Campfire Audio was founded in Portland, Oregon by Ken Ball, the owner of a company called ALO (Audio Line Out) making high quality audio cables. Inspired by his success and a passion for music reproduction, he then began producing earphones aimed at the high end for discerning listeners. Using the finest materials and embracing the latest technology, the company released its first earphones, the Orion, Lyra and Jupiter in 2015.
Campfire is probably best known for its Andromeda IEM, a 5BA design released in 2016 with an angular shaped housing spawning many poorer imitations. Also receiving many plaudits were the 2018 Solaris, the Ara from 2020 and most recently, the 2022 Trifecta, a unique triple dynamic driver design. To date, the company has produced more than 50 different IEMs. The Orbit is the company’s first venture into TWS earbuds and retails for $249/£249.
The Orbit comes in a small square beige box with a bright green panel featuring a colour image of the earbuds along with the model name and company logo. The material has a mottled texture and metallic gold flecks. Turning the box over, four curved panels open up like a blossom revealing a midnight blue box decorated with gold flecks and stars and the company logo in gold lettering in the centre.
Opening this box reveals the charging case, a USB-C charging cable (which is very short) a pair of silicone eartips and a Campfire Audio pin badge. An instruction booklet is housed in the lid. In a separate small box you will find one further pair of silicone tips and three pairs of black foam tips. The charging case opens showing its green interior with the earbuds sitting in their charging ports and the medium set of silicone tips pre-fitted. Altogether the package contains:
- Orbit earbuds
- Charging case
- USB-C charging cable
- Three pairs of beige silicone tips, (S, M, L)
- Three pairs of black foam tips, (S, M, L)
- Campfire Audio pin badge
- Instruction booklet
Build and Design
The earbuds are formed from a beige coloured plastic which is solid and of good quality. The softly angled shape has some of the Campfire DNA, with some features reminiscent of both the Andromeda and Solaris. There is a small vent on the front edge and a Campfire logo on the rear. On the underside, the charging points can be seen and the short stainless steel nozzle has a robust grille. Channel identification is indicated by “L” and “R” markings on the inner face of the buds.
The charging case is also solidly built from two-tone beige plastic with an engraved logo on the front. The inside of the case is coloured green, and I think it would have been nice to see some green accents on the ear buds to tie in the design. In between the earbud ports there is a small green button above which there are four orange coloured LEDs which are used to indicate charge status and Bluetooth pairing. I did find it a little tricky to remove the buds from the case due to the strong magnet securing them.
Internally, the Orbit employs a 10mm dynamic driver with a Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) diaphragm. LCP is a recently developed technology offering fast transient response, extended high frequencies and fine detail. Amongst its early adopters has been Moondrop with the highly-regarded Aria IEM. A frequency response of 5Hz–20 kHz is quoted.
Battery life is impressive with Campfire specifying 8.5 hours of battery life on the earbuds plus 30 hours charging time when in the case. In testing I found these figures to be pretty accurate and I never ran out of power when out and about.
Bluetooth is version 5.2 supporting AAC, SBC and Adaptive aptX codecs and can handle 24bit/48KHz audio. The Orbit also supports Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) which provides considerably reduced power consumption and cost while maintaining a similar communication distance. During my time testing, the signal remained stable at all times except when at the edge of the specified range.
Campfire Audio App
In addition to working with any compatible Bluetooth source, the Orbit has an accompanying app which can be downloaded from the appropriate app store for your Apple or Android device.
When paired the home page shows an image of the earbuds with the charge status of each bud. Below this is a panel showing the various control gestures. Tapping the centre icon below brings up the second page with a selection of seven preset EQs numbered #1 to #7. However, in a forthcoming app update they will be as below.
- 1. Flat
- 2. Rock
- 3. Pop
- 4. Classical
- 5. Techno
- 6. R & B
- 7. Ambient
- 8. Metal
- 9. User
During testing the default (flat) setting was used. The “user” setting features seven sliders with centre frequencies at 32Hz, 125Hz, 500Hz, 2kHz, 8kHz, 12kHz and 14kHz and the chosen profile can be stored as a preset saved with a letter A, B, C etc. Finally, selecting the right hand icon (illustrated by a nut) gives access to the settings menu where firmware updates can be found.
Comfort and Isolation
The Orbit proved to be comfortable once the correct size tips were used. I found the large size of the beige silicone tips to suit me best and this resulted in a secure fit producing a good bass response. Although I did not engage in vigorous exercise during testing, the earbuds remained in place perfectly well when walking.
The sound quality was evaluated chiefly with an Xduoo X20 DAP via Bluetooth with aptX. A Huawei smartphone was employed when using the Campfire Audio app using the AAC codec.
From the very first notes it was apparent that the Orbit was a very good transducer with all the benefits of an LCP dynamic driver. Possessing a fine transient response, the bass was firm, fast and well-textured, the midrange was clear and open and the treble was finely detailed, airy and very extended.
The wide soundstage possessed good height and was very spacious with layering and separation of a high standard. Perhaps the most notable feature was the ability of the Orbit to communicate the essence of the music with a notable immediacy and fine musicality. Pace, rhythm and timing were all on point and I often found myself distracted from analysing the sound and enjoying the music instead which is testament to the quality of the reproduction.
