Campfire Audio Andromeda

Rating:
4.88889/5,
  1. PeterPangea
    Fantastic IEMs with a full blend of clarity, comfort, and usability
    Written by PeterPangea
    Published Nov 14, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Smooth sound signature, extremely detailed & resolving, great cable, good comfort
    Cons - Shells get scratched fairly easily, hissing across sources
    Holy hell, these are great. Nicest stock cable I’ve used, very flexible and the silver looks fantastic. Build quality for the IEMs are very good, but the aluminum has a bit of nicks from use, no big deal. Comfort is actually extremely good, despite the abundance of hard edges. With the right tips, these just disappear in the ear. I’m using JVC Spiral Dots/Ortofon L tips which have been working great.

    These can be summed up by having a very slight U-shaped sound signature, with very good coherence. Coming from FitEar ToGO 334!, these have much more treble presence, which helps to add that “sparkle” to music. Mids are similar in quality but less emphasized so it doesn’t have as much richness. Bass quantity is a bit less, but the quality can be considered better, as the Andromedas are a bit faster than the TG334s which makes the low end sound more defined. I’d say imaging and soundstage are at the same level between the two, but the Andromedas are more “out of head”. The increased treble is the biggest differentiator I find in favour of the Andromedas. They have a very “hi-fi” sound, even straight from my Samsung S7 Edge.

    In terms of source requirements, these are very sensitive so they are quite easy to drive. Bit of hissing with both of my sources, but apparently an impedance adapter helps to clear that up. Sounds great out of S7 Edge and iPad, so DAC/Amp definitely not necessary.

    Summary: Very great pair of IEMs. Slightly better than the TG334 I had, while being cheaper, which makes them my best yet. Definitely worth looking at.

  2. Brooko
    Campfire Audio Andromeda - Tonality, Balance and Clarity
    Written by Brooko
    Published Oct 18, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Build quality, cable quality, sound quality (superb), balance, clarity, imaging ability, fit, accessories, and KB/Campfire service.
    Cons - Edges on the internal facing (comfort) – can be mitigated by tip choice
    andromeda29.jpg
    For larger views of any of the photos (1200 x 800) - please click on the individual images

    INTRODUCTION

    Firstly I'd like to acknowledge Head-fier d marc0 (Mark) and also Ken Ball from ALO/Campfire for making this review possible. The opportunity to hear and review an IEM which may not have been available otherwise to me is very much appreciated.

    So far I've heard Campfire's Lyra, Orion, Jupiter (I chose not to review the Jupiter as I had issues with it's sonic signature and my own particular physiology / bias / sensitivity – which would have made any review overly skewed), and Nova. The one which intrigued me the most in the Campfire line-up thought was the Andromeda (their flagship). I'd heard prototypes of the Andromeda, and hoped to hear and review a final version at some stage. That time has now come, and I'm very grateful for the opportunity.

    Unfortunately for this review – I've only been able to use these for a little over a week – so please take this into account. These are shorter term impressions.

    ABOUT CAMPFIRE AUDIO
    Campfire Audio is a partner company or off-shoot to ALO Audio, and is run by ALO's CEO and founder Ken Ball, and a small team of like-minded enthusiasts and engineers. Ken of course is the CEO and founder of ALO Audio (2006) and ALO is very well known for creating high quality audio components – including cables, amplifiers and all manner of other audio equipment. Ken founded Campfire Audio in 2015 – with a vision of creating extremely high quality earphones with excellence in design, materials and of course sound quality.

    DISCLAIMER
    The Campfire Audio Andromeda was provided to me for review as part of a tour. I get to use it for about 7-10 days then it goes to the next tour recipient. I am not affiliated to Campfire or ALO Audio in any way, and this is my subjective opinion of the Andromeda.

    The Campfire Audio Andromeda can be sourced directly from Campfire Audio for USD 1099

    PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'.
    I'm a 49 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile – I just love my music. Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up. I vary my listening from portables (including the FiiO X5ii, X3ii, X7, LP5, L3, and iPhone 5S) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > USB > iFi iDSD). I also use a portable set-up at work – usually either X3ii/X7/L3 > HP, or PC > E17K > HP. My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Sennheiser HD800S, Beyerdynamic T1, Sennheiser HD600 & HD630VB, and AKG K553. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs, and lately it has mainly been with the Jays q-Jays, Alclair Curve2 and Adel U6. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).

    I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock. I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock. I am particularly fond of female vocals. I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences. I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880. I have a specific sensitivity to the 2-3 kHz frequency area (most humans do) but my sensitivity is particularly strong, and I tend to like a relatively flat mid-range with slight elevation in the upper-mids around this area.

    I have extensively tested myself (ABX) and I find aac256 or higher to be completely transparent. I do use exclusively red-book 16/44.1 if space is not an issue. All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line). I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables, and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences. I am not a ‘golden eared listener’. I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 49, my hearing is less than perfect (it only extends to around 14 kHz nowadays). My usual listening level is around 65-75 dB.
    Over the last week I’ve used the Andromeda paired with most of the sources I have at my disposal – from my iPhone to the L3 and X7. But for the review I’ve used mainly my X3ii + E17K, and also the X7 and L3. In the time I’ve been using the Andromeda, I haven’t noticed any sonic change. And although I used the Andromeda coupled with several different amplifiers, they are easily driven, and will pair nicely with most sources straight from the headphone out (some may want to use an amp though for sensitivity/impedance corrections).

    This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.

    THE REVIEW

    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
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    Distinctive Andromeda outer box

    Inside the flap - the CA Andromeda leather case

    Hidden lower compartment


    The Andromeda's arrived to me in their distinctive 122 x 83 x55 mm hinged lid retail printed cardboard box. The background is a silver on dark blue “night sky” illustration, with a distinctive green sticker on the top and front face. The sticker has the characteristic CA swirl, the model (Andromeda), picture of the monitors and some information on Campfire Audio,a nd the primary features of the Andromeda (“high fidelity in ear monitors / five drivers + machined alumnium housing).

    Opening the lid reveals the Campfire Audio carry case – which this time is real leather, is very sturdy, but more “jacket or bag pocketable” than trousers. It measures approx. 75 x 115 x 45 mm. The case is zipped on 3 sides, and when opened reveals a soft wool interior which will definitely protect and preserve your IEMs. With the outside being genuine leather, it is quite strong, and also pretty rigid.

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    Lower compartment opened

    All accessories

    The manual


    Under the case will be a hidden compartment which reveals the accessories. These include:

    1. S/M/L silicone tips
    2. S/M/L generic foam tips (Crystal foam type)
    3. S/M/L genuine Comply T400 tips
    4. A cleaning brush / wax remover
    5. A Campfire Audio logo clothing button / pin
    6. Campfire’s foldout user manual (incl care instructions and warranty info)

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    Tips, cleaning tool and pin/badge

    3 sided zipped leather case

    Protective wool inner environment


    You really won’t need any more than what is included, as the cinch on the cable negates the need for a shirt clip. And while I note the omission of an airline adapter or 3.5-6.3 mm adapter, really speaking – how many of us actually use these (plus they are easy to pick up for a very small outlay).

    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
    I’ve listed below the main specifications for the Campfire Andromeda.

    Current Retail
    $1099 (Campfire Website)
    Type
    Five Balanced Armature drivers
    Driver Configuration
    Dual low, single mid, dual high frequency
    Other Acoustic Feature
    Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber
    Freq Range
    10 Hz – 28 kHz
    Impedance
    12.8 ohm (@ 1kHz)
    Sensitivity
    115 dB SPL /mW @ 1 kHz
    Jack
    3.5mm gold plated, 90 deg
    Cable
    1.2m, removable (MMCX) – silver plated copper (ALO Litz Cable)
    Weight
    26g including cable and tips
    IEM Shell
    CNC aluminium, then zirconium blasted and anodised
    Body shape / fit
    Ergonomic, cable over ear



    FREQUENCY GRAPH
    The graphs below are generated using the Vibro Veritas coupler and ARTA software. Ken had graciously provided me with measurement data for the same set of CA Novas in a previous review, and I used this to recalibrate my Veritas so that it mimics an IEC 711 measurement standard (Ken uses two separate BK ear simulators in a configuration I can only dream about and envy him for). I do not claim that this data is 100% accurate, but it is very consistent, and is as close as I can get to the 711 standard on my budget. Ken's own reference measurements on far better equipment will be a lot more accurate than mine – but because I use my own kit in later comparisons, I will use my own.

    freqresp.png
    MY GRAPH

    KBAndomedaGraph.jpg
    KENS GRAPH

    What I’m hearing (subjective).

    1. Linear bass response with a very natural sounding slight rise, excellent bass extension, and more importantly no bleed into mid-range
    2. Very clean and coherent mid-range with a relatively small dip in the fundamental range (around the 1 kHz), and then subsequent rise in the presence area (from 1-2 kHz with a very small peak in the 2 kHz range) – which gives female vocals a lift in the presence or overtone area, yet sounds very natural.
    3. Well extended and detailed lower treble which does not exhibit excessive sibilance (for me) and remains extremely detailed with great extension and more than sufficient air for clarity.
    4. Overall I’d say that the Andromeda is one of the most well well balanced monitors I've tried. Vocals are in perfect harmony with bass and treble, and Campfire have achieved an exceptional mix of natural tonality and clarity.

    The channel matching on this pair of Andromedas is exceptional (and some of the differences shown in my measurements are likely to be minor differences in seating each ear piece). They are practically identical. When Ken says his team hand-pick and match the drivers, it isn’t just “marketing speak”.

    BUILD & DESIGN
    External

    andromeda11.jpg andromeda12.jpg andromeda13.jpg

    External face - beautifully machined

    Rear side view - perfect upward angle on the nozzles

    Front face and nozzle bores


    I really enjoy a simple, clean design. The Andromedas share a very similar design to similar earphones in the Campfire range – especially the likes of the Orion and Nova. Campfire uses a fully machined aluminium enclosure. Each shell is taken from a solid block of aircraft grade aluminium and then each small batch is CNC machined and finished – with the process talking around 9 hours. After that they are zirconium blasted to achieve a very smooth finish, which also helps to more effectively hold the colour during anodisation.

