Campfire Audio Atlas Review
The Campfire Audio Atlas Review
Top of The Line Sound inside a Solid and Unique Shell
About Campfire Audio and Atlas IEM:
Campfire Audio is a US based company located in Portland – Oregon, which is specialized in the production of In-Ear Monitors.
Campfire Audio launched there first In-Ear Monitors in summer of 2015 with three models, which are the Jupiter, Orion and Lyra.
After the success of these models, Campfire Audio introduced the Nova and Andromeda in spring of 2016 that are milestones for the company in the audiophile market. The Lyra II, Dorado, and Vega (fall of 2016) are the there first IEM’s with a liquid alloy metal housing and the Polaris (August 2018) was the latest model right before the new Comet and Atlas came out in April 2018.
The Campfire Audio Atlas is a single dynamic driver IEM same as the Vega but features a bigger speaker unit with a 10mm diameter dynamic driver (the Vega utilized an 8.5mm unit) with the same A.D.L.C. (Amorphous Diamond-Like Carbon) diaphragm technology.
The Atlas In-Ear Monitor was provided to me by Campfire Audio as a review sample. I am not affiliated with Campfire Audio or any third person beyond this review and all these words reflect my true, unaltered opinions about the product.
Campfire Audio Atlas includes a 1 year limited liability product warranty covering defects due to manufacturing and assembly.
The Atlas is sold for $1.299,00 USD and is available on Campfire Audio’s Official Store under the following link;
Purchase link: https://campfireaudio.com/shop/atlas/
Package and Accessories:
The Campfire Audio Atlas In-Ear Monitor comes in a pretty, small, orange cardboard box with turquoise patterns same as the Comet IEM and carries a sticker in blue that shows a picture of the Atlas and some information about the product.
This box is including the following items;
- 1 pair x Campfire Audio Atlas Monitor
- 1 pcs x Campfire Audio Pure Silver Litz Cable with MMCX connectors
- 1 set x Campfire Audio Marshmallow tips (small, medium, large)
- 1 set x Silicon Ear Tips (small, medium, large)
- 1 set x Final Audio Silicone Ear Tips (extra small, small, medium, large, extra large)
- 1 pair x Protective fabric pouch
- 1 pcs x Clearing Tool
- 1 pcs x Campfire Audio Pin
- 1 pcs x Campfire Audio Black Leather Earphone Case
- 1 pcs x Warrant Card & instruction manual
The Campfire Audio Atlas has a rich package with lots of accessories. The package is including the very comfortable silicone ear tips of the company Final Audio, which I know from my Final Audio E4000&E5000 review.
They are also a set of foam ear tips (Campfire Audio calls it Marshmallow) and silicone ear tips with a large bore.
The Campfire Audio Atlas monitors came in fabric pouches (each monitor has its own pouch) that protects from any scratching.
The Black leather case with zipper has a Campfire Audio logo on the top that looks very stylish and a faux shear ling lining.
There is also a cleaning tool and a pin with Campfire Audio Logo, which is a nice addition.
Design and Build Quality:
The Campfire Audio Atlas is made of three (3) CNC machined stainless steel parts, same as the Comet, which have had also a very different design language then the former models.
On the front of the housing is the sound nozzle with a machined grill spout, which has the same unique appearance that the Comet has.
On both sides of the monitor shell are the Campfire Audio logos and at the bottom of the Monitor shell is the Beryllium Copper MMCX connector that looks pretty robust with the mating mechanism.
The all stainless steel housing has a polished glossy appearance that looks very shine and fells rock solid in my hands, which seems a bit prone to screeches.
On the back of the monitor housing is a very small pressure compensation vent.
Campfire Audio Pure Silver Litz Cable:
The Atlas comes with the Campfire Audio Pure Silver Litz Cable, which is a 4 core braided silver wire cable with a medical grade transparent PVC coating.
This cable has beryllium copper MMCX (Micro Miniature Coaxial) male connectors and sports a gold plated, right angled 3.5mm 3 Pole (TRS single ended) headphone jack with a semi transparent plastic housing.
On those connectors are left (blue dot) and right (red dot) markings that are easy to recognize.
The cable sports a metal Y splitter in silver color and a transparent plastic chin slider.
