Campfire Andromeda 2020 Review

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by purr1n, Jul 5, 2020.

  1. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    here’s about how I have my Loki set for the 2020 though I’ve lowered the upper mids a little bit. They are now pretty neutral. (With close to 0 output impedance amp)

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    I have an MW10 Andromeda coming in the mail right now...haven't been this excited about an audio purchase in a while. I'll do my best to post some impressions relative to my memory of the 2020.
     
  3. Claud

    Claud Living the ORFAS dream

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    Please excuse my ignorance. I would like to know , what is a MW10 Andromeda? I am aware of the Andromeda 2020 and the OG Andromeda. I even think that there was a "Gold" version. Where does the MW10 Andro fall in the line of the other Andros and what is so good about it to inspire you to part with your hard earned cash?

    I hate to point this out, and I may be wrong, but is your post not desired according to SBAF guidelines? I seem to remember that I got some dislikes for a similar post. I would not do that to you. You are a very nice person and a fellow CA Solaris SE owner.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2020
  4. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    another SBAFer is actually researching this right now. There’s apparently many versions of even the green Andromeda. Stay tuned for a full report;)
     
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  5. Claud

    Claud Living the ORFAS dream

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    That will be much enjoyed by myself and other Andromeda owners. I got mine about two months prior to the 2020 model release. Sounds very nice, but inquiring minds want to know.
     
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  6. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    It’s a Japanese exclusive Mix Wave 10th Anniversary model. Supposedly tuned between the OG and 2020 but no one has measured one as far as I know. It’s exclusivity has given it a bit of a cult following. I believe it has a ceramic chamber like the Solaris SE. Certainly would like hear this one and the shiny S model.
     
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  7. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    There’s a bunch of green Andromeda’s too. I just listened to one that sounded exactly like you just described the MW version. Between 2020 and the “10khz spike” version which I have yet to hear.
     
  8. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    What guidelines am I violating (apologies in advance if I have)?
     
  9. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    Green Versions
    There is V1 (OG) and V2 which is just a cosmetic change. There is a V3, which also known as 2019. I don’t remember what changes with this one. And of course 2020, the dark one.

    Then there were some colorways Pacifc Blue, White, Iceberg, Copper, MW10 and S. They all may or may not have had sound changes. I know the MW10 and S did but not sure on the others.
     
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  10. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    Sometime in the New Year after the novelty has worn off somewhat I am open to possibly doing a loaner/trade/mini-tour to a select group of SBAF's finest.
     
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  11. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    I think there are more different sounding green versions than that. I heard another that was not the 2020 -it had holes in the nozzle, and it was even bassier than the 2020. I thought it was broken.
     
  12. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    All versions prior to 2020 had the 3 nozzle bores, if I’m not mistaken. 2020 introduced the Solaris style nozzle grate.
     
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  13. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    <s>All I know is I'm keeping my 2019 round-bore nozzle Andro's with the hopes that sometime in 2036 I can sell them for $16,000 since the $49,000 MW10s will REALLY be like hens teeth</s>
     
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  14. redrich2000

    redrich2000 Facebook Friend

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    You need some of these for that Loki LED.
     
  15. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    I actually have some of that exact stuff in black and silver but the LED is so bright it shines through the cracks around the left most knob so I don’t need the LED itself. It’s already too bright as it is at night.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    It's exclusivity and also reports of their sound being a nice mixture of the midrange timbre of the 2020 coupled with more of the treble profile of the OG...after falling in love with the 2020 last summer this piqued my interest Couple this with the fact that it's arguably the most beautiful of all the Andromedas (blue and gold is my favourite color combo too) and it was almost a perfect storm of temptation for me. I have a friend who in Japan who had access to one at a decent price and I couldn't resist.
     
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  17. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Ha! Dork!
     
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  18. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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  19. Tchoupitoulas

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    For reference purposes: the various Andromeda versions

    Having compared the original with our respective 2020 versions, @rhythmdevils and I were wondering about the different Andromedas. (I’m the one he mentioned above who’s been looking into this). What follows is a list of the different Andros and their distinguishing physical features. I’m not claiming this list's definitive, comprehensive or entirely accurate but I hope it’s helpful. Also, please note that there’s nothing new here: I’m merely repeating and synthesizing information readily available elsewhere.

    I should also emphasize that, as far as possible, I’m trying to provide information that’s verifiable and based on photos and credible descriptions of the IEMs. While I’m providing citations, the information typically comes from Campfire Audio, unless otherwise noted. Whenever the information’s speculative, I’ll be explicit about it; I’m not interested in spreading rumors, nor do I wish to make claims about how the different Andromedas sound. Instead, I’ll just provide a note when CA or its dealers themselves make statements about sound signatures.

    The official position, according to Campfire Audio, is that there are three versions of the original emerald green Andromeda; the first one (released in 2016), an updated one (now called the “2019 Edition” on CA’s website), and finally the 2020. There are also six limited editions, which I’ll discuss below. For these official versions and the dates of their release, please see CA’s website here and here.


