The IEM market is a true gem of the audio industry. No other market segment is growing so rapidly and none is as entertaining. We’re getting new and exciting stuff pretty much month by month, with manufacturers racing with new ideas and technologies.
Campfire Audio has been out of the “innovation” game for a while now. Till now, they limited their lineup to all BA, DD, and hybrid designs. The rest of the market hasn’t slept through it though, and now we’re not only getting tribrid designs but also quadr-brids (?) with bone conduction drivers, etc.
I was starting to think that Campfire Audio is not going to rejoin the game anytime soon and that they’d like to focus on what they’re good at.
Luckily, I was mistaken, as they’ve recently announced their new CIEM – the Supermoon. As far as I’m aware (I might be wrong, comment below if I am!), they launched the first planar-magnetic custom IEM ever. Additionally, I had a chance to listen to their new Trifecta in Munich last month. It’s a 3DD IEM that just screams crazy at you. Everything from the looks all the way to the sound of these is just mental.
So, apparently, Campfire Audio is back in the game with some brave and unconventional designs, trying to push the limits again. Today we’re going to check if the Supermoon is a step in the right direction.
The unboxing experience was always important for Campfire Audio, and it’s no different this time. The Supermoon is packed similarly to all their other IEMs, but this time the box is slightly bigger, mainly due to the carrying case being bigger as well.
So, the box is sporting some cool graphics as always, but this time it’s rather minimal and elegant, with no fancy colors as we’re used to. Inside the box, you’re getting a classic CFA experience – a cloth pin, the Supermoon itself with a cable attached, a microfiber cloth, and a carrying case.
Let me get to that case for a second here. This is one of the biggest IEM/CIEM cases I’ve seen, and it’s just a classic CFA design. It has that wool lining inside, and outside it seems to use genuine leather. The case is very spacious and it can easily fit two pairs of IEMs. I don’t know why Campfire has gone with a bigger case than usual, maybe because the Supermoon is bigger than their universal models. Overall, the quality of the case is great and I’m glad that Campfire Audio has included it in the box. While I would personally prefer a hard case similar to a Peli case, this is good as well, just not as protective.
No tips are included in the box this time…it is a custom IEM, so you won’t need any
Design, Build and Comfort
Another thing that Campfire Audio has mastered throughout the years is the built quality and the design of their products. This is the first time that I’m handling CIEMs made by CFA though, so this is definitely something new for me.
So, the actual build quality and design are both great. The finish on the shells is flawless and the surface is as smooth as it gets. While I won’t say that these are on the same level as Fir Audio customs, there’s absolutely nothing to complain about.
I also really like the design of the Supermoon. This is a Custom IEM, but you’re not able to actually customize the looks, as every pair of the Supermoon will look the same, except for the shape. The shells are not really black actually, but rather a very dark indigo color. When looking at the Supermoon in full sun or under a flashlight, you can easily see that they are definitely not black. While I’m not a fan of this color in general, these shells are so dark and close to being black, that I’m more than okay with the color.
Custom IEMs are masters of comfort usually, but the Supermoon is not the most comfortable CIEM I have, definitely not. I’m not saying that they are uncomfortable, not at all, they still offer fantastic ergonomics surpassing most of the universal IEMs I’ve ever tried. However, the shells are chunky, really. Because of that, they do protrude from your ears significantly more than other, more traditional CIEMs, which results in a fit that is not extremely secure.
This is more of nitpicking than a real problem because the Supermoon is very comfortable and it won’t fall out of your ears anytime soon. However, for me personally, the fit is on a looser side and they are not as comfortable as my Fir Audio CIEMs, which go deeper into my ear canal and I stop actually feeling them after 15 minutes.
Another thing worth mentioning is that the nozzle looks unprotected at first glance, but if you’ll look into it with a flashlight you’ll find a sort of cloth lining that will make sure nothing will go into the shells and destroy those planar-magnetic drivers. This solution is not ideal though, as it is going to be very, very hard to remove earwax if it makes its way into the nozzle. I’d rather have traditional mesh protection at the end of the nozzle, which makes it much easier to keep tidy and fresh.
