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Campfire Audio IO

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  1. Zachik
    So what does that say about the new Polaris?! :astonished:
    I am sure that was not intended, but pretty funny... :wink:
    JustJoseph likes this.
  2. KB Contributor

    Nice break down than you for your thoughful post.

    My initial post to the guy who's very first post on head-fi was a blistering "critical" post of the IO was, as I stated, was un wise on my part. I should have just walked away. It was not the first of similar odd posts here are on other outlets that I had ignored. I also stated that I am very passionate about my business and our products, perhaps to a fault. I should also not be participating in Head-fi, there is a reason why some owners and CEOs do not, on the other had I am a huge fan and this hobby just like my customers and I also do like supporting Head-fi and the community.

    There is nothing I can do about the run away craziness on Reddit, if I post anything it will only make matters worse. I do not plan to read or participate on Reddit, which for me again is probably wise.

    I do think both the Solaris issue and this IO issue has been way way blown out of proportion and yes I can take some of the blame here sure. I mostly feel bad about how its taken everything off topic so I wish and hope things will settle down and we can go back to talking about the finer points of this hobby we all love.

    I was reminded of why I love this hobby so much on the flight back from the Munich Hi End show we just showed at. It was a good 10 hour flight and my friends at Astell and Kern let me borrow a AK Kann Cube only because I was blown away with how good it sounded with the Solaris, begging ensued :) and thank you AK! I spend almost the whole flight listening to my music collection and since the sound was so good out of that player it was like listening to my music all new again. It made the flight literally fly by and my mind let go and I found myself in that special place that I can only get to by listening to music. This is why I love my job and why I am so passionate about the things we build, I want people to be able to also experience this and find themselves in the same place.

    ALO Audio Stay updated on ALO Audio at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
  3. manthisis
    People will hate/make memes like you've seen on reddit, and there's no shame in ignoring that sort of stuff.

    The real issue is that people have mostly been put off on the IO thread on account of users attacking and dismissing impressions of your new IEM that don't fit their own frame of reference. They chalk it up to lack of burn-in, different sensitivities, source issues, etc. but as it stands some people refuse to accept that there might be some flaws with the IO.

    This is less your fault since you've apologized for all the stuff that happened a little bit ago. The discussion lately has less been about you and more about people's reviews that are anything less than glowing being treated as illegitimate. That's why people are off-put about the IO right now.

    The best thing you can do, at the moment, is to encourage all reviews and impressions, negative or positive, and discourage a community that would stifle those who have a contrary opinion. I know you want to make good products, and good products in part come from accepting criticism and making necessary changes. Much of the drama surrounding your brand lately has been a misrepresentation of the issue at hand. At this point, consumers don't care as much about your Singapore comment, nor do they necessarily care about the fact that some find the IO to not be a great IEM. They care that the critique leveled at your product isn't being taken seriously and is being dismissed. It's similar to what happened with the Solaris release: sure, there were things said about the unit variation, but a lot of the criticism about the variation was deflected by yourself and others, and as a result it left a bad taste in the mouths of those who considered buying your brand.

    I ask that you keep this in mind going forward. I can tell from your interactions that you do want to be an engaged in the community, and that you have good intentions. Legitimate criticism has been given for the IO so far, and that criticism has been wrongfully dismissed by some in this thread. The best thing you can do right now is to take that criticism seriously and discourage others from dismissing it.
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
    cardeli22, sino8r, GarageBoy and 5 others like this.
  4. antdroid
    Hi Ken - Thanks for the responses and what not. I like that you are dedicated and are an active participant in these forums. It actually is a very welcoming thing and I wish more companies do it too so they can hear the voices of the enthusiast who are passionate about this hobby and music enjoyment. At the end of the day, it's about personal enjoyment. Not everyone hears things in the same light and there will always criticisms and glowing reviews for every product, even the best things, especially in this subjective hobby in an already non-black and white world we live in. I would just ignore the trolls.

    While I havent used the Kann Cube, I got the A&K SR15 to use with the Solaris and it works well. I'll be getting custom tips from Advanced Sound for Solaris on Saturday. I wonder if they'll fit the IO as well.

    I spent a little bit of time today listening to the IO on a different source -- the Pioneer XDP-300R, which I find to be a little more colder sounding than the A&K Norma I used yesterday. The OI is also higher at 3Ohms for 3.5mm vs less than 1 on the two sources I used yesterday. I think the Pioneer with IO is just slightly cleaner sounding, but its very subtle and could just be in my head. I still don't feel like it improved the mids enough for me.

    I am currently switching off and on with the BGVP DM7, also priced at $299, and switching back and forth between the IO and the DM7 is like the sound of pulling a piece of fabric off the speaker. Everything is just less clean. I still have the haziness sound when listening to IO when compared to the other IEMs I've mentioned. I also have listened to the Moondrop Kanas Pro, and Etymotics ER3SR with these side-by-side.

    IO does bass really well for my personal preferences. I like a generally flat bass tuning with slight emphasis to warm, and that's what IO improves upon from Orion. And the upper treble extension is nice as well. Just the middle part is a little off for my tastes.


