The Campfire Audio Polaris 2 is a revised launch of the original 2 driver hybrid monitor from 2017 with a tweaked tuning for a stronger low-end response and cleaner highs. SRP is priced at $599.
Disclaimer: The Campfire Audio Polaris 2 sent to us is a sample in exchange for our honest opinion. 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 2020 which you can read up on here.
We have named this the Polaris 2 for the purposes of the review, but in actual fact, Campfire Audio has made no mention of the number 2 or II. In fact, they have kept the original “Polaris” title and instead spoke about the upgrades you can expect from this redesign.
That does mean the original Polaris is now discontinued and if you have a long memory you will notice that the new version has got a $100 reduction from the original $599 SRP. Kudos to CA for that one. Lower prices are always welcome, especially when this new version does look a lot fresher in design than the original.
Ok so on a high-level not much has changed. The Polaris 2 is still a dual hybrid driver consisting of a single dynamic and 1 balanced armature and yes, the T.E.A.C tech is still there from the original Polaris.
However, dig deeper and there is a lot more going on here. The dynamic driver is now bigger, going from the original 8.5mm with the Polarity Tuned Chamber™ to a 9.2mm Dynamic Driver with the Polarity Tuned Chamber.
I think you already will have a sense of what might mean in terms of tuning. CA have already alluded that this new larger DD, combined with the single BA for the highs has been tuned differently to the original so this is not a cosmetic tweak.
The Polaris 2 retains the Cerulean blue theme of the original Polaris and the classic edged body design. It also seems to retain similar dimensions with no change in overall size.
However, instead of the polymer ceramic composite Cerakote coating and darker faceplate, the new design is now finished with a single blue anodized coating throughout with a black triple screw finish. I much prefer this finish over the older two-tone finish.
Despite being the same size as the original version the Polaris 2 build looks a bit more streamlined with a lower profile screw aesthetic and a slimmer faceplate. The darker tone and shape of the nozzle also blends in better with those new screws. Two major changes in the nozzle are the use of the new grill designs from the Comet, IO, and Atlas as well as the switch from hard plastics to a black-coated stainless-steel finish.
Cable & Connectors
The Polaris 2 MMCX connectors are new in design and use a custom beryllium/copper insulated design. I must say they look a lot tidier than the older traditional design of the original Polaris and so far, I have had zero issues pinching and detaching the MMCX cable.
The new cable is the same cable now used with the recently launched IO which is their higher-tier SPC Litz. It is a worthy upgrade on the original Polaris copper Litz cable. Visually, the new SPC Litz with the smoky jacket and matching black barrel finish is far more premium-looking than before. Like the IO visual, it does blend in a lot nicer with the Cerulean blue and black screw finish of the Polaris 2 housing.
Also, with the IO stock cable, the Polaris 2 cable has done away with memory wire and instead now uses a springy type build. I prefer this over memory wire when sliding over the ear. Less manipulation required and more comfortable as a result.
This particular cable is 1.35m and terminated with a right-angle 3.5mm TRS jack and those beryllium MMCX connectors on the other side. It is a quiet cable, no physical noise on the wire but it does retain a tiny bit of kinking here and there.
Comfort & Fit
Coming from the first Polaris to the new edition I can’t really detect any changes in the comfort and seal on initial use and swapping around. That’s not a bad thing as I always felt the Polaris was one of the better ones for sealing due to the slightly angular longer nozzle compared to the Andromeda.
The port venting on the faceplate of the Polaris will prevent it from achieving BA enclosure levels of seal with the supplied foam tips, I was fairly happy with the amount of passive isolation they offered. They are also the meatiest sounding with the warmest timbre of the supplied tips. Female vocals using the foam tips sound forward and have the most presence of all the supplied tips.
Final E Tips
There Polaris 2 also comes packed Final E tips and not SpinFits which they have been doing for a while now. With the grey stem Final E tips you have to be a bit careful with the insertion as too deep you end up with a bit of tip flex and the bore closing blocking off the sound. A gentle slightly shallow insert works best with these tips.
Sonically, they tend to pull back the vocal weight a shade and lighten the tone, particularly from the low-end compared to the foams. These might be a good option if you find the weight and warmth of the foams a bit too much.
Stock Silicone Tips
The regular silicone black stem tips have a similar effect to the Final E tips with less bass weight. However, vocals seem a little further forward to my ear and a little meatier in tone. You can also insert the Polaris 2 a bit deeper with the stock silicone tips without the bores closing and blocking the sound.
Packaging & Accessories
Much like the new IO, the Polaris 2 has had a substantial tweak in terms of packaging and accessories. The theme is still the classic Polaris ‘water-themed’ blue color for the packaging right down to the leather outer of the new carry case. The box shape and ‘unfolding’ has changed and now matches that of the IO.
Gone are the little logistic budget-friendly boxes from the previous range (not including the Solaris) and in comes something a bit more intricate and bigger. They do make for a nicer display box on the retail shelf though they may come at an enhanced logistics cost for the company.
The mechanics of the unboxing is more like a little petal-type paper fold on the base of the box. This, in turn, allows you to peel off the outer box cover to reveal a flip-top grey colored container adorned with the more traditional Campfire Audio branding.
Flip the box lid and inside you have the accessories inside a similarly colored cardboard tube and the new carry case inside which you will find the Polaris 2 and an upgraded SPC Litz cable. As always with Campfire, the accessory line-up is just beautiful as well as plentiful.
The full lineup of accessories closely matches the IO and is as follows:
- 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 leather carry case
- SPC Litz cable
- Campfire Audio pin badge
The new case is similar in materials and finishing to the IO case but with a slightly more conservative blue hue on the leather rather than the garnet tone. This is more of a purse-type metropolitan design with slightly softer side support compared to the older more rigid square casing they used on all previous models. The inside is finished with the same cool charcoal furry lining which is the same as the IO case.
My initial impression of it’s carrying capacity is that it might not have quite the same useable space inside as the older versions. This might be something to do with the rounded finish as there is slightly less depth on the sides. However, it does seem to have a bit more of an expansive property to its leather so you can stuff plenty in there and zip it shut. Just watch out you do not catch the cable in the zipper as you close it.
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