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Cascade Headphone by Campfire Audio

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by KB, Feb 1, 2018.
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  1. Wiljen
    As someone who carries a set of travel headphones a lot , I'm interested in how tough these are. If they are something I can toss in a carry-on and not worry about damaging, then they are in a class that is indeed very small at any price point. To be nearly as resolving as the HD800, with the size of the B&W P5, and the build quality of a Sherman tank is about a perfect description of what I am hoping for.
  2. Alanaudio
    That's what I was hoping to have, however I'm skeptical about if the Cascade can come close to ThX00 for the sound quality.
  3. Wiljen
    I'm hoping to see these at an upcoming meet (Carolina Canfest) as a couple of us have been talking to Ken about getting a pair to demo. I'll try and put up notes after the show as there will be a ton of good stuff there to compare/contrast with. I know the HD800,700,650,600 will all be there, along with most of the Audeze models, several Fostex, and a couple of Stax systems. If the Cascade can fit in with that crowd it will have done very well indeed.
  4. elira
    Designed in Portland, Oregon USA - Assembled in China using globally sourced components.
  5. misericorde88
    Can anyone that has checked these out already comment on how the little inserts affect the sound? The difference between them doesn't look like much to me, and I'm curious how much they can attenuate the bass.
  6. elira
    I just got mine, first impression is that they lack some midrange, no idea if after the break in + one of the inserts that would become better. The build quality seems robust, a little utilitarian, and the articulation points feel tight. Confortwise they feel ok, but the ear pads are somewhat little my ears fit tightly, someone with bigger ears would have problems. The cable feels nice, it's covered in cloth and is very flexible. I think they should have included a 1/8 to 1/4 adapter but most people have a ton of them so maybe that's fine for most people.
  7. yaslam
    Acoustic Dampeners can be installed one above the other. However, one of the lower parts is fixed and can not be removed or replaced. (May be forcibly possible)
    It is not attached to top in the initial state.
    You can increase bass by attaching Acoustic Dampeners to the top.
    They can not attenuate the bass from the default state.
  8. misericorde88
    Oh, wow. I thought they worked the other direction. I guess I didn't/don't fully understand the use of headphone acoustic dampening. It also looks like the dampeners are held with glue in this review. I was thinking you would be able to easily play with all the permutations. Looks like I was wrong about that too.
  9. RollsDownWindowsManually
    I just received my Cascade! If anyone wants me to write out comparisons of any of the other HP's in my collection, let me know (Ether Flow Open, Aeon Closed, HD800, Q701, DT-250, MDR7506, Campfire Vega, Futuresonics, MG5HX).

    They're really fun for EDM, a lot of bass, especially upper/midbass. Sounds like a +10db shelf at 200hz or so extending down. They have a nice lack of sound leakage. I think this would be a great in-bed headphone you could use to not bother your significant other. My Pixel XL cellphone drives them very loud, so it's indeed a good portable.
    trellus likes this.
  10. misericorde88
    @RollsDownWindowsManually Compare to Aeon please. They are both closed and similarly priced. I foresee folks trying to decide between them.
  11. RollsDownWindowsManually
    Please take my measurements with a huge grain of salt, they are very amateur and just use a flat plate coupler with Umik-1, but maybe they're mildly useful for comparisons. Closed headphones are hard to measure because pad pressure can really change the results but I do my best for consistency:


    Keep in mind, these are initial impressions out of the box for the cascade with no tuning pads installed.


    Ok, huge difference here. Aeon is basically flat down to the subsonic frequencies. Cascade has a lot more bass quantity and is a lot thumpier by comparison. Bass dominates the sound sig of the Cascade. Whereas I would say treble dominates the Aeon. Think of the cascade as having the bass EQ at 125hz cranked to +10. It sounds just like that. It definitely bleeds into the lower mids. The lowest sub-bass is actually a little more evident on the Aeon whereas the Cascade's upper bass overpowers a lot. Bass guitar is the prominent instrument in the bass, vs kick drum on the Aeon. Cascade is very nice on EDM where the beat pulses through without too much clutter, but it can be congested sounding on some rock where all the energy in the 100hz-200hz area gets to be a bit much between drums, bass, guitar and male vocals. If I had to pick a bass winner, it would be the Cascade in a landslide, even if it isn't ideal to me.


