CFA Satsuma and Honeydew review

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SATSUMA:

This is the replacement of the Comet. Comet was known for its sound quality but it had a all metal shell which was causing some discomfort due to its weight which has been rectified with the Satsuma. This PVC clad IEM with metal nozzle balances the weight much better than most IEMs in the market.

This single BA driver delivers a fairly balanced sound maintaining a fairly voluminous lower end, well forward mid range and a slightly less aggressive treble region. This is the cheapest offering from campfire after all.

BASS:

For a single BA IEM Satsuma delivers a reasonably voluminous lower end. It is as good as multi BA IEMs like the TNA BA8 and better than DUNU SA3. It has reasonable sub-bass rumble but the extension is nothing to write home about. It has nice mid bass body and is not very fast delivering reasonable weight. Thankfully it does not lose any texture or details. It has a juicy and wet feel to it. The slam is not big, punch is not hard and the rumble is not comparable to most of the dynamic drivers but is slightly more satisfying than the BGVP DH3. The Upper bass is well controlled and nicely integrates into the lower mids. This lower end is tuned well.

MID RANGE:

Honeydew is no where bad when it comes to mid range. Yes it’s in the V but it’s very good at extracting details while maintaining good notes body and sharpness. Its single BA sibling ups the ante with a more forward and accurate presentation. This mid range is very similar to BA based IEMs in this price range. Notes are agile and crisp. The biggest plus point of the Satsuma over most BA based IEMs is its refinement and its balance of things. Most chi-fi IEMs are edgy and raw, even the DUNU SA3 has unnatural notes height and can be slightly aggressive with presentation.  Satsuma has its aggression under control, has excellent refinement with accurate notes weight and height. It manages to deliver most of the micro details in the background with very good transparency and clarity.

Vocals sound crisp and clear and have no coloration with a close to natural tonality. The decay is paced with both precision and accuracy in mind, giving the notes nice amount of body and accuracy. Both male and female vocals have very good texture and details but female vocals have better sharpness and accuracy. Instruments have good attack. Notes are on the revealing side with the right amount finishing sharpness. The upper mid range is well under control with nice details and clarity. It doesn’t sound lush in any way but is not unnaturally sharp either.

HIGHS:

The weakest point of this beautiful sounding IEM is its treble region. It starts very well as it maintains very good energy into the lower treble region, gains a few more decibels but then sadly starts to lose most of its energy as it goes deeper. The upper treble does not maintain much transparency or clarity. But it does maintain very good details and sparkle till the upper treble roll off. Cymbals and pianos have nice transparency. It just doesn’t have the extra bit of micro details available with the Akoustyx R220. Separation and layering is good with okay amount of air and space between instruments. The treble stage is well spread with even density. If you love clean and inoffensive treble, Satsuma fits the bill.

STAGE AND IMAGING:-

Satsuma has an above average stage size, slightly smaller than the Honeydew as it lacks a bit of X-axis width. It does not have the height of the Ikko OH10 but is more rounded. Instruments have very good density and air between then except at the upper treble region when it starts to lose separation. Imaging is excellent too. There are no anomalies here but the mid range takes the lion’s share leaving enough space for the rest of the spectrum.

COMPARISONS:

VS TRN BA8:

This might seem a bit unfair but the Satsuma is more expensive than the BA8. It has better overall details and transparency across the spectrum. If you are after details only, you dont need to read more, but there is much more to the story.

This 8BA driver IEM delivers bigger bass body, much better sub-bass extension and rumble. This nearly feels like a DD inside. The decay speed is on the slower side giving it fuller more rounded feel and more weight. The mid bass too is more voluminous. The mid range slightly in the V but is tuned to be leaner and more sharp. Note’s height is reasonable. Tonality is good but the timber is dry and slightly on the gloomy side. Vocals are sharper than intended, not lush or easy on the ear by a long shot. It has a sharper and more edgy finishing to the notes. Treble has very similar traits. The BA8 simply cuts off half of the upper treble region. If you go out and look for extension you will feel lost. Till that point it is as good as it gets. It has slightly better separation and but layering is much better on the Satsuma.

Satsuma has a much bigger stage in every direction, nearly 70% bigger, and the musical presentation is much easier on the ear for longer hours. Even when it lacks a bit of sharpness I will have to pick it over the raw and moody BA8.

CONCLUSION:

It is much easier to recommend both the IEMs. Yes, both have shortcomings but which IEM doesn’t have down sides? It’s more about what you want and picking the one with least number of flaws. And the set of accessories are icing on the cake. No other brand can say that they do better than this for under $250. Final tips, Bullets tips and the Litz lite cable in their own are worth nearly $100.

The Honeydew is simply excellent for a bass seeker. It has the thump and rumble worth admiring. Even if I am not a bass head it still brings a sense of satisfaction. The only flaw is the less forward mid range, I am not complaining since it does not veil or obstruct.

Satsuma on the other hand has much better mid range. It does not flatten the lower end the treble region is better than most of the competitors. It’s a well rounded package with a very good balance of everything.

Pick depending upon your need and both these IEMs are very good at what they do. Just don’t let your expectations run wild and these will perform admirably as intended.

This is it, enjoy your music!!

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About Author

My humble audiophile journey started in 2010, when I was in college, where I fell in love with the elements, nuances, and variations of this mesmerizing world. The ability of tiny earphones to recreate amazing sounds made my bad days tolerable and good days better! Now I am a full-time audiophile with a preference for musical tracks, especially vocals and engaging ones. I must admit I am addicted, but not to drugs or alcohol, but to earphones. Come join me as I share my experiences, bad or good, and let’s have some fun!

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