It stands to reason that at an internationally renowned audio exhibition such as High End Munich, one will find big-ticket items. This particular item comes in a small and beautifully formed package (hand-made in Portugal, no less), but it's still every inch – no, every micrometer – the luxury item.
Trifecta is the all-new premium wired earphone from Portland Oregon-based dedicated headphone specialist, Campfire Audio, and there's no easy way to say this: when they launch on July 30, 2022, they will retail for $3,375. But what is even harder for me to say, as a budget-conscious person with relatively sensible spending habits and a healthy relationship with my bank manager, is that I think I must have them…
And it is not just because they look like jewels, although the optically clear nylon housing provides a perfect window to the internal components: three 10mm dynamic drivers with gold-plated cases.
You see, those individually vented drivers face one another in a unique triangular configuration which also creates a shape that slips comfortably into my ears and stays there – aided by the silver-plated, high purity copper ribbon cable that is formed to snake effortless around them.
This is high-end territory, so of course you can expect 2.5mm, 3.5mm, and 4.4mm terminations – although if you have an iPhone, you will need a Lightning dongle or one of the best portable DACs. And still I don't care.
The audiophile's quest to sound out the best headphones in a constantly evolving smorgasbord of options never ends. But here, Campfire Audio's Trifecta wired in-ear headphones shine out from the pile – quite literally.
Looking at them is like gazing upon the innards of a Swiss chronograph watch. Some readers may remember that Carl Pei's startup, Nothing, released a set of see-through earbuds called Nothing Ear (1), but this proposition is absolutely 'nothing' like those. For one thing, those are affordable, and for another, they're my preferred true wireless design – meaning there are no cables to tangle around my iPhone or force the dislodgement of an earpiece when I wave to a friend. And still I am unmoved.
Despite my limited time with Trifecta at High End Munich (this is not a fully fledged review – that would require further testing and, honestly, I already overstayed my welcome with the kind people at Campfire Audio) the sound was astoundingly sensitive and impactful, detailed and spacious. Hard-to-reach sonic elements in well-loved Fontaines D.C. tracks presented themselves to my ears in quite jaw-dropping ways. Campfire Audio's Trifecta celebrated the bass floor of Stormzy tracks with crisp, seemingly effortless zeal and snap, too.
Can I justify the cost? Absolutely not. Do I still want to run off into the sunset with them – the light catching those luxurious golden accents with every stride? Yep – and I'm horribly conscious that initially, only 333 are being made. Campfire Audio knows full well the power of three, just look (and if you're lucky enough, have a listen to) its Trifecta in-ear monitors.