Fit, Comfort and Isolation:
The stainless steel housing of the Campfire Audio Atlas has not the biggest shape in my In-Ear Monitor collection, but is noticeable bigger compared to the smaller brother, the Comet.
The Atlas is pretty comfortable to wear without any pressure or hurting of my ear channels, even after some long listening periods.
I have read some driver flex issues and have noticed a small pressure and flex when I have use the stock FA and Regular Silicone tips, while there is no flex when I am using the marshmallow foams and some Spifit tips that came with the Comet and have bought separately.
The noise isolation of the Atlas is above average and slightly better than those of the Comet. The isolation is pretty ok to use it in environments like bus, metro or train.
The Atlas sports a special designed “Single Full Range” dynamic driver same as the Vega IEM but with a bigger diameter of 10mm (instead of 8.5mm for the Vega) that has an Amorphous Diamond-Like Carbon (in short A.D.L.C) Diaphragm, which is a combination of diamond and graphite carbon.
The custom Beryllium Copper MMCX eliminates the traditional shortcomings of the connection and harnesses all of its benefits. Beryllium Copper provides a robust mating mechanism and should extend the lifespan of the component and the earphone.
Plasma enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (C.V.D.)
- Driver Units : 1 x Full Range Dynamic Driver
- Driver Diameter : 10mm
- Special Features : A.D.L.C Diaphragm
- SPL : 105 dB/mW Sensitivity
- THD : less than 1%
- Impedance : 19 Ohms
- Frequency Response : 5Hz – 20kHz
- Earphone connector : Beryllium Copper MMMC (Micro Miniature Coaxial Connector)
The Campfire Audio Atlas is an easy to drive In-Ear Monitor with an impedance of 19 Ohms, which makes it to an ideal IEM for the use with portable sources like phones, tablets, etc. It can be driven to very loud volumes without the need of an external amplifier. But there is a small improvement when you listen to the Atlas with a small external amplifier or DAC/AMP like the Chord Mojo or the xDuoo XD10.
a) In Ear Monitor : Campfire Audio Atlas, 64 Audio Adel U8, Hifiman RE2000
b) DAP/DAC : Cayin N5II, Chord Mojo, Fiio M7, Audirect Beam, xDuuo XD10
c) Albums & Tracks used for this review:
- Morbid Angel – Drum Check (Spotify)
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
- Metallica – Sad But True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Opeth – Damnation (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
- Slayer – Angel Of Deaths (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Rush – Leave That Thing Alone (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Sonya Yoncheva – The Verdi Album (Spotify)
- Sertab Erener – Aşk (Spotify)
- Minor Empire – Bulbulum Altin Kafeste (Spotify)
- London Grammar – Interlud (Live) (Flac 24bit/44kHz)
- Laura Pergolizzi – Lost on You – Live at Harvard and Stone (Tidal H-iFi)
- Dire Straits – Money for Nothing (DSD 64)
- Steve Srauss – Mr. Bones (Flac 16bit/44kHz)
- Charly Antolini’s – Duwadjuwandadu (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Casey Abrams – Robot Lover (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- GoGo Penguin – Fanfares (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- The Glitch Mob – Mind of A Beast (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Lorde – Team (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Tom Player – Resonace Theory “Album” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Deeperise feat. Jabbar – Move On (Spotify)
Sound Analysis and Comparisons:
The Campfire Audio Atlas is written after a burn-in process of approx. 80-90 hours. I have used the medium sized marshmallow ear tips and stock pure silver Litz cable which came in the box together with the Campfire Audio Atlas.
The Campfire Audio Atlas is an In-Ear Monitor with a V shaped sound signature that is producing some strong, deep and subwoofer like bass, pronounced and slightly bright upper midrange and a forgiving, non-fatiguing treble presentation.
When it comes to tonality, I can describe the Campfire Audio Atlas in the sub-bass & mid-bass range as warm, in the middle range as slightly warm, and in the upper midrange and treble as somewhat warm and bright. This very precise and nicely calibrated warmth and brightness levels have saved the Atlas from hollowness and gave it a very musical and detailed presentation.
