Campfire - Solaris
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BananaOoyoo

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So after two weeks of experiencing something of a dark night of the soul(aris) I'm officially back in the club. At the end of last month I ordered a Sony IER Z1R, entirely out of curiosity and love of Sony products in general and not due to any inherent dissatisfaction with the Solaris. Upon receiving the Z1R I was deeply impressed with its bass and treble extension and overall sexiness-- to the point that I was prepared to make it my main IEM. Fortunately I didn't rush into anything and I kept my Solaris on hand for the last couple weeks.

Long story shortened-- yesterday, after two weeks of struggling with the fit and just over a week of listening exclusively to the Z1R, I switched over to the Solaris and I was struck by how much I'd missed its beautiful balanced sound, robust midrange, detail retrieval and holographic soundstage. Another thing that jumped out at me after many days of not hearing the Solaris was how coherent and "whole" its presentation of sound is. The Z1R is a great sounding IEM, but after switching back to Solaris I found myself really noticing the recessed midrange and comparatively confined soundstage. In addition to that I remembered how well Solaris fit me-- I can wear them for hours comfortably whether on the couch or out and about. They are substantially lighter than the Z1R and I can easily forget they're there. For a few hours yesterday I did some a/b'ing between the two with some of my favorite tracks I found that I actually preferred the sound of the Solaris a significant percentage of the time. I think that in a rush to embrace the Z1R initially I glossed over many of the strengths of the Solaris. This method of switching to one IEM exclusively for a period of time and then back to the other to see what I notice is a good way to ascertain the strengths of each in a more definitive way. Ultimately they both have their strengths-- for me it's treble/bass extension and definition on the Z1R & balance, a more robust midrange, resolution and an airy and holographic soundstage on the Solaris-- however I'm finding that lately my preferences tend more towards the balanced presentation of the Solaris to the mild V of the Z1R. Factoring in the fit issues, and what are imho certain superior technicalities, and the balance has tilted decisively in favor of the Solaris for me. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise-- the Solaris is a TOTL IEM on par with the best on the market and if balance and coherence combined with delicious DD bass is your thing, then I'm not sure there's anything better out there right now. Sometimes we need to branch out for a bit to really appreciate the greatness of the things that we have. In a nutshell: Solaris FTW!
Glad you found the IEM that works for you. I think at that level of performance, there aren’t too many bad options but rather differences in preferences.

A robust midrange is something I didn’t get with the Solaris though - will have to try it again and see how my impressions change.
 
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Rockwell75

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Glad you found the IEM that works for you. I think at that level of performance, there aren’t too many bad options but rather differences in preferences.
Thanks man, and indeed.

A robust midrange is something I didn’t get with the Solaris though
I meant specifically relative to the Z1R. I think a wider chunk of the midrange, particularly the lower, is recessed on the Sony (perhaps to enhance the sub-bass) and it really stuck out to me when I switched back to the Solaris. People have complained of a slight hollowness in the upper midrange on Solaris but, perhaps due to the music I listen to, this is never something I've really noticed/been bothered by.
 
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Rockwell75

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That's a very good picture...

Unfortunately, Mine already started to chip off in some of the edge...
hehehe... it showed how much I used these baby daily... #excuse....

It adds character :wink:
 
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AlanU

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That's a very good picture...

Unfortunately, Mine already started to chip off in some of the edge...
hehehe... it showed how much I used these baby daily... #excuse....

I've always wrapped my Andromeda's with micro cloth when in storage. After 14mths they still look new. I don't think the anodizing is as robust as it should.
 
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I'm considering boarding the Solaris train, but hoping some of you can provide me with some insight: I currently own an IE800, which I love, but after hearing a Noble Katana, I realized there was more to be had in terms of detail/precision. However I as I prefer stronger bass, and not bright treble, the Katana wasn't quite right for me...
So now I'm considering the 64 Audio U18/12t, Legend X or the Solaris... Solaris by far being the easiest to get here in EU, it would seem.

However I'm curious if it would provide anywhere near the same accuracy/detail upgrade that the Katana did? And if anyone can comment on how it compares to the IE800 in general that would be great! (or the noble for that matter)
The TEAC method (compared to the years other companies spent developing phase correction tubes/bores) and lack of crossover points has me quite sceptical, not to mention the comparatively low driver count for the price (more drivers usually aid detail and effortlessness).
I find many resonant designs/simple designs completely incapable of handling complex passages in music like metal... and most that can are too bright to have the right weight/body to the sound.

My main reason for concern with the Solaris or reason I'm not jumping on it is honestly due to hearing the Andromeda once, and finding it so utterly boring and unimpressive that I just stopped listening to it quite quickly... So I really don't hope the Solaris is a similar experience :p
 
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fokta

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I'm considering boarding the Solaris train, but hoping some of you can provide me with some insight: I currently own an IE800, which I love, but after hearing a Noble Katana, I realized there was more to be had in terms of detail/precision. However I as I prefer stronger bass, and not bright treble, the Katana wasn't quite right for me...
So now I'm considering the 64 Audio U18/12t, Legend X or the Solaris... Solaris by far being the easiest to get here in EU, it would seem.