    My current mess of a listening demo station. :D
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
  5. jaydunndiddit
    Honestly, I think context has a lot to do with it, especially when folks are giving early impressions AND buying advice. It's one thing to state, I listen to X genre, used X tips, through X source, etc. and give your thoughts whether positive or negative. I don't think anyone is really criticizing objective thoughts on something as subjective as listening preference (an oxymoron, I know). But if we're lacking context for say, how guitars sound. Or percussion. Or brass, woodwind, or any other string instrument. Or do they image well and paint a picture of the venue the performers are in?

    A lot of it has been very focused on one particular nit and an entire product being dismissed not even regarding build, accessories, fit/comfort, etc. All of those things encompass the whole and paint and entire picture. In a vacuum, it's very easy to nitpick at flaws or strengths but without context of a product from top to bottom, I personally find it very misleading to recommend other products or fully dismiss any product without painting said picture. Otherwise, it's very one-sided. Which I truly believe will apply to any IEM or headphone, not just the IO. One reason why I have focused solely on all sonic merits, good and bad, and not a don't buy this, it isn't a good value, buy this instead, or avoid at all costs. Those are firm assumptions that keep getting tossed out and it makes a lot of the discussion feel very biased, in either direction.

    I personally feel there is a lot of objective merit being missed or skated over and VERY particular nits being focused on ad nauseum. Even more so if you have preferences for certain genres of music and sound signatures. It's easy to take something out of context and skew impressions when context is lacking is from the jump .

    I think that has been the moral of the story across this entire thread, honestly. Of course, that's just my opinion on the matter.
  6. antdroid
    C'mon man, these are impressions. Not everyone has time to write a 15 page essay on the IEM. Even your first impressions were no more than a few words:

    Just because there's some differences of opinions doesnt mean any one is wrong (and has to prove themselves with a dissertation). Everyone hears things differently.
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
  7. jaydunndiddit
    I never said folks had to write a long essay. I clearly stated context matters especially when you're giving people buying advice and saying to avoid a product. That's a pretty big difference and you know it. We've all been sharing impressions and I know I have shared a bit over a lenfth of time. Not once have I given buying advice or stated to buy or not buy something. I've tried to stay on topic and discuss sonic merits, build, accessories, etc. while giving my own musical preferences and taste to give people context to make up their own mind. Trying to be as objective as possible while sharing my own subjective thoughts.

    It's hard to give an opinion when a moment later you give an affirmative stating that, these aren't a good value, buy X or Y instead. That's my qualm. Whether you agree or not is your prerogative but I personally find that misleading especially given some very short demos from folks.
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
    Perfectofi and Mike-WI like this.
  8. ustinj
    The Io is a full BA setup... even those who believe in burn-in don't typically consider BA drivers to need or benefit from burn-in.

    As for 'hate mongering', let me preface this by saying I am a huge fan of the Andromeda and it's the one IEM I've kept longest throughout the years of trading earphones. I think some people go way too far to talk **** about Campfire and take earphones too seriously. But disregarding the whole racism debacle: I wouldn't call it hate mongering, but having seen what goes on behind the scenes, it is more of a combination of:

    1) they feel that the the Io is not a good earphone
    2) they are annoyed with people who have tried less earphones arguing the idea that the Io is simply a great earphone

    The reason Chinese companies are jacking the Campfire Audio design is not exactly because they sound good, but because they look very good. Their designs are slick, and the whole hype train of Jupiter and Andromeda last year gave them a huge following. Campfire had a big big reputation going for them due to the Andromeda and their great customer service, possibly to the point where people can become biased for brand loyalty. I almost blind bought the Io because of the idea "They made the Andromeda, and I love the Andromeda, so Io is probably really good too", but I needed to save money. Still haven't heard it, but I am sure @antdroid is experienced enough that even after 'burn-in' (which probably won't do anything for the Io being full-BA), his opinion will barely, if at all change.

    If you like the Io, cool, but don't disregard negative opinions on it. You might think they 'handle female vocals with aplomb', but maybe the people who dislike female vocals on Io have heard earphones that do female vocals better in the $300 range (otherwise they probably wouldn't be criticizing it there).

    Back on topic, cool measurements from antdroid. Unfortunately it seems the midrange doesn't look too traditional with a strange early peak, so it would be expected that many people hear it as weird.
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
    cardeli22, Orl14, Light - Man and 5 others like this.
  9. antdroid
    After listening to IO for a bit more tonight, I decided to try to play with EQ settings. Here's a setting that I feel puts it closer to my personal preferences, with a little small added bass boost.

    First photo is settings for EqualizerAPO. Second photo is the Room EQ Wizard equalizer simulation tool.
    The blue line is the harman Target curve, which I don't particularly care for too much, but is a good reference point for me since I do like parts of that curve. The darker red line is the IO stock Frequency Response, and the lighter Red is the simulated EQ response.

