Campfire Audio Moon Rover-Review featured image

Campfire Audio Moon Rover Review

Today, Thomas reviews the Campfire Audio Moon Rover, which is a new limited-edition flame-treated titanium finished 12mm planar driver IEM. It is priced at $1199 with 888 units available.

Disclaimer: This sample unit was sent to me in exchange for our honest opinion. Headfonics is an independent website with no affiliate links or services. I thank the team at Campfire Audio for their support.

Click here to read more about Campfire Audio products we previously covered on Headfonics.

Note that this article follows our current scoring guidelines which you can read in more detail here.

Campfire Audio Moon Rover-Review featured image
Campfire Audio Moon Rover Review
Summary
If you can get your hands on a set of the Campfire Audio Moon Rover planar IEMs, you’ll be treated to an exceptionally well-tuned product with a unique look and durable build quality.
Sound Quality
9.1
Design
9
Comfort & Isolation
8.8
Synergy
9.1
Slide here to add your score on the gear!43 Votes
8.3
Pros
Well-balanced, reference-style signature.
Titanium finish is robust and attractive looking.
Strong passive isolation
Cons
Midrange detail not as good as bass and treble.
Uncomfortable pressure build-up from sealed shell.
Poor stock tip selection.
9
Award Score

Campfire Audio is a major player in the realm of limited-release, special-edition products. Over the years they have produced countless unique earphones that only a lucky few get to own and experience.

The Moon Rover is priced at $1199 and is the latest universal IEM in this long lineage. Like the Supermoon prior, the Moon Rover contains a single planar magnetic driver, though one of a new design.

This new 12mm driver delivers one of Campfire Audio’s most balanced, neutral-leaning performances and fits it into a titanium, flame-treated shell for an equally unique visual style. These qualities combine to make the Moon Rover something special.

Campfire Audio Moon Rover faceplate

Features

Immediately grabbing your attention are the shells which take on Campfire’s classic design language. Made from titanium, they have been flame-treated by hand to give each example of the Moon Rover a unique, colorful exterior, accented by gold-plated screws and black steel nozzles.

The 12mm planar magnetic driver is a new design and outputs a well-balanced, reference-level signature that is unlike anything in their current lineup.

In addition, the benefits of the design of a planar driver result in greater diaphragm stability for lower distortion, better speed, and more control than a traditional domed dynamic.

Moon Rover comes with Campfire Audio’s Super Smokey Litz cable. It has eight, thick, silver-plated copper strands set within the smoked grey sheath and works wonderfully as an everyday carry cable.

Campfire Audio Moon Rover shells

Design

With the advent of Campfire Audio’s re-engineering of their classic shell, it’s nice to see the original design return, even if in limited numbers. Another pleasant surprise was the use of titanium, similar to 2020’s Ara, making the Moon Rover light and extremely durable.

Well-defined angles make up the visual appeal of these shells. While earlier iterations were known to cause hotspots and discomfort due to sharp edges, over the years it was smoothed and refined without taking away from the visual appeal, changes from which the Moon Rover benefits.

The Moon Rover also benefits from the beefier beryllium MMCX port design found on models like the Ara. With thicker sidewalls than the beryllium MMCX ports on the Chromatic series, my confidence in overall longevity is quite high.

Also helping with longevity are the black PVC stainless steel nozzles. With a beautiful, durable finish and vents integrated into the design, as opposed to plastic, cloth, or metal mesh protecting the drivers within, it’s a premium design befitting a premium product.

Additional accents are visible via gold-plated tri-lobe screws. The black screws selected for the Ara would also have suited the Moon Rover, but I’m not complaining either way.

Lastly construction quality is top tier. Each piece of the shell fits together snuggly with the same tight tolerances we saw on the last round of models to use this particular design.

Nothing is misaligned, there is no excess glue, and there are no blemishes to tarnish the experience. This is a well-designed, well-executed product that holds your attention and should stand the test of time.

Campfire Audio Moon Rover nozzles

Comfort & Isolation

Thanks to the small size, low weight, and shell design that was tweaked and refined over many years, the Moon Rover is quite a comfortable earphone to wear for long periods. It sits naturally in the outer ear, evenly distributing the weight and preventing fatigue, traits helped along by the over-ear cable design.

While the design is reasonably low profile, it still sticks out far enough from the ear to make laying down on your side uncomfortable. If you also wear a toque/beanie, you might find it sticks out enough to get caught at times, potentially hindering the seal.

