Campfire Audio Andromeda Review: Holy Cow, This is a Dream, Awesomesauce!

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by purr1n, May 13, 2016.

  1. Returnity

    Returnity Rando

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    Did anyone A/B'ed the balanced outputs of ZX300 and WM1A side by side with Andros?

    I know it's mentioned that they sound quite similar but I'd appreciate a little more detailed impressions if possible.
     
  2. torifile

    torifile Rando

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    I'll jump on to this request for more info on the Andro with the ZX300. Right now, I'm using my Andros out of a Q5 and the hiss is killing me. I'm very sensitive to it, I guess. At any rate, I've got a ZX300 on order from Joybuy and I'm debating the Vega or Andro. I prefer the sound signature of the Vega for some of my music (hip hop stuff and pop) and the Andros for my indie/folk/acoustic.

    If I can get a hiss-free sound out of the Andros, I could make a decision...
     
  3. Garry

    Garry Friend

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    I am using NW-ZX300 in balanced mode with Andromeda's and not experiencing any hiss, I am at the older end of the age scale so this may be influential.
     
  4. deafdoorknob

    deafdoorknob Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    like all sony daps, there is an initial rush of hiss upon plugging it in, but that fades out in seconds, followed by a faint steady state hiss that less objectionable.

    zx300 is quieter than the zx2 and about the same as the wm1a/z perhaps just faintly more. I cant hear any hiss under normal indoor space but during the day but i can hear during the witching hour when there is almost zero ambient noise.
     
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  5. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    And, as always, different people will have different tolerances for hiss. Less than the ZX2 is a good start though.

    Does the ZX300 have more power from the balanced jack? The ZX2 is fine for sensitive BA IEMs but virtually every DD I’ve plugged into it has sounded wimpy and underpowered.
     
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  6. Cellist88

    Cellist88 Afraid someone will shit on his opinions

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    200+200 mw from balanced compared to 15+15 from zx2
     
  7. elguapo

    elguapo Gringos falling from the skys

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    I believe @JK47 runs Sony's MDR-EX1000 IEMs out of a ZX300, and he enjoys it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
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  8. deafdoorknob

    deafdoorknob Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    ditto, ex1k via zx300's 4.4 is pretty damn sweet
     
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  9. torifile

    torifile Rando

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    I borrowed a WM1A to see how it sounds before deciding and I can safely say the hiss, if there is any, is completely tolerable to my hiss-sensitive ears.
     
  10. Spl4tt

    Spl4tt Rando

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    Yeah, the hiss at the start is normal. But I notice the hiss on my ZX2 with my Andros all the time. It's actually even louder than on my Pixel XL with -20db headphone digital gain (Which almost eliminated the hiss on it)

    I can't talk for the other Sony players though. Never heard them
     
  11. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    So, I can't believe I'm writing another cable impression/comparison/review. @deafdoorknob told me he heard that Andro fans in HK had found a more synergistic cable: the Taiwanese-made Han Sound Zen 4-core (www.hansoundaudio.com, website does not have a complete product listing, see Music Sanctuary for his other offerings).

    Review on headphonelist: http://theheadphonelist.com/the-han-audio-zen/
    Music Sanctuary (SGD 229, USD 175): https://music-sanctuary.com/collect...-sound-audio-zen-4-wire-occ-litz-copper-cable
    HK street price: USD 140
    Taiwan online price: USD 100* (+$5 for 3.5mm TRRS)
    http://goods.ruten.com.tw/item/show?21646355010250

    My baseline is an Andro with @Bill-P's foam insert mod (largest port), Spinfits and PWaudio No. 5 SE out of a ZX2 (all shit turned off). I bought a Zen with a 3.5mm 4-pole balanced termiination, so in order to have a fair comparison with the SE No. 5 out of the ZX2, I used a 3.5 to 6.2mm adapter that connects to both L and R ground on the 4-pole to convert it to 3-pole TRS, and then the 6.2 to 3.5mm adapter that came with my HD650 to get it into the ZX2. I couldn't hear any difference with/without the double adapters inline using No. 5, so for the purposes of this comparison I'm assuming that it's transparent, at least to my aging ears. (*Note: My Zen doesn't have a Furutech connector or fancy metal splitter/choker shown in the links above. It has a smaller "HiSound Shop" branded splitter + a heatshrink choker, and Ranko Acoustics 3.5mm TRRS connector - I believe this is to reduce costs for the local market.)

