Campfire Vega 2020 – Smooth Basshead Love
Vega 2020 is the latest edition of a titanic IEM, and it is priced at 900 USD. It has one Full Range Dynamic Driver, with a 10 mm diaphragm, and a ceramic housing + stainless steel bores. The main competitors I’ll be comparing it with will be Campfire Dorado 2020 (this question popped up more than I can remember), along with iBasso IT07, IMR Opus Mia, Final Audio A8000, and Meze Rai Penta.
Campfire Audio is a full blown American company making audio, and if there’s something I love about USA-based companies that work on music, it is their reliability. The Campfire Atlas I reviewed years ago is still alive and kicking, and will most probably be alive in 2030 as well. Most Campfire products are not cheap by any means, and are presented in style with a good quality. If you ever have a problem with their IEMs, they are one of the most solid companies when it comes to offering fixes, and I can say with certainty that given the huge number of their IEMs I see even in Romania, they are one of the most popular brands of high-end audio in the entire world.
It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Campfire Audio, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. I’d like to thank Campfire Audio for providing the sample for this review. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it. The purpose of this review is to help those interested in Campfire Vega 2020 find their next music companion.
First things first, let’s get the packaging out of the way:
Campfire audio is one of those companies that doesn’t shy away from offering an entirely unique unboxing and package experience. They employ the highest quality of materials, and they include Final Audio tips, along with Foamies with their IEMs. They also have a really glamorous vintage carrying case that’s green in color, and they have a high-quality yet stealthy looking cable included with Vega 2020.
The package is basically the same as the one included with Dorado 2020, but with a different color scheme this time around. Vega 2020 also has a different color for the IEMs shells, although I would’ve colored them the other way around, Vega 2020 Black, as it is a bit warmer and smoother, and Dorado 2020 in white, if the decision was up to me.
For the price, the package is excellent as long as you don’t need and want balanced cables. Aftermarket balanced cables are usually still better than the default modular IEMs come with, so if you really want an upgrade, something like the FiiO LC-4.4D Silver Cable would work well.
When looking at the Vega 2020, you’re basically looking at the same IEM as the Dorado2020, but Vega has a different tech inside. We are looking at a single Dynamic Driver IEM with a 10mm ADLC Driver, which is basically an amorphous diamond-like carbon coating. Lightweight and rigid driver membranes usually means very low distortions but good clarity and stability for the sound. They did manage to get rid of the Flex I’ve noted on the Atlas, and I’m still as excited about Campfire Audio as I was when filming the video review for it.
The shape of the IEM has also improved greatly, compared to the original vega, and now it is one of the most ergonomic IEMs you can find out there. There’s no comparison between the current Vega 2020 and even older Campfire IEMs like Andromeda, which sounded really good, but were not as ergonomic. Ceramic Shells are usually some of the best and most recommended solutions for audio, and some companies that caught up on this are trying to make ceramic cups for headphones too. The cable for it comes in Single Ended format only, and it is really flexible, but does not look very glamorous. As we are talking about an IEM with high quality, clicky MMCX connectors, you can replace the cable with any aftermarket you can dream of.
In all honesty, the wearing comfort is superb, with a medium – deep fit, but based on the really comfy Final tips. Once you shove in the Vega 2020, you forget you’re wearing them. There’s no driver flex, and thanks to the over-the-ear design, no microphonic / cable noise either. Even better, it offers as much as 25 dB of passive noise isolation, and is comparable with headphones that have active noise cancelling, like the Momentum series from Sennheiser. This being said, the passive noise isolation is more effective in the higher and medium registers, while louder bass notes won’t be isolated as well.
The leakage is low, and you could blast music through the Vega 2020 without bothering those around you much. The drive factor is very good, and it is really easy to drive, not very prone to hiss, and doesn’t need a specific source to sound good. I am able to use my Xiaomi Black Shark 4 smartphone, without any distortion, and I’m able to bring the volume to 55 at maximum on the Lotoo Paw 6000.
Portable DAC/AMPs like FiiO BTR5 will work just as well, and you could get away with midrange DAPs like Shanling M2X and iBasso DX160, as Vega 2020 does not scale very much with the source. This is a positive thing, as you’ll be able to enjoy them a lot even if you go for a jog / run.
