Campfire Andromeda 2020 Review

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by purr1n, Jul 5, 2020.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    I'm a bit late on this one since the Ara seemed to steal the thunder from the 2020 update to the Andromeda. Physically the dimensions are unchanged, so those with fitment issues with the nozzles being too shallow with the OG Andromeda won't find this any better. The only change that I've noticed from the OG is bore opening is a grill instead of three holes.

    IMG_20200705_184719.jpg

    I will keep the subjective impressions short. While the OG Andromeda (without much tweaking and from a near zero ohm source) has a slight V-shape, the Andromeda 2020 is a dark sounding IEM. Actually quite a bit darker than the measurements below would indicate. The highs up top do sound a bit more refined, but I am not sure if this is via the tweaks since the OG Andromeda (applied to Solaris), or a function of the FR differences (more lows and less highs). In a nutshell, the 2020 Andromeda is a OG Andromeda with a darker tone and smoother highs.

    See general measurement notes before digesting the plots: http://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/note-on-iem-measurements-changelog.2153/ Any who allow a single or handful of measurements to define sound quality will be immediately banned from SBAF.

    Campfire Audio Andromeda 2020
    Frequency Response
    upload_2020-7-5_18-48-38.png

    Campfire Audio Andromeda 2020 (green/red) vs OG Andromeda (gray)
    Frequency Response
    upload_2020-7-5_18-57-33.png
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2020
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Here is the impedance curve of the Andromeda 2020. It's very similar to the OG Andromeda's curve.

    Andromeda 2020 (green) vs OG Andromeda (yellow)
    Impedance Curve
    upload_2020-7-5_19-0-11.png
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2020
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Here are the distortion characteristics which are very similar to the OG Andromeda.

    Andromeda 2020
    Distortion L
    upload_2020-7-5_19-1-50.png

    Andromeda 2020
    Distortion R
    upload_2020-7-5_19-2-49.png
     
  4. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Friend

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    If memory serves, you preferred the original Andromeda from sources with a Zout of 3-4 ohms. Is the Andro 2020 correspondingly darker even with higher Zout sources? If so, does the darker sound of the Andro 2020 amount to a significant departure from the original? And do the more refined highs make for less sparkle, given the FR variations between 6 and 8K on the second plot? I'm sorry for the multiple questions.
     
  5. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    The original Andromeda I either preferred with neutral-bright sources (Chord Mojo) or slightly higher Zout with warmer sources (Sony ZX2 or Pixel XL) to tone down the lows in relation to the highs while running a tip with a filter (Comply foam with filter) or a tip that recessed the highs.

    Andromeda 2020 is slightly different. I do not feel a need to tame the brightness at all. The sources I would use are still the same: neutral-bright sources (Chord Mojo) or slightly higher Zout with warmer sources (Sony ZX2 or Pixel XL). Even then it's a bit dark / bassy when I'm using the Final silicone tips.
     
  6. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    Is the channel imbalance in the bass audible?
     
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    I didn't think so, but I'm pretty deaf in terms of imbalance in the bass once it gets below 60Hz. The bass differential could be a seal issue on the measurement rig. I didn't mess with the placement on the coupler much.
     
  8. USAudio

    USAudio New

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    In this video from Jude at Head-Fi:

    at 9:25 he comments how in his measurements, the L/R channel matching was some of the best he'd ever seen.
     
  9. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
  10. USAudio

    USAudio New

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    Ha! :D
     
  11. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    I’ve had opportunity to borrow an Andromeda 2020 and compare it to my OG, and I agree with a lot of Purr1n has already stated.

    I also have to disagree with a lot of what’s been said on HF about the 2020 lately, where some have stated that 2020 removes the haze and improves imaging. Bah. 2020 is pretty much identical in the way it presents the sonic image compared to the OG; and I still hear the haze, perhaps moreso.

    Here’s the important difference: less treble. Seriously. The 2020 is a darker version of the OG sound, thus it is perceptibly warmer and meatier sounding, moving the overall tonality a little more towards the Sony M7 sound. Whereas the OG sounds like a slightly downward sloping U shape, the 2020 just sounds slightly downward sloping that maybe levels off.

    Also the 2020 is less finicky with sources than the OG. I use the IEMatch on high with the OG a lot. It leans it out and gives it a little more analytical presentation. These changes are nowhere near as evident in the 2020, I’m guessing, due to it’s more even keeled treble response. Thus it still sounds warm and meaty with the 2.5 ohms of the high setting.

    Who is this for? For those those that like the OG but found it a little too bright or peaky in middle treble. For me, OG is the way to go, as I love it’s treble presentation. At any rate, the darker, warmer 2020 is still an easy to like and easy to recommend in-ear.
     
