More linear signature than Andromeda with greater extension, Outstanding soundstage width and imaging, Perfectly comfortable fit, Excellent accessories
Treble remains on the aggressive side, Fair price premium
The Solstice is a well-realised custom from Campfire Audio that integrates each standout element of the Andromeda into a more coherent whole.
Campfire Audio is as venerable as they are unanimous within the audio hobby. Their stunning universal IEM housings caught our eyes while their mature sound tuning captured our hearts (and savings). With such a legacy, it may come as some surprise that Campfire, in late 2018, decided to redesign their philosophy with the introduction of custom models; not just options for their universal earphones but entirely new models with their own unique tunings. The Solstice is their latest model and will surely be one of their most appealing with a comprehensive 5-BA driver setup plus T.A.E.C. This comes alongside a $1499 USD asking price, representing a $400 step up over its universal predecessor, the Andromeda. I say predecessor as the Solstice builds atop the bedrock foundation of Campfire Audio’s most coveted model, featuring the same drivers with modified acoustics providing a more balanced and refined sound. In addition, Campfire has introduced 3D printed housings personalised to each user alongside their signature build quality with solid body designs, their signature Litz cable and stainless steel faceplates. You can read more about the Solstice and treat yourself to one here.
I would like to thank Campfire Audio very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the Solstice for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
The Solstice has an unboxing consistent with all of Campfire’s recent releases, sporting the same dazzling packaging. Inside, users will find an enlarged leather zipper case with faux shearling interior that protects from bumps and scratches. Otherwise, no accessories are provided as this is a custom-fit earphone that requires no ear tips.
3D Printing –
By implementing a 3D printing process with a hand-buffed finish, each surface is flawlessly smooth and glossy, and fit and seal are impeccable. Similar to Craft Ears, Campfire forgoes physical moulds, only requiring 3D scans of the user’s ears which omits shipping costs and optimises turnaround times, a modest 3 weeks in my case. They are also able to scan and digitise physical moulds should this not be available in the users country.
You may note that there is no customization section in this review, and this is because Campfire’s current customs are only available in one design as pictured on their website. This means a solid-body piano black acrylic shell with stainless steel faceplate, an intriguing design, and surely an unconventional one. Nonetheless, what the solid-body design does yield is a magically dense in-hand feel and a sense of isolation within the ear that many customs do not provide.
Fit & Comfort –
The fit is also a curiosity on these earphones as it is available in two configurations; a standard “Artist fit” similar to most CIEMs alongside a shallower and more comfortable “Audiophile fit” that doesn’t extend beyond the 2nd bend. I opted for the less traditional Audiophile fit that I found so immensely comfortable, it’s a wonder why this isn’t more openly offered by others. With solid bodies, isolation remains immense, however, there is also a total lack of pressure within the ear. The Audiophile Solstice embodies the sentiment of disappearing in the ear, delivering perfect long-term comfort.
Up top buyers will also observe Campfire’s signature beryllium plated MMCX connectors that are extra sturdy and likely the most reliable MMCX connector’s I’ve come across. They are anchored into the stainless steel faceplates of the earphones to provide additional integrity for musicians and other professionals. The cable itself is also excellent and offered in both 46” for the smoky litz and 64” length for the artist litz. Both are a 4-wire cable with SPC litz conductors. The smoky cable is identical to Campfire’s latest earphones with pre-moulded ear guides, while the artist cable assumes memory wire ear guides. Otherwise, the same low-profile aluminium y-split and tank-like right angle plug can be observed, creating an impression of quality and assuring longevity.
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