Lastly, I’m happy to see Campfire Audio still using their MMCX connectors. I always said that they have the best MMCX sockets in the market, and nothing has changed from the last time I said that. These babies hold all of my MMCX cables perfectly, they are very secure and convenient with the whole twisting situation. While I see why many people prefer 2pin over MMCX, I feel like CFA connectors are going to last a longer time than your usual 2pin, which tend to loosen up with time.
I still remember when after 3 months of using my Lime Ears Aether R and cable rolling, my right CIEM actually disconnected on its own and went flying into the ground. Luckily, it survived, but ever since I was constantly stressed that this is going to happen again. With these MMCX sockets, I don’t think you’ll have that kind of problem.
There’s not a lot to say about the tech that sits inside the Supermoon, but we have to discuss two things.
Let’s address the elephant in the room first – the driver. As I said previously, I believe that this is the first planar-magnetic CIEM on the market (if I’m wrong please comment below), so it’s very nice to see Campfire Audio pushing some new things into the market, that they haven’t done for a while now. It’s more than interesting to see the leading driver type of over-ears in this segment of the market. Planar-magnetic IEMs have been more and more popular lately, mainly to the (already) legendary 7hZ Timeless and the Shuoer S12.
The stainless steel part of the faceplate actually has two jobs – to look cool and to secure the driver inside each shell. While I can’t comment on the latter, it certainly delivers on the first aspect.
Secondly, the Supermoon uses a new, patent-pending technology called Solid-Body design. Instead of trying to explain what it is, here’s Campfire Audio:
Our new solid-body design provides optimized acoustic performance by incorporating the tuning chambers of the earphone directly into the final IEM print.
This just shows that the Supermoon is not a lazy product, but rather a well-designed and thoughtful idea that’s meant to set the bar for CFA’s custom lineup.
It is the sound quality that matters the most at the end of the day. While the use of a planar-magnetic driver can make you pretty calm about the technical aspects of the sound, it is the tuning that happens to be the hard part with these drivers in IEMs.
So, did Campfire Audio nail the tuning of the Supermoon? Well, it depends. This is definitely not a neutral type of sound, and the Supermoon is actually one of the most unique sounding IEMs I’ve tried in some time.
The bass is very tight, fast and it packs some serious punch. While I won’t call the Supermoon a bassy IEM (surely not after comparing to the UM MEXT or Fir Audio XE6), it has a great quality to low frequencies. The bass notes are rich in textures and they are incredibly fast and accurate. It certainly sounds like a planar-magnetic bass that we all love – hyper-detailed, snappy, detailed, and well-controlled.
Take note though, as the bass response will vary a lot depending on what you’ll plug the Supermoon into. I initially tried it with my Cayin N3 Pro via the balanced output and the sound was pretty warmish. Then I plugged the Supermoon into my Hifiman EF400 and they immediately started to sing with a lot more body, richness, and a better timbre throughout the entire frequency response. Another great pairing was the yet unreleased EarMen Angel, which provides a ton of power for the Supermoon to shine.
This bass response is just perfect for music like Daft Punk, Rufus Du Sol, or Flume, where all the little details in the bass department matter a lot. You’re then rewarded with an exceptionally diverse, crisp bass delivery that sounds intoxicating. The Supermoon can also do rock and metal, as it gives that extra “oomph” to the music, without being bloated or muddy at all. Overall, the bass of the Supermoon is its strongest point, being one of the best on the current market in my opinion.
The midrange is again, very planar-like. It has a lot of resolution, it’s crispy, and again, very detailed. The overall midrange presentation is quite forward and insightful, making the Supermoon a highly extreme and crisp-sounding IEM. While you won’t find any warmth or lushness in this sound, it will certainly please the fans of some Hifiman over-ear, such as the Arya SE. Most current planar-magnetic headphones tend to have a very open, crisp, and textured-sounding midrange that pairs exceptionally well with their sublime technical performance, and the Supermoon is very similar to that. While the timbre of vocals often leaves something to be desired, I don’t feel like this CIEM is made for vocal music in mind. This model is definitely suited best for people that are into electronic music, with that V-shape sound that is very fresh and snappy sounding. My flagship vocal test, “A Thousand Shards Of Heaven”, by Lunatic Soul showed that the Supermoon tends to overexpose the upper vocal range, resulting in a somewhat tiring and aggressive sound that might be highly desired by the fans of Asian tuning, but isn’t something that many audiophiles are used to. Take note that this will hugely depend on the power output of your DAP or Amp. With weaker sources, the Supermoon has that slightly smooth and warmish tonality, but it’s for the price of the bass texture and dynamics. If you’ll give them a couple of watts of power to truly get that driver going, they do transform into more extreme-sounding beasts that will give you one of the best (if not the best) technical performances in this price range. You can actually underpower the Supermoon if you’d like a smoother and warmer sound, keeping most of that technical greatness. If you’d like to go all-in though and get every single bit of detail there is, prepare for the sound that is going to be on a thinner and leaner side.
