Campfire Audio Andromeda

Rating:
4.88/5,
  1. Kervsky
    Campfire Audio Andromeda - The Winner
    Written by Kervsky
    Published May 17, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Warmth that doesnt overwhelm, great overall clarity and detail, sparkly and airy highs, great soundstage and layer separation. Great build quality, fit is comfortable (though some may disagree, experiment with tips), accessory package and cable is good. It's Green.
    Cons - Maybe a bit more bass kick wouldn't hurt, no option to choose what termination (2.5mm, 3.5mm, 4.4mm) comes with it, at flagship levels, I believe that it should be a valid option.
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    Introduction: Campfire Audio is a well known audio company that produces great IEMs (and now a headphone too) and has gained even more fame with their recent 3 big ear turners, the Cascade, Comet and Atlas. Of course we're not talking about those now (I could probably review the Comet at least at a later time, if my budget allows it) as you can see with the first picture and the obvious title, we're talking about the mean green machine known as the Andromeda.

    I've had the Andromeda for a long time but have skipped reviewing them because a lot of people have done so before. And yet as each new Campfire Audio product comes to light, I feel the urge to tell the world that the Andromeda is still here, it's still relevant and still pretty in green. Please note that I won't be as exhaustive as I normally am since a lot of the nitty gritty details have been tackled awhile back.

    Specifications:
    10Hz–28 kHz Frequency Response
    115 dB SPL/mW Sensitivity
    12.8 Ohms @ 1kHz Impedance
    Dual High Frequency Balanced Armature Drivers + T.A.E.C.
    Single Mid Frequency Balanced Armature Driver
    Dual Low Frequency Balanced Armature Drivers
    Beryllium / Copper MMCX Connections
    Machined Aluminum Shell
    Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber™ (T.A.E.C.)

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    Unboxing: One of the things I love with Campfire Audio is their minimalist boxes, everything fits in a compact space that's pretty and functional (and recyclable) though the material isn't the sturdiest, the cardboard holds up well through handling and age.

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    Package Details:
    Andromeda In-Ear Monitor
    CA SPC Litz cable
    Genuine Leather case
    3 Pairs of Comply foam earphone tips
    3 Pairs of silicone earphone tips
    3 Pairs of Spinfit earphone tips
    Earphone clearing tool
    Small CA branded pin
    Owners Manual

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    Build/Fit/Design: The Andromeda follows the shell design of the Orion, Polaris and Jupiter where the shell is CNC'd into the sturdy industrial/angular shape you see in the picture. The thing with the shell, some people cannot fit it comfortably due to differences in ear shape and size though it fits me like a glove and for that it gets my thumbs up on fit and comfort, with the right tip, the Andromeda can sit in my ears for hours on end. On a parallel note, it annoys me to a certain degree that the look and color was copied by a certain IEM company and is nearly constantly mistaken for the K.O. even if the Andromeda uses a Beryllium MMCX connector and the other one is a 0.75mm 2 pin connector. Still, for me, it's a good and memorable design and yeah, the color is just perfect (Yes, I love green) as it both looks and feels good in hand and in my ear.

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    Cable: The included cable is the much lauded Campfire Audio clear SPC Litz cable, with a 3.5mm L-plug with the Campfire Audio logo on the top, a metallic Y-splitter with a plastic chin adjuster and terminating in a Beryllium MMCX jack. The cable itself is thin, light and very flexible, this was the first time I've ever experienced such flexibility and simple beauty in a cable.

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    Sound Stuff: When my wallet was ready for a good IEM, I sampled a lot with varying prices, brands and designs and in the end my ears decided on the Andromeda. Out of the box it was exactly what I wanted paired with my WM1a, easy to drive, a bit of warmth, nice bass, good mids and pretty highs! After a long, long time of listening to these babies, the following is what I've been hearing using the stock cable and the WM1a on v2.0 firmware. Note that due to the low sensitivity, the Andromeda can demonstrate a low hiss, though this has not been the case for me with my DAPs or phones.

    Lows: The Andromeda presents a good amount of sub-bass, extension and great bass separation. Low rumbles sound natural and smooth with moderate impact and fast decay, this leads to an overall clear bass resolution. Mid Bass has a good amount of body and delivers a balanced slam that's neither aggressive or weak, coupled with a warmth that makes for a great musical experience.

    Mids: The mids on the Andromeda is one of it's strengths as vocals and instruments are neutrally placed and presented in a very clear and detailed manner where layering of instruments and vocals are easily identified in a wide open space. Even with all that clarity, there is a lot of body and smoothness in it's rendition giving sweet life to both male and female vocals in whatever genre you play.

    Highs: are one of the other strengths that the Andromeda packs, there is a great amount of extension and airiness that doesn't lead into harshness or sibilance as there is great control in this area. The body of the treble is full on with each note being crisp, detailed, smooth and well separated. The highs effectively convey the emotional energy needed for each track without being fatiguing.

    Soundstage: is probably the best known feature (here) of the Andromeda with a generously wide soundstage that gives you a realistic and natural feeling of width and depth on each track that is both spatially accurate and positionally correct.

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    Conclusion: So easy to love, the Andromeda captured my ears and heart then and it still does today. It is in my book, a compelling choice for audiophiles that want a piece of the high end without gutting your wallet (too badly) bonded with a sound signature that will please nearly anyone that doesn't require enormous amounts of bass in every song with its warmth, detail, clarity, technical proficiency and large soundstage. The Andromeda is my winner.

    Pros: Warmth that doesnt overwhelm, great overall clarity and detail, sparkly and airy highs, great soundstage and layer separation. Great build quality, fit is comfortable (though some may disagree, experiment with tips), accessory package and cable is good. It's Green.

    Cons: Maybe a bit more bass kick wouldn't hurt, no option to choose what termination (2.5mm, 3.5mm, 4.4mm) comes with it, at flagship levels, I believe that it should be a valid option.

    Nitpicks: None comes to mind.

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    Sound testing was done using a Sony WM1a (Primarily), a Hiby R6 (for comparison) and a phone (for checking driveability) volume matched to 90.X db of safe hearing and calibrated using a 1kh tone on a dedicated DB Meter, all sources patched through a switcher. Original post is found on my blog, audiobuko @ blogspot.
  2. prismstorm
    Campfire Audio Andromeda - Impeccably Done
    Written by prismstorm
    Published Mar 18, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Extremely high fidelity, balanced tuning, agile and nimble bass, expansive soundstage
    Cons - may be light on bass for some people, highly source dependent, can be too bright for some.
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    Ever since I got the Campfire Audio (CA) Vega in late 2016, I really didn’t use anything else. It ticked so many of my boxes, that I was reluctant to return to other earphones. That was until the acquisition of the exciting new Cerakote (CK) Pacific Blue edition of the renowned CA 5BA flagship – the Andromeda. We have reviewed the regular Andromeda previously, so this time around we will change things up and talk about this special iteration with new setups, pairings, and against the context of the current market dynamics.

    Disclaimer: The Andromeda CK Pacific Blue and ALO Gold 16 Cable were sent to us courtesy of Campfire Audio. Click here for the product page from the official site.

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    Opening up the compact and funky blue packaging, we find the usual accessories, comprising of a very stylish tan-colored hard leather case lined with soft wool inside for maximum protection, along with an assortment of Comply, foam and silicon tips, an instruction card, cleaning tool and CA-branded pin. Although we at Accessible Audio have unboxed a great many CA IEMs now, unraveling the Andromeda CK still brings a smile to my face, as everything has the mark of a great deal of thought having gone into it. The box itself looks so discreet and low-profile, just enough to pack all the goodies you need, and has no bloat or wasted space. Everything feels humble, unpretentious, yet very boutique-like.

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    CA’s trademark attention to detail comes to full glory when the industrially designed, impeccably machined Andromeda CK Pacific Blue got pulled out, its perfectly chamfered edges melding harmoniously with the previously unseen Pacific Blue coating. The ergonomics have been tweaked after early feedback on the debut version, and this latest one fits snugly with no discomfort. This ocean blue finish has a matte texture that feels lovely to touch and is much more robust than the default green anodizing. This dual-low / single-mid / dual-high balanced armature setup is armed with the high quality silver-plated-copper Litz cable that now comes standard with all CA IEMs.

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    Since we last reviewed the Andromeda with the stock cable, this time around we spice things up by mating it with CA’s mother company ALO (Audio Line Out)’s finest IEM cable – the Gold 16. The cable is itself an art piece and is painstakingly crafted to perfection. The cable resists oil and moisture with an FEP (Teflon) jacket and is low in microphonics. It is incredible how compact the cable is given its high number of conductors. Each conductor is composed of 24 strands of individually pure gold plated OFC copper woven very finely and retains both suppleness and articulation for maximum handability in the field. If you ever feel cheeky, applying counter-pressure at any two points of the cable shows its meticulous and dense weave in a magnificent spread. It gets uncomfortably addictive and is sure to melt many audio nerd’s hearts. Gold 16 also retains a relatively tangle-free profile and this further contributes to its immense usability. Sound-wise, CA states that the combination of gold and copper emphasizes mids and lows, enhances the overall depth and soundstage, and pairs well with balanced armature based IEMs.

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    And what an accurate description that is. While the standard Litz cable is no slouch, the Gold 16 is a substantial upgrade, both in terms of mechanical construction and the boost it grants the Andromeda in the low end, the richness of the mids, and the staggeringly wide soundstage that stretches expansively across the x-axis. Imaging and positioning of sound elements are scarily accurate, vivid and multi-layered. Running out of the Astell & Kern SP1000 Copper, the Andromeda with Gold 16 oozes details and is exceedingly transparent at all times. The expertly separated tiers of sounds makes the music really pop out, as is evident from Bonobo’s Jets and Towers (feat. Szjerdene).

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    Migrating from the incredibly bassy Vega, how did I find the bass performance? The short version is that it is an apparently brighter and leaner offering. Coming from more than a year of Vega listening, the Andromeda is a breath of fresh air. What was immediately clear is that the bass no longer rattles your brain, but feels clean, highly textured, and takes on a bouncy and agile character due to the short decay. It no longer lingers and spreads permeating warmth, but each drum hit is still succinctly heard on Sithu Aye’s The Andromedan Pt II: Mystic Village, and have a real sense of articulation, solid impact, and dimensionality to them. Overtime, I have come to appreciate this crisp, linear low-end that unearths tremendous amounts of intricacies. Sure, double bass beginnings of jazz tracks are less atmospheric and realistic than that of Vega’s rendering because the bass is much more neutral and uncolored, but in return it means the Andromeda is much less overwhelming and fatiguing in prolonged listening than its flagship sibling. Make no mistakes about it, on Sasha’s Smile (The Youngsters) the sub-bass is still very deep and sonorous, with a clarity you won’t ever hear in clubs, enough to send your toes tapping to the rhythmic, steady rumble.

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    Years after its debut, the star of the show for the Andromeda is undoubtedly still the buttery smooth, rich mids and truly soaring highs. CA’s acoustic resonator chamber technology results in refined midrange and an extremely open, airy high-end that infinitely extends and still appears to have more to give. The resultant sound signature is very high resolution, high-fidelity and musical, as heard on WoongSan’s Savannah Woman, Andrea Bocelli’s Champagne and Sissel Kyrkjebo’s If. Vocals are powerful with majestic extension, piercingly transparent, and at times incredibly moving. Timbre of the entire ensemble could be easily made out in Sylvain Gagnon’s Gracias a la Vida, from cello plucks to the cruising smoothness of saxophones. The most complex passages are handled with frightening responsiveness in Kyle Landry’s Fantasy Etude, with melodic piano notes flying off nimbly and accompaniments having just the perfect amount of staying length.

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    From our experience, the Andromeda is quite source-dependent and plays much better with dedicated players with higher end DACs and amps than running straight from your typical smartphone. Given its less colored signature and all-BA composition, it has a tendency to get a bit harsh, peaky, and distorted when paired with perfunctory sources that have less than ideal impedance values. Its enhanced highlight on upper mids and treble can be brutally revealing if not neutralized with a healthy dosage of warmth either from the cable or the source. Fix up your audio chain and it quickly takes on a very smooth, detailed and high-fidelity reference sound with little to no sibilance and a naturally wide soundstage.

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    Comparing it with its brothers and sisters in the CA stable, I would say it lacks the affectionate and intimate warmth and meaty embrace of Vega, or the raw viscerality of Lyra II and Dorado, but is more high-fidelity as it has a less full bodied coloration yet still possesses rich tonality and uncompromising clarity. The Andromeda is surprisingly smooth, lacking all the metallic and machinated coldness that is so prevalent in pure BA IEMs, giving a whole meaning of how bass music can sound like.

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    Bearing a personal propensity to prefer bass-heavy monitors, I never expected to like the Andromeda as much as I do. Nevertheless, I persisted and was rewarded with a taste of how life could be when a completely different tuning approach is imparted into the songs I am very familiar with. In fact, the Andromeda turned out to be the perfect IEM to round out my existing lineup – the special something that completes a truly versatile portfolio of amazing monitors. With textured and articulate bass, superb soundstage, world-class vocals and a treble extension that knows no bounds, the Andromeda occupies a unique throne in the CA lineup. Alongside the thick, aggressive and muscular Vega, the smooth and linear Andromeda forms an unbeatable one-two punch with its flagship partner and spearheads a full-fledged empire of IEMs, perfectly complementary to each other and both essential to own in my opinion. Nicely done indeed, Campfire Audio; or dare I say, impeccably done.

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      Deftone likes this.
  3. justrest
    Campfire Andromeda
    Written by justrest
    Published Mar 16, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Amazing sound quality, built like a tank, great package, crystal clear trebles, airy sound, design,
    Cons - Sensitive, easy to scratch, sharp edges may not fit for everyone,
    Before starting this review, I would like to share technical aspects and package details.

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    Specifications:

    10Hz–28 kHz Frequency Response

    115 dB SPL/mW Sensitivity

    12.8 Ohms @ 1kHz Impedance

    Dual High Frequency Balanced Armature Drivers + T.A.E.C.

    Single Mid Frequency Balanced Armature Driver

    Dual Low Frequency Balanced Armature Drivers

    Beryllium / Copper MMCX Connections

    Machined Aluminum Shell

    Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber™ (T.A.E.C.)



    Package Details:

    Andromeda Earphone

    CA SPC Litz cable

    Leather case

    Comply TX-400 Tips

    Foam earphone Tips

    Silicone Earphone Tips

    Earphone clearing tool (with magnetic holder)

    Small CA branded broach

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    Test Equipment:

    Lotoo Paw Gold Titanium

    Opus #1

    Astell Kern AK120

    Astell Kern AK70

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    Design & Isolation;

    Campfire Andromeda has a box that I can define as ‘small’ but it includes enough accessories and tips. The carrying bag is made of genuine leather and quite high quality. Inner surface of the bag is covered with soft cotton material that ignores unwanted scratches. Andromeda’s body is one if its kind and made of zirconium blasted aluminum. I have heard that the first version of Andromeda faced some complaints so sharp edges did not disturbed me while using this revised second version. The body is not big and not too small but smaller than I expected. Its size is similar with S-EM9 and a bit smaller than CE-05. Its original green body color is much more better than the photos and the changing color tones up to light seems really nice. The stock spc cable which included in the box is very ergonomic and high quality. I can easily say that I really like the body ergonomics unlike some listeners.

    Andromeda’s isolation is precisely successful and it provides enough isolation by the silicone tips. I prefer using Spinfit tips instead of stock tips. The isolation is better with Comply foam tips but I actually do not like Comply foam tips, so I prefer silicon ones.

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    Sensitivity:

    Andromeda has really low impedance level, so it is possible to hear hiss with some of DAPs. I have heard hiss with almost all of the DAPs I have used. I heard too low hiss with AK70 and AK120 but actually high with LPG, still it is an acceptable hiss level. SE846 and Zeus-R both I used to have before, have the same sensitivity level as Andromeda.

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    Sound Type:

    Andromeda is one of the best IEM that I had ever have, in terms of upper frequencies. Trebles are extremely detailed and bright, mids are relatively back and bass are strong enough. The trebles performance is impressed me a lot. CE-05 has also a similar performance but I can say that Andromeda is one up on. Overall sound detail is incredibly high and it does not have a boring reference sound character despite this sound detail. Mids are bit back but vocals are not that back in the overall sound character. Bass is not that dominant but it is able go deeper and has enough quantity. Bass depth and volume may change upon the used tips. Andromeda’s holographical 3D presentation could be one the best ones I have ever heard. Soundstage is wide and deep enough.

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    I really like Andromeda and I understand why no one wants to sell it and everyone wants to go on using. Andromeda is on the same level with some high-priced IEMs and I really appreciate its performance.

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    Trebles:

    Trebles, trebles, trebles… Really fascinating. Upper frequencies are significant and spreading over a large area. Upper frequencies’ significance relaxes the ears and also increases the detail level. It is really easy to make the distinction of the smallest tints, movements and every instrument even if it is in the back. Treble extension and overall stage resolution are very impressive. Some listeners can find the trebles bright, however they are not uncontrolled and there is no sibilance definitely. Actually, it is pretty surprising while trebles are that bright and front but still there is no sibilance and harshness. I also appreciate that trebles are that bright but there is not any metallization, Ken Ball has created a really successful tuning. It did not lose control in any high rhythmic tracks. I tested rhythmical metal tracks and I again impressed by its performance, trebles are really controlled and detailed. The presentation of high frequency strings like violin, oud and acoustic guitar are also extremely natural and detailed. Clear and spacious presentation of upper frequencies provides a crystal clarity audition, details and tints are distinctive and explicit. However, this kind of presentation has an advantage that it exposes the minor faults in the records.

    Actually, until last year, the trebles weren’t more important than bass and mids but in recent period trebles significance is increasing for me. Treble performance of earphones affects overall presentation, so I exactly prefer dominant and distinct treble IEMs and in this sense. Andromeda is a really great choice for me. I do not have MMCX cable so I could not find the chance to test it with other cables but I heard that it fits good with Alo Ref 8 cable. Copper cable could be a better choice for listeners who find the trebles too bright. I think that Andromeda’s best harmony is with AK120 and LPG. Actually, LPG has very rigid and aggressive upper frequency presentation so I think the harmony could be not so good, however the LPG that I use in PMEQ setting caught a good harmony. This helps Andromeda to reveal the all potential and trebles do not have an aggressive and rigid presentation.

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    Mids:

    Andromeda’s enchanted presentation is still same for mids as well. Mids are located a bit back in the overall presentation and actually it provides a better stage width. It creates good space between instruments and stage is spacious. Mids’ level of detail is pretty above average as trebles, it is really enjoyable to listen to stringed instruments and possible to hear the smallest detail of strings with the trebles. Instruments are bit bright and thin notes in terms of overall presentation effect. For instance, while I was listening to Jazz, double bass was playing a bit thinner note but I still feel amazed.

    Andromeda makes you crave to listen to the instrumental tracks due its organic and clear presentation. None of the frequencies shade or extinguish each other. Instruments are not closely located even can be counted as away in the overall but it still has a successful unveiled presentation. Vocal performance is really clean and fluent instead of dark tones due to vocals’ one move ahead position in the overall soundstage. You may hear the slightest tongue movement of the singer even. There is no mid hump an sound is not so warm, it is more sharp and neat. There is no down slope however trebles’ front location causes little bit weaker upper mids. That does not point out to a there is no body in overall presentation but we cannot say that it has an bold mid presentation too.

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    Bass:

    Low-frequencies are not that much as quantity. If you prefer strong, deep and full bass, I think Andromeda might not be the best choice. Bass is clean and spacious. Nevertheless, the quantity and the strength are satisfying. If the track that you are listening to includes no bass, you do not hear it, however if it includes bass, you hear it sufficiently in terms of quantity and depth. If there is light bass in the track, you really hear weak bass, there is no exaggeration. In this sense, it does not present enhanced bass, you get exactly what it is. Andromeda has a high quality natural resolution and detailed bass presentation instead of bloated bass.

    There is no initial spread or uncontrolled presentation. The recover time is quite fast and short and here is the advantage of armature driver. It feels like the bass in the tracks arise from different places and it does not dominate to other frequencies, almost even it is like separate than mids and trebles. It is possible to make the distinction of layers and it hits deep. The bass presentation is firm, not spreading and not in the upfront.

    Andromeda offers an enjoyable audition with its satisfying depth and strike power while listening to many genres like EDM.

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    Soundstage:

    Andromeda has amazing holographical 3D presentation and quite width soundstage. Overall presentation is spacious and stress-free. Imaging of instruments are really successful. The space between the instruments and the positioning in the stage are quite good. The lack of mid-hump plays the biggest role in this success. Background is quite clean and there is no any mixing, however I think that there can be a bit darker background. Soundstage is really successful in terms of depth but it is not that successful on width Andormeda’s.

    Verdict:

    Briefly, Andromeda is a magnificent earphone. Its performance is almost same and sometimes even better than the double priced earphones. I did not like that much any of the earphones that I have ever listened, actually it took much time for me to meet Andromeda while it has released a long time ago. It is my mistake to delay it somehow.

    Andromeda is an end game earphone with its hyper detailed treble performance, enchanted mids and 3d holographic stage presentation, for many users. It is possible to upgrade the existing performance with some cable types. It deserves a good point with quality of material and workmanship. Andromeda is an absolutely killer earphone in this price range.
      natemact likes this.
  4. cleg
    Limited version of unlimited sound
    Written by cleg
    Published Feb 12, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - sound, design, price, stock cable, accessories set
    Cons - some rare fit issues
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    I always was a great fan of any "limited editions" and other "exclusive" stuff. So, when my friends from Portativ.ua (Ukrainian distributor of Campfire Audio) told me that they got in stock Pacific Blue version of Andromedas I've decided to sold mine regular ones and upgrade. I'm not sure, are they yet available anywhere (besides actually Portativ.ua), but I'll share my impressions anyway. As I didn't write my feelings on regular Andromedas too, I'll try to make this review two-in-one, because the difference is tiny (but anyway noticeable).

    First of all, I'd like to thank Campfire Audio for providing me with the regular version of Andromeda for exchange to my honest and unbiased review. I've used them for almost a year but then traded for this limited edition.
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    Box and accessories set are the same as for regular version. The only difference is the color of the box and its sticker. Inside you'll have a brown raw leather case from CA, three pairs of single flange silicone tips, three pairs of foam tips, regular set of SpinFit (how I can type TM symbol?), cleaning tool and signature pin with company's logo. Also, you'll have cable for the IEMs, I'm mentioning it separately, as the cord is indeed excellent. Of course, I'd like to see a balanced wire in this box too, as it was with the first version of Jupiter. But new Campfire (or should I call them Alo) Audio cables are more expensive, and only one is in the box. Anyway, accessories set is excellent even for this price range.
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    As for design, probably everyone, who is interested in personal audio gear have already seen Andromedas. Their green color became the signature feature of this model. Anyway, Campfire released few limited editions of a different color. I've tried to gather as much information as possible, but I could miss something or make a mistake.
    - "Polar white" Andromedas for Japan
    - Polished copper and silver versions of Andromedas for Chinese market
    - Polished chrome version for close friends and company's co-workers
    - "Pacific blue" version for other markets
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    Anyway, limited version uses the same design as regular ones, but with different color and a bit different hand-polished CNC steel sprouts. I didn't make precise measures, but I've seen mentions that this sprouts version are 1-2 mm longer. Indeed, with limited Andromedas, I've got a bit better fit, compared with my original Andromeda of the first version. Probably, this change isn't sprout-related at all or was introduced in recent revisions of "regular" Andromeda too, here I can't tell for sure, but the fact is new version is a little bit easier for me to fit.
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    So, with all above being said, now I can call Andromeda definitely comfortable IEMs without fit issues (but YMMV anyway). They provide convenient fit and average sound isolation that is enough for noisy street or public transport, but subway or in the plane you'll need to increase a volume.

    Some warm words deserve the cable. Campfire uses probably the best MMCX connectors in the portable world (at least of those I've tried), they have a perfect gripping force and serves long, despite the hard usage. Cable itself is also lovely; it's soft, it's easy to untangle, it looks nice and has zero microphonic effect. It's made of high-quality silver plated copper. Anyway, if you're a fan of cable rolling, Alo Audio offers tons of different options, including gold ones.
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    Probably everyone here knows the representation of Andromeda (more then 20 reviews, is it a Head-Fi record?): neutral, resolving and super-natural sound with a perfect balance of audiophiliac detalisation with a pinch of musicality.

    Bass is fast, with perfect attacks and a bit shortened decays, typical for well implemented balanced armature designs. It's adequately balanced concerning quantity, but it leans a little bit to the faster side, so in rare cases, I'd like to see a bit more weight (not more bass itself), but that tracks are limited. Andromeda's lows have great texturing and offer clean instruments separation. The depth and overall control are also excellent.
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    Mids are neutral, they don't have any coloration, but on the other side, they don't have that hollow, sharp and bodyless representation, typical for inexpensive armatures. Mid frequencies in this IEMs correctly reproduce any single tiny nuance of the track, but Andromedas are critical to the quality of a recording. They don't try to mask mastering flaws or add any missing emotions, so they require that from the so records should be indeed excellent. The imaginary stage is close to maximum in width and a bit smaller than that in depth, anyway, it's one of the biggest in IEMs world. Earphones do a great job in layers separation and instruments positioning.

    Trebles are also "typical" for well-done balanced armatures, they have the superb attack and a bit shortened decays, but most important is that they have the right layering. For me, that layering is #1 criteria of TOTL models. Of course, we can even not mention treble resolution and sense of realism. So, if you're not too treble sensitive, high frequencies here will impress you.
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    As for a limited version of Andromeda, there is just one minor difference: they have a bit more body on the lower half of spectrum (starting from lows and up to the middle of mid frequencies). I can't tell for sure, is it right for all limited edition Andromedas, maybe it's just a difference in two particular exemplars, but I've done some blind A/B testing and the difference was audible. Anyway, this difference was pretty subtle, so I don't think that you'll need to exchange basic version if you already own one.
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    Andromeda is a sensitive IEM, and you should consider this during source selection. You'll need not only perfect control all over the whole frequency range but also a low level of background noise. Subjectively, I prefer A&K models and Cayin N5-2 with this earphones.

    So, from one hand, I can't tell $1000+ IEMs "affordable," but from the other hand, Andromeda is at the early beginning of "TOTL" IEMs range, so let's say so: Andromeda is the most affordable way of achieving of the hi-end sound in the IEMs world.

      PlantsmanTX likes this.
  5. MrOTL
    The Green Opal.
    Written by MrOTL
    Published Dec 31, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Fabulously awesome design,
    Enjoyable listening to music,
    Staged for an audience of one,
    Cheerful and airy treble,
    Finely detailed bass
    Cons - Cumbersome fitting,
    Too sensitive to sound source environment,
    Deficiency of bass depth
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    Speakers is a medium to convert the electrical signal into the physical waveform that people can hear. The way speakers are designed and made have a big effect on their sound-signature. Earphones also has almost same design-concept with speakers and can be thought of as the microcosm of technological integration in acoustic field. To be productive, they must be sturdy, easy to handle, and have good appearance. Especially, it is not easy to raise the perfection of the product which satisfies both sound and design at the same time. 'CampfireAudio Andromeda' in-ear headphone can be one of the best solutions in the current Head-fi market.



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    Accessories
    1x Pair Andromeda earphones
    1x Silver Litz cable with exclusive MMCX connectors and memory wire
    1x Leather carrying case
    3x Pair Comply Foam tips (S, M, L)
    3x Pair memory foam tips (S, M, L)
    3x Pair silicone wide bore tips (S, M, L)
    1x Owner’s manual


    When you first get the "Andromeda", you will be surprised at the extremely small size of the package box and its overly rich composition. The container case inside of the package is made of thick dark brown leather, so that it does not get crushed even by the external impact. Its copper-colored zipper and lambs-wool lining looks classy and gorgeous. There are label pins, cleaning tools, 3 kinds ear-tip sets in the package. Also, a warranty and product manual with unique art design.


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    The emerald-colored Zirconium blasted aluminum shells and the silver bolts fixing it emit the beauty of gem stone, while simultaneously feeling the cold mechanical atmosphere. Overall, the shell's color is delicately anodized and the detail of the nozzle or connector is made to a high standard. However, it is expected that there can be a cumbersome fit due to the short nozzle compared to the size of the units. I recommend using a Spin-fit ear-tips contained in the package, or one-step larger ear-tips than usual.


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    The bundle cable is made of silver-plated copper Litz wires and a polished aluminum Y-splitter. Using flexible sheathing and twisting the wires tightly, there is no worries about microphonic. The MMCX connectors are made of beryllium plated, so that durable enough to be firmly fixed and welly compatible with even other brand products. It is really good to see, but due to the polished material on the Y-splitter, there is a matter that it is easily scratchy. The ends of ear-guides are not warped well, which made uncomfortable to wear.







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    Specifications
    Frequency Range: 10Hz-28kHz
    Sensitivity: 115 DB SPL/MW
    Impedance: 12.8 Ohm @1kHz
    Cable: Silver Litz cable, MMCX connection


    'Andromeda' knows how to make people enjoy music. The most notable advantage shows in the expression of the sound-stage. The stage is drawn in a wide circle around the listener, and the reverberations of each session spread out towards the audience. Of those, the mainly mastered session sounds a slightly little bit ahead. As if, 'Andromeda' gives the impression that it is playing music only for one person. Thanks to this, even if the harmonics of the certain range are recorded too much, the details of each session are not easily burred, which helps to enjoy more diverse genres of music. However, it may give difficulties if need to professionally monitor the location of sound-stage.


    The harmonies of mid-range and treble are dry, densely reverberant and have a bright tone. The sibilance is exposed to some extent, but it rolls off quickly before reaches the level of fatigue, so the harmonies of cymbals, string instruments, and female vocals are heard airy and comfortably. This sibilance may be emphasized strongly on the sound source which its high dynamic range is recorded unstably. Among the ear-tips in the package, Spin-fit ear-tips welly keep the tone and detail of the sound-signature stably.


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    If the sibilance is still annoying, using the marshmallow memory-form ear-tips enclosed. With this memory-foam ear-tips, can reduce the irritating part of the treble. But because they tend to blur the details of the bass by boosting at mid-low bass, you should make decision on choosing the ear-tips depending on the sound-source environment.


    The amount and reverberation of bass is richer than mid and high range. There is an emphasis on 100Hz, and the roll-off attenuation of the deep bass is strong, so can feel the drums and the bass strings’ texture well. However, with the fast response feature, the weight of bass seems to present deficiency of bass depth.


    Due to ‘Andromeda’s low impedance and high sensitivity, very sensitive to output noise. It is better to match the low output devices such as portable music players than the stationary systems. I’d like to recommend that you listen with a well recorded sound-source because it catches the noise flow of the sound-source easily. And because the response characteristics of the mid-range are largely changed according to the cable matching, it is better to use it with cable products with neutral sound-signature.






    Claimer

    Hello, I am a South-Korean reviewer named 'Bigheadfiler'. My first language is Korean and I am still learning how to write in English. Please understand if see any missing sentences or words. All of the contents are written and taken by me. Thank you.

    The CampfireAudio Andromeda was offered by ‘Campfire Audio’. The content of the review has been written without any restriction because the authors' freedom is respected.
    1. knopi
      Beauty photos
      knopi, Jan 7, 2018
      MrOTL likes this.
    2. MrOTL
      Thank you :)
      MrOTL, Jan 8, 2018
  6. Jackpot77
    Another stellar constellation from CA's stargazers
    Written by Jackpot77
    Published Nov 30, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Great value, classy metal build and accessory package, superbly balanced tuning, clarity, large and airy soundstage, neutral yet musical
    Cons - Sharp edges on the shell casing can cause discomfort for some, not for bassheads, signature can vary with output impedance of source
    Introduction
    Anyone with more than a passing interest in high-end in ear audio gear costing more than $100 will most likely have heard of Campfire Audio’s jolly green giant and co-flagship of their current range. After reviewing some of their newer models (and being suitably impressed with all of them), I was finally able to get my hands on a pair in a trade deal with another Head-Fi member. I have owned these for the last few months, and after spending far too much time listening to them and not enough time writing about them, I decided to remedy that with this review. The views and (quite possibly misguided) opinions expressed here are entirely my own, and I received no financial incentive for writing them.

    About me: I'm a fairly recent convert to audiophilia but a long time music fan, also aspiring to be a reasonably inept drummer in my spare time. I listen to at least 2 hours of music a day – generally prefer IEMs for out and about, and a large pair of headphones when I have the house to myself and a glass in my hand. I have a most of my library to FLAC and 320kbps MP3, and do my other listening other listening through Tidal HiFi. I am a fan of rock, acoustic (apart from folk) and sarcasm. Oh yeah, and a small amount of electronica. Not a basshead, but I do love a sound with some body to it. My ideal tuning for most IEMs and headphones tends towards a musical and slightly dark presentation, although I am not treble sensitive in general. Please take all views expressed in my posts with a pinch of salt – all my reviews are a work in progress based on my own perceptions and personal preferences, and your own ears may tell you a different story.

    Note - This review was originally posted on a UK audio blog and is now being reposted here for the good people of Head-Fi.

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    Unboxing and aesthetics
    As with all Campfire Audio products, the packaging is a simple but classy affair, with the Andromeda coming in a small cardboard box slightly larger than the semi-hard carrying case the IEMs are stored in. In keeping with their naming convention, the packaging has an intricate background of stars on the box and surrounding the main branding, giving a nice insight into the attention to detail evident throughout.

    Opening the box uncovers the standard Campfire Audio fur lined carry case, sitting snugly in the box and resting on a small removable floor section, underneath which the selection of tips, standard CIEM style cleaning tool and the ubiquitous Campfire Audio lapel pin can be found. The tip selection is good, with three pairs of Campfire’s own foam tips, three sets of silicon tips with a reasonably wide bore and a pack of three SpinFit tips in different sizes. One of ALO Audio’s SPC litz upgrade cables and an earwax cleaning tool completes the package, and while this isn’t the most comprehensive or ostentatious load-out at this particular price bracket, all the pieces included are well thought out, adding a nice layer of class to proceedings.

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    Comfort
    The Andromeda has an unusual geometrical design, utilising as many unexpected angles as an M.C. Escher drawing to give what is actually a fairly generic style CIEM shape the Max Headroom treatment and turn it into a work of industrial art. I have read comments from HF users who both love and hate the angular design, and I have to say I am on the fence about it. With the correct tips, I don’t find the shells uncomfortable or sharp to wear for extended periods, and they fill the bowl of the ear very well, but there is something about the sharp metal edges that just gives a little reminder every now and again that you have something stuck in the holes around the side of your head. For those who are put off by the lack of curves on the inner or outer face, please try before you dismiss these, as the fit should be more than comfortable enough for all but the smallest ear canals.

    Disregarding the polarising angles, the Andromeda design is very good in terms of stability and isolation, fixing itself securely in the outer ear and remaining pretty immovable when used with the stock SPC Litz memory wire. It isn’t an IEM that requires frequent readjustment, or fiddling to find the perfect insertion depth, as the internal geometry of the nozzle design angles it more or less perfectly into my inner ear. Granted, I have ear canals you could probably park a Mini Cooper in without too many attempts, but this is still a nicely thought out design in that respect.

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    Audio quality
    This is usually the section where I give a brief overview of the relative sonic strengths and weaknesses of the item in question, before moving on to explore these in more detail. It’s made a little more difficult in the case of the Andromeda, as (without wishing to over-hype it) it doesn’t really have any glaring weaknesses. The sound produced by the 5xBA setup from the Portland manufacturer is beautifully balanced, tonally accurate and superbly clear. This isn’t a reference monitor per se, but if what you are looking for is something with a natural sound, then the Andromeda has that in spades. All three frequency ranges balance each other out well, with a slight emphasis on mid range clarity and a sense of airiness and sparkle in the high end. The note weight isn’t huge, but there isn’t any noticeable lack of body that usually accompanies IEMs tuned for clarity or detail retrieval, the Andro managing to present an nicely weighted but still highly resolving sound, spaced out across a larger than average soundstage. Mids and treble are neither forward or recessed, sitting in the middle of the soundscape. Simply put, this is a tuning to listen to music with – not to listen to the individual notes or passages (although the technical capabilities are certainly there to let you do that), but just to sit down and let yourself get swept away in the sound.

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    Bass
    Delving a little deeper, the first test track up is “Mean To Me” by Mr Big. This song is recorded “live in the studio”, and kicks off at a furious pace another track, highlighting the resolution and texture of the Andromeda in the lower ranges. On smoother monitors, Billy Sheehan’s bass can almost be too fast to distinguish individual notes, but the all-BA Andro has no issue here. The bass is also distorted around the edges in the actual recording to sound like it was driven through a Marshall stack, and the Andro excels here, making each note rasp and growl without blending together as they fire through your ears at high speed. The lighter weight to the bass tuning here helps, treading a nice balance between texture and body to deliver a crisp but still impactful sound.

    Looking for more texture, “Bad Rain” by Slash and Myles Kennedy is up next, as this is one of my all time favourites testers for low end texture, underpinned by a deep bass line that crawls around the bottom end of the frequency range and growls like a hungry wolf outside a butcher’s shop window. The Andromeda handles the track with aplomb, the bass lines reaching down deep without losing their power, the rasp of the bass guitar strings vibrating against the fretboard clearly audible as the track kicks into life. This track also has a punchy kick drum accompaniment, and the Campfire drivers don’t disappoint here, not quite kicking out as much boom as something like the Vega, but still providing a nice layer of BA-style physicality.

    Listening to something a little smoother, the Andromeda’s more neutral leanings become a little more apparent. “Drift Away” by Dobie Grey is an old school soul classic, driven by a chocolate smooth and voluminous bass line that sounds like liquid velvet. The Andromeda handles this well, but definitely adds more more emphasis on the detail of the bassline at the expense of a little smoothness and body, coming across as almost dry or slightly chalky in its presentation. It is still high quality bass, but just presented with less liquidity. “Hello, It’s Me” by Sister Hazel sounds similar, the huge and viscous bassline that dominates the opening of the track sounding more dry and solid rather than liquid and oozing as it builds into the main body of the song.

    Switching emphasis to sub-bass highlights one of the areas that the Andromeda is weaker in, with the drivers extending down into sub territory, but losing a little volume and quantity the further they go. Listening to something like “Heaven” by Emile Sande is usually a head-shaking experience on more bass-tilted in-ears, with the sub bass foundation throbbing away throughout the song and balancing out Sande’s crystalline vocals and sharp snare and cymbal percussion in the higher registers. The Andro does manage to put out a little tickle in the sub registers, but it is merely a whisper compared to something like the 64 Audio U8 or Vega in this regard. If your music catalogue contains a lot of sub-driven music, the Andromeda probably wouldn’t be my number one suggestion, just lacking enough body to really provide the foundation for these type of tracks that they require.

    Overall, bass quality is high, with the focus firmly on quality over quantity, and a slightly north of neutral presentation that emphasises speed and definition over body or slam. Unless you are looking for an out and out bass monster, this tuning is enjoyable enough for all but the most demanding sub-bass driven tracks, so it is yet another case of “nicely done” for Ken Ball and his tuning team here.

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    Mids
    Moving into the mid-range, the real character of the Andromeda starts to reveal itself, with a smooth but detailed tonality and crystal clear resolution. This is a tuning that shines a spotlight on the subtle detail in a track, but manages to do so in such a way that it still remains in balance with the “bigger picture”, allowing the listener to hear right through the recording with ease.

    Starting with a little Foy Vance and his latest album “The Wild Swan”, the Belfast troubadour’s voice is superbly rendered, capturing the gravel and soul in his unique style and placing it bang in the middle of the stage. The vocals are neither forward or recessed, allowing the singer to express himself without dominating the landscape. The gravelly crack in the back of the singer’s throat in tracks like “Casanova” paint extra layers of texture on to the sound, blending well with the more gospel style chorus lines

    Staying with Vance, “Bangor Town” highlights the clarity of the Andromeda’s mid-range, the sounds of fingernails scraping against heavy-gauge guitar strings and the subtle vibrato in the acoustic guitar notes all sounding crystal clear in the ear. Unlike the bass, this level of detail and texture doesn’t come at the expense of the body of each note, with the Andromeda painting a thicker and more robust musical picture here. Notes feel more full bodied and rounded, carrying a little more gravity than the bass. This isn’t to say that the midrange feels overly thick or congested, but there is a definite sense of physicality to the sound that adds a nicely organic dimension to temper the more analytical leanings and capabilities of the drivers. This is one of those rare tunings that can hit you over the head with the body of a note, and let you appreciate the fine grain of the baseball bat as it bounces off your noggin at the same time.

    Guitars are well handled by this sort of presentation, with plenty of crunch and speed to handle heavier rock tracks, along with the resolution to hear the individual scuffs of each string in quieter passages. “Blame It On My Youth” by Mr Big blasts through my ears without pausing for breath, the harmonic heavy and distorted guitar lines screaming with more bite than a sack full of dentures. The edges of each note are crisp and punchy, giving the necessary energy to Gilbert’s guitar work without sounding too dissonant or aggressive. “Shadow Life” by Slash is similarly breezy and well-executed, the main riff hitting with weight and definition, stopping on a sixpence as the quick-fire riffs interchange and sounding suitably sleazy and raucous when required. The presentation here isn’t overly thick, but there is enough body to the notes to avoid the guitar work sounding thin or reedy, holding its ground against the helium fuelled vocals and quick fire drums in splendid coherence.

    Trying a little more orchestral music, “Palladio” and “Kashmir” by the string quartet Escala are up next. Starting with Palladio, the texture of the strings is rich and detailed, the soundstage dimensions enabling the full sweep of instruments as the track gets into full flow. The subtle noise of chairs and stands being adjusted at the start of the track is clear if not over emphasised, highlighting the unfussy presentation of fine detail without loss of balance that the Andro excels at. The harpsichord in the middle of the track is delicate and shimmering, the notes feeling almost gossamer like as they tinkle over the meatier strings bowing beneath. This was the first track that almost sounded sharp using the Kombi tips and my Echobox Explorer - foam provides a smoother tonality for that particular DAP/IEM combo here.

    Moving on to their collaboration with Slash, “Kashmir” is a unique blend of chugging guitar and heavy string refrains, and carries a solid weight. The Andro manages the wall of mid range sound beautifully, the strings feeling textured and rich against the more jagged guitar licks that make up the main body of the track. Again, the sound feels clear and highly resolved, the quin-driver setup of the Andromeda making it easy to pull different strands and textures out of the sound without any effort.

    Piano is another instrument that sounds true to life with the Campfire, having a satisfying body to the individual notes and a very coherent presentation. It just sounds real. Listening to something like “Speeding Cars” by Walking On Cars, the haunting piano refrain that opens the track just hangs in the air behind the singer like you had a baby grand piano sitting right in the back of your skull. Electronic keyboards also sound good, “Go” by the Chemical Brothers kicking into the chorus at around the 2 minute mark with a swoosh of old-skool synth that carries you along with the track, lifting the listener up into the euphoric chorus.

    Finally, my two usual testers for midrange harshness and sibilance “Whiskey And You” by Chris Stapleton and “Starlight” by Slash) are up for assessment. Both tracks sound angular and raw when required, but neither stray across the boundary into harshness or dissonance that they are easily capable of on harsher IEMs. This isn’t due to any smoothing or lack of detail in the range, Stapleton’s gravelly roar sounding as powerful as ever, but not scratching at the eardrums in the process. Similarly with the deliberately harmonic-driver Starlight, the Andro copes both with the stratospheric warblings of Myles Kennedy and the distinctive guitar refrain without making the listener leave their comfortable audio place, and just lets them bask in the full sonic glory of the track.

    Overall, despite only having one driver allocated to this specific frequency band, the midrange is an exceptionally accomplished piece of tuning, presenting body and detail in equal measure. It has a natural clarity that is quite rare, and offers the sort of insight into tracks that makes you want to utter the classic audiophile mantra “I’m hearing things I have never heard before” on some of your favourite tracks.

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    Treble
    This is where the rubber really meets the road with the unique technology that Ken Ball and company have crammed into the angular green shells of the Andromeda. The catchy acronym they use is TAEC, which stands for Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber, effectively a tubeless resonator box in the nozzle of the IEM that is designed to blend the outputs of the high frequency drivers and bounce them around in a 3D-printed chamber before delivering them to the ears of the listener. Campfire claim that this helps provide the airy, extended treble that the Andro is known for, and I have to say that whatever it is doing, it seems to work as advertised.

    The treble on the Andro is a crisp, sparkling affair, full of air and space up top and bags of definition. It doesn't feel hot or over-emphasised, but just cuts through the body of the midrange sitting underneath and opens out the sound nicely as it rises into the rafters. Cymbals were the first thing I noticed that benefit from the treble presentation, sounding crisp and decaying with a natural sparkle and shimmer. “Right Now” by Van Halen if a great example, with Alex Van Halen's constant cymbal crashes floating over the the top of the piano driven power ballad like a metallic canopy and adding a real crispness to the sound.

    Sticking with Van Halen, “When It's Love” sounds fantastic, the layered synthesiser opening and driving hi-hat work sounding expansive and filling the upper end of the stage with an all encompassing wall of sound without making it feel closed off. Switching up to more electronic fare, “Go” by The Chemical Brothers kicks off with a similarly large synth driven sound, the stage again feeling tall and wide, and the sweeping keyboard run that precedes the chorus giving a genuine unison if starting well outside the ear as it fizzes across the stage from left to right. This is a tuning that is almost tailor made for this sort of synth heavy electronic music, giving a big and bold presentation without going too heavy on the sharpness, but still feeling crisp and sparkly.

    Despite the treble emphasis, the Andromeda is not a harsh monitor, and is pretty forgiving of most of my spicier recordings. “Whiskey And You” by Chris Stapleton passes through without unduly bothering my eardrums with its problematic chorus (although it did sail close), and Emile Sande and her hotter-than-a-chilli-eating-contest-in-hell mastering on “My Kind Of Love” only mildly irritate. This is treble for the purists and the proletariat alike, bringing out the best elements of the higher frequencies without alienating the more “consumer friendly” audience. Guitar solos shimmer and wail, harmonics hang in the background like fine mist, and everything north of the midrange gets served up with a king sized dollop of sparkle and brilliance. I could keep writing ad nauseam on the capabilities of the unusual technology baked in to the brilliant green IEM shells, but suffice to say that if you are a fan of clean, sparkling treble, you won’t find much on the market that can do it better than the Andromeda.

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    Separation and imaging
    The Andromeda has a very spacious stage for an in ear monitor, giving a sense of scale to the sound that pushes out of the ear in all directions. Absolute left/right width doesn’t feel super-stretched, as there is also ample depth to the sound to bring the imaging firmly into the very over-used “holographic” territory, packing substance as well as spread. Imaging is precise, helped by the clarity of the presentation and the only-slightly-thicker-than-neutral note weight, planting the various musicians around the soundstage with a very clear sense of where the notes are coming from, and where in the soundstage the instruments are planted. Overall, this is another area where the tuning of the Andro excels, painting a picture where all the elements can clearly be followed by the listener, allowing for complex passages to be digested as easily as some two-bar blues.

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    Notes on synergy and hiss
    The Andromeda is a very source-sensitive IEM, with an response curve that is highly susceptible to changes in output impedance. In real terms, this means that the higher the OI of your source, the leaner and drier the Andromeda will most likely sound, gaining bass and body as the OI drops. This allows for some element of tuning, but on the flipside definitely makes the Andro an IEM that can pick favourites. It also has a tendency to hiss more than an angry cat with a hangover, so added to the change in response, those sensitive to background noise will need to find something with a blacker than usual background to mitigate the ssssssss noise that will otherwise start emanating from the Campfire flagship.

    The Echobox Explorer is a good example of a source that accentuates the leaner and meaner traits of the Andro, putting out a lower than expected bass presence and sharpening the treble slightly over other DAPs I have used. This makes the Andromeda sound a little more analytical, taking some of the warmth and natural timbre out of the sound and replacing it with a little more subtle detailing and a leaner texture. For my personal preferences, this isn’t the best of pairing, and while it certainly doesn’t sound bad, it doesn’t really make the most of the Andromeda’s natural sound.

    In contrast, a good pairing is the Opus #3 from TheBit – with a very low OI, the #3 exhibits pretty much no hiss, with slightly more bass presence than the Explorer and marginally less sharpness in the treble. Despite the additional warmth, detail feels slightly higher than the Explorer, but sound is a little more bodied as well. Sound stage also feels notably larger. This is a very good pairing, only bested by the QP2R out of all my sources.

    Speaking of the QP2R, this was the source I felt really took the Andro to the limit of its capabilities (with my current sonic setup at least). The warm and dynamic sound of the Questyle meshes beautifully with the clear and natural sonics of the Andromeda to maximise the potential of both units. Detail and clarity is emphasised, while still retaining the body and musicality of the underlying notes. Hiss isn’t too much of an issue, and overall, the combination just seems to bring the best out of both partners, presenting a vibrant and engaging sound with bags of detail and a sensational feeling of balance. As far as personal audio “end game” matchups go, I would definitely suggest these two as a contender for that crown for fans of the basic Andromeda sound.

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    Comparisons
    IMR Acoustics R1 – The R1 is the first model being launched by IMR Acoustics, the new company set up by for Trinity Audio head designer Bob James. They are a hybrid dynamic and ceramic driver IEM, expected to retail at around the £600 mark once released. I have chosen this comparison due to the similar approach to tuning shown in both models, with an emphasis on tone and organic reproduction of sound.

    Starting with the bass, the Andromeda has significantly less presence vs the R1 using the purple filters, with the IMR model carrying a fair bit more weight in the sub and mid bass ranges. The notes are also thicker on the R1, with the Andro carrying as much or more overt detail at each interval as the sound rises through the mid and treble ranges, but in a slightly thinner presentation. The lack of bass weight gives the Andromeda a more neutral feel to the presentation, with the notes swooping round a stage with more fell of air due to the sizing. With regards to clarity, the Andro pulls ahead slightly due to the lightness of its notes, but in contrast the R1 presenting a more convincing sense of depth with its weightier presentation as music pans around the stage (a good track to highlight this is “We Found Love” by 2Cellos, which has a swooping cello run around the 1.50 mark in the left ear that feels a little more fleshed out on the R1).

    Opening the ports on the IMR model makes things a little more competitive in regards to air and space in the soundstage as the bass pressure levers off slightly, allowing the midrange a little more freedom to move. The Andro is still ahead in this regard, although the gap is comparatively smaller, with the Andro just feeling a shade more clear and refined.

    Build quality is again similar between the two, with the unique industrial design of the Andomeda just nudging ahead of the R1 – as this is a pre-production model, the final article may be a little closer overall. IN terms of comfort, both IEMs sit in the ear well and provide good levels of isolation, with the Andromeda providing slightly more due to its sealed aluminium shell compared to the ported and vented design on the R1.

    In terms of power requirements, the Andromeda is considerably easier to drive, requiring less power to reach a good listening volume. It is more sensitive to impedance of the source, giving slightly different levels of bass and treble depending on the DAP/source being used. The Andromeda also hisses significantly more than the practically jet black R1 on most of my music sources.

    Overall, the Andromeda provides a more balanced and refined sound than the R1, which you would expect at approximately twice the price. Both IEMs share a nicely musical take on sound reproduction, and while lower, the R1 certainly doesn’t feel a million miles away from the Andro in terms of overall quality, and is certainly pretty close in terms of sheer enjoyment factor.

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    64 Audio U8 (universal, M20 APEX module) – the U8 is a “middle child” model of 64 Audio’s current range, sporting 8 balanced armature drivers and their proprietary APEX pressure relieving technology. It is priced in the same bracket as the Andromeda, and shares a similarly musical tilt to the tuning.

    Starting with the bass, the U8 has a heavier emphasis on the low end, as you would expect with 4 (!) of its 8 balanced armatures dedicated to the lower frequency range. Technically, the two IEMs are similarly capable when it comes to bass texture and detail, with the U8 nudging ahead in terms of absolute quantity and depth of sound, holding strong as it drops into thrumming sub-bass, in comparison to the Andromeda’s good but not head-shaking sub bass extension. Layering in the deepest bass recesses is also slightly better and more nuanced on the U8, which is again to be expected with the number of drivers in play. Physical impact is also won by the U8, providing far more “oomph” and rumble than the Andromeda.

    Moving to the mid-range, the Andro delivers a slightly crisper and crunchier sound, at the expense of a little bit of the body that the U8 delivers. Listening to the crunching guitars of “Bad Rain” by Slash, the Andro gives just a hair more detailing on the individual notes making up the chord, with the U8 countering with a less detailed but chunkier sound, filling more of the space between the notes. Listening to orchestral instruments helps highlight the difference between the two quite well – the opening cello on “We Found Love” by 2Cellos has a vibrato on the phrase that starts about the 20 second mark, as the cellist wrings the expression out of the notes. On the Andromeda, it feels more crisply defined, almost leaving you with a picture of the cellist’s fingers vibrating against the neck of the instrument. The U8 still captures the emotion of the phrase, but the details feel less sharp and more full bodied. This body helps the U8 fill out the deeper sections of this track better than the more neutral Andromeda, trading off absolute definition for more physical presence. In terms of detail and clarity, both IEMs have very good resolving capabilities, but the Andromeda gives a slightly higher level of micro-detailing due in part to its less warm presentation and lack of bass emphasis.

    Lastly, the treble is an area where the Andromeda has a clear advantage in terms of air and sparkle, feeling sharp and crisp in comparison to the darker sounding and more smooth U8. Detail levels are perceptibly higher in the high ranges on the Campfire model, with the warmer tuning of the U8 still retrieving plenty of audio information, just presenting it in a less crystalline fashion. Neither have harsh treble, but for lovers of the higher frequencies, the TAEC tech in the Andromeda is hard to beat here.

    In terms of soundstage, both IEMs are pretty similar, with the spacious Andromeda going toe to toe with the marginally larger feeling U8 in terms of overall size and depth. Both IEMs give a solid and 3 dimensional image. The Andromeda are a little easier to drive than the U8, but as a payoff they hiss considerably more than the U8 with its practically jet-black background. Separation is slightly better on the Andromeda, due to the comparatively thinner weight of each note, allowing a little more room to breathe between each instrument.

    Build quality is won by the Campfire model with its unique industrial design and all-metal build, but comfort goes to the 64 Audio middle child, its longer stems and more rounded shell shape making it easier to wear for extended listening, and the APEX tech minimising audio fatigue and any associated effects of pressure build up in the ears. Accessories are a draw, with the 64 Audio model having a better case, but the Campfire package including a better stock cable and more usable tip selection.

    One final point to note – both of these IEMs are sensitive to the output impedance of the source being used. It is common knowledge that the 64 Audio “U” line has mainly been tuned with stage gear in mind, which usually packs a far higher OI (5+ ohms) than current audiophile daps (which usually come in at under 1 ohm). This means that using the U8 on a higher OI source like the Shanling M2s yields a cleaner, more balanced sound as it flattens out some of the bass emphasis. The Andro is similarly easily affected, so please note that the comparison described above may not be exactly what you hear, depending on the setup you are using, as the tuning on both models can be quite significantly affected by your player. For reference, I prefer using the U8 with something like the M2S to balance out the sound and eke out a bit more clarity, and the Andro with something like the Opus #3, to make the sound as full bodied as possible.

    Overall, this comparison was a lot closer than I initially expected, the U8 providing a very stern challenge in terms of sheer musicality, and definitively holding the cards in the bass areas but losing out as you climb further up the spectrum. It comes down to what you are looking for in the tuning here – the U8 is a warm and bassy sound with good clarity but isn’t a detail monster, with the Andro presenting a more neutral sound but with a crisper and more detailed edge, and a more balanced tuning overall. The Andro just nudges this one for me in absolute terms, but in terms of preference, I could possibly swing the other way.

    [​IMG]

    Empire Ears Athena-VIII (CIEM) – the Athena are another “middle child” model, sitting towards the upper end of the Empire Ears lineup, with only the Apollo and Zeus models higher up the pecking order in terms of both driver count and pricing. The Athena sport 8 balanced armature drivers in a 2-low, 3-mid, 3-high configuration using 5 crossovers. They are prices at around $1299 at time of writing, so slightly more expensive than the Andromeda.

    The Athena are another musical sounding IEM, having a more forward midrange and beefier bass emphasis at the expense of some top end “fizz” in direct comparison to the Andromeda.

    Starting with the bass, the Athena has more quantity than the Andromeda, being the bassiest of the non-Savage line currently in production by Empire. Quality is again similar, both IEMs producing good texture and detail in the lower end, with the Andromeda sounding a little less forward and bodied than the warmer and more “in your face” style of the Athena. To be fair, neither IEM could be considered a basshead tuning, so please take this in context, but the Athena definitely feels like it delivers more substance in the low end, possibly at the expense of a little of the tautness and control that the Andromeda shows in this regard. Sub bass is won by the Athena, with a little more overall impact in this region than the Andromeda.

    Moving to the mid-range, this is definitely a battle of different styles, with the Athena presenting a much more forward sound in the vocal ranges, pushing the singer right to the front of the stage and halfway over the front row. Mixed with the warmish tuning, this can take a little getting used to at first in comparison to the more neutral positioning and “cooler air” of the Andromeda staging, with the Andro initially seeming like the more detailed and clearer monitor. Once the brain kicks in to the Athena signature, there is plenty of clarity and detail to be found, but it feels less expansive and spread out than the Andromeda. Guitars have a crunchier and more crystalline tone on the Andromeda, feeling slightly more organic on the Athena. The resolution of both monitors here is excellent, with the Athena providing more body and emphasis in the midrange in comparison to the more neutral but still exceptional sounding Andromeda.

    Treble is presented very differently on both IEMs, with the Athena putting out a clear and clean treble, but lacking in air and sparkle in comparison to the more soaring and spacious Andromeda. The Andromeda also has the better perceived extension here, the space around the notes in the rafters giving the impression of a much higher “ceiling” for the sound. Neither monitor is prone to sibilance with most tracks, with the Athena being the slightly smoother and more forgiving of the two in this regard.

    Accessories and loadout is better on the Empire IEM, with their carrying case and various bags and cloths giving a slightly more luxurious feel than the standard Campfire presentation, with the exception of the SPC Litz cable provided with the Andro. Build quality is a draw, with the high quality acrylic CIEM manufacture looking flawless on the Empire gear, and standing up well to the iconic all-metal Andromeda design. Comfort and isolation wouldn’t be fair to compare, as the Athena is a CIEM and the Andromeda is a universal model.

    Separation and layering are a mixed bag, with the warmer and more forward Athena still doing an excellent job of peeling the sound back into layers around the listener, but sometimes lacking the more airy and widescreen style presentation of the Andromeda and the additional space between instruments on the soundstage that provides.

    The Athena is actually one of the only IEMs in my collection easier to drive than the Andromeda, and hisses marginally less on my less forgiving sources, which was surprising.

    Overall, these are two very different IEM tunings, neither of which comes out as a clear winner. If you like your sound crystal clear and spacious while hovering around the musical/neutral border, I would suggest the Andromeda. If you prefer a more forward midrange and slightly warmer and more musical slant to proceedings, the Athena will be the winner here. with both IEMs providing bags of resolution, detail and texture, neither would be a bad choice in this price bracket.

    [​IMG]

    Empire Ears Zeus-XR (CIEM)this is the current 14 BA flagship of the Empire Audio range (in fact, dual flagship, as it has a tunable crossover which imitates either the Zeus-R or Zeus-XIV models through a hardware switch on the shell). The Zeus-XR is approximately twice as expensive as the Andromeda at time of writing.

    In terms of the bass, the Andro presents a slightly more organic and warmer overall sound, with a little more heft in the mid-bass and similar extension but a shade less body in the sub bass region. Both offer excellent texture and control, being two excellent examples of a well-tuned balanced armature bass – compared to a high end dynamic driver like the Vega they can lack a bit of impact and physicality, but neither can be described as anaemic or bass-light, both treading on territory that sits just a little north of neutral. For me, it depends what genre I am listening to as to which I think is “better”, with both tunings suiting slightly different styles of music. In terms of overall quality I think the Zeus just shades it, but that is as much preference as a definite night and day differential.

    Mids are an interesting comparison, with the Zeus’ famous mid-forward sound coming up against the silky smoothness of the Andromeda. This is an area that is too difficult to call, with the Andromeda carrying a little more weight, but the Zeus feeling slightly airier and more resolving. Both IEMs have excellent clarity, and can really evoke the emotion in a vocal line when needed. At this level, it is very difficult to pull the two apart, and these truly are two of the best midranges in the game at the moment (in my opinion, of course – the usual caveats about personal taste and the subjective nature of sound apply).

    Moving up to treble, this is again another example of different styles but similar excellence, with the Andromeda feeling cavernous and airy up top, and the XR showing a laser-like focus and clarity, but a little less “sparkle”, having a cleaner and less diffuse tone. Again, both are at the top of the tree in execution and quality, with the Zeus carrying a little more weight and feeling a little sharper on occasion, and the Andromeda giving a real “out of head” experience and sparkle to the higher treble reproduction.

    In terms of accessories, the Zeus has a slightly upgraded accessory pack in comparison to the Athena as it includes a Whiplash SPC upgrade cable, so is a clear winner over the Campfire model here. As mentioned in the Athena comparion, it is unfair to compare isolation or comfort between this CIEM version and the universal Andromeda.

    Overall, despite the difference in cost, these are two of the best operators in the higher end of personal audio at the moment, and for many, personal preference about the sound they are after will be as important as the technicalities of the IEMs at this sort of level. For my money, the Andromeda has a more immediately enjoyable sound, but the Zeus in both configurations just pulls clear in terms of clarity and overall resolution, showing a higher level of detailing while still retaining an emotional connection to the music, so would just get the nod if I had to pick only one.

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    Unique Melody Miracle V2 – the Miracle V2 is a 6-driver model from Chinese manufacturer Unique Melody, and retail for a similar price to the Campfire model. They aren’t the flagship model from the current UM lineup, but are very well regarded.

    Compared to the Andromeda, the Miracle are tuned slightly thinner in the mids, giving a sharper edge to guitars and stringed instruments, but they are tuned a fair bit heavier in the lower frequencies, giving a bigger sub and low mid bass presence. The overall sound doesn’t feel quite as “fleshed out” as the Andro, and also has a slightly narrower staging in comparison to the Campfire model. It almost feels like the Andromeda is slightly larger in all three dimensions in terms of the sonic image, with slightly larger sounding notes.

    Starting with the bass, “Palladio” by Escala is very well handled by the Miracle, the thick weight of bass adding nice undertones to track in comparison to the lighter and more delicate Andromeda. Violins feel slightly less emphasised but more tonally accurate on the Andro, the presentation giving more air to the track, where the Miracle V2 feels richer and more velvety. The Andromeda lacks a bit of viscerality compared to the almost DD bass of the Miracle, but again sounds the more balanced and organic.

    Moving through to the midrange, high string notes feel more delicate and ethereal on the Campfire, whereas the Miracle feels a little sharper and thinner ins direct comparison. Firing up “Starlight” bu Slash, the Andro is better able to handle the intro, giving a less harsh tone but still presenting a nice crispness to the hi-hat compared to the mute truncated Miracle. Myles Kennedy's voice sounds more organic, with a bit more warmth and weight and a more forward stage positioning. In terms of midrange detail, the Andro feels a little more resolving, but not by a massive margin. There is a mid range spike in the Miracle tuning tat can sometimes rear its head, adding a sense of artificial detail and harshness on occasion.

    Treble is won by the Andromeda, producing an airier and more sparkling sound up top, in comparison to the darker and more subdued Miracle. The UM just lacks the headroom and space of the Campfire model, so unless you are looking for a darker tuned IEM, this is one area the Miracle definitively falls behind.

    In terms of driveability, the Andromeda is less demanding, but has an equally dark background to the UM model. Overall, the Miracle sharpens the sound into more of a V, with a thick and dry bass but thinner mids, and presenting a deep but narrow stage in comparison. The Miracle does isolate better than the Andromeda, with almost custom levels of sound blocking, but is more tip dependent.

    Final thoughts on this pair up are that this is an interesting battle - the Miracle V2 pins its flag to the mast of a rich and dense sound, eschewing space and sparkle for a meatier and more aggressive sound - if the Andromeda is a sparkling champagne, the Miracle is more of a punchy red wine, satisfying if you are in the mood for that sort of sound but just lacking the final bit of refinement if you are looking for that true "high end" experience. The Andro for a convincing win for me here.

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    Specifications
    Specifications
    Price $1099
    Frequency Response 10Hz-28kHz
    Sensitivity 115 dB SPL/MW
    Impedance 12.8 Ohms @ 1kHz
    Included features 2xBA (lows), 1xBA (mids), 2xBA (highs, with TAEC tubeless resonator technology)
    Included cable 3.5mm TRS ALO Audio silver-plated copper litz (MMCX)
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    Conclusions
    If you haven’t already guessed by now, the Andromeda is definitely an IEM I am impressed with. It is a truly musical experience, wrapped in a unique all-metal shell and packing some seriously innovative tuning technology. It also disproves the myth that more=better where it comes to driver counts in IEM design, taking a positively paltry (in TOTL terms) 5 balanced armature drivers and producing a smoothly cohesive, finely balanced and just flat out impressive sound signature. There is just very little to dislike in all aspects of the tuning. Yes, it could have a little more bass presence (but CA have the Vega for that), it could have a bit more weight through the midrange, and it could possibly wear a little easier in the ear, but these would all probably take more away from the finely balanced sound than they would bring.

    It is always difficult to write a review this glowing without drifting into hyperbole, but the Andromeda simply doesn’t have that much to complain about. Unless you are a fan of a hyper-analytical or bass-heavy sound, the Andro will probably have something in its arsenal to make you smile, and sound damn good while it’s doing so. As with all "TOTL" models, once you reach this rarefied atmosphere it is as much about tuning and preference as raw physical capability, and this is definitely very much in the realm of diminishing returns compared to models in the $300-$500 bracket, but to steal the end quote from one of my previous Campfire Audio reviews – this is just far too “Nicely Done” to complain. A super all-rounder from Ken Ball & Co, and highly recommended if you are in the market for something in this sort of price bracket.
  7. moedawg140
    Review: Campfire Audio Andromeda and Snugs Only
    Written by moedawg140
    Published Sep 3, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - The sound! Oh, blissful, angelic sound! Did I mention the sound?
    Cons - Fit may not be the best for some listeners. However, there are options by way of tip rolling and custom-tip options as well.
    Review: Campfire Audio Andromeda and Snugs Only


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    Before I start the review, I would like to give thanks to Mr. Ball and Mr. Jobin, for providing the complementary Andromeda and Snugs Only, respectively.


    Introduction

    Wow - it has been quite the whirlwind from the point that I’m writing this, from the first time I was introduced to the company. I didn’t know too much about ALO and Campfire Audio since a couple of years ago when I listened to their products at T.H.E. Show, Newport Beach, so I inquired with Mr. Ball to learn a little bit more about their philosophy regarding their company and products.

    What is your audio background?

    None :) !!! I am ex USDA Plant Pathologist and my degree is biology based. But have been doing professional audio manufacturing for over a decade now. I am very good with my hands and thinking or looking at problems from different or unusual angles.

    What gave you the inspiration to create ALO and Campfire Audio?

    ALO started when I began making cables in my basement a long time ago. I really wanted to make cables that looked as good as they sounded. I them moved on to active electronics. However my dream from the beginning was to make the whole headphone and or IEM. I was modding a lot of headphones for customers back then and while it was fun and good the amount you can improve a headphone is only so much. In addition modding a headphone is really an act of deconstruction and then rebuilding. The amount you can take this must always start from the stock headphone so you can only improve it so much. What I really wanted to do was to make the whole headphone or IEM from scratch in my own vision. The problem with this is it is incredibly costly and the companies that are willing to work with you are very few. Who would make custom parts for you when you’re only ordering a few 1000? Most parts makers will want more like MQO of 10,000 pieces to start. So my dream of Campfire Audio had to wait, and wait until I saved up enough cabbage to buy tooling and stuff

    What is your goal for your customers with regards to their experience with your IEMs?

    More than anything I want Campfire Audio to be unique, look unique and sound unique/different and true to our own thing. This is a tall order since most all IEM companies all use the same BAs and most of the configurations are the same using the same techniques. We use all machined aluminum, or ceramic, use different parts when we can, make our own custom parts when we can. I don't know and don’t care what other people are doing with their builds, we are making our own thing. I spend most of my time in the lab doing experiments with these BA drivers, often very odd implementation. My affinity for looking at problems and possibilities from totally different angles than most people I think gives me an edge over other audio engineers. I think creativity is a powerful tool that can produce things that are special and or unique. I am very good with my hands and tend to try many things that most people I think probably would discount. These things I think very much helped in making our IEMs "different". By the same process I also make a lot of failures and waste in experimentation, but in trying I find that among all the duds and dead ends there can be a real gem. In addition I never stop learning my craft as well as building upon the things I learn in experimentation. So in the end I don't want people to have to listen to boring IEMs and neither do I.

    What was the reason(s) to you use your proprietary design when creating the Andromeda?

    Just trying to achieve the above (last answer) :wink:

    What are your goals for the future with regards to Campfire Audio?

    We have very big dreams for Campfire Audio and have a lot on the docket. We only hope and pray that our customer will resonate with what we are trying to do and support us. Every dime I made goes back into Campfire Audio. I have spent all of my ALO savings as well as my personal savings to get Campfire “lit” and off the ground. So with the support of customers we can together take it to the next level.

    Is there anything you would like to add?

    Just adding on to the last question, we have a lot of grand ideas and concepts that are on paper that I think would be next level I just need to keep chugging away in order to fund future projects and developments that we are very excited about. The costs to do some of the things we want to do are probably out of reach but it’s nice to dream big. I might add that Campfire / ALO is only 5 people so we are limited in what we can bite off. I do have a lot of outside help but still we are only scratching the surface of what could be.

    An extra one...where are your IEMs made/created?

    Beautiful Portland Oregon!! Aluminum shells are machined also in Oregon, anodized in Oregon and we hand assemble and test everything here in Portland. I do have some parts custom made in Taiwan for me but we designed and engineered everything – with the exception of the BAs of course. I have a very talented mechanical engineer who is one of my good friends that works for me. He is a wizard at engineering, 3D modeling and industrial design.


    Earphone
    Campfire Audio Andromeda: $1,099

    Earphones mentioned and compared
    Campfire Audio Vega: $1,299
    Jerry Harvey Audio Layla: Starting at $2,725
    Shure SE846: ~$1,000
    Ultimate Ears Pro Reference Remastered: Starting at $999

    Audio equipment used in the review

    Sources
    iPhone 6 (Space Gray, 128GB): $849.99 or $399.99 with a 2-Year Contract
    Microsoft Surface Book: Starting at $1,499
    Questyle Audio QP1R Golden: $899 USD
    Questyle Audio QP2R Golden: $1,299 USD

    Cables
    Campfire Audio Litz Cable 3.5mm: stock with Andromeda or $149
    Campfire Audio Litz Cable 2.5mm Balanced: $149

    Eartips
    Penon Audio Grey-Red Eartips: $3.99
    SpinFit Eartips: varies depending on pair amount

    Custom eartips
    Snugs Only: ~$259

    Software Applications Used
    Spotify Premium – Extreme Setting
    TIDAL HiFi – Lossless

    An avid wrestler, coach, teacher, father and mentor, I like to immerse music lovers in headphones, earphones and sources that do nothing but make the listeners smile.

    Ringing in my ears? Oh, tinnitus? I get that about 2 times a year, for about 10 seconds each time. Other than that, I’m currently good to go with regards to my hearing. Even if my hearing is perfect or not so perfect, what I hear may or may not match what you hear, for a multitude of reasons (genetic, physical, psychological, age, etcetera).

    My music preferences are anything that has a great beat to it, not too vulgar in nature and anything that can induce head-bobbing, toe-tapping and maybe even dancing if the mood is right. I normally listen to (alphabetically): Alternative, Classical, Hip-Hop, Indie, Popular/Top Hits, Rock, and R&B/Soul. I will even from time to time listen to Blues, Jazz, Modern Electronic, Retro/Classics, and World.

    Measurements - I measure headphone output dB with my decibel measure app that anyone can download, replicate and have an instant reference with what I use to test. Frequency spectrum measurements are seldom posted, as the manufacturer’s measurements are usually the best guidelines to go by. Why? They use them to tune their equipment, and the measurements are from their own specific parameters. I agree with Ken Ball from ALO’s overall statement/post when it comes to frequency response measurements (verbatim):

    “…I thought it might be good to post some frequency response measurements first before we see a lot of variations posted by people. Without going into a long drawn out thesis / debate on measurements I just want to say that I have not seen any reviewers measurements that are accurate and it can be difficult to interpret a freq measurement. I don't use HRTF compensation curve on my measurements because I am familiar with the raw freq curve so when I see a curve I know what it sounds like and am comfortable with what I am seeing. So to state my measurement so I can be happy that this is the official freq I am posting it here now. I do not really want to get into any debates on what the freq means or read into it too much as a freq measurement is only a very small part of the over all picture of the product. I would MUCH rather listen to the IEM than read a freq.

    In addition, I dont want to sound like I dont welcome people to also have fun and measure, but just want to say that taking a accurate measurement is tricky, also tricky to read into the measurement. I spent over $15,000 on on measurement system and it took me almost a year with professional help to calibrate and set it up 100%. So in doing so it is expensive and can be difficult to set up and calibrate. I know my set up is accurate because I send my IEMs to independent labs to double check everything.”


    I also had the chance to talk with Dan Wiggins from perodic audio at various audio events and has been very enlightening to talk audio with him. Here are Mr. Wiggins’ thoughts on measurements (verbatim):

    “Hi all,

    Wanted to toss my $0.02 into the mix...

    For those that know who I am, then you know I have a bit of a reputation in the industry (good). For those that don't, I can guarantee you've heard my work if you've ever listened to live or recorded music. From recording microphones to studio monitors to PA systems to consumer systems, I've designed audio systems and transducers for pretty much all the big players - and done so many, many times (not to mention lots of headphones and IEMs along the way).

    In my experience, measurement correlation between systems is hard to first establish and even more difficult to maintain. Datasets within a measurement system/location/team can be fairly consistent over time as long as the equipment is rigorously maintained, processes are slavishly followed, and the team cares greatly about consistency. Otherwise - all bets are off.

    In production of audio systems, we use "golden samples" - we use a very small number of selected reference units that are deemed as "ideal". A day's production usually starts with the online production test systems measuring the golden sample, then tolerances are set accordingly to that measurement. All production must pass within the tolerance window, and the few (typically one or two a week) that essentially have no deviation from the golden sample are culled out and reserved as future, replacement "golden samples" (the tolerance can be discussed later, but suffice to say it is probably an order of magnitude larger than most HeadFi'ers would expect).

    In other words, we use physical representations to calibrate against, rather than abstract numbers and concepts. It all comes down to how measurements can change from not just system to system or operator to operator but day to day. Temperature and humidity can affect measurements in significant manners. Environmental noise can - and definitely will! - corrupt measurements. Different mountings of DUTs (Device Under Test) by operators will affect measurements.

    In essence, after installing literally hundreds (perhaps over a thousand) acoustic test systems, at dozens of factories in dozens of countries, I can confidently say that expecting consistency between two or more systems is a fool's errand. Won't happen.

    Measurements are a great way to confirm you are getting what you expect, and to document where you are. And they are relevant within the same local world (equipment, team, environment). They can be used to guide design of product by a team, a team that is familiar and experienced with what measurement X really means in terms of what they are designing.

    So with that, measurement correlation between different teams is never really expected, nor should it be. In fact, I start to get nervous if things line up too well! Great consistency tells me either the wrong settings are being used (we're not looking at a fine enough level of detail - we're oversmoothing/over-interpolating), or some fudging is going on to make things look closer than they really are.

    All that said - don't expect measurements from one person to closely track that of another. Look at how products vary inside each measurement set, and assume the variances are at least relative - that is much more instructive. If one system is hot or cold in the treble, it will be consistently hot or cold, and you'll see that as you compare larger datasets between different systems. That is what we should pay attention to, rather than a few cherry-picked comparisons.”

    Measurements are possibly valid to obtain a glimpse or gist of what we are hearing, but measurements are not the end all be all. Various manufacturers have told me privately that even though it may measure flat, it may not sound flat. Also, measurement devices do not equal our brain and cannot measure with absolute 100 percent certainty with regards to what we hear and feel. I listen with my ears, and write based on my interpretations of the music that is being presented to me.

    A wise man once told me: "Music is the only thing that doesn't have war, pestilence, garbage, crap - music is so general, it's such a beautiful canopy of peace."

    Listening to the Andromeda for the first time

    I helped to exhibit at an AXPONA in Chicago, and I was able to listen to the Andromeda for the first time. It was such an invigorating experience, as listening to the Andromeda was such euphoria, especially when compared to other IEMs I have listened to around that time frame (including other CA IEMs as well).

    Campfire Audio's banner at AXPONA
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    Downtown Chicago - near Headquarters Beercade...
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    ...here's one of my favorite games at Headquarters Beercade
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    Passed the old-school Street Fighter game with Ryu
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    Initial impressions

    When I first received the Andromeda, I immediately posted my thoughts on the main Andromeda thread: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/cam...dromeda-and-nova.805107/page-51#post-12572191 -- Needless to say, I was one happy music lover.


    Color choosing process

    If you purchase directly from Campfire Audio, you are going to get emerald green colored shells, but if you purchase from a distributor from certain areas of the world, you can get yourself different colored shells such as white, and even gold or silver chrome if you are able to find them. The green is a color that I am happy Campfire Audio went with. More about that a little later.


    Packaging and accessories

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    Instruction manual

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    Patented design

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    When you take a look at the initial packaging, you’ll see a minimalistic design, which aids in producing a smaller carbon footprint as a result. I love the idea behind it, actually. You’ll receive a small box, slightly larger than the dark leather case that is inside of it. Open up the initial cardboard case, and you’ll see “Nicely Done.” along the upper flap. Nice touch! Inside of the case, you’ll see:
    • Campfire Audio Andromeda
    • Campfire Audio Litz Cable 3.5mm
    • Silicone Tips (S, M, L)
    • Foam Tips (S, M, L)
    • Foam Tips with wax guard (S, M, L)
    • Campfire Audio lapel pin
    • Cleaning tool
    • User Guide
    I really like the lapel pin, especially - something as small and different from the norm of what is included with IEMs shows that Campfire wants to be unique, and that is emphatically welcomed.


    Build and aesthetics

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    Paired with the QP1R

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    With the UEPRR

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    Different angles

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    Beautiful Y-connect

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    SpinFit eartips compared to the stock eartips (the Penon Audio eartips are slightly longer than the SpinFit eartips
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    From left, moving clockwise: Legend Omega, UEPRR, SE846, Andromeda

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    Serious UEPRR shine

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    SE846 and SCS with Andromeda

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    Legend Omega with Andromeda - three different focal points

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    Silicone eartips with acrylic housing

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    The first thing that you see with the housing is how unique it is and how much effort was put into making them. The Andromeda is locally produced in small batches, the aluminum housing is said to improve the sonic performance of the earphone by “reducing vibrations that introduce distortion.” The Andromeda takes hours to build its shell, and is quality in your hand and a sight to behold. The green is an anodized finish. Before the finish, the aluminum shells are blasted with a Zirconium material to create a smooth finish. The blast also prepares the surface of the shells to hold the color from the anodization. As a result, the green color will stay a looker for the duration of the earphone's life. The housing is so iconic that the design has been copied -- the manufacturer(s) that have done so won’t be noted as an upstanding company, in my opinion. Campfire Audio put the work in to create a housing shape, and to have another “company” copy the design and sell it as their own is simply not cool, no matter if the “company” simply wants to make a buck off of Campfire Audio’s success. I stand behind these words.

    The Andromeda’s MMCX connectors utilize custom Beryllium Copper, which eradicates the traditional shortcomings of most MMCX connections. Since the connectors extend the life of the earphone, upgrading the cable will be worry-free because the mating pins of the earphone won't wear out. You can also spin the earphone all of the way around without signal cutout, as well.

    The cable that Andromeda uses is my current favorite stock cable that I have used or own. It is Campfire Audio/ALO’s own Litz cable, made out of Silver Plated Copper. Soft, supple, and with the right amount of shine, with zero oxidation, as I have had this cable for over a year now. The 2.5mm Balanced cable is just as awesome, aiding in even more of a blissful sound signature paired with the Questyle Audio QP2R. The memory wire is thin, but sturdy, and helps position the earphone housing in my ear better. The Y-connect is nice and minimalist, as the silver Y-connect is right below a very thin clear plastic slider, helping to create a tighter fit, if needed. The cable itself is braided in such a way if the cable is twisted, the cable does not lose its braid or shape. The L-shaped plug is clear, giving you a “clear” look inside of the termination. The “CA” on top of the L-shaped plug, coupled with the slimness of the horizontal area of the plug, leads to touches that are much appreciated. There are no microphonics that I can detect, and the tight braiding leads to a more uniform look. This is one of the best looking and performing cables that I own.

    The leather case is very nice and reminds me of a bespoke piece of clothing, as it's part of a dress suit, or a nicely dressed DAP that's outfitted with a leather case, as well. Supple on the outside, very soft on with inside with its lining, and is a joy to use as my Andromeda case.


    Weight

    Andromeda, with Ramen and other yummy food and soft drinks
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    There is more weight of these earphones compared to acrylic or some titanium earphones, but the weight shouldn’t be an issue, especially when using a cable that uses robust memory wires so fitting the Andromeda in your ears will be easier. With that said...


    Fit and comfort, with Snugs Only and universal eartips

    My fit with silicone eartips
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    This is the one elephant in the room, in my opinion. For some people, fit will not be a concern at all. The uniquely shaped housing leads to possible issues with the fit, as there are rather sharp angles to the housing. This has been addressed in newer versions of the Andromeda, where an extra angle was crafted, so earphone fit could be a bit better. The overall fit of the Andromeda was one area that I have been working on for over a year. Most earphones; if fit isn’t that great, I’ll move on to another earphone. However, the sound of the Andromeda is so amazing to my ears, I wanted the best fit that I could possibly muster. This has not been limited to only trying out different universal eartips. No -- I have enlisted the help of Snugs. I first talked to Mr. Jobin about the company, and wound up a very happy person, knowing that they really care about the customer. I got 3D scanned with their 3D scanner, and my “virtual impressions” were sent immediately to the Snugs lab’s server. I was the first in the world to give my Andromeda to Snugs so they could create a template for creating custom Andromeda Snugs Tips.

    My first foray into the custom Andromeda eartips began with Snug’s “Only” custom eartips. The design is very nice, with green and orange/red custom eartips colors, both with lots of glitter, because, you know, I like bling! The ear canals were curved, but somehow seemed a bit too shallow, since it was only the ear canal portion of the eartips that were created. The tips slipped on without much issue, but I was always worried that I would lose a custom eartip. One side fit my ear okay - and the other side didn’t fit as good - I had to work both tips for a while to find the right position for the best fit. The main issue was that there wasn’t a concha area of silicone created, so that meant I only had the actual ear canal to try to obtain a fit - much more difficult than simply having a “concha guide” to obtain as perfect a fit as possible. Not only that, the sound was unfortunately not similar to the Andromeda with universal silicone eartips.

    CanJam London was where I first met the Snugs team, and was 3D scanned

    Passing Big Ben on the way to...
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    ...Park Plaza Westminster Bridge - site of CanJam London
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    The first version of Snugs Only for the Andromeda
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    Part 2 of the custom eartip adventure started at this year’s CanJam London - I wanted to talk to Mr. Jobin about the Andromeda Snugs Only in person, even though we have conversed back and forth during the year via email. Mr. Jobin pulls out a small container, showing his new Andromeda custom eartip design! I could see that this design is shorter in overall length than my original Snugs Only, but is wider in width to fill out the ear canal more sufficiently with its custom-created silicone. Many thanks to Mr. Jobin for creating the second version for me. When I received it, I noticed the addition of a very thin eartip guide, to help me remove the eartips if I needed. I never need to use the eartip guides.

    The second version of Snugs Only for the Andromeda
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    The design is slightly thicker than the original Snugs Only, and the blue denoting the left side with red denoting the right side made it not only easier to denote each eartip side, but made denoting the earphones easier as a result. Both colors and design as a whole looks very quality-made.

    When fitting the second version Snugs Only into my ears, I made sure the dots were facing up, and using the dots as a guide and rotating the custom eartips slightly helped me obtain a better overall fit than the first Snugs Only.

    The sound did change compared to my favorite universal eartips. I would say the original Snugs Only warmed the sound a bit, with a bit less treble and overall stage presence, and the 2nd version Snugs Only warmed the sound a bit more, with about the same stage presence as the original, mostly due to the increased seal and isolation that I experienced. Concerning compared perceived frequency response differences, the change in sound of the Andromeda’s universal silicone eartips compared to the 1st and 2nd version Snugs Only is more drastic than the sound difference between the SE846’s universal silicone eartips compared to the SCS.

    It was mentioned to me that creating a concha area would make the tips too bulbous, and I understand that. I almost want there to be full shell Andromeda pair of custom sleeve, regardless of there being a chance of the sleeves being a bit bulbous. If you are getting custom tips, why not just go the full route of making it as custom as possible? The custom sleeves are the route to true fit, seal and isolation of sound in my experience.

    The Snugs Only custom eartips are worth a try if you do not have any universal eartips that work out for you, and you adore the sound of your Andromeda. I personally like the sound of my universal silicone eartips more than the Snugs, but that can be due to reasons such as the source that I am using, and also my sound preferences. I am used to the sound of the Andromeda with universal eartips, and most anything else may not the best sound for my ears - but that doesn't mean the Snugs Only wouldn't be absolutely awesome for you. I did wind up finding universal eartips that gave me a good fit with an excellent seal with isolation.

    The eartips that I use that I have found to fit me the best, are the Penon Audio Gray/Red eartips. Usually I use medium eartips with my other earphones, but specifically for the Andromeda, I found out that the Large size of the Penon eartips work out the best for me.


    Easy C/IEM side detection

    You can tell each side of the earphone a few ways:

    There will be a “L” and “R” on the inside housings themselves to denote left and right earphone.

    The stock Litz cable will have a blue dot at the connector to denote the left side, and a red dot at the connector to denote the right side.

    My favorite way to detect each side -- this works for most earphones - not all, but most: look at the earphone facing you. If the connector is pointing/facing the left, then the earphone is the left side. If the connector is pointing/facing the right, then the earphone is the right side.


    Disclaimer and hearing factors

    The Andromeda’s sound impressions are mainly for anyone wanting a point of reference regarding how they more or less pair with the iPhone 6, QP1R, QP2R and Surface Book. Other sources may vary slightly or greatly as the Andromeda sounds different enough with these three sources to warrant mentioning. The Andromeda will have a warmer and pronounced effect in the overall bass region when pairing with the iPhone 6. The Andromeda will have a supremely detailed with slight treble and bass with extended detail when paired with the QP1R. The Andromeda will further the detail with increased soundstage and abyss-like background when it is paired with the QP2R, especially utilizing the Balanced Litz cable and connection. The Andromeda will have a more balanced and natural sounding approach to its presentation when paired with the Surface Book. For reference, the Andromeda is a very sensitive and is very easy to drive, as a smartphone such as the iPhone does not take full volume for the Andromeda to emit levels that can damage hearing quickly. 9 out of 16 volume is when the Andromeda starts to sound very loud to my ears.

    We all hear differently, and our experiences with regards to how our interpretation of what we hear vary greatly. Some factors that come to mind (and not limited), are:

    Your inner ear and skull’s overall composition: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart...kull-affect-how-you-hear-music-654940/?no-ist.

    Hearing loss as we age, also known as presbycusis: https://www.ohio.edu/news/months/nov1998/111.html,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbycusis.

    Heredity, noise trauma, dietary habits, smoking, hypertension, atherosclerosis, are other factors that affect people’s overall hearing ability.


    Analyze this and that

    The test tracks that I use in my reviews are located in these albums (album alphabetical order)

    1989 (Deluxe Edition) by Taylor Swift (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
    21 by Adele (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
    Bad (2001 Special Edition) by Michael Jackson (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
    Bangerz by Miley Cyrus (MP3 320kbps/44.1kHz/16bit)
    Beyoncé by Beyoncé (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
    good kid, m.A.A.d city by Kendrick Lamar (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
    Heart Blanche by Ceelo Green (MP3 320kbps/44.1kHz/16bit)
    Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park (FLAC 48.0kHz/24bit)
    Make Yourself by Incubus (MP3 320kbps/44.1kHz/16bit)
    No. 5 Collaborations Project (EP) by Ed Sheeran (MP3 320kbps/44.1kHz/16bit)
    One by One by Foo Fighters (FLAC 88.2kHz/24bit)
    Random Access Memories by Daft Punk (FLAC 88.2kHz/24bit)
    Schubert Berliner Philharmoniker by Nikolaus Harnoncourt (FLAC 48.0kHz/24bit)
    The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)
    Thriller by Michael Jackson (DSD 2822.4kHz/1bit)
    X (Wembley Edition) by Ed Sheeran (FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit)

    Several standalone tracks (track alphabetical order)

    Dock of the Bay by The Persuations A Cappella Dreams (WAV 44.1kHz/16bit)
    M.O.R. by Blur – Blur 21, Blur (2012 Remaster – Special Edition) (MP3 320kbps 44.1kHz/16bit)
    Schubert String Quartet No. 14 in D minor D. 810, Death and the Maiden: III. Scherzo. Allegro molto by Oslo String Quartet – The Schubert Connection (DSD 2822.4kHz/1bit)
    Serenade (Spanish Dance), Op. 54, No. 2 by Jano Starker and David Popper – Wilson Audio Ultimate Reference (APE 44.1kHz/16bit)
    The Peppery Man by Natalie Merchant – Leave Your Sleep (WAV 44.1kHz/16bit)
    These Bones by The Fairfield Four – I Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray (WAV 44.1kHz/16bit)

    If I am listening to a product that is not able to be listened with the highest resolution tracks that I have mentioned, I will listen to the TIDAL versions (FLAC).


    Are Your Earphones Correctly Inserted?

    The frequency response across the full audio spectrum should be smooth, and the bass response should be fully present - that is, if you have a "full, tight seal". If you have any doubts regarding hearing both earphones equally (assuming you don't have a hearing tested significant FR imbalance), you can self-administer the "Audio Seal" test - it's to help determine if your earphones (Universals/CIEMs) are correctly inserted. The webpage comes with downloadable and streamable audio files in .mp3 or .wav format. The test is great to find out if you have a correct insertion and proper fit, and can reveal other issues other than an incomplete and/or poor seal. From the webpage: "The test consists of two brief audio tracks. Both include two sine waves, one at 50 Hz and the other at 500 Hz, played at the same volume. On one track, the two tones are played together. On the other track, the tones alternate in 2-second intervals."

    Here's the link from Sensaphonics: www.sensaphonics.com/test


    Sound impressions

    The Andromeda is simply one of my favorite sounding in-ear monitors, regardless of internal or external technologies implemented. The Andromeda is supremely resolute, immensely detailed, and just an ongoing joy to listen to music - paired with my favorite sources. I would like to call the Andromeda “Holographically vibrant”. This earphone, when using silicone tips, will have an emphasis in the upper midrange, with a bit of bass presence.

    The 3D soundstage is so blissful, that you can almost smell the concert you are listening to, making it as close to 4D as possible. Width, and the quality of that width is astounding.

    Bass is plentiful but is never in basshead territory. The midrange is vibrant, especially in the upper areas. Full of air and has a sound of aural angels, of sorts, the Andromeda emits from its green housing of angelicness. The treble is full of vigor, always ready to pounce with love, at a moment’s notice.

    Imaging, sublime. Detail, it's got loads of that. The swag factor of knowing you have an amazing sounding earphone with knock-out looks as well? Priceless.

    Here's my friend @Netforce (Alan’s) thoughts on the Andromeda: “Nice clean clear sound, with slight warmth, good soundstage, better than most IEMs. The Andromeda sounds natural - very tight, impactful bass, extended mids, nice full treble -nice and extended. I didn't hear any specific peaks personally.”

    I have taken the Andromeda to meets and events all around the world this past year, and everyone has adored the earphone except for two. That may not seem like very good numbers, but check this out: most headphones and earphones that people listen to, I will be happy if 50% of them like the ones they listen to. For only two to not love the earphone is amazing - that equates to more than a 98% rate of people really liking the sound of the Andromeda. From audiophiles to stock phone earphone-touting listeners, they all seem to reach a similar consensus: the Andromeda sounds darn good - with lots of people saying “wow” once they listen to the earphone.


    Earphone Comparisons

    The selected comparisons to the Andromeda, below, are with earphones that are and are not around the price range of the Andromeda. If you’d like a comparison of an earphone that is not mentioned in the review or is not located in my profile, feel free to message me and send me anything you’d like that can then be added to the review. Without further ado…

    Campfire Audio Vega

    The Vega - at this year's inaugural LA Audio Show
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    The Vega - at home for extensive listening
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    I was able to listen my Head-Fier friend's Vega for over a month at the comfort of my home, and was able to hear the goodness of the Vega and also compare it to the Andromeda.

    The Vega has a better fit to my ears than the Andromeda, because of the slimmer profile that has a small circular shape to its housing. I can see where some people may need to use a different pair of eartips than the Andromeda, since both housings are vastly different in size and shape. I used the medium stock silicone eartips with the Vega, and I do not have any fit issues.

    The main differences in sound signature are that the bass of the Vega is more emphasized compared to the Andromeda, and the upper midrange and treble of the Andromeda is more emphasized than that of the Vega. The Andromeda is a more vibrant-sounding earphone than the Vega, as the treble extends further to my ears. The Vega has a more dynamic and bassy signature, especially in the sub and mid-level bass areas. Midbass quality is similar between the two earphones, but the quantity is observed more with the Vega. The midrange of the Vega is smoother and warmer than that of the Andromeda, but the Andromeda's midrange is more breathy and transparent. The treble is where the Andromeda shines, as it is more extended, crisp, and articulate, than that of the Vega. The bass area is where the Vegas shines, as it is more full, rich, and punchy than that of the Andromeda. Space, and the interpretation of that space, favors the Andromeda, as it has one of the most enthralling, all-encompassing soundstages that I've listened to in a portable product. This includes in-ears and headphones.

    The Andromeda would be my favored of the two, mainly because the sound of the Andromeda has not be duplicated in an earphone, and there is not an in-ear that I've listened to that sounds very near the sound of the Andromeda. The Vega has a sound that is very good and emits a sound that a lot of people will enjoy, and the Andromeda has a sound signature that is truly unique, yet captivating at the same time.

    Jerry Harvey Audio Layla
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    The Layla will have a universal fit that may be too big for listeners to handle, because of all of the internal components the Layla is comprised of. Fit may be more difficult compared to the Andromeda as a result. However, the Layla feels very good if you go for the custom version, since it's a just about perfect representation of your individual ear anatomy.

    The bass of the Andromeda is similar to around 2 o’clock of the Layla’s bass knob with regards to quantity. The Andromeda’s bass has more quickness, with less decay than the Layla’s. The Layla’s midrange is more natural in sound, but the Andromeda’s is more vibrant, with urgency and zest. The Andromeda’s treble extends further to my ears, but the Layla’s is more reference in sound. Soundstage favors both of these fine earphones, as both extends as far, or farther, than some to most traditional headphones in the market. Detail is more pinpoint with the Andromeda, but more natural and reference with the Layla.

    Both are truly world-class in-ears.

    Shure SE846
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    The fit of the SE846 can rival that of the Andromeda, as both may need different types of tips to check out before finding one set that feels the best to your ears. However, the SE846 can be fitted with Sensaphonics Custom Sleeves (SCS), that turns the SE846 into a silicone custom in-ear. In my experience, the SCS is very comfortable, and is great for working out as well. The Andromeda with the Penon Audio eartips offers a good seal, with very good isolation.

    The bass of the SE846 is tough to be reckoned with for a 4 BA driver earphone, as it has as much quality with a bit of quantity as any earphone in the market. Smooth, controlled and just the right about of visceralness. The Andromeda’s bass isn’t as ambidextrous, but it is quite vivacious and consistent, which should be enough for lovers of bass. The midrange is more warm and viscous than the Andromeda, and the Andromeda’s midrange is a bit more vibrant, especially in the upper midrange, compared to the SE846’s. Higher registers favor the Andromeda, which extends further than the SE846’s treble, and can also help in perceiving more of a dynamic sound from the Andromeda as well. Detail favors the Andromeda. Smoothness and ported-nature of the lower midrange and bass favors the SE846.

    Ultimate Ears Pro Reference Remastered
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    The custom version of the UEPRR is very good. You can use traditional impressions, or go with UE’s 3D scans, to help create as perfect as a fit, as possible. The custom fit of the UEPRR will more than likely feel better in the ear than the universal shells of the Andromeda, especially with the abrupt angles of its housing, as well.

    The UEPRR has more of a balanced sound than the Andromeda. Meaning, all areas of the UEPRR don’t stand out compared to the Andromeda - as I feel the upper midrange of the Andromeda stands out, with more pep, than the UEPRR. Bass is a bit less pronounced than the Andromeda, and quality favors both, with the Andromeda having a bit more perkiness. Midrange is more reference and balanced in nature than the Andromeda, but is not nearly as vibrant as the Andromeda’s midrange, especially in the upper midrange. The treble of the Andromeda extends further to my ears compared to the UEPRR, and has more sparkle, sheen, and shine. The Andromeda, as a result, may seem a bit bright listening back-to-back with a more laid-back, reference sound, such as that of the UEPRR.


    Cultivate a fresh sound™

    What does this mean? Too often we focus on only the music we are accustomed to. I am usually this way as well. Here’s an opportunity to listen to something you either may not normally listen to, or haven’t heard of. As I publish reviews in the future, I will have new and older tracks from various genres that I’ve listened to in this section, and will be largely based on what songs really moved me in particular to the reviewed product I’ve listened to on it. Even though the tracks will be linked to YouTube videos or audio-only versions, the tracks will either be listened solely from the iPhone 6 and TIDAL HiFi - Lossless, or from my Microsoft Surface Book and TIDAL HiFi - Lossless. Instead of describing each track in immense detail, you can simply listen for yourself and bask in the beautiful music you may have just found for the first time right now! What’s also great is that you can come back here just to listen to the tracks mentioned! If you have any personal issues with any tracks posted, please PM me and I'll replace it with another track. It's all about positivity in our musical journey. With those kind words of encouragement, here we go…

    Evolution of K-Pop by sleightlymusical


    Mama ft. William Singe by Jonas Blue


    Cry To Me (Official Music Video) by Skip Marley


    If I'm Lucky (Official Lyric Video) by Jason Derulo



    Is the Andromeda right for you?

    I would say so. At least give the Andromeda a listen. Out of all of the people who listened to mine -- to have only two not enjoy the sound is absolutely remarkable - that’s over a 98% success rate, in my experience. What’s great is that if the Andromeda doesn’t sound the best to your ears, you can also check out Campfire Audio's other IEMs that sound amazing, like the Dorado and Vega - those may be better to your liking.


    Summary

    The design of the Andromeda has been copied, however, the sound of the Andromeda may never be copied, which is a testament to how special and thoroughly invigorating the sound of the Andromeda is to me, as well as others who have listened to the vibrant bliss that is of the green borealis.

    Worth the price of admission for true, aural glory.


