Campfire Audio Founder Ken Ball is a multi-talented guy. According to this podcast interview he started ALO audio as a wire company, but now has evolved his audio empire to portable amps, universal IEMs, closed-back circumaural and now custom IEMs. Yes, Ken is getting into the custom biz.
But his approach is anything but typical. Thwarting the Knowles BA driver regime, his first stab at the market will be a dynamic…a single dynamic driver, not even a hybrid. Its unconventional in this space, but banks on a carbon-coated transducer that has already proven its up to par in his Atlas universal. He is also looking to improve comfort. As any custom owner knows, fit can be tricky. Revisions to the personalized molds can be time consuming and even then a bump or shift can be less than optimal for long term use. He’s looking to head some this off at the pass by reducing the length of the tube that descends into the ear canal. An interesting approach, as this reviewer’s most comfortable pair also has the shortest tubes. We are not stating that correlation = causation, but just something to ponder while you much on your favorite tunes this evening. From the Campfire audio site:
“Our new custom fit design is a direct print solid body design. We create the exterior design from a scan of the impression and apply our unique shaping formulas. Then the internal accoustic chambers are incorporated into the 3D model. This gives each earphone the best sound possible with optimized pathways.”
There was only Ken’s demo pair available to gaze at upon the Rocky Mountain Audiofest show floor, but things already looked prepped and ready to go. Fans of the original Atlas who want something a little more “next level” might want to take heed. You can’t share them with your friends, but customs not only seal better they also, sometimes, sound different – even with the same driver.
The new earpiece is debuting at $1.5k and is ready for primetime according to Ken, with a beta program currently available for perusal on the website. Once molds are submitted, expect a little delay starting at 2-3 weeks for production. If other custom IEM launches are any indicator this timeline can get extremely extended, so you might want to submit quickly if you want to take part.