July 14, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA
Headphones

Campfire Audio Moon Rover Review – Headfonics

Today, Thomas reviews the Campfire Audio Moon Rover, a new limited edition IEM with a 12mm planar driver and flame-treated titanium finish. It's priced at $1,199 and there are 888 units available.

Disclaimer: This sample unit was sent to me in exchange for our honest review. Headfonics is an independent website with no affiliate links or services. I would like to thank the team at Campfire audio for your support.

Click here to read more about Campfire audio products we previously covered on Headfonics.

Please note that this article follows our current trend. Scoring Guidelines which you can read in more detail here.

Campfire Audio Moon Rover Review Featured Image

Campfire Audio Moon Rover Review

Summary

If you can get your hands on a set of Campfire Audio Moon Rover planar IEMs, you'll enjoy an exceptionally well-tuned product with a unique look and durable build quality.

Swipe here to add your score to the team!27 votes

9

Advantages

Well-balanced and reference-style signature.

The titanium finish is robust and attractive.

Strong passive insulation

Cons

Midrange details are not as good as bass and treble.

Uncomfortable pressure buildup due to sealed housing.

Poor selection of stock advice.

Campfire Audio is a major player in the realm of special edition and limited release products. Over the years, it has produced countless unique headphones that only a lucky few can own and try out.

The Moon Rover is priced at $1199 and is the latest universal IEM in this long lineage. Like the Large moon Previously, the Moon Rover contained a single, planar magnetic driver, albeit of a new design.

This new 12mm driver offers one of Campfire Audio’s most balanced and neutral performances and is housed in a flame-treated titanium housing for an equally unique visual style. These qualities combine to make the Moon Rover something special.

Campfire Audio Moon Rover FaceplateCampfire Audio Moon Rover Faceplate

Characteristics

Immediately catching your eye are the cases that adopt the classic Campfire design language. Made of titanium, they have been hand-flame treated to give each example of the Moon Rover a unique and colorful exterior, accented by gold-plated screws and black steel mouthpieces.

The 12mm planar magnetic driver is a new design and produces a well-balanced reference-level signature that is unlike anything in their current lineup.

Additionally, the benefits of a planar driver design result in greater diaphragm stability for lower distortion, better speed and more control than a traditional domed dynamic driver.

Moon Rover comes with Campfire Audio's Super Smokey Litz cable. It has eight thick silver-plated copper strands inside a smokey grey jacket and works great as an everyday cable.

Moon Rover shells with campfire soundCampfire Audio Shells Moon Rover

Design

With the arrival of Campfire Audio’s re-engineering of its classic housing, it’s nice to see the original design return, albeit in limited numbers. Another nice surprise was the use of titanium, similar to 2020. Aramaking the Moon Rover lightweight and extremely durable.

Sharp angles make up the visual appeal of these shells. While previous iterations were known to cause hot spots and discomfort due to sharp edges, over the years they have been softened and refined without taking away from the visual appeal – changes that the Moon Rover benefits from.

The Moon Rover also benefits from the more robust design of the beryllium MMCX ports found on models like the Ara. With thicker sidewalls than the beryllium MMCX ports on the Chromatic series, I have a lot of confidence in the overall longevity.

Also helping with longevity are the black PVC stainless steel nozzles. With a beautiful, durable finish and vents built into the design, unlike plastic, fabric or metal mesh that protect drivers, it's a premium design worthy of a premium product.

The gold-plated trilobular screws are more striking. The black screws chosen for the Ara would also have looked good on the Moon Rover, but I'm not complaining either way.

Lastly, the build quality is top-notch. Every piece of the case fits together perfectly with the same tight tolerances we saw on the last round of models that used this particular design.

Nothing is out of alignment, there is no excess glue, and there are no imperfections to mar the experience. This is a well-designed, well-executed product that captures your attention and should stand the test of time.

Campfire Audio Moon Rover MouthpiecesMoon Rover Campfire Nozzles

Comfort and isolation

Thanks to the small size, low weight, and housing design that has been tweaked and refined over many years, the Moon Rover is a fairly comfortable headphone to wear for extended periods. It sits naturally in the outer ear, evenly distributing weight and preventing fatigue – features that are helped by the on-ear cable design.

While the design is reasonably low profile, it still sticks out far enough from your ear that lying on its side is uncomfortable. If you're also wearing a beanie or cap, you might find that it sometimes sticks out far enough to get caught, which could make the seal difficult.

One drawback I experienced in terms of comfort with the Moon Rover was the sealed casing. Since it does not contain ventilation holes, pressure builds up when inserted and can cause discomfort and even muffle sound.

