Dorado is a hybrid driver design; Our 8.5mm beryllium PVD dynamic driver is paired with Dual BA...

Campfire Audio Dorado

Rating:
4.41667/5,
  • Dorado is a hybrid driver design; Our 8.5mm beryllium PVD dynamic driver is paired with Dual BA drivers + TAEC and captured in a unique liquid metal alloy housing.
    – 8.5mm Beryllium PVD Dynamic Driver
    – Dual High-Frequency Balanced Armature Drivers
    – Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber™ (TAEC)
    – World’s First Liquid Alloy Metal Earphone Housing
    – Premium Litz Wire cable; Silver-plated-Copper conductors

Recent Reviews

  1. faceestrella
    The Road to El Dorado A CA Dorado Review
    Written by faceestrella
    Published Jun 30, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Engaging and lively W sound signature, solid build quality, Coherency in tuning
    Cons - Long nozzle can be a fitting issue, May be too much bass for some, Paint finish not the most chip resistant
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    Introduction: Campfire Audio, a name in the industry that needs little to no introduction, recognizable in both name and design choices. With the Dorado, they’ve decided to create and put their own spin on an IEM configuration that has steadily increased in popularity in the last year or two; The 1 dynamic driver, 2 balanced armature hybrid. This configuration has had its share of hurdles and criticisms; usually these issues are all rooted in the lack of coherency, and this makes sense, dynamic drivers and balanced armatures tend to have different base “sounds” wherein if not properly executed lead to the final product sounding confused and with no real direction in tuning, just drivers doing their own things that happen to the same shell. And while constantly improving it is a setup that is often meant to give the best of both worlds can simply end up giving neither due to the nature of the difficult balancing act of tuning hybrids. With that we have the Dorado, utilizing the signature Campfire 8.5mm PVD Beryllium dynamic driver and 2 balanced armatures with T.E.A.C. wrapped in the (mostly) familiar liquid metal housing that has usually been utilized for their single dynamic models, a tantalizing combination of technology for sure. It does however come with a price tag to match at $999, only $100 less than the Vega and Andromeda, does it pull its weight in the Campfire Audio Family? Was it able to take full advantage of the technology within? Does it avoid the usual pitfalls of the configuration it utilizes? And most importantly does it fulfill the promise of Campfire Audio of “…delivers on the promise of hybrid designs; excellent detail with a visceral punchiness to the low end.”? For the most part, it does, and it does so much more.




    Disclosure: The Dorado was provided to me by Campfire Audio in exchange for a comprehensive, and honest review.


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    Specifications:

    5Hz–27 kHz Frequency Response

    107 dB SPL/mW Sensitivity

    15 Ohms @ 1kHz Impedance

    Beryllium / Copper MMCX Connections

    Liquid Metal Alloy Shell

    8.5mm Beryllium PVD Diaphragm Dynamic Driver

    Dual Balanced Armature High Frequency Drivers

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



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    Packaging and Accessories: (As the packaging and accessories are very similar parts of this section have been lifted from the Campfire Audio Polaris Review.) The Dorado comes in the standard Campfire Audio packaging, a relatively small box, colored red just like the Lyra II and Vega, decorated with the camping/night sky theme and Campfire Audio branding with the details and photo of the model on the outside. Opening the box reveals the Campfire Audio leather zipper case, and inside the 4 core SPC litz cable and the IEMs can be found inside with the IEMs coming in red miniature drawstring pouches sporting a red velvet like exterior with a simple fabric interior to protect the housings (more on that later). The Dorado comes preinstalled with Campfire’s marshmallow tips. Removing the case, you will find a false bottom revealing the rest of the included accessories. The included accessories are a standard set of black wide bore silicone eartips, a set of Spinfit tips of a host of sizes, the remaining marshmallow tips; And then we have a warranty card, a quick start guide, an attractive lacquer pin, and an IEM cleaning tool. The zipper case of the Dorado has a pebbled leather outer finish that sports their logo engraved, black zipper with a logo engraving as well, the interior is lined with an almost shearling like fabric to keep the housings free from scuffs or scratches from within; The case is high quality, and seems to be relatively durable, and while the leather outer material seems on the thin side, the case itself seems to have a backing that that keeps it stiff and sturdy. Overall the packaging is simple and not wasteful, and the accessories included are a quality and attractive case, a wide variety of tips to suit almost any need or use case, though a softer case material as well as a softer interior for the individual red pouches would ever so slightly increase the premium factor. Another thing of note is that the red pouch in some instances may stain the coating of the cable, so be mindful.




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    Build Quality: The Dorado (and those of its siblings) shell is a departure from the more recognizable shell design used for the balanced armature models of Campfire, with a smoother and more compact overall shape and utilizing what Campfire calls Liquid Metal Alloy shells. The shell is divided into 3 main parts the faceplate, the main body, and the nozzle. The faceplate is bare save for the engraved Campfire Audio logo and its share of the MMCX connection, with a bevel as it meets with the main body. The main body houses a lot of the bulk, with it housing the dynamic driver, the vent for the driver and the requisite engraved L/R marking. We finally transition to the nozzle area, to me the most intriguing part of the build as it is much longer and a bit thicker than what one would normally expect, this is, would hazard where both balanced armature drivers reside, the nozzle is capped off with a metal screen cover to protect the internal components from dust, or earwax from getting inside and clogging up the nozzle or drivers. The Dorado utilizes the tried and tested Beryllium MMCX connection for extra durability; and the main portion of the shell is finished in this gorgeous rose gold paint that just exudes class without being over the top, though I did find the finish to chip and scratch just a little too easy for my preference, but I have not experienced any major marring in the finish.

    On to the cable, the Dorado comes with, what is by now standard fare for Campfire IEMs with their Litz cable, the 4-core double twist SPC cable that is of exceptional quality, though one would expect nothing less since this is coming from the same minds as ALO audio and they make fantastic cables. It feels supple, is light, and is flexible while looking attractive to boot, although as previously mentioned one might want to be careful since the soft coating might take on colors from dyes prone to running.



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    Fit: The fitting experience with the Dorado is somewhat of a peculiar one. The relatively more compact body and smooth edges mean that it is less likely to hit parts of outer ear and cause chafing, scratching or discomfort to the wearer, typical of this shell design like with the Vega and Lyra II, however the nozzle presents an interesting challenge, it is LONG and has a larger diameter than most, so this places individuals with narrow or shorter canals in a little bit of a bind, meaning that it will likely sit outside of the ear a touch, or it might prove difficult to wear altogether. Pairing with foams seem to be the best option as many silicone tips just don’t have the bore diameter or length to fit properly, bullet shaped foams however cover the length and diameter just fine for the most part and their nature tends to lend an easier and more secure wearing experience for most people. I personally found them to fit nearly perfectly with medium foam tips, sitting and cradling right in my ear and providing great sound isolation to boot.



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    Sound: To capture as comprehensive a picture of the sonic characteristics of the Dorado, I tested them using various source, including (but not limited to) Hiby R6 with and without an IEMatch, ifi Audio xDSD DAC/Amp, FiiO Q1 Mk II DAC/Amp, LG G6 with and without the HiFi DAC enabled, stock output from an Alienware 17 R3, volume matched to as close as my measuring gear would allow. The overall sound characteristics of the Dorado seem to be a warm W, and by that, I mean it has a boosted bass response that tapers towards the mids, with another peak in the midrange, finishing with energy in the treble.



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    Bass: Let’s get this out of the way immediately the bass on the Dorado is north of neutral. It has authoritative and visceral bass delivering on both slam and impact without sounding sloppy or uncontrolled, a common issue when bass is a focus of IEMs. The sub bass response is simply wonderful, especially for those who prefer their subbass to be powerful; in Lana Del Rey’s “Love” the bass drum hits seemingly fill the stage and resonate with wonderful and natural texture. The decay of the subbass is on the slower side, not being sluggish but rather almost thoughtful in the pacing of the decay, highlighting the timbre of the dynamic driver that. The midbass lightly tapers off at the transition to the mids lending to minimize “bloom” often associated with bass forward tunings that lead to interfering with midrange performance, particularly vocals, however it doesn’t really present itself as “thin” sounding at all in fact it still shares the same qualities with the subbass in texture, note fullness and decay, however it is just a tad more subdued, presented a touch behind the subbass, however with regards to the to rest of the frequencies it is still forward in fact when listening to “I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo” by Capital Cities the synth bass hits definitely get your head moving but there you can easily contrast it with the subbass that appears in the bridge of the song; and bass guitars in general are simply a joy to listen to on the Dorado. The bass delivery of the Dorado is fun, full, and can put a smile on your face. Those however looking for neutral, faster bass should definitely look elsewhere though.



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    Mids: The most prominent thing to notice with the midrange performance of the Dorado is the general forwardness and quality of the vocals, something not necessarily expected when the bass is as prominent as it is. Lower midrange is slightly behind, a result of the gradual rise from the taper in the midbass. This means that sound in that range, mostly instruments in my experience, like lower piano notes and the like sit a bit behind the vocals and suffer the most of any frequency in the tuning. Lower register vocals seem to be mostly free of any effect of the taper, “Perfectly Lonely” by John Mayer sound just about right, presenting the vocals with good thickness, with an ample amount of texture and definition that his singing doesn’t feel dry and it provides a listener with a pleasant amount of emotion with the texture. Moving up the scale to higher register vocals, I find them a hair bit ahead of the lower register, but only slightly, to me this manifests itself in more emotion coming through. “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse is a terrific example, the vocal delivery takes center stage, letting you focus on it and be complimented with the guitar riffs, and the consistent bass line and piano. Sam Smith’s “Baby You Make Crazy” is another great song on these, the chorus where he sings with a falsetto are smooth, delicate though not as well balanced as Valerie, so the bass is definitely a bit more in your face here. Instruments in the midrange as I touched on earlier take a step back from the vocals but the quality coming from pianos, guitars and the like are still very good, sounding articulate and never get muddled or lost even when there is a fair amount of distortion.



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    Treble: This is where the T.E.A.C. kicks in, and Campfire has managed to insert a surprising amount of air and sparkle into the Dorado. The treble is lightly energetic and has a good treble extension, as expected from this kind of configuration but the quality and the handling of the treble here is what sets it apart. The amount of details here is good, especially remembering the amount of bass these things pack. I did not find it sibilant and it is not harsh, the frequency response charts show that well enough, what they don’t show is that for that relatively mild graph, cymbals for one is reproduced relatively well, not something I initially expected, but the articulation of cymbals, from hi-hats to ride, and crash cymbals surprised me; listening to the typical “pop/punk” or metal jaunts the Dorado handles the fast cymbals really well, good definition and good “bite” on crashes without veering into the territory of discomfort thought still not the level of articulation found in high end multi BA configurations, but that is also expected. Moving onto other instruments the story remains much of the same “Feels So Good” by Chuck Mangione, the delivery in the instrumental is smooth, but not sounding rolled off, and violins and the high end of piano as in the cover of “Yellow” by Daniel Jung highlight an amount of “attack” I like in the violin while the piano notes in the treble region have this sparkle that really cap off the treble well. Overall there is good energy in the treble so that it isn’t “soft” that doesn’t overstep and articulates itself well.



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    Presentation: The overall presentation of the Dorado is not what I would call spacious, mostly because the forwardness of the vocals range tends to increase the intimacy of the listening experience, however the due to the recess in the transition point of the bass and mids coupled with the treble performance kind of balance or cancel each other out. The staging width is a little better than average, giving a good sense of left to right end to end, a fair bit beyond the ears. Depth on the other hand is quite good providing a good overall stage, and positioning is accurate as far as I can tell. Layering is pleasant all the way from the bass to the treble, while separation is likewise very good, with the individual presentation of instruments or notes good, even with more complex tracks and only in bass heavy tracks does the technical performance of the Dorado begin to suffer. One thing to note is that the Dorado is relatively forgiving of the source music, so even is tracks that aren’t the most technically proficient in mastering, it will not be as revealing of flaws as other IEMs, you can take that as either a pro or a con. Now back to something I touched on earlier, and one of the biggest draws of Dorado, cohesion. The way the tuning was handled is great, balancing the big bass response with the treble energy and the bump on the vocals that remove the usual “dips” in the sound that this configuration can suffer. The Dorado has a direction in the sound signature it’s trying to accomplish, and it succeeds.


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    Conclusion: The Dorado follows in the philosophy of Campfire Audio, it doesn’t aim for outright technical proficiency, or pure reference tuning, it is fun, engaging. The Dorado is their attempt to fulfill the goal of getting the best of both worlds with a hybrid, timbre and fullness of dynamic drivers and articulation, details, and speed of balanced armatures, all the while packaging the sound neatly together avoiding it from sounding unnatural or off kilter. For the most part they have succeeded in providing an experience that is as close as to best of both worlds as one can get, and while it leans a little warmer than true balance, the level of cohesion they deliver here can almost be said as a “maturation” in the configuration and is hopefully something more hybrids will deliver in the future. All the while all of this is packaged in a housing that while might not be for all due to the nozzle, is for the most part comfortable, attractive and is generally of the high quality we have come to expect from Campfire Audio. This all delivered in the compact but accessory rich package. The Dorado is a wonderful IEM, easily lining up with my personal preferences, and one of my favorite earphones. And yes $999 is a steep price, I feel like for those hybrid fans like me looking for a “best of both worlds” experience that Dorado is one of the most well-rounded options that fit the bill, with a combination of build quality, and a sound signature that is not only unique but also refined, that price will be worth it, not a steal mind you, but definitely well worth it.



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    Originally posted at:https://faceaudioreviews.blogspot.com/2018/06/the-road-to-el-dorado-campfire-audio.html
  2. daduy
    Warm and smooth hybrid
    Written by daduy
    Published Apr 28, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Build quality, sound quality, included cable and accessories
    Cons - Can sound a bit too thick , long nozzle feels bit weird
    Disclaimer

    I got this unit as part of Australia/New Zealand tour arranged by @d marc0, thank you very much for including me in this tour :)

    Introduction

    I am just another music fans in this world, I love listening to music, and that made me stumble into head-fi around 11 years ago when looking for the best way to listen to my music. I am not in anyway an audiophile, heck not even close, so please forgive any lack of details in my review. Most importantly this is my personal impression on the unit, most likely i heard things differently than you, my ears, my preferences, my brain :)

    I've listened to CA Dorado for about a month. I've used them mostly with LG G6. The source will be either my personal music or google play music.

    Music preferences

    My music preferences is mostly instrumental, whether it's Classical, Jazz, Celtic, New Age, etc. I also enjoy music with vocal on them, but my playlist is mostly instrumental. I would say around 80/20 mix.

    Example of the music I listen (not limited to):
    - Acoustic Alchemy
    - Tony McManus, Soig Siberil
    - Hawaiian Slack Key guitars
    - Gontiti
    - Fusion Jazz (Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Fourplay, Special EFX, you get the idea)
    - Akira Jimbo, Tetsuo Sakurai, Casiopea
    - Incognito
    - Europa Galante/Fabio Biondi, Musica Antiqua Koln, Rolf Lislevand
    - Yoko Kanno
    - Madonna

    Sound signature preference


    Hmm...not sure what my pref is, I used to enjoy Fostex TH-600 and Sony Z7 very much, but I don't own them anymore and now listen mostly to Stax SR-3.

    My typical listening gear is Parasound Zdac -> Parasound Zamp v.3 -> Stax SRD-7 -> Stax SR-3

    When travelling I usually use Sony MDR-1000x paired to the LG G6.

    Build Quality and Design

    As expected with Campfire Audio, build quality is excellent, the housing is made of liquid metal alloy with gold/bronze color finish. They look and feel exactly the same as Lyra II except for the color and the length of the nozzle.

    For some reason, the Dorado nozzle is twice as long as any other CA IEM's nozzle that I have tried. I wouldn't expect that to be an issue, but surprisingly it took me a while to find the right tips. My usually fit medium size tips doesn't fit on my ears with the Dorado, I had to switch to smaller size tips.

    After I find the right tips, then it's not a problem anymore, they are as good as other CA IEMs I've tried in the past.

    I've reviewed a few of CA IEMs before, but this is the first time I tried their hybrid design. CA Dorado is a hybrid of 8.5mm beryllium PVD dynamic drive paired with two balanced armatures, so I am pretty curious to hear how they sounded.

    Sound Quality


    Ok the most important part for me, sound quality, so how do they sound? They have a smooth warm sound with a nice quantity of bass and nice sparkle in the treble region, I think they have a mild V-shaped sound signature.

    Typical to CA house sound signature, I found the Dorado to be relaxing, rich and pleasant sounding, they didn't necessarily give me the "wow" effect when I listen to them the first time, but as I listen to them more and more, I like them more and more as well. It just sounded right to me. With the Dorado I think CA want us to enjoy the music, rather than analyzing every details in the instruments.

    First of all let's talk about the bass, they are tune exactly to my preferences, they are more heavy on the sub-bass rather than mid-bass, which give them a nice kick when needed, but safe from having music sounding too warm. I will admit that sometimes the bass can feel a bit too much and music can sound a bit thick on the Dorado, but it only happens on music that was warm in the first place.

    The mids are quite clear, although very slightly recessed. While there is good quantity of bass, I never felt them bleeding into the mids.

    The treble is excellent, they are quite extended, detailed and crisp sounding. This must be the magic of the BA driver at work, because Lyra II try to achieve similar performance with single dynamic driver but can't really reach the same level of smoothness and ease as the Dorado did.

    Comparison

    Lyra II vs Dorado

    This is quite easy for me, the Dorado is like my wishlist for the Lyra II sound signature.

    The bass on Lyra II is more heavy on mid-bass rather than sub-bass, which makes music sounds a bit too warm for my taste.

    The upper mids/low treble on the Lyra II can sound a bit harsh, while it's always controlled and smooth on the Dorado.

    No brainer for me, the Dorado is definitely the better IEM than Lyra II.

    Dorado vs Hifiman RE2000 (based on memory)

    Please bear in mind that this brief comparison is based on memory, so take it with a grain of salt.

    In general, RE2000 is the better IEM in sound quality, it has the "wow" effect the first time you hear them. The bass is definitely more detailed and textured than Dorado.

    The impression that I have left of RE2000 is "energetic", while Dorado is "relaxed", so it's different sound signature.

    Comfort wise, the Dorado does it better, so is packaging wise, as in, Dorado got better cable and accessories compare to RE2000.

    Last, but not least in my opinion, is the price. RE2000 cost 2k, Dorado cost 1k. I can say for sure that RE2000 doesn't sound twice as good as the Dorado, in fact I would bet that someone will prefer the sound of Dorado compare to RE2000.

    Summary

    For me the Dorado is close to perfection, it reminds me of my experience with the CA Andromeda, which is a another IEM that is close to perfection as well for me.

    It can sound bit thick sometimes, and the long nozzle is a bit weird, but it's very minor things compare to other fine qualities that they have.

    It's very close to reaching the perfect score for me, but at the end of the day I think it would be the perfect IEM (personally for me) if Campfire Audio would just cut down on the bass a tiny bit. So today it will get a 4.5 star from me.

    Thanks for reading.
      Slashn77 and d marc0 like this.
  3. Brooko
    Campfire Dorado - Warm & Lush
    Written by Brooko
    Published Jan 23, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Build quality, accessories, overall design, comfort, overall sound quality, imaging
    Cons - Can tend to be a little warm and clarity can suffer, bass tends to dominate, pricey
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    Picture are default 1200 x 800 resolution - click (photos in tables) to view larger images.

    INTRODUCTION

    If I mentioned Campfire Audio, chances are that most Head-Fier's will know who they are, and be able to list 1 or more of their IEMs. And thats quite a feat considering they've only been on the scene or two years. I've been fortunate to be able to audition most of their range by participating in tours organised by Ken Ball and facilitated by our own d marc0, and the range is pretty impressive. Ken has a vision and its slowly being realised.

    The tour sample today is the Dorado – a triple driver hybrid retailing at USD 999. So lets put it through its paces, and see where it sits in the line-up.


    ABOUT CAMPFIRE AUDIO

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

    I've been privileged to not only have the chance to review some of their range, but also conduct direct discussions with Ken himself, and this culminated in Ken assisting me to recalibrate my own measurement gear so that it could more accurately reflect an IEC711 standard of measurement. The thing I have been incredibly impressed with in my dealings with Ken and Campfire is their absolute passion for sound and commitment to quality and service.


    DISCLAIMER

    The Campfire Dorado earphone that I’m reviewing today was provided as a tour review sample – organised via Ken Ball and d marc0. They have asked me for my opinion and feedback, with no restrictions or caveats. I do not make any financial gain from this review – it is has been written simply as my way of providing feedback both to the Head-Fi community and also Campfire Audio. The Dorado will be returned at the completion of this review.

    I have now had the Dorado for almost 5 weeks. The retail price at time of review is ~USD 999.

    PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'. (or a base-line for interpreting my thoughts and bias)

    I'm a 50 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile – I just love my music. Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up. I vary my listening from portables (mostly now from the FiiO X5iii, X7ii and iPhone SE) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > USB > iFi iDSD). My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Sennheiser HD800S, Sennheiser HD600 & HD630VB, MS Pro and AKG K553. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs, and it has mainly been with my own personally owned IEMs - the Jays q-Jays, Alclair Curve2 and LZ Big Dipper. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).

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


    I have extensively tested myself (ABX) and I find aac256 or higher to be completely transparent. I do use exclusively red-book 16/44.1 if space is not an issue. All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line). I tend to be skeptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables (unless it was volume or impedance related), and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences. I am not a ‘golden eared listener’. I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 50, my hearing is less than perfect (it only extends to around 14 kHz nowadays). My usual listening level is around 65-75 dB.

    For the purposes of this review - I used the Campfire Dorado from various sources at my disposal – both straight from the headphone-out socket of various devices, and also with further amplification. In the time I have spent with the Dorado, I have personally noticed no change to the overall sonic presentation (burn-in).

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


    THE REVIEW

    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES

    The Dorado arrived in the distinctive Campfire 122 x 81 x 54 mm cardboard retail hinged lid box. Like the Lyra II, the box is a reddish/crimson colour and continues with the galaxy type theme. The top (lid) simply has the word Dorado and a short description, and the front face has a picture of the Dorado.

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    Dorado outer boxIside the box and carry case.The full package contents

    The total accessory package includes:
    • 1 pair Campfire Dorado IEMs
    • 3.5mm SPC Litz MMCX stereo cable
    • Leather zippered carry case
    • IEM cleaning tool
    • 3 sets of silicone ear tips (S M L)
    • 3 sets of Crystal foam tips (S M L)
    • 4 sets of Spinfit tips
    • Campfire Audio logo clothing button / pin
    • Campfire’s fold-out user manual
    • Campfire’s warranty card
    • 2 small red “individual IEM bags”
    The Campfire Audio carry case is very sturdy, but more “jacket or bag pocketable” than trousers. It measures approx. 115 x 75 x 45 mm and is zipped on 3 sides. When opened it reveals a softer interior which will definitely protect and preserve your IEMs. The exterior is quite strong, and also pretty rigid. You also get two red “baggies” with drawstrings, and these are for housing each IEM to stop them knocking together (if you are really particular about your IEMs).

    All in all it is a very well put together package, and I applaud Campfire for including the extra foam tips and the Spin-fits.


    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
    ModelCampfire Audio Dorado
    Approx price$999 USD
    TypeTriple Hybrid Driver IEM
    Dynamic Driver8.5mm Beryllium PVD diaphragm
    Balanced Armature DriversDual High Freq
    Freq Range5Hz – 27kHz
    Impedance15Ω
    Sensitivity107 dB/mW
    Cable ConnectionStandard MMCX
    Cable Type (SE)~1.25m, SPC Litz
    Jack3.5mm gold plated single ended, right angled
    Weight (Dorado + cable + tips)~26g
    Casing materialLiquid alloy metal


    FREQUENCY GRAPH

    The graph below is generated using the Vibro Veritas coupler and ARTA software. Ken Ball (ALO/Campfire) graciously provided me with measurement data which I have used to recalibrate my Veritas so that it mimics an IEC 711 measurement standard (Ken uses two separate BK ear simulators, we measured the same set of IEMs, and I built my calibration curve from shared data). I do not claim that this data is 100% accurate, but it is very consistent, and is as close as I can get to the IEC 711 standard on my budget. It seems to be down at around 8-10 kHz in comparison to Ken's graphs, but seems reasonably accurate through the rest of the spectrum.

    I do not claim that the measurements are in any way more accurate than anyone else's, but they have been proven to be consistent and I think they should be enough to give a reasonable idea of response - especially if you've followed any of my other reviews. When measuring I usually always use crystal foam tips (so medium bore opening) - and the reason I use them is for very consistent seal and placement depth in the coupler. I use the same amp (E11K) for all my measurements - and output is under 1 ohm.

    Any graphs are provided merely as a point of discussion, and later in the review I've included comparisons to other IEMs for similar reference.


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    Frequency chart and channel matching
    The Dorado is what I would call a bass dominant monitor (on the warm side of neutral), but retaining a somewhat forward mid-range and some genuine air in the lower treble. The bass has a lot of extension and both impact and slam. The lower mid-range has a little recession relative to both bass and upper mid-range, but doesn't sound overly diffuse. The thing I can't quite get over is how Ken has created a sense of space with this monitor but still keeps vocals sounding very present.

    Upper mid-range has a slow rise to a natural peak at 2 kHz, and displays very good cohesion between lower and upper mid-range with no dissonance or tonality issues. Lower treble shows excellent extension, and has some genuine treble energy, but this is so nicely balanced with the bass that its not obtrusive in any way.

    Overall I’d say that the Dorado has a warm and smooth frequency response, with a good sense of detail in the top end (particularly with cymbal fundamentals), and despite the warm overall lean, still exhibits good overall tonal balance. The bass on these is definitely north of neutral, but at the same time there is enough balance through the mid-range, and upper end to sound very coherent.

    As you can see from the graphs the drivers are very well matched (and some of the differences shown in my measurements are likely to be minor differences in seating each ear piece). I find this is typical of Ken's driver matching – I don't think I've ever seen a Campfire IEM with mismatching drivers.


    BUILD AND DESIGN

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    External faceFrom the rearInternal face and nozzles

    The Dorado uses a ultra high density liquid alloy shell, and the reason for moving all Campfire IEMs to this type of shell is the combination of mechanical strength and acoustic stability. The shell is very similar in shape to that of the Lyra, but with a quite striking “copper/tan” colouring. The other major change is the longer nozzle. This allows the inclusion of the Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber (TAEC) which allows Ken to discard the more traditional tube and damper tuning systems. According to Campfire, the 3D printed TAEC chamber provides a means of applying acoustic tuning without the compression associated with more traditional methods, and this results in better extension on high frequencies and a more open sound.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Nozzle height and angleCable connectorsThe litz cable

    The Dorado measures approximately 20mm in length, 14mm in height and has a depth of approx. 10mm (excluding the nozzle). The nozzle itself is angled slightly forward and slightly up when worn, extends approx. 12mm from the main body, and has an external diameter of 6mm. The shape is very ergonomic, and the Dorado is designed to be used with the cable over ear. The IEM shell is 3 pieces in total – nozzle, shell and back plate, but the seams are so smooth you can hardly see them. There are L/R markings on the inside of both ear pieces and the Campfire logo is also discretely engraved on the outer face. There is a small vent or port adjacent to the cable exit on each ear-piece. Internally the dynamic driver for the Dorado is a custom 8.5mm beryllium PVD diaphragm transducer, and it is coupled with a dual BA pair for the upper mids and treble.


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Y split and cinchRight angled JackAn exquisitely crafted IEM

    At the top of the shell is a beryllium coated copper MMCX connector, and when used with the supplied SPC ALO Litz cable, the connection is made with a very reassuring click. The cables do rotate in their sockets, but the connection itself seems very robust.

    The cable is ALO’s “SPC Litz” which is high purity sliver-plated copper wire encased in a very flexible medical grade PVC jacket. The male MMCX connector is again beryllium coated, fits very snugly, and has either a blue or red dot on the connector to indicate L/R. There is a 70mm length of memory wire for over-ear wear, and I’ve found this very malleable, but also holds its shape very well. The cable is approximately 1.25m long, and consists of two twisted pairs above the Y split which continue as a twisted quad right through to the jack. The Y split is small and light and houses an in-built cinch which works really well. The jack is 3.5mm, right angled, and has clear rubber housing. Strain relief is excellent. The jack will also fit my iPhone SE with case in place.

    FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION
    Fit for me is fantastic – the shells are very ergonomic in shape, and this includes the angle of the nozzles and also the placement of the cable exits. The shells (when fitted) do not extend outside my outer ear, and I have no issues lying down with the Dorado intact. The memory wire is also really well implemented here so that snugging the wires properly is easy. The fit is usually shallow with ergonomic shells, but with the rounded internal edges and the extended nozzle length, I have no issues getting an amazing seal by simply pushing the earpieces in a little better. I love the extra length on the nozzle for my preferences. Isolation is well above average for a hybrid, and I'd use these for public transport.

    Those who’ve read my reviews will know that I have one ear canal slightly different to the other one (my right is very slightly smaller) - so I tend to find that usually single silicon flanges don't fit overly well. With the extra length on the Dorado nozzles I found that personally I had a lot more tip choices available to me – even silicone worked pretty well, and that included Spin-Fits, Ostry’s blue and black tuning tips, and Spiral Dots. The lip on the Dorado nozzle was pretty good for every tip I tried and I credit the reason for a lot of the success with the tips I tried to the angle of the nozzle. It isn’t just good – it is perfect. In the end my personal preference was to simply use Comply, although before I send these back, I really want to try a set of stretched medium Shure Olives.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Almost every tip fitPerfect fit and great comfort


    SOUND QUALITY

    The following is what I hear from the Campfire Audio Dorado. YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline). Most of the testing at this point (unless otherwise stated) was done with my FiiO X7ii (AM3A module) and medium Comply T400 tips. For the record – on most tracks, the volume level on the X7ii with the AM3A single ended was 35-40/120 on low gain which was giving me an SPL range of around 65-75 dB.

    Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and most can be viewed in this list http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks.17556. There was no DSP or EQ engaged.


    Relativities

    • Sub-bass – elevated compared to the rest of the spectrum, and has very good extension. At low listening levels the rumble is still clearly audible. The sub bass doesn't dominate with tracks like Lorde's Royals, but does give a lot of impact and slam while still allowing her vocals to come through clearly.
    • Mid-bass – quite linear (although elevated) and matches the level of sub-bass extension. Has excellent impact and slam with tracks like Amy Winehouse's “You know I'm no good” or Feist's “The bad in each other”, and while it is quite dominant, it again doesn't over do things. Bass lovers will really enjoy it, lovers of a cooler more linear bass line will likely find it too much. Definite on the warm side.
    • Lower mid-range – there is a recession compared to sub and mid-bass, but matches quite nicely with the upper mid-range (nice natural progression). Male vocals have excellent presence, tonality and timbre and nothing sounds distant.
    • Upper mid-range – slightly elevated compared to lower mid-range, and there is a gentle rise from 1 kHz to a first peak at around 2 kHz. There is a dip after this, but because of the overall bass warmth, there is no feeling of dissonance. The rise is enough to provide good cohesion and some euphony for female vocals.
    • Lower treble has very good extension, but never gets into the bright or spiky range. I think there may be a little more in the 7-10 kHz area than I'm measuring (it definitely sounds as though there is more energy there). There is a good sense of detail – although it may be a little shaded by the elevated bass with some tracks.
    • My measuring equipment tends to struggle with accuracy over 10 kHz, and its a hit or miss whether I can actually hear it. Upper treble doesn't show any sign of deficiencies to me.
    Resolution / Detail / Clarity
    • Clarity is OK despite the warmth of the default frequency response. Cymbals are a little fuzzy and they don't stand out as clearly as many of my other monitors. While the decay is there, the bass does tend to mask it a little.
    • If there is too much bass present in the track, you can lose a bit of upper end detail.
    • Quite clean and clear in the presence area, with good detail around vocals and guitar (as long as there isn't too much bass guitar or drum).

    Sound-stage and Imaging
    • Good directional cues, and depending on the recording can be just on or slightly outside the periphery of my head space – so reasonable feeling of width and also of depth. I would call it more intimate than expansive with binaural tracks like Tundra.
    • Separation of instruments and imaging is good without being razor sharp. Some of the focus is at times “soft” (masking from the bass).
    • The applause section of “Dante's Prayer” was nicely presented with a realistic flow around me. It was a little more left / right than in front or behind.
    • “Let it Rain” was excellent. The track is recorded a little hot and has quite a three-dimensional sense of spatial presentation – it is the way the track was miked. There is a nice sense of space – but again its intimate rather than expansive. I know sibilance exists in the recording, but the Dorado pretty much completely eliminates it so there is obviously some masking going on.
    Sonic Strengths
    • Overall a warm and pleasing tonality with reasonable balance for a U/V shaped default signature.
    • Intimate sense of staging as long as the track isn't bass dominant.
    • Both male and female vocals are presented quite naturally.
    Sonic Weaknesses
    • Can be bass dominant with heavier bass emphasised tracks (this will come down to preference)
    • There is a little auditory masking going on (because of the bass dominance), and overall detail can suffer a little.
    AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

    The Dorado is not a hard IEM to drive with its 15 ohm impedance and 107 dB sensitivity. It was easily driven with all the sources I tried, and this included my iPhone SE and players like FiiO's X1ii (neither are power houses). My iPhone SE only needed about 30-40% of its volume for a comfortable 65-75dB and going over 50% volume was simply to loud for me on most tracks (pushing into the 80-85dB range).

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    Practically any source will drive the Dorado wellNo real need for additional amplifiers

    I also went back and forth (volume matching with test tones and fixed volumes using a few different combos – iPhone SE & FiiO Q1ii, X7ii with A5 and E17K, and X7ii by itself, and did not notice any appreciable difference between amped and straight out of a DAP.

    RESPONSE TO EQ

    Those who know me will likely guess that the Dorado, while very pleasant tonally, is not my ideal signature. I normally gravitate toward a cooler, clearer signature. I just wanted to use a rough and ready EQ, so my first step was to connect the E17K to the X7ii, and drop the bass by about -4 to -6 dB. For me it was an improvement, and allowed both the mid-range and lower treble to shine a little more.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    E17K with bass reduction perfect for meOr L&P L3 with Jazz lower-treble EQ boost

    Bass lovers (and those who like a warmer signature) who buy the Dorado may well be happy with the default signature, but its nice to know that it responds really well to some subtle tweaks. My favourite DAP combo with the Dorado is the L&P L3 with Jazz EQ setting (which lowers the bass and ups the mid-range & treble a little). For my tastes, this really makes the Dorado sing.

    COMPARISON WITH OTHER IEMS

    Its always a hard one to try and pick earphones to compare with. Ideally I would have liked to compare with the HifiMan RE800 and RE2000, but unfortunately I don't have them at the moment (out with another reviewer). So I decided instead to compare to the Lyra II (similar signature), Dunu's DK3001 and Fidue's Sirius (higher end triple hybrids), and also the LZ Dipper and 64 Audio U10 (both very good multi-BAs). Finally I compared it with my Alclair Curve – simply because it is my default, and also because it is relatively similar to the Andromeda.

    For the source, I wanted something very neutral, but with a good digital control, to make sure I could volume match. So I chose to use the FiiO X7ii. No DSP or EQ was used. Gain was low (I didn't need any more). I volume matched using a calibrated SPL meter and fixed 1kHz test tone first. My listening level was set to an average of 70dB.

    Campfire Audio Dorado (~USD 999) vs Campfire Audio Lyra II (~USD 699)
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    Campfire Dorado and Lyra IIFrequency comparisons

    I couldn't compare the two side-by-side (the Lyra II is back on tour), but I do have frequency plots and my time with the Lyra was very recent, so please forgive the fact that this is from memory.

    Both have the usual brilliant quality Campfire build, and both are diminutive and extremely comfortable. Size is similar apart from the Dorado's longer nozzle (which I actually prefer).

    Looking at the frequency response, it is very similar and I'm willing to bet the dynamic is tuned very similarly on both. The difference is in the lower treble where the heat from the Lyra II in the 7-10 kHz range is shelved on the Dorado. This does two things – both softening the upper end, and also making the bass appear more dominant.

    The Dorado is perfect for someone who is sensitive to treble and prefers a warmer signature. The Lyra II will better suit someone who likes more energy and contrast – and in this case (for me) I prefer the Lyra II.


    Campfire Audio Dorado (~USD 999) vs DUNU DK3001(~USD 469)
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    Campfire Dorado and Dunu DK-3001Frequency comparisons

    Both are hybrid IEMs, with the DK-3001 being a 1 (DD) + 3 (BA) vs the Dorado's 1 + 2 set up. The DUNU is half the price, Both are built extremely well and include quality cables. The DK-3001 includes a balanced option. The DK-3001's big let-down is in its ergonomics – there is a hard ridge on the inside of each ear-piece, and this causes long term discomfort (and has done for most reviewers). You can alleviate this with careful tip selection – but you shouldn't have to. Anyway the Dorado is supremely comfortable in comparison.

    Sonically both have a warmish bottom end, but are very different signatures. The DK-3001 has a boosted upper mid-range which extends through to the lower treble. It is on the brighter side of neutral, and whilst I enjoy the default signature, it may be too bright for some. For me personally, I love the combo of detail and lower end impact. The Dorado in comparison is a little bassier, but comes across as quite dark and warm in comparison due to the comparatively shelved upper end. The interesting contrast here is that both actually benefit from EQ. Take the Dorado's bass down a little, and similarly cut the DK-3001's upper mids and lower treble by about -4 dB, and you have two excellent hybrids.

    My preference is for the DUNU – but this solely comes to preference.


    Campfire Audio Dorado (~USD 999) vs Fidue Sirius (~USD 899)
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    Campfire Dorado and Fidue SiriusFrequency comparisons

    Again both are hybrid IEMs, with the Sirius being a 1 + 4 vs the Dorado's 1 + 2 set up. This time the pricing is very close (899 vs 999). The build on both is stellar – real quality materials and overall design. Fidue's modular cable system is excellent and for me gets the slight no over the Dorado. But again like the DUNU before it, the Fidue is not 100% ergonomically wonderful, with some slightly hard edges for those of us with bigger ears. The Sirius also has a port on the inside which can vary the bass response, so depending on fit, the bass can be relatively neutral or enhanced, depending on how they fit. No such issues with the Dorado.

    For me the Sirius bass is extended, with decent impact, but tends toward a cooler and leaner signature, with a lot of mid-range emphasis. The Dorado again is at the opposite end of the spectrum with the much darker and warmer signature. Again this will come down to preference – but both are extremely good IEMs.


    Campfire Audio Dorado (~USD 999) vs LZ Big Dipper 3/switch (~USD 860)
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Campfire Dorado and LZ Big DipperFrequency comparisons

    This comparison is very different, pitching the Dorado's hybrid configuration against the 7 BA set-up of the LZ Big Dipper. When I reviewed the Big Dipper, I was so impressed, I approached LZ about buying the review sample (I do this with any sample I want to use purely for personal pleasure) – so I now own it. The Dipper I have has 3 tuning switches so you can change bass, treble and mid-range. My preferred current combo is + bass, - mids, - treble.

    Both are made from quality materials – the Dipper is custom made with resin molds (similar to custom ear phones). Both fit incredibly well and are very comfortable, but the Dipper I would class as a sliver better in the comfort stakes. The Dorado has the better cable overall (aesthetically). The Dipper of course has the ability to be tuned.

    Sonically these two are quite different and you'll note that with the Dipper I chose match the bass on the frequency graph as it actually give a far better representation of each earphone's relative frequency plot. The Dipper does dip a lot in the lower mid-range, and has a subsequent much higher rise through the upper mid-range. So it is reasonably V shaped with robust (but very quick ) BA base, and then extremely detailed upper mids and lower treble. The end result is a cooler leaner signature, but with enough bass thump to keep things dynamic. Switching to the Dorado, and the first thing I noted was the much warmer signature, but also the better mid-range on the Dorado (especially with male vocals). The Dipper is just a little overdone (like the DK-3001), while for me the Dorado is a little too lower end emphasised.


    Campfire Dorado (~USD 999) vs 64 Audio U10 (~USD 1000-1399)
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    Campfire Dorado and 64 Audio U10Frequency comparisons

    Again a similarly priced hybrid vs multi-BA comparison. You can get B Stock U10's for around the $1000 mark, although full retail will put you into the $1400 range. Both are made from quality materials – the U10 is acrylic while the Dorado has the alloy shell. Both are very ergonomic and very comfortable. The U10's default cable is its weak point (I've replaced mine), while the Dorado has the excellent SPC Litz. The U10 has the ability to further tune the signature with either ADEL or APEX modules.

    Sonically these two might look similar on the frequency graph, but the bass response is quite different. The Dorado is quite a bit warmer and also has more impact. The U10 is more balanced (in terms of overall warmth) and the bass response is a lot quicker. The APEX/ADEL modules also release some of the bass pressure, and although there is still some decent thump, there isn't the same amount of auditory masking going on, so the U10 actually sound a little leaner and clearer. This is probably the closest comparison so far though and the most similar in signature. If I swap the APEX modules for the G1 ADEL modules I can bump the early upper mids to be even closer in overall signature – but again, the major difference is in the presentation of the bass (expected when its BA vs dynamic).


    Campfire Dorado (~USD 999) vs Alclair Curve (~USD 250)
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    Campfire Dorado and Alclair CurveFrequency comparisons

    This will probably make the least sense in terms of price and driver set-up, but it is my go-to in terms of reference. The Alclair Curve is a twin BA with an extremely ergonomic shape, quality build, and despite all the IEMs I have access to, continues to be one of my most used IEMs. If you bump the bass on the Curve by around 4 dB, it also sounds almost eerily similar to an Andromeda, and I really do wish more people could experience it. For me the overall build quality is similar – although the Dorado has better materials. The Curve is more comfortable – although both are excellent in this area.


    Sonically these two are opposites. The Curve default is a little on the lean side with fantastic detail without overdoing it. The Dorado is on the warm smooth side, but still has that nice smooth mid-range and treble.

    For me personally I'd take the Curve and EQ to suit – but that is simply my preference at play. The Dorado has a warm smooth signature which will appeal to many – its simply a little too much on the dark side for me.


    VALUE

    So how do I see the overall value of the Dorado? $999 is in the upper echelons of price for an IEM, but the build quality is outstanding and if the signature suits your preferences it will be absolutely worth it. For a single dynamic though, and considering how many really good IEMs are existing in the $250-600 range though, the Dorado will never be regarded as a “bargain”. Fair pricing given the material and hand-made build (including the quality and care with driver matching). I do think that it is somewhat unique in the earphones I've reviewed. This combination of signature and quality is (like the Lyra II) not abundant in the market.

    CAMPFIRE AUDIO DORADO – SUMMARY

    The Dorado is an extremely well built and designed hybrid IEM with a very good ergonomic fit, and is easily one of the most comfortable of the Campfire IEMs I've personally tried. Some may find the longer nozzle problematic (if you have small canals) – but personally I love it. The SPC Litz cable is also brilliant, and a step-up from the Tinsel cable which was supplied with the earlier Campfire models.

    Sonically the Dorado has a definite warm, smooth and slightly dark emphasis, and while the upper mids and lower treble are nicely extended, for my personal tastes they were just a touch too much on the smooth side and slightly masked by the lower end warmth.

    At RRP of $999 the Dorado represents fair (OK) value for the quality you get, and I would recommend them to anyone who really likes this type of signature. For me personally they do not quite fit my overall signature preferences. I can see the appeal though and for anyone who like this type of signature they should definitely be considered. Once again for the scoring I put them through my new table system which you can see below.

    Once again I’d like to thank Ken and Mark for making this opportunity available.


    Scoring Chart
    HeadphonesCampfire Dorado (out of 10)
    My ScoreOut Of WeightingWeighted Score
    Accessories8.5105.00%0.425
    Build9.51010.00%0.95
    Design9.5105.00%0.475
    Fit/Comfort9.01015.00%1.350
    Sound Quality
    Bass Quality8.0108.00%0.64
    Mid-range Quality8.0108.00%0.64
    Treble Quality7108.00%0.56
    Overall Tonality7.0108.00%0.56
    Clarity6.0108.00%0.48
    Stage/Imaging7.5108.00%0.60
    Value61017.00%1.02
    TOTALS86110100.00%7.70


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  4. Jackpot77
    Campfire Audio's latest search for audio gold - the Dorado is a triple driver hybrid with added sparkle
    Written by Jackpot77
    Published Jan 1, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Full bodied bass, great extension at both ends of the spectrum, forward vocal ranges, unusual W shaped tuning, great airiness and treble sparkle
    Cons - W shaped sound can push mid-range instruments a little further back in the sound, long nozzle may not be ideal for everyone
    20161125_143933_HDR.jpg
     
    Campfire Audio Dorado – initial impressions
     
    I have recently been lucky enough to get the chance to hear the three newest models from the Campfire Audio IEM range (the Lyra II, the Dorado and the Vega). After spending some quality time with the Lyra II and the Vega, The Dorado was my last port of call on my mini-tour around the sound signatures of the latest Ken Ball creations. Both of the dynamic driver IEMs made quite an impression on me, so I was very keen to see what sort of added benefits a pair of balanced armatures from the Jupiter/Andromeda setup could offer to the already excellent Campfire DD capabilities.
     
    Disclaimer – the Dorado were provided to me free of charge by Campfire Audio for the duration of this review solely for the purpose of listening and writing up my honest and unbiased impressions. If I want to keep them afterwards, I will need to purchase them off Campfire Audio.
     
    About me: been into music since I was old enough to walk, and now been into the audio gear scene for a couple of years. I’m in my late 30s, a long time rock music fan and aspiring to be a reasonably inept drummer. Listen to at least 2 hours of music a day on my commute to work – prefer IEMs for out and about, and a large pair of headphones when I have the house to myself and a glass in my hand. Converted most of my library to FLAC and 320kbps MP3, and do most of my other listening through Spotify or Tidal HiFi. I am a fan of rock, acoustic (apart from folk) and sarcasm. Oh yeah, and a small amount of electronica. Not a basshead, but I do love a sound with some body to it. Please take all views expressed below with a pinch of salt – all my reviews are a work in progress based on my own perceptions and personal preferences, and your own ears may tell you a different story.
     
    20161125_144055_HDR.jpg
     
    Tech specs
     
    Frequency – 5 Hz to 27 kHz
    Sensitivity – 107 dB SPL/mW
    Impedance – 15 Ohms @ 1kHz
    Driver – single 8.5mm beryllium PVD dynamic driver and dual HF Balanced Armature drivers with TAEC technology
    Housing – Liquidmetal alloy
    Connection type – MMCX
     
    20161125_144034_HDR.jpg
     
    Unboxing
    (If you have read my review for the Lyra II or Vega, feel free to skip straight to the sound section – the Dorado shares both identical packaging and shell design to the other two IEMs, so some sections are pretty much identical)
     
    The Dorado follows the usual Campfire Audio presentation style, coming in a small box just marginally bigger than the hard leather carry case it contains. The box is a dark burgundy colour, with silver constellations patterned on the outside and a nice picture of the IEMs on the front. There is also a brief description of the technology inside and the Campfire branding, but no major graphs or specifications. The box opens up to show a nice black leather carry case inside, with the usual Campfire Audio embossed logo and zippered closure. Removing the carry case, there is a false floor on the box, underneath which the various loadout of eartips (foam, silicon and Spinfit in various sizes) and a Campfire Audio pin are nestled, along with a cleaning tool, warranty card and small booklet with more technical information on your purchase and instructions on how to use them for those people unfamiliar with operating high tech ear-gear. Opening the carry case completes the gear list, containing the IEMs and silver litz cable, some Velcro cable ties and two small velour bags to keep the heads of the IEMs from clunking into each other when they are stored, all nestled in the fluffy fake wool interior of the case.
     
    The accessory package is simple but comprehensive, with the beautifully designed carry case and the well thought out cable and tip selection giving a premium feel to proceedings, proving that you don’t need to inundate the buyer with technical data or hundreds of add-ons in order to give a high-end unboxing experience. The small footprint of the outer packaging also has more practical use, as it makes it far easier to store than the usual foam filled presentation boxes you tend to get with other IEMs in this sort of price bracket.
     
    20161125_143909_HDR.jpg
     
    Build quality and ergonomics
     
    In contrast to their all-BA lineup (Nova, Andromeda and Jupiter), the Portland-based manufacturer have decided to go with a Liquidmetal™ alloy housing for the Dorado rather than machined aluminium, with a smaller footprint and more curvy appearance than the aluminium models, and echoing the new shell design of the Lyra II and Vega models, with a longer nozzle being the only difference over the two single driver models.
     
    The use of Liquidmetal is an interesting but logical choice for the high-end IEM market – the substance is actually an amorphous alloy rather than a literal “liquid metal” (such as Mercury), but it brings various qualities to the table that normal metal shells find difficult to match. It is lighter and stronger than titanium, extremely durable and resistant to both corrosion and wear and has a glass-like melting point due to its densely packed atomic structure that allows it to be moulded almost like plastic while hot. For a company known for its finely honed internal tuning structures and excellent shell designs, this is a logical evolution, allowing production of high volumes of complex casings with greater ease than traditional metals. In practice, the shells are light, very strong and give the feel of a piece of machinery designed to last. The only major difference in design is the accommodation of the patented Campfire TAEC (Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber) to provide a tubeless resonating chamber for the BA drivers to fire into, to allow for greater expansion and airiness in the treble. This chamber is housed in the nozzle of the IEM, which necessitates it having a neck almost twice as long as the other two new models. This may sound like a lot, but this only leaves the IEMs sitting a little further outside your ears – for my personal ear anatomy, I’m not able to get a deep insertion without an awkward seal, so using foam tips, the IEMs protrude slightly further out of my ears than the more flush fitting Vega and Lyra II in order to get a good “plug” with the surface of my ear canal. The foam tips and shell shape make this comfortable, but it feels less secure and a little more awkward than the other two models. If you have ear canals that can get a good seal with a deeper insertion, this issue should go away slightly, so I don’t consider this a major dealbreaker, although a shallow nozzle  and deeper body on future hybrids would certainly be my preference.
     
    Campfire Audio also deviate from the norm with the connectors, using a standard MMCX style socket but bolstering the connection points with a custom beryllium copper fixing, which they claim is more robust than the usual brass connectors found on most IEMs. This should lead to increased longevity of the connector over multiple cable connections and disconnections. In use, the cable clicks into the housing with a very solid sounding thud, and seems to be pretty locked in, with less play or wobble than most other MMCX style IEMs I have used. A few weeks is obviously nowhere near long enough to test the claims of the manufacturer about how long the connectors will last, but initial impressions definitely don’t give me any cause to doubt Campfire’s marketing copy here.
     
    When mentioning build and ergonomics, the Silver Litz cable included as standard with the Dorado is befitting of a product in this price bracket, and is also sold as a standalone item on the ALO Audio site for $149, which should give you some indication of the comparative quality. When looking at IEMs that have just been acquired, some may feel the need to break out a more expensive “upgrade” cable to get the most out of the sonic capabilities – I am neither a believer or disbeliever when it comes to cable theory, and don’t have any more expensive MMCX cables in my inventory to try with the Dorado, but in terms of quality and sound I am certainly not left with the feeling that these NEED upgrading out of the box to unlock the potential in the IEMs. The only gripes I have are with the memory wire portions around the ears, which I always feel don’t play brilliantly with the rotating connection offered by an MMCX connector, and the L-shaped plug at the end. While the L-plug is a nice and sturdy example of this type of connector, I find the pin just slightly too short to fit comfortably into the audio jack of my phone with a thick third party phone cover fitted, due to the circumference of the connector housing where it meets the pin – one possible area for improvement in an otherwise excellent design.
     
    Overall, a good but not stellar start – the metal housings and quality of construction and accessories are both top notch, but the necessary extension of the IEM nozzle to accommodate the TAEC chamber that provides the sparkling highs brings a tradeoff in wearing comfort that make these stick a little further out of the ear than I would like. For people with different ear anatomy or narrower canals (to get a good seal with smaller tips) then this will be less of an issue, so it certainly isn’t a major design problem.
     
