is extremely tight, dipping slightly lower than the Lyra II and having a heavier sub-bass presence. The Vega just has the edge in terms of speed as well, producing an extremely well textured and detailed lower frequency output that will keep fans of both an analytical and basshead signature equally happy. Switching to mids, the Vega is able to keep pace with the vocal delivery of the Lyra II in terms of emotion, and adds an extra layer of micro-detail and expression to the sound – the difference is more subtle than vast, but the slightly more energetic signature is more engaging (I find it “pulls” me into the song more), but as a result it loses some of the soothing nature of the silky midrange on the Lyra II – put simply, the Lyra II is an IEM you can relax with, the Vega is an IEM that gets your pulse racing. Highs are definitively more forward on the Vega – it is actually rated slightly lower in terms of “final” extension, topping out at 22kHz, but the treble isn’t pushed back into the soundscape like the Lyra II, keeping step with the mids and bass in an “all-forward” signature. As a result, music that relies on cymbals and other percussion sounds crisper, and it brings an extra layer of crunch to guitar heavy music while losing none of the weight of the Lyra II. Micro-details and dynamics are noticeably better on the Vega (although again, the margins we are talking about are small rather than glaring), and the separation and layering is noticeably better on some tracks, the “wall of sound” carrying even more positional detail as it smashes you with the added bass weight of each note. Listening to “Freak On A Leash” by Korn gives a good example of the difference between the two IEMs, with the Lyra II handling the drop at the 2 and a half minute mark with aplomb, but the Vega managing to keep pace with the Lyra II and managing to make the hairs on my arms stand up every time. Finally, the Vega is easier to drive than the Lyra II from all of my sources
     
    Audioquest Nighthawk – my current “go to” over-ear headphone, and one of my favourite pieces of audio gear, the Nighthawk are tuned very similarly to the Lyra II, with north of neutral bass, great mids and a clear and slightly laid back treble. They also retail in roughly the same price bracket to the Lyra II at present, so are being included to highlight the similarities between the two. Skipping straight to the sound, the Nighthawks have a bass presence that sits somewhere between the Lyra II and the Vega in the current Campfire lineup, with a great extension and good but not great speed from the bio-cellulose drivers. As a semi-open headphone, the bass isn’t quite as hard-hitting or punchy as the Lyra II, with a more diffuse feel to the sub-bass and a greater feeling of space to the lower end sound. Quality and quantity are similar, however, with the Nighthawks providing just a little more in the midbass than the Campfire IEMs. The midranges on the two are again reasonably similar, with the vocals on the Nighthawk sitting slightly further back in the soundscape to my ears, but sharing a similar sense of emotion and clarity, with the Nighthawks sounding even smoother in the vocal range than the Lyra II. Highs are similar on both, being clear and clean but not massively emphasised, with the Nighthawk having a more open and airy feel due to the semi-open design, compared to the more restrained Lyra II. In fact, the staging on the Nighthawks is the major difference, with the sound feeling more spread out than the compact and dense soundstage of the Lyra II, with slightly less weight to the midrange than the heavier notes of the Campfire IEM as a result. Overall, these both produce a sound similar enough for me to feel comfortable to say that a fan of one should be a fan of the other (although sound is such a subjective thing that you can never guarantee that). For a dense, more portable sound, the Lyra II comes out on top – for an airier and slightly cleaner overall signature with a little added bass, the Nighthawk is your go to here, and would be something I would be more likely to turn to for “at home” listening more often than not.
     
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    Overall conclusions
     
    A lot of my recent listening in terms of in-ear monitors recently has involved getting used to sound signatures that I hadn’t previously considered I would like, and more often than not discovering that I enjoyed the differences they brought. Picking up the Lyra II, this brought me back to the “core” sonic preferences I enjoy most – punchy but not overblown bass, emotional midrange, great vocals and a smooth and laid-back treble. In fact, emotional is a word I would use to describe these IEMs – they don’t suck you quite as far into the music as the rollercoaster ride their big brother the Vega can manage with the right track, but there is a great feeling of… well, feeling in the music that transcends any specific part of the frequency and allows you to just drift into the track and enjoy it. These are IEMs built for long-time listening sessions, and much like the recent IT03 review I wrote, I have found reviewing these hard as I keep listening to entire albums instead of just the one or two tracks I was aiming for. Being honest, I don’t have too many points of reference for IEMs in this price bracket apart from the ones listed in the comparison section above, but as the middle point in the Campfire Audio range, the Lyra II offer an exceptional tuning, great build quality and a rare quality that just makes them sound “right” for my personal preferences. In terms of ratings, I have given these 4.5 stars as the treble tuning, while almost note-perfect for me, could be considered lacking in something in this price bracket to truly deserve a 5-star rating for people who don't like their treble served under the table. From a personal preference standpoint, these are 5-star sound all the way, but not quite all-encompassing enough to fit all sound preferences, hence the docked half-star.
     
    To be clear, there are better technical performers in the current Campfire lineup, but if you are looking for a meaty but smooth sound without the additional treble emphasis (or cost) of the higher end models, these are certainly worth putting on your radar. Personally, despite being overshadowed by the Vega in the current lineup, I haven’t found myself missing much from the Vega when listening to these, and would certainly be happy if these were the only Campfire Audio IEM I had a chance to listen to. Great sound and great build quality – this sequel certainly negotiates the tricky "second album" syndrome and comes out more like The Godfather than the Speed franchise, so really, what more can you ask for?
      ryanmatic, Hi-Fi'er, zeddun and 7 others like this.
    1. ExpatinJapan
      TLDR
       
      :) No, I did read it all. A splendid review and parallels my findings with the Lyra II. Great photos too.
       
      Well done!
      ExpatinJapan, Nov 25, 2016
      DAVID_54 likes this.
    2. XDT
      Great review, very comprehensive. Thanks for covering the whole spectrum in great detail. The comparisons to the Vega and Nighthawk were a great read, will wait for the Lyra IIs to arrive to see..!
      XDT, Nov 26, 2016
      DAVID_54 likes this.
    3. Jackpot77
      Thanks guys - was an enjoyable (if marathon) review to write. Glad you liked it!
      Jackpot77, Nov 26, 2016
  7. ExpatinJapan
    The Lyra II is a high performing XXx sound signature dynamic driver
    Written by ExpatinJapan
    Published Nov 18, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Smooth, detailed and a decent sound stage
    Cons - I personally prefer more highs, otherwise...none tbh

    Campfire Audio Lyra II Review - Expatinjapan

     Head Pie  
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    Campfire Audio Lyra II with Opus#1 Dap
     
    Campfire Audio Lyra II review ​
    - expatinjapan​
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    Please also see the earlier Campfire Audio Dorado review:​
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    *Some minimal amount of the content is repeated from the Dorado review.​
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    Whats in the box?​

     
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    As usual Campfire Audio provides a box that is just the right size, no over sized and vacuumed sealed.​
     
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    A beautiful black leather case to protect your precious earphones whilst traveling.​
     
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    Each ear piece comes safely wrapped in a small red velvet pouch to prevent scratching whilst in transit​
     
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    Every Campfire Audio earphone comes with the excellent Litz cable.​
     
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    Specifications
     
     
    Lyra II combines a single 8.5mm beryllium PVD dynamic driver and a unique liquid metal alloy housing to effortlessly deliver high fidelity music.
     
    – World’s First 8.5mm Beryllium PVD Dynamic Driver
     
    – World’s First  Liquid Alloy Metal Earphone Housing
     
    – ‘Dusk’ PVD Finish
     
    – Premium Litz Wire cable; Silver-plated-Copper Conductors
     
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    The bass for the Lyra II hits at around 110.0, the Vega at about 118.5 and the Dorado at around 116.0. 
    (Left side of the chart).
     ​
    Short impressions
     
    I received the Dorado from Ken Ball at the Fujiya Avic headphone show in Tokyo in October, 2016 for review. I had a chance to listen to all new models at the time and listed my short impressions as thus: 





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    (Short time at the show impressions):
     `The Vega, Dorado and Lyra II
    The Vega is deep and full sounding. It has excellent clarity and sound stage. The bass hits but is also clean, tight and fast.
    The Dorado is deeper, and has a medium v shaped signature. Bouncy and energetic. It has a good weight to the sound. Fun but still CA smooth.
    The Lyra II is more flat...in a sense, it has more mids, warm, even and with great instrument separation. Full with an excellent low end.
     
    In terms of sound signature to my ears (And Ken confirmed I was pretty much on the Ball - excuse my pun).
    Vega = XXX
    Dorado = XxX
    Lyra = XXx`
     
    Of course short impressions at a show or in store can give a hint of what is to come, more is revealed with concentrated and analytical listening and more layers and nuances are discovered.
    I did not ask how many hours they had on them. They had stock foam tips fitted.
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    What one has to realize with these new earphones that Campfire Audio has released is that they do increase in sound quality by price point.
    Each of their sound signature is well designed and incremental, the Dorado whilst definitely a V shaped earphone isnt strictly so in the usual sense, it is more of a flattened V which retains some body and soul of tracks recorded.
    And the Lyra II whilst presenting itself as a low and mids focussed earphone certainly doesnt totally lack in the highs department.
     
