Campfire has just released it’s newly redesigned Polaris. The Polaris has always been a best-seller in the company’s line-up, falling in the middle price range and offering a fun and energetic sound signature for today’s most popular genres. Will the Polaris suit your listening style? Let’s find out in this Campfire Audio Polaris Review.
Campfire Audio Polaris Review
IN the BOX
You may notice that the shells on the Polaris are a little smaller than they are on the famous Andromeda. So, even the tiny ears out there should find the fit okay. Even though the body has hard edges rather than a smooth form, I didn’t feel them pushing or grating against the contours of my ears. Using the foam tips, I also found the sound isolation to be pretty effective as well. (Foam tips work especially well with the Polaris, as they ease the high peaks and highlight the bass frequencies). Also, Campfire has updated it’s memory wire, giving it a more elastic design, thereby eliminating the need to mold it around your ears every time you put the buds in.
The Polaris is a hybrid design, employing a 9.2mm dynamic driver for the low frequencies and a balanced armature driver for the higher frequencies. And like Campfire’s other famous models, the body of the Polaris is made from machined aluminum with an anodized finish. The shells are held together with black PVD screws, adding to the hard-core look of the build. The Polaris also sports a stainless steel spout and a beryllium / copper insulated MMCX connector. Make no mistake. Like all Campfire IEMs, the Polaris is one tough cookie.
These buds are paired with a Silver-Plated Copper Litz cable. But unlike the classic silver color you’re used to seeing on the more famous models, the cable on the Polaris has a “smokey jacket” to compliment the color of the shells.
Like all Campfire models, the Polaris is super easy to drive, allowing your iPhone to push the volume to dangerously high levels. Careful kids! (For the purposes of this review, I used the cute little FiiO Q1 Mark II DAC/Amp to juice these babies.) The frequency range is 5 Hz – 20 kHz. So, in theory, you can expect yuge lows.
We’ve got deep and fat lows with a bit more forwardness than Campfire’s more neutrally balanced IEMs, like the IO and the Andromeda. You’ll get plenty of bass impact when listening to pop, while rock presents ample warmth with basslines that tend to drive the song. And there was enough sub-frequency response to do justice to hip-hop as well. While cellos in this range sounded natural, revealing nice texture, deeper toned instruments like double basses were so heavy that some of the subtleties in timbre were lost. So, ideally, this is more of a pop, EDM and rock fan’s IEM.
There’s midrange presence here, but the bass frequencies outstage the low mids at times. And the upper mids are slightly favored, bring vocals a touch forward in the mix. You can expect some nice fullness when listening to big rock and pop-rock songs. But moving on to folk, guitar strums in the lower mids are a little cloudy. That being said, once we reach the higher midrange, separation becomes much cleaner, and acoustic instruments have tons of transparency and resolve. And, of course, you’ll get all the things Campfire is great at, like fast, hard-hitting percussion instruments, and an altogether tight and concrete sound that brings plenty of vibrancy to pop and rock tracks.
Combined with the punchy bass, the sparkly, crispy highs bring a freqload of snap to pop tracks. And despite the warm low-end, this is not at all a dark sound signature. Strings had good transparency in this range, while vocals enjoyed a nice airiness and fluidity. And even with the Polaris’ streak of brightness, notes in the highest registers avoided piercing my ears out.
In true Campfire fashion, the Polaris presents a grand soundstage with plenty of dimension, especially with respect to width and depth. Instrument placement is meticulous, offering a colorful and thoroughly holographic musical experience. In fact, I think few brands can produce such a majestic soundscape for the price.
Although the Polaris doesn’t have the most versatile sound signature, it really brings out the best in today’s genres like pop and electronica. At the same time, rock fans who enjoy a lot of warmth in the low end will dig this rich sound profile as well. And certainly, bass-heads who are also hungry for some of Campfire’s famous sparkly highs, will appreciate what has become one of brand’s most iconic models.
4 skulls because…Well, 5 skulls is the Andromeda.
You can find the Polaris for the best price here: