Campfire Audio Dorado 2020

asifur

100+ Head-Fier
Campfire Audio Dorado 2020 : Bass is Fun!
Pros: + Stunning Looks & Build Quality
+ Very Comfortable
+ Great Accessories
+ Superb Staging capabilities
+ Great Separation & Imaging
+ Great Bass - Detailed & dense
+ Very Fun sounding
+ Detailed, Lush & non-fatiguing Treble
Cons: - Recessed Mids though the midrange seemed quite open
- Bass could be a slightly less
Campfire Audio DORADO 2020 : Bass is fun!
1626461640089.png

Disclaimer:

This review unit was sent by @CampfireAudio for the purpose of an honest review.
Everything mentioned in this review are purely my own based on my experiences with the IEM.


Introduction:

Since 2016, Dorado’s original release, Campfire Audio has developed a remarkable series of high-fidelity hybrid IEMs that have gone from niche to popularized as some of the very best in the world. Dorado 2020 breathes new life into the name and the legacy of their first hybrid - The Original Dorado, with a fresh take on its classic hybrid design. One balanced armature and one dynamic driver. No cross-over, no complications. They claim that the distilled pairings reproduce sound more faithfully, with improved resolution and cohesion than those with over-complicated cross-over schemes.
Dorado 2020 was launched in Oct 2020 by Campfire Audio.
The Dorado 2020 is priced at $1099.

1626462042964.png


Tech Features:

The Dorado is a hybrid universal monitor. It comes with 1DD & 1BA drivers on each side.
A single balanced armature augments the custom-tuned 10mm A.D.L.C. diaphragm dynamic driver.
Leaving the sparkling highs to the B.A., this dynamic driver is afforded the space to dig in a bit deeper, reach a bit lower, and deliver rich and satisfying bass.
Its vocal delivery is precise and pronounced. Dorado 2020 is very much a hybrid high fidelity earphone.
1626462397901.png

Specifications:

Specifications are as below (as found on the website):
https://campfireaudio.com/shop/dorado-2020/
  • 5 Hz – 22 kHz Frequency Response
  • 94 dB SPL @ 1kHz: 18.52 mVrs
  • 10 Ohm @ 1kHz Impedance
  • Black Ceramic Shell
  • Single Custom Balanced Armature (High)
  • 10mm A.D.L.C. Diaphragm Dynamic Driver (Mid+Low)
  • Oversized Neodymium Rare Earth Magnet
  • Custom Beryllium / Copper MMCX Connections
  • Brass Spout with ‘Midnight Grey’ PVD finish
1626462653091.png

Design & Build Quality:


Though I had never come across the original Dorado, but from what i have seen in the pictures - it seems that the Dorado 2020 has got quite a bit of facelift. Instead of the silver, aluminum style, the body is made from high-density ceramic that forms a single solid piece. The Dorado is one of Campfire’s more ear-friendly shaped bodies, and that architecture is brought over to the new model. Dorado 2020 comes with a slimmer spout which makes the best use out of all the different ear tip selections. It’s made up of an all-black PVD finish, creating a glossier aesthetic. A thinner nozzle also usually means there won’t be any added pressure when inserting the IEM into the ear. The fit is just great - and there was rarely a need for any significant adjustments or tip-switching during my listening sessions. I felt that the Dorado 2020 proved to be one of Campfire’s more seamless fits, and it might even attract more people to this series.
1626463217814.png
1626463255261.png


Packaging & Accessories:

The Dorado 2020 continues the new packaging styling Campfire Audio has been using since Polaris 2.
The packaging unfolds like a colorful piece of origami - then you can see the multi-compartment cardboard box box inside.
Inside that cardboard box, there is another smaller box that contains all the ear tips and cleaning tool. and there is that Campfire special case tat holds the IEM inside with the cable.

1626463640467.png
1626463674884.png

1626463770109.png



Accessories:

Flip the box lid and inside you have the accessories inside a similarly colored cardboard tube and an all-new cork material carry-case inside of which you will find the Dorado 2020 and the SPC Litz cable. As always with Campfire, the accessory line-up is just beautiful as well as plentiful.

The full lineup of accessories closely matches the IO and is as follows:

  • Final e-tips (xs/s/m/l/xl)
  • Foam Marshmallow tips S/M/L
  • Silicone single-bore tips S/M/L
  • 3 x cushioned pockets (for the monitors and foam tips)
  • Cleaning brush/pick
  • ‘Diver Orange” Case.
  • SPC Litz cable
  • Campfire Audio pin badge
1626463998027.png


The Case:

The case is an exotic Orange case which Campfire calls: ‘Diver Orange” Upcycled Marine Plastic Zipper Case..

1626464254818.png


The Stock Cable:

The cable is the Campfire Audio Litz Cable – Silver Plated Copper Conductors with Beryllium Copper MMCX and 3.5mm plug which is good sound-wise and also looks wise. Really nothing to complain about here - all good.

1626464204781.png


Amp-ing Requirements:

Due to it's vert low impedance levels, this IEM requires does not any sort of amp-ing at all. Howver, it shines quite a bit when paired with a good & powerful source.

NOW LET'S TALK ABOUT THE SOUND IMPRESSIONS....
1626464435488.png


Used for this review:

DAC/AMP:
@iFi audio Micro iDSD Signature,
DAP/Source : Cayin N6 Mk2 with E02 motherboard, Laptop & iPad
Streaming Source: QOBUZ

1626464555697.png

1626464645127.png


Ear Tips:
I've tried tip-rolling with a variety of tips including Final Audio E Series (both Transparent Red & Black ones), @SpinFit Eartip CP360 and JVC Spiral.
I've found JVC spiral to suit me preferences best and have used that mostly.

1626464806284.png
1626464850562.png


Tracks Used:
The tracks I have used can be found from the below playlist that I have used and generally use for most reviews... I would like to thank @Otto Motor for his contribution here.



1626465005625.png


Let's now talk about the quality of Sound....

The BASS:


The Bass on the Dorado 2020 comes with a detailed presentation with good amount of density. The bass response is one of the most aggressively neutral responses we can get . It may not satisfy everyone, but the balancing and dynamics were quite impressive. the drums percussions are clear and separation is really great between the instruments and there is good amount of depth in the thump and slam.

The MIDS:

Midrange is quite open despite that fact that due to the V-shaped tonality it is bit recessed. There is exceptional clarity and definition here, and it rivals some of the best out there currently on the market. Lower mids get a touch of boost making the sound more lively & fun. Acoustic guitars have the breath that is articulating and percussions such as: like plucking strings, and fret straining just feels amazing. Vocals are as expressive & natural - lively and full of texture. Upper mids also show great detail and demonstrate a top-end emphasis on certain instrumental tonalities..

The Treble:

The Treble is no exception when it comes to details and separation. Every sound comes with great clarity and good amount of thick & muscular texture. There's a bit of sparkle in the treble but it makes the sound more enjoyable and also the treble is non-fatiguing.

The SOUNDSTAGE:

The Dorado 2020 has a massive Soundstage with a good width & height emphasis and also depth. it offers a more wide & balanced stage. Not artificially driven - but just the right amount of staging that the track requires. It is just superb for enjoying acoustic instruments and also great for all genres mostly.


Imaging & Timbre:

There is a beautiful solidity and balance to how the Dorado 2020 delivers instrumental notes yet the staging in the mids is open enough to ensure neither vocal nor instrument is competing for the same space. You get a what I would call a classic hi-fidelity stereo presentation from the Dorado 2020 with perfect positioning sense of each item.
The Timbre of the Dorado 2020 is amongst the best I've experienced so far whereby The Drums, & guyitars just sound amazing and fun. The vocals are natural and open and the cymbals sound great too.

1626466368547.png


But the review is not complete without comparisons....

1626466445620.png


CA Dorado 2020 vs DUNU ZEN :

The DUNU ZEN though lower priced than the Dorado 2020 comes with a similar sound signature and a Single Dynamic driver architecture.
DUNU claims the ECLIPSE Dynamic drivers to be amongst their very best. I'm including the ZEN also has ample amount of details and expansive soundstage just like the Dorado 2020 . However, the DUNU ZEN comes at a much lower price tag of $699 compared to the Dorado 2020's $1099
This has been a very interesting comparison though not really based on similarities or price range but more on traits.

Bass:
This is the DUNU ZENs strongest traits with ample amount micro nuances and details. it also has the thump that is enjoyable and comes with good layering and texture. But it just isn't enough to beat the Dorado 2020. The bass in Dorado 2020 is a lot more detailed and textured and there is better depth than the Zen. hence, the Dorado 2020 wins this round hands down.

Mids & Treble:
The DUNU ZEN has a slight peak in its upper mids which may become bothersome for some people. The Dorado 2020 has more recessed mids than DUNU ZEN. However, the Dorado 2020 Mids seemed more open and resolving with better clarity and separation. The ZEN here is not far behind in terms of clarity or texture but loses mainly due to it's peak in the upper mids.

Soundstage & Timbre:
Both of the IEMs come with superb staging and imaging capabilities - but having said that, I felt that the Dorado 2020 has slightly better width and height while the DUNU ZEN had slightly more depth. I would call this a tie.

1626467201215.png

CA Dorado 2020 vs CA Ara :
The Ara is slightly higher priced at $1299 with an all BA architecture compared to the Dorado 2020's hybrid architecture. The Andromeda would've been the perfact match in terms of pricing - but the Ara is the closest priced IEM I have with me.

Bass:
This is the Dorado 2020 wins hands down due to it's dynamic driver timbre and bass focused tuning. The Ara though neutral sounding has great amount of details ins the bass region. But I just love the energetic deep thump and slam of the dorado and the details are also there though not as much as the Ara.

Mids & Treble:
The Dorado 2020 has somewhat recessed Mids but the midrange is quite open. Also, there is some fun & sparkle in the Trebl with good clarity. Mids & treble is where the Ara excels and exceeds the Dorado 2020 in terms of layering and texture. The Ara is also slightly more resolving and the mids & treble are very enjoyable on the Ara. This is where Ara wins handily.