    The Emerald Green Andromedas

    Version: 1 (official)

    Released: spring 2016
    Appearance: visible CNC milling lines on the aluminum shells, torx screws (CA calls them watch screws), and 3 round bore holes.
    Accessories: Litz cable (silver in color) and dark coffee color leather case (source)
    Photo credit: purr1n's photo in the original Andro thread here

    [​IMG]


    A note about running changes
    In the summer of 2017, CA released the Snow White limited edition, which had tri-wing screws in place of the torx screws. Then, in the fall of 2017, CA released the Pacific Blue edition (photo below), which had new “bevelled” or “chiseled” edges and a new nozzle. This new nozzle had a “collar” around it (I’ve also seen it called a “step”). At the same time or thereafter, some of the original Andromedas apparently incorporated these innovations as running changes. There are instances in which posters on Head-Fi and elsewhere have photographed some of these variations. I’m including these changes here but I can’t vouch for their legitimacy: the following two photos (from here and here, which comes from a post on reddit) should be considered speculative.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The people posting on Head-Fi and reddit call these versions “1.5” and “2.” These terms are problematic, though. For one thing, they’re not official, as I’ve noted. For another, there is an official v.2, and using the unofficial terminology risks sowing confusion. Additionally, it is not clear whether there was a linear progression in making the running changes and there is some uncertainty (see here and the following post on SBAF) about the timing and nature of the adoption of the new components. Thus we might find different combinations of screws or nozzle and, possibly, different CNC machining lines on the shells, which some have suggested became narrower or had a different “resolution.” This, again, may be speculation; I’ll leave it to others to discern this for themselves from the photos. Finally, the running changes may just be cosmetic.

    Speculative version “1.5” (unofficial, hence the quotation marks)
    Released: some time before summer 2018, when people first started “documenting” them online (if, again, the photos are to be believed; see here, for instance, which is in response to a much earlier query here).
    Appearance: new tri-wing screws, new bevelled (or chiseled) edges, visible (but finer-grained?) CNC milling lines, and 3 round bore holes. This is all speculative.

    Speculative version “2” (unofficial)
    Released: some time before summer 2018, when people first started mentioning them online
    Appearance: the new “step” or “collar” on the nozzle, which may now be made out of stainless steel (not confirmed) rather than aluminum, tri-wing screws, bevelled edges, visible (but finer-grained?) CNC milling lines, and 3 round bore holes. This is also speculative.​


    Version: 2 (official, known as the “2019 edition” at one point and as the "Classic Edition" as of April 2021 [post edited 5/19/21])
    Released: spring 2019
    Appearance: smooth shells (no CNC milling lines), the nozzle with the collar, and 3 round bore holes (see here and here)
    Accessories: Litz cable (smoky) and green leather case
    Campfire Audio's description: “Refreshed with a refined body, new cable, and premium leather case” (see here), and “the same awesome sound (NO sonic changes have been made) The shell is more refined in appearance, which has the same geometry but is more refined in appearance. All new cable with no memory wire by popular demand. The new smoky litz cable does have a memory heat shrink that has a formed bend but om internal wire. The new leather case is more ergonomic and padded.” (source)
    Photo credit: Campfire Audio

    [​IMG]


    Note about further innovations
    As with some of the purported revisions above, the next release built on innovations made previously to special edition Andromedas, in this case the Gold (for the new grill on the spout) and the MW10 (or Mixwave 10), which uses “a ceramic acoustic chamber molded by a 3D printer.” Furthermore, “this acoustic chamber has been adopted as a precursor to new earphone manufacturing standards that will become the mainstream of Campfire Audio in the future.” See here. It’s also possible that this new feature was developed for CA’s custom IEMs, see the CA description of the 2020 version that follows.


    Version: 2020 - official
    Released: spring 2020
    Appearance: same as 2019 edition except that “a new spout design keeps its distinctive short collar, but adds our signature grill pattern”
    Accessories: Litz cable (smoky), green cork case
    Campfire Audio's description: the “Solid-Body design” was “first explored in our custom fit products.” It consists of “A single printed body” that “now houses all of Andromeda 2020’s internal components”; the “approach brings a new level of control to our acoustic design. You’ll enjoy a refined musical presentation, with clarity and resolution that can’t be missed.” (see here)
    Photo credit: Campfire Audio

    [​IMG]


    Special editions

    Andromeda Snow White
    Released: summer 2017 (Hong Kong, limited edition)
    Appearance: Cerakote™ white with gold tri-wing screws, new bevelled (or chiseled) edges, visible (but finer-grained?) CNC milling lines, and 3 round bore holes
    Accessories: black leather case and Litz (silver) cable
    Notes: some seem to have gold screws while others may have had black ones (to judge from used sales listings). The one with the gold screws can be seen on this retailer’s website, which I understand to be a dealer for CA in Hong Kong. The dealer’s website also claims that “the double coated Cerakote™ shell brings more subtlety and finesse to the sound.” (really? - source)
    Photo from a post on Head-Fi; it looks legit as the same one is on the dealer's website here.

