Metal bolts. Metal fascias. Metal skeletons. Metal bonnets. Full metal jacket. Metal up yours, all the time. That, my friends, is Campfire Audio’s flagship earphone, Jupiter. In October I reviewed a pre-production model. From what I understood at the time, its cable, ear pieces, fit, and sound, were final. The body? By late summer, anyone’s guess was as good as mine.
Subject: Campfire Audio Jupiter
I toed the pessimistic line in my otherwise ballyhoo of a review:
I don’t believe that the final production earphone will have milled Campfire Audio logos. Currently, the CA logo lightly scores the body. The good news is that it won’t rub away like paint will, but on an earphone that otherwise is so industrial, it’s sort of a shame that the logo doesn’t go deep into the faceplate.
As it turns out, I was wrong. Jupiter got a new body. While more refined, it is just as badass as the original.
The differences are stark. Pre-production Jupiter's skin is smooth, and blemish-prone like weathered bare titanium. Production Jupiter’s is evenly sandblasted. Fine lines score it from top to bottom. Its bolts - now gold - bling out next to the body. To be honest, while they look great in photos, I prefer the previous bolts. Production Jupiter has also gained four of five facet faces. It is more angular, more industrial, and more evenly coloured.
Note: click images to expand
Finally, the CA is milled deep into the faceplate. There’s no way in Satan’s red lake that it will rub away. The other major cosmetic change is its naked leather case, of which I am an obvious fan.
Campfire Audio’s team have worked very hard. Ultra-alpha prototypes showed up in the early part of last year. Each time Caleb had me look at one, both its design, and its sound had firmed up, but in baby steps. Obviously, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My wife doesn’t appreciate Jupiter at all. She loves Lyra. I’m split. As a machinist poseur (my hands are baby soft) with an eye for effort, Jupiter stands out far ahead of most of the competition, not only in what ostensibly cost a small fortune to build, but in what appears to be ready for the long haul.
Personally, Orion’s sombre hues fit better my post The Cure wardrobe. But I’m a practical admirer of Jupiter’s function, sound, fit, and build quality, and what must have been a many-year's process of honing, of rejecting, of pushing.
I've known the lads and lasses behind Campfire Audio since my early days touching apps. But until last year, I had no idea how they defined perfection. As it turns out, they reject, reject, reject, and reject. If a design doesn't fully satisfy them they bin it. If they've something on market, you can be sure it has survived the long, tiring process, passed muster, and is ready for prime time.
Campfire Audio's case for naked leather
A little about the Campfire Audio Jupiter