Launched alongside Satsuma, Honeydew is part of Campfire Audio’s new line of IEMs designed as an entry-level option for audiophiles, musicians, producers, and DJs. Where Satsuma provides a more detailed, intimate sound that helps you easily unwrap layers of music, Honeydew promises to deliver a big, juicy, bassy sound.
The Build and Design
Campfire Audio is nothing if not consistent, and whether you’re paying $199 or $1499 for their IEMs, you get the same high level of packaging, and the same high level accessory package. Of course, the accessories aren’t exactly the same. While the Andromeda or Ara might come with a more luxurious feeling leather alternative, Honeydew comes with a woven canvas case; and where the Solaris models come with the “Super Smoky Litz” cable which costs almost as much the whole Honeydew package by itself, Honeydew comes with a “Smoky Lite” cable which features similar materials but a smaller wire gauge and lower total wire count.
Honeydew should really come with a warning to keep away from small children, because when you disconnect the cable, this thing looks so much like a little piece of candy, I’m tempted to try to eat it myself. The shell is a lightweight plastic, and as it only houses a single 10mm dynamic driver, it’s quite small and light. The structure and overall form factor is similar to the Vega and Dorado, and the overall consensus from the office is that the small size and low weight makes for a really easy comfortable fit.
Honeydew’s sound is like just before sunset on a summer evening at the beach. Honeydew is warm and the clarity and detail are good, but everything’s just a little bit smoother than usual. On top of that – or maybe underneath that – is a strong physical bass presence. The bass is waiting there, almost like once the sun goes down, it’s going to get the party started.
In terms of the overall tuning, the bass is definitely a highlight, with a huge in-your-face quality, but there’s an interesting quality to the bass which is warm and deep, but is balanced in such a way that it doesn’t feel dark or heavy. There’s a mid-bass focus that provides a strong impact, but doesn’t step on the rest of the mix too much.
There’s some light smearing moving from the bass into the lower mids, but never enough that it causes the IEMs to feel muddy. The mids are slightly pulled back, but overall well-constructed. And the treble is present but largely smooth.
The tuning feels somewhat close to Campfire Audio’s other single dynamic driver IEM, Vega, but it doesn’t have quite the same balance between the natural timbre and deep bass, and instead feels noticeably warm.
The soundstage and imaging give an intimate feel with a 3D image that’s well constructed, but on the small side. The imaging and definition feel stronger in the quieter moments, but get lost in bigger or more dynamic passages. There’s somewhat of an “either or” situation, where the layering and definition feel strong when things are softer, and in louder, bigger passages Honeydew sounds powerful and physical without the same level of definition.
CHVRCHES “Get Out” provides the sort of electro-pop anthem that Honeydew seems perfectly suited for. On the verses and interludes, the synth sounds are well-layered and detailed, but just a little bit smoothed out at the top. The vocals feel up close and personal. When the chorus hits with the bass, you get a healthy dose of impact along with some of the tighter layering giving way to a huge wall of sound.
On Soulive’s instrumental rendition of “Eleanor Rigby,” Honeydew delivers the low, deep droning bass in all of its glory, deep into your ear canals. The impact from the fast syncopated drum work blends nicely with the bassline. The crisp hi-hats and smooth guitar balance out the deep punctuation of the bass and drums, and the organ gently rounds things out. While the parts are well layered, there’s a bit of warmth in the mix already causing some parts to lack strong definition.
The opening vocals on Styx’s “Renegade” are clear and emotional, and when the band comes in, Honeydew provides a strong sense of dynamic shift. The guitars are crisp and a little crunchy, but the drums and pulsating bass line take center stage. The verses are somewhat busy instrumentally creating a hint of congestion, but the key parts of the performance always stand out, and the dynamic shifts are delivered really well.
On Coldplay’s “Lost!” the drums that start have a strong, palpable impact. The low end impact pushes the other percussion a bit more into the background, but there’s still a lot of detail in the upper registers of the percussion. Throughout the song, the bass and kick drum are clearly the prominent elements, but again, the vocals, organ, guitar, and vocals are all clear and well layered. Everything is presented with a good quality to it, it’s just that the bass is presented with a bit more quantity. The slight warmth of the Honeydew also nicely complements the more acoustic and analog instrument choices on the Viva La Vida album as a whole.
Comparison: oBravo Cupid
The Cupid and Honeydew aren’t a perfect comparison, but if you’re shopping for IEMs under $300, both IEMs provide performance in one area or another that exceeds their price point. Probably the most obvious characteristic of each is quite different: Cupid provides a personal, intimate experience with vocals, and strong delivery of acoustic instruments. Honeydew is a warm bass monster. But they might have more in common than you think.
In terms of the general sound signature Cupid has a slight “W” shape with a little bit of a mid bass bump, strong upper mids, and then a little air up top. Honeydew is more of a classic “V” with strong bass and scooped mids balanced out with a helping of upper mids and treble. By comparison, Cupid has a more balanced sound, while Honeydew, in spite of its more exaggerated tuning, has a more natural timbre.
In terms of more technical aspects, both have moderate to smaller soundstages. Cupid has really strong performance in terms of definition and layering in the upper registers, but the lower end can get a little more congested. By contrast Honeydew’s imaging and layering at the top aren’t as strong, but it’s lower end is tighter and overall presents stronger, more coherent layers and texture from the bass through the lower mids.
The Bottom Line
At the $249 price point, Honeydew delivers an incredible performance that gives you thick, powerful bass and a warm sound signature coupled with impressive all around performance. Honeydew also takes that strong low end performance and wraps it up with a somewhat laid back presentation. So if you’re looking for chill vibes and deep bass, Honeydew has just what you need.