CAMPFIRE AUDIO LYRA: About That Bass!

Campfire Audio is an audio design and manufacturing company located in Portland, Oregon USA. The company began by hand-building cables and audio amplifiers as ALO Audio, which is now a known brand for a wide range of high quality audio products. Last year ALO Audio marked its 10th year at Head-fi.org and to celebrate the milestone, Campfire Audio was introduced. A brand with a new focus and vision; building earphones with high quality components through fine craftsmanship without compromising sound quality. Earphones that will stand up to the riggers of daily use while performing at the highest level.

 

Three brand new In-ear Monitors (IEM) were introduced by Campfire Audio, they are the Jupiter, Lyra and Orion. These IEMs were all designed and custom tuned from the ground up, using Campfire Audio’s in-house techniques. Last time, we got to review the Orion. Today, we will look at the Lyra – single dynamic driver IEMs with ultra high density ceramic enclosures.

 

RETAIL PRICE:           US$ 749
DRIVER SPEC:           8.5mm beryllium PVD transducer
IMPEDANCE:            17 Ohm
SENSITIVITY:             110 dB at 1V, 1 KHz
FREQ RESPONSE:     8Hz – 28KHz
TERMINATIONS:       Beryllium Copper hardened MMCX, 3.5 mm gold plated L-pluged L-plug
INCLUDED CABLE:   1.35 M Silver-plated Copper Tinsel Wire with FEP jacket
WHERE TO FIND:      http://www.aloaudio.com     http://www.addictedtoaudio.com.au

 

Disclaimer: This review unit was provided as a loaner by Campfire Audio – one of our site sponsors.

 

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I was impressed with Orion’s packaging and the same holds true for the Lyra. Campfire Audio seems to keep a theme going….fine craftsmanship from the inside – out. Accessories may not be as many as other brands, but in my humble opinion, they actually got most of the essentials right. Similar to the Orion, I think a shirt clip can be a valuable add-on as a tool to minimise cable noise (microphonics). Granted it’s easy to acquire them and they’re cheap, having a clip that aesthetically matches the beautiful Tinsel Wire cable would’ve been nice. Other than that, the Lyra packaging is another winner!

      • 3 pairs Comply Tx 400 tips (S,M,L)
      • 3 pairs foam tips (S,M,L)
      • 3 pairs silicon tips (S,M,L)
      • Cleaning Tool
      • Carrying Case
      • Campfire Audio Pin
      • User Guide

 

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SETUP:
iPod Touch 5th Gen > OPPO HA-2 (HIGH GAIN)
16/44 FLAC and ALAC
Comply Tx 400 tips were used

 

TEST TRACKS:
Dr. Chesky’s Ultimate Headphone Demonstration Disc
Daft Punk – Giorgio by Moroder
Megadeth – Head Crusher
Adele – Love Song
Anna Maria Jopek – Bukowina
Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing
Phil Collins – Easy Lover
Avicii – Lay Me Down; Heart Upon My Sleeve

 

Campfire Audio promised to provide IEMs that are built through fine craftsmanship. The Lyra is a another extension of this philosophy with a different approach in their chosen material. Unlike the aluminium-built Orion, the enclosures on the Lyra are made of ultra high density ceramic, Zirconium Oxide Ceramic (ZrO2). They function as acoustic chambers whose physical properties are meant to influence excellent detail, less distortion, extended high frequency and a natural tonality. These IEMs have premium-smooth finish, although at the expense of finger-print resistance. In spite of the shiny surface, the IEMs don’t seem to scratch or dent easily. The design of the enclosures conform perfectly to my ears and the feeling of having them on seem to disappear after a short time. The only things I notice are the foam tips inserted in my ear canals. Other than that, everything else regarding fit and comfort are excellent. Please note that your experience may vary to mine because we all have different ear shapes and sizes.

 

All Campfire Audio IEMs feature MMCX connectors hardened with Beryllium Copper. This improves the resistance of the connectors to wear and tear. The included cable is a silver plated copper 4 conductor tinsel wire protected by a rugged FEP jacket. According to the manufacturer’s notes, FEP improves signal travel and eliminates oxidation on the tinsel wire. This cable has been used for over a month and I don’t notice any green-coloration, so it’s looking good so far. I truly concede that the cables are visually amazing! Easily one of the best looking cables I’ve ever used for IEMs. These are worn over the ears with the aid of short memory wires. There is a slight disadvantage in wearing this cable, the FEP jacket easily conducts cable noise (microphonics) whenever they rub against clothing. This is where the cable cinch comes in handy, pull it up to your neck and it neutralises most of the cable noise. As mentioned earlier, a shirt clip is also an effective tool to minimise microphonics.

 

We all want a nice protective case for our IEMs, I’m glad to report that the Lyra has a nice leather zipper case included. It has a nice brand logo on the outside, while the inside is lined with a soft-fluffy material with plenty of room to store the Lyra and other accessories.

 

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Similar to the Orion review, I’d like to reiterate the importance of ear tips because they substantially affect the overall sound of these IEMs. There are a few key factors in making sure your IEMs perform as they should be. The most notable ones are comfort, seal, insertion and the type of ear tips. In this review I’d like to focus on the type of ear tips. I personally prefer hybrid silicon tips over foam tips. More often than not, silicon tips don’t alter the sound dramatically. Foam tips are known to attenuate the lower treble and for that reason, I rarely use them as my go-to tips despite the fact that they’re the most comfortable tips ever made. Just like the Orion, I seem to prefer foam tips with the Lyra. Please note that I’ve paired the Lyra with Comply Tx 400 tips in this review.

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