Campfire Dorado 2020

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

  1. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Friend

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    Thank you @Rockwell for the kind words and for taking the time to test the Led Zep song with your sources.

    I think you’ve summed up my impressions of the Dorado 2020 perfectly in just 8 words. That’s precisely how much of the rock music I listened to sounded out of the Dorado 2020, and it’s essentially why I favored this IEM for electronic music.

    I’d likewise expected some sacrifices in the mids. But the comparison with the Fostex headphones suggested that the midrange recession is more of an issue with the Dorado 2020 for me. Much of this, of course is down to individual preferences, and my disappointment with the Dorado 2020 might also be that my preferences have shifted over the past couple of years, especially as I age and my hearing degrades: I may not favor the bass response as much as I once did, and I may now place a greater emphasis on resolution and the neutrality/mids of IEMs. So, these can all serve as caveats to my above impressions.

    I’m fortunate enough to live near a retailer so I should go check out the Dorado 2020 again, with some EQ, and perhaps with a beefier DAP. I wonder if my Sony ZX2 does justice to dynamic drivers? I went back through my listening notes for the Solaris 2020 and noticed that I wasn’t as impressed with the bass response as I’d expected. I now regret not having listened to the Dorado 2020 out of my Magni 3 amp on low gain.

    Thank you! I’d be keen to check out the Elysium, especially if I were to upgrade the Andro and have it as a sole, do-all IEM.

    Thank you again for your response and for testing the Led Zep song, I really appreciate it.
     
  2. ushanka

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    Dorado 2020 on the loaner tour is with me right now, so I did the listening and wrote the impressions up before diving into the discussion here, so these should be fairly uninfluenced.

    The tempting short description is: bass eats everything.

    This is not totally true, as I can focus on individual instruments just fine, but overall these are a pretty strange listen. There are places where they impress me with resolution, but other areas are just missing. It sounds like the frequency response has dips in random places that are not doing it any favors. For example, in the vocals Ss are a tad sizzly, but Ts and Ps are absent. Drums are loud but have no snap. Midbass is very resolved (fascinating how clearly separated upright bass and lower piano keys are from each other), but bass doesn't seem to slam. Vocals are loud enough, but they don't really cut through the mix, same for guitars. Brass sounds crisp, but lacks the breathiness. Everything is kind of nasal.

    And then there is the sheer quantity of bass. If I wanted to transcribe bass guitar tracks, I would reach for these. Bass is the front, the back, the bottom, the top of the sound. Everything is suspended in a sea of bass. It is a fairly pleasant bass, very clear, there is just ... lots of it.

    The drivers are clearly very capable, but the frequency response is not doing them any favors. For me personally the dips in the midrange and treble, and the lack of snap in the percussion are the biggest issues. Other problems would be fixed by addressing these. I personally find the bass too much, but lots of folks seem to be into that.

    Equipment used during testing:
    Source: Soekris DAC2541 (using SE headphone out)
    Other headphones: HD650, ER4SR

    Probably most useful comparison is ER4SR as they are my primary IEMs for several years now. As a general reference, I find them to have a fairly smooth frequency response with a bias towards upper mids / lower treble. They are not sibilant for me (earlier variants of ER4 line have always been painfully bright for me).

    Dorado 2020 does feel like it has better resolution and much more liquid sound in the frequency bands that are reasonably balanced (ER4SR is consistently grainy). Sounds that fall into bands that are recessed on the Dorado, ER4SR handily outdoes on detail retrieval. Given that ER4SR is not particularly resolving, this really speaks to how easily the FR dips on Dorado lose random instruments or details. Snap and slam are both better on ER4SR despite how much bassier Dorado is. Where Dorado reliably wins is bass resolution and soundstage. ER4SR sounds decidedly small, while Dorado offers a pleasant sense of space and coherent instrument placement.
     
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  3. ushanka

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    This is kind of interesting. I disliked using Dorado 2020 with electronic music - it loses a lot of the lushness you normally get from ample use of synths. For some reason it sounded really good playing Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus, which was the only album I found where things did not promptly get dominated by bass, and the mid gaps somehow were not penalizing. We can all theorize what the goal of the tuning was - for me it sounds like older big band jazz albums.
     
  4. Tchoupitoulas

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    It seems as though our impressions overlap quite a bit - especially your point about random dips in the frequency response, which explains why I kept finding myself to be at a loss about why some tracks sounded great while others didn't, even within a genre. That's why I noted that

    I probably should have qualified and elaborated my points about electronic music. Essentially, my take was that the Dorado 2020 did better with bass-heavy music, including music with plenty of sub-bass extension, than with other genres; at the same time, I'd supposed that the absence of acoustic instruments and electric guitars in electronic music - at least what I listened to - would make the mid-range recession and dips less apparent; I'd wondered if, without a ground reality (or control, like a piano or guitar), the mid-range wonkiness would be less noticeable or less of a nuisance. (For synthesizers, I should have listened to New Order, among others, with the Dorado 2020, and for reference, my electronic music test tracks included The Orb, Massive Attack, Amon Tobin, Nicolás Jaar, The Knife, The Chemical Brothers, Trentemøller, Boards of Canada, and Biosphere.)