    20161222_201345_HDR.jpg
     
    Sound quality
     
    Test gear:
    LG G5 (with HiFi Plus 32-bit Sabre DAC add-on)
    Hifiman Supermini
    Fiio X7 (with AM2 module)
    RHA Dacamp L1 (unbalanced)
     
    Test tracks (mainly 320kbps MP3 or FLAC/Tidal HiFi):
    Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – S.O.B. / Wasting Time
    Blackberry Smoke – The Whipporwill (album)
    Slash – Shadow Life / Bad Rain (my reference tracks for bass impact and attack, guitar “crunch”)
    James Bay – The Chaos & The Calm
    Sister Hazel – Hello, It’s Me (bass tone)
    Chris Stapleton – Whiskey And You
    Elvis – various
    Leon Bridges – Coming Home (album)
    Foy Vance – The Wild Swan
    Daft Punk – Random Access Memories (album)
    Aerosmith – The Definitive Aerosmith
    Mavis Staples – Livin’ On A High Note
    Twin Atlantic – The Great Divide / GLA
    The Darkness – Permission To Land
    Led Zeppelin – Mothership
    Shawn Mullins – Soul’s Core
    Sammy Hagar & The Circle – At Your Convenience (live album for audience sounds)
     
    20161125_144121_HDR.jpg
     
    General impressions on the sound signature
     
    As the first “hybrid” (dynamic driver and balanced armature) model of the Campfire Audio range, the Dorado follows the well trodden route taken by most hybrids, with a mildly V-shaped signature. The single beryllium dynamic driver from the Lyra II deals with the bass and some of the midrange, with the dual-BA array from the Jupiter and Andromeda models taking care of the higher frequencies. The bass is thick and solid, giving a great sense of substance to the lower frequencies and remaining pretty well balanced between mid and sub-bass. The midrange is actually more W-shaped than V-shaped, with a vocal ranges being lifted slightly further forward in the overall presentation to stand closer to level with the emphasised bass and treble, with the lower and higher midrange sitting slightly further back overall. This takes some of the trademark thickness of the Vega or Lyra II away in the mid-range instrumentation, giving the impression that the bass is a little more emphasised that it actually is on some tracks. The highs are notably more “shimmery” than the Vega, with a nice feeling of air and extension and an openness to the sound that is different from the more solid sounding Vega or the more relaxed Lyra II. This is another different tuning from the technical gurus at Campfire, and fits very nicely with electronica and some more orchestral music.
     
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    Highs
     
    As the only hybrid model currently available in Campfire’s lineup, the Dorado has the benefit of the dual-BA tweeters and tuning chamber tech from the Jupiter and Andromeda, to bolster the sound coming from the 8.5mm dynamic driver and takes full advantage of these to produce a very clean and airy sounding treble, with fantastic extension (27kHz is quoted on the spec sheet) and a crispness and definition that really brings electronic music to life. The treble carries a decent weight to notes, not quite as “solid” as its older sibling the Vega but still giving a decent sense of body in the higher registers. I haven’t heard the Andromeda or Jupiter (yet!) so I can’t make a direct comparison here, but the overall impression is of slightly more air and the difficult to define but easier to hear “sparkle” on the real high frequencies. In terms of extension, the Dorado holds firm right up in the top of my hearing range, with plenty of apparent extension and no obvious roll-off in the higher registers.
     
    Pushing through my normal test playlist, “Starlight” by Slash and Myles Kennedy is up first. Listening to the guitar harmonics on the intro gives a nice sense of emphasis on the high notes without bringing any harshness into the mix, providing a thin and sharp rapier of treble that cuts through the background noise with ease but doesn’t leave a mark on your eardrum in the process. Kennedy’s falsetto is also equally well handled, soaring up into the rafters with its trademark blend of helium and gravel with a beautiful clarity and smoothness to the sound. Trying my usual “go to” tracks for screechiness and sibilance draws a blank, with plenty of emphasis on the troublesome frequencies, but the sonic heat and unpleasantness that some drivers can emphasise being traded for a smooth and clean edge to the sound. “Whiskey And You” by Chris Stapleton is a good example of this, with the raw sound of his voice on the chorus bringing all the nuance of his booze-fuelled roar without any of the harsh edges.
    Percussion is crisp and metallic in the cymbal and hi-hat, sitting quite high up in the soundscape and splashing nicely across the top of the sound. Cymbals decay pretty quickly, so are on the polite rather than overbearing side for me, but the airiness of the sound does give a nice sense of reality to each hit. In terms of detail and “room sound”, the Dorado is capable of plenty of micro-detailing, which is more apparent in the treble register rather than the midrange due to the tuning. The good extension on the BA drivers also gives the sound a nice 3D feel and sense of space to my ears.
     
    Switching over to some electronica, the BA drivers come into their element, with tracks from the likes of The Prodigy, Sigma and The Chemical Brothers all sounding larger than life and suitably euphoric with the synth-driven melodies floating around the listener’s ears effortlessly. “Go” from the Chemical Brothers sounds particularly good through these IEMs, with the huge bass presence being sweetened by the sparkling keyboard lines and synth sounds to balance the sound into one very accomplished slab of modern dance music.  
    Compared to the Vega, the Dorado offers a more delicate and shimmering take on treble presentation, sacrificing a little note weight and feeling of solidity for a sense of sparkle and space that plays very well with certain genres of music.
     
    20161125_144333_HDR.jpg
     
    Mids
     
    As this is somewhere between a V and W shaped tuning, the midrange is subjectively the weakest area of the frequency response for me in comparison to the other two (in context, this is more like winning silver at the Olympics rather than gold as opposed to actually being bad). The tuning here is still pretty accomplished, with a lift in the vocal ranges bringing male and female voices further forward in the soundscape compared to the other mid-range instrumentation, helping keep them on par with the fizz of the treble and the slam of the bass without sinking into the background. Either side of the vocals, the sound slides a little further backwards into the central downstrokes of the “W”, pulling guitars and piano into the middle ground behind the singer. This is only really noticeable in comparison with either of its fraternal brothers (Lyra II or Vega) from the new range, where the slight recession and accompanying loss of presence and thickness can be heard in direct comparison. For fans of music that relies primarily on bass or treble, with a smattering of vocals thrown in, this will pass unnoticed, but for fans of more guitar based fare this will be easier to pick out.
     
    In terms of vocals, the Dorado carries the signature smoothness and emotive delivery that has become one of Campfire’s hallmarks, handling both male and female singers equally well. The presentation is smooth and grain-free, allowing the texture in Otis Redding’s voice to come through nicely on “Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay” without losing the distinctive silky smoothness of his delivery. Listening to “Mother Maria” by Slash and Beth Hart, the singer’s voice sounds husky and breathless, little inflections into the microphone filling the background of the sound and leaving the image of the singer leaning forward to sing right down into the top of your skull. Acoustic guitars are also dealt with very well by the Dorado, with the thinner and crisper sound of the strings sounding clean and defined, providing a nice counterpoint to the emotion of the vocals. Switching to more electric guitar based fare, the riffs still chug away with energy and crispness, but lack a little of the extra thickness that both the Lyra II and Vega can provide to really fill out the sound. In comparison to something like the Ibasso IT03, the Dorado still has a nice weight to the midrange, but it is definitely the most lean through the middle of the three new models.
     
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    Bass
     
    The Vega is commonly seen as the “bass monster” of the new range, but for me, the Dorado can actually feel bassier on certain tracks. This is mainly due to the V/W shape of the sound, with the more recessed elements of the midrange leaving the bass feeling bigger in comparison. The bass sinks deep and carries all of the impressive weight of the other two new models, showing good speed and definition for a dynamic driver and providing plenty of physical “slam” to go along with the precision and the power.
     
    Starting with more Slash, “Bad Rain” kicks hard in the lower registers, the rasping bassline that underpins proceedings carrying plenty of weight, and feeling crisp and textured as it thuds away. Like the other two new models, there is a fairly even balance between sub and mid bass, and a heavy “weight” to the sound that feels substantial and authoritative as it builds the foundations of each track. Despite the weight, the bass is agile and quick for a dynamic driver, without any feeling of sloppiness or boom to the sound. Picking out the bass guitar of “Hello, It’s Me” by Sister Hazel, the Dorado handles the smooth and velvety bassline easily, providing a nice edge of texture as the guitar strings vibrate and fingers slide up and down the fretboard to go along with the chocolatey smoothness of the underpinning riff. Percussion sounds also come across well on this track, with the simple kick drum pattern providing a sharp impact without blending or overpowering the rest of the lower range. There is a sense of physicality to the drum impacts that add something a little extra to the sound over an all-BA setup, with the movement of air in the ear canal bringing a level of realism to percussion that is quite absorbing.
     
    Putting some Daft Punk on rotation, the balance throughout the bass is apparent, with the downstrokes of the bass in the early part of the song (around the 15 second mark) not losing any power or definition as it flirts with sub-bass. Flipping over to “Heaven” by Emile Sande, the sub-bass makes a nice thrumming sound in my ears as the sound kicks in, sitting nicely below the thumping kick drum and making my eyes wobble ever so slightly with the perceived vibration when the volume is cranked up. This is an IEM equally at home with mid or sub bass heavy tunes, holding a nice line between the two and extending low enough to highlight the relevant frequencies where needed. Picking another track a fellow head-fi’er asked me to check out recently for another IEM comparison, “On My Level” by Wiz Khalifa positively pulses, giving the impression of listening to a proper set of over-ears or a floor standing speaker on occasion with the physical sensation of the sub-bass humming in the ear. In summary, the Dorado has a full, physical and meaty bass, balanced nicely between mid and sub bass and definitely holding enough presence to keep all but the most insane bass-heads happy, without blurring or colouring the rest of the signature too far. Like the Lyra II and Vega, this is another very nicely tuned lower end, and should keep the lilely target audience for this IEM (electronica listeners) very happy.
     
    20161125_143834_HDR.jpg
     
    Soundstage/separation
     
    The Dorado has a decent-sized soundstage, not spectacular in width but carrying sound a little outside the confines of the listener’s head from left and right and having a decent sense of depth to provide a more believable sense of space. In terms of separation, the Dorado has no problem keeping the boundaries of each instrument intact, with spatial cues firing off around the audio landscape and allowing for multiple guitar lines or percussion to be tracked with little effort from the listener. The overall impression of the sound is slightly less forward than the Vega or Lyra II due to the dips around the vocals in the midrange – this can occasionally be noticed on multi-instrumental tracks with plenty of “centre-stage” sound and a heavy vocal line – it doesn’t sound muddled, but in contrast to the exemplary separation and staging of the Vega, the vocals can sit a little in front of the other mid-band sounds on occasion.
     
    20161222_201929_HDR.jpg
     
    Tip and cable choice
     
    As with the other new models in the range, foam tips are recommended for the Dorado, and given the more unusual shape of the stem on this model, this is definitely the best fit for me, with various silicon and combination-style tips from my collection all struggling to get an ideal seal or sound. I have actually found myself needing to move up one size to the largest tips on offer to get a good seal in my ear canals, but once that was done, the seal was ideal. These are slightly less comfortable and secure than the Lyra II or Vega for me personally, but not an uncomfortable fitting IEM overall. In line with the other Campfire IEMs I have heard, the included Litz cable is of sufficient quality for me not to think about resorting to a third-party solution.
     
    20161125_144231_HDR.jpg
     
    Power requirements
     
    Like most Campfire IEMs, the Dorado are pretty easy to drive off most sources, with a nominal sensitivity of 107 dB and resistance of 15 Ohms. They sit comfortably around the 60 mark on the Fiio X7 for me, with plenty of headroom for further juice if needed. They will also play nicely off my mobile phone, although despite the volume, the dynamic capabilities of the drivers are a little lost (as expected).
    Much like the Vega, the Dorado benefit from a quality source chain, singing more sweetly with a mid or higher tier DAP / AMP combo if given the chance. I don’t think these will ever sound “bad”, but spending $1000 on a set of IEMs just to listen to them through your phone is not really making the most of their unique capabilities. Putting them to work with the Fiio X7 (AM2) or an afternoon with the new RHA Dacamp L1 on medium gain definitely seems to bring a little more out of the drivers in terms of separation and tightness to my ears, with the quality dynamic driver responding well to the extra voltage.
     
