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Campfire Audio Andromeda

Rating:
4.89655/5,
  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
    andromeda01.jpg andromeda02.jpg andromeda03.jpg

    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.

    andromeda04.jpg andromeda05.jpg andromeda06.jpg

    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)

    andromeda07.jpg andromeda08.jpg andromeda09.jpg

    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.

    andromeda14.jpg andromeda15.jpg andromeda16.jpg

    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).

    andromeda.jpg andromeda18.jpg andromeda20.jpg

    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.

    andromeda30.jpg andromeda31.jpg andromeda37.jpg

    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
    andromeda32.jpg andromedavssirius.png

    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
    andromeda33.jpg andromedavsU6.png

    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
      UELong, Aslshark, faithguy19 and 17 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
      ValSilva likes this.
  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. Medikill
    Clean Green Great Sounding Machines
    Written by Medikill
    Published Sep 20, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Clarity
    Soundstage
    Airiness
    Mids and treble
    Fit
    Cons - Lack of Bass
    Nothing else
    Premable:
    Bought these with my own money, this review is not sponsored or indorsed in anyway

    Comparetors:
    Sony IER Z1R
    Empire Ears Legend X

    Source:
    HIby R5
    Ipad Pro
    Macbook pro
    Iphone X w/dongle

    Test Tracks:

    Bass response: Drake MIA, Ed Sheeran South of Boarder
    Mid response: Ed Sheeran South of the boarder, Toto Africa, Sam smith How do you sleep
    Treble response: sam smith How do you sleep, Dj snake You know you like it

    Packaging
    Decent, nothing spectacular but the inclusions are nice.
    Good selection of tips (this is important for the Andro's sound)
    It would've been good if in the V2, a mesh pouch was included as the paint on the andro chips easily
    Sony's easily beat here, but at 1.5x the price

    Build
    Really like the build.
    Lean Green Great sounding machines
    I have always been fond of the CA house design on their BA IEMs
    I would say the IER is a side grade in terms fo build (as they scrach even easier)

    Fit
    Good, as long as you find the right *Silicone* tips you will be fine
    Not as good as the legend X, but substantially better than the Z1R

    Tip selection
    Campfire in house marshmellow tips and Final Audio E tips are included
    Don't use the foam. They dampen the sound and the airy sound sig vanishes

    Sound
    • Bass: Given it is a BA, it's not bad. Interestingly, the lower the impedence of the output device, the better the sub bass response. However, it isn't the star of the show for the Andros. Far from it. The Z1R comes in next - with the best sub bass. But the Legend X beats both out.
    • Mids: Incredible. I really liked the mids on the Andros. Substantially better than the LX and Z1R. There is a good fullness to the texture and vocals sound great.
    • Treble: Very clear and detailed. I found at times (very rarely) it could sound harsh (but i think, in retrospect, this was down the genre choice). Not silibant. On par with the LX and both beat the Z1R.
    • Stage: Very very very very good. Once you get the right tips on these sound very airy and detailed. As if each instrument has a corner of your head. Well done. Beats out both the Z1R and LX inthis aspect.
    • Instrument seperation: Very close between the Z1R and Andros here. The seperation on both is excellent, and the best i've heard so far. Both easily beat out the LX.
    • Reproduction accuracy: Good. But, the Z1R easily wins here.
    Summary
    This is my first set of IEM's which didn't have a focus on bass and sub bass. And to be honest, i really enjoyed them. Sure, the visceral, palpatation inducing bass was missing, but i cannot complain about that as i don't think that's the intended purpose of these. THe sound signature is a fun take on a reference FR. I think these are suited to someone who enjoys music which is mid and treble centric, as to date, i am yet to listen to a pair of IEMs which beat them in terms of their mids. Another highlight is the clarity and sounstage. It has a palpable airiness to it, which neither the LX or Z1R has (Z1R does kind of have it, but it's silibant).

    Overall, a great set of IEM's. I'm not going to fault it on it's lack of bass response, as i don't think that would be fair, given that's not the market targetted with these. 5/5.

