Campfire Audio Jupiter In-ear Earphone Review

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Sound –

At face value, the Jupiter is a quad balanced armature earphone, Campfire don’t state how the drivers are tuned or the method of crossover, simply that two are dedicated to high-frequency reproduction. The drivers have been designed and tuned in-house rather than using off the shelf components. As impressive as some earphones using generic drivers can be, especially those utilising Knowles armatures like the DK-3001, I think this demonstrates the care and meticulous thought that fuelled the Jupiter’s inception. They also implement a few interesting technologies such as TAEC and the earphones sound exceptionally raw and immediate due to their lack of any acoustic filters. I’m a huge fan of this sound and it’s impressive that they manage such intricacy without any fatigue or sibilance.

Campfire’s brilliant Litz cable also imbues the Jupiter with a few interesting characteristics that custom cables generally bring; they achieve that same sense of separation and refinement that the Plussound Prism benefits from, making for a really interesting sound. Swapping in a more generic MMCX cable does sap the Jupiter of that last element of effortlessness but it remains a very nice, balanced and detailed earphone. The Litz cable also provides a healthy boost to general resolution and high-frequency extension to most other MMCX earphones I tested it with, even lower priced iems like the Shure SE215. I would conclude that the cable provides a nice augmentation to an already brilliant sounding earphone, making for an invigorating overall package.

 

Tonality –

It’s can be difficult to define an earphone’s tonality, especially as you head higher in price where the differences in tuning between earphones is nowhere near that of lower price tiers due to a similar drive to find balance. And coming from some lower priced earphones around $300, I was inclined to call the Jupiter mid-forward. On the flipside, comparing the Jupiter to more similarly priced earphones like the AF1120, ie800 and 64Audio U3 and the Jupiter comes across as more u-shaped. After spending some time exclusively with the Jupiter, I would characterise it as a very balanced earphone somewhere in-between. Objectively, no frequency range stands out more than the other but, like the U3, certain parts of the Jupiter’s sound do draw more attention due their terrific clarity and resolution rather than any particular emphasis in quantity. I’m sure some listeners may find the Jupiter to be lacking low-end, though their exquisite definition and detailing ensure that no listener will find them to be lacking engagement.

 

Drivability –

The Jupiter is one of the most sensitive earphones I’ve ever tested with a sensitivity of 114dB combined and a very low 35ohm impedance. Despite this, they produce more volume at the same level than the 64Audio U3 and Dunu DK-3001, both very sensitive earphones with lower impedance ratings. And with a very resolving 4-driver setup, the Jupiter is also very source sensitive. They will find a level of hiss on essentially anything, even sources I had previously considered silent. My HA-2 was very noticeable, even when music was playing as was the X5 III. The Jupiter also produced hiss from my iPod Touch 6G, X7 (AM2) and Chord Mojo, and though it was barely audible, these sources are usually silent with other iems. The Jupiter also benefits from a low output impedance, some bass roll-off does present with higher output impedance sources, drawing more attention to the high frequencies. For my preferences, the Jupiter found the best synergy with the X7 with AM2 which provided a nice sense of clarity while retaining body and sound staging was fantastic. The X7 also produced less hiss than my other sources and provided great resolution to the Jupiters. Amping isn’t necessary, the Jupiter doesn’t draw a lot of current or voltage, but an amplifier can help to alleviate hiss and provide finer volume control since the earphones are so sensitive. The Jupiter scales exceptionally well with higher grade sources, they still sound stunning from my iPod Touch and HTC 10 and those devices don’t bottleneck the Jupiter’s performance per say, but both clearly lacked the nuance of my Fiio X7, HA-2 and Mojo. Frankly, if you’re spending $800 on an earphone, it would be a good idea to drive them with a proper source, even something like the Dragonfly Black just to reduce output impedance issues and hiss.

 