Soundstage & Timbre:
I never thought that any ALL BA IEM would be able to match the massive soundstage of the Dorado 2020. The Ara comes very very close though.
The Ara also comes with an almost equally wide soundstage and positioning details are slightly better on the Ara. However, there's that BA timbre in the Ara though rare - and this is where the Dorado 2020 excels. I would call it a tie here.

1626467760403.png
1626467792681.png


Conclusion :

Having said all that - The Campfire Audio Dorado 2020 is just what the doctor ordered if you like a bit more Bass with fun sounding music.
The amount of details, clarity, separation, staging and overall finesse that the Dorado 2020 provides makes it worth every penny of the price tag that it comes with. I have thoroughly enjoyed reviewing it and would highly recommend it to others.

1626468135708.png
Last edited:
asifur
asifur
@AKabir dorado is not power hungry. It has low impedance and easy to drive
Antick Dhar
Antick Dhar
Wonderful bhai❤️
  • Like
Reactions: asifur
rev92
rev92
Great review buddy
  • Like
Reactions: asifur

Layman1

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: rich, dark, musical, fun, technical performance, build quality, accessories
Cons: occasionally a bit congested on a few tracks, comes with 3.5mm cable only
Introduction:

Campfire Audio are a well-known American audio company and today I’m delighted to present my review of their Dorado 2020 IEM.
If you aren’t already very familiar with the company, please see the link below for more :)
https://campfireaudio.com/about/

In one form or another, they’ve been around on the audio scene for a good long while now and have earned a deserved good reputation.
On their website, they are able to proudly state:
“Each model in our earphone line is designed and assembled by hand in our Portland, Oregon workshop; our earphones are second to none in performance and finish”.
Whilst I’m not American personally, I’m always happy to see companies - whichever country they are based in - manufacturing their products locally, even more so when it involves such care and attention to the process.

IEM details from the official website (from where these IEMs may be ordered):
https://campfireaudio.com/shop/dorado-2020/

This link also has explanations of the considerable amount of tech that features in these IEMs.
The Dorado 2020 at the time of writing retails at USD $1’099.

For my 'homies', here is a link where they can be ordered in the UK (other ways of ordering are available) :)
https://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/co...l-drivers-iem-earphones-with-detachable-cable

My thanks to Campfire Audio and John at KS Distribution for authorising this sample to be provided to me in exchange for my honest review.

It’s one of the now ubiquitous hybrid designs, featuring a single custom balanced armature driver to handle the highs, along with a 10mm A.D.L.C. dynamic driver.
Furthermore, with the release of the Dorado 2020, Campfire are returning to a ceramic build for the body. Here’s what they have to say about it:

“In 2015, Campfire Audio was the first company to introduce a ceramic body earphone with the original Lyra. With our new Dorado and Vega, we’ve returned to this excellent material.
Ceramic is a dense material. That’s part of its appeal when designing an earphone. The density pairs well with dynamic drivers because it doesn’t let vibrations run wild. It also has the added benefit of ownership by being extremely scratch resistant”.

Well, it’s time to switch to something more visual, which can only mean one thing:
No, Perkins, we’re not going to “give up and review a TV instead”!
I mean of course that the time has come to proceed to that section which - with an almost circa 1980’s Nouvelle Cuisine minimalism - is simply called “Photos” :)


Photos:
01.jpg
02.jpg
03.jpg
04.jpg
05.jpg
06.jpg

Build Quality and accessories:

The packaging continues Campfire Audio’s good work in this area, with a joyous rush of bright colours and a simple but carefully-curated selection of accessories.
The Dorado 2020 are solidly built with no visible blemishes or flaws of any kind, with the letters L and R imprinted into the inside faces of the shells, on the left and right hand sides respectively (just about visible in the photos).

Regarding the aesthetics, like its current Solaris stablemate, the design of the Dorado 2020 is again very much informed by the Henry Ford playbook, with the IEM being offered in any colour you like, as long as it’s black.
Personally, I think other colours/designs could have produced much more impressive results, but having said that, I do prefer the ceramic-bodied Dorado with its compact design in black to that of the comparatively more chunky and block-like Solaris 2020. Also, I like the smooth ceramic finish more on the Dorado 2020 and with their sleek design, they do look rather elegant and understated.

Regarding the ergonomics of the IEM, that’s going to be a personal matter for each individual, but personally I had no issues with the fit and found myself able to get them well-inserted with a good seal every time. I tried Sedna Xelastac tips in various sizes, but ended up sticking with my tried and tested New Bee foam tips (medium size) which still allowed for a deep insertion and a stable seal for long-term listening pleasure :)

The Dorado 2020 features a more stripped down driver setup, omitting some of the tech employed in the Solaris 2020, such as SolidBody Acoustic design for greater driver coherency, T.A.E.C for extended highs and so forth. But the Dorado brings in its own design elements. To quote from the CA website:

“In 2015, Campfire Audio was the first company to introduce a ceramic body earphone with the original Lyra. With our new Dorado and Vega, we’ve returned to this excellent material.
Ceramic is a dense material. That’s part of its appeal when designing an earphone. The density pairs well with dynamic drivers because it doesn’t let vibrations run wild. It also has the added benefit of ownership by being extremely scratch resistant.

Our ceramic shells get their strength through a sintering process. Two days are spent at 600 degrees, followed by three days at 1200 degrees. This extended exposure to high heat dramatically reduces the parts’ size and increases their density as a result.
The shells then spend up to 3 days in a tumbler along with small alumina stones and water. This polishing process gives them their attractive high gloss surface finish.

With Dorado 2020, we’ve turned to a machined brass spout with a ‘gunmetal grey’ P.V.D. finish. The conical shape and reduced diameter of the spout provide further tuning enhancements while also improving wear comfort. The super small balanced armature sits centrally in the spout, and its proximity to the exit gives it an enhanced presence in just the right proportion”.

The cable that comes bundled with the Dorado is their Smoky Litz model and seems pretty good. It comes with both a red dot to indicate the right hand side, plus L and R carved in to the MMCX connector plugs.
It’s thinner and lighter than the one which came bundled with the Solaris 2020, which – depending on your preferences - you may regard as a good or a bad thing.
Being so thin, I would suspect that it would tangle a fair bit in storage; fortunately, Campfire Audio bundle in a special small mesh drawstring bag (pictured next to the case in the Photos section).
It features a separate compartment for each individual earphone; the rest of the cable can then be wrapped around the case along its centre. This solves in one fell swoop the whole cable tangling issues, and it’s terrific to see such a simple but effective solution being provided by Campfire here.

It has ear hooks (plastic sleeves around the cable to guide it over the ears), which personally I’m not a fan of generally; however, they were supple and didn’t cause me any discomfort. Aside from this, the cable was light and easy to use, comfortable and with no particular issues with microphonics or similar.
It’s got an aesthetically pleasing twisted braid design with an understated charcoal grey colour and seems to be of robust construction.

However, I have to say that at this price point, I imagine most people who buy it will be using dedicated DAPs, amps and whatnot (at least some of the time) and invariably wanting to use the balanced outputs from them.
I strongly believe the buyer should be able to specify their choice of a 3.5, 2.5 or 4.4mm plug at this price when purchasing. At the very least, supply a 2.5mm balanced cable and 3.5mm and 4.4mm adaptors.

Still, to end this section on a positive note, the case that comes with the Dorado 2020 is a lovely new addition, made of a very attractive and sturdy looking material with a gorgeous canvas style finish and sunny orange colour. As if all that wasn’t enough, it’s also made with upcycled marine plastic, for added eco credentials, so again, a much-appreciated added touch :)


Sound:

I have a few tracks which I’ve only found available on MP3; the vast majority are FLAC or WAV in 16/44 or hi-res 24-bit HDTracks (or equivalent), with a few DSD56 tracks sneaking their way in too.

Regarding music styles, I listen to both kinds of music; Country AND Western.
Jokes aside, I actually listen to a wide variety of genres, including Asian pop, Bollywood, rock, pop, hip-hop, jazz, classical, blues, RnB (both original and modern), folk, acoustic, a tiny bit of electronica/EDM and so on. And even a bit of Country (and Western), for the record :)

For the purposes of this review, the sources I chiefly used were the Sony WM1Z (using MrWalkman’s ‘Midnight Plus’ free custom firmware) and iBasso DX220MAX.

Well, on Campfire’s Dorado 2020 product page, they issue what pretty much amounts to a ‘Mission Statement’ regarding their intention for the sound signature of the IEM:
“Fun for All.
True ‘North of Neutral’
Give yourself the freedom to have fun listening to music again”.

Even just reading that is surely enough to bring a smile of anticipation!
As an audiophile and an avid reader of Head-Fi, it can be easy to get sucked into a frame of mind that pays perhaps somewhat excessive attention to critical listening and technical performance. As such, I often find myself delighted when I come across an IEM that may well have great technicalities, but its principal highlight is simply making the music come alive, leaving me with a probably foolish-looking grin on my face and joy in my heart :)

For the attention-challenged amongst you, I shall start this section (aside from the preamble above) by going straight into the summary of my findings, then adding in some of my more notable notes from my track-by-track analysis for those who demand only the most rigorous of levels of detail.


Lows:
The Dorado 2020 to my ears seems tuned with a fairly prominent low end.
I hear it as having something of a mid-bass hump, much like the Solaris 2020 and Empire Ears’ Legend X. This may be a good or a bad thing for you, depending on your taste.
There’s a reasonable amount of sub-bass extension and power, but most of the power in the low end here seems to be coming from the mid-bass. The presentation of the bass doesn’t seem spectacularly fast, but I think the sustain and tone on offer here will leave most listeners very happy indeed.


Mids:
Again, lots of sustain, and a nice gravelly edge when required. The Dorado 2020 does well with all kinds of musical genres, but it positively shines with rock music. The Dorado 2020, like some kind of mythical troll, eats rock for breakfast, spitting out an abundance of gravel and grit with percussive thunder. Enough said :D

I hear both male and female vocals to be full-bodied with a great deal of richness and sweetness, a very enjoyable timbre – less clinically accurate and more irresistibly musical - and great separation between different vocals.
The presentation is natural rather than neutral, fun, engaging and musical, but with a pretty impressive technical performance.


Treble:
The presentation overall is somewhat dark and rich, and I hear only a very slight lift in the treble to compensate for this (if indeed you feel that this is something that requires or merits compensation). Nevertheless, there’s some air here that brings about a good level of separation and clarity.


Technical performance:
I hear the Dorado 2020 to have an accomplished technical performance that belies its ‘fun’ vibe. I felt the soundstage to be tall and wide with average depth. Separation was very well done, especially given the somewhat dark tone of the IEM that would easily lend itself to a more intimate presentation otherwise. It’s not huge, spacious, expansive kind of stage, as might be found for example on the original Unique Melody MEST. The big, bold notes and meaty mid-bass fill up the real estate on offer here very quickly, so the Dorado 2020 does very well to maintain such a degree of separation and space here between instruments and vocals, giving them all space to shine. The layering and imaging are similarly very well-executed and there’s a great natural and organic presentation of detail that leaves no stone unturned.


Cable swap:

With the Fiio LC-RE cable (copper, silver and gold hybrid), it had a similar effect on the Dorado 2020 as it does with the Solaris 2020; it made the IEM sound a touch more warm and organic, brought out details a little bit more and with a bit more musicality. I noticed a touch more sparkle in the upper mids and treble too.

I think generally cables made with silver (at least ones which have the typical affects on sound signature expected from silver cables) will do well with the Dorado 2020, as will ones with some gold in, such as gold-plated copper or gold-plated silver.


Conclusion:

The Dorado 2020 is a special IEM with a fairly idiosyncratic tuning; dark and rich, infused with body and a nice sustain. That dark richness could lead to an overly intimate sound (and occasionally does), but on the whole, the very well-executed separation on offer here brings space around every instrument and vocal, giving each its own space to shine and drawing out details with a delightful organic naturalness. The fun sound signature here (‘North of Neutral’, as Campfire Audio put it) is belied by the quality of the technical performance. The soundstage is notably wide and tall, with a reasonable depth to go with it. Imaging and layering are expertly carried out and this IEM performs with a very engaging musicality across a wide range of genres.

If you feel your life is lacking some fun and excitement, you could quit your job, burn down your house and move to Mexico (“Waterfall” by James – great song!) but a cheaper and less dramatic solution might just be to consider getting yourself a Dorado 2020 and letting the good times roll :)



Bonus addendum: A few notes from my Track-by-track analysis:

Really enjoying the Dorado 2020 with ‘Omaha’ by Counting Crows (24-96 HDTracks); it employs the generous width in the soundstage, along with some very fine layering and imaging, to separate out all the many instruments nicely and give each their own space. It’s very easy to spot the different instruments, and there’s a lot of detail popping out, but in a natural and organic way.

As with the Solaris 2020, I’m hearing that distinctive dark and rich presentation.
It almost makes things seem intimate, but the size of the soundstage keeps things open enough. There’s a small lift and soft sparkle in the treble, but it’s quite understated.
The Dorado 2020 come across as quite smooth and forgiving, but there’s still a bit of bite and edge in the presentation when required.

On ‘Chan Chan’ from the Buena Vista Social Club soundtrack (24-96 HDTracks), the two vocals mix together well, but are separated out nicely, allowing me to appreciate each vocal, without detracting from the interplay of the two.
The Dorado 2020 gracefully passes my ‘trumpet test’ on this track, never coming across as sharp or strident, but still maintaining that emotive force and a lovely brassy timbre and sustain.

On ‘Monument’ by Röyksopp, again, there’s a nice spaciousness to the stage, and there’s more of that bite and edge in the gritty synthetic riff that informs this song from the get-go.

Backing vocal effects from 43s into the track swirl and draw in my attention; I’m really impressed with how naturally and beautifully the Dorado 2020 presents detail.

With ‘The Gulf of Mexico’ by Shawn Mullins, the opening percussion is presented with a nice timbre, and speaking of timbre, the Dorado 2020 does lovely things with Mullins’ gravelly voice, drawing out texture and definition very nicely. The acoustic guitar strums in this song are presented here with a delicate tactility and this IEM does well with the chiming quality of that same guitar.

With ‘Streatham’ by Dave (16-44 FLAC) and ‘Dove Sei?’ by Italian Hip-Hop outfit Poison, I found the presentation of the beats to be just slightly disappointing. On some IEMs, usually ones with more of a sub-bass focus, twinned with depth and extension, these beats can be absolutely thunderous and head-shaking.

But with the Dorado 2020, there seems to be more of a focus on mid-bass and less sub-bass power and extension. EQ could tweak this of course. But as it is, I found the presentation of these tracks to be more boomy and muddy in comparison.
It’s not a huge deal-breaker; the Dorado 2020 does so many things so well that it would be churlish to focus too much on a small anomaly that occurs with a small proportion of tracks.

There’s a kind of prominence in the mid-bass with the Dorado 2020. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword for my tastes personally. On the one hand, it seems to introduce a very slight muddiness into the sound signature, but focused purely around that part of the frequency spectrum. I’m sure this could be alleviated with some judicious use of EQ or cable rolling etc. On the other hand, it’s part of the magic of the Dorado, contributing to the enchanting musicality of the IEM, which is a huge part of its appeal.

I had a similar feeling with the Solaris 2020. I think it’s just part of the Campfire house tuning (for these two IEMs at least) and if you like it, you like it, and if you don’t, you don’t.

I can’t help feeling personally that if the sub-bass were extended and lifted a bit, and the mid-bass reined in just a smidgen, then this IEM would have an almost perfect low end.
Feel free to PM me suggestions for EQ adjustments. I’m a complete Layman at such things.

Moving on to pastures new, it’s time for Hong Kong opera singer Alison Lau’s gorgeous rendition of Handel’s ‘Lascia la spina’. The classical stringed instruments have lots of gorgeous body, richness and warmth, along with a load of depth and sustain. However, that dark tone makes for a slight lack of sparkle and brightness that would suit those same strings, and indeed the harpsichord in the background that is slightly muted in the mix here in comparison with other IEMs in my collection.

Well, it’s time for some good old fashioned rock, and I’m going with The Ataris and their wondrous rock track “Summer ‘79”.
Well, it’s as if the Dorado 2020 was made for this track. And given the comparatively ‘Western’ style tuning of the IEM, it may well have been :)
This is flawless. This IEM absolutely sings with crunchy rock guitars, soaring solos, rock vocals and a drummer going hell-for-leather :D

Well, that's all for now, and if you've made it this far, I salute your cavalier disregard for self-inflicted punishment and wish you a good day :)

B9Scrambler

Headphoneus Supremus
Campfire Audio Dorado 2020: Bombastic
Pros: Fun v-shaped tune with good technical capabilities – Top tier materials, fit and finish – Impressive sound isolation
Cons: Average sound stage – Treble could be tighter – Good ergonomics but the long nozzle will be hit or miss
Greetings!

Today we're checking out the heavily refreshed Dorado 2020 from Campfire Audio.

Hailing from Portland, Oregon where their products are designed and hand-assembled, Campfire Audio has been bringing high end in-ear-monitors to the public since 2015. It all started with the Jupiter, Orion, and Lyra. Since then their lineup has been expanded and refined with popular releases like the Andromeda and Atlas. The Andromeda in particular has become a staple recommendation to audiophiles looking to step up into the realm of TOTL (top-of-the-line) gear thanks to a balanced and technically proficient yet entertaining sound. It looks pretty cool too.

The original Dorado was released in 2016 when hybrids were still relatively scarce and relegated mostly to premium products. The 2020 revision retains a hybrid design, however this time it has been simplified. No crossovers and a 1+1 configuration vs. the 2+1 configuration of the original. Like the Vega 2020, the new Dorado revives Campfire's use of ceramic for the main body of each shell. The new nozzle design shared with the Vega is machined brass instead of steel. Visible through the grills is the extremely compact balanced armature, nestled dead centre.

The Dorado 2020 has been part of my regular rotation over the last few months and has proven it is deserving of a place in every v-shaped lovers stable. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

DSCF4362.JPGIMGP6024.JPGIMGP6031.JPG

What I Hear

Tips: Of the included tips, the Final Audio Type E are my favourite. They provide a stellar fit and slightly tame the treble. The included single flange wide bore tips are alright, but the reduced bass leaves the Dorado sounding just a little brighter than I'd prefer it to be. The stock Mushroom foams provide a similar experience to the Final tips, but with everything smoothed out a bit. Quite pleasant. Dipping into third party options, I like the Spinfit CP100 which again sounded similar to the Final tips. Unfortunately they lengthened the nozzle a bit too much making them less ideal. The CP145 had the same length issue while bumping up treble presence. Not bad, but again, not ideal. Lastly, Sony hybrids are a nice pairing. The soft silicone really bumps up comfort and the small bore helps tame treble, similar to the Final tips. Thanks to the slender nozzles, there weren't many other tips that worked, and nothing worth mentioning.

The Dorado 2020 isn't shy about it's hybrid status with exaggerated bass fighting a brilliant treble region for attention. Like the Vega 2020 in which it shares a dynamic driver, the Dorado 2020 provides outstanding sub-bass extension that handles the thundering opening of Kavinski's “ Solli” with aplomb. Mid-bass is punchy and clean with good control and next to no bloom that can cut into the lower mid-range to hinder clarity and coherence. This driver isn't super speedy, but it's certainly quick enough to handle rapid transitions without any loss of note definition. Texturing is also pretty good, though like the Vega 2020 you're in for a warm, smooth experience more than a hyper analytic one.

The midrange steps back in emphasis when compared to surrounding frequencies but is in no way overshadowed. Vocal coherence, clarity, and detail are all positives thanks to a fairly neutrally weighted presentation (ie. neither thick nor thin) that fits in well with the animated, sprightly experience the Dorado provides. Timbre is reasonably accurate, free of the dry edge I heard in the Vega. Instruments in King Crimson's live rendition of “Cat Food” sound nearly as correct here as they do through HiFiman's ex-halo product, the Susvara. I have no qualms with what Campfire Audio has achieved with the Dorado 2020's midrange considering the strong v-shaped tune.

