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Campfire Audio IO

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  1. Lv100Pidgeot
    Comparing the two directly: I find the Orions a little bit more comfortable, I just like the shorter nozzles better but expect most people to feel opposite. Orion has a very flat frequency response, treble and subbass are both rolled off, but mid-bass through lower treble are all fairly even. Io has more forward mids, which can make them a little shouty compared to Orion. Io has much more treble energy than Orion. The bass... Io is faster, will play a little lower, but is definitely recessed compared to Orions. In terms of soundstage and separation, Io is way ahead of Orion.
    Colors likes this.
  2. imackler
    I hate to beat a dead horse, but how much is OI affecting the IO? I would have never believed the rumors until hearing the difference myself on the Andromeda between the <.5 OI from the Leckerton and the OI off the IEMatch in the iFi Nano iDSD Black Label...
  3. Wheel Hoss
    I’m starting to think some of the issues with varying reports are source discrepancies.

    I don’t have the Dongle anymore. But when I did, it made my Audio-Technica M70x cans sound like they had no bass. Which is consistent with many reviews.

    But audiophile reviews for the 70x taught about a bass that is neutral and even slightly boosted in the mid bass. This sounded absurd to me until I go the Mojo. Now the 70x’s have plenty of bass. Maybe not basshead level. But enough.

    I’d imagine the same would apply for the Io IEMs. Listened to plenty of bass-driven music this morning and the Io performed admirably. Yes the bass decays faster than dynamic drivers, but bass drums were thumping and bass lines sounded tight and crunchy.

    I also can’t say enough about how brilliantly they reproduce the timbre of a mandolin. I play mandolin professionally (among other axes), and the tone of Chris Thile’s Lloyd Loar on Punch Brothers records is exquisite. Well done, Ken and company!
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
    cardeli22, snk8699, yong_shun and 2 others like this.
  4. ustinj
    Interesting, I hate to say it but I love when things become controversial. I like reading about the bad and the good. It makes it more exciting, and makes me genuinely look forward to hearing the Io.
  5. boneburglar
    If the Io sounds poor out of a large number of sources (some people who tried it and reviewed it negatively were using decent DAPs), then that's honestly a severe design flaw. I wouldn't expect someone who is spending $300 on an IEM to have the money for a source that will fix said IEM. Why not just buy an IEM that is less picky at that point?
    Goldfish memories likes this.
  6. Wooglish
    Let's do admit: Andromeda (which I own and love) is the only decent iem campfire has ever made (no, I'm not from Singapore, love the racist posts from Ken and others, btw). The hype surrounding all the others is just that: people are pulling at straws to compliment Solaris (which I bought and quickly resold because it was so bad) and io (I assume, given the vitriol), but the fact is they are beyond mediocre... Sony/ JVC are beyond superior (these are Japanese, not from Singapore, please note, two different countries in case any were confused by the wacky Ken/campfire posts).
  7. KB Contributor
    I apologize to my friends in Singapore, My post was referring to one guy who's location stated SG had been bashing Campfire. If someone thinks I have a beef or anything off with Singapore I apologize and that is the furthest from the truth.

    ALO Audio Stay updated on ALO Audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    cleg, cardeli22, B9Scrambler and 10 others like this.
  8. toranku
    Hey Ken,

    I hope that you will receive this post with rationality and an open mind.

    Firstly, I think people are overreacting and misinterpreting your initial post. It is clear that the post was not meant to be racist. However the way you phrased it was clearly discriminated against someone else. Yes, I get that you may have received many troll posts over the years. But to theorize that that certain someone was trying to "bash" your brand was a shot way too far. Everyone here wants excellence from your products and want a great IEM for themselves. There has been a lot of negativity in this thread with regards to the sound of Io. It would be best if you took such comments and criticism in a constructive manner. People here are trying to help you improve your products. There is no reason for headfiers to bash and devalue your brand.

    I'm sure you already know, but your brand has fantastic marketing and distribution strategy. Campfire is one of the most likely "boutique" audio brands to pop up in many regions of the world. People like how your products look and by the creation of the Andromeda and Solaris, more will hear about your brand. Distribution strategy can be a double edged sword - it means that your product can be widely found and demo'd. Campfire Audio can be found in countries such as Japan, Singapore, China and Hong Kong. These countries have big portable audio markets and carry so much brands that it would be tough to number. Campfire is going to be compared against almost every other brand within Asian markets. People within this region tend to have more experiences and access with IEMs, and therefore can become vocal about their experiences whether positive or negative.

    User @joshuachew has outlined some potential actions CFA can take. Not every release will be a banger like Andro or Solaris but everyone wants your iems to become just that. Expectations are high here - and I hope you can meet these expectations reasonably with future CFA product releases. In the Io and Polaris launch event in Singapore, there were so many people who attended the event. The entire store was filled. You have many fans. Dont let them down.
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
  9. Currawong Contributor
    Quoting this fantastic post which got thrown back a couple of pages.

  10. malvinviriya
    I am actually really excited to try the new lineups ASAP. My exams are ending soon and it will just leave me with thesis presentation. I think I deserved a break

    Definitely will be hitting up audio stores near me in the next few days! :D
    Rockwell75 likes this.
  11. Currawong Contributor
    I think it's time we got back to impressions.

    I have a standard playlist, #82, which I use for most impressions (I get tired of listening to it, so sometimes I just don't). Apart from Alvin Lee, I listen to most of the songs. Here's the TIDAL version of it. I find it helpful as it has tracks with 3 different types of bass, for example.

    From that list, I'm listening to the IO out of a Hugo 2. Unexpectedly, the IO has a presentation (I don't like saying that headphones or IEMs have a "sound" -- I think only music has that) which is less peaky in the treble in this set-up.

    Goodbye Pork Pie Hat - Jeff Beck
    I like this old '70s track, both for the playing and for that with headphones and amps I can make out how much depth the recording has to varying degrees depending on what I use. The main guitar come across as a bit distant, with the higher notes more prominent, and the cymbals being quite in your face. The bass guitar doesn't come through quite so strongly and drum impacts don't have the thump that other, warmer headphones give them.

    Hollow Talk - Choir Of Young Believers
    This seems to be pretty well-recorded as far as modern music goes. It sounds a bit tipped-up towards the treble and the focus very much ends up on the singer's voice. Instruments seem to lack body, with the bass sounding somewhat cut-off. The treble that is delivered is very pleasant (but I did eliminate any harshness gremlins out of my system).

    Oye Como Va - Santana
    I thankfully did not burn out on this track when I was younger, so I can enjoy it now. Much the same as with other tracks above -- the percussion is more distant, but the guitars are crisp and pleasant, without harshness.

    Angel (2006 Digital Remaster) - Massive Attack
    Bass test number one. The rumble is there, but weakly. Not a good match -- The Atlas is more the kind of IEM for this track. Some people who prefer a light sound signature will prefer this though. The rest of the delivery is competent in that the sound is cohesive (and IEMS these days that aren't are rarer than not).

    Hey Lion - Sofi Tukker
    Bass test number two. The mid-bass dance track. Surprisingly this sounds pretty punchy. The percussion is delivered snappily, and while I wouldn't want to listen louder than my usual moderate level to this track, due to the treble, it presents it very well.

    When I Get My Hands On You - The New Basement Tapes
    Bass test number three. The low rumble on this track is audible, but weak. What is most prominent are the vocals and the percussion. It doesn't quite deliver the depth of soundstage the more expensive IEMs I have here do. What is most noticeable is that everything seems to be free of harshness, but there is a precision to notes. Even if they lack warmth and are too much on the light side for preference, vocals come through cleanly.

    Old Man (2009 Remaster) - Neil Young
    I turned the volume up a bit more. I don't usually listen to Neil Young, so I surprised myself in finding something of his I like. This track is fairly light-sounding to begin with, but actually works reasonably well with the IO and is pleasant. Ditto comments about vocals above.

    Arlington - The Wailin' Jennys
    This is a very full-bodied track, which, while still coming through on the light side around vocals and instruments, is quite good through the IO. It's a bit strong in the upper mids/lower treble though (4khz curse maybe?), making it a bit tiring to listen to.

    Beirut - Ibrahim Maalouf
    The IO brings out the intensity of this track very well, though as with the other tracks, I'd rather the instruments sounded a bit fuller, with more lower-mid presence. There is good shimmer on the cymbals, for example, but they are too forward, for preference anyway.
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
  12. odinfk
    I just got my IOs yesterday, testing with a lot of different songs and genres, here's some of the first thing I noticed:

    Genres like Heavy Metal/Punk etc. with unclean/growling/harsh vocals sound absolutely amazing, and I think these genres is where they really shine, also acoustic music worked very well.
    Vocals in general can sometimes feel a tiny bit "muffled", BUT they work perfectly for harsh vocals such as with "Amon Amarth - Fafner's Gold" (Melodic Death Metal), no detail is left out.
    As some other people mentioned, they are perfect for electric guitars and such with distortion.
    One of the first things I noticed is how hi-hats/cybals sound like they're off in the distance, but in no way muffled or anything - it doesn't get in the way of the rest of the music and it feels like they are just added on top of the music on their own, which I really really like.

