The Campfire Audio Vega 2020 is a revised edition of the original single dynamic driver universal Vega monitor released in 2016. It is priced at $899.
Disclaimer: The Campfire Audio Vega 2020 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 review follows our new scoring guidelines for 2020 which you can read up on here.
Campfire are continuing their 2020 series of ‘classics’ revised and this time it is the turn of one of my favorites, the Vega, with the launch of the new Vega 2020. Previously we have had the Andromeda and the Solaris get the ‘upgrade’ treatment with some excellent results but this one seems a little more aggressive.
It is hard to believe the original Vega is already 4 years old. That 2016 review is still very fresh in my mind, particularly on its ability to absorb power and seem very much at home on a desktop amp as well as portable sources. Times have changed though and DAPs are much more powerful and better sounding (arguably) than 4 years ago.
You also have to bear in mind that the Vega did have something of a revision under the guise of the Atlas in 2018 which painted an entirely different aesthetic and tuning performance. Borrowing the original A.D.L.C. diaphragm dynamic driver from the Vega and pumping it up to 10mm, the chrome-finished Atlas was both easier to drive and warmer or bassier on the tuning.
But perhaps the biggest surprise on the new Vega before we even talk technical and sound is the price at $899. That is a huge difference from the original $1299 of both the Atlas and the Vega. That is very refreshing to see in 2020.
The driver inside the Vega 2020 on paper looks closer to the Atlas configuration than the original Vega. Like the Atlas, Campfire Audio has increased the size of the driver from the Vega’s 8mm to 10mm.
As with both previous incarnations, the driver uses their signature A.D.L.C. (amorphous diamond-like carbon) coating material on the diaphragm to reduce flex and distortion. Neodymium magnets are added for the magnetic field around the voice coils to generate a ton of magnetic force, more so than generic similar-sized ferrite magnets.
In theory, this crossover-free design should produce a very resolving, quick-paced, and responsive dynamic driver with excellent low performance compared to regular dynamic designs.
The second key tech is more on the outside but does affect the inside and that is the use of ceramic material for the Vega 2020 shells.
Quite apart from the new design aesthetic it brings to the table, and you can read more about that below, it is also a dense material that was first used on the Lyra MK1 back in 2015. The process to achieve that density is via a 600/1200 degrees 5-day sintering process that reduces the size whilst strengthening the relative density.
The actual density itself works well with dynamic driver sin taming down the potential for unnecessary vibration as well as adding to the overall durability of the shells. This is combined with a rear venting airflow design and an additional acoustic dampener to regulate that airflow to fine-tune that 10mm A.D.L.C. dynamic driver.
The Vega 2020 is rated at 36Ω which has a bit more resistance than the original Vega and Atlas, both of which are rated at 17.5Ω and 19Ω respectively.
The SPL will be harder to judge as Campfire Audio has shifted to a new measurement Vrms measurement system so the Vega 2020 is rated at 94 dB [email protected] and takes 19.86 mVrms to get to that level.
We do know that the Atlas was easier to drive than the original Vega so we are hoping for more of the same from the Vega 2020. You can read more about our results in our Synergy section on page 2.
The form factor is very familiar but the aesthetic is now very different for the Vega 2020. Gone is the silvery liquid alloy metal housing and black plastic nozzle of the original Vega and in comes the new dense ceramic white shell and stainless-steel nozzle.
That beautiful high gloss finish on the new shell is achieved from a 3-day tumbler process with small alumina stones and water which buffs them up real nice. And they are surprisingly fingerprint resistant, something which I was dreading when taking the pics.
The small circular black venting port on the barrel of the original Vega is now replaced by a more discreet pinhole finish on the faceplate of the new Vega 2020. I suspect this change in positioning is to both accommodate the new driving acoustic dampener design and to better prevent accidental blocking of the hole.
The overall form factor is really the same as the original Vega, hence the familiar. However, side by side the dimensions have increased on the new version and it does feel slightly weightier than the original also.
I suspect there are two reasons for that with the first being simply a bigger driver inside requires more acoustical space to breathe and therefore a larger shell. The second is that new bigger stainless-steel nozzle which they have been using on the last few designs. It is much longer than the older black plastic but it does help with stability and offers better insertion depth.
Comfort & Isolation
This is the most comfortable design Campfire has used over the past 5 years. We have had Andromeda and the Solaris shape which worked for some but not all. However, the Lyra, Vega, Dorado, and now the new Vega 2020 have a more compact design which has always been consistently good for fitting.
