Rank #13: Campfire Audio Vega

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Bass
Vega’s powerful presentation is built on the foundation of its bass. It’s a rounded bass that carries weight; you can feel the flow of the air. The sub-bass is grand in body, and hits with authority. Its low-end extension is excellent, and it comes with that natural dynamic decay we all adore. However, on occasion the grand size of its sub-bass can add a certain boominess to the sound. And with that size, it’s hard to keep up with some of its faster BA competitors.

But this isn’t just a bass that drives the sound with an enhanced sub-bass impact; it provides size and power to the presentation, shaping Vega’s overall sound. The upper bass brings lower harmonics to the foreground, adding a layer of richness to the music that is usually sacrificed to create a cleaner sound. Of course that’s also its downside, as it also isn’t the cleanest stage. As is, this is a full-bodied, rounded bass that doesn’t seek middle ground. It’s not unlike a curvy woman in some aspects – some will swear by it, but it won’t be for everyone.

Midrange
Vega has an interesting construction of its midrange notes. The enhanced mid- and upper-bass fills up the subsection of the note; male vocals sound deeper, while lower extending instruments like cellos or heavier electric guitars gain in size. It’s a full-sounding presentation which makes it rather engaging to listen to. Such an enhanced bass would normally result in a rather warm and overly smooth tuning, but Vega’s midrange is caught up between that enhanced bass and a lifted treble – two opposing forces. The net effect is a relatively neutral tone. It’s neither bright nor warm, although it can be considered less warm than the average. Nevertheless, it’s a smooth and full-sounding midrange.

While there’s a good balance between the treble and bass, the midrange could be slightly warmer to sound completely accurate in tone. But the treble lift is essential for the clarity of midrange notes, especially with such a bass. The upper midrange is more accurate in tone than the lower range, but there’s an added thickness to the tone that works very well for instruments. Most importantly, Vega’s specialty lies elsewhere: instruments sound powerful, due to their sheer size and clarity. Not in the last part because Vega combines this thicker note presentation with good resolution; notes are full-bodied, but also well-defined.


The midrange is also fairly neutral when it comes to its vocal presentation. Their stage positioning is neutral to slightly laidback. And while it doesn’t create particularly dense or solid vocals, they aren’t thin either. Their tone could be a bit warmer, but it’s a focused and well-defined presentation. And it works well for both male and female vocals. Overall, it isn’t necessarily the most impressive vocal presentation, but there certainly isn’t much to complain about either.

Treble
Vega is tuned with a peak around 8 Khz, instrumental for the overall clarity and articulation of midrange notes. If the treble was tuned too tame, it would have resulted in an overly smooth and warm presentation – the enhanced bass with engulf the signature. It gives Vega a bit of bite and aggressiveness, making it sound exciting and energetic. The treble tone itself is brighter than neutral, but not excessively so. It isn’t the most natural in tone, but it has good definition.

It’s clear to see the intention was to boost the treble exactly enough to create the most exciting sound, while remaining smooth. And in general, Vega can be described as having a smooth character. But for a portion of the listeners the treble not only goes right up to the border, but occasionally crosses it. Unfortunately, I am one of those listeners, and Vega isn’t as smooth a listen as I can hear it’s intended to be; there are some occasional traces of sharpness here and there. But primarily taking its intention into account, Vega’s treble performance is fairly good and it scores around average.

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About Author

Nic is currently in pursuit of a PhD degree in social neuropsychology, while trying not to get too distracted by this hobby. In pursuit of theoretical knowledge by day, and audiophile excellence at night. Luckily for him, both activities are not mutually exclusive which helps to lighten the workload. Always on the go, Nic's enthusiasm for hi-fi is focused on all chains of the portable system: iems, cables and daps.

11 Comments

  1. Aras on

    Thank you for taking your time to review all these IEMs!! I’m curious, how would you compare Vega to Velvet V2? They seem very similar in tuning,

    • flinkenick on

      Thanks, you’re welcome. Velvet and Vega share a powerful sub-bass, but they’re still more different than similar. Vega has more of a L-shape, where a big bass creates a full and thick sound. Velvet V2 on the other hand has a dip in the mid / upper-bass, so it creates a clean sound that isn’t particularly warm or full, especially because of its brighter top end. So the Velvet is more of a fun tuning for pop or EDM, the Vega sounds more big or thick, a tuning that fits rock music or vocals better.

  2. chopstix on

    Love my FLC 8S….hope they make your list…can’t wait for the new TOTL Celeste in the next 3-6 mo

    • flinkenick on

      Glad that you’re enjoying your FLC 8S buddy, heard great things about it. Surprised Celeste isn’t out yet, it was on display a year ago at Canjam London.

      • chopstix on

        sorry if this is a dual post somewhere else.
        but i’ve been offered a great condition vega for US800
        ..i already have the FLC 8S…is the vega 4x price increase worth
        the leap SQ in your op?

        • flinkenick on

          Hi buddy, well you know in audio there is always an extreme rate of diminishing returns, so you can’t think in terms of ‘4-5x’ better. I haven’t heard the FLC 8S myself, but I know it is very well received. However, Vega has a unique signature because of its significantly enhanced bass, and it’s safe to say it will be very different than FLC 8S. Because of Vega’s bass, it creates a very full, thick sound with a powerful sub-bass. I couldn’t say how that compares to FLC 8S though.

          • choptstix on

            i missed a pair of these vegas for US$800…so just bought that AK T8ei mkii….got ’em for US$585…we’ll see if they decent or not…hope one day to try some campfire…but we canucks have to add 30% to any US prices…so not cheap when buying $$$ products…..do i get the ‘pass the kleenex award’, lol

            • flinkenick on

              LOL, sounds like a hard life. Well us Europeans have to add VAT and shipping too you know hehe, plus the currency rate isn’t as good as it used to be. Hope you enjoy them buddy.

  3. Onur Emre on

    AWESOME REVIEW!!! Please make a review for Xiaomi Hybird Pro HD too. I really wanna see where to put it on headphone list 🙂

    • flinkenick on

      Thanks buddy, appreciate the kind words! Maybe sometime in the future, it might also be possible that Ryan or Joker have reviewed it or have plans for it in the future.

      • Onur Emre on

        THANK YOU! I am very excited to read the review 🙂 I am really fun of your sites headphone list.

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