Campfire Audio’s new Satsuma IEM further expands their more moderately priced line of high fidelity listening devices at $199. Along the Honeydew, the Satsuma is another brightly colored IEM that makes a strong impression before you’ve even put it on. I’ve heard mostly higher priced IEMs from Campfire, so it was interesting diving into what seems to be another stab from the company at widening their reach.
Look and Feel
These have a nice tangerine color and would be a great summertime look, or perhaps a dash of color in the winter. Their brighter color is balanced out by a glossy finish and geometric shape. Its more sculpted edges are well positioned to not rub up against your ears and create any discomfort. I also found that their firm fit created impressive sound isolation.
The Satsuma use a 3D printed acoustic chamber, meant to improve performance of its ported balanced armature driver. They use a silver plated copper Litz cable, and have an impedance of 46.4 Ohms and a frequency response of 5Hz – 18kHz.
The Soundstage on the Satsuma does a good job of creating sparing width, not casting every element outwards and leaving the center of the mix more unmoved. Wider elements like background vocals, reverb, or any panned production will be given extra space to play around with its anchored central image. Overall, these have a standard soundstage for an IEM, with some bonus ear candy on the outskirts.
The Satsuma specify more in the 64Hz + range in their low end than they do in the sub frequencies. While some sub presence is still audible, further up the spectrum gets the brunt of their low end emphasis. These have a punchy, tight low end, with some light rumble. They do great on the attack of kick drums and with taming overly-heavy basslines. The bass range of these felt overall more percussive and impactful than it did booming or vibrating.
These have a much more present high mid range than they do low mid range. Their warm, balanced low mids are contrasted by their extenuated high mids, which get somewhat resonant at the 2-4kHz range. Those who are mid sensitive should be mindful of this boost, but listeners who enjoy some snappier high mids will appreciate the detail retrieval and presence offered by the Sutsama. The mid-range on these excels in its intricacy and cleanliness, but is not for the faint of ear.
The high end on the Satsuma is given definite presence but is far from being very intense. The 8-16kHz range is not emphasized to the point of creating any shine, and definitely takes a backseat to their midrange. If you want a glossy sound, these focus their detail retrieval in the mid range more than they do in a high end-sheen. The high end on these is definitely not looking to grab your attention, and may even feel slightly dark to some. I found the warmth and smoothness to be where this understated high end excelled.
These feel like a competitive IEM in their price range that will serve a fairly particular group of listeners with their more specified sound. Though these do have an individualistic character, their sound signature does not feel inherently polarizing. I could see these being great for onstage use for keys, vocals, guitars, and horns—anything that needs that midrange boost and added edge. These could also just as well work for the casual listener, but will not be for those who want extreme transparency.
• Wide soundstage
• Highly defined, detailed
• Cool look
• Plastic shell
• Extended midrange may feel harsh to some
• Bass could use slightly more presence
You can purchase the Campfire Satsuma at Audio46