Review: Campfire Audio Jupiter Pre-Production Report

Disclaimer: The Jupiter in this review is a late pre-production sample, supplied directly by the finely moustached and flanneled Campfire Audio’s fellows. Jupiter’s price hasn’t yet been set, but I’m sure it will be precious. You can find more about it here: Campfire Audio Jupiter.

Fujiya Avic’s Fall 2015 show starts Saturday. I expect production-ready Jupiter units to hit the show. Who knows. For the now-time, I’m going to introduce what I can of this fine earphone.

In the 90’s, I wore plastic, tiger-striped glasses, high water trousers, ran my teeth across with orthodontic railroad tracks, and I was (and secretly still am) a mouth breather. While half that litany is cool now, it was bad news then. And I (and still am) socially inept. I’m not proud of it, but I did whatever it took to get a leg up over the other outcasts.

So when Ken explained that he had a new quad to show me, my 35 year old recovering-outcast brain didn’t immediately think ‘quad-driver’. It thought of a particularly mean cut up I might have used against Geoff, another outcast vying not to be last picked in a game of pick-up football.

Ken’s a cool guy. He wears fashionably low-cut, unwashed jeans. He knows how to spell flanel. His idea of quad is cooly metallic. It’s got drivers inside. Four of them. Balanced armature, probably. To him, a quad is an earphone. And that earphone’s name is Jupiter.

Quad. Toss between your teeth a few times. You’ll get used it it.

Campfire Audio’s Caleb Rosenau tells me a few things have changed since I picked this pre-prod up. I assume that its minimally minimal packaging will be around in final versions. But I’ve been told that its case has been improved. I’ll believe it when I see it; the current one is brilliant. And, I’ve seen super top-secret images of a full-production Jupiter.

The pre-production version is a fine looker. It’s got that industrial thing down pat. But the final version looks even better, is finished far better, embarrasses me for being as impressed as I am with the current version.

I hope that the alternatively stoic, alternatively cheerful cardboard box it comes in doesn’t change much, if at all. But who knows. The current one, much like Caleb’s stache and Ken’s flanel shirt, is Campfire’s Oregon showing through. Minimal. Utilising traditional materials and manufacturing techniques. Stylish. Industrial. And to a point, environmentally and space conscious.

Fit

Note: I assume that the production-version model to fit a lot like the pre-production model, a guess which I hope doesn’t make an ass out of me.

Jupiter is a large earphone. But it fits well in my medium sized bowls. It doesn’t fit inside my wife’s elfin bowls. It lays pretty damn flat in my ears, gently nuzzling against my acoustic meatus. Unlike Lyra, it fits more like a custom and less like a FitEar Parterre. Big, it seems, doesn’t have to mean unwieldy. In fact, despite stamping out a roughly similar footprint, it fits flusher in the ear than another favourite of mine, the FitEar ToGo!334.

Its MMCX port turtle necks out of the top-most portion of the earphone, which is wonderful because it counterbalances the energetic earphones which accompany the pre-production units. It’s the one area I really hope change in the production version of Jupiter. If it does, I’ll go into detail about the changes in a follow up article. For today, it’s sufficient to say that the pre-production cable is super duper strong, well anchored, should last a life time, but one that I’ll never use. It is too uncomfortable, and annoying for me, a glasses wearer.

Build

Even the pre-production version of Jupiter is an industrial icon. Okay, when I say that, I mean it in the Iron Man prototype way. Sure, it’s pre-production issues pop up along its seems, but even so, its machine work is precise and clean, edges are rounded just where they need to be, and it fits well in the ear. No, it’s not too angular. It doesn’t mush against the ear. It gently nuzzles against your skin- that is, if your bowls aren’t too small.

My wife shakes her head whenever I turn the pre-production unit over and over in my hands. Sure, it’s got blemishes. Sure it’s almost Russianly industrial. But god, it really speaks to how much effort was put into it. The coolest part for me is the Allen bolts holding the face plate on. It really matches the overall aesthetic. And, Jupiter is rock solid, rigid against all torsional pressure, and I’d bet its seams are a little more than just a little water resistant. Of course, the earphone isn’t. See those two holes at the sound port? Water’ll get in there. See that MMCX port? Pretty sure that’s not water proof.

Don’t soak Jupiter. Don’t worry about sweating with it in.

And even the pre-production cable, energetic, loud, and obnoxious as it is, is so damn well designed. First, its L-shaped plug and exit sheath really grip the cable inside. Short of putting it on The Rack, you won’t tug wires from their solder. The v-ended metal shunt surrounding the economical y-split performs perfunctory duty; underneath hides a pressure-fitted plastic sled into which is shoehorned the cables. While not showy, this is a great, solid design that does away with the need for separate, clamped tubing.

I don’t believe that the final production earphone will have milled Campfire Audio logos. Currently, the CA logo lightly scores the body. The good news is that it won’t rub away like paint will, but on an earphone that otherwise is so industrial, it’s sort of a shame that the logo doesn’t go deep into the faceplate.

Portable use and sound after the jump or the click HERE:

Review: Campfire Audio Jupiter Pre-Production Report
4.4 (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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