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Campfire Audio IO

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  1. jaydunndiddit
    I'm sure it's just our own subjective differences. I'm using the stock marshmallow foams on both and no matter what I play, the IO beats the MD+ on clarity and presence. Listening to cello, the strings have a nice texture to them. The MD+ sounds softer here. Same with electric guitars. The IO gets the harshness just right where the MD+ smooths it out a bit too much. Sure it's easier on the ears but when a track calls for some screaching licks and distorted guitars, I want them to be screachy. The track "Do You Remember Me" by Santana is a good example of this as you can his guitar clearly distorting (purposely) and the IO really nails this.The MD+ softens this a bit too much for my personal taste. I just really prefer that extra energy and zing for certain genres of music, apparently.

    I do. I can pop them in and give them a listen and share some comparisons for you. Fair warning, the 846 is one of my fave all BA setups and one of the few I still listen to with some regularity. But I'll try my best to be agnostic in my thoughts although I'm pretty sure how that two will stack just from memory (I've had my Shure's for ages at this point).
    audio123 and Hageatama like this.
  2. Hageatama
    Your impressions worried me, so I went home after work and started swapping back and forth on the 789 to confirm what I heard on the M0. I even tried the Final Type E tips on the IO. Also, I tried some classic rock just to see if it was my source, or amp or something else. From the 789 fed by the SDAC, the staging was a lot closer than on the M0 and I can't imagine why. Personally, I still felt the guitars sounded more natural and the midrange sounded fuller on the Plus. Though, you mentioned you use foamies on the Plus? I usually don't because I felt it ate too much of the highs. I went with the spiral dots because I felt the dots helped treble smoothness? I'm not sure. What didn't change for me, was the feeling that the IO was like listening to the music through a funnel, or a screen? It wasn't exactly graininess, just an odd timbre I think? The Plus just sounded more open to me. If there was any grain in the Plus, it was a very fine grain. Like finer than the difference between the 600 and 660 (and yes, I did test that myself). Having heard someone play the opening lick to Sweet Child of Mine in person, and listening to it with both IEMs, I felt like the Plus gave me the more realistic presentation, though that's super subjective.

    At any rate, I don't think the IO is a bad IEM by any stretch, I'd love to continue discussing it with you and everyone here as well. I'm going to keep testing and listening to be sure. Good thing you're here. I'm just another guy on the internet, and it really is beneficial to have someone else to try both pairs and give their impressions as well.
    cardeli22 and jaydunndiddit like this.
  3. Wheel Hoss
    Heard of homophobia? I mean it’s 2019. Man purses are ubiquitous and no one cares.
    dhm78, McMadface, cardeli22 and 11 others like this.
  4. czy6412
    I guess 789 as a desktop headphone amp has higher output impedance than M0, which makes IO sound weird. Also 789 is quite powerful which might be way more than what is enough for sensitive iems like IO so overdrive could be another reason.
  5. jaydunndiddit
    To try and match your experience, I just got done with a session on the 789/SU-8 using the IO and MD+. Using the medium grey marshmallows with the MD+ and medium black marshmallows with the IO, and I would still take the IO over the MD+. Using "Do You Remember Me" by Santana on repeat and going back and forth, the IO just nails the texture of the strings and the distortion of the guitars as they're ringing and resonating. I really think it's a matter of speed and decay as the IO gives me a greater sense of the space of the venue/studio than the MD+. The drums are MUCH snappier and everything just sounds tighter and more buttoned down. It's weird, as drums actually almost sound somewhat muddy. Which is something I have never equated to the MD+ before. Their bass sounds kinda fat and loose. The IO is definitely cooler sounding. Dare I say, more neutral compared to the warmer/fuller sounding MD+. They just don't sound as colored as the MD+ to my ears (even though neither really are in the grand scheme of things). The IO keeps sounds echoing and reverbing much longer than the IO and sounds quite nice as notes fade away. The MD+ obscures this a bit and everything just sounds so dang polite and nice. Too much so for my taste. I really don't know how to explain it any other way except electric guitars, cymbals, horns, maracas, etc. are lacking edge. The IO just sounds sharper and more detailed. A more layered experience. And when the vocals kick in halfway through, I can count how many times I hear the reverb come back and it sounds more like a live performance. The MD+ never lets me escapes and is constantly reminding me I am listening to a recording as this feels very subdued and gets lost. I think this is the "tunnel" effect you may be getting. For me, it reminds me of when I've seen Santana live and his guitar playing is distorting like mad when he's going mad during a solo. It's awesome and intense. I feel that with the IO. And for my listening taste, adds a layer to music that I just love. The MD+ is more than competent, and I am being nitpicky as hell here, but going back and forth on the same track just starts revealing more of these nuances to me. I truly mostly notice when they aren't there and I'm wanting more "wah wah wah" and screeching and echoing of the electric guitars. Or even something as simple as the smacking of a tambourine or the crashing of cymbals is more intense and sharp. They have that tizzy sizzle when someone is playing the crap out of them and giving them a proper wallop. Sadly for me, the MD+ is too laid back for me here. They sound smoothed over and just lack that energetic buzz and tizz I am getting from the IO. It's actually addicting the more I listen to them especially during cymbal crashes. They have just the right amount of "ssssss" without overcooking it. Or when someone is playing piano and striking keys, and their "bell-like" sound when hitting certain keys rings out. Or my current favorite, that sharp sound of a snare drum. This, the IO nails with so much gusto that it's hard to unhear their level of taut sound that the MD+ doesn't give me. They are such smooth operators, they come off as somewhat not as exciting now.

