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Campfire BlackStar Review : Flexing Muscle

Campfire Audio, an Alo brand has been making some high quality IEMs of their respective times. They have created a legecy for themselves. Regarded as of the best IEM makers they make some of the most sought after IEMs. Initially they started with BA and DD based IEMs. Their quest was headed by Jupiter but the Crown Jewel has to be the Andromeda. They gave it handful of revisions but it lost its sheen at later stages. Then came the age of Solaris and its 2020 revision, they were some of their best creations with high quality details and build. I loved the Dorado 2020’s fun and warm nature. Campfire didn’t launch many IEMs in the year 2022 but in 2023 they have launched a lot of IEMs equipped with various types of drivers and flavors recently.

They have refreshed the Andromeda and Solaris too. Andromeda Emerald Sea uses same number of drivers but these drivers have dual diaphragms while the Solaris Stellar Horizon is their Hybrid flagship with a clinical approach. What I have here with me, kind of looks like an evolution of Solaris 2020 with similar ergonomics and houses similar kind of drivers but is a much cheaper option. The catch is, it’s a special limited edition IEM and made strictly in limited quantities.

BlackStar uses 4 drivers in each earpiece and gets a special treatment with accessories. A 10mm adlc dual magnetic DD takes care of the bass while a dual BA handles the highs and a single BA is in charge of mids. Priced at $999 this is not a cheap IEM but does this follow the Solaris? Let’s find out.

I will like to thank Campfire audio for this unit.


Campfire has changed the packaging a bit but their principal remains the same. No unnecessary use of foam or material. We get a kind of similar set of accessories. I like the way these IEMs maintain eco friendly packaging with only paper and cardboard usage.

The first thing greeting us is the new leather wallet pouch with magnetic closures. The IEMs with the cables are placed inside them, while the earpieces are placed in tips organizers. Interestingly this limited edition IEM ships with two cables, one 3.5mm single ended and the other is 4.4mm balanced. We have the IEMs placed safely inside a tips organizer which can be really helpful if you like to carry your tips on the move. We have an extra zipper carry pouch, this is a nice addition but it will not protect the IEM from dust or any kind of damage sadly. We miss out on the Final Audio tips this time around while the generic wide bore tips and foam tips are placed in separate paper envelops. One can find a Campfire Audio badge and a cleaning tool and a cleaning cloth concludes a long list of accessories.


These IEMs have a very similar design to the Solaris 2020 which had some texture on the shell while here we have brushed stainless steel body and black PVD finished acrylic inlay on the back. While the black PVD finished stainless steel nozzle providing equally impressive strength and stability is borrowed from the last gen of IEMs. This nozzle is aptly long giving the earpieces reasonably secure fit. There are two pressure releasing vents on both sides of the IEM.

Thanks to use of metal it’s dense and can feel heavier. It’s not an ergonomically designed IEM but is definitely more comfortable than the Solaris 2020. Good thing is it’s not a big IEM and doesn’t feel uncomfortable inside the ear. We get a nicely rounded inner shell design and an aptly long nozzle that provides very good traction and balance inside the ear. We get a slightly angled nozzle. This angle is solely responsible for providing very good traction and grip inside the ear.


I like this cable much more than the Smoky litz. Its a 4 core SPC cable that looks and sounds much better than the last gen.

Here is my video impression:


Dont let the 94DB SPL and 9ohm resistance fool you, Blackstar is fairly sensitive IEM and get loud without much issues. I find it very good with portable sources. I never paired it with a mobile phone and no one should either but budget dongles like Hidizs DH80s and even the DDhifi TC44 pro are capable enough to drive this high quality IEM to satisfying levels. Yes, more capable sources will deliver bigger stage and better clarity and improved tonality but the difference is not huge. In short, pair this IEM with a decent source and it will deliver the goodies.


Looking like Solaris is one thing but sounding like one will make this IEM superb, but does it? IN short, this is a differently tuned IEM. So.. My short answer is no. This is using different drivers and might not feel much different on the surface but once you dive in, the differences are crystal clear. This even though is a highly detailed IEM has a well balanced fun signature with a warmish and analogue tuning.

This is a decently equipped IEM with a tuning that puts it around the Solarises, it resembles both the 2020 and OG Solaris. But unlike the Solaris 2020 which had a brighter timber and slightly less full tonality, this is more neutral and natural. Unlike the Solaris 2020 we get better vocals note height. This is similar with energy and definition but it’s slightly more airy and a bit more textured. The background is pitch black giving it a much cleaner and popping notes with a W shaped signature. BlackStar sounds more like the OG Solaris when it comes to tonality and timber but has more balanced signature, more uniform energy and sounds more refined too. It’s doesn’t have any unnecessary sharpness in its spectrum while retaining right amount of finishing energy and definition. This is a highly versatile IEM with excellent control and changes its emphasis and pitch according to the demands of the track. If the track has aggression it will be aggressive but if it’s smooth it will keep things smooth. It sounds more vivid and realistic as it delivers excellent clarity of variations in emphasis and movements of voices.

I am using the stock wide bore tip, 4.4mm cable and Fiio Q15 or DH80s for this review.