The sonics of Vega 2020 are exceptional, and while I’ve been far more impressed with Dorado 2020 while filming the video reviews for both (they were done pretty close to each other chronologically), I am able to appreciate the Vega 2020 much more while listening and writing about it. They also had more time to settle, and for me to get used to their presentation so I can describe it more accurately. Vega 2020 is the kind of lush, deep and full sounding IEMs. They are deep, full, clean, crisp, detailed, really well controlled, bassy, impactful, dynamic and the treble is pretty open and sparkly. Basically slightly V-Shaped, or L-Shaped, depending on how sensitive you are to treble. Even for those really sensitive to treble, Vega 2020 couldn’t offend, and is more politically correct than I have to be while writing public messages.
Shifting the focus to the treble and low end entirely doesn’t mean that they lack treble, but that the treble is interesting all while being fairly smooth and easy to listen to. To be honest, I’ve been a bit stressed recently, as I’m finally switching my car from the old and rusty Dacia Logan to something new, and indulging in Vega 2020 is a totally pleasing experience that I couldn’t appreciate quite as much before.
The bass of Vega 2020 is the focus of their sound, and it is deep, clean, controlled, yet large and impactful. They can totally reach as low as the Lowest Audible BASS, or 20 Hz as it is typical to call it. The bass is better than that of Dorado 2020 in volume and overall depth, but it also manages to stay clear of darkening the midrange too much. In fact, Vega 2020 is probably the cleanest and sharpest IEM with a strong and lush sound. It reminds me of how Accoustine HS1650CU handles the bass, lush and deep, but Accoustune doesn’t manage to keep the midrange as snappy, quick and clean, in relation to the large and lush bass.
In fact, with Rap, Pop, EDM and even Rock, I would say that there’s nothing out there that made me appreciate bass quite as much. Well, there is the IMR Opus Mia that is clean and clear too, Vega 2020 is more controlled at very loud volumes, with more actual bass and less distortions. The bass character is natural, not too fluid and not too dry, keeping the Vega 2020 snappy and quick to react when powered by Metal music, but also lush and slow when singing some Jazz and not too textured to be like a bag of shattered chips.
The midrange of the Vega 2020 is excellent, to the point where I am appreciating their sound for both the bass and the midrange. The mids are so clean and clear, that I love female and male voices, but can also appreciate instrumentals with Vega 2020. They lack the typical upper midrange emphasis that most IEMs have, so the midrange sounds extremely smooth and pleasing, plus it is fatigue-free. I love the presentation when I’m tired or want something to relax to, rather than something that’s full-time exciting. Where Vega 2020 is really revealing of the bass and how properly it was recorded / mastered, it is really light and forgiving with the midrange and treble, and even bright and dissonant music is simply enjoyable and fun. For someone who has more than half of a collection made of metal and aggressive music, I would say that Vega 2020 is a blessing, and I’m able to enjoy songs I would otherwise never approach unless I had five cups of coffee that day.
The treble of Vega 2020 is smooth, but detailed and airy. It leaves enough space for the music to breathe and creates a natural soundstage, with excellent instrument separation, where every sound is really well defined. This is quite different from Xelento, which had a really short aggressive roll-off that created something of a low fidelity sound with far too little treble unless you hated the highs. Vega 2020 is simply smooth, and relaxed, but doesn’t forget the treble like a busy parent forgets their child while buying groceries. Especially combined with the sweeter midrange, female voices are sweet, but never intrusive, and after a really hard day, Vega 2020 is once again a true blessing.
The dynamics of Vega 2020 are also surprisingly good and create a really natural and honest sound that despite being relaxed, can be punchy and interesting rather than bland and boring. I am surprised by this, but one of the music styles that I am enjoying the most with Vega 2020 is anime and game music, which is typically mastered to be quite bright and can be fatiguing, while Vega 2020 keeps all the information in those songs, keeps all the sweetness, but turns off the harshness and sibilance from songs that are otherwise unbearable.