    I now also wish I'd not confined my test tracks to electronic and rock music, and that I'd listened to more jazz with the Dorado 2020. I love Mingus and usually demo gear with his music, and I've often enjoyed jazz with my Fostex TH-X00 Ebony (Oscar Pettiford sounds especially great out of these headphones). I'm glad you found a good musical fit for these IEMs.
     
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  5. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    I listened to them for about 3 minutes before the loaner and thought they were a bassy mess. Thsts part of the reason I didn’t write a review I wanted people to be open minded. But I also just had too many iems to review at that time.

    I’ll write more when I get them again at the end of the tour but my 3 minutes concurs with everything being said.
     
  6. daniellistens

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    Some of my thoughts from my short but enjoyable time with the Dorado 2020.

    - I really like this IEM. It was a lot of fun and sounded great.

    - the Dorado did not pair well with the Sony NW-ZX507, I think it is a power & synergy thing.

    - the Dorado sounded a lot better with my Chord Mojo, although the synergy wasn’t perfect it was good. The extra power really made a difference and took away a lot of the mid dips I heard with the Sony.

    - the best the Dorado ever sounded for me was when I listened on @Rockwell75 ’s DAP, the Shanling M8. That was amazing. That was synergetic and had enough power. Tycho’s Awake sounded even better.

    - they are so comfy and so small, they fit my ear well.

    - Listening to “Not” on the Album “Two Hands” by Big Thief there is a good example of where these shine. Guitars, bass guitar, drums, cymbals and vocals all coming together never missing a step or become muddled. This song uses bass, drums and the intensity of these instruments to create an atmosphere and an emotional connection/response and these IEMs communicate that in a raw way.

    - Really sounds good on the Oud with Anouar Brahem.

    - “Bahia” by Anouar Brahem on his “Blue Mquams” album is just amazing. I think this is a good test track.

    - Sound amazing with Tycho & Caribou. Really atmospheric and punchy. Really good separation and space.

    - Rage Against the Machine has some leaner bass sometimes. The Dorado pulls this information from the recording and presents it so well. I bet this is great for older rock and roll that can be thin. Ie Rolling Stones.

    - The Dorado due to the port is much less isolating. You don’t get that same closed off from the outside world. This is a plus and a negative. For me more of a negative I’d say. I like the sound isolation of IEMs it’s one of my favourite things about IEMs.

    - So much DEPTH in the Dorados it just goes on forever. The soundstage is a bit tight, kinda in and around your head. Not super expansive but good.

    - the Dorado is so cohesive

    - the Dorado sounds so natural, it doesn’t sound artificial.

    - sometimes I find the bass too much, unsure if this could be my only IEM. Maybe the Andromeda & Dorado would be my ying & yang.
     
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  7. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    Totally feel this. I described Dorado & Andro once as my Ginger and Mary Ann...I could take them both along with my M8 and probably be done for a few years.
     
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  8. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    I've got a confession to make...the Dorado 2020 is my favorite IEM right now. It seems crazy but if I look at my listening habits in two months since I received them this is the clear picture that's painted. I'm always going on about the pre-eminence of subjectivity in this hobby and yet here I am feeling like I need to justify this statement, or be reluctant to make it. PerhapsI am feeling this way because it goes against certain elitist assumptions in this hobby, ie., that there's some objective standard of quality or ideal of neutrality in tuning I should be pursuing or aspiring to, or that quality is more often than not associated with cost. There is something deeply engaging for me with the Dorado 2020. I feel that the ceramic shell gives the whole sound a sure footedness and solidity that allows it to resonate with an almost fathomless depth and clarity. It's unlike anything I've heard in any other IEM. The bass on these does grab your attention off the bat but after your brain adjusts to the sound everything falls in to place. I believe the layering and separation is stellar on these-- again due to the solidity of the ceramic...everything just sort of stays in its own lane. I can still put on something like the Elysium and enjoy what it has to offer but I almost need to be in the mood for more focused listening to get the most out of it. With Dorado the aim and experience feels different-- this is an IEM that just wants me to have fun, to put a smile on my face. It doesn't touch me to the core of my being in the same way that Elysium does, but it brings such an effortless sparkle to my day whenever I put them on. Couple all of that with their wonderful bass and rich natural timbre and they are hard for me to resist. I think that in some sense the Dorado is the IEM I've really been searching for since day 1 in this hobby-- it's what I think I really wanted the Atlas and Solaris to be way back when, and most of what I've been searching for through various periods of upgrades etc. I can definitely enjoy other IEMS but the Dorado 2020 are a near total homerun for my specific tastes. Still, for the first time since I've been active in this hobby two years ago I feel like I could walk away with what I have now and not look back
     
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  9. ohmaigulay

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    73ED4F28-98E6-4A39-A5B6-7D0657CF4053.jpeg

    I own an original pair of Campfire Dorado and it’s one of my favorite pairs of IEMs. I mainly use IEMs for work and chores so I wanted something more fun sounding from the get-go.

