CanJam SoCal 2016: Campfire Audio’s forthcoming over-ear headphones

Split personality Pt. 2. You might better know Ken Ball as the head honcho of Portland’s ALO Audio – see here. With the newer Campfire Audio, Ball takes his sharp eye for aesthetics and feel for materials to the next level with wearable transducers; from the show signage to the packaging to the carry cases to the products contained therein, Campfire Audio’s line of in-ear monitors aspire to Dieter Rams’ work for Braun, Ball’s self-confessed inspiration for his own industrial design work.

Less than a year on from the brand’s introduction, Campfire Audio’s number one selling IEM to date is the Jupiter (US$899/pair), a 4 x balanced armature implementation that marries the low-end punch and heavy tone of the Beryllium dynamic-driving Lyra (US$749) to the purity of the single BA-d Orion (US$349). As per my review coverage of all three models, there is no obvious Campfire Audio house sound. Each piece presents with a different personality. Similarly, the chamfered-edged aluminium of the Orion and Jupiter gives way to rounded edges on the Lyra’s ceramic housing, the latter feeling considerably different in the hand to the former.

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Tucked away under his table at CanJam SoCal, Ball had a prototype of a new IEM that should see release ‘soon’. Details are fuzzy but I can tell you it’s not ceramic and it’s not CNC-d aluminium and it will likely be perceived by many as Ball’s best-looking piece to date.

In sharper focus and with less secret squirrel comes further intel on Campfire Audio’s forthcoming portable headphone. It’s still a prototype, is nameless, is foldable, closed-back, predominantly aluminium, uses ‘HD800’ connectors, has detachable ear-pads that allow for additional tuning of its 42mm beryllium driver and ships with a gorgeous leather carry case, which is where we kick off this two-minute introductory video:

Expect to see pricing in the region of US$700 – 800 when this headphone comes to market. A brief hook-up with my Sony ZX2 Walkman exposed its top-end airiness as a standout feature. That means it should mate well with tube amplification…

…like that championed by Ball’s other brand, ALO Audio. Co-incidence? Unlikely.

Further information: Campfire Audio

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Written by John H. Darko

John is the editor/publisher of DAR from which he derives an income from its ad revenues. John is also an occasional contributor to 6moons and AudioStream and lives in Berlin, Germany.

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    • Yeah, he’s travelling at a rate of knots behind the scenes right now but I think what sets him apart is his keen interest in materials and form.