'Gigantic and Fantastic Sound.
Belly - Red
Andromeda Nice and dynamic, just lacks the body depth the Atlas has.
Atlas - large sound, exquisite layering.
Vega - Nice and deep, once again shines with rock.
Coldplay - Don't panic
Andromeda - nice and smooth, creamy and nice highs.
Atlas - Just more dynamic, everything nicely in tune. Enough lows, mids and highs to please.
Vega - Subdued, a bit dark. Not enough highs for CP.
Slayer - reborn
Andromeda - Very good, but needs a bit more low end to really enter into it.
Atlas - Even sound overall. head bangin'
Vega - Fast and furious, a bit light in the lows and mids.
The Cardigans - Erase and rewind
Andromeda - Nice and lush, erotic. Mids for miles. excellent separation and sound stage.
Atlas - Everything the andromeda does and with more body, just a bigger sound.
Vega - Lows focussed.
The Chemical Brothers A taste of honey.
Andromeda - Great low end , expansive and full. treble extension.
Atlas - Full bodied, low end depth. holographic and expansive.
Vega - Nice low end, boom boom
Enough!? I think so. More jazz, EDM, country music, pop etc please.....Sorry.
There is a good amount of cues above to point us in a general direction of what the Atlas is.
Did the Andromeda and Vega have a baby? I think so...in some sense.
The Atlas certainly eclipses and replaces the Vega for sure, but the Andromeda still holds it own and reserves its particular sonic niche that is loved by many.
So where are we? Where am I? why am I?
At this stage I should use the recently formulated system for categorizing audio components in a testing condition formulated by Nor. UA. S. (North University for the study of Audio (State).
DKBT or Dynamics, Kinetics, Balance, Transparency.
The Atlas certainly scores high in each of the groups, whilst there are subsets within this new evaluation system that is steadily gain traction amongst European and South East asian reviewers it seems to have not yet caught on the English speaking world. I myself am still learning and look forward to more reviews that use the system.
So the Atlas with stock cable.
'Gigantic and fantastic sound' says the Campfire Audio website and I can't argue with that, it is a great summary.
So what do the notes for the Atlas say? Is it congruent overall and consistent?
Smooth, more even overall,
Nice solid, quick bass, vocals and music even, nice detailing,
Nice even approach to bass, mids and treble.
A bit of everything. intimate and large sound stage co existing,
Just full, fun, pumping. everything in sync, Deep and dirty. focussed and expansive where needed, More subdued than the Andros, but concentrated,
Fairly even. A bit of everything, wall of sound but with excellent layering,
Quite even, could do with a bit more low end for this track. smoother than Vega
Enough of full sound to make the track enjoyable
Nice. great, a perfect storm. head nodding
Even, balanced, deep bass, needs a bit more space and detailing
Balanced, decent sound stage and instrument separation
Perfect. Just simply beautiful. Full. Symphonic
Full, even, just enough of everything, accurate
A bit too much low end for this track
large sound, exquisite layering
Just more dynamic, everything nicely in tune. Enough lows, mids and highs to please.
Even sound overall. head bangin'
Everything the Andromeda does and with more body, just a bigger sound
Full bodied, low end depth. holographic and expansive
So what we have is a fairly balanced and well tuned single dynamic driver earphone, that produces a full sound, smooth, large sound stage, great layering and timbre, detailed, accurate, holographic.
'Gigantic and fantastic' sound indeed. Whilst it does make me want to put the Vega on the shelf, the Andromeda still holds a place in the Campfire Audio line up.
Well Ken was kind enough to send an extra silver cable so I could test all three against each other with the Litz and also the new Atlas silver cable.
Hell, I might even throw in some Reference 8 and SXC-8 impressions If I get over excited.
"Cables don't make a difference Head pie u idieet!' - Ok, you run along, you can skip this section then.
So lets see what we get when throw the Litz into the fray, Litz for everyone!