    Thanks for reading :)
  8. B9Scrambler
    Campfire Audio Andromeda: As Expected
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Sep 8, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Reference tuning – Improved durability (anodized coating) – Comfortable cable
    Cons - Angular shell isn't for all ears
    Greetings!

    Today we're checking out the Andromeda from Campfire Audio. Does this thing really need an introduction? For the sake of writing a complete review, sure, but I'll keep it brief.

    The Andromeda first appeared on the market in 2016 and took the portable audio community by storm thanks to a balanced tune that does pretty much everything right. Over the years it has continued to receive near universal praise from customers and reviewers alike. 2019 sees the Andromeda receiving an update in various areas, such as a more refined shell, a new cable, and an updated accessory kit. What made the Andromeda such a hit in the first place, that being the sound signature, has remained untouched.

    We already know the Andromeda is awesome, but feel free to read on for yet another opinion of this modern classic.

    Disclaimer:

    Thanks to Caleb with Campfire Audio for arranging a sample of the Andromeda for the purposes of review. The thoughts within this review are my own subjective opinions based on time spent listening to the Andromeda throughout the last two months. They do not represent Campfire Audio or any other entity. At the time of writing the Andromeda retailed for 1099 USD. You can check it out here: https://campfireaudio.com/shop/andromeda/

    Personal Preference:

    I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. My preferences for earphone tuning are quite relaxed and as such their is no one signature I look for. The HiFiMAN RE800, Brainwavz B400, and Massdrop x MeeAudio Planamic are examples of earphones with wildly varied signatures that are enjoyable for different reasons. I generally listen at very low volumes, so keep this in mind when perusing my thoughts on how an earphone sounds.

    Sources:

    Mobile: Shanling M0, ZiShan DSD, HiFi E.T. MA8 w/ iFi iEMatch

    @home: TEAC HA-501 with a ZiShan DSD, HiFi E.T. MA8, or Asus FX53V acting source duty


    Specifications:
    • Drivers: 5 balanced armatures (Dual High Frequency Balanced Armature Drivers + T.A.E.C, Single Mid Frequency Balanced Armature Driver, Dual Low Frequency Balanced Armature Drivers)
    • Impedance: 12.8 ohms
    • Sensitivity: 112.8dB
    • Frequency Response: 10Hz to 28kHz
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    Packaging and Accessories:

    When it comes to packaging, Campfire Audio has changed things up this time around. The spirit of their past designs are still in place as they follow the same astronomical theme, but the format has changed. Similar to the Solaris, the Andromeda comes in a fairly large, shallow square box. This box is covered by an exterior sheath, sealed shut by a matte silver Campfire Audio seal on the back. The front contains a large sticker with a mottled pattern set beneath a high quality image of the Andromeda's earpieces and the usual company branding and model information. One more sticker is present around the side containing company info, another image of the Andromeda, among other details that may or may not be important to the average consumer.

    Breaking the seal, the sheath unfold like the pedals of a flower revealing the main box inside. Lifting out the box, you will notice the inner sheath is printed with the CA logo dead centre, silver rays exploding outwards. It's quite dramatic. The main box itself contains the same beautiful mountainous scene found on CA's prior packaging along with more Campfire Audio branding. Lifting the lid you're greeted by the slogan “Nicely Done” printed on one of the flaps, as well as their new leather carrying case and a smaller cardboard box containing many of the included accessories. Beneath all this is your warranty card and a manual. In all you get:
    • Andromeda earphones
    • Smoky Jacket Silver Plated Copper Litz Cable
    • Final Audio tips (xs/s/m/l/xl)
    • Campfire Audio Marshmallow tips (s/m/l)
    • Medium bore single flange silicone tips (s/m/l)
    • Campfire Audio lapel pin
    • Cleaning tool
    • Mesh accessory case (x3)
    Overall this is an outstanding unboxing experience, as is always the case with Campfire Audio. But...I still prefer their old packaging. It was smaller and more compact thereby using less material and producing less waste, a big plus for those that toss packaging once they get to the goods within. That said, this packaging still produces a lot less waste than what you get with various other luxury brands (RHA, Dunu, etc.), and everything is recyclable, so take this as more of an observation than a complaint. The new box does look fantastic on display though, a positive for those of us that appreciate brands who put time and effort into crafting unique and attractive unboxing experiences.

    Packaging aside, the accessory kit is second to none. Final Audio tips are some of the best in the business and with five sizes included you're sure to find something that works for your ears. Campfire Audio's Marshmallow tips are a very high quality foam option. The basic single flange silicone tips are nothing special and are the sort of tip you'd find included with more budget oriented offerings. That's not to take away from their performance though. They stay attached to the nozzle just fine and consistently seal well. The cleaning tool will be invaluable to those with waxy ears and the inclusion of three mesh bags to keep everything neatly organized is genius. Nicely done.

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    Build, comfort, and Isolation:

    The machined aluminum housings of the Andromeda are adorned with their iconic green anodized finish that looks as stunning in person as it does in images. Seems to me that Campfire has improved the quality of their machining and their anodized finish. Compared to the original Polaris and images I've seen of earlier Andromeda's, the shells are much smoother with all machining grooves flattened out. Small bumps and knocks that chipped the finish on the original Polaris have done nothing to the Andromeda. New ~6mm long stainless steel nozzles are present and have a prominent lip that does a great job of holding tips in place. It also contains three small openings for the various sound tubes inside the Andromeda that keep the various frequencies from interfering with each other, at least until they've reached your ears. Textured silver screws top things off and attractively accent the green finish. The Andromeda use's Campfire Audio's familiar and extra durable beryllium/copper MMCX connectors. I say extra durable because that's what the marketing blurb spouts, but also my now almost two year old and well-loved Polaris has seen tens and tens of disconnects and the MMCX connectors are just as firm now as they were out of the box. Fit and finish is as to be expected, that is to say it is fantastic. Seams are barely visible and everything lines up perfectly without any gaps or off kilter angles.

    The Andromeda comes with Campfire Audio's new Silver Plated Copper Litz cable. It is quite reminiscent in design and thickness to the copper cable that came with the original Polaris, but with a new smoke coloured sheath. The 90 degree angled jack is smartly designed with an extension to permit compatibility with a wide variety of device cases, though strain relief is a little stiff. Less of a worry than it would be in other cases. My experiences with Campfire's cables have shown them to be plenty durable. Within the small, reliefless aluminum y-split, the cable divides sending two strands on each side to the ear pieces. Slotting into the top of the split is a small plastic chin cinch. It moves much more smoothly here than on older Campfire cables and as a result is much more useful. Also much more useful is the move to preformed ear guides. While the memory wire used on past Campfire Audio cables worked, I found the “memory” aspect of that title limited at best which led to the wire straightening out over time. Ditching that entirely and running with preformed guides has resulted in a much more pleasant experience since I'm not constantly rebending the wire to ensure it stays behind my ear. This is a great new cable and I was pleased to see it included with some other new models, like the Polaris v2 and IO.

    When it comes to comfort you'd be forgiven for assuming Campfire Audio's iconic angular shell design is a pain in the ear. Maybe for some, but not for me. Ergonomics are just right with the low profile Andromeda conforming quite naturally to my outer ear. That plus the use of lightweight aluminum, a small size the belies the chunky appearance, and the stubby nozzle keeps the Andromeda sitting in a way that does not feel out of place. I can wear the Andromeda almost indefinitely without experiencing any discomfort.

    When it comes to isolation, the Andromeda is outstanding. The fully sealed housings relegate the sharp tapping of keyboards to a subtle snap and the tire rumble of cars passing by to a dull murmur, though as with the IO vocals seem to cut through the silence surprisingly effectively. It really is an odd experience, though handy if you're listening in an area where you risk being summoned by someone nearby. Of course, should you wish to eliminate this just toss on some foam tips and overall isolation improves even further.

    P1012866.JPG P1020796.JPG P1020798.JPG

    Sound:

    Tips: The generic medium bore single flange silicone tips seemed to elevate treble and improve sound stage slightly making the Andromeda sound brighter and give the perception of improved technical ability. Foams seemed to dull the entirety of the Andromeda's presentation making it sound somewhat stuffy. Didn't like them at all. The small bore Final Audio Type E tips brought the most out of the Andromeda's low end and the tips to use if you want more sub-bass. They also slightly boosted treble giving the earphone a less balanced sound overall. Lastly, my preferred tips came via a third party; JVC. While many users love the Andromeda with JVC's Spiral Dot tips, I don't have any of those. I run the Andromeda with the similar but vastly more affordable wide bore tips that come with many JVC products, such as the brown set I got with my old HA-FR65. With these tips in place, the Andromeda sounds near perfectly balanced with very mild treble and bass elevation. Magnificent.

    The Andromeda is an all-armature earphone but in no way is the low end lacking. Opening with a classic track, Massive Attack's “Teardrop”, the Andromeda's low range armature attacks it with a growly texture and quick slam for each note. Decay is snappy but realistic, with notes hanging around as long as they need to. As is almost always the case with balanced armatures, I find extension into sub-bass regions somewhat wanting, but I still come away satisfied with the way things are handled here. On faster, more congested tracks like Havok's “Scumbag in Disguise”, rapid double bass hits remain well-defined amidst the rest of the instrumentation, regardless of how much is going on. The low end of the Andromeda won't wow with it's quantity or depth, instead impressing with it's texture and control. As someone that listens to a lot of (read: primarily) electronic music, I more or less require a strong low end to carry my music. There aren't many armature only earphones that tick the right boxes. The Andromeda is one of them.

    Treble out of the Andromeda is so close to being perfect for my tastes. Extension is excellent and there are zero nasty peaks to cause discomfort. I personally would like a little more upper treble emphasis to add a hint more sparkle and energy to cymbals and chimes, but then the presentation would lose some of it's long term listenability and tire the ears faster. Regardless, the Andromeda's upper ranges are very smooth and detailed delivering beautiful, tightly controlled notes. Tracks that are usually uncomfortable or worse, like The Crystal Method's “Grace feat. LeAnn Rimes”, come out perfectly manageable if not pleasant with the Andromeda. In the case of “Grace”, the screeching effects that kick in at 1:30 and do their very best to ruin the LeAnn's solid vocal performance almost sound good with the Andromeda. Heck, it even shows that they have some depth, displaying a mountainous profile as the shrieks shift forward and back in the soundscape. No other earphone I can think of, save for maybe the Solaris or Brainwavz's humble B400, make that track sound this nuanced.

    If you're a lover of good vocals the Andromeda is going to win you over in a heart beat. The mid-range on this earphone is phenomenal. Vocals have a thick and weighty feel to them, but with an ease of presentation and clarity that belies expectations. Paul Williams' performance throughout Daft Punk's “Touch” is a perfect match and easily draws you in thanks to the wealth of emotion on display, especially in the opening and closing moments when things slow down and focus on Paul. Whether you're listening to Danny Brown in his collaboration with Evil Nine on “The Black Brad Pitt”, Celine Dion on the chill inducing “Ashes”, or Corey Taylor tearing it up in “Pulse of the Maggots”, the Andromeda does everything justice. It also helps that it's timbre is spot on, avoiding the metallic or plasticy edge armatures from lesser products take on. Guitars sounds like they should and are rife with texture and grit. Pianos can sound light and airy or dark and brooding. It's this versatility and accuracy that has helped the Andromeda win consistent accolades over the years.

    When it comes to the sound stage, I find the Andromeda large but not as cavernous as I was expecting based on what I've read over the years. As with the Brainwavz B400 against it's peers, the Andromeda's presentation is slightly above average in terms of size with sounds expending just past the head and moving about in a nicely rounded space. Where the jaw dropping occurs is in the imaging, layering and separation. Imaging is spot on with impossibly smooth, nuanced channel transitions. Tracks sound deep and layered with instruments playing in well defined areas, forward or back on the stage. They never blend and muddy each other, instead remaining separate and clear. This makes live recordings like King Crimson's “Cat Food” and “Indiscipline” a joy, giving you the impression of sitting among the crowd. Just close your eyes, lean back, and listen.

    I am nothing but impressed with the Andromeda. Impressive is the tuning balance, how well it handled any genre I tossed at it, but most importantly, how effortlessly it did it all. Lesser products often sound like their driver(s) is/are being tuned within an edge of their capabilities giving everything a slightly strained edge to it. Then you have products like the Andromeda, the Solaris, HIFIMAN's RE2000, and others, which remove that undesirable quality and allow the music to flow freely and unimpeded. This effortlessness is a quality that really sets top of the line gear apart from more affordable stuff, at least in my limited experience. That and vastly improved technical qualities, like imaging accuracy and how effects are layered.

    DSC_0953.JPG IMG_1414.JPG IMG_1416.JPG

    Select Comparisons:

    Campfire Audio Atlas (1,299.00 USD): As the flagship dynamic-only earphone in Campfire's lineup, the Atlas offers up a very different experience than the Andromeda. Whereas the Andromeda is very balanced through the entire frequency range, the Atlas provides a warmer, v-shaped, bass-centric experience. The Atlas's low end is more boisterous and powerful, hitting harder and digging deeper than the Andromeda and it's armature only setup. In the Andromeda's camp are texture and speed which best the Atlas. In terms of the mid-range, I was pleased to see they were more similar than not. The Andromeda's mids are obviously more forward and crisp giving listeners more information and better clarity, yet despite this, the Atlas's mids share a similar tonality and timbre accuracy. It's just less forward and in your face about it. The Andromeda's treble has better extension, is slightly more controlled, and in general just sounds more technically competent. The Atlas is a bit brighter and more sparkly though thanks to more upper treble emphasis. I'd also say the Atlas's presentation is a hint more natural sounding though, with higher pitched instruments sounding just the teeniest bit off through the Andromeda. Given how minor this is, it is not something I would have noticed without a/b'ing the two. In terms of sound stage, the Atlas gives off a more grand impression of space. While impressive in it's own right, the Atlas can't compete with the Andromeda when it comes to imaging accuracy, layering, or separation, where it is second to none.

    While I am firmly in the Andromeda camp thanks to it's technical qualities and overall balance (shell comfort too), I can see why you would prefer the Atlas. The liquid bass that only a dynamic driver can provide is a strong selling point.

    HIFIMAN RE2000 Silver (1,500.00 USD): The RE2000 Silver is the best earphone in Hifiman's lineup in my opinion, besting the notably more expensive and flashy gold-plated, brass shelled standard RE2000. Why? It provides a more even, balanced signature, one that is quite comparable to the Andromeda. The Andromeda provides a bit more upper treble emphasis giving it slightly more sparkle and air in the upper ranges. I also find the Andromeda's armatures slightly better controlled with more defined notes. The RE2000 Silver's mid-range is less forward and a touch thicker, providing a less detailed and slightly darker but no less engaging presentation. In the Andromeda's favour, the upper mids on the RE2000 can show some stridency on female vocals that remain quite smooth on the Andromeda (ex. Massive Attack's “Dissolved Girl”. Bass on the RE2000 Silver is more extended and slightly more emphasized, though I find it's presentation slower and softer. The Andromeda's mid-bass gives notes a nice solid kick where it comes across as more of a thump through the Hifiman. In terms of sound stage and technical ability, this is where the Andromeda's multi-driver set up shines. The RE2000 sounds a hint wider and deeper to my ears, but falls behind in layering depth and instrument separation. Not to say it's bad by any means. Both of these will vastly outperform what the majority of the population is used it. Imaging falls into the same camp with the Andromeda showing even cleaner and more accurate channel to channel transitions.

    While both of these products are shining examples of what the almighty dollar can buy, only one would get my hard earned Toonies; Andromeda. Not only do I think it sounds better thanks to it's more balanced, less fatiguing signature, but it's build quality is more price appropriate. It's also almost 400 bucks cheaper.

    Campfire Audio Solaris (1,499.00 USD): As the flagship hybrid in Campfire's lineup and one of the best products I've listened to to date, I was curious to see how these two stacked up. Once again, the Andromeda comes across as the more even and balanced of the two. These two earphones have a similar mid-range with the Solaris coming across slightly cooler, leaner, and less forward. The cooler, leaner presentation, for me, gives the Solaris the edge on detail and clarity through the mids and up into treble regions. The Solaris is also slightly brighter up top thanks to some additional upper treble emphasis, but it's no less smooth. Bass is where the two differ most, and we can thank the Solaris' retuned Atlas driver for that. The extra depth afforded by a dynamic driver is readily apparent with sub-bass notes providing a deep rumble and level of physical feedback that simply isn't possible through the Andromeda. Andromeda still has the edge in terms of speed and texture, though not by a wide margin. Sound stage on the Solaris pulls from the Atlas in that it is wide open and spacious, even more so than the Andromeda. However, I'd still put imaging accuracy and precision, as well as layering and separation capabilities in the Andromeda's camp... barely. They're equals for the most part.

    I was expecting to be all gung ho on the Andromeda with this comparison given just how much I've enjoyed my time with it, but this ended up being a wash. Sometimes I really miss the Solaris' extra treble and bass extension, but then when I'm listening to it I miss the Andromeda's thicker, more engaging mid-range. Once thing I think everyone can appreciate about both of these products is just how effortless their presentations are.

    Final Thoughts:

    It shouldn't come as a surprise, but the Andromeda is everything I expected it to be. The angular design pairs perfectly with the striking shade of green Campfire selected. As experienced on other models, it fits my ears perfectly too. The edgy shell might bother some, but it is perfectly in tune with the shape of my outer ear resulting in something I can wear for long periods of time, discomfort and fatigue free.

    The new packaging is more tedious to dig into and produces more waste than Campfire's previous attempt, but you can't argue against it doing a better job of representing the premium product the Andromeda is. Inside the accessory kit doesn't let you down either. Along with a number of goodies you get 11 pairs of high quality tips of varying styles and sizes, all but guaranteeing you find something to fit your ear. Everything can be easily stored within the three mesh pouches provided, or at the very least tucked into the outstanding, newly designed leather carrying case.

    Of course none of this would matter much if the Andromeda didn't back it up with one of the most accomplished and well-rounded signatures I've ever heard. I love everything about the way the Andromeda sounds, from the punchy and politely elevated bass, to the weighty and detailed mid-range, to the sprightly treble and sizable, well-balanced sound stage that pulls you into your music.

    If you're not the kind of person to chase the perfect budget earphone, preferring instead to buy once and get it right the first time, the Andromeda is exactly what you need. It is every bit the top of the line, reference level product it's reputation has grown to suggest.

    Thanks for reading!

    - B9Scrambler

    [If you liked this review head over to https://thecontraptionist.blog for more just like it.]

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

    Some Test Tunes:

    Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)
    Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
    King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)
    King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)
    Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)
    Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
    Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)
    Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)
    Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)
    Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)
    The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)
    Tobacco – F****d Up Friends (Album)
    Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
    Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)
    The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)
    Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)
    Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)
    Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)
    Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)
    Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)
      iBo0m, ezekiel77, slowpickr and 5 others like this.
  9. 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.

    IMG_3240.JPG
  10. 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.
    Snap3.jpg
    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

    Tips-170x170@2x.jpg Dark-Case-2-1-1400x1400.jpg 800x600-Case-and-Cable_800x.jpg

    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/