The Orbit’s 10mm dynamic driver was certainly capable of moving some air. Leading edges were crisp and well-defined, endowing the music with a “live” feel. Sub bass was satisfyingly deep and rich with mid bass providing a healthy kick. There was no evidence of bleed into the midrange, which meant that the bass was always in balance with the rest of the frequency range.
The deep bass drums in the introduction to “Valley of the Giants” by Mars Lasar impressed with their depth, impact and weight while at the same time displaying an authentic decay. Later on in the piece the drums occupy opposite sides of the stereo image. Here the Orbit generated a good deal of excitement but the low frequencies never became too dominant.
The timbre of the bass was true to life as evidenced in Phamie Gow’s “Regreso a Chile” from her album “Road of the Loving Heart”. The close-miked recording allowed the bass notes of her piano to come over realistically with a believable and natural texture. In addition, the remarkably effective sustain and decay provided a perfect support for the flowing melody line while remaining in perfect balance with the higher notes.
The well-balanced W-shaped profile ensured that the Orbit’s midrange did not suffer from recession. It was just a little forward in nature, therefore being both articulate and rich with detail and as with the bass, the timbre was very natural.
This was particularly true with piano. Rick Erlien’s “The Music of Yosemite” showcases his lively and inventive keyboard compositions. The title track begins with a bold statement of the main theme presented in a dynamic and assertive style and the Orbit rose to the occasion admirably.
Each note was crisply defined with the rhythmic expression adding to the enjoyment. The tonality was clean and bright with an incisive quality bringing the piece to life. There was an authentic solidity to the lower midrange and a sparkle in the upper region resulting in an attractive openness replete with detail.
Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos’s colourful transcription of Albeniz’s “Suite Espanola”, with de Burgos directing the New Philharmonic Orchestra received a thrilling rendition from the Orbit. In “Castilla” all the atmosphere of the vintage Decca recording was preserved whilst presenting an authentic picture of a symphony orchestra in full flow.
The precise imaging enabled the location of the various sections of the orchestra to be identified, taking the listener direct to the concert hall with the instruments retaining their individual characteristics. The whole piece was conveyed with verve and immediacy and was extremely entertaining.
With an extended frequency response and an open, smooth and airy presentation, the Orbit’s treble was of excellent quality. Timbre was accurate and the tonality was a generally a little brighter than neutral. The fine detail was clean and delicate in character, resulting in a very natural feel.
In the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Jeno Hubay’s Violin Concerto No. 2, the clear notes of the violin stood out prominently above the accompaniment. In the second movement, following a colourful and expressive introduction by full orchestra, Chloe Hanslip’s solo instrument delivered the main theme in a decisive yet romantic style.
The Orbit created a natural timbre which helped to communicate the message of the piece with musical enjoyment the priority.
Austrian multi-instrumentalist Gandalf has produced more than 30 albums of music in the Progressive/New Age genres. “Frame by Frame” is one of his more recent releases. “Echoes of the Past” features synthesiser, percussion and acoustic guitar.
Set in a rhythmic chordal style, the lead instrument sounded most convincing with the steel strings displaying bite and a realistic tonality. The bright attack contrasted well with the bass notes and synth lead patches, and whole piece gelled together perfectly to hold the listener’s attention.
Soundstage and Imaging
The Orbit proved capable of creating a panoramic three-dimensional stage with precise imaging, excellent layering and separation. The image extended well beyond the ears, displaying good depth and height. Stereo effects were well-rendered with lateral movement particularly notable.
“Words of a Mountain” is a New Age style album by longtime Level 42 keyboard session musician Wally Badarou. “Feet of Fouta” begins with dynamic drum strikes in alternate channels and the Orbit reproduced these in impressive style with superb transient attack.
The complex keyboard and percussion patterns in the piece were clearly separated, enabling the various strands to be followed with ease, and in the concluding section of the track the infectious African rhythm bounced along in a joyful fashion making it impossible for me not to tap my feet!
Omar Akram’s “Surrender” is an unashamedly melodic and flowing piece with a colourful instrumentation. The main melody is performed on the piano and later it is joined by violin. The two instruments occupy opposite sides of the stereo image, echoing each other with fragments of the melody. This was portrayed beautifully by the Orbit, giving an impression of a “question and answer” in an antiphonal style. The fine detail in the accompaniment added to the sense of space in the piece which displayed a natural musicality throughout.
The engineers at Campfire certainly know a thing or two about tuning and in the Orbit have produced a device opening a transparent window into the music. Presenting a natural and musically satisfying picture amenable to any genre, the Orbit proved itself capable of surpassing any of my own wired IEMs in sound quality despite being a wireless design. It easily outperformed my Mifo 05 and Moondrop Nekocake TWS models, although of course these belong in a much lower price tier.
The Orbit’s colour scheme may divide opinion but I consider it attractively packaged and designed and is a welcome deviation from the usual black or white seen everywhere. There is no Active Noise Cancelling or Ambient mode but the isolation was good enough for this not to be a problem.
Ultimately a transducer must be judged by its ability to communicate the soul of the music, and this the Orbit does in spades, providing a taste of the Campfire sound at a less elevated price. To conclude, perhaps the most apposite comment I can bestow is “Nicely Done!”
- Driver: Dynamic, 10mm, LCP Diaphragm
- Frequency Response: 5Hz–20 kHz
- Bluetooth: v5.2 with Bluetooth LE Support
- Supported Codecs: SBC, AAC, AptX Adaptive
- USB-C Wired Charging, Wireless Charging Case
- IXP5 Water Resistance Rating