One knock against the comfort of the Moon Rover that I experienced was because of the sealed housing. Since it contains no vents, pressure builds up on insertion and can cause discomfort, and even muffle the sound.

Proper insertion techniques can prevent this pressure build-up and resulting discomfort. Still, it’s worth noting if you’ve had issues with sealed earphones in the past.

On the other hand, this sealed design means passive isolation from the Moon Rover is well above average and in line with other sealed IEMs I’ve tested. This is an earphone I can wear in most noisy environments without the need for a volume boost to counter bleed.

Tossing on the included Mushroom foam tips improves things further, to the point where the Moon Rover works almost as well as a basic pair of earplugs. That said, I wouldn’t recommend them for that purpose since they’re not specifically designed for it.

Tips

The Moon Rover includes a generic set of silicone tips that come equipped with numerous other models from Campfire Audio. They’re common to other brands too.

These tips have quite a wide bore with moderate material stiffness. While I feel they’re well suited to bassy earphones, the Moon Rover does not fall into that category and as a result, I find these tips boost the treble region and skew the balance.

While I don’t recommend wide-bore tips with the Moon Rover, there are alternative tips that sound better than the stock set. ADV’s Eartune Fidelity and JVC’s basic wide bore tips do a better job of maintaining the impressive balance the Moon Rover can exhibit.

SpinFits CP145 is my preferred pairing for the Moon Rover. The medium bore helps emphasize the balanced tuning and the deeper fit ensures the deep bass can be heard and felt.

Smaller bore tips like Final Type E, Sony Hybrids, or SpinFit CP100 were also a solid pick since they did little to hinder the quality of the upper ranges while adding a touch of warmth to the mids, and a small low-end bump in emphasis. If you’re finding the Moon Rover too bright or too light on bass, give any of these a shot.

While I rarely use foam tips, I did spend a little time with Campfire Audio’s included Mushroom tips when testing isolation. They sounded quite like the SpinFit CP145 but with some additional low-end emphasis.

Campfire Audio Moon Rover cable

Stock Cable

Campfire Audio has released some fantastic cables over the years. I first experienced this cable on the Solaris 2020 and have become quite familiar with its pros and cons over the years.

The 90-degree angled 3.5mm jack is compact with an extension that helps ensure it doesn’t interfere with a phone or DAP case. Strain relief is shorter and stiffer than I’d prefer, but the relative thickness of the cable makes up for it.

Heading up the cable there is a small metal y-split. While lacking any form of strain relief, neatly formed into the top is a plastic chin cinch that helps provide a more secure fit, though it does little to reduce cable noise.

Leading into the beryllium copper MMCX ports are pre-formed ear guides. They have an aggressive angle and enough stiffness to be comfortable, yet still hold the cable in place during vigorous movement.

The smokey sheath itself is decently flexible, but it retains some memory of bends and kinks and never quite straightens out fully. Cable noise is present on a persistent but moderate level and is not reduced by the chin cinch which is unusual.

This is overall a nice cable for daily use and despite the minimal strain relief, has proven itself to be durable long term. While there are some areas of improvement, they are all quite minor and none are deal breakers as they stand.

Campfire Audio Moon Rover accessories

Packaging & Accessories

The Moon Rover arrives in a unique, eye-catching package whose design and theme remind me of older Campfire Audio releases.

The wide, squat box is adorned with a psychedelic image of the moon (Trypophobia warning!!) and stars with the Moon Rover name in bold lettering, front and center.

Around the sides and bottom, and lining the inside is a plethora of writing providing information about the product; specifications, wearing instructions, warranty details, and more.

I appreciate that Campfire Audio typically provides these details scattered around the packaging instead of through additional leaflets that will likely be lost and create extra waste.

Once you’ve had time to explore and appreciate the snazzy box, the real meat of the experience is ready for you. While you don’t get a ton of stuff, what is provided meets the high standards set by past products from the brand.

The following accessories are included:

  • Moon Rover earphones
  • Super Smokey Litz cable with 3.5mm single-ended termination
  • Hand-crafted “Dimensional Folding” waxed leather case
  • Marshmallow foam tips s/m/l
  • Wide bore silicone tips s/m/l
  • Campfire Audio Pin
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Cleaning tool
  • Black Breezy Bag Micro

This well-rounded accessory kit contains some standout items, specifically the leather case and cable. At this price point, not limited to Campfire Audio, I would like to see a greater variety of ear tips included.

Click on page 2 below for my sound impressions and recommended pairings.

Click on page 3 below for my selected comparisons.

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