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    From the top and looking at the sockets

    Internal face - edges have been rounded slightly

    Beryllium MMCX connectors


    Physically each shell measures approximately 21mm in length, 16 mm in height and has a depth of approx. 19mm (including the nozzle). The nozzle itself is angled slightly forward and slightly up, extends approx. 6-7mm from the main body, and has an external diameter of 6mm. The nozzle has three distinctive bores. The main body shape is very ergonomic, and the Andromeda is designed to be used with the cable over ear. The IEM shell is 3 pieces in total – nozzle, shell and back plate – with the plate secured by 3 small torx screws. There are L/R marking on the inside of both ear pieces and the Campfire logo is also discretely engraved on the outer face. The finish is what I would call a forest or emerald green, the entire shell is precision cut – and these look quite simply very beautiful and very fresh (they appeal to my subjective tastes anyway).

    andromeda10.jpg andromeda19.jpg andromeda17.jpg

    The gorgeous and very flexible litz cable

    Formable cable ear loops

    Very supply and largely noise free litz cable


    At the top of the shell is a beryllium coated MMCX connector, and when used with the supplied silver plated copper ALO Litz cable, the connection is made with a reassuring click. The cables do rotate in their sockets, but the connection itself seems to be very robust. Unfortunately this is one of those things that only time can be the judge of – but the craftsmanship and material used seem to indicate longevity (to me anyway).

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    3.5mm gold plated right angled jack

    Y split and cinch

    Formable loops are very good


    As I mentioned, the cable is ALO’s new “Litz”. It utilises individually enameled strands of high purity sliver-plated copper wire, which are then combined into 4 separate conductors, which are in turn encased in a durable medical grade PVC outer jacket. The cable is extremely flexible and light-weight, has stunningly low microphonics (practically non-existent), and virtually no annoying memory issues. The male MMCX connector is again beryllium coated, fits very snugly, and has either a blue or red dot on the connector to indicate L/R. There is a 80mm length of memory wire for over-ear wear, and I’ve found this very malleable, but also holds its shape very well. The cable is approximately 1.2m long, and consists of two twisted pairs above the Y split which continue as a twisted quad right through to the jack. The Y split is small and light and houses an in-built cinch which works really well (easy to move yet holds its position well when cinched). The jack is 3.5mm, right angled, and has clear rubber housing. Strain relief is excellent. The jack will also fit my iPhone 5S with case in place, although YMMV as the diameter of the rubber base is around 6mm. I like this cable so much, I am genuinely tempted to purchase it separately for some of my other MMCX based IEMs.

    Internal
    Internally the Andromeda uses a new and unique approach to its tuning, and which Ken regards as being the secret behind the lower and upper treble extension. For a starter the Andromeda uses a combination of 5 BAs to achieve its overall signature, and these are arranged with a dual BA for the lows, single BA for the mids and dual BA for the highs. Rather than using a traditional acoustic tube and damper solution for the high frequency drives, Campfire have implemented a Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber (or TAEC system). The 3-D printed chamber allows internal acoustic tuning without the compression associated with dampers – which Ken says results in high frequencies which are very open sounding and extended. My own hearing tops out at around 14 kHz nowadays so I'm probably a poor judge of the upper frequencies, but I can confirm that the Andromedas do sound quite open open and have great upper end clarity.

    FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION
    Fit
    Fit for me is fantastic – the shells are very ergonomic in shape, and this includes the angle of the nozzles and also the placement of the cable exits. The shells (when fitted) do not extend outside my outer ear (they are more flat or in-line with it), and I have no issues lying down with the Andromeda. The memory wire is also really well implemented here so that snugging the wires properly is easy. The fit is relatively shallow, so for me I need to resort to my larger tips. If it was possible to extend the nozzle length by a couple of mm, it would really help the overall fit I think.

    Comfort
    andromeda35.jpg
    This leads me to comfort and just as with the Nova I'm in two minds about this. I was mildly critical of the internally angled design utilised in Campfire's Orion, Jupiter, and Nova. My ears are soft, smooth, and have a lot of curved surfaces. I’d bet yours do to. The interior of the Andromeda shell has a series of angular edges. I first noted this with the Jupiter, and it continued with the Orion and now the Nova. The Lyra lacked these edges and was extremely comfortable for me. I'm not sure with the Andromeda whether it's me getting used to the fit, or maybe its the Zirconium blasting procedure, but the Andromeda is definitely more comfortable for me this time, and although it doesn't quite “disappear" during wearing like some of my other monitors – it seems to be an improvement over earlier models to the point it has become more of a non-issue.

    Isolation
    andromeda27.jpg
    As far as isolation goes, it will be tip dependent. For me, using large Shure Olives tips, the isolation is excellent – at least as good as using my q-Jays (deep insertion and wonderful isolaters), and I would use the Andromeda without question on long haul air travel.

    Tip Choices
    Those who’ve read my reviews will know that I have one ear canal slightly different to the other one (my right is very slightly smaller) - so I tend to find that usually single silicon flanges don't fit overly well. This is often even more of an issue with shallow fitting IEMs. I tried my usual selection of silicones and found varying degrees of success. Tip matching will always be personal preference – but here are some of the tips which fit pretty well.
    andromeda24.jpg andromeda25.jpg andromeda26.jpg

    Included Comply Tx400 and Crystal foam

    SpinFits and Ostry tuning tips

    Spiral Dots and Trinity Kombi tips



    1. Sony Isolation / Trinity Kombi tips – great isolation and seal and probably my second choice behind the Shures
    2. Crystal foams / Comply foams – great isolation and seal.
    3. Spin-fits – extra length allowed me to use a looser fit while maintaining seal, but isolation was not as good as other options.
    4. Ostry tuning tips – good seal and isolation.
    5. Spiral Dots -very good seal, and did help to provide a little more upper end emphasis.
    6. Large Shure Olives. You need to stretch the core to get them on, but they are perfect for me for shallow fitting IEMs. Perfect isolation, longevity with continual use, comfort and allowance of a looser fit in ear all adds up to a perfect tip choice. YMMV.

    SOUND QUALITY
    The following is what I hear from the Campfire Audio Andromeda. YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline). Most of the testing at this point (unless otherwise stated) was done with my FiiO X3ii and E17K and large Shure Olive tips. For the record – on most tracks, the volume level on the E17K was around 11-13/60 on low gain which was giving me an average SPL of around 70 dB (mostly 65-75 dB) and peaks at around 75-80dB (A weighted measurements from my SPL meter).
    andromeda28.jpg
    Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and can be viewed in this list http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks.

    First Impressions
    Unlike many of my reviews (where I try to avoid preconceptions by not reading anyone else's work), I'd already seen many other opinions on the Andromeda before I tried them, and I have to admit I was reasonably sceptical with some of the superlatives being written about them. I know how products tend to be hyped beyond reality, and to be honest, I was expecting a slightly different signature to what I first heard. For me, from the very first listen it wasn't a wow!, but rather an appreciation of how well tuned they were. The balance is really good. That appreciation has slowly grown over the last week and for me personally, that usually signifies that long-term (for my tastes) these would become exceptional monitors. Usually if I get a wow from the start, this fades eventually and I am left with a sound sig which I quickly tire of. The Andromeda is one of those IEMs which (for me anyway) I could happily ditch most of the other IEMs I have, and become more of an audio monogamist. It just does practically everything right. The more I listen, the more my appreciation grows.

    Relativities

    1. Sub-bass – very well extended and there is a decent amount of rumble there (which shows the impressive extension), but bass is not the overall star of the show. Bass is beautifully balanced with the mid-range (bass might be slightly elevated in comparison), and sub-bass is essentially flat compared to mid-bass
    2. Mid-bass – very slightly elevated compared to mid-range, but generally reasonably flat (frequency wise). No noticeable bleed into the mid-range, and definitely enough impact to sound natural. A beautifully balanced mix of warmth and speed which is rare in a BA set-up. Very good sense of texture too.
    3. Lower mid-range – very slightly recessed compared to mid-bass, but sounds completely natural with this tuning. The last thing you would call the Andromeda is U or V shaped. There is wonderful texture with deeper male vocals (Pearl Jam is wonderful – Eddie's vocals stunning), and the clarity on the mid-range overall is exceptional.
    4. Upper mid-range – elevated compared to lower mid-range, but it is a slow rise from lower mid-range to the first small peak at about 2 kHz. The result is an incredibly clean and clear vocal range, with enough presence to lend a sense of euphony to female vocals – but without over-doing it and making the entire signature too lean or dry. The upper mid-range on the Andromeda is (for me) one of the best qualities of this IEM and strikes a wonderful balance between sweetness and air and remaining natural (uncoloured).
    5. Lower treble – there is a definite peak at around 7 kHz, so if you're sensitive to this area, it might pay to be cautious with the Andromeda. I'm not – so this tuning is very good for me. Ken's more accurate graphs show a similar peak at 9 kHz. There is some roll-off immediately after this peak, so you have a lot of clarity and definition without any real harshness or brittleness. One of my tests for lower treble is to listen to the natural decay of cymbal hits and see if it is overly truncated. highlighted or sounds natural. For me the treble decay with the Andromeda just sounds unbelievably natural – it extends and tapers off exactly the way a cymbal does in real life. Magical! There is some sibilance in tracks like “Let It Rain” (Amanda Marshall), but the sibilance is in the recording and the Andromeda is merely revealing what is in the recording, neither enhancing or masking it. The treble tuning for me is one of the best parts of the Andromeda – and especially when you combine it with the mid-range

    Resolution / Detail / Clarity

    1. Excellent with micro detail, and able to resolve finer details well without spotlighting or over-emphasising.
    2. Cymbal hits and decay on cymbals have excellent presence, and decay is very naturally portrayed
    3. An extremely clean and clear monitor with good resolution portrayed very naturally.

    Sound-stage, Imaging

    1. Extremely good directional queues, and just outside the periphery of my head space with binaural tracks – so above average width and depth
    2. Spherically presented stage – without uneven emphasis on width or depth. One of the better portrayals of sound-stage I've heard with an IEM
    3. Compelling sense of immersion both with applause section of “Dante's Prayer”, and also “Let it Rain”. A genuine sense of space was apparent with both.
    4. I had read about the Andromeda's stage being “massive”, and “cavernous”. I want to make it clear that in my testing neither statement is true. The Andromeda portrays a stage to me that is better than most IEM's I've heard (64Audio's Adel series is an obvious exception). The sense of space is impressive in that it is expansive for an IEM, but I would suggest any claims of rivalling full sized headphones in this regards may be a little overstated (at least for the open headphones I have).