    As shown in the graph, Aeon is strong in the lower mids and is a bit hollow in the upper mids. Guitars can sound bit recessed on the Aeon compared to the cascade. Surprisingly overall they aren't that different to me in the mids, except that the lowest mids/upper bass gets muddied a bit with the cascades boost here. Clarity I give a nod to the Aeon, Timbre goes to the Cascade. The Aeon has a definite closed-cup reverb sounding timbre which is unnautral compared to an open headphone, the Cascade doesn't do this as much. Guitars and vocals take a back seat to percussion-treble in the Aeon. Cascade just seems a bit more natural.


    Aeon is a lot hotter here to my ears. Snare drums really snap at you when you crank the volume. Cascade by contrast is smoother, here, which you can't really tell from the graph. It probably relates to the balance between the bass and treble. There is some 5000hz ringing on the cascade, but I don't notice it much in listening. The Aeon definitely has a cleaner CSD chart, which I can post if there is interest. Cymbals and snare do not bite much on the cascade. They can bite you on the Aeon if you play it loud.


    The Aeon is probably not suitable as a portable unless you have an amp. It does not get very loud from most cellphones or laptops. Cascade on the other hand gets more than loud enough on these types of devices.


    Probably give the nod to the Aeon here because the more neutral sound allows more precise location of instruments. With the Cascade it's as if the bass guitar player's speaker cabinet is about 1 meter in front of your head and the rest of the band is all somewhere 20 meters behind that.

    Oveall these two headphones are really more different than alike to me, despite both being $800 closed headphones. Very different sounds. Largey driven by the fact that cascade has a huge boost at 100hz and Aeon actually has a slight dip there. The other huge difference is the recessed upper midrange of the Aeon vs the flatter mids of the Cascade. I would say that I prefer the cascade overall, but I don't expect to see them on Tyll's wall of fame because they have so much bass. I think a lot of people that like the Aeon would hate the cascade, and vice versa. The Cascade is more engaging although it often leaves me wanting less midbass on many songs. When I switch to the Aeon I get a few minutes of "wow clarity" because the boominess is gone, but after I while I'm left wanting more punch/impact, and to get it I have to to turn the Aeon up so loud that the treble gets too hot. Something that "splits the difference" between these two would probably be more ideal, or at least moves the bass boost of the cascade from 125 down to 65. I know that's hard to do on a headphone though.

    Overall they're really nice and worth a try, especially if you're a basshead. I am, so I do like them.

    Hope this helps, I suck at reviews but maybe it can give you some idea of what's going on....
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
    gelocks, Raketen, Giraku and 10 others like this.
  12. zykorex
    Thanks a lot for such a succint, clear and accessible review! You answered all the questions I didn't even know I had about the comparison between these headphones, and I really appreciate you delineating the respective sound signatures. Cheers!
  13. MadMusicJunkie

    I know I'm not supposed to take the measurements to mean anything, for some reason, but I'm convinced now that this is something I'll really like. I'm primarily electronic music, so this graph looks ideal. I've purchased iems based on graphs before and I've seen it be an accurate indicator for what I wind up hearing. This does look like a Vega or Dorado sort of tuning, which is what made me fall in love with Campfire in the first place!
  14. Montyburns
    Do you folks feel that the Audeze Sine competes with this headphone in any reasonable measure? I'd like to get one or the other for travel. A little added mid-bass never hurts listening to music on a plane or in a noisy coffee shop. :)
  15. elira
    The Sine are excellent headphones, I think they compete in sound quality but comfort and isolation are better in the cascade.
    Montyburns likes this.
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