Campfire Audio Andromeda Review: Welcome to the Campfire
This one is already too famous for any introductions, right? Andromeda is not only a steady seller from CA (Campfire Audio) but also a jackpot that worked as the major opportunity to make the brand popular among the audiophile community worldwide. Although that may sound a little too exaggerated, in fact, that really was the case.
Campfire started off its brand with a 1BA model, Orion and next with a 4BA model, Jupiter. The second wave of products was an improvement from those existing models. Orion followed with a 2BA model called Nova, while Jupiter was followed with the well-known 5BA model, Andromeda. There is more to talk about, but enough with the introduction and let us now move on to the review.
Campfire Audio finally went through some revamp with their packaging and I am happy about it. There are lots that do not pay much attention (or not at all), which is very reasonable. But I believe better packaging and boxing do matter when talking about premium IEMs. The size of the new packaging still goes for a reasonably small box but roughly twice the bigger than the old ones. Once you remove the CA sticker on the rear of the box, the outer packaging would unfold and reveal the inner box which includes all the belongings. I very much enjoy this new packaging as they are beautifully designed inside out and gives a feeling as if you are unboxing a present.
Other than the earpieces, it includes 1 set of 3.5mm stock cable, 1 leather case, 3 pairs of earpiece pouch, 5 pairs of Final Audio eartips, 3 pairs of CA eartips, 3 pairs of CA foam tips, 1 CA Lapel pin, and a cleaning tool. CA used to provide only 1 pair of earpiece pouch before, but it seems like they have realized the demand for it and started to throw in an extra 2 pairs – which I appreciate a lot. The lather case is also newly designed to have the same color as the earpiece. The size also got slightly larger for better convenience when storing with custom cables.
As shown, this “mechanical-looking” appearance has been Campfire Audio’s signature design from the get-go. The earpiece is made of machined aluminum and sports an edgy look, though the edges are slightly rounded as well as the inner side forming a fairly ergonomic shape. Not the best in terms of comfort or compatibility, but the fit is not bothering at least. Though users with smaller outer ears will have problems fitting these to their ears as the earpieces are still a bit chunky and edgy. Andromeda uses 5BA drivers per side – dual lows, single mid, and dual highs. The dual highs are incorporated with T.A.E.C. (Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber), which is a specifically designed inner structure that sits in front of the drivers and takes a major role in creating their signature sound.
The nozzles are made of stainless steel and separated into 3 bores. Other than that, the earpieces are detachable and use custom-made MMCX sockets that are compatible with typical ones yet inforced in durability. Impedance is 12.8ohms which is quite on the lower side, making Andromeda a lot more sensitive on catching white noises depending on the cable and player. This means that if you are using another IEM with your player and detected some white noise, that white noise will most likely sound a lot louder on Andromeda. I would suggest pairing with a custom cable or a different player if such a case happens.
The cable went through some changes too. First the shielding. The previous silver-plated Litz cable had a transparent silver look which looked good, but vulnerable to discoloration and stains. The new version has a smoky grey jacket that solves such problems as well as being even softer. Metal memory wires are gone too and replaced with a simple ear hook design.
Sound impressions – Lows
For most cases, once a sound signature gets brighter, the more the bass loses quantity, moisture, and reverbs. This eventually causes the bass to sound “snappy”. So how’s the bass on Andromeda? While Andromeda is usually praised for its upper frequencies, it doesn’t fall behind in bass performance at all. Lows are large and thick, creating a well-bodied slam and bass presence. The tone of the bass is on the darker/warmer side, providing better contrast and separation from the bright upper frequencies. Not to forget mentioning that this greatly helps the sound to keep its balance in terms of brightness and temperature.
Quantity of ultra lows is just about average but surprisingly well presented with clarity. The bass dives quite deep, providing a pleasant yet gentle amount of rumble. Midbass is plentiful and has just the right amount – not too much, not too little. The textures are smooth but not mushy and keep its precision. Let’s now talk about the strike and decay. It hits solid and fast while keeping in all the juice from the bass, so the bass does not get dry or tough. So the strikes are fast, though the decays are slightly more relaxed in speed, along with an adequate amount of reverbs. The reverbs keep their limits on how much and far they spread, keeping the atmosphere clean and neat. Andromeda fully fills up the lower end with dark, deep, and rich enough details.
Sound impressions – Mids
Mids are presented up close, scale large, and naturally connect with the lower mids. The lower mids continue the low frequency’s thick, large nature. However, as the vocals carry out a bold and full-bodied sound, Andromeda shines with its analytical ability and highlights the texture details and the vocal layers. While the mids are presented close to the ears, it does not feel to be “budged out” but keeps the surface flat and evenly spread throughout the middle range.
Upper mids are especially impressive as the tone and position do not stumble as it crosses the sibilance area. Andromeda keeps a mild shine without a spike and steadily builds-up the brightness as it approaches the treble. This is worthwhile to say that Campfire Audio nailed that very tricky and ambiguous sweet spot where the vocals sound refreshing but not fatiguing. Overall, the BA drivers used for Andromeda are very well fused to each other to create a coherent, consistent, and harmonic vocals that flow beautifully.
Sound impressions – Highs, etc.
Highs take a step back from the other frequencies as well as very slightly reduced in quantity. With a delicate and sparkly attitude, highs do a superb job catching the fine textures and multiple bits of thin and small details that could be easily left behind. Though that does not necessarily mean the highs are fatiguing. Andromeda presents the treble detail without getting the rigidity too stiff or sharp but instead lightly smoothens out the edges while maintaining an acute, crispy expression.
The highs are also appropriately reduced in brightness and distance, preventing them from rushing out or breaking the harmony. Thanks to that, there is a good chance that the Andromeda will still be pleasurable even if you are sensitive to brightness. I would say that the trebles here are tuned to be shiny and transparent while keeping the sound as fatigue-free as possible. Staging is outstanding. The sound nicely spreads out towards the x,y, and z-axis, forming a sphere shape headroom with distinctive layering.
Eartip / Cable suggestions
The stock FAD / CA eartips are also good too, though my personal best selection for the eartips is Spinfit CP360. They bring out an atmosphere that is a lot airier without getting the sound too sheer or light-weighted. Most importantly, it nicely cleans out the reverbs and makes the sound presentation a lot clearer and bolder, so I would suggest giving these eartips a try.
Andromeda is keen to work nicely with a variety of cables, so choose an aftermarket cable would depend mostly on personal taste. Gold-plated copper, for example, would tend to give stronger reverbs and larger/thicker staging. Pure silver or SPC would give more crunch to the sound and reduces the reverbs, making the sound denser, airier, and cleaner. Copper keeps a very natural tone and usually a bit warmer and relaxed than the silver ones. I have been matching a variety of cables for the Andromeda, and my two best picks are Rhapsodio Nylon Silver and Satin Audio Athena. Both provide great bass with well organized/clean upper ranges.
There is no doubt that Campfire Audio has done a remarkable job creating the Andromeda. Commends that end fast are simply hypes, while the ones that last long are like letters of guarantee. I have been and still am impressed with this one. Many years have passed since Andromeda was first released yet it is still in the game and winning big time against the new competitors. Not only the performance is more than enough being up to par, Andromeda sports a sound that is very likable for many people, making it a choice that is hard to go wrong. Its well-balanced sound topped with rich, color splashes of details would make this classic flagship model worth a recommend even in the long run. If you want to know the true house signature that Campfire Audio suggests, this IS the choice you should make.
Thanks to CA for providing Andromeda for an honest feedback/review.
I am not affiliated with CA and none of my words were modded or asked to be changed.