Campfire Audio Solaris “Stellar Horizon” Review
Campfire Audio Solaris “Stellar Horizon” Review
Campfire Audio is well known US based company that is specialized in the development and production of portable audio equipments such like Custom (CIEM) and Universal (UIEM) In-Ear Monitors, TWS Earphones, Headphones and Cables.
The Solaris Stellar Horizon is the latest member of the “Solaris Series” that represents a full re-envisioning of this classical Campfire Audio IEM. The Solaris Stellar Horizon features a newly developed Hybrid Driver configuration, which is a combination of 3x Custom Dual-Diaphragm Balanced Armatures + 1x 10mm ADLC Dynamic Driver with a special “Radial Venting” design. The drivers are located inside a Brushed Stainless Housing with a “Brass Accents Custom PVD Gold Inlay in c on the top.
I would like to thank Campfire Audio for providing the Solaris Stellar Horizon Universal IEM as 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.
Price & Availability:
The actual MSRP price for the Campfire Audio Stellar Horizon Universal IEM is $2,670.00. More information’s can be found under the link below;
Package and Accessories:
The Campfire Audio Soliars Stellar Horizon comes in a very large and eye-catching rectangular wooden box. The design of this box is almost identical to that of the Astral Plane headphone box, with the only difference being the Solaris-themed cardboard sleeve surrounding the wooden box. Campfire Audio in their Portland Oregon Workshop has created this special presentation box individually.
Inside the box of the Campifre Audio Stellar Horizon are the following items;
- 1 pair x Campfire Audio Solaris Stellar Horizon Monitors
- 3 x Campfire Time Stream Cables (1x 3.5mm SE, 1x 2.5mm BAL and 1x 4.4mm BAL plug)
- 3 pairs x CFA Silicon Ear Tips (small, medium, large)
- 3 pairs x Foam (Marshmallow) Ear Tips (small, medium, large)
- 1 x Campfire Audio Foldable Blue Dimensional Earphone Case
- 1 x Campfire Audio Cable Storage Bag
- 1 x IEM Storage Pouch
- 1 x Campfire Audio Pin
- 1 x Double Pocket Soft Pouch
- 1 x Cleaning Tool
- 1 x Print Material (Warranty Card, User Manual)
The box contains are rich set of accessories that includes 6 pairs of ear tips, 2 storage cases, 1 storage pouch, 3 sets of cables and many more. However, the most remarkable highlight that really surprised me is the prosthetic hand in black color, which you can insert to one of the two foldable shelves.
There is a case premium looking foldable leather case in a so-called ‘Dark Matter’ Black finish that has been Made in Portugal. The foldable case has a Magnetic Closure and a carabineer that is a nice addition.
Another protective storage option is the double pocket soft pouch in black color where you can put the monitors and the ear tips, a cleaning tool and the pin with the CA Logo.
All in- all the Campfire Audio team offers a pretty exciting and unique unboxing experience.
Features, Design and Build Quality:
As soon as I opened the box, I was blown away by the stunning design of the new Campfire Audio Solaris Stellar Horizon. Yes, it shares some common design elements of the previous Solaris Models like the shape, but the brushed metal surface and the new Faceplate design do look simply gorgeous.
The monitor housing is a combination of Brushed Stainless material with a “Brass Accents Custom PVD Gold Inlay in Laser Cut Acrylic. The Solaris Stellar Horizon features a newly developed Hybrid Driver configuration, which is a combination of 3x Custom Dual-Diaphragm Balanced Armatures + 1x 10mm ADLC Dynamic Driver with a special Radial Venting” design. The new Radial Venting surrounds the 10mm ADLC dynamic driver, creating a greater air volume and expanding the physical space in which the driver operates. This creates a greater soundstage and a more even performance of the dynamic driver.
Undoubtedly, one of the most striking design elements of the Solaris Stellar Horizon is the faceplate design, while each faceplate surface has a pretty unique pattern design that reflects the Solar System in a very artistic way. The faceplate has a gold PVD inlay area with a black acrylic surface that has been processed with a special laser cut process that looks simply stunning.
The rear surface features the slightly angled sound nozzle made of stainless-steel material with 7x small and 1 large opening on the top.
Each monitor has an elevated part in form of a ring made from brass material that features a robust Beryllium Copper MMCX connector on the top. Near the MMCX connector is an opening that is part of the Radial Venting design dedicated for the 10mm large ADLC Dynamic Driver
At the bottom of each monitor housing is a small brass ring.
The overall build quality of the monitors is excellent, which have been hand assembled in Campfire Audio’s workshop that is located in Portland – Oregon.