However I'm curious if it would provide anywhere near the same accuracy/detail upgrade that the Katana did? And if anyone can comment on how it compares to the IE800 in general that would be great! (or the noble for that matter)
The TEAC method (compared to the years other companies spent developing phase correction tubes/bores) and lack of crossover points has me quite sceptical, not to mention the comparatively low driver count for the price (more drivers usually aid detail and effortlessness).
I find many resonant designs/simple designs completely incapable of handling complex passages in music like metal... and most that can are too bright to have the right weight/body to the sound.

My main reason for concern with the Solaris or reason I'm not jumping on it is honestly due to hearing the Andromeda once, and finding it so utterly boring and unimpressive that I just stopped listening to it quite quickly... So I really don't hope the Solaris is a similar experience :p
Hmm what a coincidence, Just try IE800, from a friend... but just for short time.

What I exp, the sound sig is quite the opposite between IE800 and Solaris. IMHO, IE800 is laid back, but balance and very detail...
if u used Solaris from IE800, u will find a bit foward, with warm sig...
both can delivered Dynamic in Low Volume...

if u are going to the energic side... consider Demo Solaris to found out... :ksc75smile:
 
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Hmm what a coincidence, Just try IE800, from a friend... but just for short time.

What I exp, the sound sig is quite the opposite between IE800 and Solaris. IMHO, IE800 is laid back, but balance and very detail...
if u used Solaris from IE800, u will find a bit foward, with warm sig...
both can delivered Dynamic in Low Volume...

if u are going to the energic side... consider Demo Solaris to found out... :ksc75smile:
It would require an intercontinental plane ticket to try them - that's why I'm here :p
I think we have very different ideas of the word laid back though, considering the IE800 is sort of V shaped, with some extra kick in the low end and extra sparkle, making it rather in-your-face or attention grabbing, without being so V shaped it lacks mid-range. I hope the Solaris isn't actually the opposite though, as less bass than the IE800 would be a deal killer for me. I could do with a more detailed, but less accentuated treble though...

I wish I heard more of the Andromeda so I knew exactly what made it so boring to me and unimpressive (had limited time to listen to various headphones at a dealer, so skipped them after a minute or two of just consistently being unimpressed), and whether the Solaris had the same thing... I'm worried it might have something to do with the treble, which I think I've heard the Solaris shares with it pretty closely?
 
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AlanU

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It would require an intercontinental plane ticket to try them - that's why I'm here :p
I think we have very different ideas of the word laid back though, considering the IE800 is sort of V shaped, with some extra kick in the low end and extra sparkle, making it rather in-your-face or attention grabbing, without being so V shaped it lacks mid-range. I hope the Solaris isn't actually the opposite though, as less bass than the IE800 would be a deal killer for me. I could do with a more detailed, but less accentuated treble though...

I wish I heard more of the Andromeda so I knew exactly what made it so boring to me and unimpressive (had limited time to listen to various headphones at a dealer, so skipped them after a minute or two of just consistently being unimpressed), and whether the Solaris had the same thing... I'm worried it might have something to do with the treble, which I think I've heard the Solaris shares with it pretty closely?
What DAP did you use with the Andromeda audition? single ended or balanced cable? I've just recently sold my Andromeda's but if you pair them with balanced cable with capable DAP they are really a great pair of IEM's. If you're using single ended you are not even close in maximizing the SQ of those IEM's.

I've worn my Solaris w/ balanced cable at work so for the most part, it's close to 8hrs of uninterrupted listening. With my comply 400 I find great balance with holographic sound stage with my modest SR15 Astell & Kern Norma. I have tinnitus in my right ear and it doesn't get fully triggered with the treble from the solaris.
 
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What DAP did you use with the Andromeda audition? single ended or balanced cable? I've just recently sold my Andromeda's but if you pair them with balanced cable with capable DAP they are really a great pair of IEM's. If you're using single ended you are not even close in maximizing the SQ of those IEM's.

I've worn my Solaris w/ balanced cable at work so for the most part, it's close to 8hrs of uninterrupted listening. With my comply 400 I find great balance with holographic sound stage with my modest SR15 Astell & Kern Norma. I have tinnitus in my right ear and it doesn't get fully triggered with the treble from the solaris.
Used my Astell& Kern AK240 (was the best measuring DAP at the time, over the 380, and is still up there I believe) with the stock ALO cable of the Andromeda - don't think it was balanced, but I also don't think it would have made a difference. Balanced makes a small difference on some things, but not enough to save what I experienced... That would be like saying: but did you remember to salt the porridge? Maybe not, but if I'm looking for the worlds best culinary experience, whether the oatmeal is salted or not, ain't going to make it a contender, if you catch my drift ^^

My recollection of it is literally just me with a blank face thinking: "sure, this is an in-ear... It makes sound..." and that was about the only positive things I had to say, nothing straight up offensively negative, but nothing that made me want to listen to it or even experiment with it either. It was just "some sound". Like a clock radio or a laptop speaker... "some sound". Not saying its as bad as those, just that my impression personally was as unimpressed.
 