Soundstage, Imaging and Separation –

Sound staging is one of the most standout features of Ken’s brilliant Andromeda and I would definitely say it played a large role in its popularisation. And the Jupiter is no different, it manages to be almost as captivating due to its adoption of the same TAEC (Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber) used by the Andromeda. In a little more detail, Campfire are implementing a 3D printed sound chamber that is touted to improve high-frequency extension, I’m assuming it reduces resonances or something along that path. The result in subjective listening is an incredibly spacious and separated response that is among the best fully sealed in-ear monitor’s I’ve heard. They don’t quite match the vented 64Audio earphones nor the Sennheiser ie800 in sheer space, but the Jupiter is pretty close while maintaining notably higher levels of isolation and lower wind noise outdoors. They are very well rounded between width and depth, both are thoroughly engaging and immersive, the Jupiter’s also produce a nice amount of height to songs that call for it. Imaging is also some of the best I’ve heard, instrument placement is razor sharp and centre image is very strong though vocals are never artificially compressed into the centre of the stage like the Magaosi K3 Pro. Separation is also fabulous due to their impressive space and superb resolution. Among the tracks I listened to during my review, Massive Attack’s “Paradise Circus” best displayed the strengths of the Jupiter’s presentation. Imaging was sharp and directional cues were tactile. Vocals and drums were perfectly centred with great forward projection and space. Strings and piano were spacious but not distant and bass was visceral and expansive while remaining perfectly separated from the rest of the sound. By contrast, the Sennheiser ie800 provided some extra width at the cost of some coherence and vocal depth. Centre image was equally strong though directional cues weren’t as sharp. Separation remained just as strong due to their similarly strong resolution and space though the ie800’s more sculpted tonality meant that strings sounded a bit over-forward in the mix whereas the Jupiter sounded substantially more natural. This track provides a really nice test of imaging, separation and resolution, the Jupiter flew through without a sweat, providing one of the best revisions I’ve heard from any iem, even those in higher price classes.

Among the tracks I listened to during my review, Massive Attack’s “Paradise Circus” best displayed the strengths of the Jupiter’s presentation. Imaging was sharp and directional cues were tactile. Vocals and drums were perfectly centred with great forward projection and space. Strings and piano were spacious but not distant and bass was visceral and expansive while remaining perfectly separated from the rest of the sound. By contrast, the Sennheiser ie800 provided some extra width at the cost of some coherence and vocal depth. Centre image was equally strong though directional cues weren’t as sharp. Separation remained just as impressive due to their similarly standout resolution and space though the ie800’s more sculpted tonality meant that strings sounded a bit over-forward in the mix whereas the Jupiter sounded substantially more natural. This track provides a really nice test of imaging, separation and resolution, the Jupiter flew through without a sweat, providing one of the best revisions I’ve heard from any iem, even those in higher price classes.

 

Bass –

The Jupiter has a deep bass response that isn’t forward or emphasised in quantity but does carry a full, well-weighted tone. And even for my preferences, bass quantity doesn’t leave me wanting and balance is superb. One thing I’ve always admired about Campfire’s armature earphones is the way they handle sub-bass, especially their higher-end models like the Jupiter. Extension is excellent, better than the 64Audio U3 and even the U6; I still wouldn’t mistake the Jupiter for a dynamic-driver earphones, but they are one of the most extended armature earphones I’ve tested. And in terms of tuning, sub-bass isn’t particularly lifted but has a sense of solidity and rumble rarely achieved by armature earphones. Deep bass has a small bump granting bass notes a little more depth and weight but both mid and upper bass remain neutral, tight and agile. Bloat, muddiness and bass spill are non-existent nor do lower mids ever overshadow the low-end.

And onto quality, you’ll have to excuse my excessive use of adjectives; bass notes on the Jupiter are super-fast, hyper-textured and extremely defined. The Jupiter’s don’t actually hold a huge advantage in bass detail retrieval and texturing over the exemplary earphones occupying the next price class down, particularly the 64Audio U3 and AF1120, but they do hold a notable advantage in speed and transience over these models which really enhances the listening experience on faster genres such as rock. When listening to tracks such as Monoral’s “Kiri” which has a somewhat deceptive bassline, the Jupiter really impressed me with their composure and dynamics. They managed to invigorate the track’s slow bass line while keeping pace with the complex double bass drum without compromising definition as a lot of cheaper earphones and plenty around this price tend to do. The Jupiter also had perceptibly superior transients to the dynamic ie800 which sounded a little looser and less textured due to its increased bass quantity and sub-bass skewed tuning. In return, the ie800 was more authoritarian in its bass reproduction and I can see some buyers preferring their added quantity even if they aren’t as technical as the Jupiter. Ultimately, the Jupiter manages much more sub-bass extension and bass body than the vast majority of multi-armature earphones, even those with more outright bass quantity and many more drivers at their disposal. But more impressively, it does so while remaining agile and tight as a drum. So while I can see some users wanting more bass quantity, the Jupiter’s low-frequency tuning and quality are exquisite and their weighty tone prevents any sense of anaemia that can affect similarly balanced earphones.

 

Mids –

Despite their superlative bass and treble responses, the Jupiter’s midrange easily draws attention through exceptional resolution and body. The Jupiter once again tricks the senses with their tuning; the Jupiter comes across as a clear earphone but clarity isn’t boosted, rather, their excellent resolution grants them with a sense of immediacy and realism that many earphones fail to capture. Through this, the Jupiter manages to be both clear and natural and this character is enhanced by the Jupiter’s profound sense of body somewhat similar to that of the Oriveti New Primacy. This prevents them from ever sounding lean or dry and vocals on the Jupiter sound considerably meatier than earphones like the Hifiman RE-600. Despite this, the Jupiter is a very transparent earphone and they never come across as thick or over warmed. Instruments such as piano sound realistic and the Jupiter really excels with any kind of strings and guitar due to their linear, balanced tuning and resolution. Listening to Guns & Roses “Paradise City” and the Jupiter’s provided really terrific layering to vocals in addition to a spacious presentation of the resounding drums and guitars. Guitars, in particular, really stood out to me as outstanding, each strum was crisp and well-delineated from the rest of the sound. The Jupiter also excels with more contemporary pop and R&B, providing great space and clarity to Frank Ocean’s vocals in “Pink + White”.

And higher up, female vocals are equally flattered with an organic tone and great clarity while avoiding an overbearing sense of brightness or intimacy. The Jupiter’s provided an enlightening rendition of “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men, a notoriously crowded track. The Jupiter sliced through the cacophony of guitars and vocal layering with exceptional separation and soundstage projection. Each instrument was crisp and all frequencies were well balanced so as to prevent overshadowing of intricacies. The Jupiter also excels with micro-detail retrieval which is similarly strong as the ie800 but more consistent due to the Jupiter’s more natural, bodied sound. The Sennheiser does sound a little glossier and consistently clearer in their midrange, however, the ie800’s thinner vocal body errs more on the side of raspiness rather than smoothness like the Jupiter. The Jupiter also holds a notable advantage in resolution over the Audiofly AF1120. Both are similarly linear and balanced yet the Audiofly lacks the resolving power and sound staging of the Campfire and its performance more easily comes across as dry whereas the Jupiter is more tonally pleasing with poorer mastered tracks. That being said, due to their resolution and aggressive detailing, the Jupiter picks up significantly more artefacts in low bitrate tracks; you don’t require a lossless library to enjoy the Jupiter, but it isn’t too forgiving of anything under a 320kbps MP3. But when fed from a clean source supplied with a high-quality file, the Jupiter absolutely sings with technicality and musicality that present an immediate upgrade over cheaper in-ears and plenty of similarly priced ones too.

 

Treble –

But it’s high-frequencies that really steal the show on the Jupiter with fantastic extension, space and separation. Treble isn’t perfectly linear, I do hear a small bump to the middle treble, granting a little extra crispness, but treble is otherwise well bodied and refined much like the rest of the sound. And while treble is mostly the focus of these earphones, they aren’t a treble heavy earphone. Due to their outstanding extension and a lack of any audible roll-off to my ears, the Jupiter has great resolving power that is among the best I’ve heard including the 64Audio U6 and even some of the higher end Noble Audio earphones like the Sage and Django. Resolution is really fantastic though the Jupiter sounds simultaneously incredibly clean and smooth. Micro-details are very present and quite forward, I would consider the Jupiter to be a more aggressively detailed earphone though they remain very refined in their presentation. And even considering my brighter sound preferences, I would posit that very few listeners would find the Jupiter a fatiguing or over-bright sounding earphone. Listening to Owl City’s “Vanilla Twilight” which easily becomes metallic and fatiguing on a lot of earphones and the Jupiter provided an impressively restrained performance. The 64Audio U3 did have a bit more air and soundstage breadth as did the Sennheiser ie800, but both were also more fatiguing, especially the Sennheiser which had quite a thin note presentation.

Similarly, sibilance is impressively absent on the Jupiter, especially evident when listening to Frank Sinatra’s older recordings which tended to overemphasise these frequencies. The Jupiter sounded clear and organic without any harshness or honkiness, something the 64Audio U3 didn’t quite achieve despite its similarly strong resolultion and attack. The Jupiter also does exceptionally well with rock with a very realistic reproduction of cymbals. Listening to Nirvana’s “Lithium” and we see a similar trend as before with the Sennheiser sounding very nicely detailed and crisp but with a thin presentation that saps some texture and realism from treble notes. The 64Audio U3, one of my favourite treble performers, actually provided a slightly more spacious and airy response than the Jupiter but outright resolution and very high-frequency details weren’t resolved quite as well the Campfire and Sennheiser. The Jupiter is an immensely impressive performer, I have to stress that they are far from the most expensive earphone I have heard, but price does not correlate with performance and I have found them extremely satisfying to listen to nonetheless. They still aren’t perfect overall, lacking that last touch of air and soundstage space, but their excellent resolution and detailing easily compensate.

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About Author

Avid writer, passionate photographer and full-time student, Ryan's audio origins and enduring interests lie within all aspects of portable audio. An ongoing desire to bring quality audio to the regular reader underpins his reviewer ethos as he seeks to bring a new perspective on the cutting edge and budget dredge alike.

1 Comment

  1. Pinky Powers on

    lol. Do you attract all the spam on the internet? 😀

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