Campfire Solaris vs Solaris 2020 Review

Reviewing the new improvements in the Solaris 2020

A few days ago, I compared last year’s Andromeda to the new, Andromeda 2020. And to my surprise, some noticeable improvements had been made. Can the same be said for the Solaris 2020? Besides the reduction in shell size, what audible changes in sound can we expect? And is the purported improvement in resolution significant enough to warrant an upgrade? Let’s find out in this Campfire Solaris vs Solaris 2020 Review.

How Much Better Does the Solaris 2020 Sound?

FIT

Perhaps the only complaint I ever heard about the Solaris was that the shells are just too damn big. Personally, I found that after listening to the Solaris for a while, the ridges on the shells started to grate on my ears. And certainly, for those with smaller ears, the original Solaris is a model I’d recommend avoiding. But I think Campfire has done an impressive job at making the Solaris 2020 smaller. Width, height and depth have all been reduced making the level of comfort inarguably better.

Campfire's Solaris 2019 vs the New Solaris 2020Comparing the Camofire Solaris to the Solaris 2020

Comparing the shell size of the Solaris to the Solaris 2020

The Solaris 2020 sports a smaller shell design

DESIGN

Apart from the size reduction, the Solaris 2020 now employs a solid body to house the internal components. And according to Campfire, this redesign means “more control of the interplay of the drivers, which results in a cleaner and more refined sound.” We’ll see if their claim holds up below.

Campfire Solaris 2020 Review

But the Solaris 2020 sound signature remains the same as the original. And if you’d like to see a detailed review of Solaris sound profile, read MajorHifi’s full review here.

The Super Litz cable is also the same as the first model apart from the new smoky grey color. And Campfire has decided to go with all black shells as an alternative to the more ostentatious gold faceplates of the original Solaris model.

Like the Andromeda, Campfire has also made the Solaris more P.C. They’ve swapped their large leather case for cork, an environmentally friendly material. The smaller cork case is sustainably harvested, so its extraction is harmless to the tree. (And the interior of the case is lined with faux wool, so no sheep have been harmed either).

The Solaris 2020 sports a new smaller cork case

SOUND

I have to admit, the Solaris 2020 has acquired some noticeable improvements. The overall level of control is better. And this is most apparent in the higher frequencies, when listening to percussion in particular. The Solaris 2020 displays less resonance. So, cymbals, for example, have less sizzle, making the listening experience easier on the ears. And in general, it’s a tighter, more dampened sound. If you listen to a lot of pop or jazz with heavy percussion, you’ll certainly welcome this change. In fact, I found the higher frequencies of the original Solaris to be slightly unforgiving on certain tracks. But the Solaris 2020 has made me rethink this sound signature.

Now, I’ve always been impressed by how clean and well separated the Solaris feels. In this respect, it is undoubtedly a big step up from the Andromeda. So, can it possibly get any cleaner with the Solaris 2020? Yes. And again, this is mostly due to the added level of tightness. Acoustic guitar strums in the low mids, for example, have less haze surrounding the notes, making for a tidier chord. In tracks with heavy instrument arrangements, the differences between the two models may be less apparent. But in more sparse mixes that involve acoustic instruments especially, the contrast is undeniable. Listening to a cello solo, for instance, the Solaris 2020 again displayed less bleeding in the timbre. As a result, the performance felt even more natural and nuanced than it did on the first model.

Solaris 2019 compared to the Solaris 2020

SUMMARY

Is the difference in resolution enough to warrant an upgrade? It depends how anal you are about your sound. Perfectionists beware: you may have a hard time resisting the purchase after doing an AB test. Of course, the other major factor is size. I know a lot of people who fell in love with the Solaris sound signature, but couldn’t commit to it because of the huge shells. So, for some, the more ergonomic fit may be reason enough to invest in the Solaris 2020. But certainly, if you’re a first time buyer vacillating between the Solaris 2020 and the original, the choice is a no brainer.

You can purchase both of these models for the best price here:

Audio 46

SPECS

Solaris

Solaris 2020

Frequency Response 5 – 20,000 Hz 5 – 20,000 Hz
Sensitivity 115 dB 94 dB
Impedance 10 Ohms 15.5 Ohms
Total Harmonic Distortion Less than 1% Less than 1%

 

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