The Campfire Audio Atlas has a subwoofer like, very deep, near perfect bass structure that has a wide area. If the existing bass in the recording is increasing, Atlas does also increase the intensity, quantity and depth of the bass presentation.
The bass comes from a wide and gigantic range, which allows an overall controlled representation even in very complex passages and high volumes.
Campfire Audio Atlas can be considered as the peak of its price segment in terms of bass- detail, quality and depth performance.
The sub-bass of the Atlas occupies a very wide area, are very deep and extend perfectly for an In-Ear Monitor. One of the most notable features of the sub-bass presentation is the well-adjusted amount of rumble and control in this area.
The sub-bass area has the highest emphasis in the bass region. This massive bass from the sub-bass area is slightly reduced and controlled in the mid-bass region and is pretty improved in the upper bass zone. Everything sounds controlled and the bass layers are easily separated from each other, which makes the presentation in this region sophisticated and on a very high level.
Briefly, the sub-bass of the Atlas deserves a full score and are solid in terms of extension, depth and quantity.
The Campfire Audio Atlas has a strong mid-bass presentation, which is tight and doesn’t sound loose and is not mixing in to the midrange. The mid-bass emphasis is decreased to increase the control, speed and detail in this area, which makes the bass character suitable and successful with almost any music genre.
The absence of negative conditions such as a mid-bass hump or muddiness makes the Atlas to a very special In-Ear Monitor. The mid-bass is not overshadowing the instruments due to the spacious soundstage and this tuning is allowing a quite dynamic and energetic presentation, which is a big advantage for the Atlas over other IEM’s with strong mid-bass character.
The CA Atlas shows also a great performance with instruments such as bass guitar, drums, contrabass and other percussion instruments and it’s nice to hear that the Atlas is not adding any extra bass to the original recording.
The midrange of the Atlas is slightly recessed due to the V shaped sound signature and shows a transparent and quite detailed tonality. The overall tonality is a bit warmer than neutral and is quite realistic because of the well-tuned lower and upper midrange.
The nicely tuned depth of the lower midrange and the good pronounced upper midrange allows the Atlas to perform very realistic with both male and female vocals.
a) Male Vocals:
The most criticized area of an IEM’s is in most situations the male vocal performance. In most cases, I’ve found that female voices are generally more successful than male vocals.
But this situation has changed with the Campfire Audio Atlas, because it is equally successful in the performance of the male and female voice.
One other plus point of the Atlas is that there is no mixing or hollowness with male vocals, which was the reason for the pleasant moments while I have listen to vocals such as Dave Gahan, Freddie Mercury, B.B. King or Eric Clapton.
The Campfire Audio Atlas is showing a pretty true and realistic tonality and timbre.
b) Female Vocals:
The Atlas has a pronounced upper midrange and pretty good extension in this area, which gives female vocals a transparent, airy and detailed presentation. This is also one of the reason why both female and male vocals are equal successful with the Atlas
The Campfire Audio Atlas has a mildly warm, transparent and full sounding female vocal presentation, which makes it pretty musical and I didn’t hear any issues such as sibilance or harshness. The voice of females is neither thin nor too thick, which makes the Atlas in many music genres such as rock to trance music successful.
The Campfire Audio Atlas performs very well with mezzo soprano and soprano female vocals such as Sonya Yoncheva IL Trovatore Giuseppe Verdi, where the ups and downs in her voice where very gentle and controlled.
The performance of the Atlas in terms of instrument separation and placement is one of the strengths of this IEM. The separation of the vocals form instruments and instruments form other instruments is phenomenal. The air between instruments is pretty natural and they are neither too close nor too distant from each other. When it comes to the tonality, the Atlas has a fairly warm and musical instrument presentation. Especially Eric Clapton’s guitar performance in its “Unplugged” album was very enjoying listening to.
Instruments such as pianos are sounding a bit thicker and softer in the bass region and slightly warmer and brighter in the midrange and treble range. I have found the technical ability and musicality also quite successful with almost any instrument I have listened with it.
The Campfire Audio Atlas has a pronounced, pretty detailed and slight bright upper midrange that has also good extension. The peak of the upper midrange is between 1 – 3 kHz which is responsible for the airy and detailed presentation. The upper midrange sounds controlled and is more pronounced than the treble range, without to be harsh that makes it ideal for long listening periods.