    The 2020 compared to the original has improved stronger bass. Bass hits with more authority and extends lower. Initially the bass of the 2020 was a tad overwhelming.

    Treble on the 2020 has more shimmer and clarity. Just like the bass I initially found the treble a little hot for poorly recorded 00s indie rock music I listen to.

    I found the midrange on the original warmer and to an extent sweeter. However after longer use and acclimatizing with the 2020’s bass and treble I started to prefer the increased detail retrieval of the 2020s.

    Ergonomically the 2020s are superior to the original with the new cable, shells, and shorter spout. The ceramic shells also seem more durable than the finish of the originals which have not fared well on my pair.

    TL;DR : 2020s have amazing bass in terms of slam, tightness, and detail. Treble improved as well over the original. Definitely a fun IEM.

    Thank you to @KenBall for the loaner and @rhythmdevils for facilitating the tour.
     
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  10. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    Thanks for sharing! The OG Dorado isn't an IEM you see talked about very much. I talked to a guy on HF the other day who has had it for years and says it's is favourite Campfire IEM. He hadn't heard the 2020 though so I really appreciate this comparison...thanks again!
     
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  11. rhythmdevils

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    Dorado 2020 review

    I’m going to make this short because I don’t like this iem at all.

    The nozzle is too skinny and long and fits hardly any tips. I don’t know what Ken was thinking with this nozzle. The ones I got to fit are Spinfit 360 I believe. Which actually work help the clarity of this iem but create exaggerated treble.

    • Muddy bass
    • Muddy bass my boots are stuck in the mud
    • Bass lacks detail or texture or punch though it’s dynamic sounding.
    • Treble is a bit exaggerated with these spinfit tips which bring out the treble but is otherwise decent. Nothing compared to Andromeda’s treble. Might be better with other specialty tips but I’m not going to tip roll for this iem. Ok I tried some other tips from AliExpress but these slide down the nozzle so far the treble is now muted and dull.
    • Midrange to treble is surprisingly good with spinfit tips but terrible with my AliExpress tips. With spinfit it’s detailed and pretty even aside from the treble exaggeration. Midrange has good timbre and tone but is recessed badly. With the AliExpress tips everything sounds muddy and recessed from midrange to treble.
    • Upper mids seem to be the only thing this iem really gets somewhat right but they are recessed.

    TLDR; an iem with muddy bass that is rendered useless to me by the nozzle which fits no tips I know of. It needs an adapter to keep tips from sliding down too far but I don’t have any tips to sacrifice for this. With spinfit tips there’s clarity through the midrange to treble though treble is exaggerated and midrange is recessed. With some other tips from AliExpress the whole midrange to treble is recessed and muddy. The bsss is always muddy.

    I don’t know wtf to say or do with this iem. Ken I love you but I don’t like this one at all. The nozzle needs to at least fit tips.


    This is probably the worst review I’ve ever written. But I’m sick right now and just don’t have the patience to deal with an iem that is designed so I can’t evaluate it’s sound.
     
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  12. xenomorph

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    I use them with Symbion W Tips, Spinfit 100s and Final E. On headfi people using SpiralDots and Xelastec.
    Maybe you using bad tips or fakes from AliExpress. All mine are from either Audio stores or from official etailer.
     
  13. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    LOL I don’t have fake tips. I own all the tips you mentioned and many many more. And they would slide down the nozzle all the way too. The end of the nozzle is not supposed to be flush with the end of the tip. The tip is supposed to create a short tube after the end of the nozzle. The only tip in existence that will do that is Spinfit tips because of the way they have an hourglass shape after the cylinder of the tip which stops them from sliding down.

    the AliExpress tips have a brand I just don’t remember the brand of them but they have a smaller diameter bore to fit more tightly but they still slid all the way down.

    I should have taken a picture.
     
  14. xenomorph

    xenomorph Rando

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    Symbio W

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  15. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Uhhhh you must have a different Dorado 2020 than me. That would be physically impossible with the loaner pair. Unless it was just loose on the nozzle.
     
  16. xenomorph

    xenomorph Rando

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    Like I said no issues here with any tips plus all the reviews of it never mentions any problems with tips.
    All negative reviews have been around being muddy and dip in mids,
     
  17. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    It’s probably because I’m a stupid American and don’t know shit about iems.
     
  18. daniellistens

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    LOL can I ask what source/DAP/DAC/amp?

    PS: I don’t openly think you’re a “stupid American”

    :p

    The Dorado 2020 sounded really bad with my Sony NE-ZX507
     
  19. xenomorph

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    Yeah the 507 has output impedance of 1.1 to 1.6 while the Dorado 2020 is 10 ohm IEM. So need something with lower output impedance but high power. The Sony only does 50mw at 16 ohm SE,
     
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    Last edited: Jun 6, 2021
  20. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    Probably the best iem rig in existence.

    pi2aes > Gungnir A1 > THX 789 w/ Sigma 11 LPS

    It’s a beast for iems. Please tell me it’s not good enough. ;)
     
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