Campfire Audio - Saber
Jan 18, 2022 at 3:35 PM Post #121 of 149

corgifall

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Thought I'd create a new thread for @CampfireAudio instead of having conversation splattered on into a bunch of different long-running ones.

I should be getting one eventually, just don't have a date yet.
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Saber

Slice through the fatigue of sonic sameness!​

Unique driver selection, arrangement, and exceptional interior acoustic design; Saber offers you an exciting escape to a new sonic experience. Its ergonomic form factor offers compact comfort and extended listening sessions without fatigue.

Saber is an impressive conversation piece and stylish expression of your aural daring. Fresh, exciting, and deeply rewarding; this new hybrid is a highlight of any collection. Limited to 1000 units globally.

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The Real (Damascus) Steel

Individually Unique + Universally Durable

The aesthetic elements of Saber are second to none. Its machined Damascus steel lid means that each piece is supremely unique. The Saber you own is one of its kind. The balance of the body utilizes our light and durable ABS in a striking black matte finish. Together these elements form a remarkable earphone in both style and comfort.
Saber features our slim spout assembly that improves comfort and allows for greater ease of use when tip rolling. The everyday use of Saber is thoroughly considered and refined by years of experience.

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‘Pure Copper’

Welcome Back A Classic Cable

Our Pure Copper cable is the ideal complement to Saber. Its smooth and warm character enhances the admirable sonic attributes of this very special hybrid. Four high purity copper conductors meet custom beryllium copper MMCX connectors to ensure optimal sonic performance.

Custom Beryllium Copper MMCX connectors provide thousands of more pulls to the part’s life and ensure that the connection you have on Day 1 will be the same as the connection years from now. Moldable over-ear hooks provide security, flexibility, and comfort.

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Portland Grey

Compact Canvas Carrying Case; HandMade in Portugal

Our most compact carrying case now fits easily into your pocket, keeping your earphones protected and within reach. The muted tones channel the season of Portland’s rainy days while the design offers protection from elements at a supremely pocketable scale.

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New Dual DD Configuration

The First in a New Lineage of Campfire IEMs

Saber’s design features a number of “firsts” for Campfire Audio. It is our first hybrid design to feature multiple dynamic drivers and our first opportunity to showcase our new D6 and D8 dynamic drivers.

D6 features a rigid Titanium/Polymer diaphragm that brings warm, detailed mids to Saber’s sonic presentation. D8 features a hybrid Beryllium/Polymer diaphragm. This creates a special depth to the low-end, while its compact size for a bass driver keeps the bass tight and tastefully presented.

Order Now – Shipping Dec. 21st @ $449

https://campfireaudio.com/shop/saber
I wish they would include balanced cables as an option.
 
Jan 18, 2022 at 3:45 PM Post #122 of 149

Rockwell75

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Jan 21, 2022 at 4:43 AM Post #124 of 149

Oscar-HiFi

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I'm finding these to be killer with Rock/Metal, which is what I was hoping for. I get the "Grado" comparisons in that it's a lively, slightly colored, treble-energy tuning. In practice these hit me like a DT880 tone meets a pre-X era Grado tuning. If you like the thought of that.... you'll love these. If you're a bit 'Mmmm' or just '?'....probably a a pass for you.

  • Where I'm loving these is its gear that brings vocals/guitar forward in rock/metal......and they are generally forgiving of poor or highly compressed mixes. There are a lot of real spiffy IEM's out there that can play rock/metal....but the majority follow the popular Bass - Neutral tuning approach. So man, has this been an era to appreciate drum work blobby low-mid distortion. Vocal/lead guitar....a lot of times either recessed or kinda' flat. Not Saber! Also an era of awesome detail/technicalities...which is usually the bees knees except when you when fire up rock/metal and your kilobuck IEM promptly tells you just how crappy whatever DR5 mix you are listening to is. Not Saber!

  • I don't find these particularly V shaped , recessed in the mids to any great degree. To my battered ears it more just walks down from High to Bass in terms of highlighted frequency. Bass votes present and sub-bass played hooky.....Mid-High and Treble have both captured all your bases and sent you up the bomb.

  • It's magical ear candy with traditional/thrash/power metal/related. Saber works with Doom/Death/Black/Tech....it just sort of applies a "thrash" filter. The lean/aggressive signature lightens the body and tone in those genres...and honestly you'd want a darker, low-mid-neutral tuned IEM on hand to really get the sonic atmosphere intended when desired. But...the Saber really highlights guitar and vocal work that often is lost in the grime....while dancing over poor mixes.

  • Misc: Male Vocals > Femal Vocals in general. Your toes will tap with everything, it's got energy in the signature for sure. It's fast as hell. It's bright, have no illusions.....but honestly not overly sibilant or an ear-pick (away from the hottest of mixes). You may not like what it's doing....but it's not a treble murder-box.

  • Outside of rock/metal.....I'm not sure what these would be considered an 'A' player on. Can they play Jazz and Classical? Sure.....cause' everything decent can play Jazz and Classical. But it's still a bit bright.....and it doesn't have the technicities to really bring an extra 'wow' factor (they aren't bad at all for the $400-$500 level...just not the calling card of the IEM). So much in modern music is mixed and ready for sonic love in the neutral-bass/bass-heavy spectrum.....and the Saber is not a fellow for that game.

So a $450 IEM that plays one genre really well, and even in that genre gets a bid odd with the darker/heavier side. So why make these? Well......

1. Lots of people listen to rock and metal.
2. There is lack of IEM's tailored to those genres, especially as you move beyond budget ranges looking for more. Note...yes, lots of solid choices for a darker, bass-neutral sound....but not treble/mid-high/snappy signature.
3. Looking for some energy/sparkle with rock/metal....see the suggestions out there right? Andromeda, Roxanne, Monarch I/II, Clairvoyance, Symphonium, U12t, Solaris, etc. All of these are significantly more expensive than the Saber and from a technical side will be more than happy to let you know how crappy the mix is you are listening to. So instead of listening to Tomb Mold in bed, you put on the "Fresh Jazz" playlist on Amazon HD for the millionth time so you can feel good about the $1,000 you spent (I have half of the IEM's I listed....I love them all but not one is overall 'more fun' than the Saber with metal). But you can use your $200 Timeless for that and all you really wanted was to be listening to Tomb Mold and not have cymbal hits that sounds like "Tschzxxxschh" and drums hits that sound like a bird flying into a window pushed in your face as a cruel reminder of DR5 horrors.

Yes, it's a niche...but they made just a thousand and I bet there's at least a thousand rock/metal fans out there that will dig these. I'm one for sure....and salute Campfire for reaching out with love to a sonic signature/genre preference that doesn't get prominent love.

Nice take on the Saber, and as someone who listens to a lot of rock and metal you have got it spot on.
 
Jan 21, 2022 at 11:27 AM Post #125 of 149

JS27

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Thanks to folks the liked my ramble/impressions! I don't want to come across as if the Sabers are a masterpiece....they are a purposed/niche tuned IEM that I think is very fun if you dig that particular niche. I shared my impression on the Saber specifically because I'm someone fortunate enough to own some very nice, higher-end IEM's but as a metal fan know that many times these are fairly unflattering to the weak mixes inherent across the genre. Beyond that, it's also not easy to find something that doesn't lead with either a warm/relaxed or a Bass-Neutral approach where you lose some of the manic vocal and treble magic you want.

Even if the Saber wasn't for me, I'd still lift up my coffee cup and salute Campfire for trying out different/niche tuning profiles. From a market perspective...there's only so much Bass-Neutral hair-splitting you can do. They've got Solaris+variants, Andromeda+variants, Holocene a step down.....they have a ton of choices in their core line-up in the "modern tuning" vein at multiple price points. A place like Head-Fi has an audience where minor tweaks or revisions to existing models like the Andromeda may fire them up.....but I'm not sure that is a relatable or wide-appealing choice for a non-hardcore buyer. Things like the Mammoth (which I haven't heard) and Saber don't represent risky changes to their core products.....they are augmenting choices at the further edges of the tuning spectrum. I don't think that approach absolves still producing a coherent, enjoyable sound within a chosen niche....but I'd adamantly say the Sabers are very enjoyable if you are looking for a purposefully treble/mid-high+very fast response profile.
 
