Campfire Orbit Review True Wireles IEM

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Campfire Audio successfully launches their new TWS bluetooth earbud solution into the audiophile sphere with a fitting name - Orbit - a two-tone color true wireless IEM hybrid! 
Campfire Audio's Orbit sports a smooth matte plastic finish (no rubber) and eye-catching gold plated metal nozzle body and vintage-looking mesh guard reminiscent of the iconic "Elvis Mic" - the Shure 55S microphone! 

The earbud faceplate integrates responsive touch controls, as well as two microphones and a small gold plated Campfire logo engraving that resembles the Gucci's gold logo. There aren't any status leds on the earbuds so, the only way to check battery status is via the case and Campfire Audio mobile app.
The Campfire Orbit charging case sports a cool polygon shaped design with a similar smooth matte plastic finish and front-facing Campfire Audio engraving. The charging port is bottom facing and flat, allowing you to set the case upright on a desk. The case lid has a strong hinge (doesn't wobble) so, you can keep the lid open when resting the case flat on a desk. 
Removing the Orbit earbuds from the case is a bit fiddly though, due to the earbuds being almost "buried" inside the docking area. This makes pinching the earbuds out of the case impossible. Luckily, you can push the earbuds out of the case at angle relatively easy. The dimensions of the Orbit case are 6cm long x 2.5cm thick x 4.5cm high and 33 grams in weight. The earbuds weigh 6 grams each.  

The Campfire Audio mobile app has a simple, user friendly interface easy to navigate and access without being required to register an account. This said, the app has limitations. You can check battery status, upgrade firmware, disable touch controls and individual controls, as well as access 7 EQ preset sounds and create two customizable sound signatures of your choosing via an adjustable 7 band equalizer. There isn't a button remapping option though, so you cannot swap gesture controls. Also, the EQ function doesn't seem to work when using the YouTube player.

Orbit control functions include play/pause, skip track (next/previous), volume up/down, calls (answer/end/reject) and voice assistant, all of which are controlled via four gestures (single tap, double tap, triple tap and long press). Volume is set to long press by default, which is perfect for volume control.
Opening the Campfire Orbit charging case triggers automatic bluetooth pairing, letting you connect the earbuds whilst  in the case. To power them off, you simply close the case lid. The earbuds power on automatically when opening the charging case lid (there is a 4 second re-connection delay). The Orbit charging case takes 2.5 hours to charge and can hold 12 hours of extra charge.
At 100% volume (via SBC codec), the Campfire Orbit earbuds can achieve 8 hours of playtime. The earbuds take 2.5 hours to recharge to 100% battery health with quick charge support, allowing you 1 hour playtime from a 10 minute recharge.

One of Orbit's key features is aptX Adaptive support, which delivers low-latency and low-bit rate perfect for gaming and streaming. The cool thing about aptX Adaptive and what sets it apart from other bluetooth codecs such as AAC, aptX HD and LDAC is "adjustable latency". AptX Adaptive automatically adjusts latency to whatever content you are listening to. When gaming and making calls, aptX Adaptive can go as low as 80ms - and, even as low as 40ms but only if both the phone and earbuds are compatible with Snapdragon Sound. The Campfire Orbit earbuds aren't compatible with Snapdragon Sound though. 

As far as sound performance, Orbit's stock sound signature is naturally balanced across the bass and treble spectrum which is wide and open. The bass response is noticeably thumpy but controlled so, it doesn't bleed or muddle the vocals and instruments. If intense bass presence isn't your thing, you can always tweak the sound signature via the Campfire Audio app.

Orbit has a clear winning sound on par with what you would expect from premium single dynamic driver IEMs. Orbit's wireless setup is both a selling point and deal breaker though, since most IEM enthusiasts tend to favor wired IEMs over wireless. Compared to TWS (true wireless) earbuds, Orbit's price tag could be a hard sell due to Orbit's lack of features you can even find standard on earbuds three times cheaper. Orbit's saving grace is the audiophile appeal sound and decent battery life.
When it comes to making calls, Orbit dual mics work well so, you can use the Orbit earbuds for making and taking calls. That said, Orbit's background noise filtering isn't the strongest, making Orbit not particularly ideal for engaging in important calls in noisy environments.


Potential deal breakers 
  • No ANC (active noise cancellation) - despite the bluetooth chip supporting it
  • Bottom facing charging port  
  • Earbuds not easy to remove from case
  • Charging case battery leds located internally
  • Expensive considering the lack of features
  • No Qi wireless charging
  • No button remapping via the app
  • No head tracking spatial audio
  • No transparency mode for situational awareness
  • No multipoint for dual connections
  • No in-ear wear detection for auto play/pause
  • AptX Adaptive isn't supported by iPhone/iPad devices
  • Not all Android phones support aptX Adaptive. Phones that do include the Xiaomi Mi 11 and Asus ROG Phone 5
  • aptX Adaptive doesn't reduce latency as low as aptX LL does
  • Weak noise cancelling mic
  • Only available in sandy beige color which makes them look like hearing aids

Selling points for Orbit
  • Bluetooth 5.2 chip (Qualcomm's QCC-3040)
  • Multiple audio codec support: SBC, AAC and aptX Adaptive
  • Supports absolute bluetooth volume
  • Strong hinged lid
  • Quick charge - 1 hour playtime from 15 minute charge
  • You can disable touch controls
  • Responsive touch controls (light touch tapping)
  • Loud volume - powerful sound
  • Designer fashion appeal reminiscent of Gucci earrings
  • Expensive look and feel
  • Mobile app support 
  • Long battery life
  • Physical battery led indicators for case and earbuds
  • Gift-like packaging
  • Fun to listen with energetic bass
  • 1 year warranty (limited liability)
Accessories included with Orbit are a a short USB-C to USB-C cable (6cm long), 3 sets of silicone tips, 3 sets of foam tips and a Campfire Audio lapel pin badge. You can buy the Campfire Audio Orbit wireless IEM from Campfire Audio website and amazon.

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