Solaris Stellar Horizon is a newly revamped model of the Solaris series and a co-flagship model of Campfire Audio. Solaris SH (Solaris Stellar Horizon in short) has a more linear, neutral tuning compared to Trifecta. With a gentler bass, Solaris SH keeps the bass tighter and more agile than Trifecta, giving you a lesser sense of “bloated sub-bass” and more cleanliness.
Solaris SH also carries a finer and silkier texture, especially for the mids and highs. The airiness feels slightly more coherent and natural. Because of these, Solaris SH would be ideal for those who seek a finely analytical sound signature that tips towards a bright, airy tuning.
Meanwhile, Trifecta achieves fuller, thicker-bodied bass with superior ultra-low extension. There’s simply no compromise for Trifecta when it comes to comparing bass performance. Vocals are crunchier and also quite smooth, yet not as refined and silky-smooth as Solaris SH. However, Trifecta carries a more masculine nuance driven with solid power.
Vocals are more energetic while being neutral-bright, making it ideal if you’re sensitive to bright IEMs. The soundstage is a lot wider, deeper, and grand compared to Solaris SH. The upper-end openness is superior on Solaris SH but marginally. Both IEMs have distinctive differences in tuning while being equally charming, resulting in the decision of which one to grab is fully upon preferences and personal taste.
So how did Solaris SH differ from the previous Solaris 2020? In a short phrase, Solaris SH is updated with the newest standards of technical performance and accuracy. First, the resolution and the quality of the sound have been noticeably improved. The overall sound is thicker/clearer in color. Vocals are fuller and denser. Extra sweetness and charms are reinforced in the vocals. The bass dynamics are better controlled with agile strike and decay, as well as the bass being cleaner and clearer. Diverting back to listening to Solaris 2020 makes the music feel water-downed in resolution and texture density.
Solaris SH also achieves clearer and crispier highs. The pronunciation of each instrument and three ranges (lows/mids/highs) are more accurate and better organized, showing superior analyticity to Solaris 2020. The Solaris SH also is gently reduced in sub-bass quantity but the bass notes are bolder and clearer. But then again, the loophole to this comparison is that those who have a rather mild taste in timbre may actually prefer Solaris 2020 more than Solaris SH.
Sure, the Solaris 2020 may be less tasty in finesse, sweetness, and richness. Yet that means the sound is more organic and has that classic taste of sound. Solaris SH’s sound is more like a BA+EST style (or even a tribrid) whereas Solaris 2020 has a style of a dynamic driver that is gently topped with BA technicality, which is also true with the specs. The Solaris SH may be a new chapter for the Solaris family, though if you’re considering Solaris SH, keep in mind Solaris 2020 is still a powerful competitor of its new sibling.
Along with its co-flagship Cerberus, RS10 is SoftEars 10BA flagship IEM focused on reference tuning and priced at $2099. These two are fairly similar if looking at the overall sound signature and performance, yet with some distinctive differences in tuning. Deciding between Solaris SH and RS10 comes down to choosing between agile & sharpness or strict neutralness. Timbre is superior in Solaris SH, being more on-focus and realistic. The vocals of Solaris SH are also a bit smoother and juicier (as an opposite way of sounding dry).
Meanwhile, the timbre of RS10 may be relatively drier than Solaris SH, yet because of that the texture details are exposed more blatantly. RS10 has a matured reference tuning that ensures the dryness is just about adequate and that the textures don’t get harsh.
Solaris SH holds more brightness and airiness and the tone might be bright for some. The strength of RS10 is that the overall sound is neutral bright and very well balanced in tone, offering plentiful brightness that people with different tastes could generally all tune in without a problem. In short, the sound is more fatigue-free and easily to be loved by the general crowd. The bass is a bit clearer and cleaner on Solaris SH yet RS10 brings out more warmth, quantity, and body to the low ends.
The difference between these two IEMs reminds me of considering which variant of Astell & Kern players I should choose before – the Stainless Steel model for sharper tuning or the Copper model for a more neutral tuning. In this case, the SS model would be the Solaris SH and Cu model for the RS10.
With the Solaris Stellar Horizon, Campfire Audio has made a perfect tune-up of their beloved Solaris series by introducing next-level performance, clear solid bass, and seducing upper-frequencies. It also stands as a fine example that you don’t need dozens of BA or EST drivers to live up to the demanding standards, which Solaris Stellar Horizon has well proven itself. We can say that Solaris Stellar Horizon is in full charge of technical agility among Campfire’s three new flagships, making it recommendable as an endgame choice for those who would like to have a neutral-bright sound that is highly resolving yet also refined and smooth. In times like nowadays where summit-fi IEMs (or the flagship of flagships) are getting out of hand in pricing, Solaris Stellar Horizon is the one that could pack a powerful punch to those that are even higher in price.