Jan 22, 2022 at 4:47 PM Post #126 of 149

SoundMan103

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Thanks to folks the liked my ramble/impressions! I don't want to come across as if the Sabers are a masterpiece....they are a purposed/niche tuned IEM that I think is very fun if you dig that particular niche. I shared my impression on the Saber specifically because I'm someone fortunate enough to own some very nice, higher-end IEM's but as a metal fan know that many times these are fairly unflattering to the weak mixes inherent across the genre. Beyond that, it's also not easy to find something that doesn't lead with either a warm/relaxed or a Bass-Neutral approach where you lose some of the manic vocal and treble magic you want.

Even if the Saber wasn't for me, I'd still lift up my coffee cup and salute Campfire for trying out different/niche tuning profiles. From a market perspective...there's only so much Bass-Neutral hair-splitting you can do. They've got Solaris+variants, Andromeda+variants, Holocene a step down.....they have a ton of choices in their core line-up in the "modern tuning" vein at multiple price points. A place like Head-Fi has an audience where minor tweaks or revisions to existing models like the Andromeda may fire them up.....but I'm not sure that is a relatable or wide-appealing choice for a non-hardcore buyer. Things like the Mammoth (which I haven't heard) and Saber don't represent risky changes to their core products.....they are augmenting choices at the further edges of the tuning spectrum. I don't think that approach absolves still producing a coherent, enjoyable sound within a chosen niche....but I'd adamantly say the Sabers are very enjoyable if you are looking for a purposefully treble/mid-high+very fast response profile.
 
Jan 22, 2022 at 6:29 PM Post #127 of 149

SoundMan103

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I was sent an email in December 2020 alerting me to the arrival of the Saber. I had been agonising over finding a replacement for my broken Shure se846’s and had considered the Andromeda, Holocene and 64 Audio u12t just to name a few. I had read about all of these on forums at great length but had some last minute reservations about cost and fit. I nearly pulled the trigger on the Holocene, but when I heard something about ‘fun’ describing the Saber I went for it. People will describe what they think of an IEM when it’s connected to their DAP, DAC or phone, but the source is more important than some think. The Saber has combined with my Astell & Kern AK380 perfectly and I now have a very detailed sound that never strays into harshness and the bass has just the right amount of punch. Obviously I haven’t heard other options, but the sound has improved greatly from the already very good se846’s. I now have more energy and ‘get up and go’. I can hear much more information from my stored music.
 
Jan 24, 2022 at 4:22 AM Post #128 of 149

Bernard23

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I'm finding these to be killer with Rock/Metal, which is what I was hoping for. I get the "Grado" comparisons in that it's a lively, slightly colored, treble-energy tuning. In practice these hit me like a DT880 tone meets a pre-X era Grado tuning. If you like the thought of that.... you'll love these. If you're a bit 'Mmmm' or just '?'....probably a a pass for you.

  • Where I'm loving these is its gear that brings vocals/guitar forward in rock/metal......and they are generally forgiving of poor or highly compressed mixes. There are a lot of real spiffy IEM's out there that can play rock/metal....but the majority follow the popular Bass - Neutral tuning approach. So man, has this been an era to appreciate drum work blobby low-mid distortion. Vocal/lead guitar....a lot of times either recessed or kinda' flat. Not Saber! Also an era of awesome detail/technicalities...which is usually the bees knees except when you when fire up rock/metal and your kilobuck IEM promptly tells you just how crappy whatever DR5 mix you are listening to is. Not Saber!

  • I don't find these particularly V shaped , recessed in the mids to any great degree. To my battered ears it more just walks down from High to Bass in terms of highlighted frequency. Bass votes present and sub-bass played hooky.....Mid-High and Treble have both captured all your bases and sent you up the bomb.

  • It's magical ear candy with traditional/thrash/power metal/related. Saber works with Doom/Death/Black/Tech....it just sort of applies a "thrash" filter. The lean/aggressive signature lightens the body and tone in those genres...and honestly you'd want a darker, low-mid-neutral tuned IEM on hand to really get the sonic atmosphere intended when desired. But...the Saber really highlights guitar and vocal work that often is lost in the grime....while dancing over poor mixes.

