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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    Nvm, you are right. I still think it's much clunkier to use, though. Take measurement. Open dual-gated FR, press Ctrl-A, close it again (can't take new measurement while window is open). Take measurement. Open the window again and close it again. Ends up taking much longer than in REW. Maybe there's a better way, haven't really used ARTA in 5 years or so. Is there a way to do the same thing, but with distortion results aswell?

    Taking as many measurements as you like (well, 199 seems to be the limit) and saving them in one file in REW is just beautiful. Even if it means I have like a hundred gigabytes of measurements saved now LOL.

    To get back on topic... I'm not sure if you've mentioned it. How is the staging? Larger than Andromeda? That was one of my biggest gripes of the Andromeda vs my custom UERM... The soundstage just is not as large, despite good imaging.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2020
  2. Claud

    Claud Living the ORFAS dream

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    Ara is now on my list of IEMs I covet. Like brother purrin, I too let my son tell me how good or bad are the sounds over 11 or 12 K due to my old hearing. Yesterday I used the CA Atlas as I took my pick up down to my beach home for the Summer season. It was the best quality music I have ever heard in a moving vehicle. It occurred to me that good DD IEMs were perfect for our older gents. I have never been dissatisfied with my Vegas either, but I have sadly given them to my son. Maybe he will trade them for my Andros.
    Purrin has made a very good review of the Arts and I look forward to their BA mids and bass.
     
  3. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    Effects of amp output impedance on frequency response
    WHT = near 0-ohms ZOut
    BLU = 5.1-ohms ZOut
    ORA = 10.0-ohms ZOut
    upload_2020-5-30_12-25-50.png
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    I don't think we will get the UERM layering and separation. The UERM is unique in that regards. However, the headstage is deeper than both the OG Andromeda and even OG Solaris, with even better layering.
     
  5. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    So OI when high enough affects up to 2-3dB. Am I reading that right?

    Sounds like about 2.5 ohm of OI will tame enough of the highs without muddying up the lows then.
     
  6. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    Opposite. Higher Zout / OI = brighter. Behavior is textbook. I think we will be fine with anything under 2-ohms - that is most the sound be likely be attributed to the characteristic sound of the playback components. Any amp with a cap coupled output (Vali 2, Horizon, etc.) may not be a good idea. However, the world has changed a bit since OG Andromeda. Amp manufacturers get the idea that near 0-ohm Zout is a good idea, not withstanding ASR to make excuses or conveniently ignore it when it comes to their favorite Topping brand amps.

    And the Ara is not so particular like Andromeda which is odd is that it has that 2-2.5ohms Zout sweet-spot (with appropriate tips to tame high-end) if you want a more neutral balance.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2020
  7. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Yeah, I meant 2-2.5 ohm may be bright enough for some and not too annoying. 0 may be too much bass. I know I don't like Solaris at all out of near-0 sources. The bass gets a bit crazy.

    I guess my real question is: which source do you prefer Ara the most with? I know you mentioned Magni 3+ (fed by Modi Multibit?) and ZX2, but I didn't see any mention of which one is the preferred source overall.
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    Zero Zout is fine. Bass is super clear. Ara bass, being BA, isn't as plodding as Solaris's DD, and isn't like Andromeda (at 0-ohm Zout) where the lows overpower the mids. Obviously these comments are in the context of SBAF ears or those who may prefer a response per B&K's 1970 AES paper, and not at all applicable for those who prefer the Harmon consumer preference target, whatever version Olive is currently up to now.

    So far, my favorite pairing is with the ZX2 (with sound service disabled). I would assume that a W1A could be just dandy. There's something about the Sony S-master players that takes the BA out of the BA drivers. The desktop rig with Magni 3+ and Motu is way more resolving and very close tonally where I would like it - just a tiny bit Sabrey up top with the grain and prickly stuff - but far more preferable than any AKM Velvet Sound deal, which sounds too digital up in the highs. The Modi Multibit with the Magni 3+ is a tad too warm - too much mid and high bass from the DAC, which kind of throws everything off. The Motu UltraLite works better because its inherent warmth is throughout, and isn't concentrated in a spot if that makes any sense.

    As I mentioned before, I am shoving the Ara in with the Final tips a size smaller than usual for a deeper insertion. This way I'm getting a slightly dark tilt which is my preference. Tonally, it's just perfect. Clarity is there without any sense of fake clarity that I would associate with Benchmark or THX AAA gear. Thickness and body is just right, without any muddiness or murkiness. Edges and transients are just right. It's essentially the most perfect BA IEM that I have ever experienced.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2020
  9. Empeiros Audio

    Empeiros Audio Rando

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    Right there!!! You’ve just explained something I struggled with for a while. With the Andro Gold, something bothered me with the AKM Velvet Sound (SP1000M) yet is something which didn’t occur with Sony S-Master (ZX300) or Cirrus Master Hi-Fi (SR15/25). Thanks!
     