    Strengths

    1. Balance, balance, balance – this is how a reference monitor should sound. KB nailed it.
    2. Clarity without being overly bright
    3. Excellent with both male and female vocals
    4. Fantastic with dynamic music – and able to show very good contrast between bass and upper mid-range (eg Cello and Violin)
    5. Fantastic with acoustic music and gives strings good sense of realism and tone when plucked, and nice edge to electric guitar when strummed.
    6. Very good with female vocals, lending enough euphony and sweetness to be a real joy to listen to – but without over doing it. Sarah Jarosz (my latest “obsession”) sounded incredible. A sonic signature I could listen to for hours.
    7. Genre master for lovers of a balanced signature – I enjoyed it with all genres tested – from classical, jazz and blues to electronic, grunge and pop.

    Weaknesses

    1. I have to confess that sonically I can't find a weakness so far. The Andromeda is one of the best tuned monitors I've ever heard

    Summary
    It was while I was listening to the Andromeda this afternoon and putting the finishing touches to the review that I twigged what it reminded me of sonically. It has the same type of balance as the HD800S – just without the very expansive sound stage, and without the extreme clarity the HD800S somehow provides. But the sense of overall balance and tonality is very similar. And that small statement there should be an indicator of how I feel about the signature of the Andromeda.

    AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
    As I alluded to earlier, the Andromeda is easily driven out of a smartphone or DAP, and on my iPhone 5S I’m sitting around 20% for my normal listening level (65-75 dB).

    I also volume matched and compared X3ii vs X3ii + E17K, and there was no discernible audible difference in dynamic presentation – so I think it is pretty safe to say that extra amping won’t be necessary. Based on the specs alone (12.8 ohm and 115dB SPL), straight out of the headphone-out of most sources should be more than enough. My favourite source was probably L&P's L3 – there is a somehow effortless presentation with it which I find absolutely captivating. And this may have something to do with overall sensitivity and hiss.

    Because of the high sensitivity of the Andromeda I thought it best to also test for hiss or noise. With my tinnitus, I can't hear any hiss (it is essentially masked by my tinnitus) so I employed the super sensitive hearing of my 13 year old daughter. Emma was able to hear hiss on practically every device I tested – depending on volume. It was louder on the X3ii and even on the E17K (which surprised me), but much quieter (still present) on the X5ii, X7 (AM3) and L3. On all of these DAPs when music was playing (at Emma's normal very quiet listening level – which is about 55-60 dB), the hissing disappeared (masked by the music). She agreed with me that she thought the L3 (and for her also the X7) was her pick for pairings.

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    X3ii + E17K, X5ii, X7 and L3

    Balanced tests with L3 and HFM SuperMini (ALO Tinsel cable)

    Trinity's Bluetooth adaptor and an iPhone 5S


    And one thing while we're talking about pairings - I very much enjoyed the Andromedas paired wire-lessly with my iPhone 5S using Trinity's new Bluetooth adaptor. Simple to use, sounded fantastic, very portable. It really was a breath of fresh air.

    RESPONSE TO EQ?
    Sorry – I didn't go there. There is simply no need. The Andromeda does not need tinkering with, and anything I did with EQ would be spoiling the default signature.

    COMPARISONS
    Andromeda is a top tier monitor, and fortunately for this exercise I had what I consider to be other top tier BA based (or hybrid) monitors available which are in similar price range. So for this exercise I chose to compare the 5 driver Campfire Andromeda ($1099) with the Fidue Sirius 5 driver hybrid ($899), 64Audio U6 6 driver BA ($899), and the 64Audio U10 10 driver BA ($1399).

    As always, the IEMs were compared after volume matching (SPL meter and test tones), but the comparisons are completely subjective. For these tests I again used the X3ii and E17K – simply because it is easier to volume match with this combo (and because for me, any possible hiss issue inaudible/inconsequential anyway).

    For anyone who may look at past reviews of the IEMs I'm comparing here, and notice the graphs are different – this is simply because of the use of the new IEC 711 compensation.

    Andromeda $1099 vs Fidue Sirius $899
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    Andromeda and Sirius

    Frequency comparison


    Both IEMs are 5 driver – with the Andromeda being all BA and the Sirius a 5 driver hybrid. Both have extremely good build quality – metal parts, quality cables, and good accessories. For me personally, the Andromeda wins slightly on fit and comfort. The Sirius has sharp edges on top, and I have big ears so the shells sit inside my outer airs. I can get both Andromeda and Sirius fitting with reasonable comfort, but both require adjustment to get right

    Sonically they are very different with the Andromeda being very balanced across the frequency spectrum, and the Sirius having more of a V shape. You'll note on the graph that Sirius has two lines, but I think the truth lies somewhere in between – this is because the Sirius has an internal bass port, so bass response could differ depending one ear anatomy and fit. The Sirius is also very upper mid-centric, and has quite recessed lower mid-range, so whilst female vocals in particular sound quite ethereal, male vocals can tend to be a little unnaturally thin and distant. Andromeda has better lower treble extension and this hows particularly in cymbal decay. My preference would be Andromeda for the more natural sonic signature and better overall tonality – but both are very good earphones.

    Andromeda $1099 vs 64Audio U6 $899
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    Andromeda and 64Audio Adel U6

    Frequency comparison


    This time it is an all BA match-up. The 5 driver Andromeda vs the 6 driver U6 with Adel modules. For this comparison I've used the U6 with the B1 Adel module, and shown graphs with and without an impedance adaptor. You will note the overall similarity of the graphs. But lets start first with build etc. The Andromeda slips ahead with build and also quality of the cable. Both are similar on the accessory front – the U6's custom case is brilliant, especially for protection and storage of accessories (including modules). With the U6 you also get the Adel system (read my review) which has had a profoundly positive effect on my listening experience + it is also tunable. Comfort goes to the U6 – with its rounded internal edges.

    Sonically the two are extremely similar. Both have brilliant balance throughout the spectrum, both have very similar overall bass response and the biggest difference isn't actually in the frequency response or tonality – but in the sound stage. With the Adel modules, the projection of space is simply larger (at the cost of some isolation). I'm afraid this is one where (for me) the U6 pulls ahead. And it is simply the Adel modules vs the TAEC system. If I didn't already have the U6, and someone offered me the Andromeda instead (as my only IEM) I certainly wouldn't be disappointed. Both are simply exceptional IEMs.

    Andromeda $1099 vs 64Audio U10.
    andromeda34.jpg andromedavsU10.png andromedavsU10m20.png

    Andromeda and 64Audio U10

    Frequency comparison (U10 with Adel modules)

    Frequency comparison (U10 with Apex M20 module)


    Finally the Andromeda is up against the much more expensive U10 (10 driver BA), and as with the U6, the Andromeda wins on overall build quality, whilst the U10 nudges ahead on fit and comfort.

    Again the U10 has the Adel modules, and again it has advantage in staging and tuning options – but the one thing the U10 can't quite get with the Adel modules (although it is closer with the M20 and the inclusion of an impedance adaptor), is the overall balance that the Andromeda has. And it's the cohesion in the mid-range coupled with the extension and tonality in the treble. The Andromeda is just better tuned to my ears – and I know this is personal preference – but it simply sounds better. The U10 might win with slightly better instrument separation – but overall I'd take the the Andromeda and spend the difference on music :)

    CAMPFIRE AUDIO ANDROMEDA – SUMMARY

    I went into this review somewhat sceptical about the high praises – perhaps knowing it was a well tuned IEM, but expecting that there may have been some hype as well. I leave a week later, grateful for the experience with the Andromeda, and now fully appreciating what a wonderful IEM this is.

    The Andromeda is an incredibly well built 5 x BA IEM, with a very good ergonomic fit, and also one of the best quality cables I've come across. The cable retails on ALO’s site for $149 if sold separately – so you're getting some very good value there too.

    The comfort with the Andromeda is better than with previous Campfire IEMs – perhaps due to the zirconium blasting/smoothing process, and maybe because I now use tips which also help my own anatomy better. Anyway – the comfort isn't perfect (nnd I know you can improve this further Ken), but it is much better for me now, and I thank you for the changes made.

    Sonically the Andromeda is simply incredibly balanced and strikes a wonderful mix of naturalness and linearity, clarity and smoothness, detail and musicality. The bass is nicely extended, and beautifully balanced with the mid-range. The mid-range has enough lower-mid recession to maintain distance and sense of space but without losing the richness and fullness of vocal fundamentals, and the upper mid-range is brilliantly cohesive without being over done. The extension on the treble is the crowning jewel of the Andromeda though. And how Ken has managed to deliver the detail while maintaining realism is simply an example of masterful tuning.

    At a current RRP of USD 1099, the Andromeda is not cheap, but the overall package is worth it simply because it is true flagship quality.

    Again I should make mention of the dedication and service of the Campfire Audio team. In my dealing to date, I have been very impressed by their willingness to take critique on board, and above all to constructively engage with their market audience, and ultimately improve the final product.

    So would I buy these, and would I recommend them to others? I absolutely recommend them – but I ultimately won't be getting a pair. I already have most of what the Andromeda delivers in my U6, and the one thing it has made me appreciate more is the sonic ability of both IEMs. The Andromeda (for my tastes) is almost perfect.

    Once again I’d like to thank Ken and Mark for making this opportunity available. I owe you gentlemen a debt of gratitude – and especially Ken for his generous help with my measurement set-up.


    andromeda36.jpg
      faithguy19, KEV G, JaeYoon and 15 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. canali
      brooko...kudos on another good review...have you ever compared it to the UERR?
      and are the details etc much more present than the 'great bang for buck' FLC 8S
      canali, Oct 25, 2016
    3. Brooko
      @Jalo - I appreciate the feedback. If Ken has the Vega touring and I get the chance I'll probably review it.  Haven't heard the U12 - but sounds like you'd appreciate the U6 more. When I was first "honing my skills" with reviewing - I used this a lot : http://www.independentrecording.net/irn/resources/freqchart/main_display.htm
      For me : Sub bass = 0-60 Hz, mid-bass  = 60-250 Hz, lower mids = 250 Hz - 1kHz, upper mids = 1 kHz to ~5 kHz, lower treble = 5kHz to 10 kHz, upper treble = 10 kHz +
      Brooko, Oct 26, 2016
      stratocaster likes this.
    4. Brooko
      @canali - sorry, haven't heard the UERR.  Maybe ask Alex (Twister6)?  The extension on Androeda, and overall balance and presentation of detail is (to me) much better on the Andromeda.
      Brooko, Oct 26, 2016
  3. Currawong
    The Campfire Audio Andromedas are spacious and detailed-sounding IEMs.
    Written by Currawong
    Published Sep 20, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Detailed, cohesive and spacious sound. High-quality litz cable included. Well made. Nice case included.
    Cons - Some people may not like the memory wire and Shure-style connector. The unusual shape may not be comfortable for everyone.
    Ken Ball from ALO Audio is a big fan of the outdoors. If you see an image of nature on the ALO Audio, and now Campfire Audio web site, it will have been one he took himself. So for his new venture into in-ear monitors it was only appropriate that they be named after features of the night sky. 
     
    While I did have a listen to his first three models of IEM at a previous Tokyo headphone festival, I wasn't so enamoured by the brightness of the Jupiters, which seemed too strong for my tastes. It wasn't until this year, when I heard the Andromedas for the first time, that I was really moved by the sound. I was moved not so much because of any particular feature of the sound, but because their seeming lack of anything in the sound that reminded me I was listening with IEMs. The cohesion of the overall presentation had the IEMs immediately disappearing, leaving just the music. 
     
    Ken didn't hold back on the design in any way, shape or form with the Andromedas, exemplified by the fact that the pair I have for review are actually factory rejects. It would take a careful eye to see why, but he doesn't deny his intent to be perfectionist and send customers only a perfect product. As well, since I receive my pair, the design has been changed ever so slightly to add a couple of facets to area opposite the nozzle facing your ear, which may be better for people for whom the design is a bit of a tighter fit.  I didn't have any discomfort from the metal, but I have very average ears.
     
    Unusually, for a manufacturer, he started off building cables by hand, then working with others to make amps and DACs, and now headphones, rather in reverse of many other companies that started with headphones first. That has, however, given him an advantage with his range of IEMs, as he has the experience to design a good cable. As much as one may dislike the idea of the importance of a good cable, I can attest to the difference they can make. On my pair of JH13s, if I use the stock cable, the sound is harsh and unlistenable. A change to a well-made Litz-wire cable from a third party transforms the sound. Time and time again I've had good headphones that I felt were simply held back by the stock cable. Where the manufacturer has included a good cable, this hasn't been an issue. 
     
    ALO_Audio_Andromeda-D75_5094.jpg
     
    Irrespective of opinion on the matter, the cable itself is the same thickness and flexibility of a regular IEM cable, excepting the metal splitter and neatly-fitting transparent plastic choker. The MMCX plugs are a custom beryllium copper plug that has a tighter grip than a stock MMCX connector, the ring having a larger bend. Removal requires quite a firm pull, which the instruction manual advises be done straight and not at an angle. The downside is that this type of connector turns endlessly, which can be annoying if you're like me and line up your IEMs for insertion by the direction of the cable. I'm also sure some people will prefer a non-memory-wire version of the cable. 
     

    Accessories

     
    The Andromedas come with a good selection of ear tips: Silicon, foam and Comply TX-400; and a cleaning tool. The Complys are difficult to install, having a narrowish tube, the good side of that being that they stay on very tightly. With a bit of foam in the tube, they are good for keeping earwax out of the canals.
     
    The included leather clamshell zip case has faux sheepskin lining, giving it a classy, old-school appearance suggesting a product intended to be used for a long time. 
     
    ALO_Campfire_Audio_Andromeda_case-5474.jpg   ALO_Campfire_Audio_Andromeda_case-5473.jpg
     
     
    To the IEMs themselves, they consist of 5 balanced armature drivers -- 2 for the bass, 1 for the mids, and 2 for the highs. These are housed in a CNC aluminium enclosure with a uniquely shaped design. For my ears, that edgy shape could be felt a bit on insertion, but it didn't end up bothering me at all. I'm more sensitive to the discomfort of having anything in my ear canals to really notice. However Ken has acknowledged concerns and will be smoothing the design slightly in future production runs.
     
    Ear canal discomfort may be an issue for some, as the three-port aluminium nozzle is big, and requires similar tips that DITA Audio's The Answer, RHA, and FitEar's universal series do. Since that permits tips with a variety of sizes, some tuning is readily possible as it is with the DITAs. Select tips with a narrower nozzle and the highs are tamed a bit, the bass being brought out more. If I select Spinfits for comfort then this is exactly what happens, making the Andromedas warmer with stronger bass, but not as pleasant overall as with the stock tips.
     
    After an initial listen, I ran the Andromedas in for a couple of days using pink noise, with periods of listening in between. Most of the time I ran them out of an ALO Audio Rx or Pico Power connected to my Schiit Yggdrasil. Sometimes I used a Chord Mojo. DAP pairings I shall address separately. For most of the comparison I used the stock silicon tips. 
     
    ALO_Audio_Andromeda-D75_5084.jpg
     
    If you have experience with many full-sized headphones, I can simplify things and say that the Andromedas are much like a pair of MrSpeakers Ethers in overall tone when used out of a good DAP or amp. From the very present, but sweet highs down to the moderately strong mid-bass, with a few exceptions both have a similar character. This made acoustic recordings a joy, enough to make one forget that you are listening with IEMs. Using my iPhone or Soundaware's M1, both of which have a <0 Ohm output impedance, the bass drops back a bit, which I find pleasant when the music is already very bass-strong.  While mostly mid-bass prominent, it does extend well down to the deep bass if you have a good seal. 
     
    Generally speaking, foam tips will reduce the treble and narrower-bore tips will increase the bass. At one extreme, if I used the Andromedas out of the Mojo or similar, which brought out the most bass, and had the included Comply foam tips on, they sounded at their darkest, similar to what I had experienced often with the Laylas. This was sometimes too dark for me. Spinfits and DITA medium-bore tips seemed to cause the mid-range to take a back seat to a degree, so at the recommendation of other members I tried JVC's Sprital Dot tips.
     
    Spiral Dot tips use a spiral of indents in the bore to reduce turbulence. Since some JVC IEMs have a similar bore shape as the Andromedas, they fitted perfectly. Also, given the wide bore of the tips, the treble could come out well. This increased the overall coherency of the sound, leaving me to balance up the amount of bass via the choice of amp or DAP.  The only downside is that the very wide bore can make the highest treble a bit bright, which was fine with most acoustic music, but other music, if treble-strong, can be a bit unpleasant.
     
    ALO_Audio_Andromeda-D75_5080.jpg
     
    Random tracks from putting my three-stars and better playlist on random. It should be noted that I listen at a moderate volume level.
     
    Let the Sunshine In sung by Julie Driscoll, being an old pop number with less than perfect recording quality and lacking in bass was rather thin-sounding as a consequence. I wish someone would re-master this.
     
    Let there be Light - Justice. This band plays best with headphones and IEMs that really give a good bass kick. The Andromedas are possibly a touch too light-sounding, but when I switched over to the DITAs to compare how a dynamic sounded with bass, with the "reference" tips they had even less bass. That leaves me feeling the Andromedas will be good for someone who likes their bass kick, but without there being too much, even with this kind of music.
     
    Englishman in New York - Sting. One of the best features of the Andromedas is their ability to render a sense of space in the recording, despite being IEMs and this recording was a good example of that. The level of detail, down to the decay of notes echoing across the recording space emphasised this.
     
    Dazzling Blue (Album) - Alexis Cole. This Chesky binaural album has become my reference for headphone listening. If anything the bass lines can be a bit strong. It's here that I feel more like I'm listening with IEMs, as the bass crowds a bit into the rest of the sound space, if it is rendered very well. 
     
    Spanish Grease (Dorfmeister Con Madrid De Los Austrias Muga Reserva Mix) - Willie Bobo - Verve Remixed.
    This is music that, along with the other tracks and similar albums I lump into the category of “club music” which is brighter with a stronger beat. Due to the mastering being somewhat bass-light, with these tracks I preferred more bass-strong/treble-light IEMs for preference, even when I rotated tips on that moved the sound signature of the Andromedas in this direction. 
     
    What was apparent throughout listening was the sense of space that live recordings are presented with.  What is more, the clean-sounding treble wasn't bothersome, even when modern, brightly-recorded (but not compressed) recordings were being listened to. The presentation is very much a "This is how the recording is, for better or for worse" one. 
     
    That presentation works fantastically with acoustic recordings, from vocals through to jazz and classical, but are also capable all-rounders, quite able to deliver music with strong bass.
     

    Devices

     
    My usual portable go-to is the Chord Mojo. The Andromedas have a tiny amount of hiss audible when plugged in without music playing. Being a close to 0 Ohm output device, the bass is quite prominent, yet quite clean-sounding, the sense of spaciousness still very pleasant. 
     
    ALO Rx (2015 version) -- Even less hiss than the Mojo. Brings out the treble and spaciousness a tiny bit more.
     
    Headamp Pico Power -- low gain setting. No hiss at all and a minute amount on medium gain. Plenty on high gain, but no worse than the Mojo. Very smooth and neutral "nothing but the facts" but less spacious-sounding than the Rx or Mojo direct. 
     
    Sound Potion Monolith -- My favourite pick, combining the smoothness of the Pico Power with the spaciousness of the Rx and only has a tiny bit of hiss on low gain.
     
    ALO_Audio_Andromeda-D75_5095.jpg
     

    Comparisons

     
    Shozy Zero 
     
    While it may seem an odd comparison, these considerably more bass-strong IEMs were useful for providing a contrast to the presentation of the Andromedas. Where bass thump and a well-smoothed treble was more important than ultimate detail, such as with “club” music, the Shozys were strongest, whereas the Andromedas win with acoustic music where space, soundstage and separation are most important. 
     
    Ultimate Ears Reference Monitors
     
    Compared to the Andromedas, they are tuned to a more neutral frequency response and are less sensitive. The Andromedas picked up hiss from ALO Audio's new Continental V5 (CV5) whereas the UERMs didn't. The Andromedas also have more mid-bass emphasis, the treble varying depending on the tips used. 
     
    JH Audio Layla Universals (original version)
     
    I was expecting the Andromedas to sound brighter, as I've always found the Laylas to be a bit dull-sounding, but surprisingly, with the bass turned down, they are more similar than not. The Laylas have the advantage that they can be CIEMs, and the multiple drivers give them more headroom for louder listening, something not so important to me. The main issue for me with the universal Laylas was getting a good fit and adjusting them to sound the best, something I didn't have as many issues with when using the Andromedas. I reckon the Laylas would work best as a CIEM.
     
    DITA Audio The Answer (Truth Edition)
     
    (Going to add this shortly.)
     

    Conclusion

     
    Very often discussion of new, high-end products centres around how they can be improved. The Andromedas are one of those products that is great right out of the box sonically, especially if you your tastes are more towards well-mastered acoustic music, with a spacious and detailed sound. With more modern, brighter-mastered music they are a not quite so suited, at least without some tip rolling. Most pleasing is how much care Ken has put into designing and making them.  The only cautions are that the design and cable ergonomics wont be suitable for everyone.
     
    Thanks to Ken Ball for proving the Andromedas for review.
     

    Unboxing and Video Review

     
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Decommo
      This Andromeda might be my end game IEM. I just got Nova and it is very comfortable. I did not feel any discomfort from the shape of shell that other people reported. 
      Decommo, Sep 21, 2016
    3. LunaC
      "If you have experience with many full-sized headphones, I can simplify things and say that the Andromedas are much like a pair of MrSpeakers Ethers in overall tone when used out of a good DAP or amp"

      My EtherC haven't had much ear time since I got the andromeda. 
      LunaC, Sep 21, 2016
    4. fiascogarcia
      Are these more comfortable with larger or smaller conchas?
      fiascogarcia, Sep 24, 2016
  4. Loquah
    Campfire Audio Andromeda
    Written by Loquah
    Published Aug 14, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Brilliant sound across the board, beautiful design, high quality construction
    Cons - Large nozzles won't fit all ears comfortably/securely, treble is a little too prominent for my preferences towards warmth
    Campfire Audio have been churning out some beautifully designed and crafted IEMs lately - machined aluminium in gorgeous industrial, but somehow ergonomic shapes, unique resonators in place of the more common sound tubes, beautiful and high quality cables with MMCX connectors and sound tuning that is equal parts varied and consistently enjoyable. Admittedly, their dynamic driver-based Lyra model didn't wow me, but the balanced armature-based Jupiter and Orion models were both great.
     
    I was excited to see what magic Campfire Audio wove into the Andromedas to build on their already excellent range and, on first listen, the Andromeda showed all the signs of being the perfect amalgamation of the outstanding performance and tuning demonstrated in the earlier models.
     
    CAAndromeda-2072.jpg
     

    Design & Accessories

    Like all of the Campfire Audio range of IEMs, the Andromedas are a combination of impeccable design and luxurious appointment. The Andromedas come with a beautiful, dark leather carry case lined with wool (or synthetic wool - I'm not sure), a high-quality braided cable, a broad selection of silicone and foam ear tips, and a cleaning tool. All-in-all it's an outstanding range of accessories that makes the Andromedas feel every bit as high-end as their price tag suggests.
     

    Aesthetics & Ergonomics

     
    Beyond the accessories, the design of the Andromedas is equally high-end. The housings are machined from aluminium and finished in a rich, anodised green that's reminiscent of British Racing Green as used on some classic, vintage sports cars. It's not a colour you normally see in the audio world, but it's a great looking colour and grants the Andromedas a truly unique aesthetic. As well as the aesthetics, the choice of aluminium housings means you know that they are rigid and not creating mechanical distortion in the sound reaching your ears.
     
    Ergonomically, the Andromedas are more comfortable than they look. At first glance the Campfire IEMs look to be all angles, but the Orion and Jupiter models proved to me convincingly that the angles and curves are in all the right places to produce a comfortable wearing experience. The silver-coloured nozzle is quite chunky, but it's still small enough in diameter to fit into my slightly troublesome ears although I wouldn't want to wear these while exercising because the nozzle prevents a truly secure fit in my ears. That said, they fit well enough to seal the ear canal and reproduce their optimal sound without any hint of discomfort.
     
    CAAndromeda-8120009.jpg
     

    Driver Configuration

     
    CAAndromeda-8120003.jpg The Andromedas are a 5-driver design which means that each earpiece contains 5 balanced-armature drivers. That's not particularly unique in the earphone world, but the Andromedas share the unique technology pioneered by their older siblings - a tubeless resonator design. I can't say exactly what that means (because I don't know, not because I'm sworn to secrecy), but the essence of it is that the traditional tube system to carry sounds from the drivers to tip of the nozzle in most IEMs is replaced by this unique approach in the new Campfire Audio IEMs. Looking closely at the nozzles on the Andromedas, it appears as though each driver or set of drivers (e.g. bass, mid and/or treble groupings) deliver sounds into chambers which are controlled for resonance with damping or similar techniques. The sounds then exit the chambers via the openings in the nozzle without the potential turbulence or resonance that plastic tubes could make.
     
    There are many amazing IEMs on the market that manage to sound exquisite while using the traditional nozzle approach (and may actually benefit from them by extending the lengths of the nozzles to adjust for timing variations between frequencies) so it's not fair to say that this technology instantly raises the Campfire Audio products above their competition, but the tubeless resonator technology certainly doesn't seem to harm the sound and therefore may conceivably be improving it.
     

    Sound

     
    The sound from the Andromedas is effortless in that annoying way that some people can be athletic. What I mean is that there's no sense of strain or effort, but equally there is no sense of flaw or laziness.
     

    Treble

     
    Campfire Audio market the Andromedas with the claim that "this system's high frequency extension is unattainable using conventional techniques", referring to the tubeless resonator system discussed above and I can definitely confirm that there is no lack of extension to the treble from the Andromedas and the treble they deliver is super smooth with no hint of sibilance and no sense of any "peakiness" despite a slight emphasis in the treble.
     
    Compared to the Jupiters, the Andromedas have a better overall treble balance, but don't lose any overall sense of treble energy or detail - they just balance all the treble frequencies out more evenly without any spikes. The Jupiters had good treble, but the Andromedas have great treble. That said, the amount of treble may not be perfect for listeners with tastes similar to me. Very importantly here I want to clarify that the following remarks are about the amount of treble, not the quality of the treble - the quality of the treble is marvellous. Where the problem lies for me is that I find the treble to be slightly too prominent in the overall sound signature. As good as the treble is, I don't want it to be the star of the show at the expense of sonic balance and the Andromedas definitely have a slight tilt towards a V-shaped signature. My listening tastes align neatly with the Noble Kaiser 10 and AudioQuest NightHawk - two products that are supremely organic and musical. To my ears, the Andromedas are leaning a bit more towards Hi-Fi rather than organic musicality. That's not a criticism because they sound spectacular at what they do with treble, but the signature is just not my preference. However, for those that like the increase in perceived resolution, increased sense of space and the sparkle of great treble, the Andromedas are absolutely worth an audition.
     

    Mids

     
    As I already alluded to above, the mids on the Andromedas are slightly less prominent than the treble and that's a shame because the mids are glorious. They are full, well-weighted and immensely enjoyable. If Campfire Audio were to pull back the treble emphasis these might have been my favourite ever IEMs, but as it is they are sitting pretty in second place I think. Whether reproducing female vocals, male vocals or instrumentals there is a wonderfully engaging presence and focus to the mid-range from the Andromedas. Everything is crystal clear and sharply focussed, but rendered with a warmth that keeps everything completely realistic and natural - I just wish the treble didn't occasionally demand attention away from the mids.
     
    When compared to my favourite IEMs, the Noble Kaiser 10s, the Andromedas not only hold their own, but are actually even more engaging in many ways. I still prefer the slightly tamed treble from the K10s, but the laser-sharp focus and natural rendering of the vocals and instrumentals from the Andromedas might be impossible to beat. In fact, the Andromedas' mids remind me of the insane mid-range quality from the FitEar ToGo! 334.
     

    Bass

     
    The bass quality and quantity from the Andromedas is really impressive! The other IEMs I've reviewed in the Campfire Audio range (Jupiter, Orion and Lyra) all had nice bass presentations in their own ways, but the Andromedas stepped it up. The Andromedas have impressive punch and weight in their bass presentation. In fact, I wonder if Campfire Audio have employed one of those huge, bass-specific BA drivers like those used by Noble Audio in the K10 and Noble 5 (now the Dulce Bass I believe). There is also very good extension to the bass - something that BA IEMs have gotten better and better at over recent years and the Andromedas are definitely keeping pace with excellent weight and presence right down to the lowest audible bass registers.
     
    There's a nice lift to the bass from the Andromedas, but it's been executed in a very considered and balanced way. The result is wonderful punch, weight and depth while never straying from a neutral and accurate overall sound signature. The bass is quick and controlled, but never seems to lack body and presence - a masterful piece of tuning indeed! The Andromedas are equally as adept with acoustic, classical, electronic or rock (or anything else I threw at them) because the bass is so accurate and never over steps the mark.
     
    I decided to put the Andromedas up against the Kaiser 10s again and used the thumping kick bass of Everlasting Light [Live] by The Black Keys to see how well they both performed. The Andromedas delivered visceral thump and rapid decay so everything sounded solid and full, but agile and clean. Moving to the K10s brought some extra weight to the bass without losing the speed. On bass presentation alone (discounting the Andromedas' exceptional mid-range), the Nobles had a slight edge so I tried Elijah Rock from Harry Connick Jr.'s Oh, My Nola album. This is a much cleaner recording of a really thumpy kick drum and bass. Once again the competition was super close and once again I'd give the bass edge to the Nobles. Interestingly, on this recording (which is excellent) I would also give an overall edge to the Nobles because the treble energy from the Andromedas creates a very slightly unnatural presentation of the overall performance.
     
    CAAndromeda-8120012.jpg
     

    Staging & Imaging

     
    One of the benefits of treble emphasis (even only slight emphasis) is the potential to massively increase the perceived soundstage size and also the accuracy of the image. When done right, as it is with the Andromedas, the resulting presentation is nothing short of astounding and that is completely true here. The Andromedas produce the best soundstage I have ever experienced in a headphone or an earphone. Being a sealed in-ear design, the Andromedas can't compete with a fully open headphone for sheer soundstage size, but they are far more accurate with imaging and sound placement. The resulting balance of size and imaging accuracy is beguiling and has me seriously considering a purchase even though I already own one of the best IEMs on the market.
     

    Conclusion

     
    The Andromedas are easily one of the best earphone or headphone products I have ever had the pleasure to audition or own. They easily hold their own against the very best flagship IEMs on the market and are a spectacular blend of technical expertise and masterful tuning. Although they pack a little more treble energy than I personally like, most people will absolutely love the presentation as it's right in line with the preferred signatures around the Head-Fi world. What sets the Andromedas apart though is the perfection with which they execute this common sound-signature. The tubeless resonators must be doing something good because the Andromedas offer the best quality treble and mids I have ever heard and they are no slouch in the bass - being bested (barely) by the Noble K10s holds no shame!
     
    If I were in the market for a pair of universal IEMs, the Andromedas would be top of the list right next to the Noble K10s and I would probably choose the Andromedas based on the difference in price. In my experience there is really no universal worth looking at beyond the Andromedas. If they were made as a custom I would be in very big trouble!
      d marc0 and hqssui like this.
    1. nehcrow
      First off great review mate!
      Have you tried the Andromeda out of an iPhone? Output impedance significantly affects the tonal balance of these in-ears. With DAPs closer to zero output impedance, this IEM sounds darker/rolled off whilst DAPs with 2-3 ohms OI (iPhone) will even out the Andromeda with some stridency/emphasis in the treble. I guess it's personal preference but just saying it is a wildly differing sounding IEM depending on your source :)
      nehcrow, Aug 15, 2016
    2. NightFlight
      I literally listened to a pair at a meet for 30 seconds. Switched back to my customs. Then back to the Andromeda's. Perhaps a total of 90 seconds of listening and my money was firmly separated from me next day.  I can't wait until they show up. Pressing the button on the tracker app every few minutes it seems. :wink:
      NightFlight, Jan 26, 2017
  5. alffla
    Campfire Audio Andromeda - Soaring into Space
    Written by alffla
    Published Aug 9, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - 1.Extreme clarity in the mid and high end. 2.Wide soundstage and clear separation 3.High sensitivity 4.Excellent build quality.
    Cons - 1.Bass may be too clean and lean for some 2. Sharp corners may not fit everyone comfortably.
    1-AndromedawithPlug.jpg

     
    Established in 2006, Audio Line Out (“ALO”) made its name by building high end audio cables for audio equipment. In 2015, ALO announced the creation of another branch that would be responsible for making IEMs called Campfire Audio (“CA”). Since then, CA has launched an impressive lineup of IEMs: the single BA Orion, the dual BA Nova, the single DD Beryllium driver Lyra and the four BA Jupiter.  Their latest 5 driver flagship offering, the Andromeda caught my eye and I decided to take a leap and purchased it.

    In my earlier days of this hobby, I found more enjoyment in the lower frequencies. The hard, the thumping, the wobble and ooze were all that I had sought after. The Prodigy, Crystal Method and Fatboy Slim were at the forefront of bands that fueled my adolescent angst. Finesse and grace was not on the priority list. With the passing of time, my taste has changed. It was my birthday in May, and having taken an extensive demo tour in Hong Kong with my partners in crime, I was finally ready to take the plunge into the deep end of the pool. I knew right away that my crown jewel would not be a bass heavy IEM. I wanted a piece with a great sound signature that would stand the test of time, something that hopefully as a person I would have to grow into.

    I already enjoyed the Jupiter: great soundstage with immense clarity and smooth bass texture. It was certainly one of the most unique sound signatures I had ever heard, but despite its soaring highs and tremendous soundstage, I personally felt that the Jupiter’s mids were lacking a bit of sweetness. So when I heard from Oliver that there was an early bird rate from CA for their new flagship that had added a mid driver – the Andromeda, I took a rather haphazard chance and dropped my $999 USD.

    Specs 

    Frequency Range – 10HZ–28 KHZ
    Sensitivity – 115 DB SPL/MW
    Impedance – 12.8 OHMS @ 1KHZ
    Detachable Cable with MMCX Connection Type

    I don’t have anything especially important to say about the specs apart from that the Andromeda is a highly sensitive IEM. Please turn down your volume when listening to the Andromeda or you will suffer from hearing loss.

    5-CampfireAudioAndromedaBox.jpg

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    Unboxing and Accessories

    Like the rest of the CA lineup, the Andromeda comes in a neat little textured cardboard box with colourful printed graphics of galactic entities. When you first open it up, you are greeted only by a rich dark brown coloured hard leather case which has a very premium feel and also appeals to the handmade, artisanal, yet grounded feel of all of Campfire Audio’s products. Unzipping this case reveals the strikingly green Andromeda coiled up neatly inside a soft, off-white wool lining.

    Underneath the case is another piece of card separating the main compartment and the accessories compartment, where you will find 3 sets of different tip choices, as well as an earhphone cleaning tool. The generous tip selection consists of S, M, and L sizes of Comply TX400 tips, normal foam tips, and silicon tips. There’s also a little Campfire Audio pin included so you can show off to the world what they’re missing out on.

    2-AndromedaandAccessories.jpg

     
    4-CampfireAudioPin.jpg
     
    7-Andromeda35mmLPlug.jpg
     
    Comfort and Build

    I was very worried that I had just blindly bought an IEM I had never tried on and that the fit would be unsatisfactory. However, I was quickly reassured when I remembered that the Jupiter fit me very well. I would like to point out that even though I was part of the early bird batch that confirmed my payment May 10th, I had to wait for a family friend to bring it to Shanghai earliest July 12th as I could not find a better and safer way to transport my highly valuable item across the Pacific Ocean. During my wait I tried my best to not read the immense amount of Andromeda reviews pouring out from the community, firstly to try to keep myself as unbiased as possible but secondly also to keep me from going insane during my long wait time. 

    And finally, they have arrived. Oh how beautiful they are. The lush green color stands out from the crowd as a strong, forward statement. Black, blue and red are too last decade, and do not communicate the true intent and spirit of the designer. Green evokes a more exotic flavor. It conjures imagery of emerald, jade and malachite. The almost iridescent surface reflects light gorgeously, forcing me to tinker with it more than I imagined before even beginning to tip roll. The CNC milled anodized aluminium housing showcases the bold attitude of CA through its brave cuts and angles of the shell. Industrial, sturdy and modern are words that spring to mind when looking at the impressive metal housings held together by precision cut screws.

    8-Andromedadetachedfromcable.jpg

     
    In terms of comfort – there have been some reviews from the community that have mentioned that the angular form of the Andromeda were slightly uncomfortable, with the corners slightly jabbing into the antihelix area of the ear. Personally, it fits me snugly and comfortably, but Campfire Audio has decided to release a new version with two chamfered off corners to provide a more comfortable fit. Since my unit was a pre-order, it does not have the new chamfered corners design.

    The metallic canals of the Andromeda, which ends in 3 precisely milled out bores, leans towards shallow in terms of insertion – but your mileage may vary. Foam tips are slightly longer and grip the ear slightly better, while silicon tips provide a shallower insertion. The tips that I settled with are the M sized silicon tips which were the best for me in terms of comfort and sound. I tried the Complys and although there is a small boost in bass volume, the Comply M size was too big and the S too small for me. This review was done based on my experience with the M silicon tips.

    The Andromeda now comes with the new ALO Litz cable, a stunning silver plated copper cable with a four core braid and transparent MMCX connectors. The right and left connectors are easily distinguishable through a small blue and red dot on the left and right sides. Compared to the older ALO Tinsel Wire cable which was extremely prone to tangling up , the new Litz cable is much more ergonomic as it is slightly more robust, and the braiding helps to keep it tangle free. I’m usually not a big fan of memory wire, but the Litz cable memory wire has the perfect balance between stiffness and softness. The sturdy MMCX connectors are easily snapped on and off, allowing for easy cable switching. 

    All in all, the Andromeda looks as good as it feels secure. There is no doubt that this is a piece of incredible craftsmanship. Seamlessly melding together striking aesthetics with a unique and musical sound.

    Sound and Separation

    And finally, what you’ve all been waiting for – the sound. No doubt all of you want to know:What’s the bass like? The mids? How about the highs? But one of the first things one notices when listening to the Andromeda is its expansive soundstage.

    The Andromeda has an incredibly impressive soundstage, rivalling the absolute top of the industry. Width extends to just beyond my shoulders, height goes up to just beyond the tips of my hair and depth reaches down to just below the back of my jaw. This makes for a highly immersive listening experience, throwing the user into a world of three dimensional sound and music. 

    3-Andromedasoundbores.jpg

     
    Bass

    The bass of the Andromeda extends deep, with a bass presence just a touch above neutral, making it a conservatively warm IEM. The bass is unobtrusive, only finding its way into the music when called upon, and shying away when told to step back. Bass impact is very sharp, with an incredibly fast attack, making songs with a hard edged beat almost unbearable to listen to at moderate to high volumes. Bass texture is smooth, rich and thick with great control, almost too lean for my current taste, but nothing that cannot be adjusted with a few tweaks of the equalizer. The Andromeda responds very well to tweaking in the 60 hz and 170 hz range, easily adding warmth and bass volume for people who feel that the low end lacks oomph. Please note, adding more bass response will undoubtedly skew the entire sound signature and affect the sweetness of the mids. 

    Mids

    The Andromeda has exceptionally lush mids. Sweet, full and enveloping, female vocals sound natural and realistic. You are able to clearly make out the shape of the singers’ lips, as well as picking up all their intimate breaths and whisps. Trumpets, pianos and guitars sound great with just the right amount of timbre, echoing in your head and lingering with a beautiful resonance. Instrument separation and imaging is very well defined with astounding clarity. When listening to live orchestra, each instrument and sound source has lots of air and space between them, offering a very comfortable and grand listening experience. 

    The upper mids are really where the Andromeda begins to shine. Where many other IEMs may begin to sound screechy and chalky, the Andromeda has just begun getting into its stride. The Andromeda “sings” effortlessly when reproducing high female vocals, violins and other higher frequency instruments. The upper mids of the Andromeda “rings” and “sings” its way into a deliciously airy and sparkly high end, with no bumps or drops in between. 

    Highs

    The Andromeda’s highs are where these IEMs really shine and standout from the crowd, with exceptional clarity and extension. Campfire Audio has used a “tubeless resonator box” design where the two balanced armature drivers in charge of the high frequencies are contained and instead of having the traditional design with tubes and dampers, the resonator box allows the highs to resonate straight out of the bore without compromising even the slightest bit on clarity. Where other IEMs may sound narrow in their pursuit for the high frequencies, the Andromeda goes on up and up seemingly without end, with great texture and impact. It shows immense clarity and has a brightness which is not dry at all. Liquid and cohesive, sibilance is controlled to an absolute minimum, only showing a shadow at the most intense of moments. The Andromeda performs very well with female opera vocals, violin solo performances and other musical recordings focusing on the upper mid to high frequencies. There is no breaking, no sharpness. Just a smooth, constant flow of bright notes. 

    Concluding remarks

    Undoubtedly a bright IEM with a focus on the mids and highs, the Andromeda exercises control and restraint in its presentation of bass. I wouldn’t call this sound signature reference nor neutral. It is just a touch warmer than flat in the bass department and a few percentage points even further in its rich mids to highs. The sound is engaging, revealing and clear. 

    The standout feature of the Andromeda is its soundstage and imaging in the upper frequencies. Clear and concise with such an agreeable texture, the highs of the Andromeda can clearly place whatever sound source thrown at it to surgical precision. It is also this which makes the highs so easy to listen to, making you easily overlook any little shrieks and hisses that meander through the Andromeda soundscape.

    If you are looking for an earphone with unparalleled clarity in the highs with a gentle focus on the bass and mids, while also boasting cutting edge production technique, then look no further. I am sure that the Andromeda will bring your listening experience to new heights and perhaps beyond what was previously perceived as the limits of the sky. 

     

    This review was originally written for Accessible Audio 
    All photos taken by @alffla


      knopi, Audiowood, money4me247 and 2 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. earfonia
      Concise review with great pictures! Thanks!
      earfonia, Aug 14, 2016
    3. alffla
      Cheers guys. Glad you enjoyed the review.
      alffla, Aug 15, 2016
    4. Aink
      Nice review. Thanks! Make me like Andromeda more.
      Aink, Jun 1, 2018
  6. NeObliviscaris
    The Andromeda - Lightyears ahead of the competition
    Written by NeObliviscaris
    Published Jul 10, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - warm sound signature, comfortable (with right fit), great soundstage/instrument separation
    Cons - very expensive, microphonic cable, fit dependant on tips
    Disclaimer:
    I received this Campfire Jupiter as part of the Australian/New Zealand tour that ALO Audio/Ken Bell arranged. This is my honest opinion of the Campfire Andromeda, and I am in no way affiliated with or work for ALO Audio. Thanks to @d marc0 for organising this and letting me join in a little late.
     
    In addition, this review will not focus on technical aspects of the equipment. Rather I will focus on their representation of music to me. My enjoyment or boredom, bliss or disappointment with the equipment. Think of it as an emotional review.
     
    Introduction:
     
    OK, so I told myself last year – “just get back to Head-Fi, find a suitable setup, and leave…” I’m still here, after realising that the community had matured so much since last decade, yep 2009! The ability to now take part in tours and auditions opened up a whole new world of experiences. Now I was able to test out some great equipment, without the commitment, it’s like Friends with Benefits.
     
    Thus far I have been given the opportunity to review the Aune X1S, Jays q-Jays, the Campfire Orions and Campfire Jupiters. This time round, I was given the opportunity to take some more IEMs for a spin – introducing Campfire Audio’s Top-of-the-Line IEMs, the Andromeda in-earphones
     
    Official product page: https://www.campfireaudio.com/andromeda/
     
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    Hardware:
     
    WHAT’S IN THE BOX?
    Like the Orions & Jupiters, the Campfire box carries its signature “lost in space” box, and the Jupiter’s sitting cosy in the fur-lined carry case.
     
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    The contents of the box included:
    1. Campfire Andromeda IEM ear pieces
    2. MMCX terminated, silver-plated IEM Cable (1.35m) with gold-plated 3.5mm L-plug (2x)
    3. Tips:
      1. 3 pairs of Comply TX 400 tips (S, M, L)
      2. 3 pairs of foam tips (S, M, L)
      3. 3 pairs of silicon tips (S, M, L)
    4. Cleaning tool
    5. Carry case
    6. Campfire Audio logo pin
    7. User guide
     
    RRP: $1099  USD (~$1,475 AUD)
     
     
    BUILD & DESIGN
    There’s not much more I can add from my write-up of the Jupiter’s & Orion’s build and design. There is a distinct craftsman ship that Campfire Audio have now defined. Again, in their words “FIVE balanced armature drivers and tubeless resonator in a machined aluminium enclosure”. These things are solid, I am pretty sure you could easily drive over them (not that I did…!)
     
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    TECH SPECS
    Driver: Four Balanced Armature Drivers
    Impedance: 12.8 OHM @ 1 KHZ
    Sensitivity:  115 DB SPL/MW
    Frequency Response: 10 HZ – 28K HZ
      
    About Me:
     
    As with any tour or review, these are my opinions and observations with the Campfire Orion and my hardware. For the purpose of this audition, I used the following equipment –
    Source: iPod Classic/iPhone 6S using a mixture of Apple Lossless and MP3 files
    Amplifier/DAC: HeadAmp Pico Portable Amp/DAC
    Headphones: 1964Ears V3
     
    My taste in music is quite peculiar and focuses heavily on heavy metal – in all forms (from death to Viking, from prog to heavy, from Pagan to Mongolian!). A majority of my listening was with bands such as Iron Maiden, Fallujah, and Caligula’s Horse & Ne Obliviscaris. However, I still enjoy a variety of genres, so also included Jazz, Blues, Rock, and Classical.
     
     
    The Listening Experience:
     
    Music listened to for this review:
    Idina Menzel (female vocal)
    Delta Goodrem (female vocal)
    Opeth (progressive metal)
    Fallujah (atmospheric technical death metal)
    Ne Obliviscaris (progressive black metal)
    Gojira (technical death metal)
    Caligula’s Horse (progressive rock)
    Hans Zimmer (soundtrack)
     
    My initial impressions were:
    Bass: tight, deep, controlled
    Highs: beautiful and lush
    Comments: I thought the Jupiter’s were the best IEMs I had ever heard, and I was pretty sure nothing could top them, I was (kind of) wrong.
     
    I really wish I could test the Andromeda’s and Jupiter’s side-by-side, as I found that based on my memory both seemed to sound very similar.
     
    The Andromeda’s pack a punch, fantastic full-bodied sound that was quite difficult to fault.
     
    They improve upon the Jupiter’s when it came to female vocals, especially the issue with sibilance. The Andromeda’s present female vocals in a smooth lush manner, that’s not harsh or overly high. Listening to Delta and Idina was an absolute treat with the Andromeda’s, being able to really hear the subtleties in their voices, and being able to truly appreciate their vocal ranges.
     
    As for Metal and the various metal genres, the Andromeda’s are fantastic. Although lack the attack with the quicker songs. Listening to music such as Fallujah (Atmospheric Death Metal) was fantastic as usually most earphones tend to turn the technical drumming/riffs into mud. That is to say, most of the time it’s muddy. The Andromeda’s strengths with soundstage and instrument separation meant the music was not out of balance. It was synergetic!
     
    The soundstage/instrument separation however far surpasses the Jupiter’s. The Andromeda feel like everything is nicely balanced, separated and placed out to give you a sense of being in the music.
     
    As stated with the Jupiters:
    In terms of the IEMs themselves – fit/isolation was fantastic, although they are dependent on the tips. I had a couple of issues with fit at the start, but after trying a few variations I managed to settle on the large foam. The cables were also quite microphonic, every time I moved around or adjusted my glasses I could hear noise. However, none of these totally hampered my listening experience.
     
    This was a difficult review to write as in my opinion the Jupiters and Andromedas are very close in sound-quality. Both, compared to my V3s, are phenomenal. Trying to compare Jupiter/Andromeda with my other IEMs was not a task I attempted as they are different beasts, and considering the Jupiters/Andromedas are TOTL IEMs.
     
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    Value & Conclusion:
    Look, when it comes to the Jupiters and Andromedas, the differences are subtle, and basically for me it came down to price. If I could choose, I would easily pick the Jupiter’s and save myself a few hundred dollars. Both IEMs are outstanding, however I couldn’t really find any astronomical reasons to pick the Andromedas over the Jupiters. That being said, with more time, and the ability to put these side-by-side might yield a better outcome.
     
    Thanks again to ALO, Ken and Mark for the opportunity to take these for a spin!
      d marc0, jmills8 and Canyon Runner like this.
    1. Canyon Runner
      Great review.

      Hi5 for being one of the few metal fans on head-fi.
      Canyon Runner, Jul 11, 2016
    2. Djinnenjous
      I enjoyed the review, particularly because I am first and foremost a metal head who has several of your listed bands in my collection. These are, bar none, the sexiest IEMs I've ever seen in my life and I would absolutely LOVE to test drive the Andromedas. Unfortunately, I will never be able to afford $1k IEMs, so it sucks to be me.
       
      Also, kudos for your user name. While I found Citadel to be a massive disappointment, Portal of I and Hiraeth are staggering works of progressive death metal. Ne Obliviscaris is god-tier.
      Djinnenjous, Jul 11, 2016
    3. NeObliviscaris
      NeObliviscaris, Jul 11, 2016
  7. BananaOoyoo
    Red, White, and Blue (A Quick Andromeda Review)
    Written by BananaOoyoo
    Published Jul 4, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Outstanding clarity and detail, natural sounding, and with an excellent soundstage. No obvious weaknesses in the lows, mids, or highs.
    Cons - Source sensitive, and the fit might not be ideal for all users.
    IMG_4183.JPG

    Introduction


    Last June, I was looking for my first proper IEM and started asking around for a ~$400 IEM recommendation. At that time, the recommendation was to look at the Campfire Audio lineup, specifically the Orion, which was just under my budget, or a used Nova/Jupiter. Up until that point, I had very little experience with IEMs, as I had always had difficulty with getting a proper fit in my left ear. Fortunately, living in Seoul, with its abundance of headphone stores, I was able to find a local dealer that carried the Campfire Audio lineup, and to my surprise, I was able to get a good fit with their oddly-shaped products.

    But wait, these are a picture of Andromedas? Well, I did try the Orions, and while they were nice, they didn’t come across as exceptional. The Nova’s treble left a lot to be desired, and coincidentally, the display Jupiter wasn’t available for listening at the time. That left the Andromedas, with an outrageous 1,690,000KRW (~$1500) price tag. I never expected that I’d purchase a TOTL IEM, but one listen to the Andromeda convinced me otherwise. When they went on sale for $799 on Black Friday, I was pretty quick to jump on the deal – after all, at that price, they were cheaper than getting even a Lyra II locally.

    Build

    Up until the newly released Comet IEM, all Campfire Audio IEMs shared the same angular shell. While in my opinion aesthetically pleasing, they do pose potential fit issues depending on the wearer’s ear shape and size. Personally, I found the Andromedas to be fairly tip-dependent for a good fit, but once secure, they are comfortable through extended listening sessions. The Litz cable is my first experience with a “custom” IEM cable, and I will simply say that it is light, feels sturdy, and is resistant to tangling. The leather case is compact and perfect for the IEMs, and the included Campfire Audio silicone/foam tips and Spinfit tips provides a good variety to try.

    While these were purchased as B-stock, the only flaw I was actually able to find was a scratch on the leather case. No complaints there.

    Sound

    Put simply, I would describe the sound as clear, and natural with an impressive soundstage.

    The bass extends well with good impact, but is not does not overpower the other frequencies in the slightest. (I originally thought that these were a bit bass heavy, having come from the HD595, but have since recalibrated a bit!) It doesn’t have the slam of the Vegas or other bass boosted IEMs, but I rarely find myself looking for a low end boost. The mids are detailed and feel realistic, with excellent positioning of instruments and vocal performance. Personally, I found the highs of the Andromeda particularly intriguing. Continuing with my initial bass-heavy perception of the Andromeda, I thought that these were a fairly warm headphone. I never felt that the treble was emphasized or recessed, providing outstanding clarity without being sibilant or painful to listen to. However, some I have spoken to have suggested that the Andromeda is a highs-centric IEM, so opinions may vary. Overall, I find the Andromeda to be an IEM without any glaring flaws, though individuals’ sonic preferences may lead them to favor different products.

    On the topic of sound, there are a couple quick comments I would like to make about the Andromeda.
    • First, as has been often discussed, its low output impedance means that the Andromeda is quite picky about the source. When connected to my iPhone 6s Plus, there is a very audible and distracting hissing in the background, though it largely fades when listening to music. This hasn’t been an issue when connected to an external source, such as the iFi Nano iDSD Black Label pictured, though it is important to note that the Andromeda gets loud **quickly**, with the volume being sufficiently loud even with the knob at 8 o’clock.
    • A second is that tip rolling has personally been hugely influential on both the sound and comfort. I found the Campfire Audio marshmallow tips fairly good in terms of foam tips, and I love the red/blue eartips with the white shell, but personally, hybrid or silicone tip have generally been preferable. My current go-to eartip for the Andromeda is the MandarinEs SymbioW tip, though I also like the recently released Azla Sedna eartips as well as the provided Spinfits.
    • Finally, I have to say that I’m impressed by how good the IEMs sound without any crossovers or tools used in other well-regarded products. I believe there was an outcry in Korea and Japan because of how simple the interior of the Orion was, and as recently discovered by a member in a Naver café who wanted to fix his MMCX connector, the Andromeda interior is similarly minimalistic. Fairly off-topic, but something I found interesting.

    Final Thoughts

    While I was enamored with the Andromeda from the first time I tried them in store, I have since had the opportunity to try a wide range of IEMs at all price points. While I have been impressed by other models from various manufacturers, one fact that sticks out is the (high, but) comparatively low price of the Andromeda. And thus, for me, the Andromeda sets the bar for what a true TOTL IEM should accomplish.

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      B9Scrambler likes this.
  8. Hi-Fi'er
    Expensive - But Worth It! It Will End Your Search
    Written by Hi-Fi'er
    Published Jun 29, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Detailed, excellent vocals and midrange, bass, comfortable, extremely well made, light weight, sparkly highs, excellent leather included case, no plastic shell to break.
    Cons - Over the ear wire is annoying but removable, expensive, treble is on edge peaky, nozzles are exposed to debris. See review for solutions.
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    Andromeda-Green-1-898x1000.jpg
    Preface

    In searching and trying many different IEM's for over a decade, I was given the impression that the best deals are the ones that are inexpensive, best bang for your buck. Scaling the ladder, and over the years I have accumulated and heard many IEM's and headphones. I even own many that impressed me over time. I ended up with a pile of IEM's that are ok but nothing that knocked my socks off. Well, after reading about Campfire Audio and the many positive reviews, I felt maybe it was time to end this journey, and I'm pleased I did.

    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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    Campfire Audio Dark Leather Earphone Case is a nice leather and protects the Andromeda's very well. I did the "Case mod" which other have suggested (is easy) which means to cut and re-glue the case so it can open fully and makes it easier to store the IEM's with the cables.

    The Campfire Audio Litz Cable – Silver Plated Copper Conductors with Beryllium Copper MMCX and 3.5mm Stereo Plug is also a great choice as it's well made and has held up very well.

    Final Audio Tips (xs/s/m/l/xl) – Campfire Audio Earphone Tips(s/m/l) – Silicon Earphone Tips (s/m/l) – Campfire Audio Lapel Pin – Cleaning Tool. Interestingly, they include Final Audio's tips which tells you a lot about Final Audio, like what you ask? I have their products and their quality is also excellent and their tips are my preference.

    Small Batch Production - Careful selection of each element of our earphones is just the start of the meticulous assembly of your earphone. Our close attention at every stage from design to production ensures your earphones will be a worthwhile and lasting product.

    Custom Enhanced MMCX - Our custom Beryllium Copper MMCX eliminates the traditional shortcomings of the connection and harnesses all of its benefits. Beryllium Copper provides a robust mating mechanism; one that is typically made from soft brass. This selection of a harder material extends the life of component and the earphone.

    Individually Inspected - Close attention to detail is critical to delivering you the superior musical experience from our earphones. We test and pair each individual earphone, Left and Right, to establish its conformity to our firmly established tuning and performance criteria. The result is a pair of earphones made for each other that you can feel good about.

    So that is their perspective, so what is a real customers perspective? Let's see!

    So I'll start off by summing the Andromeda's up in one word; Amazing! These are hard to beat for clarity and transparency and accuracy with a 3D effect, depending on the recording. The layering and depth is wonderful, they are clear and precise and timbre and tone is right on the money. If the music is recorded a particular way, good or bad, these will show it exactly the way it was recorded when an accurate DAC/DAP is used. Don't plug these into a iPhone or a Panasonic MP3 player that costs $30.00 you will do them a great injustice.
    Andromeda-2-1690x1024-Earphones-1024x620_800x.jpg
    You've heard the saying that the best results are as good as the weakest link, and in audio that is more than true. The last chain in audio is the output of the speaker, and if that is not revealing eough, all else before that no matter how much it costs will be absolutely useless. Yes you can't change how a song is recorded if it's bad, but all other factors are important with decent to excellent recordings. Stay at or above 16/44 bit rates to preserve the layering and purity of the audio recording, I happen to prefer FLAC. On cheap setups most will tell you if you go that high or more is bitrates there is no difference, of course, because they can't hear it with low quality recordings and or gear that is not revealing enough.

    Like any IEM, plug these into a bad source, not even the most expensive IEM or headphone will show their true ability. I had these paired with a Cowon P1 initially and they were impressive. These will pull out everything the source puts out so you will want to use these with a very high end revealing source or you are just throwing money away. This lead me to upgrade to the P2. More on that later, on to the sound.

    Sound


    Highs - The highs are a tad on the brighter/edge but not enough to be sibilant (it's due to bad recordings). Some will take this as clarity but I am sibilant sensitive. These with soft comply tips reduce that a lot and make them just right. Some people are more sensitive to it than others may say they are just very clear while another would say they are on the edge like me. I find when using different tips and are of a longer type (deeper insertion) the sibilance is completely gone. So it's not the IEM causing this, it's other factors.

    Mids - The mids are clear and forward but never too much to override other frequencies. The mids are never muddy or overshadowed by any frequency above or below. The effect is that it sounds like the artist is really signing right in front of you. Amazing, and weird as that sounds it's true in very decent to good to more higher end or even live recordings. They depth and layering is what will amaze you. Nothing in the mids sound muddy or distant and never 2D but instead 3D. It's as if the artist is (depends on recording again) performing right around you or in front of you or just a few feet away. None of that front row or 3rd row sound here meaning it sounds distant. It's all there right in front of you which makes the realism creepily amazingly real. You won't hear this level of realism with 90% of what is out on the market. You need to get into the $800+ price range or more to start to get that realism and depth and layering.

    Bass - The bass is clean and present, if the music has it recorded it in it will show itself. Bass is not added or reduced. These are just perfectly accurate and you can't blame them as they are reproducing exactly how the song was recorded. If you are bass crazy you can always add more from the source and these will take it easily. I don't mean just bass songs, I am talking Techmaster P.E.B. songs! I have other IEM's that with the same bass recording at high volumes and or with attenuated bass frequencies would distort or be muffled. These handle anything you throw at them added or not and accurately.

    Update - A month later, the Cowon P2 was purchased with the Campfire balanced Litz cable. I was suspicious that the Andromeda's are able to do more with the right cable and DAP. I could just sense it. This is what prompted me to get the Cowon P2 that has a AK4997EQ DAC with Verita. This is a high end DAC and used it way more expensive desktop DAC's that for example Schiit Audio implements in their YGGDRASIL $2,400.00 multibit DAC. This prompted me to get the P2 and upgrade the Andromeda's cable to balanced MMCX.

    Snap1.jpg

    With the P2 in balanced mode you can hear the difference between the P1 and the P2 and there is a significant improvement. Not huge, but enough to notice it. The layering, depth, immersion, and dimension of the instruments and artists presence went up a factor. Often it sounds (with a good recording of course) like the artist and instruments are all in front of you or a foot away or around you. The separation is wide and realistic. The P1 displayed this but on the P2 it's more noticable. Again this is a great example where the source makes the difference if the IEM is capable to reveal it and the Andromeda's do! Anything more would seem too in your face and unrealistic. Cowon's having a dead silent floor and a high SNR makes it's a great combination. The P1 which is now very affordable on Amazon since the P2 came out is a good match also as it's a Burr Brown DAC, very smooth and natural.

    I have noted con's but they are completely addressable.

    "Over the ear wire is annoying" - It's removable if done properly.
    "Expensive" - Save up! don't waste time on other IEM's, ge these and be done.
    "Treble is on edge peaky" - Others have advised go with the copper cable. You can also use comply tips with a filter guard to tame this.
    "Nozzles are exposed to debris" - You can use comply foam tips with filter guard to protect the openings.

    Graphs

    Here are some comparisons to other IEM's. (Click to enlarge)

    andro_775043.jpg




    Andromeda FR.png


    Andromeda's Frequency Response



    Snap1.jpg

    Compared to Vega, Lyra, Dorado, Andromeda. Note the Dorada are no longer made and the new Atlas and Comet have taken its place. Also note how Lyra and Vega almost have the same curve as the Andromeda abouve 500Hz, but also know that graphs are not a way we process sound either as it's a mechanical measurement and there are other factors involved.

    Summary


    There is nothing the Andromeda's really do wrong. They look a little awkward but fit nicely and are comfortable and light. I went up the ladder of cheap 2-way and 3-way and even 5-way IEM's and finally bit the bullet and got these and have no remorse. They have ended my search once and for all.

    https://campfireaudio.com/
      B9Scrambler likes this.
  9. 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.
    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.
      Qrays34 likes this.
    1. Qrays34
      I see you’re using it with a WM1A, have you tried the 4.4 Pentacon Balanced out in the 1A with the Andromeda?
      There’s a noticable change in sound quality through the Balanced out in Sony new DAPs, so I’m really curious if the Andromeda performs better with Balanced.
      Qrays34, Jun 28, 2018
  10. 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.
    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    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).

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]
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