Ken Ball and the team at Campfire Audio were showing off three new pairs of music makers this weekend at CanJam in Los Angeles. One of the three were even a pair of universal fit IEMs fitted with diamond coated dynamic diaphragms (Atlas, $1299). The other new IEM hits a budget pricepoint with tech from some of the current premium models (Comet, $199).
The coating was recently updated with a snazzy new acronym A.D.L.C. (Amorphous Diamond-Like Carbon) which according to the company website is “the hybrid of diamond and graphite carbon. It is a non-crystalline diamond. It is a material that has low density and high rigidity, important factors when considering diaphragm materials.” The diaphragm technology is the same that was used in current Vega flagship, but where the Vega holds an 8.5mm transducer, the new Atlas has a larger 10mm. The Vega will remain available for sale on the Campfire Audio site, but has recently slide down to a $1099 price to make way for the new top dog.
Comet and Atlas represent a clear new direction from the Portland-based company which recently made waves with their ever increasing line of IEMs which highlights included a stellar BA-driven unit as well as the dynamic diamond Vega. The outside shell has been swapped into a solid stainless steal case from the anodized aluminum of its predecessors. Ken feels that not only does the material contribute to the improvement of the overall sound, but should also wear better over time like a nice piece of audio jewelry. Both earphones also continue to utilize a swappable MMXC connection. In the case of the Comet, expect the internals to include the Campfire Audio “tuned acoustic expansion chamber” that was included with the Andromeda ($1,099).
When considering the acoustic design goals, Mr. Ball mentions increasing the size of the perceived sphere of sound that surrounds the listeners head during playback. He specifically shoots to make this imaginary soundstage bubble bigger, wider and larger for a huge sound from a tiny driver that rests in your ear canal. This has long been one of the primary evaluation factors for us when it comes to high end audiophile IEMs and Ken’s line of thinking here appears to be spot on in this popular category of portable audio.
The other headphone on display is actually a closed back around-the-ear headphone that has been long in the making. The Cascade ($799) has a 42mm Beryllium PVD diaphragm, and in some parts uses the same material as the top tier Utopia from Focal. With the new full size entry the sonic goals were to create a sound that is on par with some of the best open-back headphones, but with the convince of some bleed and isolation benefits of the close back design. The $800 plateau was the choice of MrSpeakers latest creation and is an interesting middle ground to play in between the thongs of $300 mainstream attempts and the high end $1k shelf.
All products are in production and available to order direct from Campfire.