  10. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    @purr1n, can you compare Ara to Vega? How would you place it in terms of tonality between Andros and Vega, if this question even makes sense, one being BA another DD.
    After I found a way to make bass on Vega very well controlled I just love them with KannCube. I and considering getting a Campfire BA IEMs, but I tried Andromeda and it was not my cup ot tea.
    But I would really like the Vega superb deatails, similar tonality with a bit more balanced frequency response.
     
  11. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    Sounds like you would want the Solaris 2020 if you want a toned down Vega with similar technicalities. Solaris 2020 has the physicality in the bass that Vega has. Ara not quite and really is more clearer and more even sounding Andromeda. In a way, the Ara could be too "boring" if we consider the Vega "fun fun fun". The Vega has a ton moar bass then either, so I'm not sure either Ara or Solaris will be suitable.

    EDIT:

    Maybe the Atlas. The Atlas seems somewhere between Vega and Andro. I believe the Atlas is the spiritual successor to the Vega with its fun U-shaped tuning dialed back just a bit. Vega were a bit too much for me, but Atlas I've used on occasion at work just to amuse myself.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
  12. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    Now I am really interested in comparing Ara with Solaris 2020. It cannot be Atlas because I hate in-ears with wires down.

    I enjoy listening to the same piece of classical music on two IEMS with as different sound signatures as Vega and Etymotic ER4SR, but for very different reasons.
    ER4SR has superb clarity, with deep insertion the bass is present and clean, it is like seeing everything what's in the music.
    So you know what is there but you do not really feel it and that's where Vega comes in.
    Listening on Vega to classical music is pure pleasure, except for shitty recordings. Many classical tracks, string chamber music in particular, are recorded like if the lower registers of cello did not exist, and Vega brings it to the surface without compromising the rest of the spectrum. And when organs are playing loud at close to 20Hz it is supposed to have physical impact, and Vega delivers that sensation.
    I see your point, most likely I would prefer Solaris 2020 but now I have to check Ara.
     
  13. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    On the other hand, the Solaris / Solaris 2020 has lost a little bit of its physicality advantage. The Ara closes the gap quite a bit where I don't feel so much that it's lite BA bass. I'm wondering if it's less the static distortion profile (which again, may not be so reliable when it comes to measurements), but rather other factors, i.e. multiple drivers pushing air (which could also be distortion profile, but how it changes with amplitude).
     
  14. Claud

    Claud Living the ORFAS dream

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    Another older member who appreciates the single DD IEMs. I have read that the Kube is supposed to really get the best sound out of the CA IEMs.
     
  15. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    I was watching Jude's HF interview with the CA folks on Youtube. They were talking about how all three new IEMs including the Ara use some kind of a monolithic boot that makes driver placement easier and build consistency better with tighter tolerances. See from about 4 to 6:30 min and again at 9:30.

     
  16. Empeiros Audio

    Empeiros Audio Rando

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    Not sure it makes sense but I'll give it a shot: having the Andromeda Gold, I'm wondering how "Grado-esque" are the Ara, particularly the mids… ?
     
  17. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    Not at all, now that I got the fitment right.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2020
  18. theveterans

    theveterans Acquaintance

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    I heard the Andromeda with the Cube before and yep I also prefer the Astell&Kern DAPs with the Campfire IEMs. The AK DAP I have has the dusl AKM4499 chips rather than the ESS9038pro from the Cube as I can’t stand the glare from DAPs equipped with ESS sabre chips
     
  19. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    You hear glare with the Cube?
    I don’t.
     
  20. theveterans

    theveterans Acquaintance

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    It's not a hard glare that's coming from a BT/USB DAC/amp with the 9218p chip from the FiiO BTR5. From what I remember, there's just a very slight gloss in the tonality of the Cube that I didn't detect with DAC/amps like the Chord Mojo. The AK4499 chip from the SP2000 didn't have that "gloss" sensation in the tonality with the Andromeda, but comparing with Schiit Bifrost 2, there's still some sort of hardness in the sound but the SP2000 is still much better than a lot of S-D DACs in that regard though it's still inferior compared to Bifrost 2 which excels in removing all of the hardness present in recording.
     

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