    It isnt extreme tuning at the expense of all else, it is a controlled and measured tuning to present the best that can be reproduce concerning certain traditional choices of sound signatures, being the XxX (Dorado), the XXx (Lyra II) and the XXX of the Vega. No sharp rises or drop offs here.
     
    Smooth, measured and timely.
     
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    Build
     
    The build of all Campfire Audio products is sturdy and strong, from the lithe but able Litz cable to the robust MMCX connectors, the Lyra II is built to last.
    The ear pieces being of metal means they will withstand more abuse than the average plastic earphones, thats not to say to be rough with them as the inside drivers are still delicate.
     
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    A protective metal gauze to prevent earwax getting inside.​
     
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    The Litz cable as I have mentioned several times in other review is a well made, and fabulous sounding cable. Sturdy yet supple. No real need for an upgrade.​
     
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    Fit
     
    The fit is identical to the Vega and very similar in foot print to the Dorado (apart from the longer nozzle of the Dorado).
    *Please excuse me as I recycle the photo from the Dorado review as I think it illustrates the fit well.
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    The shorter nozzle is similar to the BA IEMs of Campfire Audio, you need to have the right tip to get a good seal to maximize the performance of the Lyra II and your enjoyment thereof.​
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    Stock foam tips on the left, the Comply Tx-400 I got from the Andromeda/Nova boxes.​
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    I settled on the Comply Tx-400 tips for the Lyra II in the end, silicone did the trick with ​
    the JVC Spiral tips and also Ortofon.​
    But as Ken Ball at Campfire Audio said, foam is best for these earphones.​
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    The Litz cable comes with a chin slider to assist for fit if needed.​
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    The new Campfire Audio earphones build and shape compared.
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    The new line up of Vega (metal/silver color), ​
    Dorado (bronze/gold color) and Lyra II (Red brown black color).​
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    Campfire Audio Dorado size comparison with CA Andromeda below:​
    Foot print is basically the same as the Lyra II except for the longer nozzle.​
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    Sound

    Testing of the Lyra II was done with a variety of Dap and dac/amps from the Opus#1, Hifiman MegaMini, ipod touch 6G, Shozy Alien Gold, CEntrance DACportable, Hifi-Skyn to the Hifi-M8.

    Ipod touch 6G 128GB used Dan Leehrs Flacplayer app.

    FLAC used was mainly 16/44.

    The Lyra II had a burn in period of around 100 hours before commencing with the review.

    In the end I found the Lyra II to be quite resolving and pleasing, but lets enjoy the journey first.
     
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    Campfire Lyra II with CEntrance DACportable​


    As I mentioned at the show after a short audition I decided to describe the Lyra II as having a XXx signature which Ken Ball confirmed.
    Show impressions recap: `The Lyra II is more flat...in a sense, it has more mids, warm, even and with great instrument separation. Full with an excellent low end`.

    Later after a short amount of burn in (10 hours?), using the Litz cable and supplied foam tips my next impressions found the Lyra to be `a bit dull, perhaps due to lack of highs, not so musical but can get airy and full of space with the track`.
    I then departed onto the Dorado review and occasional hits of the CA Vega and left the Lyra II to burn in some more.

    Once the Dorado review was complete, I moved onto the Lyra II.

    Now the Lyra II had around 100 hours on it.
     
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    Campfire Audio Lyra II with Opus#1 Dap​


    Opus#1 (old Firmware), Comply Tx-400 tips.

    LARD and Oasis seemed a bit dark at first listen, perhaps also the shock of coming from the V shaped Dorado, my ears need a bit of adjusting I guess.
    Adele sounded great, full, spacious and clear.
    A bit surprised at the dark low end after a strict diet of the Dorado V.

    As the Vega is to the Andromeda, and the Dorado is to the Jupiter ...the Lyra II is to the  ????

    Death in Vegas with Hope Sandoval sounds cool, If but a bit muted.
    Less energetic than the Dorado of course, adjusting...

    Lyra II with Spiral Tips later that same day

    Bass still there although less prominent.
    Vocals and treble more forward than before, treble has more of a presence with the silicone than with the foam.
    Bass is solid still, just not so `thick`.
    I find this combination more listenable and a tad more cleaner.

    Opus#1 Dap just got a huge stunning firmware update.

    The Dap has better resolution, more airiness and sparkle.
    More space and separation between instruments than before.
    I see this echoed in the improved performance of the Lyra II also.
    I am really enjoying the Lyra II after the Opus update.

