Campfire Audio Orion Measurements and Impressions

Discussion in 'IEM Measurements' started by purr1n, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. Stapsy

    Stapsy Friend

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    These look right up my alley, and I am a fan of the price point. I find it hard to justify the $1000+ purchases anymore.

    Has anyone tried these with the AK jr? I just want to make sure they play nice.
     
  2. cocolinho

    cocolinho Acquaintance

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    Got these for couple of days now. I woud say they are well tuned for a mono driver but obv have some limitations.
    Out of my GO720 with Comply :
    Clear sounding, rather mid-centric. Lively, exciting & forward sounding. Timbre are good. Bass are nice with good impact & body. may lack some quantity for some but not anemic for sure. Soundstage is average, separation is good. They might be strident at high volume with some records. To me they miss some sparkle in the highs though
    Fit & finish are good, comfort is great, isolation too with Comply.
    Strongly react with high output impedance: out of very high OI (47ohms) they sound unbalanced with elevated treble & less bass. Become very lean
    Overall a nice package but as always I would advice to have a listen before purchase if possible. I personally prefer more laid back-but-no-boring sound à la HD650 and my ATH-IM04 are more steering in that direction (they are boarderline super smooth though)

    I would take these over Ety HF5 or any old dual BA super star (e.g: Rock-It R50). I would also take these over boring mid centric IEM such as RE400
    Ok this is not fair if we compare prices...

    Nova landed today, will report the differences with Orion asap but first obvious difference : Nova are warmer with more bass & more body to the sound but remain vivid
    I'm now hunting 2nd hand Andromeda to taste Campfire's TOTL :)
     
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  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Waiting to hear more on the Nova.
     
  4. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Thanks for the impressions! Mine just arrived, FedEx waking us up at 8:30 AM to deliver it (but at least they actually knocked instead of slapping a slip on the door and leaving). Will provide impressions when I get a sense of them.
     
  5. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Very early impressions:

    Spiral Dots are better than foam tips for these. Easy to fit, especially with the Spiral Dot tips. In some ways more sensitive to OI than the Andros, with the Andros on my Jotunheim the bass got boomy but the rest of the FR was relatively listenable, with the Orions the soundstage collapses and they become a muddy mess. Much better sound out of my GO2a and Pono.

    When paired well, soundstage is average, separation is good. Bass has texture and some impact but there's only so much a single BA can do. Mids are the star of the show here but they don't overwhelm the rest of the FR the way some people feel that the Sine does for example.

    So far I'm feeling positive about these. You're not going to fool anyone into thinking these are Andromedas but they do have a musicality to them that I'm looking for, and I got these to be an out and about IEM that I can enjoy listening to without worrying about the fact that I have ~$1K in gear in my ears. For that purpose I think these may be keepers.

    I will update with more thoughts after I get a better handle on them.
     
  6. k4rstar

    k4rstar Sad on the inside

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    Very nice, you guys are making me miss my Orion and I have Andromeda's now....

    Wide-bore silicone definitely a better choice for the Orion, the highs are a little too dulled with foam.
     
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  7. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I've listened to these most of the day today, both with the Pono and the GO2a (not worth plugging them back into the Joti, it's just a mess with such a low OI).

    These are keepers for me. Comparing them to the Andromedas and the Spartans, they don't do anything better, and in terms of instrument separation, soundstage, total resolution, and extension, they are in fact worse. However, they are also considerably cheaper than those IEMs and I'm not expecting the same thing from them. As I mentioned in my last post, these have a musicality to them that has kept me listening track after track, hour after hour. I will be very happy to take these out and listen around town, or on trips, or on an airplane.

    Obviously their best feature is coherency. Being a single driver, they are extremely coherent and have great imaging and speed. I think this gives them a particular energy that could be described as forward, but usually not in a negative sense. This makes them well suited for a lot of rock, jazz, and classical, pieces with dynamics and momentum. Slower pieces remain engaging as well of course, I'm not trying to suggest these only work well for fast music.

    The "ah ha!" moment for me was playing the recent Ensemble Signal recording of "Music For 18 Musicians". That piece has a rhythm that runs through every movement, based off a series of pulses in the opening, and I felt that rhythm propelled throughout the whole work. I particularly like using this recording as a test track because often the individual instruments can be hard to pick out. This is where the coherency and imaging come into play. I was able to pick out individual parts of the recording, which is always a good sign, but at the same time the singular presentation of the piece remained intact.