  12. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    Solaris was my first love from Campfire Audio and I only really heard the Andromeda for the first time when I got my hands on the 2020 a couple weeks ago. It's nice to finally understand what all the hype is about-- the Andromeda is probably the most instantly accessible, easily likeable IEM I've heard and I can see why it remains the de facto reference IEM for many even after all these years. I still prefer the Solaris overall as the dynamic low end and more "in your face" staging is more to my liking-- but I understand that its signature isn't everyone's ideal. For someone looking for a "do everything" IEM that is immersive, inoffensive, and engaging it's hard to think of a better recommendation than the Andromeda...it puts many, much more expensive IEMs to shame.
     
  13. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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  14. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    The Andromeda 2020 has tons of unlocked potential that I discovered using a Schiit Loki.
    In addition to Azla Xelastic tips, which might be the (if not one of) the brightest, most bass light tips on the market, I’m using these settings on my Loki and it’s just about neutral.

    [​IMG]

    Not only did it make the FR and tonality better, the bass is tighter and resolution is much. much improved. It turns out the stock Andromeda 2020 FR recesses all the frequencies that contain detail.

    EQ is easy with these because it’s a broad recession, not peaky. I highly recommend EQing this iem. You’ll be amazed at what they’re capable of! And this is coming from someone who has never used EQ before due to my purist tendencies. But I don’t know I think there’s basically already EQ going on in there with all the drivers and crossovers. So I felt better about it and now I want a second Loki for my og Solaris because unfortunately you can’t save a couple different settings in the Loki.
     
  15. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Pro tip: get more coloured markers and you can save as many settings as there are colours. You're welcome. :D
     
  16. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Friend

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    Comparison of the Original and 2020 Versions of the Andromeda
    I’d like to thank @dncnexus for very generously lending me his original Campfire Andromeda IEMs so that I could compare them with the 2020 version. The following won’t add much to the impressions above but I thought a few further observations might be of help to anyone who, like me, had wondered how significant the differences between the two versions are. I’d wanted to know this myself because, while I’ve been enamored with the 2020s over the four months I’ve owned them—and haven’t found the darker signature to be a dealbreaker—I’d still wondered if I should have gone with the earlier version, as originally planned. Was I missing out on the famed sparkle of the original?


    Setups and Impressions for the 2020 Version
    To a certain extent, the Andromeda 2020 benefits from the right source selection. Lower impedance sources quickly make for an overly dark sound signature (to me, at least). The higher Zout AK Jr is better suited to my neutral/bright preferences. Alas, that particular setup sounded too soft and flat. Instead, the Sony ZX2 makes for a much better combination. It provides all the slam and macro-dynamics you could want while keeping the more neutral tonal balance. As for tips, I very much like the Azla Sedna Xelastecs. They bring the FR closer to neutral. Having followed @rhythmdevils' excellent experiments closely - thank you! - I switched over to the generic silicone tips he recommended from Penon Audio, and they really are better. I’d add that these tips also offer a superior bass presentation to the Xelastecs.

    With the ZX2 and Penon tips, I’ve found that the darker tonality makes the 2020 version quite versatile with different musical genres. It also makes for an easy, perfectly pleasant listening experience, one that’s very engaging and fun. There’s plenty to like here: the speed, clarity, and excellent resolution; the reasonably strong macrodynamics; the bass heft (but not the sub-bass extension, which is limited), and the rich textures of instruments. The Andro 2020 offers decent imaging and layering and a relatively spacious, airy headstage with excellent width (for IEMs) but only average depth. Taken together, the Andro 2020 are great for long, immersive and fatigue-free listening sessions. In some ways, though, they’re a step back from the original.


    Comparisons (with ZX2 and Penon tips for both versions)
    Comparing the two versions has been a great learning experience. At first, the difference between the 2020 and the original seemed quite striking, with the 2020 being appreciably darker and lacking the treble extension of the original. Over the course of a week with both, though, I’ve come to find that the differences aren’t as substantial as I’d first thought, although this depends very much on the kinds of music you’re listening to. The following differences, then, are fairly subtle:

    Things I’m reasonably confident about:
    The 2020 has more bass, at least out of the same ZX2 source as the original (I realize that, with a lower Zout source, the OG gets a greater bass emphasis).
    • the stronger bass of the 2020 makes it better for low-end brass instruments
      • Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, for instance, has greater (and arguably excessive) low-end oomph with its brass section
      • Charles Mingus’s The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, in which the tuba and trombone are prominent, sounds better out of the 2020 than the original
      • The tuba in Bob Dylan’s Rainy Day Women #12 and 35 is too feeble out of the original
    • kick drums are more impactful out of the 2020
    • the bass guitar sounds richer out of the 2020
    • the guitar in Jeff Buckley’s Hallelujah chimes too much with the original and sounds more full-bodied with the 2020
    • electronic music, while not the Andros’ strong suit (I’d prefer the Solaris here), fares less poorly with the 2020
      • that's not generous enough; the 2020 is actually quite satisfying for electronic music
        • Massive Attack’s Mezzanine, for example, is fine with the 2020 but too-bass light with the original

    The original has a better-extended treble.
    • as a consequence, cymbals and high-hats sound more realistic and crisp with the OG version; cymbals with the 2020 lack some zing (think of the 2020’s cymbals as having less a “tsk” and more a “ths” sound)
      • this difference can be significant with jazz music, as with the Oscar Peterson Trio and Duke Ellington’s Such Sweet Thunder, which is a good deal better out of the original Andro
    • when it comes to classical music, and large orchestral works, the original are again superior
      • you can hear instruments like the flute and harp much more clearly
      • the string section of an orchestra comes across as more realistic
        • violins have more bite
        • by contrast, cellos sound smoother and less resonant with the 2020
        • string quartets sound better out of the original; the instruments’ timbres are superior, and the OG offers better layering
    • I prefer acoustic guitars out of the original
    • electric guitars also have more bite out of the OG; they’re crunchier out of the 2020, though
      • I prefer screaming electric guitars with feedback out of the OG and booming power chords out of the 2020
    • the original can be piercing
      • some instruments, like the tambourine or the harmonica, are more likely to be over-emphasized
      • snare drums can also be a bit wince-inducing with the original
        • I prefer the 2020 for electronic music for this and other reasons

    Things I’m not sure about:

    I wonder if there’s a bit more slam out of the 2020 or if it's just that the 2020’s bassier response creates the illusion of more impact. Alternatively, this might be explained by different listening levels; I found it hard to volume-match when comparing the two since their sensitivity varies. But then again, I only used words like “explosive” in my notes for the 2020. Also, I wonder if the original can sound slightly thinner than the 2020 because of its lighter bass and brighter sound?


    Conclusion
    It’s easy to overstate the differences between the two versions. For about a quarter of the test tracks I used in this comparison, the differences were so close as to be almost unremarkable, if not exactly negligible. If you have one version and are happy, it’s not really worth forking out for the other. I’d recommend the original version for those who like classical, jazz, and other genres with acoustic instruments. For rock and other modern genres like pop and electronic, I’d say the 2020 are better. But then fans of metal may well prefer the OG. It’s very hard to make general statements.

    Finally, I wonder if the original version is more versatile. It can be made to sound darker and bassier with the right source and tip combinations whereas the darker 2020 can’t be made into a brighter IEM. I couldn’t recover that lovely sparkle. But then I found I didn’t miss it all that much, either, so I’m perfectly content with the 2020. Thank you again @dncnexus, that’s one bit of audio nervosa now cured!
     
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  17. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    @Tchoupitoulas one hell of a write up! I just thought it deserved more than a like. :)

    that’s mark UP not markER ;) I wouldn’t dare draw all over Schiit’s beautiful baby. I was more talking about using it with my LCX and og Solaris
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2020
  18. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    Thanks for this. I've been hoping for more comparisons like this. I love the 2020 but never spent any real time with the OG.
     
  19. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    So it looks like there are 3 versions of the green Andromeda, not just og and 2020.

    I don’t endorse this review or take it seriously, just posting it as evidence of the 3 versions. Maybe this is common knowledge and I just missed it.

    https://www.headpie.net/2020/06/andromeda-v1-vs-v3-vs-v42020.html

    I got a chance to compare a V2 to my 2020 (might as well call it V3 as we’re bound to see more andromeda’s which I would actually like to see because I think Ken can make it better by adjusting the FR to be more neutral)

    The V2 sounds very similar to the 2020 though I had to use different tips with them to get them that way. Azla Sedna Earfit on the V2 and my favorite cheap generic Penon tips on the 2020.

    The V2 has no 10khz peak at all. It has better frequency response than the 2020 as it has more treble presence so it’s not as bassy and dark, being closer to neutral but still quite warm with a bassy, shelved upper frequencies signature.

    The 2020 has better technicalities. I have a Schiit Loki so I was able to easily EQ them to have the same FR and the 2020 has slightly better technicalities all around - resolution, microdynamics, macrodynamics, finesse, and more precise or incisive sounding.

    if you can EQ, the 2020 is the better iem. If not, I’d want the V2.

    I hope to hear a V1 at some point just for fun.
     
  20. Rockwell

    Rockwell Friend

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    My understanding at the time was that the differences between the V1 and V2 green Andro were purely cosmetic. That said I haven't really heard either (though I was quite happy with the 2020 when I had it for a couple months). How would you suggest EQing it...just bump the treble a wee bit?
     

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