Treble is just as exciting as the bass on the Dorado 2020. That tiny balanced armature certainly does a good job of bringing the heat, likely helped out by it's forward positioning right behind the nozzle grill. Don't think this results in a harsh sound. It's surprisingly refined and free of the glare and sizzle that you get from cheaper products with a similar driver placement. Attack and decay is also quite rapid which shouldn't be a surprise given the use of an armature. My main complaint with the treble is that is isn't quite as tight as I prefer. The bit of splash present slightly detracts from what is otherwise pretty outstanding detail and clarity.

Sound stage is where the Dorado 2020 impresses me least as it doesn't quite live up to the standards set by other products in Campfire Audio's lineup. I found it to be well-balanced in terms of width and depth, but overall fairly average in size. I suspect this is due to the vocals which are set fairly close to the ear resulting in a relatively intimate presentation. Thankfully the Dorado 2020 works with this adequate spacing well with nuanced imaging that allows you to easily track movement from channel-to-channel. It was particularly entertaining with psy-trance tracks from Infected Mushroom, and effectively allowed me to tracks sounds when gaming. Track layering and instrument separation were also not an issue with the dual driver setup keeping busy tracks from smearing or becoming congested. This was especially handy on one of my favorites, that being King Crimson's “Starless and Bible Black” which is pure chaos in the closing minutes.

Compared To A Peer (volumes matched with Dayton i MM-6)

Campfire Audio Vega 2020 (899.00 USD): The Vega and Dorado are certainly cut from the same cloth sharing their shell design and dynamic driver (updated for the Dorado since it no longer has to function as a full-range unit). The Dorado is it's own beast thanks to the addition of a compact balanced armature tucked snug-as-a-bug into a brass nozzle instead of the stainless steel nozzle used for the Vega. For the most part the two share their low end performance with the Dorado coming across slightly less bassy. I found this slight reduction to sound more extreme than it is thanks to the improvement in midrange and treble presence enabled by the inclusion of the balanced armature. Compared to the Vega, the Dorado's mids sound leaner, more forward, and notably more detailed. Their default vocal positioning is also slightly deeper in the ear which adds additional intimacy. I prefer the tonality of the Vega which to me comes across more natural. The treble presentation on the two is completely different. The Dorado is quite a bit brighter with a snappier attack and quicker decay. It does a better job layering and separating individual track elements, with the leaner presentation also helping in imaging accuracy. Where the Vega struggles on highly congested tracks, the Dorado has no problems. This may also be due to a mildly wider and deeper stage on which music and effects play.

Overall I enjoy both quite a lot, but the way the Vega leans completely into a bass-heavy signature really sings to me. While it lacks the detail and technical competency of the Dorado, I can't help but smile and laugh at the low end which just doesn't shine the same way on the Dorado thanks to sharing the spotlight with other aspects of the signature. I'm sure most listeners will prefer the Dorado, but I'm smitten with the Vega.

Campfire Audio Atlas (1,299.00 USD): Note the Atlas was on sale for 899.00 USD at the time of writing. I'd almost call the Dorado 2020 the spiritual successor to the single dynamic Atlas thanks to both having energetic, unabashedly v-shaped signatures. There are some significant differences though. The first is in the treble where the Dorado's balanced armature has a notable brilliance region bias. The Atlas' upper range presentation is more balanced with the presence region seeing only a slight skew in emphasis. While notes from the Atlas are better controlled without the hint of splash heard in the Dorado, the newer 2020 model is less fatiguing thanks to a smoother, more refined sound. Airiness, detail, and clarity are similarly good with the Vega having an edge to my ears. Dipping into the midrange the two are similar until around 2k where the Dorado tapers off and the Atlas picks up quite a bit more emphasis. This gives vocals on the Atlas a more defined role at the expense of timbre quality which I found more natural and accurate on the Dorado 2020. The midrange out of the Dorado loses out slightly on detail and clarity, but adds warmth which really helps with female vocalists. The cooler tonality for the Atlas is better suited to male vocalists to my ear. Dipping into the low end neither shies away from a providing a bombastic experience. Bass digs deep into sub-bass regions with good control and speed. I'll give a very slight edge to the Atlas when it comes to texture, though this is at the expense of refinement and dynamism which the Dorado 2020 has the edge in. Bass performance is more similar than not, and I'd be happy with either. The Atlas has a wider and deeper stage than the Dorado 2020 with vocals being placed further from the inner ear. Although the Atlas offers more space between track elements, the Dorado 2020 is notably more nuanced with channel-to-channel transitions. The layering of individual effects and sounds is also more impressive through the Dorado.

Once again, I enjoy both quite a bit but the Dorado 2020 gets the nod from me for a couple reasons. I prefer it's smoother, less fatiguing sound but more importantly, the vastly improved fit and comfort. I can use the Dorado for fairly long periods without having to reseat them or fiddle with the fit. It is very easy to slot it into an ideal listening position. The Atlas, on the other hand, requires regular adjustments and ideal tips for me to get a decently reliable fit. I also have to wear it cable up to aid with the weight. Lastly, with the wrong tips drive flex can mute the sound output, though this has improved considerably with use and isn't nearly as much of an issue now as it was when I first reviewed it.

IMGP5922.JPGIMGP6041.JPGIMGP6044.JPG

In The Ear The Dorado 2020 is styled the same as the Vega 2020 with a ceramic shell, though the stainless steel nozzle has been swapped out for a machined brass unit. Ceramic is an excellent material to use for this purpose as it helps control unwanted vibrations, and unlike steel or aluminum, is highly resistant to scratching and blemishes. Don't think these will be delicate either. The Dorado's shells go through the same rigorous sintering process as their Vega sibling, where the material is heated to 600 degrees for two days, and then for another three days at 1,200 degrees. This fuses the ceramic powders into a very dense shell with limited porosity. Once this is complete, they are polished for three days in a tumbler with small alumina stones and water. This results in their gleaming, high gloss finish. Along with the premium shell material, the Dorado utilizes Campfire's uber-reliable Beryllium Copper MMCX ports. The original Polaris I reviewed back in 2017 uses a less refined version of this same technology. Despite removing and plugging cables in dozens of times, the connection still feels just as good now as it did four years ago. I am pretty confident the Dorado will be exceptionally durable and will last a long, long time.

If the cable looks familiar I'm not surprised as it can be found included with a number of different Campfire Audio models. 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 still stiffer than I find ideal. That said, I still have yet to experience any issues with it on the numerous cables I've used with it. 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 earlier Campfire cables and as a result is much more useful. Also useful are the preformed ear guides that seem to now be the standard on Campfire's cables. While the memory wire used on earlier cables worked, I found the “memory” aspect of that title limited at best which led to the wire straightening out over time. Ditching it entirely and sticking 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. I am glad Campfire Audio has stuck with this cable and is using it with numerous models in their lineup. That said, since the Dorado 2020 bridges a 1,000 USD price tag, the beefier cable from the Solaris 2020 would have been a welcome inclusion instead.

When it comes to fitment the smooth, well-rounded Dorado 2020 should highlight the term 'universal' better than Campfire's larger, more angular housings. Even though it is quite small, the Dorado is fairly heavy. It has a long, brass nozzle which combined with the low-profile, over-ear design helps spread that weight evenly through the outer ear. As a result, it's a really comfortable earphone to wear for long periods. The long nozzle isn't ideal for me personally as I can't insert them deeply enough to make use of the design, but I know I'm in the minority when it comes to stuff like this. I suspect this shape and design will be a big win for the majority of users.

In addition to fitting well, the Dorado has pretty impressive passive isolation. The single vent to the rear of the housing doesn't let in much noise, nor does much bleed through the dense ceramic shells. I'm sure the nozzle-mounted armature also helps block its fair share of noise. I have had no issues using these in loud areas with no need to increase the volume to counter the surrounding activities. Tossing Campfire's included Mushroom foams tips and the isolation shames most other vented, hybrid iems.

IMGP5892.JPGIMGP5895.JPGIMGP5914.JPG

In The Box The Dorado 2020 continues on with the same outstanding unboxing experience introduced with their 2019 models. The front of the exterior sheath has a geometric theme going on with a number of circles, rectangles, and a grid laying the backdrop for a high quality image of the Dorado's reflective black shells. On the back a lovely foil sticker holds things together. Removing the sticker allows you to unfurl the sheath like a blossoming flower revealing another box within, one that is printed with the more traditional evening scene that has adorned their packaging in the past. Lifting the lid you're greeted with “Nicely Done” printed on the front flap. Inside, the pale orange moon-shaped case immediately draws your attention, while a smaller, elongated box containing most of the accessories fills in the remaining space. In all you get:
  • Campfire Audio Dorado 2020 earphones
  • ‘Diver Orange' upcycled marine plastic case
  • Smoky Jacket Silver Plated Copper Litz Cable
  • Final Audio tips (xs/s/m/l/xl)
  • Campfire Audio Marshmallow tips (s/m/l)
  • Wide bore single flange silicone tips (s/m/l)
  • Campfire Audio lapel pin
  • Cleaning tool
  • Mesh accessory case (x3)
This is an unboxing experience befitting the premium products Campfire is known for. You feel like you're getting some special, a feeling helped along by the wealth of useful extras, like a compact, usable carrying case and various tips of different styles which helps avoid the need to turn to a third party. I also appreciate the Campfire has kept their unboxings relatively straightforward, avoiding the temptation to micro-package every individual element. Yet another big plus is that they've kept their materials recyclable so as to limit waste. This goes double for the new case which drops the sustainably sourced cork material for upcycled marine plastics. Sure, it doesn't feel quite as premium as cork, or the leather used in the past, but it doesn't feel cheap and it'll be plenty durable all while helping the environment. I don't really see any downsides.

Final Thoughts The Dorado 2020 fits well into Campfire Audio's high end lineup. The Ara is their analytic masterpiece, the Andromeda 2020 an all-round workhorse with an addictive sound stage, and the Solaris 2020 a mix of the two but with the impactful bass of a dynamic driver. The Dorado 2020 fills in the remaining gap as the v-shaped entertainer that just so happens to be technically quite good, though admittedly its average sound stage isn't anything to brag about. The addition of the Dorado 2020 ensures that Campfire Audio offers something for pretty much anyone wanting to step up into the world of top-of-the-line (TOTL) earphones, and/or those wanting to move up from the Polaris II while sticking within the Campfire family.

