Campfire Audio boasts a new model for its Andromeda line. An updated design to one of their most popular earphones. Campfire Audio has set such a high standard in earphone quality, that they can only really be compared to other earphone lines made by this very brand. Against any others it would be a no-contest, Campfire Audio is the best on the market. When you’re out there looking for a persistent pair of earphones with high fidelity aural character, look no further. The Andromeda line began in 2016 and quickly rose to the top of the mountain. I’ve been astonishingly impressed by Campfire’s previous model, as well as their various other lines, so I was excited to give the new Andromedas a listen. So, how do they stack up?
What You Get
The Andromedas come in Campfires standard folding take-out box that all their other earphone come in. I always love the little pouches the earphones come in. It’s made of cork rather than the faux leather some other models come in, and the inside is made from thick faux wool that’s sure to protect the polished shell. Campfire Audio is going for a more environmentally friendly approach, which is always commendable. The Andromedas themselves will be in this cork case with the attached cable, and the individual earphones will be placed inside their own pouches for an extra layer of protection. Inside a separate box, are two more pouches with a variety of attachable earbud tip sizes, and a nifty Campfire Audio lapel logo pin. It’s great that the Andromedas come with so many tip options, as I feel a lot of brands find trouble getting their buds to feel fit inside the ear, but Campfire gives you access to tons of options rather than two or three different sizes. With the Andromedas, there are three different tip types. The ones made by Final Audio come in extra small, small, medium, large, and extra-large. The ones made by Campfire Audio come in small, medium, and large. Lastly, the last set which are silicone tips that come in small, medium, and large. Because Campfire Audio is so nice, they’ve also included a cleaning tool to clean your tips, which you absolutely already do so why am I telling you right?
I personally have a lot of trouble getting earphones to sit comfortably in my ear without a significant amount of fatigue and with Campfire’s uniquely angular design, you’d think just by the look alone that they’d be uncomfortable. However, the Androemdas are pretty snug, and light. Popping these guys in your ears never feels awkward, and the cable is fit to wrap around and rest on your outer ear with ease. The odd angular design of the outer shell never interacts too much with your ear, as they feel sturdy, and the earphone works within the shape of your concha. I caught myself adjusting the Andromedas a little bit, but not significantly enough to be constantly distracting. I’m not sure I’d exactly go on a run with the Andromedas, but overall a fine fit for traveling, and at home listening.
Let’s take a look at what exactly makes the new Andromedas so special. On the outside, they may look no different from the previous iteration of the Andromedas. Same green aluminum shell and metallic finish. But under the hood, these earphones are significantly distinct. The Andromedas feature a new solid body design that’s been 3D printed with a new acoustical chamber. This new chamber sports a tunned acoustical expansion chamber, a new technology that aims to provide improved high-end properties. This new system allows for a direct signal from driver to ear without the sounding too harsh. What’s also momentously different are the 5 balanced armature drivers. Each driver supports a different range of frequency, two for the highs, one for the mids, and two for the lows. This creates a passive three-way crossover that improves the sonic quality. Campfire includes a Berilyum copper MMCX cable with silver-plated copper conductors and a 3.5mm connector. An extremely durable cable that could never possibly show any signs of fry. What’s also important to mention is the new grill pattern on the earphone spout that’ll be sure to keep debris out of the chamber.
No matter what system you plug the Andromedas into, there shouldn’t be any significant difference in output quality. Plugging straight into your mobile device or computer will give you a powerful signal. You’ll get 94dBSPL at 1kHz and a frequency response of 10Hz-28kHz. These earphones blast a lot of signal so be careful with your volume control.
Talking about the soundstage of IEMs is interesting. They have a distinctly contrasting aural field than that of an over the ear headphone. The sound is taking place inside your head instead of surrounding you. A snare drum can pierce your temple, and a good kick has a throaty sensation. The Andromedas has a unique soundstage for an IEM in that it most resembles that of a headphone rather than an earphone. There is an impressive amount of spacing and resonance going on in the Andromedas. They rarely feel spacious, but there’s a lot of control in the Andromedas. It’s tight, but not afraid to expand outside the shell. Some sounds feel like they expand and lightly touch the outer casing. A stereo guitar comes right to the edge, while some higher-end instruments are allowed to ripple a tiny bit past the wall of space the Andromeda’s sound field is allowed to operate in.
This bass takes full advantage of the Andromeda’s soundstage. The bass tones feature an expansive width that while not containing the smoothest textures, still exceeds a certain amount of power. I wouldn’t even say that this low end has a rich timbre, but there’s a consistency to it that provides an ample amount of definition to satisfy. Kick drums and synths still feel punchy and lively, but the excellent separation of the design leaves the low end to exist with exceptional clarity.
A particularly even and responsive mid-range that boasts the same amount of width and separation you’ll hear in the low end. I’d say the low mids are slightly more emphasized, as electric guitars sound more crunchy, and dirty. However, the rest of the mids don’t falter in clarity and are represented with a respectful amount of separation. Vocals come out great on the Andromedas, as they sit comfortably on top of mixes with a smooth tonality. An overall full and exciting midrange that succeeds where a lot of other IEMs do not.
Where the unique soundstage comes into play, the high end of the Andromedas are significant in their timbral richness, and definition. The higher bands enact a spacial layering that provides a soft ambiance to more atmospheric tracks. The dynamic highs of Aphex Twin’s “Selected Ambient Works” resonates with spatial clarity and depth. Reverb tails extend past the ridge of perceived space and roll off. It’s an elegant response that reacts to dynamic range swiftly. Great for classical tracks and film scores, as well as a high female vocal. You might not get all the specific details you’d like, but the overall timbre is still very smooth.
The model earphone that became the standard for quality in consumer listening, is somehow improved. The Andromedas feature a satisfying sound field, crisp and clear. They feature an innovative design and a sleek aesthetic presence that’s comfortable and sustainable. For $1099 you’re not going to find a better IEM.
Available at Audio 46
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