Atlas shows a good performance in terms of control, detail and clarity in the upper midrange when instruments play at high distortion.
For example, when I listen to instruments such as cymbals, drums or to guitars the upper midrange transition is good and shows also a nice clearness, which rarely to find in a bass focused IEM like the Atlas. Guitar solos played on high distortions like in Megadeth’s “Sweating Bullets”, Slayer’s “Angel of Deaths” and Rush’s “Leave That Thing Alone” sounding clear, detailed and pretty clean.
Instruments such as violins are mildly shiny and their extension is solid. Pianos have no loss of upper midrange presence and extension, while flutes sounding stirring and vibrant.
The treble range of the Campfire Audio Atlas is a little bit less pronounced compared to the bass and upper midrange regions and the character of it is slightly thick, musical and airy. The peak in this range is around 8k and there is a fast but controlled roll-off in the upper treble area. The most detailed area in the treble range is the lower treble area, while the detail level is starting to decrease slightly in the upper treble area.
As I mentioned before, you can hear that the treble lower treble is more pronounced than the upper treble range, which lowers the treble detail in the upper region slightly compared to the very nicely detailed lower regions.
The lower treble range is pronounced and has good extension with instruments such as hi-hats in jazz records, while crash cymbals have a slightly shortage in extension. Instruments like flutes are emphasized and energized in the lower treble range, while the emphasis and extension is decreasing in higher notes and is showing a softer timber. The same situation can be observed / detected with other instruments such as violins or pianos.
The well pronounced, airy and detailed lower treble presentation brings an advantage to those who like this tuning in genres like EDM or Trance music. The fact that the treble range didn’t fall too far behind the lows made me happy while listen to trance music.
The upper treble range of the Atlas comes a bit from the background and shows a lightly but nice shimmer. One of the remarkable pros of the Atlas IEM is the mildly pronounced and relaxing presentation in the upper treble range, which is resulting of a slightly roll-off in this area. This tuning is especially with fast genres like metal music and songs that need additional treble emphasis, such as symphonic music noticeable.
The upper treble range is behind in performance in terms of airiness, extension and detailed and it seems that Campfire Audio has had the target to make the upper treble musical and fatigue free.
The soundstage of the Campfire Audio Atlas is pretty large, spacious and airy. The soundstage depth is also as good as the width and the existing depth is quite sufficient for many music genres. The deepness of the stage is an important factor for the silence of the background.
Campfire Audio Atlas versus 64 Audio U8:
The 64 Audio U8 is an In-Ear Monitor with 8 Balanced armature drivers (4 BA’s for the lows, 2 BA’s for the mids and 2 BA’s for the highs). The Campfire Audio Atlas on the other hand, is a single dynamic driver IEM, which features one full range 10mm A.D.L.C. Diaphragm Dynamic Driver.
Both the 64 Audio U8 and the Campfire Audio Atlas are very capable IEM’s especially in the bass department.
The 64 Audio U8 is producing a gigantic bass for an IEM with Balanced Armature Driver. The Campfire Audio Atlas on the other hand has some subwoofer like bass presentation and is a big rival in this field.
The sub-bass depth of both IEM’s s nearly identical, but the Atlas has the upper hand because of its dynamic driver, which can produce a wider range of sub-bass frequencies. The U8 has less sub-bass extension compared to the Atlas.
Both In-Ear Monitors sharing a strong and controlled mid-bass presentation. The main difference is the character, because the mid-bass of the U8 are hitting harder, while the mid-bass of the Atlas is greater. The Campfire Audio Atlas is more successful in terms of bass quantity and emphasis.
The 64 Audio U8 has the upper hand in terms of bass speed, which is a result of the use of Balanced Armature drivers. The Campfire Audio Atlas on the other hand has the upper hand in terms of overall bass detail.
The 64 Audio U8 and The Campfire Audio Atlas sharing a V shaped sound signature where the midrange is slightly recessed. The Midrange of the U8 is warmer and thicker in terms of tonality, while the Atlas sounds a bit more neutral, transparent and with more volume in this frequency region.