    [​IMG]


    Andromeda Ice Berg
    Released: fall 2017 (Japan, limited)
    Appearance: Cerakote black with silver face plate, black torx screws, visible CNC milling lines, bevelled edges, collar on the nozzle, and 3 round bore holes.
    Accessories: black case and Litz (silver) cable
    Notes: according to the Japanese dealer Mixwave, the Ice Berg has the TAEC and its sound is the same as the original’s, see here. Caveat: I don’t know if the TAEC was introduced with this edition. Additionally, the idea that there is was a linear progression in the use of components is belied here by the fall’s Ice Berg having torx whereas the Snow White’s tri-wings dated back to the summer.
    Photo from Mixwave.

    [​IMG]


    Andromeda Pacific Blue
    Released: fall 2017 (limited)
    Appearance: Cerakote cobalt blue (I’m getting “cobalt” from the CA website), silver tri-wing screws, visible CNC milling lines, bevelled edges, collar on the nozzle (not sure if it’s steel), and 3 round bore holes
    Accessories: raw leather case and Litz cable (silver one)
    Campfire Audio's description: “Special Limited Edition of 350 Andromeda with a Cerakote™ finish” and “Dual high frequency drivers discard a traditional ‘tube & damper’ tuning system for our new Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber™ (T.A.E.C.).” (source).
    Photo from Campfire Audio

    [​IMG]


    Andromeda S
    Released: summer 2018 (limited)
    Appearance: shiny stainless steel, silver tri-wing screws, no machining lines (obviously), bevelled edges, collar on the stainless steel nozzle, and 3 round bore holes
    Accessories: black leather case and Litz cable (silver one)
    Campfire Audio's description: “Polished stainless steel shell. Special edition tuning.” Has TAEC. More info here.
    Photo from Campfire Audio

    [​IMG]


    Andromeda Gold
    Released: summer 2019 (limited)
    Appearance: not gold, instead black with gold tri-wing screws, collar on the stainless steel nozzle, and grill pattern instead of bore holes
    Accessories: dark brown case and Litz (smoky) cable
    Campfire Audio's description: “7 Balanced Armatures + Crossover-less Design.” More info here. The two extra bass drivers ”provide more weight and depth to the low frequency delivery….The bass remains tight and fast as only the best balanced armature designs can deliver. The added extension to new sonic depths shows a new perspective of Andromeda’s classic sonic signature.” Finally, “The all-new cross-over-less design delivers a dynamic and unfiltered sonic presentation… By shaping the acoustic performance of our selected drivers with our 3D printed acoustic chambers, the raw energy of musical performance is faithfully reproduced.”
    Speculation: the nozzle looks longer and thinner but I can’t be sure. There was some discussion of this re. the Ara, IIRC?
    Photo from Campfire Audio

    [​IMG]


    Andromeda MW10 “Mixwave Special Edition”
    Released: fall 2019 (Japan, limited) [see here]
    Appearance: electric or “strato” blue with gold tri-wing screws, and according to the Mixwave dealer’s website, an “abalone inlay logo” (アバロンのインレイロゴ) [LOL, google wants to translate abalone as “Avalon” - as in the place where King Arthur went after death]
    Accessories: blue case and Super Litz cable
    Notes: according to Mixwave, the MW10 has “redesigned crossovers and ceramic acoustic chambers with 3D printers.” Furthermore, this “is the first Campfire Audio earphone to use a ceramic acoustic chamber molded by a 3D printer. This acoustic chamber has been adopted as a precursor to new earphone manufacturing standards that will become the mainstream of Campfire Audio in the future. This new ceramic acoustic chamber mainly uses ABS resin (a type of synthetic resin) as a material for the first time to reduce distortion and achieve a clear sound. By changing the tuning mainly in the mid-high range, a new ‘ANDROMEDA’ sound was born.” (source)
    Photo from Mixwave

    [​IMG]


    Conclusions
    According to CA, the release sequence of the above IEMs is as follows: OG Andromeda, Snow White, Ice Berg, Pacific Blue, Andromeda S, updated Andromeda (2019), Gold, MW10, and finally, the 2020. This sequence, and the official descriptions and photos (if the dealers’ websites are also to be trusted), suggest that the special editions served as opportunities for innovating the IEMs and that some of these innovations were incorporated into the emerald green versions. Also, while there appear to have been changes made to the OG Andromeda some time in 2017 or 2018, they may just have been cosmetic, as with the milling and the use of different screws. The only stated instances of official changes to Andromeda’s sound signature are with the Andro S, Gold, MW10, and now the 2020.

    Please let me know if any of the above information is incorrect; I’d be happy to edit this post. The one thing that’s beyond question is the superiority of the 2020. (That’s the one I have).
     
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    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
  20. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    Now you have to keep this post updated with each future version, so we can have a living Andromeda bible to fall back on! Thanks for the overview and pulling it all together. Very helpful.
     
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