Campfire Audio Mammoth is a hybrid driver universal IEM featuring a 10mm bio-cellulose diaphragm dynamic driver and 2 BA. It is priced at $549.
Disclaimer: The Campfire Audio Mammoth sent to us is a sample in exchange for our honest opinion in this review. We thank the team at Campfire Audio for giving us this opportunity.
To read more about Campfire Audio products we reviewed on Headfonics click here.
Note, this 2-page review follows our new scoring guidelines for 2021 which you can read up on here.
The Mammoth, along with the Holocene, are the 3rd and 4th of Campfire Audio’s 2021 new launches and go some way to refreshing their mid-fi line-up of IEMs. The Mammoth could be considered a replacement for the Polaris whereas the Holocene is something entirely new.
We will be bringing the Holocene review to you very soon, but for now, the focus is their latest hybrid triple driver with a decidedly bass-heavy pitch which should come as no surprise to those who already heard or owned the Polaris v2.
Priced at $549, CA bring to the table some of their latest innovations first showcased last year in their higher-end models as well as a new driver implementation so this is not just Polaris MKIII with a new name.
The Mammoth is a triple driver hybrid universal monitor featuring a new custom 10mm Bio-Cellulose diaphragm dynamic driver for the lows and 2 custom BA for the mids and highs.
Bio-Cellulose is derived from organic fibers and fashioned into a very stiff but lightweight material ideal for diaphragms. Brand names famously known for using Bio-Cellulose include Fostex and Sony with their legendary R10 headphones back in the 80s with quite a few claiming them to have superior low-end performances.
One thing to note is that this is one of the few Campfire Audio monitors not to use T.E.A.C. technology for their BA high driver but what we do have is their newer 3D Printed acoustic chamber technology. This is an acoustically optimized 3D printed interior chamber and rear port designed to optimize the new larger 10mm dynamic driver performance.
The Mammoth is rated at 8.1Ω and requires 18.16 mVrms to attain 94dB SPL @1kHz so not as sensitive as the likes of the Andromeda 2020, Solaris, or Ara but easier to drive than the cheaper Satsuma. To read more about pairings you can check our synergy section on page 2 of this review.
The Mammoth marks a return to the iconic 2nd generation aluminum and anodized edged shells first seen with the Jupiter and Andromeda back in 2016.
This time the body shell and faceplate finishing is a ‘frozen tundra’ blue with 3 black tri-lobe screws on the plates and the new rounded beryllium/copper MMCX connectors. This is a darker blue than the Cerulean blue theme of the Polaris series but the mental connection with the Polaris heritage is very much there.
The 3rd element is Campfire Audio’s new stainless-steel spout which has been used consistently on all the 2020 launches only this time the Mammoth version comes with a black PVD finish rather than silver.
The etched CA logo has also changed slightly from the Polaris V2 with a nuanced white finish that glows in the dark making it stand out quite a bit from the darker blue tone. Aside from that, the venting hole positioning is unchanged at the base of the plates so they are unlikely to be accidentally blocked.
Campfire Audio has stuck with the Smoky Litz cable from their mid to high-end models instead of the Smoky Lite Edition used with the Satsuma and Honeydew entry-level models.
However, there has been a few playful modifications to this version with the addition of ‘Glow-In-The-Dark’ overmolds on both the MMCX connectors and the 3.5mm plug. Hence the name, ‘Smoky Glow’ because they do indeed light up with a pale green glow when the lights go down.
The same technique has been applied to the zipper for the new carry case so you get this sort of quaint ‘acid rave’ early 90’s glow stick kind of vibe to the whole ensemble. I can’t decide if it’s a throwaway design feature or if there is value in the fact you can find these and handle them a lot easier in the dark. Depends on your use case scenario I guess.
The actual internal wire is the same silver-plated copper (SFC) Litz 4-wire they have been using as stock on their IEMs outside of the Solaris for the last 2 years. It is finished with a twisted ‘smoky’ toned jacket and black aluminum splitter barrel with a matching chin cinch that articulates quite easily and stays in place.
The cable is 1.15m long, terminated with a right-angle 3.5mm TRS jack and those beryllium MMCX connectors on the other side. This is a quiet cable, no physical noise on the wire, and comfortable on the ear with those lightweight and soft spring memory hooks next to the connectors.
Comfort & Isolation
If you are coming from the Polaris 2 or the Andromeda 2020 then the comfort of the Mammoth is going to be very similar. The nozzle lengths are roughly the same also so the insertion depth is good and should keep the edged corning reasonably far from your concha bumps to prevent them from being uncomfortable.
The rest of the comfort levels will be determined by the choice of tips with the stock foams probably creating the most secure fit but the supplied Final E tips are the most comfortable.
Due to Mammoth being a hybrid driver design the additional venting on the faceplate will take something away from the overall level of isolation compared to their all BA configured IEMs using the same edged shells such as the Ara.
The rest of the seal will be tip-dependent with the foam and Final E tips offering fairly similar levels of isolation and the final wide bore silicone tips offering very little in comparison. I have never had any luck with the wide bore silicone tips so this is no surprise. YMMV.
