The Cascade is an impressive debut in the over-ear space. It's a closed back with beryllium dynamic drivers, and the visceral impact is among the very best I've heard at any price. Look for our upcoming review. The entry level Comet is a single balanced armature IEM with a well-balanced sound signature. It was light and fast sonically, a nice buoyant counter punch to some of the top performers at its $199 price like the dense sounding 1MORE Quad Driver IEMs.
The new Campfire Audio flagship IEM, Atlas, was one of my very favorite listens of the show. It utilizes a single dynamic driver, made from ADLC, which is synthetic diamond substrate, like the former flagship Campfire Audio Vega I reviewed. Atlas pushes the Vega's technology to the max and increases the driver size from 8.5mm to 10mm. From what I could tell, Atlas seemed to offer more balance, detail and even bigger impact compared to Vega. The bass is absolutely exceptional here, and quite possibly the best I've heard from any IEM, especially in terms of being massive and visceral. Atlas begins shipping May first.
The Blu MkII is the new element in the equation, a CD player that is much more than a CD player. The Blu MKII features Chord's M-Scaler technology, which when combined with the DAVE, offers a 1+ million tap interpolation filter. In layman's terms, calling it "a ton of resolution" is an understatement of the most epic proportions. Listening on this combo was an "I might need to change my underwear" type of moment. The resolution was as close to reach-out-and-touch-the-music reality as I've heard. Timbre was rich, organic and emotionally riveting. Unparalleled transparency and imaging made the music hauntingly real. In my opinion, this was one of the most stunning end-game audio rigs I've ever heard.
Next up was the Vantage ($1,199). This three-driver design had a much different sound – very warm and smooth. Chilled out and laid back all the way. In my opinion, this one was a little more potentially divisive than the Bravado – some people will see it as smooth and forgiving, while others may find it to be dull and warmed over. I didn't like this one as much as the others for my own tastes, personally, but people who like a very warm sound and have a bit of treble sensitivity are probably going to be quite fond of it.
Providing a solid counterpunch to the Vantage is the Nemesis ($1,599). This five-driver design has two bass, one midrange, and two treble drivers. The result is a super engaging sound with big bass and a perfect little dab of sparkle up top for excitement. The midrange absolutely oozed with soul. Nemesis was ultra clear and cohesive compared to the two models below it in the lineup. An extremely impressive entry.
Finally, the Legend X ($2,299) features a seven-driver design with a 10-way crossover. Like the Nemesis, the midrange on the Legend X was truly exceptional, walking the tightrope to perform the rare act of sounding both rich and sweet at the same time. Bass slammed with exceptional power and treble was sparkly and detailed. These top two models really impressed me quite a bit. Refreshing an entire lineup is a tall task, so congratulations to Jack Vang and co. for bringing out a truly impressive line.
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