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Used my Astell& Kern AK240 (was the best measuring DAP at the time, over the 380, and is still up there I believe) with the stock ALO cable of the Andromeda - don't think it was balanced, but I also don't think it would have made a difference. Balanced makes a small difference on some things, but not enough to save what I experienced... That would be like saying: but did you remember to salt the porridge? Maybe not, but if I'm looking for the worlds best culinary experience, whether the oatmeal is salted or not, ain't going to make it a contender, if you catch my drift ^^

My recollection of it is literally just me with a blank face thinking: "sure, this is an in-ear... It makes sound..." and that was about the only positive things I had to say, nothing straight up offensively negative, but nothing that made me want to listen to it or even experiment with it either. It was just "some sound". Like a clock radio or a laptop speaker... "some sound". Not saying its as bad as those, just that my impression personally was as unimpressed.
Your interpretation of SQ is subjective....we all formulate our opinions.

I'd urge you to test the Andromeda's with a balanced cable with your AK DAP. I frequent an amazing shop locally called Headphonebar. I ventured in there and asked to test some balanced cables. The balanced cct amplification section of my SR15 is suppose to be very good. I couldn't believe the difference between the two. I was in denial walking in at first but I wanted to test first hand. I was extremely shocked in the differences.

As a reference point between Andromeda stock single ended cable I swapped to the Solaris stock single ended cable to my Andromeda's. This swap made no difference to my ears during the audition. The balanced cable on the other hand almost sounded like I was listening to a different pair of IEM's in how it changed the sound signature. During that same time swapped from my SR15 Norma to the AK Kann Cube and that was another step closer to "at the moment" end game impression. Throwing on a pair of Solaris with balanced cables is another level all together in a great balance of sound.

You'd be one of the first individuals I've encountered that hears little difference between single ended to balanced cable using an AK DAP. The balanced circuit design and quality is suppose to be highly regarded. Not all balanced sections of amplifiers are created equal.

Another potential issue is the tips you used. Ill fitting tips would make your impression of an IEM from "excellent to poor"
 
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I frequent an amazing shop locally called Headphonebar.
I'm actually hoping to swing by Headphone Bar today and hook up my Solaris to a Kann Cube to see what all the fuss is about. Travis rocks!
 
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Used my Astell& Kern AK240 (was the best measuring DAP at the time, over the 380, and is still up there I believe) with the stock ALO cable of the Andromeda - don't think it was balanced, but I also don't think it would have made a difference. Balanced makes a small difference on some things, but not enough to save what I experienced... That would be like saying: but did you remember to salt the porridge? Maybe not, but if I'm looking for the worlds best culinary experience, whether the oatmeal is salted or not, ain't going to make it a contender, if you catch my drift ^^

My recollection of it is literally just me with a blank face thinking: "sure, this is an in-ear... It makes sound..." and that was about the only positive things I had to say, nothing straight up offensively negative, but nothing that made me want to listen to it or even experiment with it either. It was just "some sound". Like a clock radio or a laptop speaker... "some sound". Not saying its as bad as those, just that my impression personally was as unimpressed.
So maybe you could try this:

848FADE9-55F5-4D36-AE61-8DE2087DA29D.jpeg


The best pairing for the AK240SS, I use Alo Reference 8 balanced and Symbio W peeled tips. :ksc75smile:
 
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I'm actually hoping to swing by Headphone Bar today and hook up my Solaris to a Kann Cube to see what all the fuss is about. Travis rocks!
Was actually the same store I was in when I demo'ed the Andros - was there on a trip :p
 
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So maybe you could try this:



The best pairing for the AK240SS, I use Alo Reference 8 balanced and Symbio W peeled tips. :ksc75smile:
I mean, that's essentially the setup I tried, except that looks better, with the matching colours and no silly "lawnmower-refuse green" iem's :p
Though I feel like I've heard the Andro Steel version is tuned a bit differently? But again, a slight tuning change wouldn't save it for me, I don't think - it'd need a complete overhaul. I'd probably like the Atlas, but I doubt it has the detail retrieval I want.
I wanted to like the Campfire audio's because I love their build and design... Sort of the same story as Audeze for me: love them in theory, hate them in practice... At least for the prices they ask.
Wish there was somewhere I could demo them here though, alas no such luck.
 
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AlanU

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I'm actually hoping to swing by Headphone Bar today and hook up my Solaris to a Kann Cube to see what all the fuss is about. Travis rocks!
Yes indeed!! Travis is a remarkable guy and I fully support local businesses. Not often you'll have a local shop so supportive and he's never into pressure sales. His selection sells itself. I buy all of my headphones/IEM's from his shop!

Test the Kann with balanced cables. Test the Alo reference 8 and even the new product from fiio balanced cable. The difference from my AK Norm vs AK Kann Cube is very noticeable as the Cube provides much more confidence and effortless flow with an incredible convincing soundstage. My SR15 does not sound congested or thin and I really enjoy it!!! But the CUBE has this sound quality that provides a bit more realism to female vocals as I test with diana krall. If I do not do an A to B comparison I'm totally happy with the SR15. Problem is now that I've listened to the Cube and it's the benchmark for me in maximizing sound quality of the Solaris.
 
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