Campfire Satsuma & Honeydew - New entry level IEMs from Campfire Audio

Here are the measurements of the two new entry level CFA IEMs for 2021.

Satsuma and Honeydew first impressions and unboxing

Satsuma: $199

Honeydew: $249

Needless to say I don’t think either of these are for me. The Satsuma is generally a bit more even keel in its overall balance, but it’s quite uneven in the ear gain region, evidenced by a strong 3khz peak that has a tendency to pronounce certain types of vocals. And then also certain treble harmonics are out of balance, yielding a somewhat colored presentation for percussive hits. To its credit, it does have decent detail and technical performance for a single BA.

The Honeydew is simply a bass cannon, and definitely too much for me. However, out of the two this one is the one I prefer. While it’s too relaxed in the upper mids for me as well, it handles the harmonic balance in the treble much better.

Someone else may be really into either of these, as they’re very different from one another, but like I said they’re not for me. The entry to mid-level IEM market is extremely competitive these days, and I think CFA would do well to consider some more standard tunings in this range.

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Thanks for the data and impressions!

By entry level, what price bracket are we talking about?

$199 for the Satsuma
$249 for the Honeydew

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Wow that graph for the Honeydew. I never thought I’d see negative pinna gain.

You should try the Vega 2020…! Bass cannon for sure. I EQ it north.

Perhaps they chose non-standard tunings to stand out in a competitive market? Perhaps they tried standard tunings and didn’t think they performed well against other brands in the price bracket? Perhaps they want to dominate niche markets (e.g., fans of specific acoustic instruments, plus bass heads)?

Those colors are not for cautious or conservative buyers. Beats and SkullCandy upgrades and cross-shoppers? International fashion and taste? Chinese and Indian markets?

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They didn’t try any more normal or standard tunings as far as I’m aware. The nice thing with multi-ba driver iems is that the tunings have generally been figured out already, so it’s not a question of if it’s possible, and more so having the ability and/or making the decision to do so.

I agree. Wasn’t the IO quite unusual in its tuning? I’ve not heard it but I remember there being plenty of posts on head-fi in which people expressed surprise about its sound.

Also, Ken Ball explained in a recent interview that he wants Campfire Audio to offer a variety of sound signatures so as to appeal to a wide range of customers. Put another way, he doesn’t intend for there to be a Campfire Audio house sound.

I’d say he’s succeeded: I’ve heard the OG Andromeda, Dorado 2020, Vega 2020, and Solaris 2020 on loaner tours in the past six or seven months, and I own the Andromeda 2020; each has a very distinctive tuning.

I wonder if the Honeydew is an entry-level version of the bass-canon Vega 2020? I wonder if the Satsuma is its own unique thing?

Yeah I can see having many different flavors. But really a highly resolving ‘normal’ or ‘reference’ sound is entirely absent in their lineup. They do typically have great technical performance, so I’d just love to see something more appropriate for people looking more for a balanced and natural kind of sound signature, rather than flavor or deliberate coloration. I mean… At least one would be nice. Andromeda is the closest they have to that, but that’s also not quite there.

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What IEM fulfills that for you normally? A U12T?

U12t is great, but I’d say the B2 or B2 dusk type of tuning. Or maybe Softears RSV. My personal favorite tuning is what you get with the Clairvoyance, but sadly I don’t have one here anymore. It doesn’t have to be exactly that, but just something that doesn’t have super weird harmonic imbalances going on.

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Dunu SA6 is what does it for me. I know they fit rather large though so unfortunately they aren’t going to fit everyone.

Both CFA & 64 Audio tend to have better fits in my opinion (outside of the OG Solaris).

I haven’t tried either of these new ones but I liked the Polaris V2 for commuting as the outside sounds worked will with the over-pronounced bass. If the Honeydew is like that, seems like it could be an enjoyable, “fun” IEM.

I’ll probably steer clear of the Satsuma myself though. Both the Comet and Io weren’t my cup of tea.

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Would you characterize the Ara as being too far from “normal” or “reference”? I ask not to be contrary; I’ve not heard the Ara and am very keen to do so - it’s just that I’ve seen lots of references to it as analytical and neutral, and I’m trying get a sense of where it sits in the CA lineup. It has a kind of DF tuning, IIRC?

Edit: it would be nice if CA were to release a refreshed Orion, which was described as having a reference tuning

No the Ara also has some weird features in the tuning, to the point where I also wouldn’t call it ‘reference’. Ideally if it has an even spectral balance, it won’t pronounce any particular harmonic over other ones, and everything from CFA so far seems to be somewhat flavor oriented. Now to be fair, sometimes those flavors can be fun, like the Andromeda or the Solaris if you’re looking for that sort of thing (I enjoy them at least). But nothing has so far been evenly balanced.

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Holy Satsuma treble peaks, Batman! :flushed:

At least they’re flat-out marketing the honeydew as a bass cannon, they’re not pretending it’s anything else.

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Yes. The website plainly states the Honeydew is bass focused while the Satsuma is a “portable studio monitor.” Niche products with niche tunings.

https://campfireaudio.com/shop/honeydew/
https://campfireaudio.com/shop/satsuma/

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I’d have a really hard time recommending the Satsuma to anyone looking for a “portable studio monitor”. If that’s the case they simply missed the mark.

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The website copy focuses on pro audio, touring, and stage musicians:

The clarity and spatial accuracy of Satsuma’s presentation transition effortlessly from studio monitor to everyday listening companion.

The compact comfort of our all-new ABS earphone body makes Satsuma a joy to use daily, on stage or on the go.

It also holds up against the rigors of the touring musician.

Live rock/pop musicians often have poor hearing, so the tuning may be exactly what they need to fill the gaps. Wear ear plugs at concerts if you don’t want to end up needing the Satsuma “hearing aid.”

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whats wrong with those FRs?

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Just received my Satsumas. (Because Orange!)

Love them so far, not missing any bass yet (with the Hip DAC on bass boost) - will try other DACs later on.

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