Campfire Dorado 2020

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by KenBall, Oct 20, 2020.

  1. KenBall

    KenBall Owner - Campfire Audio

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    Hey Guys,

    New hybrid from CFA for you. Improving upon the Dorado, larger dynamic ADLC driver and far better Knowles single BA for really sweet HF.

    Cheers, Ken

    You can check out all the details here.

    https://campfireaudio.com/shop/dorado-2020/



    Ken
     
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    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
  2. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Can you share what kind of tuning you were going for in their design? I’m a fan of the Solaris so another hybrid from you has me interested especially with the crossoverless design like the Ara but it all comes down to tuning and with a hybrid coherency between driver types.

    I’m listening to the Andromeda 2020 as I type this :)
     
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  3. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    @KenBall any chance of a loaner Dorado 2020 for SBAF? Really curious to hear this.
     
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  4. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    Seconded-- I would love to hear some SBAF thoughts on this. It seems to have flown under most people's radar and yet all the reports I've read from people I trust have been very positive. I'm way more interested in this than the latest special edition Solaris that was just released.
     
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  5. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    Bump...has nobody from these parts heard this IEM? I yearn for the days where I could just make a pilgrimage to Headphone Bar and demo their whole lineup first hand at one sitting.
     
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  6. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    CA is sending me a demo unit soon for a loaner. :)
     
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  7. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    Can't wait to hear your thoughts. All he reliable reports I've read so far have been very positive.
     
  8. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    I’ve only had time to listen very briefly.

    it will come up to Canada if CA agrees to it so you could borrow it.
     
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  9. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    That would be great!
     
  10. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Post in the loaner thread if you don’t mind with your location so I don’t forget. No problem I think CA will be fine with it especially if there are 3 of you.
     
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  11. Mystic

    Mystic Mystique's Spiritual Advisor

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    Dorado 2020 Impressions

    Source: Sony ZX300. My usual iem is Andromeda v3 (2019).

    Fit and finish is excellent per usual with CFA. Shell color/finish feels and looks high end. As for the sound...

    I'm not a fan. At first it wasn't so bad, but that quickly changed as I went through my music library. On poorly recorded metal albums it's not so bad, as long as the band doesn't have a frontwoman. Female vocals are pretty screwy. There is also a sizable hole in the midrange.

    I wasn't sure if I was hearing things right and I hadn't seen any measurements yet. Had to Google around and found Crinnacle had measured these. Sure enough these are pretty V shaped. Not a good V shape either if that's what your into. The Vega (OG) was MUCH better than this. V shaped but retained mids detail and was just overall more technically capable.

    These are also quite bass heavy. I like a good thumping bass, but on music that already has a bass slant these just overpower the FR. Vega OG was better here as well. Hard hitting but still pretty good clarity as opposed to the Dorado 2020.

    Anyone who has heard the Andros can probably guess how these would compare. Andros are noticeably better detailed and balanced across the FR.

    I read a few "professional" reviews when these released. It's shocking just how completely and utterly full of shit audio outlets are when it comes to reviews. Everything is good, nothing is bad. Apparently these are supposed to be a combo of the Vega/andro or Solaris/Andro, depending on the outlet. Having owned Vega OG, Andro and heard Solaris at length, these are lies. Can't believe people are paid for this level of shilling.

    Don't buy these. If you want V shaped get something else, this isn't it. A used Vega OG for $500 is a pretty sweet deal. Supposedly the Atlas is a slightly better Vega OG though I haven't heard it.
     
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  12. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    I am a little shocked that you are still shocked.
     
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  13. Mystic

    Mystic Mystique's Spiritual Advisor

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    To use a Minecraft analogy, my expectations of audio review outlets is always at bedrock. I should have known people would find a way to go lower.
     
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  14. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    Well in the interests of offering a balanced perspective I’ll chime up. I am signed up for the tour but an opportunity came up for a great deal on a used set off a friend so I jumped on it. I’m just coming off my first few hours with them.

    Source: Shanling M8 4.4 balanced.

