Clean, incisive and open – that’s one way to describe the overall gestalt of an all balanced armature-equipped IEM, especially when compared to their warmer, punchier dynamic driven counterparts.
How about the best of both worlds? A hybrid IEM might be the answer — one that combines balance armature (BA) and dynamic driver in a single earpiece.
In the rapidly expanding world of IEMs, where we note almost as many models coming to market as there are stars in the sky, hybrid designs are emerging as one of the stronger trends of 2017.
At the top of the Campfire Audio range sits two models: the 5 x BA Andromeda (Green, US$1099) and the 8.5mm diamond-coated dynamic driven Vega (Silver, US$1299). Just below that at US$999, the company’s first hybrid: the copper-toned Dorado that marries a beryllium dynamic driver to a pair of BAs.
This week the Portland-based IEM manufacturer, twinned with ALO Audio, have announced the availability of a more affordable hybrid model.
The Polaris (US$599) combines a single dynamic driver with a single BA in a machined aluminium housing; anodized blue body with black Cerakote (a Polymer-Ceramic Composite) end cap.
From the press release: “The unique formulation used for Cerakote ceramic coating enhances a number of physical performance properties including abrasion/wear resistance, corrosion resistance, chemical resistance, impact strength, and hardness.”
Don’t be persuaded by Polaris’ attractive looks alone. There’s more going on under the hood than your average IEM.
Like the Andromeda and Dorado, the Polaris’ BA driver benefits from Campfire Audio’s Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber™ (TAEC) about which company mainman Ken Ball says, “Its basically a internal air space that sits right on the drivers output. The volume and shape of the air space will act as an acoustic resonator that extends the high frequency of the dual high drivers we use. This air space is a very tuneable tool and can also be used to attenuate resonance peaks.”
Applied to the Polaris’ dynamic driver is Campfire’s new 3D-printed Polarity Tuned Chamber™.
From the press release: “Our 3D printed tuned chambers in front and behind the driver allow us to optimize the performance of our dynamic driver. This opens up the sound and gives the driver an effortless power that must be heard to be appreciated.” A little like a room within a room – see exploded view above.
The Polaris made their worldwide debut at the Hong Kong Audio show in early August, care of local distributor ECT. Stateside headphonistas will get their first taste at RMAF’s CanJam in October.
For those who can’t wait a few weeks or who are unable to travel to Denver, the Polaris are available directly from Campfire Audio’s website here.
Further information: Campfire Audio