The treble is very forward and clean sounding, but it might be a tad too sharp for some of you. The Supermoon is definitely not a smooth-sounding IEM (when driven to perfection), and it doesn’t try to make the music sound “prettier” than it really should. Because of that, this is an exceptional CIEM for people looking for an extreme and very clean presentation to get even the tiniest details out of the recording. Yet again, it highly reminds me of the Hifiman Arya SE, which is often just a bit too much for me but objectively speaking has brilliant technical capabilities. Because of this hyper-detailed character, you’ll be getting some fantastic performance out of your well-mastered music, but at the same time, you have to watch out for some poorly mastered music. For me personally, the Supermoon tends to sound either exceptional or just slightly tiring, depending on the music choice and the rest of the system. Keep in mind though, that I’m pretty sensitive to forward-sounding treble, so this could be just me. Nonetheless, as a reviewer, I’m always trying to ignore my subjective tase while rating a product, so when trying to rate the treble performance of the Supermoon as objectively as I can, I have to give credit when it’s due. If you plug them into something with less power, the treble actually starts to settle a bit and sound smoother, so if that’s your cup of tea, this could be a solution for you.
The soundstage is very wide and deep. This further empowers the feeling of a forward and extreme sound signature, as you’ll be getting a lot of action right in front of your head, as well as on the sides. The imaging is very good with great accuracy and a lot of air between the instruments, resulting in a fantastic separation. The Supermoon produces a huge sound that gives you a more intimate type of experience, and this might be just your cup of tea. If you prefer a vast and spacious type of soundstage, you probably won’t find it here. The Supermoon improves on every other Campfire Audio IEMs when it comes to imaging and separation though, as the crispiness of the entire frequency response and that amazing technical performance let it offer an outstanding insight into the recording. Also, thanks to the godlike resolution of the sound, everything sounds extremely clean and crisp, giving you a type of sound where you can easily focus on every single instrument one by one, as it never gets crowded or overcomplicated. No matter how busy the music sounds, the Supermoon will easily keep up,
The battle of two current Campfire Audio flagships. What’s worth pointing out from the beginning, is that the tuning of these two is vastly different, so much that it’s actually pretty hard to compare the two.
First things first – the Supermoon is definitely an improvement over the Solaris 2020 when it comes to the technical performance. The latter has been on the market for some time, and it uses a hybrid construction, which has aged a bit. Because of that, while it is still a lovely sounding IEM with that wonderful midrange tone, technically it’s just not good enough to be called a competitive flagship in mid-2022. The Supermoon on the other hand is much more technical sounding, with better detail retrieval and resolution (well, better by quite a lot actually), but it’s just tuned vastly different.
For me personally, the star of the show of the Solaris 2020 is its moist, romantic, and lush midrange that just makes every vocal sound incredibly involving and beautiful. The Supermoon, on the other hand, presents vocals in a leaner, crisper way that is probably more popular among audiophiles lately. While I like my midrange thick and moist, the Solaris 2020 just cannot compare when it comes to the objective side of audio to the Supermoon.
The question is: which one should you get? I think that the answer is simple. If you want an ultimate detail retrieval, resolution, and hyper-high-energy type of sound, the Supermoon is definitely a more compelling choice in 2022. If you love vocals and it’s the most important aspect of music for you, the Solaris 2020 will suit your need a lot better, especially if you like your lower midrange thick.
I decided to compare these two, as they somewhat give me similar feelings. Both are great technically, but it’s the midrange that doesn’t suit my preferences too much.