  • Misc: Male Vocals > Femal Vocals in general. Your toes will tap with everything, it's got energy in the signature for sure. It's fast as hell. It's bright, have no illusions.....but honestly not overly sibilant or an ear-pick (away from the hottest of mixes). You may not like what it's doing....but it's not a treble murder-box.

  • Outside of rock/metal.....I'm not sure what these would be considered an 'A' player on. Can they play Jazz and Classical? Sure.....cause' everything decent can play Jazz and Classical. But it's still a bit bright.....and it doesn't have the technicities to really bring an extra 'wow' factor (they aren't bad at all for the $400-$500 level...just not the calling card of the IEM). So much in modern music is mixed and ready for sonic love in the neutral-bass/bass-heavy spectrum.....and the Saber is not a fellow for that game.

So a $450 IEM that plays one genre really well, and even in that genre gets a bid odd with the darker/heavier side. So why make these? Well......

1. Lots of people listen to rock and metal.
2. There is lack of IEM's tailored to those genres, especially as you move beyond budget ranges looking for more. Note...yes, lots of solid choices for a darker, bass-neutral sound....but not treble/mid-high/snappy signature.
3. Looking for some energy/sparkle with rock/metal....see the suggestions out there right? Andromeda, Roxanne, Monarch I/II, Clairvoyance, Symphonium, U12t, Solaris, etc. All of these are significantly more expensive than the Saber and from a technical side will be more than happy to let you know how crappy the mix is you are listening to. So instead of listening to Tomb Mold in bed, you put on the "Fresh Jazz" playlist on Amazon HD for the millionth time so you can feel good about the $1,000 you spent (I have half of the IEM's I listed....I love them all but not one is overall 'more fun' than the Saber with metal). But you can use your $200 Timeless for that and all you really wanted was to be listening to Tomb Mold and not have cymbal hits that sounds like "Tschzxxxschh" and drums hits that sound like a bird flying into a window pushed in your face as a cruel reminder of DR5 horrors.

Yes, it's a niche...but they made just a thousand and I bet there's at least a thousand rock/metal fans out there that will dig these. I'm one for sure....and salute Campfire for reaching out with love to a sonic signature/genre preference that doesn't get prominent love.
I also listen to a lot of rock & blues, so a lot of recordings are old, stuff that was recorded in the 70s and 80s before digital; I have a pair of Grado 325e that are great for high volume rock. Another alternative to the saber is the DUNI EST112 which I ended up getting. It has a similar forward / bright-ish presentation, but maybe less than the saber. I prefer them for this genre than my 325e, which can get too carried away at times.
 
Jan 26, 2022 at 11:48 AM Post #129 of 149

clifford5113

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This is my first post and to clarify, I'm not a seasoned audiophile veteran or audio enthusiats. I just enjoy listen to music and Saber is one of my very few iems above 300-400USD price range I bought but I think it's worth to share my own opinion after almost a month using it.

Less than a dozen of Campfire Saber are available in my country and after I have try the demo at one of the retail store I decided to take this one home right before New Year eve as a sort of present to myself.

Please note that all of the following points are my own opinion, everyone's taste and how they are accustomed to music is vastly different. You might find some of what I will say may contradict to what other says, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

Bass:
Saber delivers a really nice "oomph" for bass and sub-bass. I can feel it bass thumping in my head and it can feel a bit too much bassy for me (sometimes). But the bass seems to have a good retention (doesn't feel like it's very booming and linger around that much). Weighty, punchy but quite responsive albeit can be disruptive toward mid-range and drown out some details. (fit and eartip affect bass a lot, the different between perfect fit and not is quite pronounced in the bass area).

Mid:
Midranges, especially High-Mid is what Saber most unique attribute is in my opinion. Let's get the elephant out of the room first, yes, it is very fun and energetic but the sibilance can grates your ears sometimes when the drummer start going crazy on the snare, high-pitch chord being played from guitar or when the singer starting hitting those high notes etc. This is the most controversial aspect of Saber, a make or break for this polarized iem. Midrange can be described, for lack of a better word, very vibrant and fun but can be too aggressive and disruptive at times.

Vocal is decent, has some clarity to it and place kinda forward from the rest of the instruments, nothing to write home about but not something to be scorned either.

