Campfire Polaris Versus Audio-Technica ATH-LS400iS Review

Campfire Polaris Versus Audio-Technica ATH-LS400iS Review

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
Cleaning tool
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.

Lows

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.

Mids

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.

Highs

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.

Soundstage

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

Amazon: Campfire Audio Polaris Hybrid In-Ear Headphones

Audio 46: Audio-Technica ATH-LS400iS In-Ear Headphones

Amazon: Audio-Technica ATH-LS400iS In-Ear Quad Armature Driver Headphones with In-Line Mic & Control

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