    The Opus#1 with its latest Lollipop firmware update really shines when paired with the Campfire Audio Lyra II, great detail, the treble comes alive rather than recessed, lower bass is clean, clear and quick without a trace of muddiness, the mids are slightly warm, with a hint of lushness without becoming too enveloping or demanding.
     
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    Campfire Audio with Shozy Alien Gold Dap​
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    The Lyra performs best with a dap etc that has a decent amplifier and a low output impedance to retain its signature and show its true colors. With the Hifiman MegaMini it was impressive at times when I cranked up the volume but the Lyra II desires more power.
     
    Back to the Opus#1 with its new firmware.
    Really nice body to the music, resolution is beautiful and top notch.
     
    On to the CEntrance DACportable, Tx-400 Comply tips, Gain 2.
    As usual the CEntrance DACportable with its power amplifier inside and low output impedance gives a realistic picture of what an earphone does and can do.
     
    It always seems to come back to that point about signature, in this case the XXx shape.
    Within that parameter one might ask `is that it?` Many other earphones have a similar signature. So what makes the Lyra II special, If at all?
     
    The Lyra II like all the other Campfire Audio earphones I have listened to is smooth, well detailed and has a decent soundstage.
    It has accurate placing of the instruments and a true portrayal of the vocals therein.
     
    I can`t technically fault it as such.
    It is a high performer worthy of its asking price.
     
    I myself prefer a XXX signature, but thats my ears and personal preference.
     
    Bass, then vocals, mids and finally highs seems the order of the day when it comes to the Lyra II.
     
    But yes, the Lyra II, a clear fantastic sense of space and resolution with a beautiful
    timbre within its parameter of XXx.
     
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    ALO Reference 8 cable, a nice match.​

    Value

    Coming in at the lower priced end of the latest Campfire Audio line up at US$699, value as always is relative to ones wallet and of course the actual sound quality.
    IE value for money, did I get it? Is usually the first wondering after an audio enthusiast parts with their precious money after spending weeks scouring forums trying to find the best bang for their buck that doesn`t break their bank.

    Build of course is excellent as is all Campfire Audio products and the sound is stunning, If you like a slightly bassier and warmer XXx signature you`ll love the Lyra II.

    I cover the value also in the Overall section.
     
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    Campfire Audio Vega (same sized housing) with the Hifiman MegaMini​

     
    Overall

    The Lyra II is a steady performer and as with all the other earphones that come out of Campfire Audios stable it is a picture of quality in build as well as in sound.

    With so many Campfire Audio products to choose from now, deciding which one is best for oneself is the first fun stage.
    Price and sound signature. Simply once one has decided on a budget then the parameters of what one will purchase grow narrower, from there its simply a choice of sound signature preferable paired with a decent fairly neutral player with a low output impedance.

    So where does the Lyra II fit into this, considering the II tacked on to the end of its name we would presume that this is a new improved version of the first Lyra, as I have never heard the Lyra this is my uneducated guess.

    Out of the seven earphones Campfire Audio has on offer the Lyra II is the cheapest single driver DD unit, and it is the third placed (above the Orion - single BA unit and the Nova) in price, behind the Jupiter, Dorado, Andromeda and Vega models.

    But I digress somewhat. Apologies.

    The Lyra II due to its signature of XXx in my view matches well with a neutral to a bright source to really shine.

    The Opus#1 with its latest Lollipop firmware update really shines when paired with the Campfire Audio Lyra II, great detail, the treble comes alive rather than recessed, lower bass is clean, clear and quick without a trace of muddiness, the mids are slightly warm, with a hint of lushness without becoming too enveloping or demanding.

    As usual I paired the earphones with many different players/source, Dac/amps etc to try to get to the heart of the earphone, its essence; and came away quite pleased with the Lyra II. Having the Vega and the Dorado also in my possession meant I knew on an unconscious level I would probably look down on their cheaper cousin. I went the review route of Dorado>Lyra II> to try to combat this thinking.

    The choice still is If you want V excitement then get the Dorado, If you want something a bit warmer and perhaps even laid back get the Lyra II and If you want the whole shebang of fullness, balanced, linear even then get the Vega.

    Whilst the Lyra II is no slouch in its overall performance, its focus on the lows and mids might not be for everyones taste. Each to their own.
     
    The Lyra II like all the other Campfire Audio earphones I have listened to is smooth, well detailed and has a decent soundstage.​
    It has accurate placing of the instruments and a true portrayal of the vocals therein.​
     ​
    A winner for fans of the XXx style signature.​
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    Thank you to Campfire Audio for sending the Lyra II to Head pie for review​
    -expatinjapan​
     ​

      Hi-Fi'er, JaeYoon and natto like this.

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