Campire Audio Orbit Review: Awesome First Attempt!
This is Campfire Audio’s first foray into true wireless earbuds, and while there are some issues, overall, I’d say it’s a win for them. We have the Campfire Audio Orbit earbuds with us today, and they’re pretty darn good, if you can overlook some issues.
So, let’s talk design first. The packaging and unboxing experience was really quite impressive, and a nice touch to Campfire Audio’s space-themed wired products from before. I mean, Andromeda, Solaris, Equinox, yeah, pretty space-themed. But yes, this blue box is gorgeous, and there’s even an encouraging “nicely done” when you lift the flap. It’s been a while since I’ve been complimented for unboxing a product, so that was fun.
Inside, you get the foam and silicon ear tips, a very short charging cable, a cool little pin and a booklet for controls, pairing, reset and all that. And that’s about it. Oh, and the earbuds and case of course. So immediately, off the bat, I’m a bit conflicted about the colour choice that Campfire Audio has gone with. It’s a subdued beige/brown on the outside of the case, and I do like that you get a pop of lime green on the inside. But the earbuds themselves are the same beige/brown colour, which is pretty reminiscent of a hearing aid. Not the best idea I think.
The case, additionally, is kinda problematic. It’s made of plastic, and normally I wouldn’t nitpick because a lot of cases use plastic, but this plastic seems to be really soft. I placed it in my bag while going out, and when I got home, there was already a ding on the case. Not even a scuff, but an actual ding. Bit of a shame, really. It would be nice if stronger plastic was used here. Anyway, on to the earbuds.
It is a bit hard to take them out of the case, because of how the lid opens. So instead of having a finger on top and bottom, I end up having to remember to place my fingers on the sides to pull the earbuds out of the case instead. But the design certainly is in line with Campfire Audio’s standard look, and it’s pretty nice.
These come with silicon tips by default, but they’re not my favourite for a few reasons. First, I found that the silicon tips did not help with passive noise isolation very much, while the foam, of course, does a better job. Additionally, the stainless steel nozzles of these earbuds are rather short, resulting in a shallower insertion in the ear canal, meaning again, less noise blocked out and a less secure fit. With the silicon tips, I found myself constantly readjusting the earbuds as they would move out of place with the simplest motion or me opening my mouth. With the foam tips, it’s less of an issue. Regardless of whether you’re using foam tips or silicon tips, one problem remains. There’s no wax filter or guard, meaning all your earwax will eventually clog up the nozzle. No good solution here, except to either get third-party tips that have wax filters or just make it a point to clean the nozzles frequently.
Touch Controls & App
There are touch controls here, and it’s pretty straightforward. A single tap on either side controls play/pause, while on the left, a double tap skips tracks backwards, a triple tap pulls up the voice assistant and a long tap and hold lowers the volume. On the right, a double tap skips tracks forwards and a triple tap pulls up the voice assistant, while a long tap and hold raises the volume.
In the Campfire Audio app, you’re able to deactivate the touch controls, but not customise them, so that’s a bit of a bummer. The app itself is also pretty sparse, with battery levels, firmware updates and an EQ. The EQ is the weirdest part of the app by far. Instead of showing you or labelling the EQ presets by what they do, they’re listed by number, so 1 through 7 with custom slots. After a bit of tinkering, I found I preferred EQ 3 and 7, so yes. Honestly, I’d recommend just doing your own EQ instead if you know what you’d like to change.
Unfortunately, these earbuds do not come with ANC, which means you’re left with just passive noise isolation. And with the stock silicon tips, it’s not that great, so that’s also part of the reason why I switched to the foam ones provided. There are also other features like auto-pause and such that have been left out, which is a bit disappointing.
These are running on Bluetooth 5.2 with SBC, AAC and aptX support, and while connectivity was quite solid, I did encounter one incident where the right earbud seemed to be completely dead. This was solved by doing a factory reset though, and I haven’t encountered that problem again.
Battery-wise, these are rated for 8.5 hours in the earbuds with an additional 30 hours in the case, and that’s quite accurate. There’s also wireless charging in the case, which is great.
Mic quality is slightly below average in my opinion, there’s noticeable compression in my voice and it doesn’t do well with wind and background noise.
But now, we come to sound. Something that I noticed is that the earbuds actually get quite loud when paired with my iPhone. If you notice, my comfortable listening volume for these is actually 3 clicks above 0, which is very rare. Usually I go slightly under the midway mark, or around 40% of max volume. Anyway, that’s a good sign for people who like to listen to their music loudly.
As for the sound signature, these are using a 10mm dynamic driver and they quite remind me of the Campfire Audio Honeydew, which I’ve had the chance to listen to once briefly in the past. There’s a pretty big emphasis on the bass with a dip in the upper mids and a slight boost in the treble before it starts rolling off. I hesitate to call it a V-shaped signature because of the roll-off, but one thing that I can say for certain is that Campfire Audio is going for a fun, dynamic-sounding TWS and not something more analytical. And it works, kinda.
Most people don’t really get true wireless earbuds for reference listening. This works really well in the gym or just as a general pair of earbuds. Out of the box, you do get a bit of darkness in the mids and highs, although this is easily corrected via EQ. And I would absolutely recommend EQing these. I made sure to boost the treble a good amount to get the level of energy and air and sparkle that I personally prefer. And with EQ, these sound great. As expected from an audiophile brand, these are good, musical earbuds. Don’t expect superb detail retrieval or whatever out of these, but if you’re looking for something to jam to, these are great.
Soundstage-wise, it’s above average I’d say, with good left-right separation and layering. There’s also a good amount of depth and spaciousness so it doesn’t feel too cramped.
Price & Conclusion
At US$250 or S$379, it’s kinda neither here nor there. For people who like the Campfire Audio sound and want to get a pair of true wireless earbuds for convenience, this is great. For people who want other features, you’ll have to pony up a bit more cash to get those features with an equivalent sound quality I’d say. So if you can live without ANC and transparency and auto-pause, and you want a fun pair of earbuds that are lively and heavier on the bass, these are a good option. For a first try, Campfire Audio has done really well. I’m waiting on ANC for the next version, please.