If you’re a sick audiophile like me, you may have been drooling over the prospect of owning the Andromeda for months. And then your read your sad bank statement and remember you have to pay out of pocket to get that mole removed. Hmm. Is cancer even that bad? Well, Campfire claims it has something for folks with college loans who deserve better sound than the Comet. The much anticipated IO is finally here. Is it worth the price tag? And does it sound anything like the Andromeda? Let’s find out in the Campfire IO Review.
Campfire IO Review
The shells on the IO are about the same size as the Andromeda. I’m a little lady, but the IO still sat comfortably in the contours of my ears. But super tiny ears may run into problems because the shells are angled. I tested them on my cat, and she wasn’t happy. That being said, the IO is nowhere near as big as the Solaris. And all of my buddies who tried the IO found them perfectly comfortable. Also, Campfire has swapped out its over-ear memory wire for a more elastic design. So, you no longer have to spend time molding the cable around your ears, and it’s a much quicker fit. The sound isolation is pretty effective too. For this review I used foam tips, which can warm up the sound a bit, bring out the bass and ease the high frequencies. They come out of the box dressed with foam, and Campfire encourages using foam on all their models. But in the box, you’ll also find some nice silicone tips made by Final Audio.
The IO sports two balanced armature drivers, using an oversized woofer BA as a foundation and pairing it with a small tweeter.
Campfire employs its classic design on the IO. The body is machined aluminum with beryllium / copper insulated MMCX connectors and a stainless steel spout. And the shells have a red anodized finish with 24K gold-plated screws.
The cable is a silver-plated copper Litz, though it doesn’t have the silvery color that Campfire generally uses on its more snazzy models. But Campfire cares about aesthetics, so it added a “smokey jacket” to better match the “garnet” red buds.
The IO is really easy to drive, and your phone will give more than enough volume even to those who have slight hearing deficiencies. Carefeul kids! But for the purpose of this review, I used my FiiO Q5 Amp/DAC combo.
Also new to Campfire is their purple leather granny case. And any real man will confidently pull it off with style.
Starting with the lows, you can already tell that the IO shares a similar balance to the Andromeda. Though pop has plenty of punch, the bass avoids taking center stage. And it’s got that tight, dry grip that sounds undeniably Campfirish. You can expect plenty of detail and great separation in this range. Cellos, for example, had a lot of texture, while bassline progressions were clean and well delineated for an IEM at this price point. At the same time, the low end provides just the right amount of warmth, giving nice body to rock tracks. Indeed, it’s a highly versatile sound signature that’s perfect for those who listen to all kinds of genres.
Lots of presence in this range. And the balance is pretty even. Low mids are given plenty of love, and the bass frequencies avoid overpowering them. Vocals don’t seem as forward as they do on the Andromeda, but this also makes it more forgiving on the ears. And like the Andromeda, the mids have ample body. Rock and pop-rock tracks sound full and expansive. At the same time, the separation is good for an IEM in this price range. You’ll get more warmth than clean layering of instruments in tracks with heavy arrangements. But it’s still a well outlined sound. And like the Andromeda, there’s a hard-edged attack that gives tight impact to snare drums and percussion in general.
Campfire did a great job in retaining the sparkly, crispy highs that helped define their green superstar. Percussion in this range has tons of snap, giving crazy energy to pop tracks. And listening to classical music, strings had good transparency and resolve for this price point as well. Also, though these buds don’t have a dark sound signature, the highs avoid fatiguing the ears; brass in the highest registers didn’t pierce my ears out. And even after long listening sessions, I didn’t feel like taking a break. But maybe it was the Adderall my boss slipped in my coffee.
A vast soundstage for the price. And instrument placement is pretty accurate as well. So, there’s enough dimension and space in terms if depth and height to make you feel like you’re floating in a constellation of sound. No LSD required.
Fast, full and energetic with hardcore definition. There’s not one genre that these buds can’t handle. Also, to me, out of all the more affordable Campfire models, the IO is the one that sounds most like the Andromeda. And even if price wasn’t a factor, I’d still take them over the $1300 Atlas. So, yeah. It’s good.
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