For genres of music that typically rely heavily on a strong bassline to carry the beat, like EDM, hip hop, and pop, the Dorado 2020 is a fantastic fit. It has a musical, bold sound that can match the energy of the tunes you're listening to. On top of sounding good, you get premium materials that feel every bit the part of a TOTL earphone, solid comfort, excellent passive isolation, and a flushed out accessory kit that includes everything most buyers will need. As is common for the brand, you get a complete package out of the gate without the need to spend even more replacing useless or low quality add-ins.

Overall I find the Dorado 2020 to be a very entertaining earphone and well worth checking out if you're in the market for something with thundering bass and scintillating treble.

Thanks for reading!

- B9

Disclaimer A huge thanks to Caleb at Campfire Audio for reaching out to see if I would be interested in covering the Dorado, and for arranging a sample for review. The thoughts within this review are my subjective opinions and do not represent Campfire Audio or any other entity. At the time of writing the Dorado 2020 retailed for 1,099.00 USD: https://campfireaudio.com/shop/dorado-2020/

Specifications
  • Frequency Response: 5Hz – 22kHz
  • Sensitivity: 94dB SPL @ 1kHz 18.52 mVrs
  • Impedance: 10ohms @ 1kHz
Gear Used For Testing LG Q70, Earstudio HUD100, Earmen TR-Amp, Asus FX53V, TEAC HA-501

Some Test Tunes

Supertramp – Crime of the Century
Slipknot – Vol 3 (The Subliminal Verses)
Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid
King Crimson – Lark's Tongues in Aspic
King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black
Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma
The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy
Steely Dan – The Royal Scam
Porcupine Tree – Stupid Dreams
E
Echoic
These look amazing. Thanks for the review.

Rockwell75

Headphoneus Supremus
Fire on the Mountain - A Review of the Campfire Audio Dorado 2020
Pros: + Immediately engaging, fun, natural sound
+ Dominant, dense, disciplined bass
+ Organic, textured, open midrange with great separation
+ Detailed, lush, etched yet non-fatiguing highs
+ Versatile-- works wonders on many lesser recordings
+ Reasonably priced
+ In terms of raw fun factor probably the best IEMs I've ever heard
Cons: - As with all W or V shaped tunings some elements of the mids will be pushed behind the bass-- but again this is more of a tuning choice than a flaw.
- I wish they used the white for these ones
- Drawing blanks...
“Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.“ ~ Chopin

Fire on the Mountain - A Review of the Campfire Audio Dorado 2020

IMG_3771.jpg


Instead of sharing manufacturer specs, talking about packaging etc., all of which is information available in any other review (and, for that matter, on the website) I will post some opening caveats/points that will give anyone who reads this a sense of where I’m coming from:

  • My thoughts and rankings are essentially a measure of respective IEM's capacity to pull me in and make me forget the outside world for a while. This can be accomplished via various means-- through sheer intimacy & connection in the case of Elysium, epic awe inspiring grandeur mixed with playfulness and realism in the case of the IER Z1R, and a combination of precision, style, naturalness and simplicity married to a playful yet raw and primitive bombasity in the case of something like the Dorado 2020 (and limitless other ways no doubt)-- but the net result is the same.

  • IEMs should be assessed on their own terms and according to their own strengths and aims. I will not criticize an eagle for being unable to swim, and I will not criticize the Dorado 2020 for not trying to be the Andromeda. When reading reviews I am less interested in the routine of "bass, treble, technicalities" and am more interested specifically in the IEM's own unique identity, how well its executed, and how it is experienced by whoever is doing the review.

  • My guiding maxim in this hobby is that everyone should be free to pursue their "audio bliss" in whatever way is meaningful to them without being judged or held to the artificial and/or limited standards of others. There are certainly objective and subjective elements to this hobby, but it is the subjective elements that determine for us, via our own individual tastes, inclinations, experiences, preferences, biases, sensitivities, life situations etc., what individual path we are to follow to call forth that feeling of joy, bliss, satisfaction from within that is, I think, the root of what many of us are seeking. What works for you may, or may not, work for me.

  • My own investigations have revealed that improved technical performance doesn't necessarily translate to a more satisfying and enjoyable listening experience for me. Consequently when I read people's reviews and hear them gush over some manner of analytic perfection of this piece of gear or that-- if I can't also detect in their writing some sense of their being moved emotionally by the experience of the gear then I tend to dismiss it in my mind (or at least relegate it to a lower tier of interest) and move on as emotional engagement is for me the top priority.

It’s worth pointing out (if this wasn’t obvious) that I’m something of a huge CFA fanboy. Campfire were one of the first companies I encountered in this most recent chapter of my audiophile life, and they’ve been something of a mainstay for me throughout the last couple years. I love Campfire and have no problem admitting that they are among my favourite audio brands. I love their whole design philosophy, aesthetic and sustainable business model. I like Ken Ball a lot-- he's one of those old hippy types whose outlook and vibe seem informed by a time and place when the idealistic wind of the 60s still at people's backs. I'm very excited to see how this company and brand move forward in the coming months and years.

Campfire IEMs are not primarily known for their raw technical prowess but what they do better than most other companies is go for that balanced, more holistic "je ne sais quoi" factor that lends their best products a certain quality of fun, engagement and, ultimately, humanity that-- combined with their appealing sustainable asesthetic and peerless build quality-- makes them quite irresistible to me. Campfire, along with Vision Ears (and I would say Empire Ears too) get my respect for taking chances with bold tuning approaches, for thinking outside the box and daring to try new things. I am not affiliated with the company in any way. I purchased the Dorado 2020 on my own over a week ago and am interested in sharing my thoughts on this simple yet remarkable IEM.

All of that said on to the review…

0B33D5FC-D9EA-45EF-BCB8-ECF28B904C47.JPEG

Preamble: A few years ago the Atlas was my first Campfire IEM. I really liked it at the time but eventually moved on to the Solaris, which was my reference for the better part of two years. The Atlas was a lot of fun but (for me) was a bit bloomy in the mid-bass and I found the treble a bit peaky/metallic at times. In the time since I’ve gravitated to more balanced/mid-centric IEMs but I can appreciate a good W sig and have craved a worthy follow-up to the Atlas. The Solaris wasn’t it as that was more a refinement of the Andromeda. This is where the Dorado enters in. Ultimately what I was after was a fun-bombastic sound with good mids and a decent bass emphasis that was decently technical. I was not looking for another Andromeda or Solaris with the Dorado 2020. I realize that any signature attempting the sort of sound I was seeking here needs to make concessions—typically due to a sacrifice in raw technicalities or a dip in the mids somewhere. I will not be criticizing the Dorado for this—instead I will focus the effectiveness of how the signature presents as a unity.

1A361549-C5E7-4526-B7FE-66883D06252A.JPEG

General Observations

To put bluntly (and mildly)-- I really really like them. I’ve loved various IEMs for various reasons over the years but I don’t think I’ve ever heard any that have made me smile as much and as easily as the Dorado 2020 has. They are exactly what I was hoping they would be-- and much that I wasn't really sure was possible. Anyone who: was at all a fan of the Atlas and was hoping for an upgrade/refinement of that sort of sound from Campfire, who doesn’t mind a polite but definite bass emphasis, who is seeking an IEM that prioritizes fun and engagement above all, and who places a high priority on natural and open mids-- should take a serious look at these. Between the cleaner mid-bass, refined highs, and greatly improved technicalities within a signature that is deceptively simple yet supremely confident in itself I feel they’ve delivered a perfected Atlas and captured lightning in a bottle with these IEMs.

Suffice to say I don’t think Campfire tuned these to bring out all the detail and nuance in someone’s perfectly recorded jazz collection, with an aim of neutrality. or to be mind-blowingly technical or detail oriented. They have a good degree of balance but that is not their primary aim, nor are they trying to be technical virtuosos or detail/resolution/staging monsters-- even though from a technical standpoint they are, in fact, very very good. There is an effortless quality to the Dorado's technical ability. It doesn't jump out at you right away-- rather it emerges as the inevitable result of numerous factors working together in perfect harmony. There is no fanfare or pyrotechnics or overeagerness-- the Dorado has such a natural sound that its power is deceptive, at first seeming merely playful. But there is a depth, precision and power below the surface.

The Dorado 2020 are incredibly versatile—I have not found anything that sounds bad on them. I can listen to a very varied playlist all day without feeling the need to skip or coming across music that sounds off. This is a W shaped tuning so there are inevitably areas where some elements of the mids feel pushed behind the bass. In areas where more vocal or instrumental presence is needed a slight bump at 4K should do the trick. I will say though that Dorado 2020 excel with (often less well recorded) pop and rock music that the bulk of us grew up with during the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, an on into the present really-- specifically anything defined to some extent by a driving low end. Exile on Main Street, James Brown, CCR, recordings from the 60s, Metallica, Fleetwood Mac, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, Dire Straits and so on, sound incredible on these. All in all a very dynamic and "in your face" sound that I’m currently finding rather insanely fun to listen to—not since the Atlas have I experienced an IEM that was this much fun.

A Note on Packaging

I love Campfire’s packaging— the art direction, the minimalism, the design. In a world were packaging can be quite ostentatious and overboard Campfire’s is a breath of fresh air. Alone of all the gear I’ve purchased, my Campfire IEM boxes always go on display in my living room as I love the way they look.