    Specifications
    • Five Balanced Armature Drivers
    • Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber™ (TAEC)
    • Machined aluminum enclosure made in Oregon
    • Anodized finish with Zirconium blast surface treatment
    • Premium Litz Wire cable; Silver-plated-Copper conductors
    • Designed and hand built in Portland, Oregon USA.
    • Typically ships in about 7 business days
  8. homzik
    Campfire Audio Andromeda - complete and universal
    Written by homzik
    Published Aug 9, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - great storing case, cable, foams and SpinFit eartips
    perfect workmanship, unique looks
    good isolation
    universal sound signature that don’t demands particular synergy, but is sensitive to audio-source’s quality
    natural, vivid, hi-res and balanced sound with great bass and midrange plus extended highs
    Cons - no 2.5mm cable included
    average single-flange eartips
    demand a clean signal sound source
    angular shells can cause some ergonomy-related problems
    Below is the English version of Maciej Sas's review that is available at http://zakupek.pl/test/sluchawki/recenzja-campfire-audio-andromeda/

    Campfire Audio Andromeda is an IEM equipped with 5 Balanced Armature driver. Does it really offer great soundstage, deep and even bass, extended highs? Is it worth its 1100 USD price tag?

    We’ve already tested some Campfire Audio’s IEMs, which is a sister company of ALO Audio. Andromeda is one step up from Jupiter and it’s the highest model among IEMs using a Balanced Armature driver. Andromeda looks very similar to Jupiter – their housing is also made using machining technique with 3D-printed chambers, which are supposed to haul trebles and expand the soundstage.

    Gallery

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    Accessories

    Accessory set is similar to those added to older version of Campfire Audio’s Jupiter, but in case of Andromeda, the tips variety is a bit different. The packaging is as always impressive with unusual graphics, yet a simple design.

    Case is typical for the American company. It is hard and made of leather. Its interior is lined with a imitation of... sheepskin coat. Andromeda’s case is darker than the one added to Jupiter.

    There are no Comply foams in the included set, but their substitutes also do the job. SpinFit tips are very intriguing as their tangs are partially movable. Typical single-flange tips are very ordinary, just like tips that can be found in many cheap IEMs. It’s also a pity that the balanced cable is lacking.

    Construction

    Campfire Audio boasts about their production methods. The earphones are hand-made in the US and the whole procedure is complicated and long-lasting. Andromeda uses the same shell shape as lower models – it is CNCed aluminum covered with zirconium and anodised. Housing color is green, which significantly differs Andromedas from its younger brothers. Inside, there are 3D-printed chambers called TAEC, which stands for Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber.

    The form of the IEMs is special. The shells are highly angular, V-shaped, several times cut at the edges, with grooves in the upper part, screwed with clearly visible Tri-Point screws. The inner part shows additional bulges where large channel indicators are embossed. Anromedas use MMCX sockets and are worn Over the Ear.

    Cables are ALO Audio’s speciality. Andromedas use Litz Cable, which is braided (Litz geometry) and silver-plated. Splitter is made of metal and with the additional slider added. The 3.5mm jack plug’s housing is quite bulky. MMCX sockets are made of copper and beryllium, which shall expand their life-span.

    Build quality is awesome and color scheme unique. Andromeda is without doubt an unordinary product and the Portland-based company cares about details and uses high-quality materials.

    Ergonomics

    Angular shells might cause some ergonomic issues. Earphones in focus might require some adaptation, certain method of inserting and shuffling the ear tips. For me, tear-shaped IEMs produced by Noble or Shure are more comfortable, but Campfire Audio is not bad either.

    At first, shells pressed and irritated my ears during prolonged listening sessions. It turned out that I need to change their angle, move them a bit more clockwise. Owners of bigger ears, however, should not experience any problems.

    Cable arranges perfectly and the ear hooks are flexible and one can easily give them a desired shape. Microphonics is not a big issue. The 3.5 mm plug is rather big, but it should work fine with all the additional cases for DAPs or smartphones.

    In my opinion, the included foams are better than Comply. They are made of more durable, thicker and less porous material. The foams don’t expand too quick, so one can insert earphones without rush. Isolation is good and the sound doesn’t change as much as with Complies.

    SpinFit tips are also interesting. Their movable flange easily fills the ear canal, so inserting the IEMs goes quickly. In case of SpinFit, isolation is, however worse than in case of either single-flange or foam tips.

    Specs

    • 5 Balanced Armature drivers
    • Frequency range: 10Hz – 28 kHz
    • Sensitivity: 115 dB SPL/mW
    • Impedance: 12.8 Ohms @ 1kHz
    Sound

    Gear used:

    IEMs
    : Campfire Audio Jupiter, Noble Audio Savant i Noble 4, Etymotic ER-4PT, RHA CL750, Brainwavz B200, FiiO F5

    AMPs and DAC+AMPs: Burson Conductor Virtuoso (Sabre), RHA DACAMP L1, AIM SC808, ODAC i O2, Leckerton UHA-760, Zorloo ZuperDAC

    DAPs: iBasso DX200, FiiO X5 III, iBasso DX90, Cayin N3

    Interconnects: Forza AudioWorks Copper Series, Klotz

    Music: many genres, various realisations including 24-bit and binaural tracks

    In the past, I didn’t like Jupiter much, while I enjoyed Andromedas instantly – they got all that the lower model lacks. The overall characteristics of Andromeda is balanced, but not very analytical. They should be placed somewhere between being musical and analytical as they provide plenty of details, don’t reduce the midrange, but remain mild and easy to listen. The sound signature is quite flat and hi-res, without lab harshness and cold. In addition to that, there’s quite big and three-dimensional soundstage.

    Lows are great! Bass is full and deep, can be precise or hard or massive and soft. It’s dense and plastic, has thick character, but it also doesn’t lack speed or dynamics. Mid-bass is a bit accented, which adds a bit of warmth and makes the sound neutral. Sub-bass rumble is also sensational and, what’s important, there are no gaps in the upper bass. Low quantity is optimal – the music is well-ballasted. Bass passes lots of details in a non-blatant way. Instrument’s texture is highly diversified, which highlights different bass-guitar playing techniques. Andromedas work well with different genres, including some really heavy music.

    Midrange is realised via just one BA driver, yet this range is on par with the rest. Mid tones are natural, near and clear. It’s not cold, sharp or analytically raw. One can hear some hardness, but without roughness or hiss. Midrange presentation is not as close and intimate as in Etymotics or Shures, but it’s neither as distant as in Westone’s or Earsonics’ IEMs. The same applies to details – guitar, brass or keyboard instruments are very natural and detailed, but at the same time they sound musical and engaging. Andromedas shine in jazz, but also perform well in electronic music. They can sound either digital or ‘dirty’, archaic.

    I was expecting high tones to be much more exaggerated, while trebles are served in a well-controlled way and their quantity is proportional to the bass. Andromedas are not bright or cold and high tones are not prioritised. Their quantity is optimal and people enjoying strong trebles might take Andromeda’s sound as softened. At first, I also lacked a bit stronger highs, but I quickly appreciated the non-harsh, universal and hi-res tuning.

    Soundstage is of high-standard. The space-size is OK for in-ears, but not exceptional. What is unparalleled is holographics – instruments are big and plastic, positioned in a three-dimensional environment. Depth and width are also great and the perpendicular is also above average. Andromedas seem to sound from outside one’s head, surrounding the user with all the tones. Separation is perfect, but sound is not very airy, the distance between the instruments aren’t very vast.

    Andromedas vs audio-sources

    The IEMs are not very sensitive regarding source’s signature, but it’s better to avoid dark-sounding gear. Andromedas do respond to source’s quality, especially to the clearness of the signal. The earphones in focus are low-impedance and high-sensitivity, so the hissing is highly audible (which, however, disqualified just a few pairings).

    Highest hiss-levels could be observed in case of Cayin N3 or FiiO X5 III. DX200 hissed a bit less, but still at noticeable levels. DX90 sounds clearer than the current iBasso’s flagship device.

    In terms of sound quality, DX200 worked best, with great soundstage and dynamics and loaded down bass. FiiO X5 III also performed well. It sounded balanced and soft, pretty detailed, yet DX90 offered even better sound.

    Leckerton UHA760 served the clearest signal (especially with the minus gain), either as a mobile amp or DAC+AMP. It reduced the hiss and alone paired well with the Andromedas. UHA760 also cooperated well with DX200 and X5 III. UHA760+X5 combo worked better than the UHA760+DX90 duo.

    Andromeda vs Jupiter vs other IEMs

    Andromedas further develop the sound of Jupiter, especially at the edges. They offer more direct and brighter signature, which results in improved soundstage, separation and resolution. Andromedas are one level up than Jupiter and a logical step forward. Both IEMs share the same core: natural sounding with great midrange and holographics. Andromedas tuning is even more balanced, more universal and more complete, while Jupiters don’t demand as pure signal Andromedas and the hissing is not as strong too.

    Noble Audio Savant use ‘just’ 2 drivers, but it performs quite well in comparison with Andromedas. Savants are a bit brighter, with flatter bass. Midrange is a bit reduced and trebles are of lower resolution and not as well-controlled. Noble Audio’s IEMs, on the other hand, offer wider and more airy sound due to lack of bass. Another Noble’s product called ‘4’ show similar near midrange, but resolution, soundstage and treble control are all not on par. Highs can be harsh at time and the bass is much flatter.

    Etymotic ER-4S, when compared to Andromedas, are just a pair of flat studio monitors. They are brighter, with worse holographics and imaging. Etymotics, on the other hand, sound more direct and unforgiving. Tuning of Andromeda is more musical and more universal with richer midrange and fuller bass.

    RHA CL750 are brighter and thinner in bass and mids. RHA’s are colder, sharper and sound artificially. Andromedas offer more lush mids, deep bass and soft, non-fatiguing highs. Those two pairs are like night and day.

    Summary

    Campfire Audio Andromeda is a marvellous pair of IEMs! I felt anxious for them as in the past Jupiters disappointed me a bit. On the contrary, Andromedas engrossed me with their gorgeous bass, unique midrange, hi-res trebles and great holographics. Their sound is complete and universal, with plenty of details which don’t limit the musicality.

    There are some flaws, though. Angular shape can irritate some users and the sound can at times be too hard and too thick in bass or midrange. Andromedas should be rated somewhere between being technical and musical. It’s not the best choice for those seeking for very analytical and bright tuning. It’s also a pity that the 2.5mm balanced cable is not included.

    Pros:
    + great storing case, cable, foams and SpinFit eartips
    + perfect workmanship, unique looks
    + good isolation
    + universal sound signature that don’t demands particular synergy, but is sensitive to audio-source’s quality
    + natural, vivid, hi-res and balanced sound with great bass and midrange plus extended highs


    Cons:
    - no 2.5mm cable included
    - average single-flange eartips
    - demand a clean signal sound source
    - angular shells can cause some ergonomy-related problems
  9. thatonenoob
    PMR Reviews - Campfire Audio Andromeda And Vega
    Written by thatonenoob
    Published Jun 19, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Excellent Sound, Comprehensive Package, Great Build
    Cons - Large Housing, Bass Response Too Polite For Some, Vega's Timbre

    Campfire Audio Andromeda And Vega
    An Impressive Binary Sunset
    | PREVIOUS REVIEW | REVIEW INDEX | NEXT REVIEW |
    A LONG ABSENCE
    Apart from getting 20 yards away from a bear, accidentally descending down a snow-packed couloir (via a controlled* 50-foot slide) at Denali NP, and driving on a seriously questionable road somewhere above the Arctic Circle, I’ve been fine. Mostly. Yes, I’ve been in Alaska for a month, putting myself in precarious situations and generally relying on "hold my beer" logic to survive; I almost qualified for several Darwin Awards as a result. Naturally, I was absent, for the most part, from the audio world. But I've returned, and in fairly good time. The number of reviews I’ve built up is certainly not insignificant, and it seems that a lot has happened since I was last in the Lower 48. Those who have been keeping up with the Sony MDR-Z1R thread will know. But that’s old news, and this certainly isn’t the Donna Reed show – so let’s get going.

    *To the extent that sliding through waist-deep snow is "controllable".

    INTRODUCTION, PROPER
    My interest in Campfire Audio actually began a while ago at the first Canjam Singapore after a fellow audio enthusiast insisted that I audition his Jupiter. It sounded good, but lacked that je ne sais quoi that would have otherwise made me leap. Needless to say, I was interested in Campfire Audio’s various developments, and I wrote to them regarding covering their lineup. Well, a year later, I’m privileged to have finally gotten the chance to cover Campfire Audio’s flagship models. The good folks at CA are busy, and rightfully so, because they are certainly producing excellent earphones. But wait! One of the flagships is a dynamic too. EX1000 fans may now take a moment to briefly reminisce about the days of old.

    For those of who are still (somehow) in the dark about Campfire Audio, here’s a quick primer. Based out of Oregon, Campfire Audio was actually a project conceived by the good folks at ALO Audio. Ken Ball and team have clearly set their goal on producing high quality UIEMs capable of competing with the best, all while introducing new driver materials and featuring a rather unique design philosophy. It’s an approach that stands in stark contrast with the increasingly astounding (and pricey) contenders of the ongoing driver count race. Nicely done, I must say. Interestingly, Campfire Audio’s product offerings are split into two lineups. One is comprised primarily of BA driver earphones, while the other features more varied dynamic/ hybrid offerings. I think it is fairly safe to conclude that the latter mixes sound signatures up a bit, but I’ll discuss that more when I compare the Vega and Andromeda.

    A little while back, I mentioned the importance of flow in my reviews. This long trip certainly has given me more than a couple of ideas for future pieces and the fresh makeover of Head-Fi is good reason to do some spring cleaning. Prepare yourself as I attempt to break up an otherwise rigid review format and go on hopefully entertaining tangents. And watch as none of this comes to fruition (50% chance, give or take, especially if it’s a Monday). I’ll also be introducing my measurement rig in this review. I’ve been working on it for a while and I do have decent confidence in its capabilities as of now. It’s a rather big section, and for those who are not interested please do feel free to skip it. It is an interesting recap of the process and hopefully articulate enough to be helpful.


    DISCLAIMER
    The Campfire Audio Andromeda and Vega were provided directly by the CA team for the purposes of this review. I am neither a paid affiliate nor an employee of Campfire Audio. As always, I do reserve the rights to the media in this review, so if you would like to use the photography/ videos please do drop me a line (at the very least please provide an appropriate attribution). I dislike watermarks on photos and would rather not use them. It’s been a blast putting these two earphones through their paces. It’s also been a great time for me to push forth on my measurements of IEMs (my expedition in headphones having temporarily reached a “satisfactory” point, as I await further findings). Once again, a big thanks to Campfire Audio for this opportunity and I hope you enjoy reading this review as much as I did writing it.

    Editorial Note 1: Have posted a thread as well as a "review"- still don't fully understand the new showcase system yet and text formatting system, so I'm sticking to the tried and true thread post.
    Editorial Note 2: Some of these photos had to be posted lower-res than I had initially wanted due to the fact that I can't seem to locate the "resize" function in the new editor. Thus, manually resized in Photoshop. If there's a workaround, please let me know immediately.


    Packaging And Accessories

    Quality! These are excellent products to unbox. The packaging is both functional and sensible, leaving little in terms of material waste. Arriving in a star-studded (literally) cardboard box and sealed in with plastic wrap, the Campfire Audio IEMs are nestled inside a leather carrying case. The interior lining is definitely a nice thought, and the case shuts compactly enough to the point where the earpieces will not be sliding and scratching each other. As added protection, the Vega features two earpiece pouches. Strangely, this is not present on the Andromeda (and it should be). Apart from that, the general package is fairly comprehensive and complete. A full list of items is provided in the description below the photo.


    Package is fairly complete, featuring 1) Carrying Case 2) 2 x Earpiece Pouches (Vega Only) 3) IEM Cleaning Tool 4) Campfire Audio Logo Pin 5) 3 Pairs Comply 6) 3 Pairs Spinfit 7) 3 Pairs Silicone Stock 8) Earphones 9) Literature 10) Warranty Card


    Build Quality And Design
    The build quality on the Campfire products is quite commendable. It is certainly a highlight that must be mentioned. The Andromeda is made in the USA, and features a machined aluminum body with an anodized finish (Zirconium blast treatment). Some have asked if the earphone is really as green as it looks in the photos - the answer is yes. However, the carefully milled facets of the housing lend a very nice colored gradient to the earphone that changes with various lighting conditions. I suppose I know this because I spent too much time on the photography in this review. Other key design features include the 5-balanced armature drivers (2 low, 1 mid, 2 high) and a proprietary "tuned acoustic expansion chamber".

    The Vega is comprised of parts from Taiwan and made in China. That said, the earphone's build is still high quality. It features a liquid alloy metal housing with a PVD (physical vapor deposition) finish. It's a type of finish achieved by evaporating a solid/liquid into gaseous form and depositing it back onto the target surface as a thinly applied coating. The nozzle is plastic, and there is indeed a faint injection mold line on it (more sanding?). A tuning port can be found at the top of the housing. Throughout my time with the Vega, I did notice driver flex manifesting itself as a crinkling sound depending on how I inserted the earphones. It has been mentioned on the forums that there is no danger of damage from this flex though. The Vega's driver is an 8.5 mm dynamic driver made from ADLC (amorphous diamond-like carbon).

    [​IMG]
    Stock cable is very nice and is a silver plated copper litz wire in medical grade PVC jacket. There's a sturdy 3.5 mm plug with good strain relief, and the y-split is also quality, if not prone to scratching. Cinch is made from clear transparent plastic. The real star of the show is the ear guide, which blends heat shrink with a guide wire - it's simply the best of both worlds. MMCX connector is made from beryllium copper.

    Measurements
    Those who have read /been following my reviews will remember that we discussed, at some length, my personal headphone measurement rig/ process in the Sony Z1R review. It is fairly obvious that the results of non-standard measurement rigs are far from absolute, and should generally be applied in relative comparisons for best effect. Given these various limitations, one may ask why we, as enthusiasts, should even be bothered to develop measurement systems at all, considering that we are generally unable to match industry-standard equipment, and can in fact potentially mislead ourselves with erroneous results. The answer is two-fold and quite practical in my mind. First, it is an undoubtedly enjoyable process. The ability to quantify the qualitative (i.e. subjective) is gratifying (and equal parts, frustrating). But in general, it provides us with a better understanding of the devices we are measuring, and this comprehension can make the pursuit of audio far more enjoyable. Second, when applied effectively, decent measurements can provide objective insight – and allow for many meaningful, tangential explorations. Did you ever wonder just how “distorted” distortion is? If yes, a rig can help in the understanding of that area of sound. The list continues. Furthermore, it allows us to avoid the serious issues that can arise from purely subjective descriptions and misunderstandings. In my mind, certain descriptors can be directly correlated with measurements, giving us very substantive evidence to assist in descriptions. This isn’t to say that numbers are everything, but when applied appropriately, they can account for much indeed. Henceforth, I leave this open to interpretation, and for use as the reader sees fit.

    Editorial Note 3: I wrote the above section of the review a little while back as I was reflecting on the process. That is to say, over a month ago. Given the recent discussion about measurements, I've decided not to edit this section at all - this is, and has been, my perspective on measurements for a long time.

    I use the UMIK-1 from MiniDSP, a measurement microphone with an onboard soundcard. It is quite convenient and comes with its own calibration file. There is, to my knowledge, a 3rd-party company called Cross-Spectrum offering further, more extensive calibration services, albeit at an increased cost. It’s certainly worth a look for those investing in a measurement microphone. Microphone aside, the coupler is probably the next most important aspect of a working system. As I describe my own system, do note that this isn’t meant to outline the construction of the definitive measurement system. Instead, it is an objective look at the capabilities of my system, its shortcomings, and what I feel confident in assuming/ sharing.

    [​IMG]
    Meant for illustrative purposes only, this photo shows my rig with the guide on. Obviously missing is the foam surrounding, and clearly wrong is the fact that the rig is lying directly on the table.
    There are three factors that I ran into quite frequently in assembling the rig – coupling distance, seal, and resonance. In describing the modifications/ build of my own measurement system, I will go over the issues I encountered with each of these elements and how they can be resolved. Let’s start with the microphone. It is very much possible to detach the head of the microphone from the body. Clasp it with a vice and give the body a hard tug. Have your soldering kit ready, because from personal experience, it is easy to snap the wire off the solder point. In fact, I had to re-solder two points on the microphone (one broke and needed repair, the second broke in the process of the repair). To detach the microphone from the head, push gently using a soft object (pencil eraser, etc.). The microphone capsule should come off easily. As per recommendation, I’ve applied a ring of glue around the microphone capsule. Do note that depending on the glue used, you could potentially make it impossible to remove the capsule from the head, so do take caution with those soldering joints. I’ve thought about it, and in fact it may not be a bad idea to put some hot glue down, sealing the microphone permanently to the microphone headphone compartment and more or less securing the solder joints. There were pieces of white foam that came out the head compartment as well, and looked rather skimpy. To replace that, I cut a foam tip and pushed it directly behind the microphone. It seems to be a needed upgrade. You’ll also notice a large tangle of wires that came out from the body as well. When putting everything back together, use a pencil to push the tangle back in, as opposed to pushing on the microphone head. You will break the wire (especially at the solder point) doing this.

    The next step in the process is to build a coupler. I’ve got close to 10 iterations of “coupling” devices lying around. The one I’ve more or less settled on is shown in the pictures. I’ve used electrical tape to create a ring (just thick enough) such that the slightly larger ½ inch PVC tube can be sealed very completely with a bit of a push. The end of the chamber features a plastic flange that forms the PVC tube and enables better fits with certain types of IEM tips. This is where coupling distance really comes into play. As I will demonstrate in a graph below, it is very important that the coupling distance is correct, otherwise you’ll notice key FR landmarks (peaks, dips, etc.) in wrong places. I’d take a generally accepted uncompensated FR, and adjust your coupling distance such that the peaks align where they should. I’ve found that this will float in the ballpark of 1-1.5 cm depending on how you couple the IEM to the microphone. The further you couple your earphone away from the microphone, the more you see artifacts in the higher frequencies (repetitive peaks, and such). Resonance from the coupler discounted most forms of thin metal coupling for me. I’d stick with PVC and plastics for enthusiast measurement systems. Now, the Andromeda/ Vega present a very unique opportunity to adjust one’s rig. This is because Ken @Campfire Audio has provided uncompensated measurements that we can do comparisons against. Considering that his is a well calibrated, industry standard rig, I find this to be an interesting proposition. I do not believe my measurements to be better, so feel free to take note of the differences. And it is always fruitful to discuss your measurement techniques with other individuals - it provides insight/ means of improvement. One last mistake I made – don’t rush to take a bunch of measurements of tons of earphones, find one IEM to work with and go from there. Otherwise, you’ve but just a pile of fairly unhelpful numbers. IEM measurement is unforgiving, and can be more difficult than headphones in fact, so do take your time.

    [​IMG]
    Coupling distance matters a lot! See how it has affected the FR, especially in the upper range.

    Some things I noticed for the Andromeda – subbass attenuation feels like it should be 1-2 dB less. The region past from 1K-4K as measured is not perfectly flat, but has some dips and artifacts. I should note that higher frequencies, when measured on this rig, aren’t particularly accurate – best that the reader look and evaluate him/ herself. Third harmonic distortion exists on the Andromeda, but this is may be an attributable characteristic to the BA driver itself. Other measurements seem to support my measurements, at their current distortion levels. Overall, most things seem to check out fairly nicely. Vega came through generally unscathed and the difference between these two should be obvious.No smoothing has been applied in any of these measurements.

    [​IMG]
    Green are the various trials performed, Purple is the average.

    [​IMG]
    Ken Ball's measurements for the Andromeda. My rig has artifacts in the higher frequencies.

    [​IMG]
    My distortion measurements for the Andromeda.

    [​IMG]
    Green are the various trials performed, Purple is the average.

    [​IMG]
    Ken Ball's measurements for the Vega. Differences in higher frequencies.
    It seems that mine correlates to measurements from another site.


    [​IMG]
    My distortion measurements for the Vega.

    Sound

    The Andromeda is a superbly balanced earphone, made even better by choice ear-tips. Bass performance is responsive and tight, but not lacking. Sub-bass is rendered as needed with detail cues demonstrating the reproduction capabilities of the earphone. Mid-bass is expectedly inoffensive. The midrange is linear and connects to the higher frequencies without a hitch. Upper frequencies are naturally well-extended and liquid without ever coming off as tiresome. Detail retrieval is excellent and soundstage and imaging are spot on. A touch of coolness tints the Andromeda’s tonality, and it’s certainly something that resonates with me. As a long time ER4 user, I’m truly impressed (I’ll explain a little later). This isn’t an earphone for specific genres or songs or setups. It’s a transducer that reveals and navigates almost all source material.

    [​IMG]
    Like a Klingon ship racing through the galaxy. Federation be damned.
    The Vega is certainly the Danny Zuko of the Campfire Audio line up. Featuring a prominent bass response that makes full use of the earphone’s dynamic driver, the Vega digs deep and hits hard. It’s a heck of a lot of fun to listen to. In certain ways, the Vega reminds me of the Sony Z1R in earphone form, the comparison being rather crude, of course. Given this, it is surprising that the Vega doesn’t suffer much bass spill, and midrange generally comes through intact. Higher frequencies are well-extended, but do fall behind the Andromeda. Overall technicalities of the Vega are slightly behind the Andromeda. Instrumental timbre was one of the Vega’s weaker points. That said, the Vega moves in ways the Andromeda doesn’t. I can’t emphasize it enough, but the Vega is simply tons of fun.

    Together, these two headphones could complete a collection, providing a versatile toolkit that will satisfy even the most dedicated of enthusiasts. It is a rather refreshing look at IEMs, considering that recent developments have been marked by increasingly pricey offerings prompted by the informal driver count war. I’m not thrilled by all of these offerings – and some of my experiences with large multi-BA drivers have been quite negative. I’m not convinced that more is better, and I’ve tried some extremely expensive earphones where crossover points were audible and general coherency was atrocious. I’ve never quite given up on the merits of a properly executed single dynamic driver earphone, and the Vega has satisfied in this regard. In the course of this review, I’ve utilized the Onkyo DP-CMX1, theBit Opus#1, Teac HA-P90SD, and borrowed the Chord Mojo and Questyle QP1R from a fellow newly-converted audiophile. Sounded pretty good out of all of these sources. The earphones do have very low impedance though (Andro 12.8 ohms @ 1K, Vega 17.6 ohms @ 1K) so damping factor can be an issue. The sensitivity of the Andromeda means that noisy sources will be punished!

    SELECTED LISTENING IMPRESSIONS
    I’ve often been asked to be more narrative in my approach to reviews, and I do think that providing comparisons and walking through specific pieces of music will allow readers to get a better sense of what I’m addressing. I’ve picked moderately complex compositions that provide opportunity to showcase interesting aspects of each earphone, and will conclude on some general observations.

    [​IMG]
    A typical mess as everything gets sprawled out during the listening/ auditioning/ testing process.

    The Planets, op.32, Venus
    Gustav Holst, conducted by Karajan and performed by BPO


    The opening (00:00) features a horn call comprised of four ascending notes. It’s a smooth, haunting motive that is also texturally detailed. The timbre of the horn is appropriately rendered on both the Andromeda and ER-4S. However, the Vega portrays a mellower, smoother sound that reminds me less of a horn and more of a euphonium. Not exactly accurate. At 00:10, the second horn call is answered by a combination of oboe and flute chords. There’s a certain clarity conveyed by the Andromeda/ ER-4S – the reedy sound of the woodwinds being clearer and more incisive than on the Vega. At 00:37, the gentle rumble of the bass hints at a larger orchestration. The Vega and EX-800ST both deliver satisfying performances, while the Andromeda tends toward a more balanced portrayal. The ER-4S falls on its face. The violin solo at 02:05 is poignant and chilling. There’s a lack of bite from the Vega that reduces the realism of sound. The theme that begins at 03:15 is fantastically grand on the Vega though. Spot the celeste at the 07:36 mark. You'll notice that the Andromeda has more sparkle. I imagine that Karajan may have preferred the Vega. The smoother, more rounded sound, exemplifies the musical vision of the “emperor of Legato”. However, from a technical standpoint, I find the Andromeda to be better for classical music in general – it simply presents instrumental timbres better.

    Time Out, Take Five
    The Dave Brubeck Quartet


    A jazz classic, Take Five features an instantly recognizable tune in the uncommon 5/4 time. The start of the piece (00:00) provides easily accessible comparison material. With Joe Morello on the drums alone, it’s clear that reproduction on the Vega and Andromeda differ greatly. The bass drum kick is emphasized, while the cymbal ride is smoother and less brassy compared to the Andromeda. Snare drums seem about the same. Beginning at 00:20, Paul Desmond enters with the alto saxophone, and here we have yet another point of analysis. The left/center/right recording method with single mic means that each of the instruments is panned hard to a side spatially. While modern methods may dictate this as being less than ideal, it does provide an opportunity to test the soundstage/ imaging of our transducers. Perceived width and depth on the Vega is still smaller (but not small) than on the Andromeda. At 02:30 where the drum solo begins in full, the Vega proves once again that while it may not be as technically proficient as its sibling, it can be great fun to listen to.

    [​IMG]
    The Vega sports a sleek profile, one that seems to hide the fact that it can easily produce a massive sound.

    Others
    It should be no surprise that the tonal balance of the Andromeda favors midrange performance over that of the Vega. Listening to Diana Krall’s East Of The Sun (West Of The Moon), there’s a certain spaciousness that pervades Krall’s voice. Appropriate rendering of vocal texture and linearity aid in the easiness of sound. It’s a fuller (and slightly wetter) sound than the ER-4S, which is a good thing. The Vega’s mids are smoother, and are slightly less defined and present. It’s well-executed considering the earphone’s impressive bass, but for those who listen exclusively to vocals the Andromeda is the go-to.

    CHOICE OF EARTIPS

    I've begun work on eartip measurements, though I do not yet feel confident in utilizing them yet. Here's a quick look at my general measurements (but should not be relied upon!). I urge readers to use the subjective impressions below.

    [​IMG]
    This is simply meant as preliminary look into how eartips affect sound.
    However, measurements not entirely reliable at this point in time.
    • Spinfit (Baseline) – I’ve chosen this as the baseline for observations as they seem to be one of the most popular, and I do find myself returning to them a fair bit. Tends to yield a brighter character to the earphone with a nice zing. Extension is excellent. Spinfit can be unpredictable between user-to-user, if not by its whole premise alone.
    • Spiral Dot – Another excellent choice. Doesn’t have the same sonic edge as the Spinfit, but doesn’t lack in extension and certainly adds extra weight to sound. Many will find this to be a nice and pleasant ear tip, provided it fits. I recommend buying ½ a size smaller than your usual as the diameter on these eartips is fairly large due to its wide bore design.
    • Sony Stock Silicones – Not bad, but between the Spinfits and Spiral Dots, I really don’t see what these do better. Higher frequency extension is weaker than the Spinfits, and lower frequencies are less clear. Vocals are less immediate too. Deeper fit brought housing into contact with the ear, which was uncomfortable.
    • Sony Isolation Hybrid – Clear improvement over Sony Stock Silicones. Brings extra isolation, slightly improved bass response, all while maintaining comparable extension and clarity. It’s a nice flavor. Fairly comfortable to wear, if not a little difficult to fit onto the nozzle.
    • Sony Foams – Available in Japan only (I think). If you need foam tips and have access to Japanese products (import/export, etc.) I’d use these. Featuring a foam eartip with a silicone backing, these eartips tend to last longer than Comply tips, are far less prone to ripping, and generally less icky. Complies do seem to isolate and seal better though. Similar to the hybrid tips, but adds slightly more warmth and bass. Highs less extended?
    • Stock Silicones – Somewhat similar to the Spiral Dot in terms of bore and insertion depth. Sound isn’t remarkably different, but I find the fit to be slightly less agreeable. Those who prefer a softer ear tip will probably enjoy the stock silicones better. They do tend to bring the housing closer (and into contact with the ear) too.
    • Comply – I don’t really like the way Comply eartips fit and feel. They wear out fast, have a tendency to rip, and just annoy me. That said, Comply eartips do offer a decent amount of isolation, and for me increase the bass. It should be noted that Comply eartips affect sound based on the amount that they are compressed. More compression leads to better seal, which in turn can increase bass and treble. Less compression can result in the foam attenuating the highs, etc. I’d suggest going with the former in most cases.
    Final Thoughts
    To me, the Andromeda and Vega are excellent earphones. The Andromeda's balance is very pleasant to me, and the Vega offers a similarly well executed signature that features a tonal balance that is indeed rather hard to pull off. Couple that with the excellent build quality of these IEMs, and it's just hard to argue with these earphones. If you're in the market for a new pair of high-performance IEMs, you definitely need to do yourself a favor and at least give the Vega and the Andromeda a try.

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      Ungaro and ustinj like this.
  10. twice tzuyu
    Perfect
    Written by twice tzuyu
    Published Apr 11, 2017
    5.0/5,
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    1. EZE99
      At CanJam SoCal, I had 0 fit problems with the Andromeda.  In fact, they were some of the most comfortable headphones I have ever tried on.  Lightweight and fits in the ear perfectly creating a pretty good seal.  Maybe you have smaller ears than I do...  
      EZE99, Apr 12, 2017