Campfire Audio Andromeda (V3) review & impressions, quick look - expatinjapan





                        
Campfire Audio Andromeda (V3) review & impressions
-expatinjapan




Campfire Audio needs no introduction to the dull, glazed and heavy eyes of the late night internet shopper and perky early riser audio enthusiast. Storming onto the scene with their well packaged and `Nicely done` early range of IEMs, to low, mid and high end TOTL models the Campfire Audio range of models has tried to offer something for everyone. Constantly in state of refinement and development, new releases ever coming out whilst older less popular or replaced by new improved versions keep the interested fans curious and enthusiastic.

I have a queue, it is a sacred queue of review items that I follow almost religiously, often to the chagrin of companies who send in their products for review. They know theres a queue, that an unboxing to feed the hungry masses will happen soon enough and as shows demonstrate this so called hobby, `cough` industry for profit `cough` rolls along basically on the backs of male audiophiles ever ready to hit pay on their handy internet shopping buttons, for most some pretty photos will do the job itself, men supposedly being visual creatures. Yet of course often the intellectual side also needs feeding which is where impressions and reviews come in.

Nothing beats hearing something for yourself but not everyone has the luxury of a high end audio show down the road or a shop in their town, The best some can do is trawl through the internet in search of impressions and read as many reviews as possible on the earphone or dap of their (current) dreams.

Which brings us back to the sacred Head pie queue of products for review, sometimes, rarely a product jumps the queue dues to its own brilliance or my unbridled enthusiasm, or both. this usually stems from the review forming itself in brain and being ready to be birthed...so to speak.

The new Campfire Audio Andromeda (V3 as it shall henceforth be known) is one of those products that practically wrote the review itself.

My review of the original Andromeda (think of this newer article as an expansion pack)

Andromeda exudes confidence in its handling of musical detail.

"It has high frequency extension that makes cymbals sparkle and expand past your listening horizon. Mids are fully resolved and uncolored. And the bass is extended and balanced; rich in texture and well defined." - Campfire Audio



I meet Ken and his team as per usual at the Fujiya Avic Tokyo Headphone show in April (27th), 2019.

Unboxing
*This is fairly recent so you may have already seen it.






























The case has internal rubber which adds firmness, strength but keeps it supple.





Our exciting new premium ‘Green’ leather protective zipper case is an update to our standard leather earphone case. Luxurious leather surrounds a substantial and protective rubber barrier that ensures that your earphones will remain safe while in transit. The interior is a dense faux wool lining that preserves the anodized finish of your earphones. Each case is made in Portugal by a small team of skilled crafts people that share our commitment to quality. -CA








Building from our Silver Plated Copper Litz wire conductors and our popular tangle-resistant twisted cable weave, we’ve added a new stylish Smoky jacket to compliment the unique finish of our new line of earphones. A new light-weight molded ear-hook design replaces the memory wire. The result is a light weight cable that is a pleasure to use everyday. - CA


Zirconium blasted aluminum shells are finished in our signature green anodizing; specially made for Andromeda. - CA

















Original top, New bottom

(The original Andromeda I got in April or May 2017).

Andromeda V1 and Andromeda V3:









New left, original right





Specifications

"Its the SAME IEM!" from the cheap seats...lets list em anyways


Specifications

10Hz–28 kHz Frequency Response

112.8 dB SPL/mW Sensitivity

12.8 Ohms @ 1kHz Impedance

Features

Dual High Frequency Balanced Armature Drivers + T.A.E.C.

Single Mid Frequency Balanced Armature Driver

Dual Low Frequency Balanced Armature Drivers

Beryllium / Copper MMCX Connections

Machined Aluminum Shell

Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber™ (T.A.E.C.)

Stainless Steel Spout





Price 

US $1.099.00



So what are the differences, If any?






Well I received the *New Andromeda (Which I have termed V3) from Ken & Caleb at the recent Fujiya Avic Show in Tokyo. He did ask me via email If I wanted him to bring anything and being the simple, and not greedy bastard that I humbly am - I only requested the soft pads for Campfire Audio Cascade....But truth be told I did not know about these models. LOL. Anyway it was a pleasant surprise...even if I did not get the pads as requested (Insert tongue in cheek humor cue here).


 I got a run down on the three new models the IO, the redone Polaris and the New but same Andromeda by Caleb. And for a change I actually listened, perhaps because I could follow what he was he saying unlike when someone is giving me a run down on their latest dac or inner technical workings of a dap ..and my brain starts to fog over in confusion.

So I listened, IO and New Polaris aside to the news about the *New Andromeda, which is the same as the old Andromeda...or is it. Ken said it was. Or did he. (Spoiler he did).

So new Cable, refined inner design (placement of wiring/drivers etc - more cleaner), new case, new packaging, some more edges smoothed.

Soooo.....same, same...but different.

As usual I said `I believe you` but was already planning in my head about doing A/B testing at home.

Science bitches! or at least my attempt at some.

 I posted some unboxing photos in the Andromeda thread on Head-fi and got asked for impressions - which I usually do not do until I have a good long listen or just do a final review.

So I responded:

"Well I did some exhaustive A/B’ing between the old and the new Andromeda last night with the DX220, stock amp 1 mk ii amp.

I a/b-ed the New Andromeda versus the old with cables (new/new cable, old/old cables, new/old cables) - and also included the Solaris and Vega in the mix.

Same tips, same dap. 

Its hard to really say because my Andromeda is old an well used and from the first batch way back in 2016.

(Deleted as it started to turn into an essay. And i need to write it out fully).

Basically.....To my ears they have the same signature. The new Andromeda though seems to have more mids, even, coherent full bodied sound.
Very close though.

Who can tell if its new version vs original or just new vs old and well used? Not me. I’d need a recent (old style - unused) Andromeda to be sure.

More details when I write it all up properly"

"Same JVC Spiral tips on both Andromedas

Cables are slightly different which is why I did New/New cable, original litz/original litz cable, original/new cable tests. As I have multiple of both cables...."


I stopped there as I had written enough to feed the hungry audio beasts which raised various comments and reactions. Predictably so. People want to know and information about the V3 is a bit varying.


But hey, I have them here, in my ears, listening, with my ears. 

Thats got to count for something?




 So I wrote to Ken to clear things up:


Amirite? Amiwrong? Hearing things? Different  fit? Cable? Old 2016 over used Andro vs fresh factory new?

Asking for a friend lol (or before i make an ass of myself). 😂👌



Andromeda (new)

Well I did some exhaustive A/B’ing between the old and the new Andromeda last night with the DX220, stock amp 1 mk ii amp.

Last night I was a/b-ing the New Andromeda versus the old with cables (new/new cables, old/old Litz cables, new/old cables) and also included the Solaris and Vega in the mix.

Its hard to really say accurately (I know, I know) because my Andromeda is from the first batch way back in 2016. And was usually always with me when I went out (along with one or two other earphones) until I got Solaris addicted.

So its OLD and well used. Who knows what has happened inside those drivers or whether there is damage, earwax or grit.

Word from Campfire Audio and on the street is the sound is the same. The main thing being the shell is more smoother and corners smoothed.
Internals are supposedly the same, but better arranged through time and experience. 

On with the show.

Well I went through all of it using a splitter for fast swapping through a multitude of tracks. Then stop change cables again. Repeat.

Finished. Then i realized one tip was larger than the rest. Rinse and repeat. But the results ended up the same.

—————

Basically.....To my ears they have the same signature. 

>>>>>The new Andromeda though seems to have more mids, even, coherent  full bodied sound.
Very close though.

Who can tell if its new version vs original or just new vs old and well used? Not me. I’d need a recent (old style - unused) Andromeda to be sure.

apologies for any interruption.

Kind regards
D

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ken  graciously replied to my confused ramblings

No problem, all good here. Call me, email or txt if you have questions.

It’s possible there are some diffs only because 2016 drivers from Knowles might ? have changed who knows how tight their production is. I know the factory moved from China to the Philippines.

However the “ recipe “ is identical internally.

Also factors might be age or the stainless steel spout, these can be a X factor...

Your not bothering me, we are just shopping :-) 

Cheers

Ken
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Ken,

Thanks. I will keep to my impressions and trust my ears then.

It does sound better to my ears.

:)

D

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Ken,

Would be safe to say...

V1 original with aluminum spout

V2 with ss spout (curved edges then?) litz cable

V3 ss spout, new cable, smooth edges, better cnc finish

?


Cheers
D

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear D,

See below

Head Pie  wrote:
Would be safe to say:

V1 original with aluminum spout

Yes

V2 with Stainless Steel spout (curved edges then?) litz cable

Yes one of the changes was adding a bevel to the leading edge of the of the flanges on the spout.

V3 Stainless Steel spout, new cable, smooth edges, better cnc finish

Correct, also we improved the MMCX, its appearance is round and we added a busing insulator to insulate it from the shell. The bushing you can see it is black.

Thanks

Ken

————————————————-

So a few mysteries, changes and unknowns.

I looks forward to seeing If others ears hear what I am hearing or whether I am just bonkers (spoiler: probably) or if there is difference between V1 and V: for the many possible reasons stated above.

















Overview

The Andromeda veers away from the original (which I term V1) listed in the above graphic.

Andromeda V2 I have not really listened to, nor the Stainless Steel version and I wonder what commonalities there are, If any in sound signature.

As can be seen in the side by side comparisons of the V1 and V3 they are virtually identical in size, with the V3 having a few sharp corners smoothed off and a smoother surface finish. Regardless of that, the V3 sits in my ear much easily like a bug in rug. Pure comfort.

Also the new finish on the shells themselves is smooth as silk and feels soft like a plastic earphone to the touch.

Shell build as usual is spot on and solid. 

The new cable is exellent with its softer hang around the ears. Basically just cable with a light plastic sleeve.
*it’s like a regular litz cable only the winding is different. But the conductors are still silver plated copper. 
*I miss the hard shell covering around/above the MMCX connector though.

The fit took a while to digest mentally as I never really had any issues with the original, ...until I got the V3. They sit better, more comfort, they also seem to achieve a deeper depth into the ear canal. Who would have thought a wee shave here and there would lead to deeper peneration and more usage?

The sound is full, beautiful, mids to die for, that stunning sound stage that Andromeda is known for, exquisite layering and timbre and overall a well balanced IEM.

Those who already know Andromeda I guess I am preaching to the converted mostly. So I will stop here.

I loved the original V1, and love even more the V3.

Perfection upon perfection.



“For the alchemist the one primarily in need of redemption is not man, but the deity who is lost and sleeping in matter. Only as a secondary consideration does he hope that some benefit may accrue to himself from the transformed substance as the panacea, the medicina catholica, just as it may to the imperfect bodies, the base or "sick" metals, etc. His attention is not directed to his own salvation through God's grace, but to the liberation of God from the darkness of matter.”
- C.G. Jung




Thank you to Campfire Audio for sending/handing the Campfire Audio V3 to Head pie for review



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