High:
Again with the characteristic of the high-mid range of Saber, very similar about how it is very pronounced, clear but can be too too sibilant at times. However I don't think it is that good when listen to string, wind instrument hitting very high notes. Saber seems to struggle to keep details nice and clean when it comes to the high range. That being said it is not a bad treble or anything it certainly does it job but if you are looking for a natural, clean and detailed treble this is maybe not a choice for you.

TLDR: A niche iem that caters toward certain style, it is very fun to listen to many of Rock/Metal/Edm/Pop and some orchestra soundtracks due to its super-vibrant mid and high sound signature. It definitely get my head banging when vibing with this in-ear. That being said, the harshness of the mid-high and treble can sometimes be annoying occasionally and when it does, the instrument separation, details and overall soundstage will also be ruined. (plus it's sexy as heck too).
 
Jan 30, 2022 at 12:22 PM Post #130 of 149

productred

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Finally got my hands on a pair - a short trial let me understand why the opinions r so divided but then convinced me to get mine.

Before I put up with a review of some sorts, I’d just say that just like many other CA offerings, if u wanna get the potential out of them:

USE THE CA FOAM TIPS. DITCH THE FINAL OR SPINFITS. I can’t even understand why someone would bother using these on the CAs, they just sound so wrong. CA iems need the CA foam to shine. Sibilants and funky FR all gone with the CA foam, which I believe is what the CA folks tune these with.
 
Jan 30, 2022 at 2:20 PM Post #131 of 149

Lookout57

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Finally got my hands on a pair - a short trial let me understand why the opinions r so divided but then convinced me to get mine.

Before I put up with a review of some sorts, I’d just say that just like many other CA offerings, if u wanna get the potential out of them:

USE THE CA FOAM TIPS. DITCH THE FINAL OR SPINFITS. I can’t even understand why someone would bother using these on the CAs, they just sound so wrong. CA iems need the CA foam to shine. Sibilants and funky FR all gone with the CA foam, which I believe is what the CA folks tune these with.
Ken has said previously that they recommend the foam tips and that is why they are the installed tips.
 
Jan 30, 2022 at 10:04 PM Post #132 of 149

productred

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Ken has said previously that they recommend the foam tips and that is why they are the installed tips.

Yes that's not only a recommendation it should be the golden rule. I've experienced that with the Vega and Lyra and it holds true with the Saber. Half of my demo time was spent with final type E and spinfits that was borderline unlistenable (harsh highs, scooped out mids and mid-bass hump) - that made me smile even wider when I switched back to foam, which the demo place had intentionally swapped out for obvious hygiene and longevity reasons.

Gone were the harshness and sibilant highs, and in comes well controlled mid-high to high region, a full and detailed vocal range and deep sub-bass that extends to the lowest octave. The CA foam is part of any CA iems and it should be made the golden rule to never use anything else. I just hope the CA foams can be more accessible since they are not the most durable thing out there.
 
Jan 30, 2022 at 10:19 PM Post #133 of 149

Star Ace

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I am sure I would like these Saber with silicon tips. Plenty out there with different characteristics. Mr. Ball would be the first to admit that foams, while it may be what he prefers, are not for everybody; therefore their regular silicons are always included even if not installed-and aren't too bad in general-alonhmg with the Final E type tips.

For me-and note that I am not sensitive to treble unless very badly done-foams of any type limit the signature to all my IEMs. It does not let them shine as they could. Since I assume you are sensitive to treble, my idea of "good sound" won't suit you, but in general I do not like veiled highs in any sort of fashion (I also do not favor silicon tips that serve a similar function.)

I always try Campfire Audio with their installed foams, and usually think "nice, now let's see what they can really do" and switch to silicon tips. :p
 
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Jan 30, 2022 at 10:22 PM Post #134 of 149

Rockwell75

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I've never used foams as I can't get a seal with them. Sednafits (lately Crystals) and Sprial Dots have been my tip of choice on all my CFA IEMs.
 
Feb 14, 2022 at 5:49 AM Post #135 of 149

vsg28

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^That sucks, but more so here because the foam tips are the a lifeline for the Saber imo. I'll leave some photos and measurements here for now, full review coming down the line on TechPowerUp.

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