Review: Campfire Audio Jupiter Pre-Production Report

On the go

With Comply pieces in place, Jupiter really, really isolates. Damn. Sorry… what’s that, my sweet little bon-bon? Supper? Finally! … No? What? Let me take these damn things out. Oh… I’ve got to make supper… Right. See you guys.

The chilly pepper was a bit spicy. But the tilapia quinoa mash was fantastic. Add a dash of lemon and, well, you’ll wish you had three stomachs.

And, my wife and I are still married. My tip to all you married/otherwise hitched guys and gals: make sure that while at home, you screw anything but Comply foams into Jupiter. You don’t want to miss what your significant other has to say. Ever. My wife almost went hungry. And we’ve got a little girl on the way. I can’t believe I almost missed that one.

What I do want to miss: the click-and-announce-happy morning train and bus, that belting ‘bundle of joy’ in the row ahead of me, the incessant political megaphones at 7AM on Saturday morning – these the Comply do away with. And because Jupiter fits well, I think you’ll find it is good in almost any commute, or during your workout, etc. Let’s just hope that production units get better cables.

Finally, the Campfire Audio zipper case is strong, artistic, and handy. No, it doesn’t fit in a pocket, but it keeps its contents safe when thrown into a rucksack, and it won’t unravel. It’s one I’d pay twenty, maybe thirty bucks for. There’s no reason to go out and purchase a different earphone case. 

Still, Caleb tells me the production version is even better.

Sound

Re: Lyra, I respect it greatly. I love its thick, powerful bass and good, but gentle extension. But it’s difficult for me to keep it in one place. Jupiter, on the other hand, just fits. It fits flush and secure in the ear. Which means that no matter where its crazy cable has gone, it should exert the same exact pressure on the same parts of the inner ear 24/7, and therefore, guard its basic sound signature.

Naturally, that signature changes somewhat depending on what ear pads you use. I’ve got Complys in now. Because they get icky so soon, and also because my small canals bunch them and an earphone’s sound up, I opt for ortofon tips instead. Still, even the Comply tips work well in my ears. They isolate, exert minimal influence on Jupiter’s natural sound, and they feel good.

Still, I prefer the ortofon tips. They offer a bit more clarity up top, and a bit less isolation to balance Jupiter’s insane sensitivity. No more wife going hungry.

And while Jupiter isn’t as warm-sounding as Lyra, it’s midrange is forward and bitey. Generally, that midrange is dry and unaccented, focusing on in-spectrum contrast rather than the magnification of fine detail. Neither is it really airy. It’s the sort of midrange that focuses your listening habits. Your in it, man. When Jupiter is in your ears, Saigon, Bruce, Yelle, and everyone else, is there, in front of you, every nook and cranny of their voice exposed. Jupiter doesn’t do the same magnification thing to strings. It balances them really well, then POW! kills it when your favourite synthesiser or vocalist meets percussion.

If you could bump the mids of Ultrasone’s IQ up, and expand its bass overhead, while reducing high-end smear, you’d basically have Jupiter. Well, kind of. Jupiter’s around-head stage is far more complex and detailed. Vocals jump forward, and revolve around a central, and near-perfectly balanced bass. Highs fiddle perfectly in from the sides, extend out pretty far to the side, and are contrasty against the mids.

Vocals are crisp and forward. Bass guitars are edgy. Jupiter’s stereo image rolls deeper than most earphones. And it is pretty wide, but because its bass is politely fast, that may take a bit of time to suss. It’s like an onion. Or an ogre. Peel it and underneath is another layer. I pulls out incredible detail from small ensemble acid jazz. Here I’ll recommend DJ Maxi Jazz and the Soul Food Cafe. I’ll recommend its ilk more than I will live trance. The reason is that Jupiter’s bass, while fast and punchy, politely anchors itself centre-ward. Contrast between it and the mids is on the low side. Now, move on up to studio albums like Tiësto’s Kaleidoscope, and Jupiter is in its element. But that’s modern, contrasty, big-mids trance. Classic trance is, to my ears, better mated with high-tweaky earphones.

Of course high-tweaky earphones have their own problems. Jupiter’s highs are pressurised similarly to Grado GR10’s highs, but with a bit more bite vs. bass. They are sibilance-free, and, while not ‘smooth’ in the HD650 definition of the word, extend far enough with good sound pressure to satisfy a CK10-lover.

High-pressure bass heads may prefer Lyra, certainly will prefer IQ. Early 90s hip hop heads should love Jupiter’s speed and midrange clarity. Late-entry trance heads will find perfect bass speed and space, excellent high-frequency space, speed, bleed, and out-of-head feel, while classic trance fans may want more bass-to-mid contrast and bite.

Jupiter nails early riser sound pressure in all frequencies, and gives ample space and speed to both extremes. Mid detail is closer than it is independent. Bass pressure is just north of neutral, but only just. It is polite against the mid range. And then there’s that percussion. Wowzers, it’s good.

Sensitivity

Jupiter is at least as sensitive as Ultrasone’s IQ. Probably it fits between IQ and Shure’s SE846. The good news is that it will get loud enough from the vacuum of space. The bad news is that it magnifies hiss. Even Mezzo Hifi’s superbly noiseless MSAK100, doesn’t quite pass the Jupiter test.

End words

Jupiter is impressive. It is fun. It is polite. Its edgy mids tear up percussion, tear up most of the hip-hop I love, tear up post-2007 trance and EDM. It more than tears up acid jazz. It deserves its spot at the top of the Campfire Audio 2015 lineup. It is superbly fastened, superbly outfitted, and superbly strong. You won’t find an earphone that can double time it between being an earphone and a shotgun shell. While I have no idea what it’s carrying case is like, the current one is perfect. And frequent flyers will like its isolation. 

