The Campfire Audio Polaris 2 in-ear headphones are the latest model in CA’s ongoing refresh of their lineup. We recently reviewed the outstanding Solaris earphones, which are one of the best on the market and the IO, which was a surprisingly treble and mid focussed IEM. What I have come to learn is that Campfire is putting together a range of earphones that are all tuned differently. A lot of headphone companies aim to refine sound the more you spend, but CA seems to be creating different flavors. The Polaris 2appears to be the bass model, and if you are a Bassheads, you are going to want to read more.
Campfire Audio Polaris 2 - The Tech & Specs
The new Polaris from Campfire Audio is an in-ear monitor style headphone housed in the companies original design shell. The company has varied its lineup in the past couple of years with the Comet and Atlas being cable down, barrel style, IEMs while the Solaris is a whole new design and more akin to a piece of jewelry.
They are designed to be worn with the cable over the ear just like you would do with a set of stage monitors and of course, like most good earphone in 2019 the come with detachable cables utilizing MMCX connectors.
Internally they are entirely different from the original Polaris. They are a Hybrid earphone and feature two sets of technology that work together with the respective drivers to create there unique sonic characteristics.
The 9.2mm dynamic driver that takes care of the lower frequencies gets used in combination with Campfire’s Polarity tuned chamber, and the top notes get controlled by the Balanced armature set with TEAC technology. The earphones are rated to just 17 ohms so should be easy enough to drive from any decent source.
Packaging and Accessories
I went over the new Campfire Audio Packaging in depth during the review of the IO earbuds so I will only do a brief roundup of it here as the packaging is the same across the line.
With Campfire Audio products they never skip of the packaging or accessories and what you get with their $1000 earphones you will also find on their budget line.
It is a nice touch because a lot of companies skimp on their cheaper earphones (The Polaris is RRP $499 so still not cheap but in this hobby that is surprisingly relevant).
You get the beautiful Campfire Audio box with the night sky on the outside that blossoms into this explosion of a second internal bus where you find the earphones and accessories. It's a pleasant unboxing experience and its always nice when a company goes the extra mile.
Inside the first thing, you find is the excellent carry case. Campfire Audio has some of the best and most luxurious cases on the market, and this one is no exception. The blue matches the aesthetic of the earphones perfectly and makes for a very cohesive package.
The accessories are equally impressive and plentiful. You get a wide variety of tips and even the final Audio E tips which are some of the best on the market. There is another type of silicone tips, and even some Comply style foamier.
You get a cleaning tool to keep the earbuds wax free, a bunch of earphone pouches to keep them from banging together when in storage (or to store the accessories and of course you get the little Campfire Audio pin badge that comes with all their earphones.
Top marks on the packaging, I really can’t see how you improve on this.
Campfire Polaris 2 - A familiar yet refreshed Aesthetic
I don’t think Campfire Audio know how to make ugly earphones and they have always been a brand that catches peoples eyes. The Polaris uses the original design of past Campfire earphones like the Andromeda and Jupiter, but it has a new paint job, and it looks quality.
The original Polaris had that same blue, but now with the black accents and the darker cable, they look a whole lot cleaner and stand out from a lot of the competition.
The build quality is exceptional and worthy of flagship status on most other brands. I mentioned above that the accessory set remains the same as you move up the Campfire lineup but that is also true for the IEM housings. What you get on a set of Andromeda's is the exact same that you get on the Polaris.
Its the original industrial design and the body is made entirely from metal. I have had several Campfire earphones in the past, and they hold up so well because they are so well built. Even the tubes and grills get made of metal, which inspires a lot of confidence in their long term durability. Over time the paint may rub off but if stored correctly they should remain as new
Detachable cables I think are a must on expensive earphones in 2019 because for me the first point of failure on an IEM is always the cable (something usually caused by my negligence.) If the cable breaks on the Polaris in the future, you buy a new one either from Campfire Audio themselves or from any number of aftermarket options.
The connector for the Polaris is a Beryllium copper MMCX, so that sits flush with the housing and lets the earbuds swivel with just a hint of resistance. Enough to let you change position but not enough that its swings freeliy. I have found zero issues with corrosion on these connectors over the years unlike with the tradition two pin connectors on other high-end earphones.
The best upgrade to the hardware that Campfire could have done over previous models was to the cable. Thankfully that has come true with the Polaris and IO. The old cable was good and made from top-notch materials, but I never liked how prone to tangling it was or how it retained memory in the wire.
The new model gets a new dark grey color scheme that goes great with these earbuds but it is much more pliable and soft while still being one of the lightest cables I have used.
It has good strain relief at the jack point, which is at a right angle and includes a simple but functional splitter.
How do they sound?
These are an excellent sounding set of earphones and one that work that is a near perfect match for a basshead. They are distinctly V-shaped and go very well with and time of Rap, Hip-hop, Electro or EDM music. They are not a dull flat sounding earphone they are alive and pumping out tunes with high energy presence. Its a fun IEM to listen to.
They lack the refinement that the Solaris has, and they are not as technically perfect as the, but at 1/3 and 1/2 the price respectively do you honestly expect them to?
I like that Campfire has gone in a different direction with the Polaris than they did with the IO which despite its excellent treble lacked a lot of low-end impacts. These slam and you can fee the presence of that hybrid design with its dynamic driver to be a real benefit to the overall sound.
The Bass - Certainly this is the highlight of the earphone because they can hit very hard and provide listeners with a lot of impact and sub-bass response. It has that kind of chamber effect where the base decays by drifting off into the distance. Tracks like Two Feet Quick Musical Doodles sounded excellent with the lows being pushy and detailed but also voluminous. The impact is exciting, and it's nice to see a set of high-end earphones finally tuned well for the Bassheads.
The Mids- The mids sit back from both the bass and the treble, and they are smooth and slightly warm. Despite not being the prominent set of frequencies they never sound drowned out by the other, and even though the bass is large, the mids don’t get bled into. It is in many ways similar to the midrange of the original Lyra which I loved but with the frequencies on either side pushed forward and more refined.
Highs- The highs are great, and I think its an area that Campfire doesn’t get enough credit. They always do the top end very well and with these, they have a sparkle to them and yet still an inoffensive smoothness. It happens when the treble appears louder than the midrange but isn’t necessarily pushed near the sibilant levels of response. The good treble here does two things. Firstly it creates the soundstage of the earphone within generally very good; it establishes the background for the air and the separation in the whole sound. Secondly, it compliments the low end very well and allows them to perform as an excellent EDM earphone with the peaking highs and deep bass drops working in harmony.
Conclusion - Bassheads Rejoice
What do I think of the new Campfire Audio Polaris II? I believe this is an outstanding headphone for Bassheads or even just people who enjoy an enhanced low end and smooth sound signature. I have felt that there is a distinct lack of premium basshead IEM’s in the past few years and only a few that have attempted to fill the V-shaped void that was left after Ultimate Ears discontinued the Triple Fi 10. These are a seriously fun sounding earphone that will get the heart pumping.
You can find out more about and order them at Campfire Audio’s Website.