Fresh from the West Coast, the Campfire Audio Comet arrived on my review desk today. Of course, I’ve been dying to try these earphones since I heard about them. Just the thought of Campfire producing a $200 earphone for the masses had by heart racing. Still, I had some doubts. Given that the next model up in terms of price is the Orion (at $350), just how good could this earphone sound?
The Comet comes packaged in your standard Campfire box, and includes the same premium clamshell case you’d get with their more expensive models. Included in the box are multiple pairs of eartips – four pairs of Spin Fit tips, three pairs of foam tips, and three pairs of silicon tips. To round things out, you also receive that cool Campfire pin.
Design-wise, the Comet departs from previous Campfire earphones by offering an earphone that wears two different ways. You can place the earphone in your ear with the cable wrapping over the ear like most other Campfire monitors, or you can wear them with the cable hanging straight down – an especially nice touch for listeners who also wear glasses.
The earpieces themselves rock a stainless steel housing, providing a richer, cleaner sound over other earphones in this price range utilizing aluminum housings.
As always, fit is crucial. While I had no issue jamming the larger size tips into my giant Dumbo Ears, some users may have to play around with the different sizes before finding that perfect fit.
The supplied cable utilizes a standard MMCX connection, allowing the use of plenty of third-party goodies. Measuring 4 ft (1.2 m), this braided Litz cable offers a three-button remote and in-line mic.
Frequency Range: 10-19,000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 48 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 97 dB
The specifications reveal a fairly standard frequency range. The 48 ohm impedance might seem a bit high for an earphone, however my iPhone seemed to drive them just fine, and I really wouldn’t worry about amplification unless you wanted to listen at higher volumes. And speaking of volume, I was surprised to see the sound pressure level at 97 decibels, even though these earphones sound a lot louder (probably due to the isolating design).
Lifelike and accurate, the low end sounds true-to-life with solid detail. Bass presents itself well, never seeming overpowered, but still lively enough to lend itself well to any genre of music. While I was expecting a more intense low end, I’m very impressed by the overall sound here – the Comet gives me the impression of a finely-tempered low end with plenty of meat and no gristle.
The mids sound distinct and contrasting, and there’s an excellent sense of fidelity at play here. With just a hint of compression, this part of the frequency range isn’t exactly perfect, but it’s damn close, and I can’t fault any $200 earphone for sounding this good.
Just bright enough to sound realistic, the high end on the Comet captures every detail but still sounds somewhat smooth. Even where the highest highs are concerned, this earphone nails the sound, yet never gets piercing or uncomfortable. Strings sound absolutely heavenly with this baby, but vocals don’t suffer, either, and no matter what you’re listening to, you’re going to love this sound.
Here the Comet offers a great sense of depth and some good placement, to boot. The resultant soundstage won’t come close to a pair of open-back headphones, but there is a sense of realism you just don’t see with other earphones at this price. This three-dimensional sound is present on any track I throw at the Comet, and it sucks me right in, enveloping me in a whole new world of sonic glory.
The overall sound is phenomenal. Taken as a whole package, the dynamic sound and excellent headroom provide a balanced listening experience that still remains emotive and fun. I had a blast bumping some Brit-Hop from the likes of Dirty Dike and Verb T, as well as some good ol’ rock and roll from Third Eye Blind and Interpol. But skipping to some Vivaldi or Einaudi was a blast, too, and I’m simply astounded by how versatile this sound really is.
Comfort is another big factor. While I personally don’t mind the over-the-ear cabling of most MMCX earphones, I have a hard time recommending them to friends who wear glasses. I’m also a huge fan of versatility in earphones. And the Comet has versatility in spades thanks to the fact you can wear this bad mama jama either way – over the ear or hanging straight down.
Finally, the earphone housing. This is probably a minor note, but the fact that Campfire used stainless steel instead of cheap aluminum goes a long way to show you just how much this company cares about deliver great sound at an affordable price. I know it would have been all to easy for those audio wizards in Oregon to cram the same drivers into an aluminum housing. This would have made the headphones cheaper to manufacture, and they still could have sold a ton of units based on brand recognition alone. But did they do that? Hell no. They gave us better sound at the same great price. TLDR? These guys and girls at Campfire are awesome.
For those seeking a similarly-priced headphone offering more bass, I would recommend the Dunu Falcon-C. Also utilizing an MMCX connection, these earphones might deliver a tad bit more bass, but also deliver mids and highs in similar fashion to the Comet.
Where monitoring and mids are of utmost importance, I might suggest the Mackie MP-240, although this is a professional monitor and the sound may seem too dry for audiophile use.
Really, though, at $200, the Campfire Comet is a stellar buy for listeners who prefer a dynamic sound in an uber-comfortable package. Sure, Campfire has better sounding earphones. But for balanced sound that handles any genre with equal aplomb, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better-sounding earphone anywhere near this price. Even if you were considering buying something like the Campfire Orion, at $349, I’d still tell you to buy two Comets instead – these things are just that awesome.
With a fantastic sound and rock-solid design, the Campfire Comet lives up to the hype. For anyone looking to experience Campfire sound on the cheap, this earphone is a no-brainer. However, even for longtime fans of the brand, the Comet still delivers excellent value for your money. Rest assured, if you’re looking for that badass little earphone that does it all, you’re long search is over.
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