Campfire Ara Review - Perfection - Nicely Done!

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by purr1n, May 27, 2020.

  1. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    I think acoustic filters should be superior in distortion vs electric means, at least low-pass filters. Distortion also gets rolled off by an acoustic filter while an electrical filter will just lower the signal, but not the harmonics. With HP filters it's most likely the other way around.

    Even distortion probably helps with cohesiveness. UERM with its highish D3 up to 500Hz or so (depending on how you crank it up) and then rapidly dropping distortion always sounds a bit more, well, distorted in the lower frequencies to me and cohesion suffers as a result.
    Well, the DD IEMs can have extremely low distortion, lower than open-back headphones - on the order of 0.001% at 100dB in the midrange. Possibly less. I wouldn't be surprised if a dynamic driver in-ear had less distortion than the Sennheiser HE1 (which likely isn't all that much better than an HD800 or SR009 in the midrange). I kind of doubt that for transducers more distortion can be better.
     
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  2. Kunlun

    Kunlun cat-alyzes cat-aclysmic cat-erwauling - Friend

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    On behalf of all of us: Thanks Marv!

    Two things:

    1)Loaner tour please! We can sanitize everything before it goes on to next person.

    2)Can we elect your son High Frequency Evaluation Special Consultant to the Klingon High Council?
     
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  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Like other Campfire IEMs, nominal impedance is low, and the impedance rises with frequency. The impedance rises gradually and steadily. There isn't a sudden huge rise between 5kHz and 8kHz like on the Andromeda, so that is a better thing. One could argue that slightly higher impedance sources would result in more of an HD600 (instead of HD650) sound with more air. I was fine with near zero output impedance sources (Magni 3+) or the Sony ZX2 which has 2-ohm output impedance, but an "organic" sound.

    Campfire Ara
    Impedance and electrical phase

    upload_2020-5-28_10-13-21.png

    The Ara is super sensitive. I didn't get much room to play with the volume knob on the Magni 3+ (using the Motu UltraLite mk4 as a source) before things got really loud even on x1 gain. The typical volume pot mismatch could be an issue here.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
  4. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    FR aside, clarity and bass quality were the two things that jumped at me when I got the Andromeda Gold (compared to OG).
    I wasn't too keen on needing to EQ it to sound good with all genres and, ultimately, Solaris's bass and more normal FR was the reason I let them go. I could still feel the AG had slightly better clarity than Solaris but that wasn't evident with all music so I was definitely willing to sacrifice that for all the other things Solaris did better.

    Now I'm curious how it compares to Solaris 2020 ;)
     
  5. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    Not too shocked. Seems like you will need the IEMatch if you wanna use it correctly (but I hate the negative sideeffects to the sound).

    Sounds like DAPs or THX AAA 789 for this one.
     
  6. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    For sure. This one, like OG Andromeda many moons ago, would be tough for me to part with. However, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.

    The cohesiveness of the sound throughout the audio band, the drivers meshing together is absolutely wonderful. Sometimes I think I'm like the only person on the planet to care about this. (Well, I know you do do since you are the one who came up with the Yo Yo Ma playing three different instruments for the cello concerto). BA? Ken's done a great job at making BA drivers sound a little less BA. These are the reasons why I like it. 4kHz can be bumped down a bit, that's my only complaint, and it's rather minor.

    Yes, I need my son to hear ultra high frequencies for me.

    I have the Solaris 2020 here and it definitely has its charms. The upper-mid dip laid-backness has been corrected. However, the muted lower treble (connected to the upper-mids) is still there. I don't have any issues with this, but I would be unsure if the folks who didn't like the OG Solaris would be OK. The 2020 edition is also much less of a Lt. Uhura eyepiece.

    Or sources that aren't as hot, or a line-level pad like below. I like to run high-gain. Trade-off of higher noise floor.
    IMG_20200528_110318.jpg

    As an aside, and a few important points regarding my subjective impressions:
    1. I immensely dislike the AKM Velvet Sound DACs with the Campfire IEMs (or any BA IEMs for that matter). Mostly been using Modi-Multibit, or Sony ZX2 (S-Master), Ultralite Mk4 (preferably at 174kHz with custom software filter, but even without, it's OK).
    2. I'm opting for a moderately deeper insertion than usual from Campfire IEMs. A leaner and brighter sound can be obtained with a more typical insertion depth.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
  7. La Cenric

    La Cenric Friend

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    @purr1n Have you got to the Andromeda 2020 yet?
     
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  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Yes, from a near zero Z source, it's rather dark sounding. The OG Andromeda had peakier-mid treble, which necessitated the use of certain tips or Comply tips with the filters to tone it down. With 2020 Andromeda, I'd probably go silicone tips. I will need to compare to the OG Andromeda to be absolutely sure.
     
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  9. Bloom

    Bloom MOT: Bloom Audio

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    We can offer an Ara for a loaner tour if you don't want to part with yours, Marv. :D
     
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  10. imackler

    imackler Key Lime Pie Infected Aberdeen Wings Spy

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    Or, I'll take yours, and Marv's can be the loaner. That would be ok, too.
     
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  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Oh thank you! Maybe a good idea is for us to split the effort. I can distribute to the local SoCal and SBAF secret-IEM-society dudes, you can take the rest. I would like any such loaner to be on a limited basis given the price and also history of IEMs being held up by people.

    I will have @ChaChaRealSmooth organize the loaner thread.
     
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  12. Bloom

    Bloom MOT: Bloom Audio

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    That works for me. @ChaChaRealSmooth, wanna coordinate?
     
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  13. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    Purrins descriptions sound like how I feel about the Gold vs. the OG Andromeda, but sounds like the Ara is more tame/balanced than the Gold. I have enjoyed the Gold "As-is" with a Sonic Frontiers SFD1 to the Krell Klone (IEMatch) and deeper insertion is required to get the full experience. The Gold is safely under the threshold of tuning fatigue and distortion fatigue while still being forward and fun. They are like a Grado experience almost, but with pretty decent BA bass. I haven't heard the U12T, so I can't compare to what is often considered "the best BA bass"

    I too believe that the crossover-less design is for some reason seen as "marketing" by most people, but I have always had full belief in less is more and what Jerry Harvey was trying to do with the active system is the right direction for a pure balanced armature experience.

    I thought the OG Andro was more cohesive than the Solaris and the Gold pulls every further ahead in this regard. The Solaris does have its charms though and I wish I could financially add it to the stable, but I personally want something more different rather than the Solaris.
     
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  14. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

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    @Bloom and @purr1n I'll get on that as soon as I can get to my desktop.
     
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  15. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    After you wipe.
     
  16. Rockwell

    Rockwell Almost "Made"

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    Interesting...I hadn't put that much thought into this IEM until now. Would love some more detailed comparisons with Solaris if you're able.
     
  17. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    You mean as soon as you go upstairs? :D
     
  18. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    I didn't see this mentioned, but the Ara is physically different than the rest of the line-up in that the shell is Titanium. I just think it is a neat mention for those who are into that sort of thing. The finish is left raw so you can see the natural "beauty" of the material and have a different patina than the paint chip look of the earlier Andromeda. The only thing I wish Campfire would bring back is the screws from the first run of Andromeda. The "Compact Disc" look screws were a nice touch over the new ones (my personal preference)
     
  19. jowls

    jowls Never shitposts (please) - Friend

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    I have to admit, I am a little disappointed with the lack of jizz in the thread title...
     
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  20. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Keep the loaner unit coming off Marv's place away from blacklights, for sanity's sake?
     

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