I honestly do think that Vega 2020 makes a good counter for Dorado 2020. Dorado 2020 is really energetic, happy and enjoyable for detail and has a slight analytic side, while Vega 2020 is beautifully musical, full and lush, giving the listener a really different presentation of the same song. This is why I decided to do a full comparison between vega 2020 and Dorado 2020, but also Beyerdynamic Xelento, Final Audio A8000, IMR Opus Mia, Meze Rai Penta and iBasso IT07. To add this many comparisons I decided to skip the pairings, as I’ve done with most of my recent reviews. Unless something is extremely picky and needs very specific sources, the usual recommendation is to get a high quality source that sounds good, but is also ergonomic and useful to you.
For example, DX300 is one of the best DAPs you could get right now, and probably the one I recommended the most over the past few months, and the one people have been the most thrilled with. But Vega 2020 sounds great with the softer Lotoo Paw 6000. This won’t stop them being great with FiiO M11 PRO, and Shanling M2X either.
Campfire Vega 2020 vs Beyerdynamic Xelento (900 USD vs 900 USD) – It is quite rare that something gains as much traction and fans as the Xelento, especially when it is an IEM rather than a headphone. Xelento is surprisingly good, or at least was, at the moment it was released. If there is one thing that Beyerdynamic usually left behind, that was the midrange, and most of their models, while having an excellent performance, tend to have a coloration one way or another. This is the case with Xelento too, which is full, thick, lush, smooth, extremely smooth and buttery smooth. Vega 2020 actually has less bass than Xelento, with more focus on a natural, full and well-rounded sound, being more musical and more detailed, with better overall refinement. This bothered me quite a bit with Xelento, as when reviewing it, I knew it had less detail than many competitors, or at least the details were much more recessed and harder to observe. Vega 2020 does not suffer from this, and manages to have that lush and full sound, with a beautiful bass, all while having a natural midrange, and a smoother treble. The treble rolloff simply happens later on Vega 2020, making them much more versatile for a wide selection of music, and making them much easier to recommend to a basshead who enjoys everything else also.
Campfire Vega 2020 vs Campfire Dorado 2020 (900 USD vs 1100 USD) – When you want to go Campfire, but are caught between their two top models, which not only look but also are built almost the same, you are in a pinch. Please take all my opinions with a pinch of salt always, as I’m just one person writing off my honest impressions, and they may not suit everyone, so if you find that we generally match in opinion, my opinions may match with yours, while if you generally don’t agree with me, you could enjoy the photo work and comedic style I’m trying to write in, more, than the actual impressions. The video content is for everyone, I always assume my youtube video reviews are enjoyable for absolutely everyone. Back to Dorado 2020 vs Vega 2020, I personally like Dorado 2020 better for metal and rock, as it is a bit more analytic, having some of that beautiful bass on Vega 2020, but a more peppy top end. On the other hand, for most bass-heavy music, where I want to simply enjoy the music with no disruptions, Vega 2020 is smoother, fuller, and more rounded, making a better IEM to relax to and have a guilty pleasure for. In fact, despite my mind telling me that I like Dorado 2020, my heart sings more with Vega 2020, as I can relax more while listening to them.
Campfire Vega 2020 vs Final Audio A8000 (900 USD vs 2000 USD) – It may seem unfair to compare Vega 2020 to something more than twice as pricey, but I came to know that once you cross a certain threshold, you really consider all options and not just those that suit your current budget. The thing with Final A8000 is that it is detailed, clean, crisp and precise. Vega 2020 has everything that A8000 doesn’t, a full, deep and lush bass, a smooth and natural sound, and a punchy sound. The A8000 has everything that Vega 2020 hasn’t, an analytic and precise sound, lots of details, and a really resolute sound. They compliment each other so well, that you almost need to have both. There are Campfire IEMs that have similar signatures to A8000 too. For most practical reasons, I would generally say I’m using Vega 2020 more, as most of my music is rather poorly recorded, with tons of harsh voices and sibilant up tones, so Vega 2020 makes everything more enjoyable, smoother, and more natural. A8000 is like that strongest liquor you have and present to your friends, but never really drink in your spare time or at a party. In the meanwhile, Vega 2020 is like that sweet and expensive drink you really like and always go to, to have a really awesome night. The raw precision of A8000 is something unique, and even for me it can be exciting often, but Vega 2020 is there when I just want some good clean fun and some bass.