Of the three supplied tips, I preferred the Final E in terms of performance with a snappier low-end and a bit more treble clarity. The foams tended to sound a bit too soft and warm in comparison with the silicone wide bore the flattest in terms of bass power but probably the most open sounding of the stock tips.
Packaging & Accessories
Campfire Audio has stuck with the USA Made “French Paper Company” Paper packaging with the bright and breezy patterns of the previous few releases. This time we have a blue base box with a mix of pastel pinks and soft oranges on the front that is matched by their new carrying case on the inside.
Inside you get the following accessories all neatly packaged in their twin cushioned mesh draw-string pouches:
- Final e-tips (xs/s/m/l/xl)
- Foam Marshmallow tips S/M/L
- Silicone single-bore tips S/M/L
- 3 x cushioned pockets (for the monitors and foam tips)
- Cleaning brush/pick
- New “All-seeing Eye” SEAQUAL® YARN carry case
- Campfire Audio pin badge
No, not the Eye of Sauron, tempted as I am to push that darker angle but rather the name applies to the color scheme applied to their new upcycled Marine Plastic SEAQUAL® YARN zipper carry case.
It is still the classic half oval zipper pouch with the faux fur lining and made in Portugal but it has this vibrant blend of soft orange and yellow tones with splashes of pink and random geometric shapes centering the collage of colors. With the lume-glow zipper and front logo sticker, the case still screams rave to me and sort of reminds me of those grungy Baja hoodies from the early 90s.
In terms of form and function, the new case operates as before with some expandability for your cable, tips, and drivers to fit in. The faux fur lining and semi-stiffened outer should give the case enough protection against knocks as well as being flexible enough to fit inside your pocket.
In some ways, the sound of the Mammoth is a return to the general ‘rock’ vibe of the original Polaris and less of the overtly basshead V-shape of the Polaris 2. What I mean by that is that the Mammoth low-end is strong but sounds a bit more balanced and punchier making it more suitable to a wider range of genres compared to the more voluptuous wall of bass that was the Polaris 2.
The overall tone is smooth, natural to warm with a rounded timbral feel from a relaxed treble performance. This is a coloration built from the base upwards and that is where your ear will gravitate when the low-end starts to get busy.
Having said that, the additional BA over the Polaris 2 does allow CA to deliver a more complete midrange that was lacking over the predecessor. There is some forwardness there that allows both vocal and midrange instrumentation a bit more space and presence to shine.
If there is one slightly weaker aspect to the Mammoth presentation then it is a slight roll-off in the upper treble extension that pushes the listener’s focus down a little limiting the headroom.
However, I actually found that some PMEQ peaking with a broad Q factor and a gain of around 4-5dB at 8-10k remedied that quite well providing a bit more contrast to the timbral balance.
The most elevated part of the Mammoth FR is from 20Hz to around 100-200Hz but it’s relatively linear and not as L-shaped as the previous Polaris 2. Bloom is more in check this time around with a punchier bass performance rather than a wall of rumble.
Lower-mids also have a bit more space to breathe on the Mammoth and combined with a stronger 1-3k peak, vocals, particularly female vocals, have more presence and air around them to take center stage when required.
I tend to find this tuning to work much better with classic rock that needs a good fundamental but also one that doesn’t drown out the lower-mids in favor of all-out slam.
Upper-mids from 4-5k are pushed down a little, with more treble energy from 5-7k and then a roll-off from 8-10k onwards. It is not the airiest of highs but it does help to keep percussion overtones free of any splashiness or sibilant overtones.
The Mammoth timbre is a mix of dynamic warmth and power combined with BA articulation and clarity. Overall, the tuning remains on the smooth and slightly rounded side with that relaxed upper treble pushing back the potential for distracting harmonic dissonance.
You will be hard-pressed to find any sibilant overtones on the Mammoth but if you are considering upgrading from the entry-level Honeydew it is a more accurate and energetic sounding timbre with less of that soft mellow ‘glow’ through the mids and highs.
Vocals notes convey a nice level of weight and girth, particularly female vocals which successfully avoid that traditionally thin BA sound signature. It is not an overly liquid tone but paired with the likes of the R01/N6ii or the N3Pro‘s tube setting it will sound smoother and more natural.
Percussion timbre is physical without being splashy. Again, the emphasis here is on delivering some good body without being necessarily overly liquid or forward sounding. There is just enough odd-harmonic presence to prevent them from sounding soft and muted.
Staging & Dynamics
The Mammoth staging is more about the depth and a forward vocal presence but these two touchpoints are not as accentuated or as narrow sounding as the previous Polaris sound signatures.
Instruments will still image a bit behind vocals but they are not as squeezed out as with the Polaris 2’s heavier bass presence. The lower-mids and general spacing for the entire midrange have improved markedly with that additional BA driver and improved control on the powerful low-end.
The dual BA does quite well for instrumental separation through the mids and lower-treble with the weak spot being really just how much upper treble extension you get which is not huge. That does rob the Mammoth of a little bit of headroom sending your listening focus a bit further down to the mids and bass.
Again, going back to PMEQ potential, the Mammoth does respond quite well to it. Maybe not to the extreme levels of the Honeydew’s single dynamic driver but enough around that 8-10k to bring in some additional sparkle and shimmer to better flesh out those high-pitching spatial cues.
Click on page 2 below for pairings and select comparisons