    Zen v No5.jpg

    Handling: The Zen is much more supple than the No. 5, which is already fairly supple. The two 45-deg bends near the connector in the photos are just from the way I had the cable bunched up before I took the photo and straighten out just by hanging it down. There are no earhooks and it works just fine worn up drooped over the ear. Might be a bit insecure with IEMs that don't fit snuggly on their own. There is very minimal mechanical cable noise, even less than the No. 5 which is not too bad in that respect.

    Sound: Streamofconsciousness impressions as I listened to my standard test tracks and some recommended by DDK that revealed meaningful differences for him. All comments are compared to my baseline as described above. First listen was late at night after a long, tiring day. Comparison was repeated the next morning to confirm. Most likely at least half of the below is placeco expectation, so please sprinkle lots of your favourite saline power while reading.

    Hmm... bass seems a bit tighter/punchier, though bass sometimes slightly attenuated. Floor tom(?) on Hotel California HFO intro doesn't go as deep or decay for as long compared to No. 5. Don Henley's voice possibly has a bit more body. Both male and female vocals sound weightier in general. Tay-Tay on "Red" is breathier. I like this.

    Slightly 'livelier' treble? Treble sounds different, but I wasn't sure how to describe it. DDK said, "treble for me is more rich, less ethereal, tonally saturated, denser sound." Listening again, the treble is more cohesive, saturated and present (not in the "presence = 4 to 6 kHz" sense), less 'airy' than the Andro treble I'm used to. This affects the imaging and soundstage. The Zen treble presentation makes imaging more precise, and pulls in the soundstage a bit from what could sometimes feel a bit artificial with the 'standard Andro sound' that I'm used to, very apparent on "Don't You" (Amber Rubarth, Sessions from the 17th Ward - binaural). This is a good thing.Stage is still spacious for an IEM.

    Kick and bass guitar definitely tighter/punchier on "Deathly" (Aimee Mann, Bachelor #2 MFSL), bass not as attenuated as with my regular tracks as noted above. More body in vocals on "Driving Sideways"? Beck on "Paper Tiger" (Sea Change MFSL) has richer vocals and punchier, more textured bass/toms. Tom Waits on "Tom Traubert's Blues" (Small Change) is a bit throatier... maybe?

    Bass on "IM the Supervisor" (Infected Mushroom) has less sub impact, but is a bit tighter. Peter Gabriel on "Red Rain" (So, 1986) sounds weightier when not falsett. Bass drops on "Doin' It Right" (Daft Punk) are not as deep or sustained as with the No. 5. Bass FR profile overall has shifted from flat to slight mid bass emphasis. Geddy Lee on "YYZ" (Moving Pictures, 1981) is more forward compared to Alex Lifeson with Zen.

    TL;DR: Overall, I like the differences so far. I've only listened for a few hours but the increased weight/richness in vocals and mid-bass sound better on songs with more of that content. I now have the EX1000 so if I really want deep sub-bass kicking my scrotum, and can swap over to those. I'll probably use the No. 5 with the EX1000's, as I have MMCX adapters for them now.

    Now that I finally have a 3.5mm TRRS cable, next I'll see if the "balanced" output of the ZX2 actually makes any difference (I know the amp isn't really "balanced output", but whatever).

    I can't believe I had that much to say about 2 copper Litz cables, compared to my usually perfunctory impressions of headphones, IEMs, amps, etc.. Damn you, @deafdoorknob :mad:
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018 at 7:10 AM
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