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

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

  1. aufmerksam

    aufmerksam Friend

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    I've only been listening for 5 days or so, but I haven't stopped listening. I haven't even done any critical test track listening, although that probably won't come for a while since I am having too much fun at the moment.

    A Note About the Tips:
    So, the provided silicone single flange tips are garbage for me, no good seal at any size. The andros I got (used, from @PoochZag, at a helluva price thankyouverymuch) did not include spinfits; I have some coming this week, and will have to see how those go. The comply's are ... ok, they give good seal, and the listening is nice and easy, but I hate getting comply's in and out of the ear. It feels like a production, and I am lazy / too often interrupted at home. For the moment, I have some spare double-flanges lying around for my rockets, and tried those out. The fit is awesome for me, and I notice a little more top-end presence, but not that big of a deal, which is nice since I feared it would turn me off. I will do some proper comparing of the spinfits/double-flanges/comply's once the spinfits arrive.

    Sort of Compared to UERM, also the Bass:
    The things that impress me the most are the air at the top end and the bass. Both are almost impossibly natural feeling, they easily top my UERM in this aspect. Also, and maybe this is just me getting older, but I am secretly liking the shallower insertion, and find them to be less of a nuisance to don and doff than the UERM. I used to crave that deep penetration (har har) after years of using old barrel-type shures and the venerable er4; I used to think that good seal/bass/everything was only possible once you got past the second bend. No more.

    Sort of Compared to HD800, also, again, the Bass:
    The andro reminds me a lot of the HD800, but I do not get the long-session fatigue that made me ultimately sell the 800s. I have said before that I am not the most susceptible to treble issues (except in extreme cases, typically involving closed cans), but I presume the milder treble compared to the HD800 is what lets me listen for longer. Also the bass is WAY better than the HD800. On that note, I find myself liking it more out of low z-out source (currently the GOV2+∞). I think it is not so much that I am a basshead, but that the bass is really freaking good. However, other likely factors include: I listen at lower volume when I am just grinding through a records review at work; and I have recently been giving a lot of time to my TH-X00, which also has tha sexy bass. I was worried, based on reviews, that they would be too like the HD800, and I would find myself pinned between a desire to just listen and an overly clinical presentation. This has not been the case.

    Ah, but the Hiss:
    The drawback has, of course, been the hiss. It is awful. I am currently using my UE attenuator until I calculate a more permanent solution. The attenuator kills the air at the top for me, and muddies the bass a bit. Not too bad, but disappointing nonetheless. This makes me worry that any solution will carry these same effects. If anyone has thoughts on this, I am open to suggestions.

    And, a Note About the General Fit:
    It's great! I have previously HATED the shure SE535 fit, (don't get me started on the bulbasaur that is the SE846), and was skeptical about the andro. Somehow, they are weightless once they are in, and I have had no issues with the metal edges rubbing or digging in against my concha. it helps they are really light, and for me the cable angle is enough right that I have no issues. I can see this being very person-specific.
     
  2. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    Looking forward to your report on Andro + pigtail +Vali 2. I'll probably get both the V2 and the Jot but it'll be good to know if the iEMatch protos will work with the cap coupling.
    After getting over the initial honeymoon resolution period, I shelved the treble down 2dB starting around 8kHz which helps with the stridency. Can you describe the mods you tried?
     
  3. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    I stuffed foam into the biggest opening. That seems to mitigate the stridency by a good amount. But too much foam and it'll lose air, so you gotta play around with the amount.
     
  4. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    after 2 hours, pretty safe to say @Clemmaster was right regarding Vali2 + Andro.
    iEMatch (prototype) works well, no hiss at all with Vali2 on low gain, volume knob cranked with no music.
    only faint air heard with no music playing, Vali2 on high gain and volume knob to max.

    Andro+iEMatch in the Vali2 does provide some bass punch but in no way bloated or burying mids.
    it's a fun listen for sure. bass roll off not noticed, similar in depth and accuracy when using iEMatch (-12dB) proto cable into the GO2ASpecEd (single ended) itself.
    direct into the GO2A there was a bit tightening of bass, slightly less sound staging / imaging.

    Note: GO2ASpecEd DAC single ended --> Vali2 (tube adapter w/ GE JAN 5670 tube)
     
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  5. beowulf

    beowulf Guest

    Rubbing my hands in anticipation here. If they don't turn out to be at least worth a smile then perhaps it's time for me to give up on IEMs and proceed with full size cans. o_O

    Now, wonder how long the shop will take to send it. My last two purchases (the Andromeda and the Sony XBA-Z5) were a total disaster in terms of shops I picked. I'm usually careful but this time the eagerness made me sloppy. In the case of the Andromeda I found out that CA says they refuse warranty to IEMs bought at that shop, which of course, might be a pickle if they arrive DOA or something.

    This is a curious concept btw. I'm not even sure it is legal in EU consumer law (refusing warranty to one of your products, sold sealed, simply because the shop was not in the list of ADs).
     
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  6. lac29

    lac29 Acquaintance

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    Picked up a B-stock CA Andromeda yesterday and have been listening to it for about 8 hours already straight out of a Macbook Pro (no hiss) at work and also directly out of an HTC One M7 (hiss). There really isn't much to say that hasn't already been said. These are very, very good IEMs. I prefer them to my HD600 and HD800 running out of Mjo/Gungnir (balanced). I prefer them over my Shure SE530. Hiss is indeed present at lower to middle listening volumes for me. However, when cranked up a tad it disappears. This can be a problem for some and still is an issue for me somewhat. There really is no glaring weakness in terms of soundstage, imaging, separation, bass, mids, treble.