    Preamble: A couple years ago the Atlas was my first Campfire IEM. I really liked it at the time but eventually moved on to the Solaris, which was my reference for the better part of two years. The Atlas was a lot of fun but (for me) was a bit bloomy in the mid-bass and I found the treble a bit peaky/metallic at times. In the time since I’ve gravitated to more balanced/mid-centric IEMs but I can appreciate a good W sig and have craved a worthy followup to the Atlas in the time since. The Solaris wasn’t it as that was more a refinement of the Andro. This is where the Dorado enters in- I was searching for a fun-bombastic sound with good mids and a decent bass emphasis. I was not looking for another Andromeda or Solaris with the Dorado 2020. Also, I don’t listen to a lot of female vocals or music that commands a lot of presence in the upper mids—so when I talk about mids I’m generally biased towards the lower mids. I thought the above was worth pointing out as it informs my impressions that follow.

    Out of the box impressions: I really like them-- they are exactly what I was hoping they would be. If you were at all a fan of the Atlas and were hoping to an upgrade/refinement of that sort of sound from Campfire then these are worth a serious look. Between the cleaner mid-bass that and much more refined less peaky/metallic highs they've basically delivered a near-perfected Atlas imho.

    Suffice to say I don’t think Campfire tuned these to bring out the best in someone’s perfectly recorded jazz collection—they have a good degree of balance but that is not their primary aim, nor are they trying to be technical virtuosos or detail/resolution/staging monsters. They are meant for the less well recorded pop and rock music that the bulk of us grew up with during the 60s, 70s and 80s, 90s, an on into the present really. Exile on Main Street and James Brown recordings from the 60s, for example, sound incredible on these.

    First day impressions of the sound-- dominant bass, almost like a more intimate Solaris with its sign reversed, Midrange is (relatively) very present and the texture is top knotch. In terms of timbre and naturalness I would say it equals or surpasses IEMs like the IER Z1R or Solaris OG. Of the Campfire IEMs I’ve owned/heard I would say the midrange timbre on these are my favorite along with the Solaris SE (though for slightly different reasons). Yes they are a bit pushed back at times, but the mids were a lot more forward and present than they often are with bass like this, and instruments are very natural sounding and well textured.

    Dynamics are great-- CFA's 10mm driver produces bass that is every bit as satisfying as that of things like the IER Z1R and UM MEST and a step above an IEM like the 64 Audi Nio. The Z1R's more woobly decay gives way for the sake of incredible density and grip put out by Campfire’s driver. Stage is not as vast as as it is on something like the Solaris—in fact it’s a lot more intimate. On the plus side it doesn’t sound stretched out and thin in some sections of the mid-range like it does in the Solaris, even if it does sacrifice a bit of the “wow” factor in the staging. Dorado 2020 won’t give you the air and separation of Andro...but it definitely has its own charms, The highs of the Dorado are really nice the quicker BA treble working on the dynamic mids and lows gives the overall sig a nice natural timbre—guitars and percussion sound wonderful. Technicalities, layering, separation etc. are quite good...better than I was expecting actually. I was worried going in about the 8K treble peak but I think, much like the Dude's rug, it sort of ties everything together. Sheer detail and resolution get sacrificed a bit on the altar of the thicker bass...but that’s honestly inevitable with this type of signature and sometimes just what the Dr. ordered for me.

    All in all a very dynamic and "in your face" sound that I’m currently finding rather insanely fun to listen to—not since the Atlas have I experienced an IEM so totally devoted to quality fun. They're also incredibly versatile for what they are-- I’ve thrown all kinds of stuff at it and nothing has been very lacking to me so far. All in all a very satisfying and engaging IEM. Just my $.02.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 18, 2021
  15. Rockwell

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    Here is a little snapshot comparison with Solaris for anyone interested:

    TLDR: Solaris is more of a classical "wife material" tuning, Dorado 2020 will quickly win your heart, but you may wait a bit longer/be more reluctant to introduce her to your parents at first.

    Dorado

    + more v-shaped than Solaris- though like the Atlas the Dorado 2020 is more W shaped than V
    + adds more body and weight to older/poorly recorded music than Solaris does
    + more traditionally staged (everything feels like it's coming at you whereas with Solaris it's almost wrapped around your head), and also a lot more intimate
    + sacrifices a bit of the vastness in staging/air/separation/detail for the sake of a more robust bass response
    + generally a much more "fun sounding" IEM, meaning it's not afraid to sacrifice a bit of detail/resolution/technicality for the sake of a thicker more bass driven sound.
    + better bass-- they let their 10mm driver off the hook a bit (and I love it), but just as well controlled (relative to quantity)
    + great mid-range timbre-- I would say it one ups Solaris here even if Solaris' mids are more present. The mid-range texture/naturalness is really really good on the Dorado-- along with the clarity and openness of the mids (W is much more to my liking than V) as well as superb imaging and separation the Dorado 2020 is imho saved from the clutches of many common criticisms of IEMs tuned like this.

    Solaris

    + almost perfect balance across the FR
    + bass is reigned in/disciplined for the sake of preserving balance resulting in a cleaner more BA-like speed and sound overall
    + holographic stage, layering, seperation etc. better than on Dorado (though not as much as you might think-- Solaris is nearly peerless in this regard, especially at its price)
    + more present mids, especially on the SE, even if not quite as natural sounding as on Dorado
    + more resolving/detail oriented
    + handles super well recorded music a little better I would say
    + possibly a little more versatile than Dorado, but not as fun
    + Treble on the OG is a little better (though possibly not on the SE)

    At the moment the Dorado 2020 is my favorite Campfire IEM. I love that Campfire plays around with different tuning ideals. I have always been a fan of their more fun and bassy excursions and with the Dorado 2020 I feel they've finally reached a laudable level of perfection with that sort of tuning in that they're allowing me to totally rock out and not feel like I'm missing anything substantial in terms of staging or detail and minimally offending "elitist audiophile ideals". I've had these in my ears for for two straight days and it has not hit a false note for me yet-- in fact I can barely wipe the smile off my face most of the time. Nicely Done Campfire.

    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Mar 20, 2021
  16. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Friend

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    I’d like to thank SBAF for the opportunity to try out the Dorado 2020 on a loaner tour. Thank you, I really appreciate it.

    I guess I’ll just have to admit defeat: I’m not sure what to think of these IEMs. Some aspects of their sound appeal to me a great deal (the bass is awesome); others don’t. The problem is that my impressions aren’t consistent: the Dorado 2020’s mids are too recessed and the resolution too low to make for a good pairing with some rock music; but then these IEMs are great with other rock songs. The same can be said for electronic music and hip hop, albeit to a lesser extent. Also, I’m not confident I can evaluate these IEMs without my preferences getting in the way. Sorry.


    Preferences and Caveats
    I have a soft spot for bass-heavy and v-shaped headphones. I have a pair of the Massdrop Fostex TH-X00 Ebony and had been hoping for something similar in a pair of IEMs.

    For the most part, though, I prefer neutral-bright presentations, as with my HD 800 SDR and Clear headphones, although for IEMs I do also enjoy the Andromeda 2020 and its contrasting, darker signature. I suppose that what all these have in common is a pretty fast, incisive, and lively sound; that they’re highly resolving, reasonably clear, and do well at imaging, staging, layering and separation (for headphones and IEMs), and that, with the exception of the Clear, they sound nice and spacious and open.

    Obviously, the Dorado 2020 are likely to fare poorly according to these criteria. But, to be clear, I wasn’t exactly looking for these qualities in the Dorado 2020. I was looking for something fun and bassy but also with a bit of treble sparkle.


    Sources, Tips, and other Subjective Stuff
    • setups: Sony NW-ZX2 or MacBook Air—>Qobuz—>Lotoo Paw S1
    • tips: I settled on the Final Audio E tips after also trying various Azla Sedna ones (Regular = bassier but slightly muffled, darker sounding; Light and Xelastec = brighter, thinner, more open, but neutered the bass, defeating the point of these IEMs)
    • fit: the Dorado 2020 have a medium insertion depth and, as such, they isolate pretty well. They aren’t hard to get a good seal (for me), and they’re very comfortable since the shells are small and quite light.
    • the shells are beautiful; they’re ceramic but look like onyx.

    Shortcomings
    Unfortunately, the Dorado 2020 don’t offer quite what I’m looking for as an IEM equivalent to the Fostex. The Dorado 2020 are about as resolving; I’d hoped they’d be better at this, especially given the price. More significantly, while both the TH-X00 and the Dorado 2020 are v-shaped, the Fostex are better balanced and less recessed in the mids; with the Dorado 2020 there’s perhaps too much mid-range recession, I guess, and the treble isn’t as emphasized as I might like. As a result, the Dorado sound darker and have more of an L shape to the tuning. Then again, I find the treble peak in the TH-X00 problematic; the Dorado 2020 don’t suffer from this, and they make for a nice, fatigue-free listen.

    The Dorado 2020’s average resolution and recessed mids sometimes make it seem as though some musical information is missing. Some songs just sound off - a bit muffled, woolly, overly warm, not very dynamic or lively, and, in some cases, a bit closed in. I found this to be particularly problematic with older (and better recorded or mastered?) rock music. Electric guitars and, at times, vocals, can be too faint or distant, and cymbals aren’t crisp and clean enough. Other percussion instruments can also sound recessed. At times, electric guitars also sound a bit thin and overly smooth, occasionally lacking bite. As a result of all this, the extra bass emphasis makes the overall sound signature come across as less well balanced. I can see the Dorado 2020 being better-suited to those who mainly listen to hip hop or electronic music. But even here they’re not consistently good. With the Beastie Boys’ Shake Your Rump almost everything’s recessed and the music seems distant and muffled.


    Exceptions to the Shortcomings
    Having said this, for some reason the Dorado 2020 work well with some other rock songs - particularly, but not always, alternative rock (especially from and since the 90s). I lack the experience to understand what’s going on here. Perhaps it’s got something to do with the texture of distorted guitars being better suited to the Dorado 2020? (Is it something to do with compression and loudness wars stuff?). It’s not entirely consistent, though: where the Pixies’ Doolittle sounds off, Sonic Youth’s Dirty doesn’t, especially when it comes punchy, deep power chords. Blur’s Death of a Party has a rich, fluttery crunchiness to the electric guitars as well as plenty of growl. And PJ Harvey’s To Bring You My Love has great texture: there’s a nice crackle to the bass, the guitar is crunchy, and the tonal balance of the song is fine; it’s an engaging, exciting presentation.


    Qualities
    With the right music, the Dorado 2020 are wonderful. The bass is glorious: it’s rich, weighty, nicely textured, and extends very deeply. It seems to have a good amount of mid-bass emphasis, which suits electric bass guitars well—I had a lot of fun listening to funk—and yet the Dorado 2020 also has an impressive sub-bass extension. The bass is less boomy than on the Fostex TH-X00 Ebony; I think the Dorado 2020 is also a bit tighter and more controlled. The bass doesn’t bleed into the mids. While the overall macrodynamics of the Dorado 2020 are decent, if not exactly great, there’s plenty of slam and impact in the low end. Kick drums have plenty of heft to them and bass guitars can have a lovely thick growl to them on the right tracks.

    The treble is also pretty decent at times. I had the Vega 2020 on loaner just before the Dorado 2020 and, from memory, the Vega 2020 had a tuning that, to me, suffered from a lack of treble rebound. This is less an issue with the Dorado 2020 because its second driver, the BA one, makes for more of a v-shaped signature. When things click with the Dorado 2020’s treble, and when the overall balance is right and the music’s bright enough, the sound is nice and clean and open and spacious, with excellent imaging. In these moments you can kind of tell that the Dorado 2020 comes from the same company that makes the Andromeda.


