Campfire Audio. They’ve been the subject of a number of reviews from me over the past few months. I’m happy and excited to be reviewing yet another product from them. It is the Campfire Audio Cascade. I wrote a first impressions review (you can read here) when I heard the Cascade at Can Jam NYC 2018. Now, I’m lucky enough to have a pair that I can spend some more time with to get to know more intimately. So how do the headphones perform under a microscope? Today I’ll let you know with this Campfire Audio Cascade headphones review.
The Case for Bass – Campfire Audio Cascade Headphones Review
In the Box
-Campfire Audio Cascade headphones
-Detachable cable (Campfire Audio Litz cable with cloth jacket and 3.5 mm connector)
-Acoustic dampeners and guide
-Semi-hard carrying case
-Campfire Audio pin
-User guide and warranty
-Frequency response: 5 Hz-33 kHz
-Sensitivity: 100 dB @ 1 V – 1 kHz
-Impedance: 38 ohms
-Type: over-ear, closed back
-Transducer: 42 mm dynamic driver
Design – Campfire Audio Cascade Headphones Review
The headband of the Campfire Audio Cascade is super durable. It is made of steel and was specifically made so that no sections are overstressed. The headband is foldable, as seen below. This is a huge deal to me because it seems to be one of the few audiophile level headphones that were specifically made with portability in mind. Its clamp on the ear is perfect for my head. It’s not too tight, but feels secure.
One downside of the headband is that its weight is too much for super long duration listening. I found my neck needed a break after about 1.5 hours of listening. For you, it could be more or less depending on your neck’s strength and/or sensitivity.
The rectangular shape of the earcups have a sort of vintage look to them. This shape aesthetically looks better on folks with bigger heads to me. Regardless, they are made of aluminum, so they are both durable and light. They swivel freely in their yolks and will work well for a wide variety of head and ear shapes and sizes.
The earpads of the Campfire Audio Cascade are coated in sheep skin. They’re soft and smooth to the touch and feel comfortable sitting on my head. They’re also thick enough so that my ear doesn’t come close to touching the earcup.
Their design is assymetrical so that the earcups sit at an angle to the ears. The side of the earpad closer to the back of the head is thicker and gets thinner as it gets closer to the front, much like an Audeze earpad.
The earpads attach to the earcup magnetically. Once the earpads are off, you can attach the acoustic dampeners to the back of them. The dampeners mostly affect the low and mid frequencies. The greater the number value, the more dampened the lows and mids will be.
Sound – Campfire Audio Cascade Headphones Review
As the title of this article suggests, the Campfire Audio Cascade has a lively low end. It is punchy, quick, and embellished. Kick drums, bass synths, and other big, low end heavy instruments feel bombastic and take up a lot of energy. For some genres this is a lot of fun. For others, it is worth experimenting with the various acoustic dampeners. Nevertheless, it sounds like there is a lot of space between the lows and the low mids, which helps them have a huge low end without clouding up the rest of the frequency spectrum.
The midrange of the Campfire Audio Cascade portrays instruments in a realistic way. Both synthesized and acoustic instruments are well represented, although my favorite instruments with these cans are distorted guitars. They sound both super thick and detailed. No small feat.
Vocals sit further back in the mix than they normally might. They never sound sibilant, but as a result of whatever scoop is happening, they have a little less energy and emphasis in the high-mids.
An emphasis in the high frequencies replenishes vocal detail. It sounds like there might be a high cut somewhere around 8 kHz but then a boost somewhere above it, like 10 kHz. As a result, vocals, horns, and cymbals sound airy without being harsh. However, cymbals and other harmonically-rich, high-frequency-heavy instruments sometimes sound less natural than they would without that scoop. However, their quick transient response and high frequency extension bring them to life. They make the deficiencies less noticeable.
The soundstage of the Campfire Audio Cascade is quite impressive for being a closed back set of cans. Their quick transient response across the frequency spectrum provides a sense of depth and width. The headphones also do a good job of placing highs and lows. Vocals sit a little bit higher in the soundstage than they do usually because of the headphones’ emphasis on the very high frequencies.
Overview – Campfire Audio Cascade Headphones Review
Overall, the Campfire Audio Cascade headphones are super fun! They have a huge low end which makes listening to genres that like all that low end (like hip-hop, EDM, and pop) sound especially good. The Cascade won’t be for those that want a flat response, but will be for those that want a high quality audiophile-leve bassy headphone. And although that bass response is a standout feature, it is also worth mentioning that their mids and highs are also detailed and pleasant sounding. However, it is worth noting that they headphones are a bit heavy for long duration listening, so it’s worth trying them for yourself to see how they feel on your particular head.
The Campfire Audio Cascade is available for the best price here: