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Campfire Audio Solaris -- Impressions thread

  1. Currawong Contributor
    Impressions only! All other discussion goes in the regular thread.

    I'll be adding my impressions here in a bit, and quoting a few posts from the other thread.


    As I have posted already, so far, after listening to a lot of what is mainly jazz, I reckon that the Solaris is best with live performances. Jazz at the Pawnshop, Sunday at the Village Vanguard, Chesky binaural albums and the like are all amazing with the Solaris. That's where the upper-mid emphasis works wonders. Going over some Fleetwood Mac again -- not as good a match.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
    fokta and Kitechaser like this.
  2. sagebeard
    Just my take on the solaris. cut and somewhat edited from a larger piece i've been writing after trying a bunch of random stuff for a day in a hifi shop.


    CFA - Solaris

    Widely hyped latest and greatest IEM by community darling Campfire Audio after their smash hit with the excellent andromeda. Seeing what this fuss is all about, I went out of my way to try and listen to a pair for myself. This set was nigh fresh from the box from a hifishop in amsterdam.

    • Overal notes and TL;DR
    Initially, fairly good 'wow'-factor thanks to the apparent sparkly highs and texture. After longer listening however, more and more things become apparent. It's not bad per se, but there's some very interesting, and questionable choices in voicing that just don't sit well with me. It certainly didn't live up to the hype generated around it.

    Overal tonal balance is good, but not somethings I'd be able to immediately place in the traditional vee/warm(dark)/mid/bright/'neutral' categories. Starting from the bottom up, the bass has suprisingly little heft and body to it, almost (but not quite) like the drier bass in a full-BA setup. Was kinda interested in solaris initially due to it being rumoured as 'andro with DD bass'. but alas, it wasnt to be.

    Then, lower mids, mids, thin for my tastes, but otherwise quite natural and 'effortless' like hd800 can be. That is, diffuse, ethereal staging that that just gets pushed back too much. This being more of a personal preference, due to liking more intimate and warmer mid presentations in both speakers and head-gear.

    The upper mids, treble again, questionable. Sparkly, with good apparent detail, but there's this certain thing to it that just makes it sound 'wrong' to me. not bad. just.... that certain je-ne-sais-quoi kinda lacking in something. That combined with the certain kinda plasticky timbre and nasality, it kinda just took me out of any sort of immersion.

    Speaking about immersion, staging quite good actually, for a fully sealed iem, quite a large stage, but can fall prey to falling apart in cohesion at times.

    • musical notes
    Just like how I did the big write up on the m7, (and the ones still in pipeline for ex1k, cd3k and l700) I usually prefer to reference to tracks rather than referencing the different 'ranges'.
    This all powered from the balanced out of a ZX300 with JP region firmware. All tracks 16/44 Flac self ripped or from trusted sources at minimum. Direct Source turned on to rule out any dsp interference.
    With all that said, for now, I'll share the notes from one album.

    • Fleetwood Mac - Tango In The Night - Little Lies / Mystified / You and I, Pt.2
    Ah, fleetwood mac. Consistently some of the best mastering and mixing for headphones out there in myopinion, despite the years that have passed. While 'Tango In The Night' isn't quite the tour-de-force of masterpieces and intrigue like 'Rumours' was, it IS a much more upbeat feel-good kind of album.

    With the Solaris, The first track I mention in this album, Mystified, track 6, is a wonderful affair. The tuning and large stage fits wonderfully with the dreamy, detached vibe going on here. The all important reverb and snare drums sparkle and shimmer with enough energy like they should, and the diffuse mids give just the right amount weightlessness without overdoing it, like the HD800, or the rare Stax ED5 equaliser can do.

    Onto track 7, Little lies, we quickly stumble upon what in my opinion is the most glaring fault of the solaris. Now that the vocals are back to the forefront, now that everything has gained their weight and authority back, I quickly find that vocals, even the famous chorus of 'Tell me lies, sweet little lies', have gained a weird kind of nasality to it, along with a... brittle? very plasticky timbre that wasnt quite apparent one track earlier. The presentation still 'effortless' and unstrained, it just feels wrong. I would almost compare it to the 'upscaling' gimmicks some daps use, most notably, the DSEE HX and such from sony. I double, even triple checked during various phases of my time with the solaris to make sure it wasnt on my side. Despite the apparent clarity and effortlessness, there is raw edge, plasticky thing to it... brrr

    The final track in this album, fun, and upbeat with a solid drum backing behind it. much more full and mellow than most of the tracks here. But here we stumble on the other major flaw of the solaris. The bass feels drier than should be here, it's much more thumpy and dry than the likes of EX1000, HS1551, gr07AE or even the all-BA M7 I'm addmittedly enamored with. While not fully the 'dead BA bass' many BA iem suffer from, it still is a far cry from the body and impact a good DD can have. Limp wristed indeed. I had expected MUCH more out of a DD in this price bracket really...

