The Campfire Audio Orion earphone's are the entry level earphones to Campfire Audio's stunning line of high end universal IEM's which aim to bring you the best sound quality possible in a portable package. The company has onlyhad their IEM's on the market for under a year yet in that time they have made serious waves in the portable audiophile marketplace. The Campfire Audio Lyra and Jupiter Earphones that we reviewed previously were a match for almost any earphone on the market. I was blown away by both those earphones, an incredibly detailed sound that is tuned with extreme precision that is paired with an original design and stellar build quality set them apart as some of the best earphones you can buy in 2016. That level of awesome though is met with one barrier to entry for most people. Price. The Campfire Audio Orion though is significantly less costly that its +$500 brother and comes in at a far more reasonable .... . In creating the Orion IEM's Campfire Audio has kept the same ergonomic and aesthetic design and changed a few other things about the overall package to help bring the cost down. The most notable change however is that the Orion earphones are driven by a single Balanced Armature driver.
Type: Balanced armature driver
Driver Units: 1
Earphone connector: Beryllium Copper hardened MMCX
Plug: Gold plating 3.5mm stereo plug
Cable length: Approx. 1.35M
Frequency Response 10Hz - 16kHz
Impedance @1K 14 ohm
Sensitivity @ 1K 113dB SPL/mW
CNC’d Aluminium enclosure with anodized finish.
Custom Beryllium Copper hardened MMCX earphone sockets.
| Packaging & Accessories
The packaging is something that I have come to know and love on Campfire Audio earphones. It shares the same basic premise as with the Jupiter and Lyra earphones with only a couple of minor tweaks. You are given the same ultra simple cardboard box that is tastefully designed to fold out into a night sky... you know the type you would see from under a campfire. I have mentioned before that I am a big fan of this packaging and will again because there is just something so refreshing about a company whose packaging is and waste free nature, it seems a lot of companies try to distract you with the overall package when the earphones are average at best. As I say, a box is a box. It will usually make its way into the trash sooner than later.
Once you break the seal of the outer packaging you are greeted by yet another beautiful version of Campfire's custom carry case. The cases are a unique point of each Campfire Audio IEM with the highest end Jupiter having an all out incredibly beautiful & luxurious distressed leather version of the same case you get with the Orion. As opposed to this case being drenched in leather you get a really nice grey canvas material that seem extremely tough & hard wearing. The earphones themselves are already tucked away nice and safe on the inside and we will talk more on them later but other than that all you get in the way of extras is a manual and generous selection of ear tips. Really, bar a spare cable, there is very little extra I would want or need and the quality of the included accessories screams of that of a premium product.
| Build Quality & Design
The Campfire Audio Orion are an incredibly good looking set of earphones and they have the build quality to match. The styling is in the same mould as that of the more expensive Jupiter IEM's. Thats a very good thing. The entire upper housing of the Orion IEM is made out of milled aluminium in what it seems is 2 pieces held together with 3 hex screws. The minute you get them in hand you know that this is going to be a seriously durable IEM, one that will last you for years of listening pleasure. Throughout the entire design there are no sign of the cheaper build materials you might find in other similarly priced in ears and to be honest it doesn't feel too far away from the overall impression that you get from the Jupiter. The cable on the Orion is another thing they have in common with the Jupiter and Lyra models. A very nice silver cable with snappy sockets that feel far more robust and long lasting than something like Westone's 2 pin detachable cables. There is some cable memory, that should be noted, and while they do remain tangle free they will require some use before they straighten out after a period of being coiled.
On a purely aesthetic standpoint the Orion are one sexy looking set of earphones. They have presence and a wow factor that will make people ask what you have stuffed in your ears. In the hand they really do feel premium, yet at the same time they feel incredibly tough and rugged. For example, I just put the earphones through 2 weeks of hell hitting some insane downhill trails on my big hit mountain bike all over Cyrpus. They were crammed into a full face helmet for the downhills and sweated on profusely on the climbs. To make things harder on the Orion I had forgotten the carry case and admittedly got lazy by just throwing them straight in the backpack with, bike tools, tubes and a shock pump. They got a fair bit of rattling about when not in m ears and also plenty of exposure to dust and dirt. The result? Not a damm thing. The Orion IEM looks brand new and to prove it the pictures you see in this review have all taken after over a month of solid abuse.
| Comfort, Fit & Isolation
Having used the Jupiter for a few months now I knew what to expect when coming in with regards to the fit and comfort of the Orion In ear monitors. In the meet ups where I have taken the Jupiter along for fans to demo they initially seem to have the impression, due to the angular & industrial styling, that Campfire Audio IEM's might be uncomfortable. Those fears were almost universally put to rest the minute people actually put them in their ears. Most people, bar those with extremely small ears, will appreciate the ergonomic nature of the shape and it seems to slot perfectly into the space between the ant-ihelix, tragus and anti-tragus of the outer ear. It sits supported by these parts as opposed to pushing them out the way which for a lot of folk causes discomfort on extended listening sessions. Some ladies and those guys with very small ears might have an issue though due to the size, they will still fit but you just have to fiddle a bit more to get them in there.