Proper insertion techniques can prevent pressure buildup and resulting discomfort. Still, it's worth keeping in mind if you've had issues with sealed earbuds in the past.

On the other hand, this sealed design means that the Moon Rover’s passive isolation is well above average and in line with other sealed IEMs I’ve tested. This is a headphone I can use in most loud environments without the need to crank up the volume to counteract the bleed.

If you snap on the included Mushroom foam tips, things get even better, to the point where the Moon Rovers work almost as well as a basic pair of earplugs. That said, I wouldn't recommend them for that purpose, as they're not specifically designed for it.

Tips

The Moon Rover includes a generic set of silicone tips that many other Campfire Audio models come equipped with. They are also common to other brands.

These tips have a fairly large diameter and a material of moderate rigidity. While I find them suitable for bass-heavy headphones, the Moon Rovers don't fall into that category and as a result, I find these tips enhance the treble region and distort the balance.

While I don't recommend large diameter tips with the Moon Rover, there are alternative tips that sound better than the original set. ADV's Eartune Fidelity and JVC's basic wide bore tips do a better job of maintaining the impressive balance that the Moon Rover can exhibit.

SpinFits CP145 is my preferred pair for the Moon Rover. The medium diameter helps emphasize balanced tuning and the deeper setting ensures that deep bass can be heard and felt.

Smaller diameter tips, such as the Final Type E, Sony Hybrids, or SpinFit CP100, were also a solid choice, as they didn't affect the quality of the high ranges too much, while adding a touch of warmth to the mids and a small boost of emphasis in the lows. If you find the Moon Rover too bright or too clear in the lows, try any of these.

While I rarely use foam tips, I spent a little time with the Mushroom tips included in Campfire Audio when testing isolation. They sounded pretty similar to the SpinFit CP145 but with an added emphasis on bass.

Campfire Audio Moon Rover CableCable for the Moon Rover from Campfire Audio

serial cable

Campfire Audio has released some fantastic cables over the years. I first tried this cable at Solaris 2020 and I have become quite familiar with its pros and cons over the years.

The 90-degree angled 3.5mm connector is compact and features an extension that helps ensure it doesn’t interfere with your phone or DAP case. The strain relief is shorter and stiffer than I’d prefer, but the relative thickness of the cable makes up for it.

At the top of the cable is a small, Y-shaped metal slot. While it doesn't have any sort of strain relief, there is a plastic cinch at the top that helps provide a more secure fit, though it doesn't help reduce cable noise.

Preformed ear guides lead to beryllium copper MMCX ports. They have an aggressive angle and enough rigidity to be comfortable, but keep the cable in place during vigorous movements.

The smoked case is fairly flexible, but retains some memory of bends and twists and never fully straightens out. Cable noise is present at a persistent but moderate level and is not reduced by chin adjustment, which is unusual.

Overall, this is a good cable for everyday use, and despite minimal strain relief, it has proven to be durable over the long term. While there are some areas for improvement, they are all fairly minor and none are deal breakers as it stands.

Campfire Audio Moon Rover AccessoriesCampfire Audio Moon Rover Accessories

Packaging and accessories

The Moon Rover arrives in a unique and eye-catching package whose design and theme remind me of previous Campfire Audio releases.

The wide, squat case is adorned with a psychedelic image of the moon (trypophobia warning!) and stars with the name Moon Rover in bold letters front and center.

Around the sides, bottom, and interior is a wealth of writing that provides information about the product: specifications, instructions for use, warranty details, and more.

I appreciate that Campfire Audio typically provides these details scattered throughout the packaging rather than through additional leaflets that are likely to get lost and create additional waste.

Once you've had time to explore and appreciate the elegant box, the true essence of the experience will be ready for you. While you won't receive a huge amount of stuff, what you are provided meets the high standards set by previous products from the brand.

The following accessories are included:

  • Moon Rover Headphones
  • Super Smokey Litz Cable with 3.5mm Single End Termination
  • Handmade “dimensional folding” waxed leather case
  • Marshmallow foam tips s/m/l
  • Wide Gauge Silicone Tips S/M/L
  • Campfire Audio Pin
  • Microfiber clothing
  • cleaning tool
  • Breezy Micro black bag

This comprehensive accessory kit contains some standout items, specifically the leather case and cable. At this price point, not limited to Campfire Audio, I would like to see a greater variety of ear pads included.

Click to page 2 below for my sound impressions and recommended pairings.

Click on page 3 below to see my selected comparisons.

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