    Some Comparisons
    • vs. the Andromeda 2020 (just because I had both on hand): the presentations are too different to make for a meaningful comparison—too much apples to oranges stuff going (apart from the same manufacturer and price tag, I suppose). Coming from the Dorado 2020, the Andromeda is excessively thin, feeble, and bright, and its spaciousness sounded artificial. By contrast, coming from the Andro 2020, the Dorado sounded overly rolled off, muffled, plodding, and thick and heavy and congested. The comparison did neither of them any favors. That said, the Dorado 2020's still bass sounded great, and both are engaging and musical IEMs, although the Andromeda 2020 wins out on these qualities.
    • vs. the Vega 2020 (from memory, heard a week earlier): I already mentioned the v-shaped vs. bass-canon differences in tuning; the bass sounds the same on both; the bass bleeds into the mids on the Vega 2020; the Vega 2020 are far more rolled off; the Dorado 2020 is cleaner-sounding (less muffled, clearer) with better separation, layering, imaging, and spaciousness; both have similar slam and macrodynamics; the Dorado 2020 has better resolution.
    • vs. Empire Ears Hero (from memory, on a loaner tour at same time that I had the Vega 2020): both are v-shaped but the Hero has more treble emphasis (and grain?) and perhaps more even and forward mids, although both are lacking on this score; resolution is about the same on both; the bass is tighter, faster, better controlled with the Dorado 2020, and the two are similar when it comes to sub-bass extension (I think). I also think the Dorado 2020 has better bass texture and a bit more mid-bass emphasis. Perhaps. When the tonal balance sounds right with the Dorado 2020, it has better staging and top-end air and sparkle; when the Dorado 2020 sounds off, the Hero nudges ahead. There’s stronger slam and macrodynamics with the Hero.
    Conclusion
    I’m reluctant to offer a conclusion. I’m not sure my impressions can be trusted; the inconsistent experience of some music being too dark, muffled, thumpy, woolly, and dull while other tracks were fine leaves me flummoxed. I guess some of this has to do with a pattern: music with acoustic instruments, including vocals, is more likely to sound off to me whereas electronic, synthesized music sounds much better. I had a much more consistently - but not constantly - positive listening experience with electronic music.

    For electronic genres and for its wonderful bass response, the Dorado 2020 could well be an excellent and, for some, an ideal pair of IEMs.
     
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  17. Rockwell

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    @Tchoupitoulas – thank-you for sharing these thoughtful and detailed impressions, and also thank-you for sharing your reference tracks and detailed notes with me. If my account here had "post liking" privileges I would have "liked" your post above. (I'm only mentioning this so as not to appear rude by not acknowledging others' posts). Anyway, of the tracks you mentioned the only one I have/know well is “Whole Lotta Love” by Zep. At this time I have the 64 Audio Nio, CFA Dorado 2020 and Vision Ears Elysium on hand and have just spent some time listening to Whole Lotta Love on the Shanling M8 with each of those 3 IEMs. (As a side note the sound quality on the M8 is so distinct and so good that oftentimes I don’t know how much of what I’m enjoying is due to entirely to the IEMs or to the magic of the M8).

    The comparison was quite interesting actually. First and foremost-- my gut feeling is that an Elysium through a good source like the Shanling M8 would be exactly what you're looking for. One thing I realized right away was that it is still my favourite IEM and does more right for me than anything else I've heard.

    Here are my general thoughts on the 3 IEMs with Whole Lotta Love:

    Elysium—Bang on the money. Everything is perfectly balanced and the texture & timbre is off the charts. Vocals are right in the middle, crystal clear, well bodied and seductive. Guitars have crunch, bite and body with zero veil behind the bass. Bass is thumping, detailed, crunchy, impactful.

    Dorado 2020-- Vocals and guitars are pushed behind the bass. It does seem like a dash of the FR is pushed completely behind the bass (hence the “missing information”). Vocals are present, have great texture, despite being pushed a bit in the background. Guitars have great texture and body but lack crunch and bite-- a touch of info here and there does seem nearly totally eclipsed by the bass at times. Bass texture, timbre, impact, is off the charts good. On the whole I would say that my experience with this song is consistent with your impressions-- with a couple caveats and a partial solution that I'll explain below.

    Nio-- This one was interesting. The Nio has more of the forwardness, detail and clarity of the Elysium, but it lacks the body, texture and natural timbre of the Dorado. Guitars have crunch and bite but they lack body and texture-- at times the sound of the Nio sounds like a 2-d image atop a 3-d surface of bass.

    Conclusion-- the Elysium is the closest thing to a total package IEM for me right now and this comparison illustrated precisely why. The most remarkable thing about it is that I never find myself missing the DD on the low end when I'm listening to them. Between the Dorado and Nio it's a "choose your poison" kind of situation. For those who prefer detail and clarity over naturalness and timbre then the Nio may be the way to go.

    For me, as I've indicated, it's the bass response combined with the natural timbre of the mid-range that has won the day for me here with the Dorado. When seeking an IEM that has a forward and dominant bass response I went into it knowing there'd be a sacrifice in the mids somewhere. Thus, when listening to the Dorado I take it as almost axiomatic that there will be times when I hear part of the midrange lose some of its dynamics by being pushed behind the bass a bit. What worried me the most in your impressions was the “missing information”. I had noticed this a little bit myself though after reading your impressions I noticed it a bit more. The bright side of this situation is that it’s not a super wide range of the FR that is missing information. In fact, as I noted in my full review of the Dorado, a slight bump to 4K on your EQ should open up the most recessed area of the mid-range enough reasonably mitigate the issue imho. The "missing information" in Whole Lotta Love was brought more forward and made present and, while some aspects of the mids are pushed back, nothing seems outright missing with that slight 4K boost. Again, this doesn't open up the midrange entirely-- but that's not what the Dorado is about. I have been using the Dorados for the last day or so with +2db @4k EQ applied and it seems to be doing the trick rather well. FR can be EQ'd in but no amount of EQ can produce the rich natural timbre of the Dorado 2020.

    I would be very curious to hear your thoughts on the Dorado 2020 through a more powerful and dynamic source and with the 4K region EQ'd up a bit. I feel this would to some extent negate many of the issues you mention and bring the Dorado 2020 closer to your preferences. At the end of the day though it’s a constant game of give and take in this pursuit of SQ perfection, and I feel this is more true with IEMs than with other areas of audio. Some of what you list as shortcomings of the Dorado are imho inevitable sacrifices inherent in the sort of bass emphasized sig it goes for. I’ve yet to hear any bass heavy IEMs that didn’t ultimately have some ultimately deal breaking issue elsewhere. The Dorado earns its crown for me right now because, though it’s not perfect, it’s one step closer to perfection than anything else in this vein I’ve tried (as far as my tastes are concerned etc. etc.).
     
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    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
  18. DrForBin

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    hello,
    i hope i'm not hearing everything as bass heavy today.
    these are bass heavy to me. not boomy or loose, just a tad too much.
    Laura sounds very far away:(
    i cannot see not saving a bit more for Ara and actually enjoying the words.
     
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  19. Rockwell

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    Dorado is a bass heavy iEM...it's part of its identity and charm imho. That said I saw your post in the Solaris thread and assuming you're using a sufficiently powerful source (IE., not a Sony player or something) I would encourage you to take a serious look at the VE Elysium. There's no better IEM in my experience for full on intimacy and immersion in your music...female vocals in particular sound amazing. It's a bit more $$ than the Campfire stuff but I honestly think that a lot of the neuttral/natural/balanced-heads over here would really really enjoy it.
     
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  20. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

    Staff Member Friend IEMW
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    Have to agree with @DrForBin on the Dorado 2020. It’s all boom, boom, tizz for me. Bass heavily colors the lower midrange and the middle treble peak is no bueno for me.

    The comparison graph below has the Dorado 2020 and Solaris OG aligned at 1k. I tried my best to get both at 60db at 1k but it can be a little tough with iPhone volume adjustment. I got it within 1 db. You can see the Dorado 2020 has gobs more bass relative to 1k. I think this iem sits squarely in basshead territory with a strong V signature.

    DFDA6654-2C9F-4BF1-9242-C22B8C61695D.jpeg
     

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