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Campfire Audio Polaris 2019 Edition Review

"The new Polaris from Campfire Audio are a bit of a bass canon, yet still retain good control and clarity all round. This is one for the bass lovers, and those who enjoy an engaging and fun to listen to sound."

Campfire Audio Polaris

Aesthetics and Build Quality:

Much like all other Campfire models, the Polaris are a thing of beauty. The precision CNC’s machined housings look perfect, the blue really does stand out against the black screws and smoky cable. Even the case compliments the colour scheme. Campfire, in my opinion, make some of the best-looking IEM’s out there.

Build quality is another strong point, the metal housings are perfectly finished, and the MMCX sockets are some of the best I have ever come across. The cable is a silver plated litz cable that is twisted, with good strain relief on the 3.5mm angled jack. I can see the anodised finish showing scratches in the long run, but I personally find that adds character to them.

Comfort and Isolation:

The housings may look uncomfortable but the inner sides have softer edges and once you find the right tips the Polaris are incredibly secure and comfortable to use. I found them to fit and sound best with foam tips, but this is down to personal preference. The cable now uses pre-moulded ear-hooks which I find to sit much better than stiff memory wire, it’s great to see more brands using this. My one tiny gripe here is driver flex, which is quite present when you first insert them.

Isolation is very good, perfect for daily use and commuting, even though the housing is vented for the dynamic driver, I don’t find this impacting isolation much.

 

Sound:

Bass: This is the part that is immediately noticeable when you first try the Polaris, and for good reason. These are made to deliver a very full and powerful sound, and they do that without fault. The bass carries real weight and impact, you feel as well as hear the notes. The bass may be the prominent frequency band on these, but they do this without totally masking the rest of the frequency response. They are not a dark, bloated mess, yet they still have a bass-heavy signature which is very impressive and a lot of fun. The sheer weight and power of the low end is quite astonishing, yet it manages to steer clear from masking the mid-range too much, only giving the lower midrange a hint of warmth.

 

Midrange: The midrange is clear and detailed, yet does come across a little behind the bass in terms of absolute presence. The lows do give a little body to the lower midrange, but the upper midrange is quite up front. The transition from the upper midrange to the lower treble is not the smoothest, bringing out a bit of sibilance in the recording. They do not suffer badly from sibilance, but it is there nonetheless, and more present than a few other IEM’s that are a little smoother. The Polaris trade off a little refinement for fun factor, and I honestly am fine with that. They are engaging, the midrange is clear and well defined, especially when you compare it to the bass.

 

Treble: Due to the T.A.E.C technology, the Polaris has an incredibly open and airy top end. The treble extends effortlessly with excellent tonality and presence, however is it not peaky or harsh. The openness of the top end really aids the soundstaging capabilities of the Polaris, offering a really spacious sound that is not congested or closed in. There is plenty of detail up top and the energy is what mainly prevents the Polaris from sounding too dark. I really do enjoy the treble performance of the Polaris, providing the perfect balance between being there and clearly audible, but not bright and overbearing. Campfire don’t need to artificially boost the top end to give a sense of extra detail, because the detail is there and audible.

Conclusion

The Polaris are one hell of an IEM, with a very powerful and engaging sound signature. The bass is there by the bucketload, yet the midrange is detailed and only slightly behind when it comes to presence. The highs are effortlessly extended and packed full of detail, giving them a sense of space and air that really opens the Polaris up. Overall a great buy if you want an engaging and powerful IEM.

 

Sound:  4/5

Comfort: 5/5

Build: 5/5

Value: 5/5

 

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