October has been a big month for Campfire Audio, as the acclaimed IEM manufacturer has released is 2020 versions of the Dorado and Vega. Recently, I reviewed both the new Dorado and Vega and compared the former to its previous iteration. Now it’s time to compare how well the latest version of the Vega stacks up to its previous form. In my Vega 2020 review, I claimed that the Vega 2020 features one of Campfire’s more articulate and sophisticated sound signatures, but how does that compare with the quality of the original?
What You Get
Much like the Dorado, the original Vega was released before Campfire’s now-signature packaging style. Campfire’s newer models just get to pack more accessories and improved storage compared to their previous variants. However, you can’t exactly knock them for being the originals, before Campfire IEMs moved to their new packing orientation. You still get a variety of foam and silicone ear tips in different sizes, a cleaning tool, pouches and a pin in both models. The Vega 2020 just offers more tip options, and better quality storage pouches.
Look and Feel
For the most part, both IEMs share similar housing designs. As far as Campfire products are concerned, this is my preferred body design for their earphones. The Vega’s are smaller than the likes of the Andromeda or Solaris and feature a more ergonomic design. If you’re wearing foam ear tips, chances are they’ll be larger than the size of the Vega itself. The most immediate difference between the IEMs is the color.
The original Vega has this silver liquid alloy metal build, whereas the 2020 edition sports a solid white coloring. It’s hard to say which style I prefer. I think both earphones have a sleek, eye-catching aesthetic, but the glossier nature of the new Vega might give it a leg up in my book. However, it’s a minuscule difference most buyers aren’t going to pay much attention to, but when you put them side to side, I could see some making assumptions on which one is higher quality.
The other notable difference is in the spout. The Vega 2020 implements a longer nozzle compared to the original, and it’s a welcome improvement. I had no issues with the way the Vega fit, but the 2020 version is definitely the more stable option. There’s no lip, but each ear tip still fits well on the 2020s and rides better along with the shape of your ear.
Campfire stepped up the driver size for the Vega 2020, boast a 10mm dynamic system with a plasma-enhanced ADLC diaphragm. The original Vega supported an 8.5mm driver, also with an ADLC diaphragm, which at the time of release was a revolutionary IEM design. While the Vega 2020 uses a diamond-like carbon for its driver architecture, the original boasted a non-crystalline dynamic to support its design. It also features rare neodymium earth magnets, the strongest commercially available. So though the Vega 2020 has the bigger driver, maybe the originals will be the one to sustain the most longevity. Only more time will tell.
Both IEMs share a low impedance with the Vega supporting 17.5 Ohms, and the Vega 2020 featuring a little bit higher of a resistance with 36 Ohms. You’ll find 3.5mm connectors on both earphones, so they’ll work well with your laptop or smartphone. They both use Litz cables that have single pinned MMCX connectors.
When it comes to sound signature, Campfire never under-delivers, but they can still surprise you. I felt that the Vega 2020 was quite unique compared to other IEM selections from the same brand, in that it was less textured and more articulate than some of their other earphones. In terms of soundstage, I thought the new Vega made vast improvements to its layering and depth. I felt that the image started to leak out beyond the shell of the housing and almost presented a holographic sensation that greatly helped the immersive quality of these IEMs. While the original Vega still maintains a certain amount of width and accuracy, the newest version translates that sound with more headroom and space to make a more definitive analysis of sound.
If you like your IEMs to have a more pronounced bass, you might want to stick with the original Vega. The 2020 version contains a flatter, more natural bass response, which has its own qualities. It’s a cleaner response, but a less satisfying one if you’re looking to listen casually. The original Vega had a bigger low-end image, without sacrificing the details the new Vega also exhibits.
It’s a lot harder comparing the mid-range of both Vega’s since both contain a generous amount of clarity and resolution. However, the new Vega feels a bit more reserved in its textural qualities. Like the bass, the new Vega is much flatter in its response to mid-band information and shoots for a more reference type sound. The original Vega puts a little bit more emphasis on the lower and upper mids, giving the timbre a bit more of a lift for casual listeners.
Although the Vega 2020 so far has a less colorful sound signature than its previous iteration, they really make up for it in the highs. The 2020’s treble is always detailed, and at some points can prove quite airy. Both IEMs are very clear in this range and showcase the best separation and layering here. I think the naturalistic timbre of the highs in the Vega 2020 compliment the sound signature more than the originals does, though it still has some great balance.
Out of all the new Campfire Audio releases this year, the Vega’s are the most tricky to decide between. I don’t believe there’s an objective take on which one is the better all-around IEM, but they do very specific tasks better than the other. The articulation on the Vega 2020 plays better for more reference, detail-oriented listener, while the original has more pleasant textures for the more casual consumer. It should be noted that the Vega 2020 is significantly cheaper though, being priced at $899, while the original is $1299. Depending on what you want out of your listening experience will better determine which Vega is more worthwhile.
|Driver Type||Dynamic, 8.5mm||Dynamic, 10mm|
|Impedance||17.5 Ohms||36 Ohms|
|Cable||3.5 Litz MMCX||3.5 Litz MMCX|
The Campfire Vega IEMs are available at Audio46.com
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