    There's not a lot of bass, but it does have a "bump" kinda, it is very fast and gives a very satisfying kick with drums and such.
    For my taste, the bass is perfect.
    EDM so far sounds good but it's not suited for very bass-heavy music like dubstep/trap, works great for Drum&Bass though.
    If you're a basshead or listen to bass-heavy music, this isn't for you.

    I will give a more detailed review when I have some more experience with them.
  13. yong_shun
    Dear folks,

    Not a Singaporean but residing in Singapore. I have been enjoying myself with Campfire Audio IEMs from 2015 - Orion, Jupiter and Lyra. I am not a die-hard fan as compared to others in the thread but I appreciate the efforts from Ken and the team. I still have my almost three years old Nova with me everyday.

    For IO, I spent a week with it and I kind of like it. I understand the feeling of the guy who commented IO sounds terrible. He has the absolute right to dislike and comment on the IEM for sure. However, I think Ken would appreciate constructive feedback from him - why he dislike IO rather than criticizing in this approach although he has the absolute right because this is a open platform. I started to write reviews from late 2018. No IEM is perfect. I think the correct approach is - Complement on the pros and suggest on the cons. This is where manufacturers or designers can improve on their subsequent line-up. Ken is doing very good in this. He understands what need to be done to improve his product. Andromeda has been a benchmark for a lot of IEM manufacturers but he is still humble and continue to seek for improvement. Like what several head-fiers mentioned, Ken can simply hire a PR that bombard you with political correct answer but he chose to answer all the queries himself. He wishes to know what people think of his products but some haters chose to throw him with some nasty comments.

    Every IEMs that Campfire Audio launch is like babies to Ken and his team. They put in countless efforts to make this happens. I mean you can dislike the IEM but at least appreciate the hard work. When you were mentioning IO as terrible sounding IEM, it sounds like "Hey Campfire Audio team, you all just screw this thing up and all your efforts were wasted. All those who bought your IEM are listening a terrible sounding IEM.". Rude. If I were Ken, I will take pride of my product and defends for my team too. If the comments were given in a more polite approach, it will definitely be accepted by him with open mind.

    I will post my review on IO soon after spending enough time with it. I purchased this with full retail price. I never receive any IEM from Campfire Audio and I am not affiliated with Campfire Audio neither. I am here to defend Campfire Audio and Ken because I think I should. Those comments are simply too rude.

    Thank you for your efforts @KB . Much appreciated.
    Fatdoi, cardeli22, snk8699 and 5 others like this.
  14. AxelCloris Administrator
    Hey everyone, we've gone through and removed a number of off-topic and personal posts from the discussion. Let's please keep posts within the Posting Guidelines. Thanks, all.

    Now, back to discussing the IO.
  15. Jackpot77
    I've only met Ken in person once, but have corresponded with him multiple times via email over the last few years. He always comes across to me as a great guy, and someone who has a huge passion and enthusiasm for all things audio, and creating a line of audio products be genuinely loves.

    He's also not afraid of criticism - he knows my preferences pretty well (I tend towards bassy and musical over crisp or analytical any day of the week), but he was still happy to send me the Io to review, knowing full well it is not a signature I usually enjoy. Being honest, it's still not my usual cup of tea, but after a bit of listening over the last few days, I'm definitely falling down on the side of more positive than negatives.

    I think it's a good IEM for the price bracket, and has some very good and unique points about the tuning. It's certainly not perfect, but I don't think given the way it has been tuned that it was ever likely to please everyone. That's one of the polarising aspects of a manufacturer like Campfire Audio - they aren't afraid to tune different models for specific "flavours" or users/music genres. Just like the Atlas won't be the best IEM to recommend to someone who prefers their bass lean and mean, the Io won't be the all rounder you would recommend for people who need a thicker or chunkier sound.

    I agree with the recent observations from both @Currawong and @Wheel Hoss - some bass tracks on my testing list do pack a punch, and others feel pretty light. Some distortion guitar heavy rock tracks and acoustic tracks sound superb on the Io, some throatier mid range singers sound less impressive.

    This isn't an all-rounder (for my tastes, anyway), but to say this is flawed or not fit for all genres isn't correct.

    As usual, this is just the opinion of one man - I will be working on a full review in a few weeks, but I can say that I've had some enjoyable sessions with sections of my listening catalogue with this IEM, so if people are on the fence, they should definitely think about their preferences and whether this will fit them or not, rather than dismissing out of hand.
    cleg, cardeli22, snk8699 and 2 others like this.
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