There is so much to appreciate about Jupiter. If Campfire Audio have found a better cable, I’ll be back to doing what I’ve been doing since I closed up the fifth paragraph of this essay. Way to go.

Looking forward

I will update this article with links to newer sound reports, fit/build reports, and more, as they become available. Suffice it to say that Jupiter is worth a good study.

Review: Campfire Audio Jupiter Pre-Production Report
4.38 (87.62%) 21 votes

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Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.

18 Comments

  • Reply October 22, 2015

    Rich

    Great write up Nathan! How does the Jupiter compare to other universal IEMs such as the Sennheiser ie800, Shure SE846, AKG K3003, etc

    • Reply October 22, 2015

      ohm image

      Rich, I would love to be able to answer that. But I don’t own the SE846, though I remember it being a little less contrasty between mids and highs and having more bass. It, too, is phenomenal. The AKG3003 has the typical hybrid sound, which is clean, a bit v-shaped, and sparkly. But you won’t be able to load up a shotgun with it. Jupiter is more energetic than the IE800. You might find, actually, that Lyra and IE800 have more in common.

  • Reply October 23, 2015

    nmatheis

    Heard these at ALO HQ and agree wholeheartedly that Jupiter rock da house!!!

  • Reply November 2, 2015

    Daphen

    How are these compared to something like, IE80 or SE846?

    • Reply November 2, 2015

      ohm image

      I really wish I could directly compare the three together. I don’t own the IE80, and the SE846 wasn’t mine. It went back to Shure over a year ago. That said, Jupiter has a more lively high mid range, which is excellent for industrial EDM and trance listeners. SE846 definitely is more bassy.

      As to IE80: it’s been a while, but the earphone you should probably compare to it is the Campfire Lyra.

      • Reply November 2, 2015

        Daphen

        Why should I compare it to the Lyra instead of the Jupiter? IN your opinion that is.

  • Reply November 7, 2015

    digitldlnkwnt

    “Classic trance is, to my ears, better mated with high-tweaky earphones.” I think if you get a copy of Platypus Records – Ultimate Dream Collection, you may feel differently. Mid 90’s trance was very mid centric. Pairs with Lyra very nicely lending a very liquid presentation and just a bit of sparkle. As technocrat i feel confident you’ll dig it. ‘Matter of fact i’m going slip off my ZMF’s to give it listen.

    • Reply November 10, 2015

      ohm image

      By all means, send me more recommendations. And thank you for the comment.

  • Reply December 10, 2015

    Uncle Reggie

    I just received one of the Campfire Audio Orions and was pleasantly surprised by the richness in sound coming from a single BA driver. One thing you mention about the Jupiter that I see is also the case with the Orion – is the logo looks milled in early pre-production photos, but the unit I received has the logo in white. You mention that there is no worry about it rubbing off – is that the case with the Orion as well? It does look a bit like paint. Cheers.

    • Reply December 30, 2015

      ohm image

      Final production units are milled and look fab. I’ll get a comparo article up, probably at ohm-image.net to show the differences.

  • Reply December 15, 2015

    Michael Amouyal

    How would you say it compares to the Oriolus?

    • Reply December 30, 2015

      ohm image

      I’m sorry this is late. Oriolus is a bit wilder, with more spacious bass. Jupiter is slightly more laid back with a larger anchor in the midrange. Oriolus is more spacey sounding, which can work wonders. I’d be hard pressed to find a full-on winner just for sound as the two both complement and work against each other. The Oriolus sounds great but is built like a garage project. Jupiter both sounds great and is built like a tank and with great attention to detail.

      • Reply December 30, 2015

        Michael Amouyal

        Thanks a lot. I am actually not a fan of the Campfire design. Too angly to. My taste. Plus there is a Oriolus v2 that will have better build supposedly.

        • Reply December 30, 2015

          ohm image

          I’ve heard that the new Oriolus is better as well. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

          • Reply December 30, 2015

            Michael Amouyal

            Actually let us hope it sucks. I have spent enough this Christmas.

  • Reply February 5, 2016

    Anthony Kimball

    A little late to the party I know, but another comparison I thought of was the Ear Sonics Velvet ( after reading your review)… I’m on the hunt for an Endgame upgrade from my 535s, and both of these “sound” like they might fit the bill…

    thx

    • Reply March 31, 2016

      ohm image

      And I’m late to this comment. My apologies.

      I’m not sure I’d even compare them. The reasons I have are more haptic than anything. Jupiter is made far and away better than Velvet. Velvet sounds good, fits a bit better, but is warmer. Jupiter is slightly cooler and a bit more neutral. Of course, you can tune Velvet, which is great, and since one of the signatures that I really like from the Velvet is the SM64 signature, wonderful.

      But Jupiter’s natural, smooth, and less chalky overall presentation is one of, if not the, best at what it does. And it’s all metal.

      • Reply April 1, 2016

        Anthony Kimball

        No apology necessary, thanks for the reply!
        I do tend to lean toward the neutral presentation, so it seems as if I’d be in Jupiter’s “camp”. I do enjoy my Shure, but sometimes wish for a bit more bottom end….I guess I’d have to save for these or the 846 (I’m thinking Jupiter will likely float my boat better). Most of us don’t have the opportunity to hear as many IEM’s, so, thank you (sincerely) for letting us pick your ears…as it were.

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