    I had doubts about IEMs in general after being thoroughly impressed with entry level speakers and not liking my Shure SE530 (which I have had for close to a decade now). I also tried a pair of CA Novas and was pretty disappointed with them. Andromedas are the real deal. I am very much thinking of selling off my HD800 because they are not going to be used much anymore I think.

    I have some balanced cables, an iEMatch adapter, and possibly a GOV2+Inf coming. We will see how much it controls the hiss. I've tried both the stock silicon and comply with wax guard, both using the smallest size. Both work decently but I'm still sussing out which works better. There are definitely some minor issues with advantages and disadvantages to both of them.
     
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  7. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

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    I prefer them with UE TF10 era silicone tips, but I wonder if those Klipsch oval tips will be even better. Need to find some of them oval tips.

    I don't like the Andromeda with foams (tends to itch my ears after 15 mins and a hassle to use) or SpinFits.
     
  8. beowulf

    beowulf Guest

    Are they that hissy compared to the SE846? So for the846 impedance/sensitivity 9 Ω/114 dB SPL/mW. For the Andromeda, 12.8 Ω / 115 dB SPL/mW.
    A bit more sensitivity but doesn't seem very significant, no?

    With the SE846 I get no hiss in the three sources I use more often:
    -An SMSL M8+VA2 stack, with the P1 linear power supply (totally flat noise floor)
    -A Galaxy S7 Edge phone (Exynos chipset, not the Snapdragon), not an excellent source but no audible hiss.
    -A fairly old Lenovo X240 laptop (this one surprised me a lot, I expected lots of noise but get zero hiss and have been using it as a source at work).

    They are hissy with a Meier Audio Corda Move tho, even in low gain + low current. It's quite audible with the Move, so I ended up not using it at all instead of the laptop.

    I'm expecting the Andromeda to behave roughly the same with these sources.
     
  9. Audioviel

    Audioviel Rando

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    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
  10. aufmerksam

    aufmerksam Friend

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    I auditioned the se846 ages ago (it seems). I was stuck in O'Hare airport, and the guy at one of those boutique audio kiosks saw that I had customs and struck up a conversation hoping to sell me something expensive. (He was actually pretty nice, and let me listen for a long time, which was cool). I'm pretty sure I was driving them with my leckerton. I also tried them or of my then-iPhone 5s. I don't remember hiss being an issue. My takeaway impressions were: serious bass, overwhelming bass, overwhelmed mids, underwhelming highs, and sweet lord it looks like something laid eggs in my ears.

    I can't directly compare sources, but with the Andro I get distracting hiss out of my Nexus 6p and my GOV2+inf. It was so distracting with the V2+ regardless of gain setting that I must use an attenuator. By comparison, my uerm have only a low level his it is both those sources. I haven't tried andro out of my jot yet, but will give it a try this week.

    Hope that helps.
     
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  11. deafdoorknob

    deafdoorknob Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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  12. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Some more observations... before IEMatch comes in and I finalize my review/impressions of Andro:

    Foam tips of any kind make bass sound really bloated/blurred. Silicone tips are much better at bass control, and they also allow Andro to show just how extended their bass can reach.

    However, foam tips are better at controlling upper mid and treble in general. I never get listening fatigue with foam tips. Silicone tips don't seal as much, and they kinda sound a bit more airy (more likely because of less seal, me thinks), but... upper mid and lower treble go out of control. The included silicone tips make Andro sound like some kind of hyper Audio Technica tuning. If you're gonna use silicone tips, I think you should stuff some foam into the biggest nozzle, so that upper mid doesn't go crazy.

    Andro has super fast drivers so blocking the nozzles do not seem to have any effect whatsoever on overall transient response at higher frequencies, although bass does suffer ever so slightly in cleanliness.

    And with that said, silicone tips are my favorite so far. Me thinks if they made silicone tips with a layer of foam filter, those would be perfect for Andro.
     
  13. aufmerksam

    aufmerksam Friend

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    Bill, what kind/density of foam are you plugging into the nozzle? (Also, have you tried any other kind of natural filter?)
     
  14. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    I'm cutting up the filter foam I ripped out of HD6xx headphones.

    I figure if they were able to tame the same peak on those, then...

    And yeah, I have tried some others, but foam is working best so far. Everything else either kills resolution/air, or is just too impractical to fit on to the IEM.
     
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  15. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    The front foam? Wish I'd kept the scraps leftover from coin mod.
     
  16. Yeskey

    Yeskey Friend

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    I've been using JVC spiral dots and their signature is close to the silicon stock tips with a slightly bloomier bass and smoother treble. Might be a side effect from a better fit due to a more flexible stem and tip so I can insert it more comfortably.
     
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  17. imackler

    imackler Key Lime Pie Infected Aberdeen Wings Spy

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    Anyone try lossless out of the most recent ipod touch w these?
     
  18. Dino

    Dino Friend

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  19. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    I second that.
    I'm using spinfit currently. Best balance for the setup. Less isolation from the lower treble up, though. I can hear my keyboard when I type.

    I like the foamies with the ZX2 better, though. But yeah, the bass gets bloated a bit and the treble is smoother.
    Isolation is better, too, despite not going inside the ear really. The design of the andros is really clever.
     
  20. deafdoorknob

    deafdoorknob Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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