Litz - Andromeda - Smooth, expansive, nice mids and treble. Silky vocals.
Litz - Atlas - They lose some smoothness, and mids, and bass is ok, but some fullness is lost overall. Better with the silver imho.
Litz - Vega - Vega is Vega, a L to V shape depending. With silicone tips the Vega could benefit from some cable rolling.
Onwards and upwards. Every cloud has a silver lining.
Silver - Andromeda - Nice full, adds to that holographic sense the Andros have. A bit more low end. Better with the Litz. imho.
Silver - Atlas - Similar in a sense, but just that lovely low end and overall balance between the bass, mids. treble and vocals is addictive.
Silver - Vega - Smooth. a bit more on the softer linear side. Refined. A bit fuller. Dunno, maybe Litz for Vega.
Silver - Atlas - deep and full. Gigantic.
NOTE: Atlas is more designed so non memory wire, though you can do over the ear with memory wire, but it sits better over the ear with no memory wire.
Ok, ok...I know you are probably wondering about this
Reference 8 - Atlas. Quite pleasant. And enjoyable. A bit treble rich at times. A bit of a triangle sig at others. fast and busy. Silver wins.
4.4mm ALO Audio silver cable
iBasso DX200 Amp 4 : Just MOAR gigantic. This my preferred choice for the Atlas at the moment.
iBasso DX200 Amp 4S (first listen actually) : Smoother than Amp 4, a bit more fuller overall(?). Amp may need more burn in, Amp4 seems more controlled. Amp 4S has hard hitting bass. A bit slower than Amp 4.
FiiO X7ii and Amp AM3B 4.4mm: : Nice and light, not as full and hard hitting as the DX200 with less layering and timbre. Perhaps reduced mids ever so slightly.
ALO Audio SXC-8
A heavy cable, not for everyone. one can get the memory wire to work with the Atlas with a bit of fiddling. Perhaps better for more stationary listening. I would like to see one for IEMs without the memory cable, I think it would sit better.
iBasso DX200 Amp 4 : Increase of sound stage and separation. Bass controlled. Excellent and exquisite layering. Truly expansive. Pure Heaven, the real one.
FiiO X7ii and AM3B 4.4mm. Now this is great. Lovely everything. Brings the X7ii to life. Retains the Atlas signature but with more smoothness and purity of sound.
A definite step up in all areas from the stock cable, but ergonomically not for everyone.
Buuuut thhe soouuunndd!
EDIT: Additional cable comparison links:
ALO Audio SXC-8 vs Litz from the CA cascade review
ALO Audio Tinsel vs Litz vs Reference 8
Pointless? mebbe...but lets have some fun.
Campfire Audio Cascade (no filter) versus Campfire Audio Atlas with the ALO Audio SXC-8.
Well, we know how delightful the Atlas sounds when paired with the SXC-8 over ear with memory wired SXC-8 (I may try to remove it).
First impression is that the Cascade is slightly laid back compared to the in your face Atlas.
The Cascade slapped me in the sweet cheeks on first listen, now the Atlas is doing the same same, but different.
Color me a bit shocked and surprised, not the result I was expecting to be honest.
Now I could do a bit more fiddling with the filters to see if I can replicate the Atlas more fullness and gigantic sound scape...but to be honest i have done enough cable rolling and am a bit tired. inspiration may return later in the game...but for now thats enough.
Surprisingly even the diminutive Shanling m0 is quite the beast itself and using the Atlas with it as a traveling kit was quite satisfying.
In closing we come full circle back to the statement from Campfire Audios website:
'Gigantic and Fantastic Sound.
A truly massive sound. We’ve expanded our ADLC driver to a mighty 10mm and enclosed it in Stainless Steel – Atlas is a full range powerhouse.`
The above all is true, gigantic sound, certainly a powerhouse and contains a full range with a massive sound. It is a solid performer and deserves its rank at the top of the Campfire Audio pyramid.