Some might say almost too compact originally but with the slightly larger dimensions and a longer stainless-steel nozzle, the comfort levels and fitting ease are sky-high this time around.
The Vega 2020 fit is snug and deep enough with the stock medium foam tips adding just the right amount of pressure to hold them firmly in place. The Final E tips will not feel quite as secure but the smoother silicone surface is even comfier. Nothing really brushes on your ear in an uncomfortable fashion, a really sweet fit to be perfectly honest.
The seal is pretty good for a vented dynamic driver, certainly nowhere near as open as some competitors but it is really the comfort level where this smooth and rounded form factor excels.
The level of isolation from the included foam and Final E tips are this time around, unsurprisingly close. I have been testing these two types of tips for a while now, not just on Campfire IEMs and I do find the Final E is almost the foam equal for passive isolation. With the bass port, it will not be Andromeda 2020 level of isolation but overall above average for a dynamic driver monitor.
There is a 3rd set of in-house short stem silicone single bore tips but I tend not to use them. The isolation is very poor so a lot of noise gets in and a lot of bass goes out the door leaving the sound a little unbalanced.
The Final E Tips are probably the most dynamic of the three tips with a solid bass response and sparkling treble but for those looking for a warmer more relaxed sound through the mids then the foam tips are more appropriate.
Cable & Connectors
For the Vega 2020, Campfire Audio has opted to use their new rounded MMCX connector sockets which, combined with the beryllium copper plating, make them very easy to connect and disconnect and should last a very long time.
As they say, the proof is in the pudding, I change the old Andromeda cable almost every review when referencing and not a single issue in 4 years so these are quality connectors.
Campfire Audio has stuck with their 1.32m CA Litz cable which also comes with the recent Andromeda and Dorado 2020. At the reduced price point, I can’t really expect that beautiful 8-core SuperLitz cable this time around that originally came with the Solaris.
This is a 4-core version and is actually ok in my book, at least in terms of handling and microphonics which is exceptionally low. This is the same cable they have included also with the Ara and uses an SPC Litz geometry inside a smoked twisted jacket finish.
The splitter is a low-profile black aluminum barrel with a matching chin cinch that articulates quite easily and stays in place. This particular termination is a right angle 3.5mm gold-plated 3.5mm TRS jack in a very durable high-density rubber enclosure. It also has some memory wire but it is the lighter springy type rather than the stiffer memory retention variety which I prefer.
Overall, the Vega 2020 stock cable will give you a smooth sound and typical of SPC cables a bit more high-frequency presence and sparkle, especially if used in combination with the Final E tips.
Accessories & Packaging
The Vega 2020 packaging follows the same design ethos as the Solaris and Andromeda 2020 so that means a bigger box with an additional smaller box for the accessories inside.
Now, if you have ever experienced the 70s then you will know that the Vega 2020 box is just dripping in ‘real-world 70s’ design couture.
By that, I mean everyday color schemes that I used to see from LPs to kitchen layouts and magazines. Not your faux leathers and browns from the movies but this pale red and greens collage. It works but in a very 70s manner and very much an accurate reminder of my childhood.
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 container with that same pale red design adorned with the more traditional Campfire Audio branding.
Inside you have the accessories and tips inside a similarly colored cardboard tube and an all-new ‘Seafoam Green” upcycled marine plastic zipper case inside of which you will find the Andromeda 2020 and the SPC Litz cable. As always with Campfire, the accessory line-up is plentiful.
The full lineup of accessories is similar to the Andromeda and Solaris 2020 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 marine plastic zipper carry case
- SPC Litz cable
- Campfire Audio pin badge
I love the new case. The form factor and mechanics are the same as the cork case of the Andromeda and Solaris 2020 but the materials and color are quite different.
I have never seen a seafoam green color before but the case color feels more like a washed-out aqua to me, (male eyes), and yet again heavy on the 70s inspired color scheme. It is something that a Fuji photographer would pick for their classic chrome film filter pictures.
It does look beautiful in real life trust me on that and it does have the added bonus of a single uniform color right to the silver zipper whereas the cork case is two-tone.
The case is somewhat tighter on the inside than the older squarer cases but it has enough expansion to its design 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.
The inside is also finished with the same cool faux wool furry lining from the older generation though Campfire Audio has reverted to an off-white color rather than the charcoal of the previous versions.
Click on page 2 for sound impressions and comparisons