    20161125_144305_HDR.jpg
     
    Comparisons
     
    Campfire Audio Vega – this is the current co-flagship in the Campfire Audio range, sitting at the top of the price tree at $1299, just about the Dorado and Andromeda.In terms of signature, the Dorado is more of a traditional V or W shape than the Vega, with a relatively more laid back mid range, a thick bass and great airy treble. In comparison to the Vega, the bass feels a little more boosted in comparison to the lower midrange, giving a bassier “feel”, even if the volume of output is actually pretty similar. The bass descends just as deep on the Vega, but feels more crisp and controlled in direct comparison, with the Dorado’s own excellent bass presentation sounding a little boomy when listened to in tandem with the exceptional lower end tuning of the Vega. Moving through to the mids, the Vega sounds less laid back and more forward and energetic throughout the range, with a unique “all forward” presentation style that manages to keep the sound in balance while giving emphasis in each frequency range. In direct comparison, the lower and higher midrange of the Dorado don’t sound as thick or textured as the Vega, tailing off on either end of the vocals and leaning more towards the “V” shaped landscape familiar to most audiophiles. Moving on to the treble, the Dorado has an airier and more “sparkly” feeling treble, the dual-BA tweeters taking up most of the workload in tandem with Campfire’s patented TAEC technology (Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber) to provide an airier sound to the high notes, with a good feeling of space. It loses out a bit on note weight in the higher range as a result, but for fans of a more traditional BA style high end tuning, this may appeal more than the more grounded and solid feeling treble of the Vega, with more of a sense of “fizz” to proceedings. In terms of driving power, the Dorado feel easier to drive than the Vega, but only by a small amount (probably due to the comparative bass “boost”. Overall, the Dorado provide a more “fun” and V/W shaped tuning, pushing bass and treble more to the forefront, and losing a bit of richness in the midrange as a result. Both are definitely up there in term of overall signature, with the Vega just edging it for me personally due to its better balance and richer sounding mid-range, with slightly better micro-detailing apparent through the middle of the sonic spectrum as well. For fans of a crisper and less rich sound or an airier high-end, the Dorado rightly deserves to be talked about in a similar bracket to the Vega purely on technical achievement. The only area where there is clear daylight between the two models for me is fit, with the Dorado’s giraffe-like stems causing my very wide but apparently not incredibly deep ear canals a bit more difficulty getting a good seal then the more ergonomic barrel design of the Vega.
     
    20161125_143600_HDR.jpg
     
    Ibasso IT03 – the IT03 is another triple-hybrid IEM, and the first in-ear offering from the well-respected DAP manufacturer. It currently retails at about ¼ of the price of the Campfire IEM at c. $250, but has had plenty of comparisons with IEMs in far higher pricing brackets, so I thought it was worth including here. Like the Dorado, it comes with one single dynamic driver (slightly larger, at 9.2mm compared to the Dorado’s 8.5mm effort) and two BA drivers for the higher end sounds. In terms of overall packaging and presentation, the Ibasso definitely holds its own, with a high quality cable and multiple tips and a leather carry pouch. In terms of accessories, the included ALO cabling feels better constructed and higher end than the more supple but tangle prone Ibasso cabling, and the carry case is har and more practical, but these are only small considerations. Fit is definitely won by the Ibasso, which sports a “semi-custom” shell design to fit very ergonomically in my ears, and also helps to block a little more ambient noise than the slightly more awkward fitting but smaller Liquidmetal shells of the Dorado. Moving on to sound, the IT03 is a leaner and more neutral tuning than the V/W of the Dorado, with just an extra helping of sub-bass making it deviate from a more or less flattish signature. The bass is more tilted towards sub and mid frequencies on the IT03, and loses a little thickness and substance compared to the more weighty Dorado as it moves up through the mid-bass. Extension and speed are similar, with both drivers feeling quick and punchy, adding definition and speed to match the physical impact. In terms of mid-range, the IT03 sounds sharper and more etched than the Dorado, with a less weighty presentation across the board. Vocals are similar on both, with the IT03 coming across with a leaner tone in comparison, with less of the full and smooth sound of the Dorado. Detailing levels aren’t a million miles away on both IEMs, with the Dorado shading the contest in terms of overall clarity to my ears, despite the additional note thickness – the leaner presentation of the IT03 makes surface detailing more stark in contrast to the musical background but not necessarily resolving everything with the same clarity as the Dorado. Moving on to treble, the IT03 has a crunchier tuning, with a thinner (but not thin) note weight and a crisper feel. Airiness is similar on both IEMs, just being shaded by the IT03 due to the more neutral signature and less chunky sound. Again, detail levels are high on both, with the dual-BA setup from the Andromeda and Jupiter models allowing the Dorado to best the IT03 again in terms of overall clarity. In terms of driving power, the Dorado is easier to drive. Overall, this is a closer contest than the pricetag indicates, with the IT03 holding its own in multiple areas and definitely managing to give the Dorado a bloody nose before going down swinging. For my ears the Dorado pulls ahead with its superior sense of weight and fullness, sacrificing some of the clear and clean neutrality of the IT03 for a more engaging and substantial sound. If you are on a tighter budget, the IT03 will certainly provide about 85-90% of the overall Dorado performance for about 25% of the price, but if you have the cash, the Dorado is the better option for me.
     
    20170101_152550_HDR.jpg
     
    RHA CL1 Ceramic – the CL1 Ceramic is a new IEM from RHA, which has just been released and is currently on “tour” with various Head-Fi’ers around the globe (including myself). The CL1 is in a lower price bracket than the Dorado at approximately $400-$425 at current RRP. It contains a single wideband dynamic driver and one ceramic plate driver in a hybrid configuration, with a ceramic housing similar in composition to the original Campfire Lyra. In terms of presentation and accessories, the CL1 Ceramic is definitely aimed at the higher end of the market, with multiple tip options, an excellent presentation and two very high grade cables (actually eclipsing the ALO Litz cable of the Dorado in terms of build quality and thickness/feel). Ergonomics are also won by the CL1, with a small pebble-shaped shell that fits very nicely in the inner ear, and a nice over-ear memory wire arrangement on the cables that keep things very comfortable and secure. In terms of driveability, the CL1 requires an amp to sound good, with an impedance of 150 Ohms and sensitivity of 89dB, so is considerably harder to drive and less “portable” without the right amplification stack. In terms of sound, the Dorado has a fuller bass (both sub and mid), with similar speed and a slightly lower “feel” in terms of extension than the CL1, which has a bass presence that is just a little north of neutral in comparison. Midrange is also fuller on the Dorado, with a more lush feel to the vocals compared to the leaner sounding CL1. Detail levels are similar on both, with the Dorado providing the same level of detail as the analytical sounding CL1 despite the thicker overall sound. Separation and soundstaging are similar, with the CL1 being able to keep pace with the Dorado Treble is thinner and crispier on the CL1, with a near-limitless extension on the spec sheet translating to a crisp and sparkly overall sound in the higher registers in comparison to the Dorado’s clear and clean treble. The CL1 can feel a little crystalline in comparison, which fans of a crunchy and sharp treble may prefer. Overall, despite the cost differentiation, the Dorado is a clear winner again for me in terms of signature, and for the fact that it doesn’t require an amp to realise its full potential in terms of sound(which will add another few hundred dollars to the overall cost of the CL1). The CL1 will appeal more towards people who like a thin and razor-edged sound signature with a hint of bass and texture in the lower end, as opposed to the more traditional V/W shape of the Dorado and the fuller and more textured sound.
     
    20170101_152611_HDR.jpg
     
    LZ-A4 – the LZ-A4 are the latest iteration of the LZ series of IEMs from the mysterious Chinese designer (known only as Mr LZ). They are a triple driver hybrid with a single DD and two custom made balanced armatures, with adjustable tuning filters in two different locations on the IEM shell, giving a total of 18 different configurations to affect the frequency response. These are way below the Dorado’s RRP, coming in at around $200 or less including shipping at the moment. Like the IT03 above, they are a very accomplished set of in-ears, and currently riding a well deserved wave of praise on the forums here, so I have included them for context. In terms of build and presentation, the A4 have an all metal shell resembling a car turbo, and are a fair bit bigger than the svelte Dorado (nozzle excluded). The packaging, while decent, is also a cut under the polish on the Dorado in my opinion, although certainly good enough for the price bracket. In terms of ergonomics, the large and pretty heavy housings on the A4 can be worn up or down, but sit a little looser in my ears than the Dorado when using silicon tips. The cable is a good example of an MMCX cable with low microphonics and a nice build, but again, a little notch below the ALO Litz that comes with the Dorado. In terms of sound, comparing all 18 signatures would take all day, so I have based my comparisons on my favourite two filter settings (Red back filter and either black or green front filters). The Dorado is easier to drive than the A4, requiring less power to hit good listening volumes.
     
    Starting with the bass, the Dorado has a fuller and thicker bass presence, compared to the more subdued and lean (in comparison) sounding bass on the A4. Both drivers produce great extension and levels of sub-bass, with the A4 sounding more like the IT03 in terms of overall presentation there compared to the Dorado. Speed and definition are similar, with the Dorado just sounding a little crisper around the edges of the bass notes with its custom beryllium dynamic driver. Mid range can be brought forward or back on the A4 depending on the filters, but with the green filters vocals feel slightly more emphasised than the Dorado, and the black filters are roughly the same. The overall tone is again slightly less full, but still very nuanced – the impression of detail retrieval on the A4 far exceeds its price tag, and doesn’t leave the listener feeling short changed. Where the edges around the vocals are slightly further back on the Dorado, the A4 is comparatively more flat in presentation, leaving everything sounding very coherent. Moving up to the treble, the A4 has a crystal clear tone and excellent extension – it can sound thinner or thicker depending on the filters, but it gives a similar crispness to the excellent Dorado twin-BA setup with the green filters, with the Dorado just sounding slightly more “sparkling”. In terms of soundstage, the A4 has one of the biggest soundstages I have heard in an IEM outside of the old Aurisonics range, and is markedly wider and deeper than the tighter “sphere” the Dorado produces. It still retains great cohesion, and separation and placement of instruments feel similar on both IEMs. Overall, the A4 has a slightly wider and less sparkling sound than the Dorado, with noticeably less bass and overall fullness to the sound. The detail levels sound similar, with the Dorado pulling ahead in overall resolution, but not by a noticeable margin to my ears for normal “non-critical” listening. Like the IT03, the fact that a $200 IEM can come close to the Dorado says more about the prowess of the A4 than any fault of the Dorado – to be clear, the Dorado is definitely a tier up from the A4 overall, with just a little more clarity, more bass and body, and wins for me in terms of overall preference, but for the relative price difference, that isn’t surprising.
     
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    Overall conclusions
     
    After hearing the two very different takes on single dynamic driver tunings in the recent Campfire Audio releases, I was unsure where exactly they were going to head with the more traditional “triple hybrid” sound. Instead of retreading the usual “warm and smooth” or “fun and energetic” V shaped tunings prevalent in the market at the moment, they have taken a little detour and come up with something different, treading the line between full and textured and light and sparkly. The excellent bass foundation brings life and substance to the music, and the dual-BA setup adds a little sparkle to proceedings that the more energetic Vega and the more subdued Lyra II both miss in comparison. The vocal prominence helps with coherence, giving the sound more body in the certain areas that would otherwise be neglected in a true “V” shaped tuning. This lift in the midrange is also ironically my one bone of contention with these IEMs, with the additional “beef” in the voices highlighting the more recessed instrumentation around them on more busy tracks. This is very much nitpicking rather than an actual concern, and it certainly hasn’t stopped me enjoying these IEMs immensely in the time I have had with them, but for my preferences, this is what costs the Dorado its full complement of 5 stars. Another Campfire IEM, another unique tuning in their range – this is an excellent, full bodied sound that will appeal most to fans of electronic music, or people who want the body and slam of a TOTL dynamic driver with a dash of the sparkle and airiness that is commonly written about from their all-BA flagship the Andromeda. Like the Vega, this IEM won’t be everything to everyone (especially at the $1k price mark), and for fans of a mid-centric (rather than vocal-centric) sound, the dips in the range may lead them elsewhere, but for most people, this will be an excellent and very engaging listen. It has great build quality, reasonable ergonomics (that long stem won’t be for everyone, but works well enough for me) and the standard high-quality Campfire accessories. With IEMs in this price bracket, it is as much about personal listening preference as accomplishment, but these IEMs can certainly rub shoulders with the much-lauded Vega without feeling any sense of technical inadequacy. Overall, a well though, technically capable and more importantly enjoyable sound. For Ken and his team, it is yet another case of “Nicely Done”.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. glassmonkey
      Excellent as usual! Thank you for such an engaging read.
      glassmonkey, Jan 2, 2017
    3. Intensecure
      Nice read, definitely something to aspire too for those who love the sound of good hybrids.
      Intensecure, Feb 12, 2017
    4. Intensecure
      Nice read. For those who enjoy good hybrids this looks like something excellent to aspire to.
      Intensecure, Feb 12, 2017
  5. alffla
    Energetic
    Written by alffla
    Published Nov 29, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - "V shaped” sound with powerful dynamic driver bass and exceptional highs provided by the dual high balanced armatures, great build, seamless crossover
    Cons - The nozzle is quite long and wide, this might not be a snug “nestled in the ear” fit for everyone
    Dorado03.jpg

     
    Not satisfied with having just a superstar pure balanced armature and a pure dynamic driver product selection, Campfire Audio has also decided to begin their foray into hybrid territory with their latest release – the Dorado.

    We would like to thank Campfire Audio for supplying us with the Dorado free of charge for this review. The Campfire Audio Dorado goes for about 999USD. You can click ​
    here
     for more information.​


    Campfire Audio has hit it out of the ballpark with every single one of their releases ever since their humble beginnings with the Orion, Lyra, and Jupiter. They’ve showcased their ability to provide amazing sonic quality regardless of driver configuration by employing innovative technologies such as tubeless resonator chambers, showing a stalwart defiance to the idea that the only way to increase quality is by doubling and tripling the amount of balanced armatures.

    With the Campfire Audio Dorado, they’ve showcased their willingness to even further expand their repertoire by employing a hybrid 1DD2BA configuration, and as someone who’s been a long time fan of hybrid IEMs, I have to say they have another winner on their hands.