164340170_10165236831655654_5586698225509175430_o.jpg


Sound Impressions

The sound of the Dorado 2020 can be characterized by: 1) dominant but disciplined bass, 2) open mids and an endearing natural timbre, 3) a notable authority and clarity across the spectrum that becomes more and more apparent with time. The layering and separation on the Dorado 2020 is surprisingly great-- nothing gets muddied up in busy passages. The bass is clean, present, tight and just disciplined enough. In terms of staging they’re like a more intimate Solaris with its sign reversed—less width but decent depth. The midrange is very present, though there is a bit of a recession in the upper half of the mids relative to the bass-- but the profound discipline of the whole FR combined with the natural timbre greatly negates any issues one may have with this. It's worth emphasizing again that there are some occasions where parts of the mids can feel pushed behind the bass-- but this is unavoidable with this type of sound. The Dorado 2020 is an IEM for someone who wants a dominant low end. Highs are clear, sweet and detailed-- never harsh, tizzy, metallic or piercing.

From a purely technical standpoint (clarity, resolution, separation etc.) there are clearly superior IEMs out there than the Dorado if what you are mainly after is to put your music under some kind of analytic microscope. Where the Dorado knocks it out of the park is with its natural timbre and voicing-- vocals, strings, horns, percussion-- all have a depth, density, realism and, fundamentally, a deceptive naturalism that, to my ears is, utterly compelling. The Dorado hooks me in with what is ultimately a sense of playfulness-- I just want to tap my feet, bop my head, sing, dance, express myself in some way when I listen to these. Putting them on is a passport to a musical Disneyland.

In terms of timbre and naturalness in the midrange I would say it trails behind something like the Vision Ears Elysium (though not as much as you might think) but surpasses other hybrid IEMs like the IER Z1R, Solaris OG, 64 Nio and UM MEST. The naturalness of Dorado’s mids make the sound easier to embrace emotionally than is the case with IEMs that are more technically focused. Yes the mids are a bit pushed back at times, but they never feel disconnected, distant or muddied. The bass grips and captivates and it has that Campfire speed and density that keeps it from overwhelming me or craving air after a time as I do with something like the Legend X.

I think the Dorado's capacity for realism and engagement has one of its roots in the fact that the mids are done by the DD (the other significant factor imho is the ceramic shell). Most hybrid IEMs in my experience (Z1R, Nio, Solaris, MEST, LX etc. etc.) have mids done by the BA. BAs are better from a "technical" standpoint (clarity, detail, speed) but I have learned that DD is much much better from an emotional engagement standpoint (timbre, naturalness). BA mids are easier to place under a technical microscope, but DD mids are generally much more "lifelike". The Vision Ears Elysium has DD mids and there also is the source of a good deal of its magic. I was curious about the Dorado as soon as it was announced but once I experienced Elysium, and the magic of the fast e-stat treble working on the DD mids I became extra curious about Dorado and its fast BA treble working on Dynamic mids. It is said that the great Pyramids of Egypt used to have an outer layer and shimmering capstone of gold...this must have been a thing to behold. This effect, the shimmering flourish atop a mountain of solidity and power...is similar in character to what I experience in IEMs with quick and clear highs over a dynamic lower end (Ely, Dorado and, for that matter, the IER Z1R). The summative effect is magical.

The only real elephant in the room with respect to tuning is an upper midrange dip created largely by the elevated bass. This region is seemingly one of the most controversial and hard-to-get-right areas of the whole FR for many people. Too much in this area to some sounds shouty to some, too little makes the sound muddy to others. It seems to me most IEMs tend to be biased more towards the upper mids or lower. The IER Z1R is an example of a great IEM with an upper mid bias and weaker lower mids. With the Dorado 2020 we see the reverse-- a lower mid bias with a dip in the upper mids. What this means is that sometimes female vocals or instrumental sounds in this range sometimes sound a bit pushed back or lacking in closeness. Depending on what you listen to and what your sensitivities are this may or may not be an issue-- YMMV etc. Dorado's ace in the hole is its rich natural timbre combined with the sure footed sound made possible by the ceramic housings (more on that later). The combined result is that even when the mids are pushed back they still feel well bodied and have a solid presence.

Dynamics are great— on both highs and lows. CFA's 10mm driver produces bass that is every bit as satisfying as bass titans like the IER Z1R and UM MEST and a step above an IEM like the 64 Audi Nio. The Z1R's more woobly decay gives way for the sake of incredible density and grip put out by Campfire’s driver. Dorado 2020 won’t give you all the air and separation of Andro...but it does go some way there. The highs of the Dorado are really nice. The quicker BA treble working on the dynamic mids and lows balances out the thickness of the latter with a welcome dose of air and space. The net result is a pleasing balance and sense of naturalness.-- guitars, horns, strings and percussion sound natural, bodied, airy and real. Treble and upper mids have a nice etched-ness to them but they never feel harsh or fatiguing and never cross over into sibilance or graininess and there is no sign whatsoever of a metallic timbre. I was worried going in about the 8K treble peak but I think, much like the Dude's rug, it sort of ties everything together. Sheer detail and resolution get sacrificed a bit on the altar of the thicker bass...but that’s honestly inevitable with this type of signature and sometimes just what the Dr. ordered for me. If I had to place the Dorado 2020 in the general pantheon IEMs I would describe it as "fun perfected". In this respect nobody tops CFA at this price tier imho, maybe anywhere. Nicely Done.

171615391_10165306763320654_7071746764585321128_n.jpg

Ceramic Shell

After my days and hours on the Dorado 2020 really started to add up (and also having owned the ceramic-tuning-chamber-laden SE Solaris for a year) I started to appreciate the value of the ceramic shells Ken has been advocating and trying to perfect for years. The Dorado doesn't wow you with techicalities at first, and it's technical skill probably won't become apparent during a short or superficial listening session. But the more I listen to them, the more my brain wraps itself around the signature I realize how strikingly and deceptively good the detail retrieval, clarity, layering, separation is on them. There is an almost fathomless clarity to the sound-- no matter where or how deep you look you will not find any smearing, over-vibrance, graininess, harshness, metallic timber or things blending together that shouldn't. Everything has its own sense of space and nothing really gets too much in the way of everything else. The clincher is that it does all this with a robust and authoritative bass response that acts as a gravitational centre to a signature that still has quite a bit of air, and where everything has its own space to breathe.

I am starting to suspect that a good deal of this has to do with the density of the ceramic shell that is used in the Dorado. Because of its hardness it doesn't allow for any interference or muddling with the sound-- all the frequencies just sort of stay in there respective lanes and the whole signature has this notable coherence, clarity and, to use @Tristy 's phrase "sure footedness". There was a bit of this quality in the lower vocal mid-range of the Solaris SE but with the Dorado 2020 it's across the board. It's quite remarkable and it might be what gives this IEM its true staying power for me. I really look forward to seeing how Campfire uses this tech in future IEMs. Could there be a future Solaris with more ceramic inside? I'm starting to hope so. Again, nicely done.

QTAJ5021.JPEG

Point form Comparison with Solaris

TLDR: Solaris is more of a classical "wife material" tuning, Dorado 2020 will quickly win your heart, but you may wait a bit longer/be more reluctant to introduce her to your parents at first.

Dorado
+ more v-shaped than Solaris- though like the Atlas the Dorado 2020 is more W shaped than V
+ adds more body and weight to older/poorly recorded music than Solaris does
+ more traditionally staged (everything feels like it's coming at you whereas with Solaris it's almost wrapped around your head), and also a lot more intimate
+ sacrifices a bit of the vastness in staging/air/separation/detail for the sake of a more robust bass response
+ generally a much more "fun sounding" IEM, meaning it's not afraid to sacrifice a bit of detail/resolution/technicality for the sake of a thicker more bass driven sound.
+ better bass-- they let their 10mm driver off the hook a bit (and I love it), but just as well controlled (relative to quantity)
+ great mid-range timbre-- I would say it one ups Solaris here even if Solaris' mids are more present. The mid-range texture/naturalness is really really good on the Dorado-- along with the clarity and openness of the mids (W is much more to my liking than V) as well as superb imaging and separation the Dorado 2020 is imho saved from the clutches of many common criticisms of IEMs tuned like this.

Solaris
+ almost perfect balance across the FR
+ bass is reigned in/disciplined for the sake of preserving balance resulting in a cleaner more BA-like speed and sound overall
+ holographic stage, layering, seperation etc. better than on Dorado (though not as much as you might think-- Solaris is nearly peerless in this regard, especially at its price)
+ more present mids, especially on the SE, even if not quite as natural sounding as on Dorado
+ more resolving/detail oriented
+ handles super well recorded music a little better I would say
+ possibly a little more versatile than Dorado, but not as fun
+ Treble on the OG is a little better (though possibly not on the SE)

Other Comparisons

D134BC21-9098-4210-9861-BD30906FB16B.JPEG

Vs. Elysium

It’s honestly hard to compare these two as they’re so fundamentally different in their tuning and ideals.

Listening to music on the Elysium is almost a transcendent experience-- with Dorado it's totally the opposite, instead of becoming totally absorbed within you just want to move, to bop your head, tap your feet, sing, dance, whatever the moment calls for. Elysium is masterful at subtlety and nuance and facilitating a real sense of intimacy. Listening to Miles Davis' Kind of Blue I can hear the "tsss" sound as he starts to blow on his trumpet, or in Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy I can almost make out the sound of John Paul Jones' fingers on his bass strings as he plucks them. It's really quite a profound effect and feeling overall and imho is what places Elysium in a class above much else I have heard when it comes to basically immersing yourself in your music.

The Dorado is more emotional in the sense that the sound is a big, bold, impactful, wall of sound presentation that really gets your head bobbing and feet tapping. Although there is plenty of detail if you look for it, the Dorados not about being perfectly accurate or calling attention to every little detail.

Instead there is a stark simplicity to Dorado's whole presentation-- but everything fits together so perfectly that it's profoundly effective. When I first got into this hobby as an adult (2 years ago) I gravitated immediately to the sort of sound I'd been seeking my whole life (bass heavy, sparkly, impactful) and went right for the Atlas. That wasn't as perfect as I'd hoped and I branched off, experienced the Solaris, and fell in love with the more mature, technical and balanced presentation. That byway reached its penultimate conclusion for me with Elysium, which is the epitome of my "audiophile purist" sensibilities. But when I heard the Dorado 2020 a few days ago it wasn't long before I realized that I was hearing, finally, a masterclass presentation of the sort of sound I'd been looking for originally. I will not rank one over the other as they both give me a similar amount and degree of satisfaction-- just at different times. Sometimes I want to watch the Shawshank Redemption and be moved to the core of my being, other times I want to watch Pulp Fiction and just have fun...both are masterpieces of their respective genres. So it is with Elysium and Dorado 2020 imho.