Unlike the Solaris 2020 this doesn’t lack with bass body or air movement. Remember OG Solaris? But a bit more tighter though. I love the way these notes move, precise and into the Jaws giving them a more rumbly feel. They move in and spread with softer rumbles, staying clean, excellent work. Sub bass is crazy good with excellent depth and rumble. It has some of the best sub-bass presence around the $1000 price range. Mid bass has no bump in energy as it stays in line with the subs giving the notes very good body and fuller, meatier hits. The area if impact is big but notes have most of the weight concentrated at the centre giving them better definition and layering. I am bit surprised to see high quality dynamics as it cleanly reproduces upper bass notes. This ADLC DD has superb control and doesn’t leave any softer feeling if the note doesn’t have it, especially with upper bass notes. BlackStar easily manages to deliver accurate body, decay and rumble even when these notes are sandwiched within themselves with excellent definition. One can easily perceive where and when a note takes off and where it ends. Excellent job when it comes to discipline and control. Decay is dynamic and paced accordingly. Superb tuning indeed. 

This lower end is aptly fun and hit handsomely when asked for but doesn’t forget its technical abilities.


BlackStar has only one BA driver to handle the mid range and it excels at reproducing one of the best mid ranges under $1000. This IEM produces one of the rarest type of midrange. This mid range doesn’t have any favourism which is rare. We do get a well balanced yet slightly U shaped signature where both vocals and instruments get equal emphasis. There is no lack of energy with instruments around the vocals. Vocals do have a little bit of pop with high quality resolution, some of the best texture and definition on the body of both male and female vocals. We get one of the most neutral timber and natural tonality. Male vocals are throaty and fuller while female vocals are slightly tight and energetic with right amount of energy at the finishing region. 

Instruments aren’t sharp or blunt, they are energetic or slightly smooth depending on the demand of the track. In any case, we get agile yet nicely grounded notes, providing excellent resolution and definition. There is no metallic ring or extra jitter we experienced with both Solarises. It bites but doesn’t break composure or get sharp. We get very good amount of air between instruments. Thanks to one of the darkest background everything sounds crystal clear, more contrasty and attractive. We get one of the best separations of back and foreground acts. We get no extra energy at upper mids to worry about, keeping things fatigue free.


Powered by two BA drivers this treble range enjoys some of the best clarity and details. The best this is how this IEM balances the energy and clarity. Yes, highs are slightly less forward than the mid range but do not feel dull or smooth. It’s lively and agile but doesn’t feel on the face or pushing for extra attention. BlackStar enjoys one of the best transparency and very good extension. It isn’t the endless type we get with the Fibae 5 but it’s no slouch. There is a bit of extra energy at the top of the notes that enhances the resolution and definition. Upper treble is slightly less forward, keeping the presentation clean and fatigue free while delivering high quality air and details. Layering and separation are superb with one of the best definition with excellent spacing and accurate instrument placement. The contrast between back and foreground instruments are one of the best. It artistically places less emphasized notes behind the forward placed notes without interfering with each other and the way they create an ambiance of tall and less forward notes is captivating.


Stage is something that separates budget IEMs from these Kilo buck IEMs and BlackStar is exceptional with imaging and staging. It’s deep black background is captivatingly haunting. It just wants to suck you into it and when compounded with the huge stage this IEM creates masterfully projected imaging. BlackStar’s fully developed stage and imaging places instruments all around the head giving it a lot a more engaging and involving experience. We get very good Z Axis presence too. This stage is tall, wide and nicely rounded and most of the vocals and all of the instruments get projected out of the head. Cue placements are superb with high quality definition and clarity. Superb sonics are even more pronounced thanks to excellent contrast of back and foreground instruments. The best part is the cue placement and airiness that follows the notes giving them a concert hall type capability. This is easily one of the best sonics for the price.


Effect Audio Code 24:

If you felt that Blackstar is a bit on the mid forward side and can use a bit more treble energy, this pairing is the best I can think of. Code 24 with its SPC cores makes this superb IEM even more impressive if you want better accuracy.

Code 24 brings in a lot to the table. We get a bit tighter lower end with slightly better dynamics while retaining similar texture and layered delivery. This does bring in a bit more mid bass energy. Mid rage is not a bit more balanced with better accuracy and tighter body. It still has the throatiness but is more neutral and natural with the timber and tonality. Instruments are similarly energized but we do get a bit more transparency and finishing energy. Treble is more extended with much better air between instruments. Stage is nearly 60% bigger with excellent sonic abilities and imaging.


VS 64audio U4s:


This not only is an excellent looking IEM, it sounds superb too. Campfire has never been shy with their accessories and this is a well endowed IEM with two cables and superior set of carry pouches but I don’t like the fact that none of these are even semi hard cases. With this limited edition IEM Campfire has shown what they are capable of, more like showing their tuning capabilities.

While I was working with this beauty, I was working with another high quality IEM alongside and that wasn’t cheap either. OH700VB is no slouch but doesn’t matter what aspects we look at, BlackStar is couple of levels above it when it comes to details, sonics and technicalities. I never thought that I will say this for a kilo buck IEM but Blackstar punches well above its asking price. Campfire is not playing around with this IEM. Not at all. They mean business. It’s a piece of art, exhibiting what Campfire can do with their IEMs. This IEM delivers everything. Clean, thumpy bass notes that go deeper than most, mid range that delivers superb texture, definition and details that doesn’t feel 2nd to any other IEM, treble is airy with superb extension without any discomfort. Sonics are superb thanks to its pitch black background.

Just look at the build quality too. One of the best looking IEM by a good margin and the set of accessories are high quality too. If you are looking for an exciting yet well mannered IEM and you have the budget, get this. No need to stress much.



Picture of Suman Sourav Meher

Suman Sourav Meher

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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