Disclaimer: I do not own any of these iems in this round of impressions as of writing this. My reviews are based on demo units I tried.
A three-course exotic meal this time. I had the pleasure of demoing these three pairs of earphones, and my impressions are below.
Earphones in this list
– Campfire Audio Solaris
– Aroma Audio Yao
– Beyerdynamic Xelento
Grab a cuppa coffee, sit back and read on.
Campfire Audio Solaris
I doubt this needs much introduction. In my opinion, it is the love child of Atlas and Andromeda, taking the best from both worlds.
A shimmering gold against the black shell gives the Solaris the Campfire premium feel. The shell is pretty large, and if you have small ears you will face fit issues. But if you can get them to sit well, then you are in for a ride.
The Solaris packs 3 balanced armature drivers and 1 dynamic driver per side. The bass, however, remains laid back. It is balanced with a sub-bass rumble that is cleanly separated from the mid-bass. A definite step-up over the bass on the Andromedas, with a quality (albeit not quantity) on par with the Campfire Atlas. The texture is rich and slightly thick.
The mids are slightly lax and smooth. There is great detail retrieval and sounds full-bodied with light variations in emphasis, allowing the mids to sound musical and not boring while retaining high technical abilities. Wide soundstage and holographic presentation.
Highs are energetic, with crisp and clear details. I’ve heard the magic T.A.E.C does to the highs in the Campfire Comet, especially headroom. In the Solaris, the effects are felt once again, with that roomy headroom feel. Though the Solaris feels wider but doesn’t have the height that Atlas and Comet has. Zero sibilance present.
The Solaris is without a doubt my favorite in their lineup thus far. While I can’t speak for the Equinox, as I haven’t yet tried it, but the Solaris does everything well. It is a strong all-rounder TOTL and extracts the benefits of a hybrid well instead of just using it as a marketing gimmick.
Aroma Audio Yao
I chanced upon this purely by accident; it was recommended to me when I didn’t find the VE8 to suit my taste. I didn’t take much notice of Aroma Audio previously, as I didn’t find the Witch girl spectacular.
The design didn’t really catch my eye; silver plates with a clear body. But the bass definitely caught my attention. The depth, texture, and richness of the bass are incredible. While the Yao has the “bass-boosted” feel, the bass doesn’t bleed into the mids at all. I basically melted into an audio puddle.
The mids are balanced with a slight emphasis on the very middle. Instrumental separation is decent, with slight congestion at complicated segments. Personally, I find it engaging and found it surprising the lower-mids aren’t overshadowed by the bass despite the lack of emphasis.
Trebles extend with very gradual roll-off, achieving massive headroom. It retains its smoothness and never gets harsh, though vocals can get lean at times. The main gripe I have would be that it lacks sparkle, and sounds like snares fail to “open” up in the highs. It ends up feeling a little too heavy at the top though the extension helps alleviate it somewhat.
Overall, a sound signature with slight bass-boost and center mid emphasis. Fun to listen to plus fatigue isn’t much of an issue unless you keep it on for extremely long.
I first tried the Ak T8ie mk1 before trying this. A definite step up, though I can’t speak for mk2 as I’ve yet to try it.
The bass is highly balanced and thick. Detail retrieval is amazing and comes packed with an oomph, though it does bleed a little into the mids. Sub-bass fills up the lowest spectrum easily, making the Xelento big sounding. I expect great bass from a top-class iem encased in a beautiful metal housing, and the Xelento delivers it.
There is a noticeable emphasis on the lower mid emphasis, and vocals are brought out effortlessly with great separation. A spacious sound stage that feels natural and is definitely welcome. However, the transitions from mids to bass feel forced, as it goes from smooth and natural to forward and punchy. But again, this is just an issue of preference.
The highs are quite airy, though not as airy as the Aroma Yao. Roll-off is gradual, though the resolving capabilities are a little lacking and it can get congested easily.
Overall a fun and balanced iem that provides great performance at its price point.
Personally, I love all three iems. Each has its unique traits that make them fun to listen to. If I really do have a pick, then I’ll go with the Solaris as my favourite, as I am a fan of the Campfire Audio’s house sound.
Well, that is the end of the break this time. Thanks for reading through!
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