    Dorado04.jpg

    Summary

    For those who don’t like reading, here’s a summary. But you should probably read the detailed review anyway.

    Pros

    1. Hard hitting, “V shaped” sound with powerful dynamic driver bass and exceptional highs provided by the dual high balanced armatures​
    2. Generally very well resolved sound throughout the entire frequency range​
    3. Seamless blending of the crossover between the dynamic driver and balanced armatures​
    4. Tiny housing will fit most ears​
    5. Liquid metal alloy housing has amazing build quality​

    Cons

    1. Bass frequency range is tuned to be a little boomy; slight bleed over into mids​
    2. The mids aren’t the most detailed​
    3. The nozzle is quite long and wide, this might not be a snug “nestled in the ear” fit for everyone​

    Dorado01.jpg
     
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    Specs

    Driver Configuration (per side)8.5mm PVD Beryllium Dynamic Driver + 2 balanced armature drivers per side
    Frequency Response5Hz-27kHz
    Sensitivity107 dB SPL/mW
    Impedance15 Ohms @ 1kHz
    Cable3.5mm plug Litz Wire Cable by Campfire Audio
    AccessoriesFaux leather earphone carrying case
    2 small carrying pouches
    3 pairs of Foam tips (S, M, L)
    3 pairs of Silicon tips (S, M, L) 
    3 pairs of SpinFit tips (S, M, L)
    1 Campfire Audio logo metal pin

     
    Dorado07.jpg
     
    Design and Ergonomics

    Encased in a liquid metal alloy housing like its brothers the Vega and Lyra 2 but with a matte rose gold finish, the Dorado has a understated sense of class. Unlike the original Campfire balanced armature line, this new series comes in a very compact and round cornered package based off the form of the original Lyra. The finishing of the smooth metal housing is perfect – from the flawlessness of the material at every curve and every chamfered edge, to the seamless transition from metal to matte black plastic at its driver vent and nozzle, this is a testament to Campfire Audio’s dedication to quality.

    However, despite the impressively small package that the Dorado comes in, the nozzle (probably for tuning reasons) is actually quite long – about 1cm long, and also wide enough that I did have to spend some time trying out different tips to find the perfect fit. All of Campfire Audio’s products come with the stock black foam tips fitted, but as I find that foam tends to roll off the top end too much for my liking, I finally settled for the red SpinFits for a comfortable fit paired with a sound that I liked. Even then, Oliver had some qualms that the nozzle made it feel like the IEM was sticking too far out of the ear and did not feel secure enough for him. In comparison, the Vega and Lyra II have more ergonomically designed shorter nozzles.

    Dorado05.jpg

    As for the supplied Campfire Audio Litz Cable – I have nothing but praise for it. Personally, I’m not an advocate of claims that cables will improve the quality of audio, but having spent a lot of time with it, I can attest to its quality of design, durability, and ergonomics. Made of Silver-coated copper, triple braided from the 3.5mm plug up till the the splitter where it splits into 2 dual braided strands protected in a PVC jacket, ending in a MMCX plug, the shiny silver CA Litz cable is impressive in its looks and has also been made to be highly durable. What impressed me the most was how it disappeared from my mind as I was immersed in the music – there are virtually no microphonics at all due to its lightweight and soft design. It’s also quite easy to untangle in the rare event that you do get it tangled up.
     
    Dorado08.jpg
     
    Sound

    Note: This review was done with the SpinFit tips installed; I found that the stock foam tips were too bassy and rolled off the highs too much for my liking.

    If you’re looking for an IEM that has an energetic, warm and fun sound that has a delicate smattering of detail retrieval, look no further. The Dorado has an aggressive bass and lower mids forward sound with succinct highs; its strength lies in a sense of overall immersion rather than surgical detail retrieval.

    Campfire Audio has somehow managed to make use of the same 8.5mm PVD beryllium driver employed in the Lyra II to produce a more enveloping and powerful bass response, and combined with the dual high balanced armature combo taken from the Jupiter and Andromeda, you get a great energetic dynamic driver sound with superb high frequency detail and resolution. The two dual armatures placed in their proprietary TAEC (Tuned Acoustic Expansion, which I suspect is a new name for their tubeless resonator technology that was advertised in the Andromeda and Jupiter) produce unadulterated high frequency quality and extension that most dynamic drivers will have problems recreating without either sibilance or sacrificing some resolution in other frequencies. Most hybrids have somewhat discernable crossover points, but the Dorado’s integration of its hybrid configuration is practically seamless. The sound differences between dynamic and balanced armature are obvious to the experienced audiophile and the transitions can sometimes be heard, but in the Dorado I could only tell because the quality of the high frequency reproduction was so good.

    Dorado09.jpg

    Going back down to the low frequency range, the Dorado has plenty of bass presence and weight to it. It’s not a laidback kind of bass sound that something like the Oriolus has, but is more intimate and with more impact resounding just from around the sub to mid-bass area. At the same time, the impact is not so overwhelming that it becomes the entire focus of the listening experience. Sub-bass tones tend to be rather obvious, giving a rich fullness to this low frequency area, and combined with plentiful amounts of dynamic driver decay it is a sound that will appeal to people with a liking for powerful, warm bass response. The Dorado’s bass sound signature is not for the analytical, detailed listener and walks a fine line between having lots of presence and becoming too boomy.

    The Dorado opens up to the midrange with lots of energy that combined with its punchy bass produces an aggressive forcefulness that lends itself to heavier music such as metal. The relentless ferocity in Every Time I Die’s El Dorado was paired perfectly with the Dorado’s own energetic sound signature. The slight midrange forwardness is served with a good amount of resolution and texture which helps with reinforcing the presence of lower guitar notes and vocals. This high-mid region sounds recessed in comparison to the rest of the frequencies, but not so much that I would confidently call the Dorado a very V-shaped sound signature. Vocals aren’t especially pronounced in the Dorado in more layered music, taking a more neutral if not ever so rolled off approach to the reproduction as we approach the high-mids, but they have a satisfying enough breathy quality and detail to them thanks to a deft high frequency delivery.

    Dorado10.jpg

    Armed with the dual balanced armatures from the Jupiter and Andromeda, the Dorado makes sure you’ll never miss a single high frequency note, twinkle or shimmer even in the busiest of musical passages. The noticeable quality of high to extreme-high frequencies is immediately noticeable and is one of the Dorado’s biggest strengths; there’s never any sibilance, just a clear and scintillating quality to subtleties such as the softly lisping qualities in female vocals, the shimmer of hats and cymbals, or the piercing notes of the piccolo in an orchestral piece.
     
    CATrio2.jpg
     
    Comparisons

    Oriolus v2
    Dorado is intimacy, energy, and slightly rolled off midrange with much warmer overall tone and the cohesion of a dynamic driver sound; the Oriolus is all about a more open sound, still warm, but comparatively ‘drier’ in tone and more revealing in individual details of instruments especially in the mid to high range. The Oriolus also has much more vocal presence as it has a 2kHz peak. Extreme highs are still clear, but dont sound as far reaching or surgically precise as the Dorado.


    Vega

    The Vega has slightly less subbass boominess but has a tighter and solid bass sound that seems to pound into the centre of the head. Vegas mid range frequencies also have better separation. Highs might not nearly be as crisp as the Dorado’s, but the overall energy and transition in midhighs to highs is better in the Vega. I might be heaping praise on the Vega too much here because I really do find it amazing, but honestly the Dorado is no slouch either and is only edged out by the very best.

    Lyra II

    The Dorado most noticeably has a much thicker bass response compared to the Lyra, but the Lyra is more open and laidback sounding with clearer vocals and is relatively more neutral. However, the Dorado’s dual high armatures are way better at hitting those high notes.

    Conclusion

    Big bass is easy to achieve, and the Dorado does have that. But what separates it from the chaff is the quality of its bass, and everything else that comes with it. The Dorado doesn’t just have an energetic bass, the overall resolution and quality of sound that it brings to the table is top notch, and would be my personal recommendation for lovers of heavier, energetic music genres . The implementation of the hybrid configuration is seamless – this IEM is definitely worth checking out. For the price tag of 999USD, the price tag will indeed be steep for many, but compared to other IEMs in this price bracket, the Dorado is right near the top for me.

    Originally posted on my own blog, but would love to share it with the HeadFi community.
    Photo credit @alffla


      FastAndClean and tangents like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. alffla
      @Mistery767 Hi, I think I would choose the Oriolus over the Dorado if you richer, more forward vocals and guitars, but if you are a fan of big bass quantity, go for the Dorado!
      alffla, Mar 8, 2017
    3. alffla
      @Mistery767 *if you prefer richer, more forward vocals (typo!)
      alffla, Mar 8, 2017
    4. Mistery767
      @alffla Thanks! You very much helped!
      Mistery767, Mar 9, 2017
  6. ExpatinJapan
    A brilliantly executed soft v shaped DD and 2 BA IEM
    Written by ExpatinJapan
    Published Nov 10, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Smooth, well tuned V-not excessive, vocals medium forward with the music, a touch of mids to even everything out somewhat
    Cons - Long nozzle takes a bit to get used to, needs aftermarket tips for me.

    Campfire Audio Dorado Review - Expatinjapan

     Head Pie  
     ​
    [​IMG]
     
    Campfire Audio Dorado review​
    -expatinjapan​
     ​
    https://www.campfireaudio.com/shop/dorado/

    `Dorado pairs Dual High-Frequency BA Drivers with the Dynamic Driver to produce sparkling highs and spectacular bass.`
      [​IMG]
     
    I received the Dorado from Ken Ball at the Fujiya Avic headphone show in Tokyo in October, 2016 for review. I had a chance to listen to all new models at the time and listed my short impressions as thus: ​
     
    [​IMG]
     
    (Short time at the show impressions):​
     `The Vega, Dorado and Lyra II​
    The Vega is deep and full sounding. It has excellent clarity and sound stage. The bass hits but is also clean, tight and fast.​
    The Dorado is deeper, and has a medium v shaped signature. Bouncy and energetic. It has a good weight to the sound. Fun but still CA smooth.​
    The Lyra II is more flat...in a sense, it has more mids, warm, even and with great instrument separation. Full with an excellent low end.​
     ​
    In terms of sound signature to my ears (And Ken confirmed I was pretty much on the Ball - excuse my pun).​
    Vega = XXX​
    Dorado = XxX​
    Lyra = XXx`​
     ​
    Of course short impressions at a show or in store can give a hint of what is to come, more is revealed with concentrated and analytical listening and more layers and nuances are discovered.
    I also did not ask how many hours they had on them. They had stock foam tips fitted.​
     ​
    Many a forum thread and item has been over hyped or buried due to over enthusiastic short impressions of the positive or negative variety.

    These CA Dynamic Drivers do need a decent amount of hours on them to tighten and tame up the bass etc​
     ​
    On with the show.....​
     
    Whats in the box?​
     
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    As usual the Dorado is sealed for freshness in a vacuumed sealed pack.​
    I do like the small footprint of the box as I have mentioned in the Jupiter, Nova and Andromeda reviews and Vega and Lyra II unboxings. Its a nice change from some of the over bloated packaging we see these days.​
     
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    As usual Campfire Audio provides a luxurious leather carry case​
     
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    The earphones each come safely clothed in a small red velvet bag​
     
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    These photos show the color of the Dorado quite well, a kind of bronzed gold color​
     
    [​IMG]
     
    [​IMG]
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    Sturdy and solid MMCX connectors as on all Campfire Audio earphones​
     
    [​IMG]
     
    [​IMG]
     ​
    Each Campfire Audio earphone comes with the brilliant Litz cable, no real need for a cable upgrade.​
     
    [​IMG]
     ​
    They come with foam tips attached, Campfire Audio recommends foam tips with their new line up, I myself veer more towards the silicone variety.​
    Although a while after writing this I did end preferring foam tips, not the stock tips but the Comply tips which came with the Campfire Audio Andromeda/Nova IEMs.​
     
    [​IMG]
     
    [​IMG]
     
    [​IMG]
     
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     ​
    A size comparison .between the Dorado and the Andromeda.​
    Shells for the DD and BA series are virtually identical in size.​
     
    [​IMG]
     
    [​IMG]
     
    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
     
     ​
    Included are a wide variety of S/M/L tips, stock foam, stock silicone (with a cleaning brush), Spinfit, a Campfire Audio pin and a warranty card.​
     ​
    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
     
     ​
     ​
    Specifications
    (from the Campfire Audio site)
     
    Dorado is a hybrid driver design;  Our 8.5mm beryllium PVD dynamic driver is paired with Dual BA drivers + TAEC and captured in a unique liquid metal alloy housing.
    – 8.5mm Beryllium PVD Dynamic Driver
    – Dual High-Frequency Balanced Armature Drivers
    – Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber™ (TAEC)
    – World’s First Liquid Alloy Metal Earphone Housing
    – Premium Litz Wire cable; Silver-plated-Copper conductors
    Specifications
    Frequency Response: 5Hz-27kHz
    Sensitivity:  107 dB SPL/mW
    Impedance: 15 Ohms @ 1kHz
     
     
    [​IMG]
     ​
    The bass for the Dorado hits at around 116.0, the Vega at about 118.5 and the Lyra II at 110.0. ​
    (Left side of the chart).​
     ​
    Build
     ​
    You will note the longer nozzle (and three drivers One DD and two BA) that sets the Dorado apart from the Vega (one 8.5mm DD and various other details and tweakings) and the Lyra II (one 8.5mm DD) models.
     
