Campfire Audio Andromeda Review: Holy Cow, This is a Dream, Awesomesauce!

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by purr1n, May 13, 2016.

  1. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,747
    Dislikes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    113
    You will need the IEMatch to alleviate both hiss and cap coupled output.

    The hiss level is less on the Vali 2 (low gain) than the ZX2. But you NEED the IEMatch to not have a significant bass roll-off.
     
  2. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

    Staff Member Friend JK47
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    5,432
    Dislikes Received:
    45
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    gone
    taking my (earlier version cable) iEMatch and Andro to work tomorrow for some Vali 2 time then!
    hopefully can "reply from experience" by end of week.
    ;)
     
    Merrick likes this.
  3. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,750
    Dislikes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Still working on my own formal review/impression/2-cent of Andromeda after all this time, but my verdict and experience currently is that: what you plug them into matters.

    It's hard to talk about Andromeda without including what you're using as the source because they just change way too much with sources. Like some here, I don't like them at all with sources that have close to 0-ohm Z-out. They just become way too bassy.

    But sources with more than 0-ohm Z-out varies in character. Some are neutral-ish sounding but has some stridency/digitus/sharp peak (iPhone?), some are warm and nice but kinda lacking in apparent air and detail (ZX2? Portable tube amps? Note: ZX2 was actually quite nice, better than iPhone, but a bit too cloudy-sounding for me), and some others are just plain wrong (Vali 2 without IEMatch?).

    My GO2A Infinity also has hiss with Andromeda even on low gain... so they're sensitive to power supply quality as well. I still need to try balanced and see if that would fix the hiss, but being that I'm not even using more than half volume on low gain with GO2A, it seems like going balanced will just make that range even smaller. These are super sensitive and efficient.

    Anyway, I haven't heard Z1R, so I have no idea, but to me, Andromeda is most similar to HD800/Utopia, and not really like HD600/650 (read: Hands won't like them). I have also tried some mods, and so far, that "BA treble" thing just doesn't want to away, though it can be mitigated.

    There, hope that helps. Honestly, I like Andro as reference IEMs, but for enjoyment, I'd go for Noble X, even considering Andro bests Noble X at every metric possible to my ears, except for treble. Treble stridency is just too much. Noble X is also BA but they sound much much much less strident. My HE-5 sounds "docile" every time I switch to them from Andro. Can't wait until I receive my Noble X... the prototype was such a tease!
     
  4. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2016
    Likes Received:
    5,567
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Bill, balanced out on the GO2a won't be any better, probably worse, in regards to hiss.
     
  5. Chipless

    Chipless Rando

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2016
    Likes Received:
    12
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    CO
    I'm struggling with the Andro/GO2A pairing at the moment as well. I'm using the balanced output of the GO2A along with a Tinsel balanced cable from ALO, and I'm not loving the sound. Based on this thread, I'm guessing the main reason is the low output impedance of the GO2A. Is it worth getting the iFi iEMatch to add into the chain? I am beginning to wonder if it's better to just use my iPhone SE as the primary audio source rather than my Mac...$400+ in total acessories over the cost of the stock Andromeda is making me a bit sad considering I've only managed to make the sound worse thus far. I will happily spend another $50 if the iEMatch will result in significantly better sound than listening straight out of the iPhone SE when paired with the GO2A's balanced output.

    Thank you for any advice you can find the time to provide.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2017
  6. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,125
    Dislikes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    So, I'm pretty confused at this point, as I finally got to hear the Andromeda (and the Jupiter) at the Chicago meet and I am not hearing things the way better ears than mine are. I tried them out of my Note 4 (unknown output Z but probably 4-6 based on other models), and the Schiit Fulla 2 (0.5) and didn't hear the peakiness or brightness that some are hearing. And I consider myself very sensitive to brightness. I was actually very surprised that I was hearing something so balanced with great tonality and musicality. It definitely sounded a bit thinner out of my phone, but not to the point where it was unpleasant. And I wasn't overwhelmed by the bass out of the Fulla 2. Still much better than an HD800. Maybe the rest of my gear was too low-fi. I am kicking myself that I forgot to bring my GO2A with me. Or maybe it was the tips dulling the treble response. Who knows. All I know is that I loved them and want to get them someday when I can recalibrate my brain to the point where paying $850-1100 for some IEMs isn't insane to me. Or maybe I just proved I have shit ears and should just stick to budget gear.

    Oh and fuq stock IEM cables, especially the Tinsels on the Jupiter. Crazy tangle prone and annoying to use. The Andromeda cables were only marginally better. Aftermarket cables recommended just for ergonomics.
     
    aufmerksam, Dino and PoochZag like this.
  7. Cellist88

    Cellist88 Afraid someone will shit on his opinions

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,032
    Dislikes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    NJ
    Chipless get an Ifi Iematch. The 2.5ohm on the Ifi Iematch should help you get you to 2.5 ohms which will give a balance that is closer to the iphone. I do like it at 2.5 when I listen to my andros. Get it from amazon, because if you don't like it you can return it.
     
  8. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

    Staff Member Friend JK47
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    5,432
    Dislikes Received:
    45
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    gone
    @Chipless I don't own the official iEMatch like @zerodeefex does, (and @Cellist88) just chimed in. but the prototype iEMatch single ended of GO2V+Spec Edition was better than a mere iPhone 6S.
    if you don't want to take the Amazon price/return path, maybe you can convince me to buy iEMatch, I'll listen for a couple days and loan to you for a week or two since we are close in mileage? :)
    send me a PM.

    @fraggler is right- the tinsel cable is a complete disaster. didn't buy Andro (B stock) myself until at least the Litz single ended cable was included by default.
    awaiting my balanced aftermarket cable in the next couple weeks. cheers @fraggler !
    :headbang:
     
    Chipless likes this.
  9. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2016
    Likes Received:
    5,567
    Dislikes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I'm not hearing them as bright or peaky either. Some of this may be ear canal interaction.
     
  10. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    11,315
    Dislikes Received:
    55
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Wait, what? Did you ask Larry for 2 ohm output Z?
     
  11. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

    Staff Member Friend JK47
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    5,432
    Dislikes Received:
    45
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    gone
    nah nah,
    i have a short pigtail cable from iFi which was the prototype for iEMatch.
    two were delivered: -12dB and a -24dB.

    i use the -12dB pigtail with my current GOV2+SpecEd via single ended to Andro.

    sorry for the confusion.
    unless @LarryHo wants to mod my GOV2+SpecEd in February when I send it in for the Full Metal Case?
    :D
     
  12. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,305
    Dislikes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Cape Town, South Africa
    My GO2ASE hisses twice as much balanced as SE, and both are significantly louder than GOV2. IEMatch cleans it up nicely. Despite more hiss, GO2ASE performs better than GOV2 (using IEMatch on both). IMO you need IEMatch for flexibility with Andros.

    Despite the disaster talk, I actually like the tinsel balanced cable. I agree the litz is better for walking scenarios, but commuting, work etc I actually prefer the tinsel.

    YMMV etc.
     
  13. Chipless

    Chipless Rando

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2016
    Likes Received:
    12
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    CO
    Thanks for all the feedback in regards to the iEMatch and GO2A! I really appreciate it.
     
  14. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,750
    Dislikes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Yeah, I'm still waiting for IEMatch to come, and then I'll start writing up on Andro. And balanced GO2A having more hiss... huh, I didn't expect that, but I guess it can happen.

    Honestly, I initially didn't think much of Andro when @insidious meme so very graciously allowed me to audition his pair. The tonality was good but something was a bit off about timbre. It was like it was overly sharp. Maybe some ear resonance thing because I know stock HD650 sometimes "surprises" me with how "sharp" it sounds with certain tracks.

    Fast forward to now, I think my perspective on this IEM is still forming, even though I've had 'er for a good while.

    So we'll see.
     
  15. Muse Wanderer

    Muse Wanderer Friend

    Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,116
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Malta
    The comply tips with wax guard on did tame the slight treble sharpness heard with spinfits, stock silicon and foam. Deep insertion with comply helped to get the bass balance right. That said I run Andro from my Galaxy S5 (good tonality poor technicalities - OI 1ohm) and when in the mood to blow my mind from the Yggdrasil-Ragnarok SE (tad lean with OI 3ohm).
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
  16. beowulf

    beowulf Guest

    So many options to choose from, all so different.

    Well, I guess I'll announce that I just ordered them! This is a bit crazy for my purchasing habits since 1) I don't use IEMs much, so at this price it's even weirder 2) I couldn't listen to them first 3) I cannot return them (at least not easily since I ordered at a fairly shady webshop that has a reputation for making returns and RMAs impossible). All elements for disaster are present.

    But somehow I kept reading about the Andromeda and liked almost everything I read. It seems that they might be an alternative to the Shure SE846 that I like but don't seem to get a truly wow-factor with. I should be able to compare both A/B since I have one month left to return the 846 and hopefully the Andromeda arrive sooner (store listed them "In stock", but again, they are known to list that and then take weeks and weeks).

    I didn't do my due diligence in this purchase also regarding CA support/warranty/customer service. And overall reliability of these models.
    Don't really know CA well and their presence in Europe is a lot more discrete. My use case for these IEMs is rather gentle... will be used throughout the day at the office, so at maximum they'll in my ears 8h/day. No use outdoors or commuting and I only use full-size cans at home.

    I also don't like much that almost all the reviews I saw were from people getting supplier samples. While that doesn't mean people are biased or too positive, it's always nicer to read users who actually had to drop a bucket of money for them - somehow, that seems to increase the level of whining when something isn't right.

    I liked that HD800/Utopia comment. I'm really looking for a very open, spacious sound, so indeed and HD 800/800S in IEM form, but without sounding thin on the lows and mids and with a great fun factor (Z1R excels at that). I want a HD800+Z1R bastard son. In IEMs. Yes. I know, won't happen. But if it is close enough (at least considerably closer than thet SE846), I'll be happy.

    I know there are other options on the market but my cap was around 1.4K (eur) max. That would be enough for a Vega, but from the descriptions I think the Andromeda will fit my preference better, especially in terms of sounding "bigger, more holographic". Still 1.2K tho, which is +50% more than the SE846 cost.

    Let's see when they arrive. I haven't really been in a streak of good luck regarding purchases (ordered the XBA-Z5 recently but only later noticed that the shop has lots of bad reputation regarding taking months to deliver, not returning refunds, etc - Tesento.com - and of course, they have already delayed the Z5 delivery so I'm starting to wonder if I got ripped off). If the Andromeda turns out to be a flop (in sound or sale), I'll stay off the grid for a couple of years and go live in a quiet, dark place with no access to any headphones or my wallet.
     
  17. Muse Wanderer

    Muse Wanderer Friend

    Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,116
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Malta
    I think that the Andromedas are much more similar to the Utopia than HD800/S (non modded). It was the IEM (along wih speakers) that showed how inaccurate the HD800/S are with their linear distorsion.

    The HD800/S are not as detailed as the Andromedas and probably present false detail in the treble and certainly hide detail in the upper mids within complex orchestral passages.

    If there was no Utopia I would be content with the Andromedas. YMMV of course if your priorities are different.
     
    beowulf likes this.
  18. beowulf

    beowulf Guest

    Quite extraordinary claims. I find the 800/S to be very detailed, can't think of an IEM having more resolution overall. Also hoping the comments about their large out-of-head soundstage are not exagerated.

    I have to admit I'm a bit afraid this purchase will bomb, but also quite curious to see how they perform. Don't have many decent IEMs around so I suppose the main comparison will have to be with the SE846. Hope the Andromeda doesn't take long to arrive tho... my SE846 amazon return window won't last forever.
     
  19. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,224
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Singapore
    They're not out of the head, but certainly larger than most IEMs.
     
    beowulf likes this.
  20. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,750
    Dislikes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Yeah, Andro does sound larger than most IEMs, but ultimately, they still sound like IEMs.

    Certain tracks will push a little further out, but they won't completely immerse you like HD800. In fact, from what I can remember of Utopia, the soundstage is somewhat similar between the two, as is the forwardness.

    Just that for being how detailed they are, Andro's FR is more agreeable than HD800. Maybe even more agreeable than Utopia, but the sharpness peak is equally annoying between Andro and Utopia.

    What Andro excels at, and which I think should be its primary selling point, is in bass quality. Andro's bass is clean, tight, extended, very detailed, separated, full bodied, punchy, and with just the right amount of weight (won't shake your skull). It sounds almost like an ortho driver is in there somewhere. Noble X punches harder but isn't as detailed or extended. With certain tracks (movie trailers?), Andro will reproduce bass so low that most headphones won't pick up. Where bass is concerned, I think Andro does about 70-80% what my HE-5 does, and that's a big thing. HE-5 is just ever so slightly cleaner and more effortless, but Andro being able to keep up with one of the best bass headphones is quite something. Extension comparison against HD800 and Utopia will have to wait until I get to hear those two again, but from what I can remember, Utopia still edges out a little with regards to bass details, and maybe HD800 does as well.
     
    philipmorgan, beowulf and TRex like this.

Share This Page