Both IEM’s are very successful while presenting male vocals due to the deep and fairly strong lower midrange presentation. The 64 Audio U8 is a little bit better while presenting bass baritone singers, while the Campfire Audio Atlas is a hint more successful with baritone singers.
The female vocal presentation of the 64 Audio U8 is a bit veiled compared to those of the Campfire Audio Atlas, which shows more transparency that is needed for female voices.
Instruments sounding in general thick and warm with the 64 Audio U8, while the Campfire Audio Atlas shows slightly less warmth and thickness compared to the presentation of the U8The Atlas IEM is superior to the U8 in many aspects, such as the extensions of violins, brightness level of pianos or the tonality guitars.
Upper Midrange and Treble:
The 64 Audio U8 shows a recessed upper midrange in direct comparison to the mildly recessed presentation of the Campfire Audio Atlas. The U8 has also a darker tonality compared to those of the Atlas, which shares additional sparkle and brightness.
The Campfire Audio Atlas is superior to the 64 Audio U8 is in terms of treble extension, force, detail and quantity, which makes it more suitable for genres such as metal or symphonically music.
Both In-Ear Monitors have a suitable stage width for a realistic instrument placement.
The 64 Audio U8 doesn’t sounds as spacious and airy like the Campfire Audio Atlas due to its quite warm tonality. The Campfire Audio Atlas has the wider stage, while both IEM’s performing quite similar in terms of soundstage depth.
Campfire Audio Atlas versus Hifiman RE2000 Silver
The Campfire Audio Atlas has a sharp V shaped sound signature, while the Hifiman RE2000 Silver shows a mildly V shaped tuning and the overall tonality of the Atlas is warmer and full bodied compared to the more neutral presentation the RE2000 Silver.
The CA Atlas shows more sub-bass depth, extensions and quantity than those of the RE2000 Silver. The sub-bass of the RE2000 Silver goes petty a pretty deep register but has less emphasis.
Both IEM’s sharing a strong mid-bass presentation, but mid-bass of the Campfire Audio Atlas hits greater and is superior in terms of quantity and fore, while the Hifiman RE2000 Silver has a more balanced presentation.
The bass of the Hifiman RE2000 is tighter, more controlled and faster than those of the Campfire Audio Atlas, which makes it more successful in this area.
Both of this IEM’s sharing slightly warm and musical midrange presentation, while the midrange of the Hifiman RE2000 is more upfront compared to those of the Campfire Audio Atlas.
The lower midrange of the RE2000 Silver is more upfront and compared to those of the Atlas. The male vocal performance of the RE2000 is superior to the Atlas in terms of detail, while the Campfire Audio Atlas is more successful with female vocals due to its more pronounced upper midrange presentation.
Both IEM’s sharing a quite natural and musical instrument tonality, while the Hifiman RE2000 Silver performs slightly better in terms of overall instrument detail retrieval because of its great midrange area. The Campfire Audio Atlas is showing a more pronounced and sharp upper midrange presentation, which makes it slightly more successful in terms of upper midrange detail rendering.
The treble range of both IEM’s is not very emphasized and upfront and sharing a lightly bright and soft tonality. The Campfire Audio Atlas and Hifiman RE2000 Silver showing similarities in the lower treble region, while the upper treble range of the RE2000 Silver is more pronounced and detailed than those of the Atlas In-Ear Monitor.
Both IEM’s showing an ideal soundstage for a precise and natural instrument placement. The soundstage of the Hifiman RE2000 Silver is wider and airy compared to those of the Campfire Audio Atlas that is otherwise more successful in terms of soundstage depth.
The Campfire Audio Atlas is one of the most impressive IEM’s I have listened to date. It does so much things right that I have had hard times to find something to criticize about it. The Atlas will satisfy many audiophiles, while listening to a wide variety of genres, because of its strong low end, lush midrange and vocal presentation that performs well with both male and female vocals. The slightly recessed but otherwise detailed upper treble range makes the Atlas to a forgiving and ideal IEM for those who want to listen music for long hours.
Pros and Cons:
- + Solid Build Quality and Unique Design
- + TOTL level sound tuning
- + Great Bass Performance
- + Vocal Performance
- + Detailed and Forgiving Treble Presentation
- – Housing is a bit heavy
- – Shiny Metal Surface is Prone to Scratches