    [​IMG]
     ​
    As mentioned in the unboxing section the Dorado comes with sturdy and strong MMCX connectors, the MMCX connectors on my older Campfire Audio products have withstood the last six months with no issues, including various cable swapping from single to balanced out Campfire Audio  and ALO cables.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    [​IMG]
     ​
    The shell is a liquid alloy metal enclosure.​
     
    [​IMG]
     ​
    Here we see the three models, Dorado in a bronzed gold, Vega in silver metallic color and the Lyra II in a deep reddish brown black color.​
     
    [​IMG]
     ​
    Sound
     
    As I was writing this article I had already amassed my usual array of notes from which to draw from, this being a Dynamic Driver with two Balanced Armatures earphone I was curious how it stood up to changes in output impedance which DDs are usually free from but multi BA drivers are sensitive to (usually 1ohm OI is best for Multi driver BAs).
     
    This I tested with the CEntrance Hifi-M8( which has an output impedance switch of 11, 2 and 1ohms OI).
    Using 1 and 2 there was virtually no difference, 11 the bass was less tight and the sound lost a tad of the dynamism which is to be expected. But overall nothing too serious. Most Dap and Dac/amps have between 1-5ohms anyway these days.
     
    As of this time I got a shocking 180 hours burn in time (including actual listening time) on the Dorados.
     
    I used a variety of Tips from the stock supplied foam and silicone to some aftermarket tips (JVC Spiral Tips and Ortofon).
     
    The Daps and Dac/ Amps used were Opus#1, ipod touch 6G, Shozy Alien Gold, Hifiman MegaMini, CEntrance DacPortable, CEntrance Hifi-Skyn, CEntrance Mini-M8, CEntrance Hifi-M8 briefly for impedance testing.
     
    I used FLAC tracks mainly of 16/44.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    It took a long time to get a handle on the Dorado whilst various tip rolling and Dap changing, 
    Lets check the journey of discovery.....
     
    I decided to follow more of a storyboard style with this review, starting from the earlier first impressions at the show at the start of this review, to the time when I first started to listen them the Dorado, the middle analytical stage and the final end where I got more in the particulars and various tweaks with tips and changes of sources etc
     
    At 23 hours burn in using foam tips and the Opus#1 (3.5mm 2 Ohm)
    Definitely has a V shape or XxX.
    Deep bass, but crisp and clear, not boomy and with a fast decay.
    Vocals are a bit forward or could be the lesser mids.
    Volume set at slightly less than the Andromeda.Clear, crisp highs, not sibilant. Good like the Campfire Audio BA models.
    Sometimes a bit smeared or blurred between freqs. Need more burn in?
    Can be dull on some tracks, rock? recording?earphones, lack of strong mids? comply tips?
     
    Bass is good, full. Not a fake basshead style either. It is sufficient and more than sufficient, the Dorado has good deep bass.
    It is hard to describe the highs as I am on foam tips. But they do sound good, clear, sparkly at times and not overly bright.
    Soundstage mid to large.
    Great detail, nice timbre and body.
    It can be a lazy amble on some tracks.
    Nice cymbals: light and fast.
     
    The Litz cable I gave a good listen to.
    Iggy and the Stooges came on `Penetration` and I had to touch the Dorado housing to see If they were vibrating or rumbling from the bass.
     
    It`s not that the mids are absent, they are present and full of life, just not as forward as vocals/bass/treble/mids in that order.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    Decided to mix it up prematurely and play with the new ALO Reference 8 cable.
     
    More full and with body overall.
    More of a put in and forget, just listen to the music, seems more linear at times and ?
    Not sure If the tops of the ends of the V shape have been pruned down, or If the mids have come up.
    Also at 1 Ohm now.
    Seems more even, Slightly lighter and organic at times.
    Vocals are more at the level of the music and less forward.
     
    At 42 hours.
     
    Dorado, Opus#1, Litz cable, silicone stock tips.
     
    I changed to the stock silicone tips, it leads to a bit more of a flatter V shape.
    Bass is tamed, yet still present.
    Highs tamed.
    Smaller soundstage?
    A little bit less musical.
     
    Spiral Tips.
    Lighter, airy, space.
    Approaching that reference sound.
    Tips not a good fit for the Dorado nozzle.
     
    **Interlude as I got seduced by the Vega, Andromeda and Lyra II for a few days.......
     ​
    [​IMG]
     
     
    Dorado, Opus Dap again (ED:Not really sure about these mysterious notes).
    Tips??
    Flattened V.
    Easy listening.
    bass not as strong as the Vegas.
     
     
    *Vega takes over ...again.
     
    [​IMG]
     ​
    Vega and the Hifiman MegaMini (not earwax in the Vega, just a result of the photo filter I choose).​
     ​
     
    Dorado and Opus#1.
    I tried various tips, Stock tips, Spinfits sound good but I found that day the hard cores were hurting my inner ear canal (later they were fine, probably just too much listening).
    Stock silicone not a good fit for me or the nozzles.
    Stock foam seemed to fit well, bass increased.
    Silicone was more balanced over all.
    JVC Spiral Tips too big for the Dorado nozzles.
    Ortofon is my choice for silicone tips for the Dorado.
     
    Stock foam vs Silicone
    Forward vocals, wide sound stage, medium height.
     
    Sound stage large with the silicone, medium with foam.
    Vocals forward with foam.
    Great strings.
    Fast, clean response overall.
     
    [​IMG]
     
     
    Chemical Brothers `Born in the echoes`
    -The signature of the Dorado starts to become more clear.
    Hard hitting bass, forward clear vocals, sparkly highs, minimal mids, good speed.
     
    Strong, medium or Flattened V shape?
    Excellent instrument separation.
     
    A firm decent tip seal is definitely required.
     
    I then changed back to the Ortofon tips.
    Soft center, very comfortable.
    Evens out the sound somewhat.
    less separation in a way, but still defined.
    Softer bass, more air, space and highs.
     
    Fit: Because of the long nozzles I dont like to use tips with solid cores as it widens the end.
     
    Try Sony hybrid tips?
    Ah it loses some of that dynamic V, flattens and dulls to an extent on some tracks.
    Also doesnt really fit the nozzle.
     
    [​IMG]
     
    CEntrance DACPortable, Gain 1, ipod touch 6G, Ortofon tips.
     
    Gain 1.
    The music rests on a bed of bass.
    More body overall.
    A bit murky in the low end at times, long, slow decay.
     
    Gain 2.
    Solves all the above issues, treble is still great.
    More separation between instruments.
    Bass is now fast and tight.
     
    It seems the Dorado needs a decent amount of power/amping to really shine.
     
    The V shape becomes more apparent.
    Active bass, a shiny guitar, snare drums and cymbals at the other end and vocals somewhere in the middle (ED:I dont what I was writing about).
     
    Gain 1 is fine with The Pixies, go figure.
    Definitely a bit sharper on Gain 2.
     
    I can go to full volume on Gain 1 with the Dorado on the DACPortable, I suspect this is part of the design to have a really low Gain 1 to prevent multi drivers from hiss.
    So Gain 2 for the Dorados!
     
    Good deep bass on some Kruder and Dorfmeister.
    great separation and vocals with Feist. I can really notice that V.
    Ramones! Cretin Hop.
     
    One nights notes on a commute home...
     
    It is hard to fault the Dorado. They do everything right it seems.
    I dont feel a pull to swap them out for another earphone.
     
    They are comfortable once the right tips and seal have been found.
    Fairly non-fatiguing for extended periods of listening.
     
    [​IMG]
     ​
    Dorado with ALO Reference 8 cable (for science!).​
     ​
    I once again tried a few tips...with the Opus Dap.. Ortofon, Sony Hybrids (L size fits the nozzle stems but is not perfect), I wrote a bit more about the hybrids but as they arent such a good fit i will omit it.
     
    Having found some stray Complys around my house I decided to try them out, they are the same size as the stock tips, but with a larger bore and a protective screen.
     
    Less adjusting for fit as with the silicone tips.
    Vocals seem more forward with the foams.
     
    The (Comply) foams seem to bring back some of that full bodiedness I experienced with the CEntrance DACPortable on Gain 2.
     
    Source and tip rolling can provide a different listening experience with the Dorados.
     
    Warm dap: silicones are a good balance.
    Neutral dap: Foam of silicone for personal preference.
     
    The low end with the foams is as defined as with the Ortofon tips.
     
    Foam can still have a bit of air and separation on the more lighter tracks. Sometimes darken other tracks.
     
    Vocals generally forward of the music.
     
    I have gone off the silicone, the Dorado is really more made for foam tips.
     
    Though the Dorado is a V shaped earphone...
    You can think of the Dorado (with foams) as a V shape, but with vocals forward.
    So in that sense there is a type of evenness though not exactly due to low to medium level (but not messy) mids.
     
    It takes a while to unlock what some earphones are doing and the Dorado is one of them.
     
    I like it.
     
    [​IMG]
     
     
    Fit.
     
    I find the other models an easier fit as I have become accustomed to a more shorter nozzle these days, especially as I have adopted the JVC Spiral Tips as my general go to tip for a decent fit for my ear canal sizes.
     
    I found that the Dorado needed a deeper insertion to match their long nozzles, not for any sound improvement as such, just for a secure fit at all times and I found that I had to go down a tip size for that.
     
    The Spiral Tips didnt have the right size and slid off. *sadface*
     I found the supplied Spin Fits core to be a good fit, the hard core meant they didnt slip up or down, they seemed to retain some of the intended sound signature I felt (I usually dont like spinfits tbh).
     The included stock silicone inside stem was nice and soft, but slid a bitand  I couldnt get a good seal with them myself, others will have a different experience.
    I got could get a good seal with the supplied foam tips but found the bass a bit rumbly. The core was a bit small too which tightened up the foam a bit.
     
    I really enjoyed the Ortofon tips with them, not as such a deep bass on some tracks, but very clear, great detail and space.
     
    I found some Comply Tx-400 tips ( later I discovered these were from the Andromeda and Nova) with a protective screen slightly (0.5mm) wider than the stock foam and about the same height and shape, with a larger bore size and found them to work as perhaps intended.
    Full bass, decent highs, and vocals at the same level or slightly forward of the music.
     
    Comply Tx-400, then Ortofon/Spinfits for me. And I`m usually not really a foamie fan club member, but science...and what ever works best, right!??!!
     
    [​IMG]
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    Stock foam and the Comply Tx-400​
     
    Value
    At US$999 the value of the Dorado is balanced and decided by ones wallet and audio enthusiasm.
    It is a well built, brilliantly designed piece of audio equipment.
    The sound is near faultless and is dependent more on ones taste in sound signature than by any build or performance deficiencies as in some other products.
    Whether one chooses the Dorado, Vega or Lyra II they can be satisfied in the fact they have have chosen a superior product with a stellar performance.
    The Litz cable is great, If you are even considering that you are going to buy an upgrade cable, why not save the money and just get the Vega then? Its nearly Christmas,...you deserve it. go on :)
    ....or why not have both?

    [​IMG]
     
    Overall
     
    The Dorado earphone is a superior piece of kit from the latest line up from Campfire Audio.
     
    The Vega, Dorado and Lyra II all share the same sized dynamic driver (Dorado has another two BA drivers), housing (Dorado has a longer nozzle) and a superb reproduction of sound. Each with their own particular tuning and signature.
     
    The Dorado is the mid price item and exhibits a classic V shaped signature, although not as extreme as other brands have in the past. There are also mids within the middle, mixed in with the vocals which give it a sense of coherency overall, rather than the typical valley surrounded by two towering mountains model we usually get stuck with.
     
    Nothing is excessive and is finely tuned to achieve a balance between the competing frequencies.
     
    V shaped earphones can often be too energetic and then one tires easily and quickly of them.
    Campfire Audio seems to achieved that tender tightrope balancing act, by adding in a touch of mids and slightly forward central based vocals to even it out a bit so the sound is easy to digest and sublime.
     
    I have reviewed the BA models in the past, Jupiter, then Andromeda and the Nova. I think Campfire Audio have pulled off something of a miracle here, perhaps even surpassing some of their earlier models with this latest line up of Dynamic drivers.
     
    The Dorado is very coherent overall, nicely balanced, smooth. 
    It has a medium sound stage, great width and good height, instrument separation is top notch and clear.
    Bass is tight and fast after burn in with the right tip selection, highs are beautiful and clear without sibilance.
     
    I enjoy that I can get a slightly different sound with different tips, generally output impedance doesnt cause much diverging from the intended sound signature.
     
    Although it is a V shaped signature, its isnt an extreme one which means I can listen for extended periods with enjoyment and without fatigue.
     
    I ended up with the Comply Tx-400 tips that came with the Andromeda and Novas as my tip of choice with the Ortofon at a close second for a sound with less bass and more space.
     
    .....next up, the Lyra II, then the Vega.
     ​
     ​
     ​
    Thank you to Campfire Audio for sending the Dorado to Head pie for review​

      cardeli22, smaragd and pr0b3r like this.

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