You’re about to spend about 600 bucks. Deep breath. Should you go for the well-established Audio-Technica, which is considered one of the best selling, best value for money over-ear headphone brands? Or might you opt for the younger, hipper Campfire, which is blowing away audiophiles with it’s in-ear headphone line? Let’s try to make the decision a little easier in this Campfire Polaris Versus Audio-Technica ATH-LS400iS Review.
Campfire Polaris Versus Audio-Technica ATH-LS400iS Review
IN the BOX – Campfire Polaris Versus Audio-Technica ATH-LS400iS Review
|Campfire Audio Polaris||Audio-Technica ATH-LS400iS|
|Detachable cable||Detachable Cable|
|Zippered hard shell carrying case||Zippered Hard shell carrying case|
|Campfire Audio pin|
|3 Pairs SPINFIT single bore silicone tips|
|3 Pairs of Campfire Audio foam tips|
|3 Pairs silicone single bore tips||3 Pairs of silicone tips|
FIT and DESIGN – Campfire Polaris Versus Audio-Technica ATH-LS400iS Review
Both headphones use a memory wire (around the ear) to help keep the ear buds secure, and they seal easily. The ATH-LS400iS was a little faster to fit in the ear. But they both feel pretty light, and weigh about the same.
If I had to guess which headphone was more durable, it would be the Polaris. The top of it is made of Cerakote, which is a thin ceramic coating that resists corrosion and scratches. Campfire combines this material with anodized shell (i.e.aluminum with a protective oxide layer). Fancy pants! Poor ATH-LS400iS is made of plastic. But hey, plastic can be stronger than some types of steel, so, don’t let this stop you. Both have a detachable cable, but the ATH-LS400iS also includes a mic/remote.
The ATH-LS400 has quad balanced armature drivers. The Campfire Polaris has dual drivers; a dynamic driver combined with a balanced armature driver. More drivers don’t necessarily mean better sound, so don’t let this detail influence your decision either. As for looks, I’d go for the Polaris.
SOUND – Campfire Polaris Versus Audio-Technica ATH-LS400iS Review
It’s the lows versus the highs. The ATH-LS400iS dedicates two of four drivers to it’s lower frequencies, producing a powerful lower range sound. Conversely, the Polaris is designed produce extended highs and solid definition. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty.
The ATH-LS400iS has some serious bass. It’s heavy, warm and thumpin’. It’s also pretty clear. The bass on the Polaris is a little more transparent, but doesn’t come close to the depth of the ATH-LS400iS. If you’re a fan of pop, hip-hop or EDM, you’ll definitely enjoy the Audio Technica more.
Neither of these headphones have really full mids. The Polaris has a stronger mid-range than the ATH-LS400iS, and if you love a full sounding rock anthem, you’ll enjoy the Polaris more. The Polaris also has a lot more clarity in this range, making the ATH-LS400is sound almost muddy in comparison. As far as transient response goes, the Polaris takes the cake. Audio Technica has never been into big mids, but the ATH-LS400iS seems to sound a little fuller than other Audio-Technica’s I’ve tried. And if you’re big into Audio-Technica’s sound signature, you shouldn’t be disappointed.
The Polaris is too sharp for me. If you enjoy listening at louder volumes, the highs might be harsh on your ears. The ATH-LS400iS is a little softer and rounder, though I heard some sibilance in certain songs. But I listened to some of Mozart’s Requiem, and the strings and choirs were more enjoyable on the ATH-LS400iS. Still, it terms of separation, the Polaris wins.
The soundstage on the ATH-LS400iS is a bit more spacious than the Polaris, but the imaging is about the same. In live recordings, the ATH-LS400iS produces a grandness that’s missing in the Polaris.
SUMMARY – Campfire Polaris Versus Audio-Technica ATH-LS400iS Review
The ATH-LS400iS and the Polaris are good headphones if you ignore the price. But I have to say, for 600 bucks, I’m not a huge fan of either headphones. They’re just so expensive for the quality of sound they produce. Neither of them are extremely well balanced. The ATH-LS400iS lacks a little transparency, and the highs on the Polaris are too pronounced. Still, overall, I would choose the ATH-LS400iS over the Polaris. I’m usually a Campfire fan, but the Polaris isn’t my favorite. On this one, I’m going to have to go with Audio-Technica.
You can find these headphones for the best price at:
Audio 46: Campfire Audio Polaris In-Ear Headphones
SPECIFICATIONS – Campfire Polaris Versus Audio-Technica ATH-LS400iS Review
|Campfire Polaris||Audio-Technica ATH-LS400iS|
|Frequency Response||20 Hz – 20 kHz||15 Hz – 20 kHz|
|Sensitivity||105 dB||97.5 dB|
|Impedance||20 Ohms||16.8 Ohms|