    My biggest issue with it is that really dense or complex sections of music can confound the single drivers and make things muddy. It doesn't happen often but when it does I'm reminded of the Orion's limitations. Bass is more heard than felt, although this is mitigated by that driving energy that these IEMs put out. The soundstage is closed in, very in your head space, which is a far cry from the Andromeda's speaker-like presentation. This has a similar FR but if we were to keep the speaker analog these would be nearfields, whereas Andromeda would be living room. The only other major negative I can think of is that sometimes certain elements of a track can get buried where on the Spartans or Andromeda they would be more prominent. Again this speaks to the limitations of the single drivers, and it's not a make it or break it issue. Those elements are still present, they're just tougher to focus on because the separation isn't as great. It doesn't happen on most tracks, and it's never a major part of any song, just little things that I sometimes zone in on.

    My hope when I ordered the Orions were that they would retain some of the magic of the Andromedas. I think they do, in that they make me want to keep listening and not put them down. They're not as full or open or technically capable as TOTL IEMs, and I'm okay with that. In a marketplace where manufacturers are boasting about how many drivers they can stuff into an IEM, with prices rising exponentially as a result, I appreciate that Ken Ball decided to go in the opposite direction and offer the best sound possible with the fewest number of drivers. If IEMs were my main drivers, I'd spring for an Andromeda, call it a bargain, and ride off into the audio sunset. Since I still prefer over ears for most of my headphone listening, I think the Orions hit the sweet spot between price and sound.
     
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  8. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    I wish I still had the Ortofon EQ8; it would be really fun to compare these two single drivers the Ortofon is probably my favorite single armature iem.

    @Merrick , very helpful impressions. Definitely looking forward to hearing these.
     
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  9. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master (retired)

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    I don't want to repeat what @Merrick said, but I agree with a lot of it. My time with the loaner pair just came to an end and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Two points that bear repeating though:

    1) the engagement factor is on these is high;
    2) they retain the speaker like presentation of the Andromedas, but are just less enveloping.

    They have a bit of trouble keeping up with complexity, and I found the overall resolution a notch or two below the Andromedas. All in all, if CA ergonomics fit you, you want a set-it-and-forget-it experience, and like a high engagement factor, I can see these being an excellent purcahse.
     
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  10. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Totally agree. These have been great for bedside listening as I'm winding down for the night and when I'm out around town.
     
  11. jayeshrc

    jayeshrc Resident Crash Test Dummy

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    I managed to get a pair of Orions after @shotgunshane recommended them to me (he really understood the sound signature i was looking for!) and I really really like them! I definitely see where the Andromeda hype comes from and I'd imagine that would be something I'd love owning at some point since it looks like it extends the treble of the Orion and brings in more presence, which is the only improvement I would want.

    I am a happy campfirer! :)
     
  12. barelyincollege

    barelyincollege Nice Pit Bull

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    Got the loaner Orions in and spent most of today listening to them.

    My first impressions mirror those of others above, but I'll add that when I put these on, I felt like I was listening to my stock HD650s again. The Orions sound very similar to the latter in the sense that you can put them on and keep listening without being bothered by any glaring technical flaws. I don't use IEMs much, so I can't make any detailed technical comparisons, but overall, I'm very impressed by the smooth, set-it-and-forget-it experience that they offer.
     
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  13. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

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    Thanks for your impressions. What are you listening out of?
     
  14. barelyincollege

    barelyincollege Nice Pit Bull

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    Just driving them from my phone, a ZTE Axon 7 with AK4490 for now.
     
  15. jayeshrc

    jayeshrc Resident Crash Test Dummy

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    I agree with the "smooth, set-it-and-forget-it experience". Theyre not reference level because of the rolled off treble at the top but definitely great everywhere else. I use them all day long at the university while working on my thesis and also have no problems with comfort. They were a tad odd in the initial days but I guess I figured out the right way to wear em and my semi cauliflowered ears (grappling does this to you) got used to them.

    With a lot of use I hear them a little differently (whether it's burn in of my brain or the drivers themselves I have no idea) - the main thing being that the bass has gone down a tiny bit (a good thing). I also see how different they tend to sound out of different sources too - macbook vs gov2a vs Moto g4 vs cowon x7 (actually the cowon is not worth mentioning since it just ruins the sound with a compressed soundstage and the overall tone seems a bit off). Each source offers slightly different flavours similar to the way the Andromeda changes with different impedances from what I see on the other thread.

    Oh and I do hear a slight hiss in the background but I just ignore it and continue working :p
     
  16. Tim Thomas

    Tim Thomas Friend

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    Any impressions on Nova vs. Orion?
     
  17. deafdoorknob

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

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    out of iphone 5s, or mojo/ALO National+, i much preferred the Orion, in fact, Nova is possibly my least favourite CA (sorry KB), you do not gain anymore treble or low-mid bass, instead, you gain thicker mids-upper bass, it blunted the lithe sound of the orion. fwiw, of all the single BAs i've auditioned i preferred the fitear f111 over the orion (which i sold after acquiring the andros), nova, and etymotic.
     
  18. jayeshrc

    jayeshrc Resident Crash Test Dummy

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    After spending 2 days with the stock silicon tips and the spiral dot M, I can confirm that there is a nice increase in soundstage with the spiral dots. I'd also say the bass is a tiny bit better sounding, better presented but it could be because of the increased width giving it some space of its own.

    I don't use the foam tips (even though I remember preferring them to the stock silicone) because I hate the process of removing and putting them back in since I do that pretty often. I will try comparing them against the spiral dots later when I have time, though.
     
  19. captkirk

    captkirk Khan's BFF

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    Recently received a set of Orions and can offer a few initial impressions:

    Gear: Apple iPhone 7 > Apple Dongle > Stock Litz Cable​

    First off, these are Black Friday B-Stock units that sold for $100 off the standard retail. Must say, the QC dept. at CA must have quite the discerning eye because these are nearly flawless (and that's probably the point). If you're on the fence about B Stock, don't worry about it.

    They are comfortable and retain well in-ear, though I'm not accustomed to an IEM with a larger housing such as these, and I feel a bit of sensitivity that I hope goes away with more habitual use.

    As my first set of "serious" IEMs, I'm pleasantly surprised how good they sound. Using them direct with an iPhone and the Apple dongle, their tone and control seems really well done and balanced. Not much depth to the stage for me, with layering a bit flat on certain tracks - but I agree with @Merrick that imaging is quite satisfying. Bass has good texture and moderate heft; good air up top though a bit rolled. All fairly consistent with other observations. Very easy listening, meaning aside from my adjustment with fit, they are a pleasant, non-fatiguing sound.

    I also picked up an ALO Litz Lightning cable to use, and after a bit, I'll transition the cable and see if there are any sonic improvements. I'll be surprised if there are any. I mostly got the cable for the convenience, but we shall see.

    So, to sum up:

    B-Stock Orions are a seriously good value for price/performance. Non-objectionable sound, and an "easy listen".
     
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  20. scapeinator1

    scapeinator1 Once You Go Black You'll Never Go Back

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    I know this might rustle some feathers and I don't say this lightly but I really think that in terms of single BA IEMs the Klipsch X6i could be preferable to the campfire orion depending on who you are. I say this with both in front of me right now. The klipsch x6i if you look at the innerfidelity measurments (https://www.innerfidelity.com/images/KlipschX6i.pdf) it really is quite similar except for the 2-3Khz peak. Overall the presentation of the X6i is warmer and very mellow with less energy in the highs yes but what I think is an on the whole more accurate sound. The orion is more technically impressive in a number of ways though I recognize. I'd be happy to loan the X6i to any california based senior member to get a more expert comparison.

    What I mean by accurate is that relative to what I'm used to which is the HD6XX (that is my go to headphone) and the LCD2C, I feel that the campfire orion oddly doesn't seem to gel well with electric guitars (or just the busier parts of 90s/Early 00s pop rock) and makes certain songs sound harsher than they normally do or seems to recess the vocals in a way that they aren't on anything else i've tried (EDC, PX, X20i..). Specifically I have been trying these out on Paramore, Third eye blind, Oasis, and Michelle Branch. Not audiophile standards but this is what I listen to and know well.

    Now on other genres of music like norah jones, the parts of songs from the above artists that are less busy, soul music, and jazz all sounded great. So overall, I think the campfire orion does perform really well on a lot of types of music, but it is just kind of unfortunate that it doesn't work well with parts of my music library. I'm trying to be more responsible so I didn't purchase these only borrowed them from someone just to see what they were like.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018

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