    And by no means are my opinions or impressions the final say or anything to that effect, ha. Much like you, just an an avid music and gear enthusiast sharing my thoughts because I find this hobby fun and enjoyable. :) It's always a good time to discuss nuances with others as we all hear so differently and it helps give much needed context to others IMO.
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
    Hageatama and Wheel Hoss like this.
  6. jaydunndiddit
    Last edited: May 1, 2019
  7. nephilim32
    Hopefully it is bass density. :)
  8. Richsvt
    I've been listening my new IOs for the last couple hours and got say they are growing on me. I was worried about what I have been reading about lack of bass and such. The bass is there, very sharp and to the point, just not the slam bass-heads will require. The details are great. Staging wide but a little short on height. Instrument separation is fantastic. I need way more time to get accustomed the the signature. These are very source dependent. Using my Fiio X5iii and Shanling M5S and get somewhat different approaches, still too early to say exactly how much.

    Nice piece for the money. I am also trying to get usedto the signature of the Kanas Pro and BGVP DMG I also just got so lots to work on.
  9. Richsvt
  10. WhatToChoose
    Edit: removed part of post. This person has learned their lesson.

    I actually do like the accessories that come with the IO, impressive of CFA to include a high quality leather carrying case among other things at this price level. Sound impressions so far seem meh, which could be a good sign actually (I find the best IEMs to be those that do not wow on the first listen, but rather gradually build up their special presentation over multiple listening sessions.
    Last edited: May 2, 2019
    dhm78 likes this.
  11. Wheel Hoss
    I was all set to order the Polaris, but now a lot of the new impressions of the Io and the price point make it tempting. Especially because I will be using the on-the-go, so a little extra sizzle might help me hear above all the background noise NYC creates.

    Jay and others who have both, if you could only have Io or Polaris v2, which would you pick?
    cardeli22 likes this.
  12. bb rodriquez
    So I received my IO yesterday during lunch. Due to the fact I forgot my iPhone dongle at home, I didn't have a chance to open it up and listen until I got home.

    I've only had about 2 hours to listen to them so far, so my opinion could very well change after more listening. I won't try to dissect the sound into what works better than what (I will leave that to the people who are much better at this than I).

    So far I have to say these are excellent sounding iems in their price range. Right now I will give them two thumbs up, especially for their $299 price. Overall I would have to say that they are a fairly neutral iem, to my ears they remind me more of a studio monitor. Nothing is overly inflated, the bass is nice and snappy with a decent amount of bump. It never stands out above anything else, but you lose it under anything else either. For the most part like a good monitor it seems like its impact is directed more by the mix than on a tuning that makes everything a little more thumpy. Where the IO truly excels is in the mids and highs. In my opinion both are fantastic. Comparing them to a studio monitor again, I don't feel like either is artificially inflated. They just seem to be honest sounding. Guitars and vocals stand out loud and clear, without exhibiting any shoutiness that comes from boosted frequencies. I think they have the right amount of treble to be airy, open and clean, offering plenty of breathing room in the overall image. I do have a little bit of a treble sensitivity, so for me these are perfect. Soundstage is pretty good, its got pretty good width, but it's pretty tall. I feel it extends out side to side quite a bit and out front, but I don't feel it behind me much. But that's not something I expect from a iem in this price range. They do loose some coherency with really complex music, but I feel like this happens with a lot of iems that I listen to, so I wouldn't count it as a fault.

    I don't have much to compare it to at the moment besides the 64 Audio N8, which isn't a fair comparison. I will say that I think it's going to be a good compliment to the N8 though. One thing to remember is even though $299 isn't exactly cheap, these aren't high end iems. Don't expect to be getting a $1500 for this price, but they are very good and I think a lot of people would be happy with them.

    Anyway I hope my ramblings make some sort of sense!

    I will also be trying them amped through a Dragonfly Black when I get it back from a buddy. So I will post some thoughts if I feel like amping adds anything to the sound.
  13. Arthur Li
    I realize the carelessness in my comment. Sincere apology. I don't have any intention to offend sexual minorities etc.
  14. Wheel Hoss
    So I’m starting to get the sense that these are the Sundara of CA IEMs:

    -wide soundstage
    -tight but light bass

    I like the Sundara so these should be a nice complement to a warmer sound sig. Think it’s time to pull the proverbial trigger . . .
  15. WhatToChoose
    So....any comparisons between IO and Etymotic?
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