040A4A7E-D9B3-4437-9286-ED631A9CCB06.JPEG

Vs IER Z1R

This is possibly the most interesting comparison I will do today as of all the IEMs I can think of the Z1R is the closest to the Dorado in terms of overall gestalt, despite quite different approaches. In some sense the Dorado is a scaled down, streamlined Z1R with a more "western" audio tuning. The Z1R offers a much grander, larger sound. In a sense the Z1R is an IEM that takes much of the fun factor of the Dorado 2020 and adds a hefty dose of staging and technicalities. In a sense the Z1R is the inverse of the Dorado as it has an upper mid-emphasis, whereas Dorado is more prominent in the lower mids. Z1R has a sub-bass emphasis with mid-bass punch and oomph being absent sometimes, Dorado has a bass emphasis a little further up with more mid-bass prominence and not as much subterranean sub-bass as the Z1R offers. Both have a very nice natural timbre, though the mid-range timbre of the Dorado is superior. Both IEMs are insanely fun to listen to but the FR of the Dorado 2020 plays nicer with more of the music I listen to. The Z1R has more grandeur, but Dorado has the kind of effortless natural sound rooted its aesthetic of simplicity. I had always thought the Z1R would have been better if they dropped the BA, let the DD to the mids and lows and the super tweeter do the highs—listening to the Dorado has cinched that thought for me.

While it is quite versatile and Sony did a laudable job at a pretty safe presentation, on the whole they are-- quite understandably-- skewed in the eastern direction in terms of their tuning. This is clearly seen in the tuning of the bass, lower mids, upper treble etc. on the IER Z1R. I don't think it's a flaw-- but it is a tuning choice. I really started to notice it after I compared the Dorado 2020 and Z1R directly. They are both great IEMs, they're both really fun to listen to, and they're both in my top 5 but ultimately the FR of the Dorado is significantly more in line with my preferences and the demands of a lot of the music I listen to.

12CE0657-D247-4639-ABFE-3A18C4D0C17C.JPEG

Vs. UM MEST

If bass, treble, staging, technicalities etc. are your priorities then the MEST may be the IEM for you. There is a lot of overlap between the Dorado 2020 and the MEST. The MEST has superior technicalities (like insane technicalities—I have never experienced in an IEM a stage like the MEST offers…I think my bones like being conducted), more detailed treble etc. Where the Dorado wipes the floor with MEST is in mid-range texture, timbre, naturalness, presence etc. Since these latter are what I’m really after lately it’s an easy victory for the Dorado here…but YMMV.

Vs. UM MEST MKii

The MEST MKii a very nicely balanced and engaging IEM. Compared to my memories of the OG MEST I miss the oomph and impact of the bass, but the mids are more forward and natural sounding. It doesn't have the almost surreal wow factor that I remember the staging on the original having that left me feeling almost that I was inhabiting another dimension when I was listening to them. Upper mids seem just a hair breadth too energetic for me...though possibly no different than OG. On the whole I would say the MKii is a refined and ultimately more polite take on the original...more mature and natural but not as much spectacle or fun. Compared to the Dorado the mid-range of the MEST MKii it lacks the the density, sure-footedness and rich natural timbre that I've come to love about the Dorado (and the Solaris to a lesser extent before it). The bass on the MKii, again, isn't nearly as satisfying as the bass on the OG MEST and considerably less so than something like the Dorado 2020 or IER Z1R.

Vs. 64 Audio Nio

Not much to say here really. The Nio is in some ways the Dorado’s more polite, mature and technically accomplished (and a lot less fun) older brother. There is a definite emphasis on technicalities, the bass is more polite (but still present) and the treble is a lot smoother. In addition you get more presence in the midrange (but inferior timbre) and a lot better layering and separation. I’m generally not a fan of 64 Audio IEMs as I find their house sound to be too thin for my tastes and their IEMs are often technical to the point of lacking enough emotional engagement to keep me interested. The Nio is the first IEM I’ve tried of theirs that bucks that trend a wee bit, though for my own needs right now it trails considerably behind the Dorado 2020 in terms of raw engagement and enjoyability. If you want an IEM that’s technically accomplished, reasonably bassy with layered and detailed mids and that is basically fatigue free then the Nio may be a great choice.

560C2F33-58A3-4D76-B474-774C507BA3A3.JPEG

A/B/C single track comparison with Elysium, Nio and Dorado and Zep's Whole Lotta Love

I took some time to compare the Elysium, Dorado and Nio in depth with Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love

Elysium—Bang on the money. Everything is perfectly balanced and the texture & timbre is off the charts. Vocals are right in the middle, crystal clear, well bodied and seductive. Guitars have crunch, bite and body with zero veil behind the bass. Bass is thumping, detailed, crunchy, impactful.

Dorado 2020-- Vocals and guitars are pushed behind the bass. It does seem like a dash of the FR is pushed completely behind the bass. Vocals are present, have great texture, despite being pushed a bit in the background. Guitars have great texture and body but lack crunch and bite-- a touch of info here and there does seem nearly totally eclipsed by the bass at times. Bass texture, timbre, impact, is off the charts good.

Nio-- This one was interesting. The Nio has more of the forwardness, detail and clarity of the Elysium, but it lacks the body, texture and natural timbre of the Dorado. Guitars have crunch and bite but they lack body and texture-- at times the sound of the Nio sounds like a 2-d image atop a 3-d surface of bass.

Conclusion-- the Elysium is the closest thing to a total package IEM for me right now and this comparison illustrated precisely why. The most remarkable thing about it is that I never find myself missing the DD on the low end when I'm listening to them. Between the Dorado and Nio it's a "choose your poison" kind of situation. For those who prefer detail and clarity over naturalness and timbre then the Nio may be the way to go.

As I've indicated, it's the bass response combined with the natural timbre of the mid-range that has won the day for me here with the Dorado. When seeking an IEM that has a forward and dominant bass response I went into it knowing there'd be a sacrifice in the mids somewhere. Thus, when listening to the Dorado I take it as almost axiomatic that there will be times when I hear part of the midrange lose some of its dynamics by being pushed behind the bass a bit. Regarding the bit that seems to be completely behind the bass the bright side of this situation is that it’s not a super wide range of the FR that is missing information. As I noted in my full review of the Dorado, a slight bump to 4K on EQ should open up the most recessed area of the lower treble enough reasonably mitigate the issue and remove any sense that anything is "missing". I have been using the Dorados for the last day or so with +2db @4k EQ applied and it seems to be doing the trick rather well. FR can be EQ'd in but no amount of EQ can produce the seductive rich natural timbre of the Dorado 2020.

A6246147-C596-4858-8101-C85F83145AAA.JPEG



Wrapup

In summary-- I can't get enough of the Dorado 2020. They may not be the most sophisticated or complicated (indeed that's part of the charm) but CFA here has taken a really basic tuning and refined to absolute perfection. I've followed Campfire’s releases in this vein as long as I've known about the company and while they’ve all been commendable some way, they all had a few issues here and there--in some cases minor deal breakers, or they were special teams IEMs that had a range of stuff they sounded good with. With Dorado they've come across a goldilocks presentation that gives you modestly basshead level bass (I don't consider IER Z1R, Solaris or even MEST to be basshead IEMs) with a supremely textured and natural midrange that feels open, inviting and veil-free and a sweet natural treble that is sharp but never unpleasant, sibilant or fatiguing. Couple all that with an instantly accessible, insanely engaging versatile tuning I have a feeling these could eventually overtake, or at least equal the Andromeda as CFA's most storied release. They are that good in my opinion.

In a video review on Youtube by Audiolevels he remarks that the Dorado 2020 is an earphone that allows you to just sit back and enjoy your music like you did when you were younger—this is absolutely true and I think is part of their deceptively simple yet remarkable appeal. So ultimately who are they for? The Dorado 2020 are not the best IEM for someone who wants to place their music under a microscope, or marvel in its analytic perfection. But for someone who just wants to listen to music for the sheer joy and love of it, with no pretense or other agenda-- the Dorado 2020 is a solid rec. I don't know how else to say it, and the cliché will have to be forgiven-- but these IEMs make me feel like a kid again. It's a totally different sort of engagement than with something like the Elysium, but it's ultimately no less satisfying. Elysium is a romantic trip to Florence Italy with someone you love, Dorado is a day at Disneyland with that same person-- variety, after all, is the spice of life.

At the moment the Dorado 2020 is my favorite Campfire IEM. I love that Campfire plays around with different tuning ideals. I have always been a fan of their more fun and bassy excursions and with the Dorado 2020 I feel they've finally reached a laudable level of perfection with that sort of tuning in that they're allowing me to totally rock out and not feel like I'm missing anything substantial in terms of staging or details. I've had these in my ears for days straight and they have not hit a false note for me yet-- in fact I can barely wipe the smile off my face most of the time.

10508FFC-0741-4D54-ADCD-501D428110D4.JPEG

When the MEST MKii was released its marketing literature noted that it had been tuned with "western audiophiles in mind". This was the first time I'd heard this phenomenon openly referred to in association with an official release and quite frankly I think is a great development and something that's not acknowledged enough directly. Ultimately what it comes down to I think is that much "western music" (rock, blues, rythm & blues, funk, soul, pop, r&b, hip hop) has its DNA in the mid-bass/lower mids region. Conversely a lot of "eastern music"(Jpop, Kpop etc.) has its DNA in the lower treble/upper mid region. Unless the tuning aim is total and complete referency balanced neutrality (which is not what I'm after at all personally) IEM tuning in my experience tends to be colored more in one direction than the other. "Western tuning" as a rule tends to emphasize mid-bass over sub-bass and lower mids over upper. Eastern or "Chifi" tuning as it's sometimes colloquially referred to tends to emphasize sub-bass presence over mid-bass presence and upper mids over lower. Music tuned in the western direction can sound flat, veiled, lifeless and muddled to someone who prefers or listens to music which benefits from an eastern tuning, and music tuned in the eastern direction can sound shouty, thin and weird to someone who prefers or listens to music which benefits from a western tuning. IMHO the Dorado 2020 is, in essence, an IEM tuned almost exclusively in the "western" direction. I totally understand why someone after neutrality or a more "eastern" tuning won't be in to the Dorado 2020, but for someone into the sort of sound the Dorado is putting down they are, to quote Chandler Bing, near perfection to my ears-- something still becoming more and more apparent to me even after listening to them pretty much exclusively for over 3 weeks now.

To close, I am aware that this IEM has received some mixed reviews. It’s tempting to be troubled by these sorts of contradictions-- but then I remember that we’re all only human. Once upon a time Rolling Stone Magazine trashed all Zeppelin’s early albums upon initial release. Those classics eventually got the credit they deserve but this story goes to show that even good sources of information are capable of being totally wrong, or so caught up in their own meme that they don’t recognize greatness when they see it. As is often said in this hobby let it be said again: trust your own ears above all.

2485A46D-BA26-437D-87B0-3C7142BD5F1C.JPEG

Attachments

  • IMG_3675.jpg
    IMG_3675.jpg
    3.1 MB · Views: 0
  • 44E8B9F4-F4A9-40B8-A853-5251265C4550.JPEG
    44E8B9F4-F4A9-40B8-A853-5251265C4550.JPEG
    1.4 MB · Views: 0
Last edited:
Rockwell75
Rockwell75
@Daniel Lodewyk thanks man! Fun is the name of the game with these IEMs. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on them.
ehjie
ehjie
Refreshing! Excellent review...
DanielListening
DanielListening
you have the Shanling M3X ?!

How does it sound with the Dorado 2020? Is there enough driving power? What percentage of the volume do you use? How much of a downgrade from the M8?

I was thinking of buying the M3X. It’s definitely priced well.

I guess if I have a pair of $1,600 IEMs I should have a $1,600 player too!

rev92

Reviewer at Ear Fidelity
Campfire Audio Dorado 2020
Pros: Great packaging
Perfect build quality
Stunning design
Cable
Comfort
FUN FUN FUN
Bass slam
Great detail retrieval
Staging
Made in USA
Cons: Might be too bass-heavy for some
Not as technically capable as the Andromeda
Campfire Audio Dorado 2020
p8430163c.jpg


Dorado 2020 is a new revision of Campfire Audio first hybrid IEM – Dorado.
It is equipped with a 10mm dynamic driver and one armature with no cross-over. It is priced at 1099$.


Sound quality for the price
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐

Rating: 9.5 out of 10.

Build quality
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐

Rating: 10 out of 10.

Value
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐

Rating: 9.5 out of 10.

Packaging



It’s simply impossible not to love this guy’s graphic designs of any product they release.
Campfire Audio products have almost been the most fun to unbox. The box doesn’t scream luxury but it’s colourful, flawlessly designed and just well-thought.

The box contains a lot of accessories – a carrying case, eleven pairs of eartips, a cleaning tool, Campfire Audio pin, manual, warranty card and three soft pouches, which are great to keep your new IEMs safe from scratches.



Carrying case



The carrying case of the new Dorado 2020 and Vega 2020 is quite different from what they’ve used in the past. The overall shape is the same as the rest of the current lineup, but this time Campfire Audio decided to use an upcycled marine plastic in salmon color. Sure, it’s not as nice looking and feeling case as their older leather ones but it’s been changed due to ecology. The case is made of raw materials from ocean cleanup, which is a great move from CFA.

Build quality



Build quality of every single Campfire Audio product I’ve used in the past was simply perfect. Great materials, wonderful, original designs and striking appearance. I’m happy to see that both Dorado 2020 and Vega 2020 are no different, and additionally, these are the most comfortable CFA IEMs that I’ve used.

Dorado 2020 shells are made of ceramic, which is extremely resistant to scratches and looks stunning. That’s not the only reason to use ceramic though, as it is also a very dense material, which pairs great with a big dynamic driver, as it’s less prone to vibrations.

The spout is made of brass with gunmetal finish, and it has been shrinken a bit to provide better comfort and tuning of the IEM.

As usual, the Dorado 2020 is using MMCX connectors, which are just about perfect. They hold the cable very securely providing a pronounced click upon insertion. Campfire has been using the best MMCX connectors in the game and luckily nothing has changed in this regard.

Overall the Dorado 2020 is a strikingly beautiful product built to last.

.

Comfort



Dorado 2020 is the most comfortable Campfire Audio IEM that I’ve used.
They are quite a bit smaller than the Andromeda and Solaris 2020, and the nozzle’s design provides a rather deep and very pleasing fit.
Also, the shells are very smooth to the touch, and the lack of any sharp edges results in a very enjoyable and fatigue-free listening sessions.

The cable is also a joy to use – it’s completely tangle free, lightweight and very elastic. The over-ear hooks are well designed and you’ll barely feel the cable itself while using these babies.

Tech



Dorado 2020 is a hybrid design IEM. It uses a 10mm A.D.L.C driver and a single custom balanced armature.

What is this A.D.L.C magic you’d ask? It stands for Amorphous diamond-like coating. It increases the driver’s musical performance by reducing the driver flex which therefore improves detail retrieval and reduces distortions.

The dynamic driver is responsible for bass and midrange, leaving the treble for that custom balanced armature to do its thing.
Sound



Campfire Audio Dorado 2020 is a lovely performing IEM. Pronounced bass, thick and rich sound from top to bottom.

The bass is the star of the show – big, bold and extremely enjoyable. It is one of the most bassy 1000$+ IEMs I’ve heard and I simply love it.
Regardless of the huge size of the low frequencies, it’s nowhere close to being boomy and simply “too much”. The details, textures and THAT SUBSONIC RUMBLE is truly to die for.
Random Access Memories by Daft Punk really shines on the Dorado in regard of the bass – sounding very dynamic, fun and natural. Switching to the Lime Ears Aether R or Andromeda kills half the fun in it. Details are a bit better on the latter two, but in terms of the fun factor the Dorado 2020 just simply wipes the floor with both mentioned IEMs.
Also, if you’re a fan of more modern stuff like Post Malone, The Weeknd or metal you gotta listen to these babies, it’s just extraordinary with this kind of music.
Comparing it to the new Vega 2020 it is slightly more neutral and less in your face, but it’s not a huge difference. Actually, both new models have a very pronounced, rich and overall fantastic bass response. The biggest difference is the subbass, which is less forward in Vega 2020, so if you’re a fan of that subsonic rumble, i’d choose the Dorado 2020.

The midrange continues a similar approach to the sound, especially in the low and mid sections. Male vocals are thick, big and very natural. I’ve always been a fan of slightly warm, lush and chunky male vocals and I report that the Dorado does it wonderfully.
Nonetheless, what’s very impressive is that even tho the sound continues to be thick and very rich it is by no means bloated or poor in terms of quality. Just as the bass, the midrange is very detailed and the overall resolution is spot on. Compared to the Andromeda it’s not as detailed and open, but yet again it sounds fuller and more powerful.
Vega offers a slightly different approach to the midrange, being a little bit less smooth and more laid-back, which I can actually say about the whole frequency response. Out of the two, Dorado is more neutral but also more energetic and fun sounding, which is quite surprising.
It reminds me a bit of Meze Rai Penta, which also has this punchy, yet sublime sound signature. Nonetheless, Rai Penta is way more laid-back, analogue and warm, while the Dorado is more about dynamics and crispiness.



The treble is crisp, sparkly and well pronounced, offering a fantastic detail retrieval.
It is by no means bright or overly sharp, I would call it neutral with a slight edge. Thanks to that, it complement’s the rest of the sound of the Dorado to be called Fun-neutral. Hi-hats and female vocals sound pretty forward and accurate, but it’s worth noting that due to a slight boost in the treble response the Dorado might sound a bit hot with some music. It is nowhere close to being unpleasant, but don’t expect the Andromeda level of smoothness from just one balanced armature.
Also, the amount of the details is great but slightly worse than the previously mentioned Andromeda or Lime Ears Aether R, which use a couple of drivers for the treble response.

The soundstage is where these beauties shine – it’s quite wide and deep, but the imaging and separation are spot-on. Instruments have a proper mass and size to them, resulting in the staging which is natural and very enjoyable. In comparison to Aether R and Andromeda these stage quite differently – the amount of clarity and air is somehow similar, but Dorado creates bigger instruments and vocals, resulting in more spectacular and true to life staging with studio recordings and slightly worse with live music.

Overall, the Dorado 2020 is a very, very fun and quite neutral sounding IEM.
It is quite unique to have that amount of bass and thick midrange notes while being pretty neutral, but thanks to great resolution and the bass being fantastically controlled Campfire Audio made it happen. I think it is a wonderful addition to their lineup, presenting a classic CFA timbre with even more fun and forwardness.
Summary



Campfire Audio Dorado 2020 is a great IEM for everyone looking for a more fun side of neutral sound. Great set of accessories, perfect build quality and beautiful design will win you over without even listening to them. And when they’ll sing, you’ll be amazed by the amount of fun factor. What’s the most important though – these are not crazy sounding bass monsters, but a very sophisticatedly tuned, fun hi-end pair of IEMs.
Highly recommended.



Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as an accompanying equipment:
  • Headphones – Lime Ears Aether R, Campfire Andromeda, Noble Audio Khan, Cayin YB04, Meze Rai Penta, Campfire Vega 2020
  • Sources– Cayin N3Pro, Cayin N5ii, Fiio M15, Fiio M11, Fiio M11 Pro, ifi iDAC2, Topping A50+P50
Remember to visit us at ear-fidelity.com
Last edited:
S
Spie1904
Thank you, great review! I also assume the dorado may be more comfortable for the smallest ears :)
  • Like
Reactions: rev92
rev92
rev92
Thank you! 🖤

I find both the Dorado and Penta very comfortable, but yea, due to a smaller size Dorado might be better for smaller ears :)
DanielListening
DanielListening
Great review. I really enjoyed my time with the Dorado.
  • Like
Reactions: rev92
Top