Campfire Audio may seem like a brand-new company that has emerged from out of the blue but it is actually the brainchild of Ken Ball, founder and CEO of well-renowned ALO Audio. A specialist in amplifiers and cables by nature, the company has now diversified to audio reproduction with many of their friends and critics highly praising their first IEM efforts. The first of these trio of luxury monitors has been dubbed the Campfire Audio Lyra – a dynamic earphone featuring custom 8.5mm beryllium PVD transducers in a ceramic enclosure.

Campfire Audio Lyra In-Ear Monitor
Campfire Audio Lyra In-Ear Monitor

What immediately stands out from the design of this in-ear monitor is the use of the rare metal beryllium and the ceramic housings which both aid in the low distortion and natural reproduction of sound. At $749, the price is not cheap but does reflect the intensive research & development that Campfire Audio have invested to achieve that high-fidelity sound.

The Packaging
The Campfire Audio name is a clever choice in my opinion as it allows the company to work towards a unified image.

Campfire Audio Lyra In-Ear Monitor
The packaging of the Campfire Audio Lyra

The Lyra comes in a starry-printed compact blue box which opens to reveal a tanned vintage case lined with real animal fur which is quite rare within the realms of IEM d├ęcor. Perhaps the most reminiscent of this type of styling is Final Audio’s plush case with furry lining for their latest Heaven series VIII IEM. Regardless of the rarity though, the choice is an important one to establish Campfire Audio’s place in the market which is that of luxury and class.

Campfire Audio Lyra In-Ear Monitor

Included as part of the accessories are 4 different sizes of Comply tips, 3 pairs of silicone ear tips and a wax cleaner.

Campfire Audio Lyra In-Ear Monitor

Build quality
As mentioned, a lot of research & development has gone into the Lyra product to achieve a build that matches the sound performance.

Campfire Audio Lyra In-Ear Monitor

The ceramic enclosure is said to be a made from a high density Zirconium Oxide alloy which was chosen for its ability to enhance sound compared to other materials such as silicone or even metal. Like RHA’s T20 and Final Audio’s Heaven VIII, Campfire Audio have opted for injection moulding where high temperatures are used to shape the final housing of the in-ear monitor. The result being a highly accurate platform capable of housing all the necessary components to ultimately optimise acoustic performance.

Campfire Audio Lyra In-Ear Monitor

With regards to the cable; the connections to the housings, the Y-split and the L-shaped Jack all look to be very durable and capable of surviving the wear and tear from the daily commute. The memory cables are pliable and work as intended with the MMCX connectors providing that extra adjustability to really secure these in your ears.

Fit & Isolation
With the Comply Foam tips, the Lyra offers great comfort with a secure hold. Isolation levels are beyond average too, as there is medium depth insertion into the ear canal; this means that music levels do not need to be put up very high so as to reduce ambient noise levels.

Campfire Audio Lyra In-Ear Monitor

Sound impressions
The Campfire Audio Lyra delivers plenty of bass fulfilling the warm tuning that it was set out to achieve. What I have found was that whilst bass did not have strongest impact, it certainly delivered a musicality which was quite compelling and dare I say, addictive. That is not to say it is without its flaws however, as the bass certainly could use some extra speed to make it that much tighter. Next to the Shure SE846, the low-end of the Lyra did not extend as low nor did it have the realism of the SE846. What it did do successfully however, is deliver a very full and rounded sound that made tracks such as “Doin’ it Right” by Daft Punk & Panda Bear have a lyrically rich sound. With the silicone tips, I did feel that the bass tones became tighter and more articulate but as usual, at the expense of sheer volume and richness.

With the Comply Foam tips, the quite sibilant and forthright midsection becomes more spacious and rounder. This IEM was made for these tips as it really excels compared with the silicon tip experience. Like the low-end, the midrange is warm with a fullness that is mellow and encompassing. In comparison to the Heir Audio IEM 8.0, the latter delivers an even more expansive sound with further projection of sonic cues in the dimensions of width and height. However, the Lyra is fuller sounding with no signs of a leading edge in the upper mids which the IEM 8.0 often exhibits. Both the IEM 8.0 and Lyra make tracks sound analogue-esque with the former having a better presentation of macro-dynamics. For sheer lack of fatigue (with the Comply foam tips) though, the Lyra ousts the IEM 8.0 in the category of smooth and easy listening. Detail, although not on the forefront of this IEM’s presentation, is delivered in respectable quantities with the stock tips. However, it does lean towards a more musical approach with the Comply foams.

Again, the difference between the silicone tips and the foam tips is quite evident. With the silicon tips, the treble extends higher with greater levels of detail and attack than the more laidback presentation of the foam tips. Regardless, the good level of extension adds the needed height to make the presentation three dimensional. My preferences for the treble tuning is with the foam tip experience simply because the sound is more spacious and warm without having a subdued treble frequency.

Soundstage & Imaging
Large and involving, the Lyras have an excellent soundstage that even magnifies with decent pairing. As mentioned, the great extension in the treble region coupled with the very decent projection of sonic cues in all direction really makes this an encompassing set of IEMs.

With the silicon tips, the imaging has higher levels of contrast and thus more manoeuvrability with regards to deciphering different instruments. Although this does diminish slightly with the foam tips, the experience does not subjectively worsen. In fact, as mentioned, the fuller and more capacious sound that the foams exude makes tracks seemingly more engaging. 

Schiit Modi & Magni Stack 
With this pairing, the Lyra definitely accrued more space and details that were lacking compared to straight out of an ASUS laptop. However, compared to the Continental Dual Mono and PlusSound Cloud Nine, there were bouts of harshness experienced in certain tracks in the upper midrange to lower treble regions. Nevertheless, the combination worked well giving the needed air and bass impact to truly make the Lyras excel.

ALO Continental Dual Mono
From parent company, ALO Audio, the new Continental is a hybrid solid state/tube amplifier with numerous options and capabilities. Paired with the Lyras, the sound is quite exquisite with a very open and involving sound. Midrange is a touch richer and the warm & smooth sound that the Lyra expresses becomes that much more evident. This combination is really great for smooth and fatigue free listening while still retaining that very spacious and airy sound signature.

Overall then, Campfire Audio’s debut with the Lyra is a solid effort that deserves attention. Build quality is outstanding and Campfire Audio have certainly gone to town with the technology, packing in as much as insight into the industry as they could with their 2 years of research. The result being a spacious musically-tuned IEM perfect for those extended listening sessions. With that said, this is not a sound signature that would appeal to everyone; certainly not the audiophiles who demand an ultra-resolving and analytical experience. The price tag does also lean toward the expensive side of things especially for an entry level audiophile. Like the Jays q-jays, however, the packaging, build and use of premium grade materials more than help to justify this price. With the two other IEMs set on the horizon, I very much look forward to what this company has next in store.
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