Last month, we introduced you to the Campfire Audio Honeydew (and it’s twin, the Satsuma). While I’ve gone way away from wires and am all about the bluetooth noise cancelling, I will admit to being curious about what a set of in ear monitors (IEMs) offer. So, we had a chat with the brand, and got a pair of the Campfire Audio Honeydew in for review.
When you first open up the Campfire Audio Honeydew packaging, you’re greeted by a very compact package. That small zipper case actually belies all of the bits that you receive. Along with the earbuds and cabling, you’ve got a variety of ear tips (both the standard silicone ones, as well as squishy foam) and a small tool that is used for gently cleaning out the earbuds. In my experience, that’s key in keeping audio quality of in-ear headphones up to spec, and it’s a shame more brands don’t include something like that.
The first big decision I had to make with the Campfire Audio Honeydew was what eartips I wanted to use. I’ve always been curious out the foam style, so it was a little bit of trial and error to find the fit that I wanted, and learning how to use those. Eventually, I just realized a little squish-and-roll between the fingers before popping them into my ears worked well (though, after a quick removal to answer a question, I was able to easily slip it back into my ear).
So, why the foam ear tips? Well, from everything I had read, they actually do a better job (and a more comfortable one) holding the earbuds in your ear. Past that, the foam acts as another layer of noise isolation, boosting the passive noise cancelling of whatever earbuds (or IEMs) they’re attached to. Once I popped the Campfire Audio Honeydew in, I was impressed by how well a job those foam tips did. No movement in my ears (though, the case placement and cabling helps there), and the noise blocking was superb. Not quite as good as active noise cancelling, but good enough that I had to pull one IEM out in order to hear what someone was saying to me.
Now, let’s talk about the cabling on the Campfire Audio Honeydew. An audio purist will tell you wired is better quality than wireless, so you’re upping the game here. Additionally, the wires can be disconnected from the body of the IEMs, meaning that you can replace the cabling if it should somehow become damaged, without needing to replace the actual earbud portion of things. The cables also help position the headphones and hold them in place in your ears.
How so? Well, by some loops that are built with some extra wirewrap, basically. They form small hooks that go over the top of your ear and then behind, much like the arms of a pair of glasses. This is a change from your run-of-the-mill earbuds, which just let the wire drop straight down. I found the loops helped hold things in place, and also had another unexpected side benefit. Anyone who’s moved around with earbuds in know the unappreciated sound you get from the cord moving around and bouncing off your chest. With the Campfire Audio Honeydew, that did not happen. I’m not sure if it’s because the loop going behind your ears prevents the cord noise, or that the vibrations are stopped by your ear (before they hit the IEM case), but the fact was, I did not notice extra cord noise. So, hey, bonus in our book.
So, that just leave one more question – how do the Campfire Audio Honeydew actually sound? I plugged them into my iPhone (with a Lightning adapter) and put them to the test while cleaning up the basement. For podcasts, audio was crisp and clear. With music, things came through cleanly, letting you hear a good bit of the sound the musician intended. These are not as bass heavy as your favorite pair of on-ear headphones, but that’s more a factor of driver size than anything. Bass was there, of course, just in a bit more balance with the other frequencies than you might be accustomed to.
Coming in at $249, the Campfire Audio Honeydew IEMs are definitely pricier than the earbuds you’re used to picking up at the electronics store. Shoot, they’re even more than the current ANC bluetooth headphones I use most of my days. If you’re prizing the clarity of a wired connection, then these have the best sound quality I’ve had from earbuds in quite some time. Of note, with the included cable, these are just for consuming audio, as they don’t have an inline mic. Should you want to use them for calls, though, they do have an optional cable that you can easily swap in to enable that.
While I feel like I’ve really gone fully into the bluetooth world for my audio needs, whether for exercise or working, there’s a reassuring feeling to using a pair of wired headphones. No question of whether your connected device is perhaps not transmitting quite everything it should, or if audio drops are due to bluetooth or something else. With a wire, that potential failure point is eliminated, and all the sound is moving that your device is providing. With the focus on included tools to clean out the Campfire Audio Honeydew IEMs, and the ability to replace the cabling, make these feel like a pair of headphones that will go the long haul. campfireaudio.com
Tech Specs from Campfire Audio
- 5Hz–18 kHz Frequency Response
- 94 dB SPL @ 1kHz: 17.68 mVrms
- 17.44 Ohms @ 1kHz Impedance
- Mellow Yellow ABS Body
- Single Custom Full Range 10mm Dynamic Driver
- Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) film diaphragm
- Custom Beryllium / Copper MMCX Connections
- Stainless Steel Spout
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