When I compared them side by side, it struck me how much better the Supermoon actually is. While the Fantasy has great detail and resolution, the Supermoon takes it to the next level with that planar-magnetic driver. Also, the energy of the sound and the dynamics of the Supermoon surpass the Fantasy by a lot, being a lot more enjoyable and fun sounding.
The bass of the Fantasy has always been lacking for me, and the Supermoon wins in this department by a lot. It packs more punch, it’s heavier, more nuanced, and just crisper. A lot. The Fantasy in comparison sounds thin and just uninvolving. The midrange has a somewhat similar vibe with these two, as both are rather thin with male vocals, which makes both sound slightly unnatural with vocal music. The treble is forward and bright sounding on both, but the Fantasy takes it to the extreme, sounding very bright and harsh. The Supermoon is definitely more tonally correct than the Fantasy, but it often still sounds a bit too hot in my opinion.
First things first – the N3Pro doesn’t have enough juice to get the Supermoon to its maximum capabilities. You have to give them a lot of power to make that driver sing, which will reward you with an extremely impressive detail retrieval and resolution.
But, there’s actually a point in “underpowering” the Supermoon. When not driven at 100%, they do begin to sound warmer, smoother, and less extreme, which will be highly desirable for some of you.
Take note that I’m talking about the balanced output with high gain, as the 3.5mm output of the N3Pro is nowhere close to making the Supermoon sounding properly. The balanced output is rated at 800mW and it just doesn’t sound like it’s enough as well. However, because the Supermoon gets less technical sounding with this kind of output, you can actually use it for your advantage.
The latest All-In-One from Hifiman, A R2R balanced DAC with a powerful headphone amplifier, capable of getting the Susvara crazy loud. Let’s switch this baby to low gain and see how does it sound with the Supermoon.
First of all, the output power is huge and the Supermoon gets incredibly fast sounding. The detail retrieval and resolution are both top-notch, definitely sounding above what a $1500 IEM should be capable of doing. However, just like I said in the “sound” paragraph, with a powerful amplifier, the Supermoon gets highly technical sounding, which could end up being too tiring for some of you.
If you’re fine with a technical type of sound though, you’ll get rewarded with a technical performance that is just absolutely incredible for a $1500 IEM.
I’m putting this pairing here because the Angel is a perfect companion of the Supermoon when on the go. It delivers a lot of power for the Supermoon to shine, resulting in an incredibly detailed and clean sound.
Most DAPs won’t be able to drive the Supermoon to perfection, so you’ll have to find different options, and the Angel might be just the best pick you’ll have. Not only it’s hugely powerful, but at the same time it’s very clean and dynamic sounding, so this pairing might be the ultimate technical performance you can get in this price bracket in portable audio.
The bass is the most impressive aspect of the sound with this combo, as it is highly textured and hyper-fast sounding with a lot of rumble, introducing a proper weight to most recordings. If your favorite music is highly bass-dependant, the Supermoon is a brilliant choice.
Campfire Audio is back. Their newest Supermoon offers by far the best technical performance from their entire lineup. This planar-magnetic CIEM has a crazy resolution and detail retrieval that is definitely one of the best in its price bracket. Keep in mind though, that to achieve such an impressive technical performance, you’ll going to have to plug the Supermoon into an amplifier that has a lot of power.
You can actually underpower the Supermoon on purpose to get a warmer and smoother tone out of them. At the end of the day, when properly driven, the Supermoon is a highly technical sounding CIEM that will not make you fall asleep when listening to your favorite albums. This is made for fun, with its huge energy of the sound, and it will actually make for a great studio/mastering monitor.
Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as an accompanying equipment:
- Headphones – Campfire Audio Solaris 2020, Cayin Fantasy, Unique Melody MEST, Unique Melody MEXT, Hifiman Arya SE, Hifiman Susvara
- Sources– Cayin N3Pro, Hifiman EF400, EarMen Angel, EarMen Tradutto, Yulong Aurora, LittleDot MK III SE
Big thanks to Campfire Audio for providing the Supermoon for this review. I wasn’t paid or asked to say anything good or bad about this product, all of the above is just my personal, unbiased opinion. Campfire Audio hasn’t seen this review before publishing it.