    I generally like the sound of this, but it's still just slightly off, probably from so much EQ. The 2.88KHz FR gain can be changed from +10 to +14 depending on preferences. Maybe even as low as +9. I chose +13 for now. (Edit: I am going to lower the 13 value down to about 10-11 after some more listening)

    I threw in a Low Shelf Filter just to see how it handles subbass EQ. It requires quite a boost to be very noticeable.

    Untitled.png Untitled2.png

    The idea of this EQ is to bring the mids more forward to a more natural sound to me. I feel like a lot of the "haze" I was calling it earlier gets lifted. There's still some artifacts left, but vocals, and more-so female vocals, are now not trapped behind the drum kit (and behind the curtains too), and brought back to the center of the stage. Male vocals join in for the ride. Guitars have more zing to them, and cymbals and hi-hats crash more naturally to me, as you can now hear them from outside a sheet of cloth. (again, these are my impressions).

    With this EQ active, the spaciousness of the original sound profile, and extended treble and nice smooth bass puts this one above the Etymotics for me since that one is very closed-in sounding, and I prefer a wider soundstage. Despite the EQ though, I still hear traces of haziness and don't know if that's remnants of areas I did not eq out or if it's distortion from too much EQ work, or both.

    In terms of actual listening, I've been bouncing back and forth between various genres tonight with some specific tracks:
    Norah Jones - Seven Years
    Haelos - Full Circle
    Fleetwood Mac - Dreams
    Elton John - Your Song
    Mother Love Bone - Chloe Dancer
    Alvvays - Dreams Tonight
    Vince Guaraldi - Live on the Air
    Belle & Sebastian - Judy and the Dreams of Horses
    The XX - VCR
    The Civil Wars - Poison and Wine / Barton Hollow
    Daft Punk - Giorgio by Moroder

    CFA IO Equalizer APO config text file
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
    PhoenixClaw, Baten, Currawong and 2 others like this.
  10. waiho2k1
    Follow up for my previous post, have been using IO for some time, I think it has been "burnt-in". First I'd like to say it has a very strong "analytical ability" (not sure if this is a professional term, coz I'm not pro anyways). Why I say so is because now I can hear more details of the music, no matter those details are good or bad. IO presents me things that I haven't been heard that clearly with my Solaris and SE846, especially for the percussion instruments. I mentioned that it doesn't present sound of violin nicely, maybe it's because I'm a violin player, but I think it presents piano and flute very nicely.
    And I think due to this strong "analytical ability", it is very source-sensitive. E.g. I can hear more details with NW-ZX300 then AR-M200, and of course with different file formats like .mp3, .wav, etc.
    Perfectofi likes this.
  11. Zabens
    Can anyone compare the bass to the comets?
  12. ExpatinJapan

    Still unraveling the mystery that is the CA IO.

    iBasso DX220, ALO Audio Super Litz and CA IO
  13. zombywoof
    This is, of course highly subjective. I compared the bass on several tracks from my playlist. These tracks were not selected based on any criteria other than I think I know them pretty well. I listened to each track with Io and Comet. I do not have a way of matching volume except by ear. Source is iPod Classic 160Gb through am A/B switch. All tracks ripped from CD's. Double flange silicone tips on both the Io and Comet. I am not skilled enough of a listener to comment on the presence of sub-bass, yada-yada, etc. In other words, no micro-analysis here. Most comments based on the relative presence of the bass guitar, and how I hear it in the mix through each IEM. Pretty unscientific, but probably the way most people would approach it,

    Jeff Beck - Stratus
    So, here goes. No question that the Io provides better resolution in the low end. Not necessarily more bass, but better defined. On Stratus this was especially noticeable as the bass is ever present behind the guitar. It sounds a bit more distant on the Comet than the Io.
    Miles Davis - So What
    Oregon - Yellow Bell
    So What and Yellow Bell have the bass present in relatively quiet passages and there was less noticeable difference between the Io and the Comet.
    Bob Marley - Exodus
    Donald Fagen - The Nightfly

    On The Nightlfy and Exodus, which are pretty busy tracks, the bass on the Comet tended to get lost in the mix, whereas it stood out a bit more with the Io.
    Frank Zappa - Little Umbrellas
    The bass is pretty forward in the mix. It sounds a little muddy with the Comet. Io wins here too.
    Mahavishnu Orchestra - One Word
    One of my go to tracks when I try a new hedphone or IEM. Not a particularly clean recording, but the instruments are well placed in my head. On the bass solo, both the Io and Comet do fine. Laird's bass is nicely presented over Cobham's drum work. When McLaughlin, Hammer, and Goodman join in and trade solos the bass gets a bit lost with the Comet. This track really cooks with the Io.

    There you have it. I doubt if either the Comet or the Io are suitable if you just gotta have thumping bass. I don't, so in most cases I could be happy with either. Hope this helps.
    Perfectofi likes this.
  14. Zabens
    Thank you, that is so extremely helpful. I didn't want to go less than the comets for bass and I'm looking for some walking to work iems that won't break the bank. These look sexy and I won't freak out losing them like the Andromedas or cascades. Hopefully I can send the comets to full time gym use with my Bluetooth cable.
  15. thrgk
    Anyone compare there to the It03?
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