Here are two of my favorite IEMs under $500. Much has already been written about both, the Polaris II and the FH7. So, this comparison review is for folks who are familiar with and leaning towards one of these models, but need another option in the same price range before they can seal the deal. With that in mind, which IEM will suit your little ears and choice of music? Let’s take a look in this Campfire Polaris 2 vs FiiO FH7 Review.
Review between Campfire Polaris II vs FiiO FH7
Even though Campfire has tweaked the contours and size of the Polaris, the FH7 still offers a far better fit with more effective sound isolation. The Polaris II, even with its smaller shell, just can’t compete with the smooth, highly ergonomic contours of the FH7. So, if you’re planning to wear your IEMs for long periods of time, and you do a lot of city commuting, the FH7 is a safer bet.
Both IEMs employ a hybrid driver design. The Polaris uses a 9.2mm dynamic driver for the lows and a balanced armature for the higher frequencies. The FH7 offers a more sophisticated design, with a 13.6mm beryllium dynamic driver for the bass frequencies and 4 Knowles balanced armature drivers for the mids and highs.
The FH7 offers the wider frequency range of 5Hz - 40kHz, while response on the Polaris is 5Hz - 20kHz. Now, the human ear can’t hear passed 20kHz unless you’re half wolf. But in theory (and some of my colleagues think this is bull), the widened frequency range helps to minimize distortion and increase clarity.
Both IEMs are paired with Litz cables. But the “copper-plated silver” (not sure if the copy is accurate on FiiO’s website) cable on the FH7 is quite a bit thicker, with 152 wires bundled into 8 strands. The Polaris uses a thinner, silver-plated copper wire.
But overall, in terms of durability, my money might be on Campfire. With machined aluminum shells beryllium-copper MMCX connectors, the Polaris may not be scratch resistant, but I’ve heard it can withstand being run over by a car. And even though the FH7 boasts aerospace grade aluminum-magnesium alloy, it just looks and feels daintier than the Polaris.
Both IEMs are easy to drive, and I didn’t have to do much volume adjustment when comparing the two models. But enough with the boring stuff. Let’s talk sound.
Overall Impressions: The Polaris’ rich lows vs the FH7’s clean precision.
The Polaris presents a more forward leaning, fatter bass, adding extra punch to pop tracks. And although both models share a nice sub bass extension, the bass on the Polaris also sounded a little more bloated on hip-hop tracks. In terms of clarity, both IEMs are primo in this frequency range. Listening to cellos in the lows, both models revealed ample substance and nuance. However, the Polaris was heavier and more colored compared to the comparatively neutral tone of the FH7. So, classical and jazz fans should decide whether they want the grand and majestic sound of the Polaris or the relatively tempered and natural feel of the FH7. And I will say that, overall, the FH7 offers a bit more versatility in this range.
The FH7 will give you a clearer midrange than the Polaris. This is mainly due to the fact that the bass frequencies on the Polaris outstage the mids at times, while the FH7 keeps this range well separated from the lower frequencies. And if you’re a sucker for an ultra clean, well-separated profile, you’ll probably prefer the FH7 for this reason. Listening rock and pop-rock for example, although the heavy Polaris provided a lot of warmth, the lighter FH7 presented a more all-encompassing feel, highlighting a wider scope of instrumentation in this range. And this is also partially because of the superior separation or cleaner layering of instruments offered by the FH7. Certainly, if you like a precise sound, you’ll prefer the FH7.
You’ll get slightly more sparkly highs from the Polaris, even though both IEMs present tons of snappy goodness when listening to percussion in pop tracks. But the FH7 presents a slightly more forgiving sound signature for those who are sensitive to high frequencies. With respect to clarity, both IEMs revealed plenty of detail and resolve in strings. But again, the Polaris was slightly thicker and more colored.
Like most of Campfire’s IEMs, the Polaris II offers a more spacious soundstage than I’ve ever heard from any other IEM at this price point. The Polaris II also offers a bit more depth, giving it a more multidimensional feel in this sense. But in terms of precision, the FH7 still gives the impression of more accurate imaging, perhaps because if it’s superior separation.
If you listen to mostly modern genres, and you love a warm, fleshy and punchy low end, the Polaris is one of the best IEMs you can get for the price. But if you’re looking for something cleaner, more precise and more fairly balanced, the incredibly versatile FH7 would certainly be my pick.
You can buy both of these IEMs here: