Campfire Audio Honeydew & Satsuma Impressions

Last week, I took a look at the Campfire Mammoth and Holocene, which are the company's two latest mid-tier in-ear monitors. This week, I'll take a look at their new budget sets, the aptly named Satsuma and Honeydew. These two bright and flamboyant orange and yellow IEMs cost $199 and $249 and come with a similarly designed shell to some of Campfire's smaller IEMs, however, the Portland-based company decided to save costs by going with a plastic shell instead of their traditional aluminum-alloys. 

These two IEMs were provided for loan by and can be purchased from them directly at They also sell other Campfire Audio IEMs as well.

The new shell design gives these IEMs a slightly lighter weight which provides excellent comfort. I never had a problem with fit and long-term use with either of these, and are easily the most comfortable Campfire products I've worn. The plastic colorful shells look fun and vibrant from afar, and adds a new character to the Campfire lineup that was starting to get boring with their re-use of the same colors on the metal shells they've perfected over the years. The housings' cost-cutting look does show itself when looking up-close with a very plasticky look, but that's not that big of a deal, as I find the cute stand-out look to be appealing and a much needed change.

Despite being on the budget class, Campfire's unboxing experience remains the same as their higher price brackets, with the same box designs, a colorful carrying pouch, plenty of tips, IEM mesh sacks, and a lower cost Smokey Lite cable, that for the most part, does not look any different than the original version.

Campfire Satsuma Sound Impressions

The Satsuma is a single ported-BA IEM that essentially replaces the Campfire Comet as their new budget single BA solution. In fact, I think these two sound almost indistinguishable, at least from memory. Tonality is pretty much the same, with a general neutral low-end, a slightly hazy mid-range, and a tame treble range that lacks extension. It's a slightly darker than neutral overall sound to me, which is extremely reminiscent of the Comet.

In fact, when I measured the Satsuma, it pretty much measures the same as the Comet. Very interesting.

There is nothing flagrantly wrong with the Satsuma. It's not bad in any way for its price point. Perhaps it's a little dated sounding though. The Comet sounded average when it came out a few years ago, and the Satsuma doesn't really add anything special to it and given the rise of various new brands out of China and even competition from Etymotic and other western brands, something that sounds just like the Comet starts to lose some of its value.

My biggest complaint with the Satsuma is really that it lacks originality and flavor. Its really bland and vanilla. It's characteristic is perhaps the slightly hazy midrange and the lack of treble extension keeping things relatively smooth and gentle and easy to listen. Is that a good thing? Maybe? Its safe. 

Campfire Honeydew Sound Impressions

Whereas the Satsuma is a bit plain vanilla, the Honeydew is anything but. The Honeydew reminds me of the dirty bass you experience when you're riding in a tricked out car with dual subwoofers in the trunk or below the seats. Its bombastic. 

There's a pretty significant bass shelf on this single dynamic driver IEM, but the bass is even more accentuated due to the relative amount of upper mids, or lack-thereof. The Honeydew is filthy. It's not clean, but the bass bangs. It's like going to a club and hearing  the boom booms all around you, and not a lot much else, since the mid range is sputtered out.

The one thing keeping it from being a mud-fest is its treble gain starting at 5K and beyond. This provides a much needed lift in the upper end to provide some clarity, and while it's overall quite a compressed sound, it's also a little fun and entertaining for a short while.

I don't think the Honeydew does well to re-represent vocals, and I'd rather stick with instrumental music for this one -- think EDM. But then again, I didn't find these too troubling with deeper male vocals, but found it a bit way too closed-in and hazed-up with female singers.

The Honeydew is a one-trick pony. It's a slammer.

Which to Buy?

I wouldn't buy either given these IEM's price points and their crazy competition in this range. There's just so many other products under $250 to look at with either better tonal balance, technical performance, or both, that I do not know if these truly stand out enough to justify buying them over something else.

If I had to take one, that's a hard one. The Satsuma is probably a better overall genre-swapper, as it's tonality is a little more pleasant all-around, and its non-fatiguing in every way. The Honeydew will probably be fatiguing over-time with its heavy pounding of bass, and it's really not well-suited for those who care about mid-range like myself.

It's a tough call. I'd probably get Satsuma personally, but I can see why many would probably take the Honeydew, since it offers something just a little bit different than what else is out there.

Campfire, you can do better.

View the product ratings on Antdroid's IEM Ranking List and/or Antdroid's Headphone Ranking List


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