    All of the above being said, I do not think the Solaris is terrible or anything. The resolution is there and some, the presentation and voicing in the mids quite unique. Just the plasticky nature and almost nasality of the treble, and bass that frankly is almost unbecoming of a DD that make the solaris a less than ideal candidate for me. Slotted next to the andromeda, or perhaps just above would've been a fine place. The current msrp of 1500usd, or 1600+ eur in europe, make it a lot less attractive with how competitive the market is today.
  3. ExpatinJapan
    fokta, Currawong and fuhransahis like this.
  4. seamon
    Thank you for introducing me to Fleetwood Mac. I just listened to this song. It really is an amazing song!
    I definitely do not hear this plasticky timbre. To me ears, the tonality of the vocals is very natural and very comparable to my LCD4.
    Kitechaser likes this.
  5. Ahmad313
    Really nice post ,
    Have you tried the JVC FX10000 , any thoughts/comparison with Solaris ,???
  6. Currawong Contributor
    To me, it seems like the upper mids are stronger, and the lower mids a bit weaker, resulting in mixed impressions of vocals.
  7. nichino
    Posting some hands-on impressions on the iBasso DX150 + Solaris pairing which I shared with a fellow Head-fier:

    Upgrading from Amp 6 to Amp 7

    I like the DX150 + Solaris combo a lot - it's very lively and dynamic, really makes my music collection come alive (I am stepping up from DX90 + 1more Quads). Especially on the Amp 7 SE vs stock Amp 6 SE, it's like removing another veil from the music with more energy and headroom throughout the entire music range.

    Differences between DX90 and DX150 when paired with sensitive IEMs (CA Solaris)

    Unfortunately like what many others have reported, there is audible hiss on the DX150 with either amp card - compared to the almost black background of the DX90. However, this is only noticeable on really quiet passages or when i pause the music. On the 99% of music that I listen to (Jazz / Classical / Pop / Acoustic / Rock) this does not bother me. To me, the enjoyment factor of the combi trumps the hiss issue - then again, I am obviously not a technical listener :)
    fokta likes this.
  8. Currawong Contributor
    I'd forgotten that I started this thread. Whoops! Here are the two videos I've made so far.

    fokta, duaned, WhatToChoose and 2 others like this.
  9. fokta
    I did not aware this thread exist..
    Well I will spend my time here...

    The following is my recent impression regarding SOLARIS eartip :

    Gummies Tips : https://www.head-fi.org/posts/14838863/

    Although I using back to my regular Silicon tips due to my personal problem (irritation) with Foam material...
  10. Rockwell75
    I read similar things from a couple people prior to demoing Solaris for myself and it's totally at odds with how I perceived it-- going straight from Atlas to Solaris I could definitely identify the delicious DD bass signature...and quite a lot of it.

    Anyway glad to have found this thread...hopefully it will see some more impressions. Here are mine: https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/campfire-audio-solaris.23389/reviews#review-21324
  11. fokta
    Can find below are my impressions, from DAP quest for HISS, cable, unique suggestion add on, etc...
    All are my own opinion based on what I experience.. .

    DAP :
    DAP QUEST : DX200 AMP 1, Sony Nw-zx2 , XDP300r, DX150 Amp6
    DAP QUEST2 : Cayin N5iis, AK70SR, AK100& AK100MOD, LPGT Touch & QP1r
    DAP QUEST3 : ZX300 alternative
    DAP : QP1r & Shanling M3s
    NOTE 8 : alternative
    CAYIN N6ii , 2nd trial
    AK Futura
    AK Kann

    Cable pairing :
    ALO Copper Cable
    ALO Ref8
    Slitz SE : Link 1 - Link 2
    PENON H16 : LINK 1 - LINK 2 - LINK 3
    AbNormalz : Link 1 - Link 2
    JANUS Basso : alternative
    130 (8C SPC TRRS), 165 (4C UP-OCC Chopper TRRS) & 173 (4C, Pure Silver TRRS) : Link 1 - Link 2 - Link 3.
    (reference number can be find here)
    VERUS (local cable) - EA JANUS Dynamic - Leonidas II Octa - DITA Oslo - compile

    Song :
    Fleetwood mac : Dream
    Fleetwood Mac : Little Lies
    Weezer : take on me
    AR Rahman : Dacoit duel
    Ravel String Quartet - 1st movement
    James Blake - Limit to your love
    Stealy Dan - AJA DSD
    New Order - Blue Monday

    Other IEM :

    NX4 DSD
    Desktop AMP D30 & A30

    COMBO setting:
    X5iii + NX4DSD
    X5iii + E12a

    CustomArt Eartip : link 1 Link 2

    Bonus : my guilty pleasure.... Rosenkranz Auto Rosen
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
    Arghavan likes this.
  12. fokta
    My Impression of Solaris with Rosenkranz Auto Rosen...


    Background, Was looking how to increase the separation. been using this unusually sticker for more than 1 month....

    and have the opportunity to compare AB with another Solaris....
    By using Cayin N5iiS, with both Slitz Cable 3.5mm
    Song Jenge by poison Mushroom.

    My Impression, well, the sticker do work... the things that change was separation and tight bass & Timbre....
    The all rounder become a bit monitoring (less fun using this sticker).
    Low : Less punchy, very tight bass even rumble, but darker background with Rosenkranz...

    Mid : here where I found Auto rosen excel, the Lo mid seperate nicely, make Solaris more on monitoring IEM than Fun... its two edge sword...

    High : The detail layer Spark felt really intens with auto rosen.

    My conclusion, yes this sticker have impact, only make the separation felt in every freq... the drawback, all songs seems different before and after u stick it.... can make Solaris no fun and more on Monitoring directions... too focus some other people said....

    Well, Just take my impression as grain of salt...

    edit : someone DM me, thank you for the concern.
    the idea using this Rosenkranz Auto rosen is Vibrations control, so it can make or u feel the separation....
    what I experience is the Mid Vocal become a bit recess.
    it's make Solaris to monitoring direction, but far from monitoring IEM (PP8), still Solaris DNA and it's Great all-rounder...
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
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