Another factor in the design in comfort is that the IEM's use the cable over the ear as opposed to wearing the cable straight down. There is a reason why so many of the best in ear headphones opt for over ear cables. It reduces the chances of loosing the seal to the inner ear, makes movement far easier, takes the strain weight off the cable and reduces micro-phonics. On the Campfire Audio Orion the top of the cable features a memory wire which was easy to mould to the shape of your ear and stayed locked in place throughout the course of the review. Cable length is amble for tall users, myself being 6'3 and using them from a DAP in my jeans pocket on the go was no hassle at all.
Isolation on the Campfire Audio Orion IEM's is fairly good. This of course could be improved upon if I wanted to use silicone tips but I found that for reasons of comfort and sound I preferred using the included Comply Foam tips. With the Comply tips though they block out most external noise and the earphones would be perfect for use in commuting or noisy office environments etc.
| Sound Quality - How does it Sound?
Going into the sound quality portion of the Campfire Audio Orion review I knew I had to keep an open mind and try not to be influenced by previous experiences with the Lyra and Jupiter IEM's. Those 2, used in combo are probably my favourite earphones I have ever reviewed with the Jupiter even managing to replace my Shure SE846 in daily rotation. There is something about the way that Campfire Audio tunes there earphones that sounds unique and incredibly engaging and happily you can get a taste of that flavour here in the entry level Orion. You get the same sense of soundstage and space that you get in the other two higher end models. Tracks from the likes of Aston band and Einaudi presented sound big and grand with a large amount of depth and width. Rodrigo y Gabriela Tamacun, a fast paced acoustic guitar track is filled with energy and you can tell that the Orion's BA is more than capable of keeping up with the speed demands of the track. Electronic tracks sounded good but there with silicone tips you could hear a slight spike in sibilance in the treble that while not overbearing is something worth keeping in mind.
Highs - High are crisp and clear and very detailed but they do have quite a bright sparkle to them. Not hot or jarring like Final Audio's terrible Adagio V though. Extension i excellent with very little rolloff detected at the upper end just be careful with what you are pairing them with as they are quite sensitive to low resolution tracks.
Mids - The midrange of the IEM, like all Campfire Audio products I have reviewed is the star of the show. smooth detailed and very engaging. Vocals from both male and female artists sounded excellent and the tuning of the driver really showed here in replicating both the cello, guitar and piano tracks with a great sense of realism. I found that the speed was able to keep up with anything I threw at it and while its no match for the mighty Jupiter, and being very different from the lush warm sound of the Lyra it still renders the midrange beautifully.
Lows - Bass on the Orion headphones is fast, tight and punchy but there isn't too much in the way of a sub bass rattle. This of course is to be expected due to the volume of air a BA driver is physically able to produce. This may not be the best for certain type of EDM like electro body movement or industrial genres or anything with a lot of sub bass, if that your thing i would recommend the RHA T10i. What you get here is a bass best suites for classical, rock and the majority of modern indie and pop music.
The tuning of the orion is overall very balanced and there was no evidence of mid bass bleed into the lower mids. The IEM's are fast & tight but what impressed me most was the soundstage (again something Campfire Audio do very well in their other earphones) its just so damn open sounding. Pairing the earphones was a breeze and they for the purpose of the Orion Review they were tested with my JDS Labs 02 amplifier, Aurender Flow DAC /Amp, Shanling Audio M2 High resolution Dap and my LG G4 smartphone by way of the 3.5mm jack and through an Audioquest Dragonfly. I couldn't detect any hiss from any of those sources with the orion able to serve up a nice black canvas on which to paint the music. One thing I did observe during testing is that the Orion do not play nice with crappy mastered or encoded files, they will expose them so get yourself far more enjoyment by ensuring you use something good quality files in the 320kbps or Lossless categories because they Orion do really shine when given the right tools.
In comparison the Orion IEM's reminded me a lot of the Earsonics SM2 and going back and forth the similarities are almost uncanny with the exception that the SM2 has a slightly smoother top end and the Orion has a slightly bigger soundstage. When comparing to other earphones in the sub $400 marketplace there are plenty of great options from Shure, Westone etc and the Orion are able to compete at a fairly high level, ultimately I would advise users to demo items as tuning is always a matter of personal taste. When you look at this against something like Flare Audio's R2Pro
Finally I thought I should not that the Orion earphones play very well with EQ'ing, whether you were looking to up the bass, tame the treble the Orion was very receptive to minor tweaks. I had also hooked the IEM's up to my trusty Digizoid Zo and with only a few clicks up from the lowest setting sub bass became far more generous than when simply using a flat EQ setting straight from a DAP or amp.
Review | Conclusion
In choosing to keep the design of the Orion IEM in keeping the with the more expensive Jupiter earphones then even priced at $350 you still feel that you are great value for money. Build quality is absolutely outstanding at this price and I can't praise Campfire Audio enough for the high standards of fit and finish on their earphones. This is probably the most abuse I have put a review IEM through and they still look the exact same as the day they arrived in the office. If you are a fan of the electronic music genre then sound wise these might not be the earphones for you but with everything else the sound is excellent at its price point and I really liked how you could here similarities between the Orion and Jupiter monitors. As a total package the Campfire Audio orion is an excellent buy for anyone looking to step up into the word of mid priced in ear monitors and one that I definitely recommend you check out.
You can find out more about the Campire Audio Orion including information on how to purchase here.