I tried $3,000 luxury wired in-ear monitors and now I can't go back

Campfire Audio Trifecta earbud detail at High End Munich
(Image credit: TechRadar)

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. 

Campfire Audio Trifecta in-ear headphones with skyline backdrop

Overly dramatic? The $3,000 headphones? You shock me. (Image credit: TechRadar)

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. 

Becky Scarrott
Senior Audio Staff Writer

Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.