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

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

  1. likearake

    likearake Acquaintance

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    I have a bit of an IEM noob question, since I have always used foam tips (the stock CA ones and Comply).

    I have lately been trying Spiral Dots and Symbio tips with the Andros. With the Spiral Dots I get a big vacuum pressure kind of effect, while I don't get the same with the Symbio tips.

    I also get much more bass from the Spiral Dots than the Symbio, but not sure if that is because I am not getting a proper seal with the Symbio or due to inherent differences.

    Does the vacuum effect with the Spiral Dots indicate a proper seal or me inserting them incorrectly?
     
  2. Druid

    Druid Hyperactive Tree

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    I've noticed the same thing with Spiral Dots. I'm just as big of an IEM noob as you so I'm not sure if that is normal or not. My goto tips are S Spinfits which for me are the perfect balance between comfort and sound quality and don't have that same vacuum effect. I think foams are slightly better in the SQ department, but are just not as comfortable and a bit too much of a hassle to insert.
     
  3. james444

    james444 Mad IEM modding wizard level 99

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    As a general rule with iEMs, if the two kinds of tips in question have similar inner tube diameter, bass is only dependent on seal. If they have different tube diameters, the narrower tube may cut down on treble and give you the perception of more bass.

    In your case, I suspect that the Spiral Dots give you a proper seal and the Symbios a slightly leaky one. Hence the difference in bass level and the vacuum effect with Spiral Dots, because their tight seal prevents air pressure equalization.

    After inserting your Spiral Dots, you can try to perform manual air pressure equalization by opening your mouth a bit and pulling the upper part of the ear upward and back. This will straighten your ear canal, temporarily break the seal and might help you to get rid of that vacuum effect.
     
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  4. Resolve

    Resolve Facebook Friend

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    So I've got the Andromeda running off the idsd nano black label, and found that the iematch port is actually the worse sounding of the two (probably because of the extra output impedance). The default one does have a bit of hiss in the background which is annoying but there's noticeably more bass. I've ordered an iematch cable to try out the 'ultra' setting, which is supposedly <1 ohm output impedance. I'm assuming the iematch on the dac/amp isn't what the ultra setting would be on the dongle? even though it's likely the same kind of process.


    I'll try to remember to report back what I find tomorrow once it shows up.
     
  5. Resolve

    Resolve Facebook Friend

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    I posted this in several places, hope that's okay.

    I just did some extensive testing with my Campfire Andromeda, idsd Nano BL, and my smartphone. The short answer is that even though it does perfectly remove the hiss or background noise, the IEmatch does change the sound, but it might still be worth having. Andros are notoriously sensitive, and so a change in output impedance can make a big difference in sound, however the 'ultra' setting is supposed to be < 1 ohm output impedance. My phone is also < 1 ohm output impedance, and the standard port on the idsd Nano BL is around 1 ohm output impedance. I hope I'm right in thinking that the 'ultra' combined with the < 1 ohm output of my phone won't push the overall output z to over 1 ohm, but even if that's the case it should be acceptable for the Andromeda. Anyway, here are my initial findings ranked in order of best to worst:

    1. Standard output from the idsd Nano BL without the IEmatch dongle - This sounds the best, but then you have to put up with the minor background hiss. This has a noticeably fuller and richer sound with the Andromeda, possibly due to having a bigger bass impact, and again that might be due to the even lower output impedance.

    2. LG V30 output without IEmatch dongle - This sounds similar to the standard output of the idsd Nano BL standard output, just with added background noise and burble that the Andromeda will pick up from most smartphones. On softer tracks I feel like the IEmatch is a must, simply because you lose out on microdynamics due to the noise floor, but the overall frequency response is still probably what it should be.

    3. IEmatch 'Ultra' with both idsd Nano BL and V30 - This perfectly eliminates the hiss with both outputs, but there is a minimal yet distinct reduction in the bass quantity. I'm not willing to say that this sounds thin or compressed, and bass is only reduced by about 1-2 db. To some, this might actually be the best option, and I think if I had to choose between a 1-2 db bass reduction and smartphone burble I'd take the former.

    4. IEmatch 'high' with both idsd Nano BL and V30 - Does the same as 'ultra' just with slightly more bass reduction. I think this can be attributed to the difference in output impedance and the impact that has on the Andromeda's frequency response. Not at all the fault of the IEmatch I think.

    5. IEmatch output port on the idsd Nano BL without the dongle - Gets rid of the hiss but sounds thin and boring. This is again likely due to output impedance being around 4 ohms, and that's much too high for the Andromeda. I have no use for this output, and I might actually end up switching to a Mojo or idsd Micro instead, since the standard port requires a dongle to remove the hiss anyway.


    So I'm still currently on the fence about this. I really don't want to buy a DAP for my Andromeda because I only want to carry one device with me. I think the IEmatch with its 'ultra' setting might be what I end up using since the tradeoff in bass isn't as noticeable as the background burble of the phone. I should also mention that the other significant downside with doing this is that it makes it so I have to max the volume on my phone, and even then it might not be high enough for enjoyable listening on some tracks, and I end up having to switch to 'high' to get the volume right. I wish there was some software with the V30 that would allow me to manually set the gain. I tried it with an impedance boosting 3.5mm adapter to kick it into '50 ohm + mode', but that may have made things even worse.


    For most IEMs, the IEmatch is probably a good idea. Other IEMs might not have as significant of a frequency response change when subjected to output impedance changes, but I think with the Andromeda there's more to the story. While the sound changes aren't that substantial, they are there, and whether that's because of the output impedance changes or something to do with the attenuation the IEmatch is doing I'm not totally sure.
     
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  6. HeartOfSky

    HeartOfSky Acquaintance

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    OMG, I do something similar with my Vega. I live across the street from a city beach/lake. During the summer, I want to practice my terrible swimming skills, but I also want my music when I'm sunning dry. So, I've always got a wad of qtips in my pack, so I can dry my ears out as quickly as possible and get back to the business of hearing good sound.
     
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  7. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    I lost my se535 traveling and Andromeda is on the top of my list. But do not want to buy new DAP. Any comments on using Andromeda with DP-X1?
     
  8. matique

    matique Rando

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    Great match, very black background with andros. Just the right amount of bass too. Personally found zx2 and wm1a to be a little darkd & hissy for andros.
     
  9. dllmsch

    dllmsch Friend

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    Gonna type it before I forget.
    Demoed 3 cables from PW audio in a store 3 weeks ago. Source is 4.4mm on ZX300.

    No. 5(~$150): I used it as refrence since I had no experience with the 4.4mm jack. The whole combo has a tad more bass than neutral I would say and I quite like it.
    Silver Gold(2.5mm ternimation with 4.4mm adaptor)(~$400): Bass is gone.
    1960(2.5mm ternimation with 4.4mm adaptor)(~$1000): Weird ass overtone/distortion(maybe both) added to the vocals, no go for me.

    The true performance of the more expensive cables may not be accurate since I was using an adaptor, but I needed a 4.4 cable that day for vacation so I went for no.5.

    btw there's slight hiss with ZX300 + andro combo, not noticeable with music playing though.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
  10. donunus

    donunus Friend

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    I don’t know the output impedance of the 2017 10.5 inch ipad pro and was wondering if its a good match with tge andromedas. I hope some people here have heard this combo. I really like the ipad pro for the screen quality with movies so I am not buying another dedicated dap. I would get an ifi micro idsd bl or something like that over another dap if I need to but if the pro is good enough with the andros, the better since I dont want to have to add more things in my backpack if I take it around town.
     
  11. David De Lucena

    David De Lucena Science Nut

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    I have one and I do like andromeda from iPad Pro a lot. Sometimes I think it’s even better than andromeda + chord mojo. It’s more practical indeed, and much less bass floppy.
     
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  12. torifile

    torifile Acquaintance

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    I recently purchased some Andros and they sound fantastic but they do hiss like a mofo out of my Q5, particularly when using the balanced cable. They hiss slightly less with the SE cable. But I want to use the balanced cable... I’m within my return window for the Q5 (for another week). I’ve thought about using the IEmatch for balanced cables but I’ve read mixed things about using IEMatch (losing some bass, in particular).

    It sounds like people are having good luck with the ZX2 and ZX300 but those are a little more than I’d like to spend. Do I have any other options? There’s little hiss when directly out of my iPhone but that seems like a terrible solution to the problem...
     
  13. Cellist88

    Cellist88 Afraid someone will shit on his opinions

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    just get a zx300a from joybuy....same thing but with 16gigs onboard instead of 64. its only 370 bucks and its worth it over the iphone.
     
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  14. lac29

    lac29 Acquaintance

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    How is the UI? I'm also someone who just can't get behind spending a ton on a DAP because of the fact that smartphones are so common and I'd rather put money into a smartphone than 2 devices.
     
  15. Cellist88

    Cellist88 Afraid someone will shit on his opinions

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    UI is just regular sony UI like in the WM1A/1Z. Its fairly straightforward, easy and smooth. Depends on your needs, but I don't think smartphones like the LG V30 will match a good dap. zx300a very small and light. Still sucks you need two devices to get some decent sq. Its all relative to how much sq you really need on the go.
     
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  16. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    I use a V30 and Andros. There is no hiss, but the GO2A is a clear improvement even with some hiss added. That said, in a plane, airport or other noisy place the V30 is more than enough and does sound good. So if you're after a more critical listening situation get the DAP, otherwise a phone can sound very good. Andros are quite forgiving that way.
     
  17. torifile

    torifile Acquaintance

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    No wifi? I know that streaming is frowned upon in the audiophile world but I love the convenience.
     
  18. obsiCO

    obsiCO Thai Fish Experiment Gone Wrong

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    You can use the USB DAC function of the ZX300 and connect to the phone for streaming if that's what you're asking. Not so convenient, but it's possible.
     
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  19. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

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    ZX300 also has significant latency when used as a USB DAC so you can't use it for watching video either.
     
  20. Returnity

    Returnity Rando

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    Did anyone A/B'ed the balanced outputs of ZX300 and WM1A side by side with Andros?

    I know it's mentioned that they sound quite similar but I'd appreciate a little more detailed impressions if possible.
     

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