When my ears first got a taste of IEMs powered with balanced armature drives, I told myself I would never go back to IEMs driven with dynamic drivers. Well Campfire Audio has made me shallow my own words. Today we are going to review the company’s first IEM – the Campfire Audio Lyra, a uniquely designed IEM driven by a Beryllium PVD driver encased in a ceramic enclosure. Are you looking for an IEM that could make you fall in love with your music again? Or an IEM that will let you hear and enjoy your music in a unique way? Stick around and continue reading my Campfire Lyra review below.
Campfire Lyra Review – Features and Specs
For those who are not familiar with the company, Campfire Audio is a new name in the earphone industry. But don’t be deceived with the new name, because the people behind Campfire Audio are also the people behind the famous ALO Audio. I’m sure you have heard ALO Audio before; they are popular for their upgrade cables, DACs and Amplifiers; like the International+ Optical Edition and Rx Amplifier we reviewed before.
ALO Audio has been making amplifiers and cables for years, but they felt that something was missing whenever they tested their products. They saw an opportunity and developed their own earphones. Thus, the Lyra was born together with two more IEMs (Orion and Jupiter).
Earlier I mentioned that the Campfire Lyra is a unique IEM, how so? The Campfire Lyra isn’t made from typical materials we see on a typical earphone or IEM. First of all, the Lyra features a custom 8.5mm beryllium physical vapor deposition (PVD) transducer that is only 9 micro-centimeters thin. Campfire also uses Neodymium rare earth magnets paired with high grade copper clad aluminum wire voice coil from Japan.
These components are then enclosed in a Zirconium Oxide Ceramic (an ultra-high density ceramic) that minimizes vibrations that could distort the driver’s sound. Not to mention that enclosure is hard and very durable. The company has tested several types of materials for the Lyra’s enclosure, but it was only with the ceramic that made the Lyra sounded better – “natural and dynamic sound–exceptional high frequency extension, silky smooth mids, and deep, powerful bass response. A sound, free from grain and harshness.”
Below are more technical details about the Lyra, after that let’s go ahead and take a closer look at the Lyra itself.
Campfire Audio Lyra Specifications
Type: Dynamic Driver – Tuned Port
Driver Units: 8.5 mm with beryllium pvd diaphragm
Earphone connector: Gold plated MMCX
Size: 18.5mm x 19mm x 11.33mm
Weight: .41 oz / 11.62 g
Plug: Gold plating 3.5mm stereo plug
Cable length: Approx. 1.35M
Frequency Response: 8 – 28 KHz
Driver Impedance: 16 ohm at 1 KHz
Earphone Impedance: 17 ohm at 1 KHz
Sound Pressure Level: 110 dB at 1V, 1 KHz
THD, total harmonic distortion: < 0.5% (1 KHz, 94dB)
Attenuation: -26 dB
Packaging and Closer Look
The Campfire Lyra has a very nice box and art. It’s not very flashy, nothing glossy here, but the art is eye catching for me. If you look closely, the blue box has some silver spots on it. The blue box actually represents the space, and those silvers spots are the stars that you see at night when star gazing. I’m not sure if you are familiar with the constellation Lyra but I’m pretty sure the design and name are inspired by the constellations. Opening the box reveals the Lyra’s case.
The packaging includes the following: a brown case, reading material, several tips (silicone, foam, and Comply), cleaning tool, and the Lyra itself with ALO Audio’s very own 3.5mm tinsel wire earphone cable. Most earphones are packaged with only one type of tips with varying sizes, and it’s usually a silicone tip. The Lyra doesn’t actually have spare tips. All tips included in the package are different, a standard foam, silicone and Comply Tx-400, all in small/medium/large sizes. So there’s no extra of the same type and size. One main reason behind this is because depending on the tips you used, your listening experience may vary from one type of tip to another. I’ll explain later about this on the later part of the review.
Opening the leather case reveals the Campfire Lyra IEM, already attached to its Tinsel cable. If you look closely, the inner layer of the case is surfaced with fleece. Now that is a very nice carrying case if you ask me.
Here we have a close look at the Campfire Audio Lyra out of the box. It’s very shiny with a black color tone. It’s also finger-print magnet specially if you have oily fingers; but no matter as you can easily rub it off. The included Tinsel cable looks very nice and it is made from high purity silver-plated wire in FEP jackets that offers low microphonic effect unlike other cables. The cable is very durable, it’s highly resistant to chemicals, sweat and water proof, highly transparent and it’s also resistant to sunlight UV.
Campfire Audio opted to use gold plated MMCX connectors in all their IEMs. I know some IEM lovers out there are not very fond of MMCX connectors as it has a tendency to break easily. Specially when changing from one cable to another more often. Well, not in this case. The Ultimate Ears UE900s also uses the same type of connector, but the difference is I think Campfire has reinforced their terminal in such a way that you can’t easily remove it. You need to apply more pull/push pressure when removing/connecting the cable. That was not the case with the UE900s where the cable can easily be removed or snapped on. I think that it’s actually better this way so that the cable remains firmly connected to the Lyra. The downside is if you are fond of replacing one cable to another you might need to be extra careful.
Here’s a close up look of the Campfire Lyra IEM, does it look anything like the Lyra constellation? Perhaps yes. That Campfire Audio logo on the front face plate is nicely engraved with precision. There are no sharp edges on the enclosure. Everything is either straight or curved.
First photo from the left, you see that the canal has a filter on it. This prevents dusts and other foreign objects from getting inside the chamber that could damage the driver and affect the sound quality. The nozzle portion itself is no longer made of ZrO2 ceramic, instead the exit spout it made of polycarbonate material. Just between the MMCX and exit spout you can see a circle with a hole in the middle. That’s actually a tuned port or a vent, and you definitely would not want to cover or obstruct that hole.
Now time to test and listen with Campfire Audio’s Lyra.