Campfire Audio Time Stream Cables:
The Solaris Stellar Horizon came with Campfire Audio’s new Time Stream Cables. The box includes 3 cables with different plug terminations, which are 3.5mm Single Ended, 2.5mm Balanced and one with a 4.4mm Balanced.
Each Time Stream Cable is made from Silver Plated Cooper wire material that has a soft, flexible and durable transparent insulation with a flat profile.
The MMCX (Micro Miniature Coaxial) connectors are made of custom-made beryllium copper material that provides a robust mating mechanism. The MMCX connectors do have metal housings in grey color that do sport L (Left) / R (Right) indicator.
Near the connectors are heat shrink ear guides that do provide a more comfortable over the ear wearing experience.
The Y splitter is made from metal material with a gold surface finish that sport the CA (Campfire Audio) brand logo on the top, while the chin slider is made from transparent plastic material.
All 3 cables do have the same straight profiled headphone housing design made from metal material with a silver finish.
Fit, Comfort and Isolation:
The Campfire Audio Solaris Stellar Horizon has a pretty comfortable monitor shape that fits in quite well in to my average sized ear concha’s. The passive noise isolation on the other hand was on an above average level for me. However, this result depends to your ear tips selection and ear anatomy, which can vary from user to user.
- Model : Solaris Stellar Horizon
- Driver Configuration : Hybrid Driver Technology
- Driver Setup : 3 x Custom Balanced Armature + 1 x 10mm ADLC Dynamic Driver
- Frequency Response : 5 Hz – 20 kHz
- Sensitivity : 94 dB SPL @ 1kHz: 9.145 mVrms
- Impedance : 4.40 Ohms @ 1kHz Impedance
- THD : Less than 1%
- Connector : MMMC (Micro Miniature Coaxial Connector)
- Headphone Plug : 3.5mm Single Ended, 2.5mm Balanced & 4.4mm Balanced
Drivability & Pairing:
The Campfire Audio Solaris Stellar Horizon is a highly efficient In-Ear Monitor that can be easily driver with almost any source, thanks to its low impedance of 4.40 Ohms and sensitivity around 94 dB SPL @1kHz: 1kHz: 9.145 mVrms. This a common feature of almost any product of the company.
Equipment’s used for this review:
- In Ear Monitors : Campfire Solaris Stellar Horizon
- Sources (DAP/DAC) : HiBy R6 PRO II, FiiO M11 Plus ESS, Cayin RU7
Albums & Tracks used for this review:
- Adele – My Little Love (Tidal)
- Randy Crawford – On Day I Will Fly Away (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Hayley Westenra – Odyssey Album (Dezzer HiFi)
- Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
- Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Sonya Yoncheva – (Giuseppe Verdi) II Trovatore, ActI (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- George Michael – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- David Bowie – Heroes (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Elton John – Rocket Man ((Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- B. King – Riding With The King (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Muse – Hysteria (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Rush – YYZ (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Red Hot Chili Peppers – Nobody Weird Like Me (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama (Deezer HiFi)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Daft Punk – Doin’ it Right (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Jo Blankenburg – Meraki (Spotify)
- Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Toutant – Rebirth (Deezer HiFi)
- Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Gogo Penguin – Murmuration (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
- Max Richter – On the Nature of Daylight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Ferit Odman – Look, Stop & Listen (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
- Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
- Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)
The Campfire Audio Solaris Stellar Horizon offers a sound tuning that impressed me with its balanced, natural and quite accurate tuning and timbre. The bass is deep, powerful and well-controlled, with excellent extension, speed and authority especially after a burn-in period of 100+ hours. The midrange sounds pretty rich, smooth and detailed, with a clear and transparent presentation of vocals and instruments, while the treble area is produced in a pretty crisp, airy and extended manner, which shows a smooth and refined delivery of nuances and subtleties. The soundstage on the other hand is wide, spacious and fairly immersive that delivers a realistic and holographic sound field.
The review for the Campfire Audio Solaris Stellar Horizon has written after a burn-in process of approx. 120 hours. I have used the stock CFA Silicon Ear Tips and the new CFA Time Stream Cable that are included inside the package. The main sound sources are the HiBy R6 Pro II, FiiO M11 Plus ESS and the Cayin RU7.
The Campfire Audio Solaris Stellar Horizon with its 10mm ADLC Dynamic Driver + Special Radial Venting” design offers a stellar bass response that is able to produce deep and full-bodied bass notes with impressive level of extension, speed and authority when called upon. The general bass response sounds not bloated nor muddy, but rather well-defined and textured. It adds warmth and body to the sound, but does not bleed into the midrange, which is one of the main characteristic of this area that impressed me.