Campfire Vega 2020 vs IMR Opus Mia (900 USD vs 700 USD) – Although it is cheaper, Opus Mia promises and delivers quite a bit of punch for the price, and this is literally. They are probably the best basshead IEM that used to be available out there for the around 700 USD price point, and this is just for the raw bass performance, impact and depth. Vega 2020 is like an upgrade from the Opus Mia in terms of overall resolution, refinement and control, and while Opus Mia is not underwhelming in any way, Vega 2020 has a similar overall bass quantity, but it is presented in a more natural fashion. Vega 2020 can withstand more EQ, and can be tweaked more, while for Opus Mia you need to rely on the physical tricks to fine tune them. I prefer the comfort of Vega 2020, as they are smaller, have a deeper fit and feel more secure in my ears. For someone with larger ears, both should fit well. Vega 2020 will be smoother, more relaxed, more forgiving and less hot up top, so it should be right up your alley if Opus Mia had an awesome bass, but was too much otherwise for you.
Campfire Vega 2020 vs Meze Rai Penta (900 USD vs 1300 USD) – The comfort is actually better on Vega 2020. Rai Penta is a bit more open and has a shallower insertion with much less passive noise isolation, and considerably more leakage, so if you need your IEM to be more open, Penta mai be a good option. The sound may actually seem similar when reading my description of the two, so I want to make it very clear that Vega 2020 is a basshead IEM with a delightful and full sounding bass, a clean and crisp midrange, and a fairly detailed treble. Rai Penta is far more smooth and rolled off, having less resolution and less detail. The bass of Rai Penta is not as deep, full or impactful, but it is even more forgiving and smoother than Vega 2020. For most practical reasons, I would generally go for Vega 2020, which I find really pleasing sonically, with excellent extension both ways, and which is more impactful, more detailed, and more dynamic. Rai Penta for smoothness, Vega 2020 for kicks.
Campfire Vega 2020 vs iBasso IT07 (900 USD vs 900 USD) – Sometimes we need to make the hardest comparisons, and those two IEMS actually go for a similar tuning, although while taking a closer look at both, there are some fine differences between them. The comfort is mostly equal, with IT07 being marginally larger and having a slightly more shallow fit, great for those who don’t like normal and deep fitting IEMS. The overall clarity is actually comparable, with IT07 having more edge in the midrange, and a slightly harder expression in the treble, while Vega 2020 has a smoother overall sound with a fuller, deeper, larger and heavier bass. The detail levels are excellent for both, although I would consider the IT07 to be slightly more detailed and more resolute, while Vega 2020 is clearly more impactful. Dynamics are mostly equal between them. It would be hard to say that either is a true winner here, but Vega 2020 is much more of a basshead IEM and appeals to my guilty pleasures, while IT07 is a more natural sounding IEM that appeals more to my mature side, and can create a more natural image with Jazz and acoustic music. You should be happy with either, but if you know you thirst for bass, Vega 2020 would be more recommended out of those two.
Value and Conclusion
After so many comparisons I can say for sure that Vega 2020 has an excellent value, and will be a reason to get up and shine every day. They have a reliable build quality, excellent comfort and a soothing, high quality sound too. It is quite rare that I like two different IEMs so much, as I do with Vega 2020 and Dorado 2020, considering their are made by the same company.
In fact, an even more rare event, I will be adding Vega 2020 to Audiophile-Heaven’s Hall Of Fame, as I decided this when reaching the end of today’s review. I usually eye up and decide what makes it to the top and to the Fame Hall way before starting to write the actual review, but vega 2020 convinced me it also deserves a place there, so let’s give to the Caesar what belongs to the Cesar.
If you’re looking for a comfortable IEM with a high-quality sound, if you love a unique, vintage yet glamorous package, and if you like a smoother, lush and fuller sound, with excellent resolution, and a natural soundstage, but big and deep bass, the Vega 2020 from Campfire is one of the IEMs I would recommend the most to you right now.
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Full Playlist used for this review
We listened to more songs than those named in this playlist, but those are excellent for identifying a sonic signature. PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality are all revealed by those songs. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music!
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