The subbass region is shows excellent amount of depth and rumble while listen to songs like Lorde’s “Royals”, Daft Punk’s “Doin’ it Right” and Armin Van Buuren’s “Vini Vici”. The decay and extension of this area is top notch and I am sure that the subbass quantity and intensity will satisfy most listeners with a wide variety of music genres. The Solaris Stellar Horizon has a nicely textured and layered midbass register that shows a decent grade of quickness and control that was audible in fast and complex bass passages like “Hysteria” from Muse, Red Hot Chili Peppers “Nobody Weird Like Me and Gogo Penguin’s “Murmuration”.
The overall control, speed and resolution of this area that makes the Solaris Stellar Horizon highly successful as well as suitable for many music genres. The midbass region on the other hand sounds pretty tight, impactful and shows a decent sense of attack and decay. Instruments such like electro or bass guitars are reproduced with a good amount of depth and excellent sense of quickness and authority.
The separation between the lows and the midrange is one of the remarkable highlights that the Solaris Stellar Horizon offers. The midrange impressed me immediately with its level of clarity and resolution, and the excellent sense of transparency and air between the instruments. Both male and female voices are reproduced in a pretty effortless and realistic manner.
The lower midrange of the Solaris Stellar Horizon shows a natural grade of depth and fullness, which has not affected by the lows, since here is an audible separation with the midbass region that increases the clarity of this area. Male voices from Dave Gahan, Isaac Hayes to Elton John and David Bowie are produced in a pretty realistic manner, while instruments such like violins, side flutes, or pianos are reproduced with a solid amount of depth and note weight.
The upper midrange of the Campfire Audio Solaris Stellar Horizon is well balanced, detailed and shows a pretty natural and accurate timbre, while the level of transparency and clarity is another remarkable features where the Solaris Stellar Horizon excels in this area. Female voices fro example like Sertap Erener, Adel or Diana Krall do sound lively and emotional, without to have issues like sibilance or harshness thanks to the well-adjusted Custom Dual-Diaphragm Balanced Armatures. Instruments on the other side such like a piano, mandolin or clarinet extend pretty well and shown with natural and impressive grade of resolution.
The treble range of the Campfire Audio Solaris Stellar Horizon creates an excellent grade of brilliance and presence. This area is able to unveil a solid level of information and a pretty airy and clear atmosphere while listen to a wide range of music genres. The general treble presentation of the Solaris Stellar Horizon can be described as well-extended, detailed, and airy, which is done in a quite inoffensive and fatigue-free manner. The treble area complements the bass and midrange quite well, which creates a good sense of contrast and harmony.
The lower treble range of the Solaris Stellar Horizon is nicely integrated with the rest of the frequency spectrum that creates a quite coherent and natural sound, when I have listen to instruments such like percussion, violins or vocals such like Sonya Yoncheva and Sertap Erener. The sense of clarity and precision, and the level of information unveiled in this area is top notch, so that it meets my expectations from a product at this price tag.
The Solaris Stellar Horizon has a quite detail and texture treble presentation, where decay of a cymbal, the vibrato of a violin, or the timbre of a vocal is reproduced in a pretty exiting manner. The air and sparkle created in this area is on a decent level that I have really enjoyed while listening to genres like jazz, metal and classical music.
Soundstage & Imaging:
The presentation of the soundstage is another area where the Solaris Stellar Horizon impressed me with its wide, deep, and immersive atmosphere. The sense of imaging and separation are excellent, allowing a pinpoint location and direction of instrument and vocal. The general frequency tuning creates a pretty airy and spacious atmosphere, which is one of the remarkable highlights that the Solaris Stellar Horizon offers.
The Campfire Audio Solaris Stellar Horizon is an impressive In-Ear Monitor in many ways, offering an excellent sonic performance across the entire frequency spectrum, produced with a precisely implemented 1x DD + 3BA hybrid driver configuration, located inside a spectacular looking brushed Stainless Steel housing that matches its premium price tag. The Solaris Stellar Horizon, with its latest driver setup and new patented Radial Venting System, is capable of producing a holographic, detailed and engaging sound that will delight many audiophiles. It may not be the most neutral sounding IEM on the market, but it is certainly one of the most entertaining and exciting that you should definitely listen to. Highly Recommended!
Pros & Cons:
- + Overall Technical Performance
- + Versatile Sound Profile that suitable for a Wide Variety of Genres
- + Top-Level of Resolution across the Sound Spectrum
- + Spacious (Airy) & Holographic Soundstage Atmosphere
- + Precise Imaging
- + Very Well Crafted Monitors
- + Gorgeous Looking Faceplate Design
- + Rich set of accessories including 3 sets of the latest Time Stream Cables
- – Some may prefer just one cable with modular headphone plug design
- – Slightly amount of Driver-Flex (but not a real deal breaker)
- – A TOTL IEM has its TOTL Price
Thank you for the Read!