Campfire Audio Andromeda

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Sound impressions

Presentation
Due to Andromeda’s popularity, there are already an abundance of reviews and impressions available. As is often the case, there seems to be a lot of variation in the opinions on several aspects of Andromeda’s signature. Some find its bass too light or more than enough, or find its treble either too sparkly or even laidback. Naturally, a great part of this is due to differences in preferences and sensitivity. But I can’t help think that it’s also partially due to the fact that Andromeda’s signature doesn’t completely fit in a category. Its tonality and signature are fairly neutral, with a clear and open sound and nice treble prominence and sparkle. Yet the midrange is thick and slightly warm. This gives Andromeda the full-bodied vocal and instrument presentation of a midcentric tuning, with the general tonality and treble presentation of a neutral signature: ‘neutral+’, if you will. A unique combination, that makes the sound very coherent, versatile, but most of all highly engaging.

Andromeda’s slightly forward midrange is presented in a grand stage, especially in width, with an average height and depth. Andromeda has a full-bodied presentation, which fills up the stage for an overall full sound. Due to the excellent stage dimensions, separation is still very good, although the layering can be a bit tight as the stage isn’t overly deep in relation to the thicker note presentation (Campfire’s Vega has an advantage here). However, the wide stage prevents it from tending towards congestion. In addition, the imaging is precise, without verging into analytical territory. The focus of Andromeda is a fun, musical and foremost engaging experience, rather than having a completely neutral or reference presentation. Which isn’t to say the Andromeda is technically lacking, it just isn’t the primary goal. Instead, Andromeda offers an excellent balance between an engaging and coherent musical experience, with a solid technical foundation.

Bass
Much has been said about Andromeda’s bass, with some finding it either light or more than sufficient. Ultimately, perception will always differ based on preference. I personally like my bass north from neutral; a solid bass impact and lively mid-bass that adds rhythm and a bit of warmth to the music. With universals, tip selection also plays an important role. I played around a bit with the provided Spinfits and silicone tips and then went with Spiral Dots, as they added some mid-bass for a slightly warmer sound. Later I came back to the Spinfits, as the stage becomes a bit cleaner due to the attenuated mid-bass warmth. Since Andromeda already creates thick notes, the extra mid-bass isn’t really necessary. With a solid seal, the Andromeda gives me a proper bass impact, with a nice bit of power when driven properly by a good source. It keeps a safe margin from basshead territory, but it doesn’t have a shy role in the presentation.

The sub-bass has good lower end extension. It might not be the most powerful; the sub-bass hits are tight and impactful, creating a dynamic sound. The mid-bass comes close to neutral, and certainly isn’t laidback. Bass lines have good size as well as definition, and contribute to the overall liveliness of the sound. The decay is nice and quick, which aids in creating an airy sound.

Midrange
Andromeda’s midrange is full, and inherently warm. If it had less treble presence, this would have been an excellent midcentric iem. But Andromeda combines a clear, open tonality with a beautiful midrange. Vocals have great size and density, and especially male vocals can put on a powerful display due to a full lower midrange. This gives notes an excellent subsection of the body, an extra thickness that makes them sound slightly colored but very engaging. While one could argue the coloration means the sound isn’t presented in its most purest form, the more important argument would be that it only makes it sound better – as testified by Andromeda’s immense popularity. Similarly, the upper midrange is slightly brighter than neutral, adding a nice bit of sparkle and excitement without sounding artificially bright. While the stroke of a violin might sound slightly thicker, there’s a nice shimmer to the sound, without sounding harsh. I’ve mentioned vocals, but electric guitars equally sound captivating and energetic, as well as synthetic melodies in pop or dance music. This is a midrange with many strengths, that easily lends itself towards different music.

Treble
Andromeda’s treble consists of a great mixture of presence and sparkle, while retaining a smooth presentation. The treble is deliciously thick; this gives it an engaging quality, a certain prominence in the signature without relying on being overly bright. The treble has enough sparkle and air, but keeps in line with the rest of the signature, being neither relatively forward or laidback. This is a treble that simply refuses to take backseat to a midrange that’s already hitting you full frontal – quite an accomplishment considering the rest of the full-bodied presentation. Andromeda gets a nice bit of sparkle from a 9 KHz treble peak that gives it a slightly brighter tone, but remains smooth due to a more relaxed lower treble region that prevents it from sounding analytical. Rather than aiming to being the most articulate or refined, this is a treble that simply sounds musical due to its thickness and sparkle.

Page 3: Comparisons and concluding thoughts

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About Author

Nic is currently in pursuit of a PhD degree in social neuropsychology, while trying not to get too distracted by this hobby. In pursuit of theoretical knowledge by day, and audiophile excellence at night. Luckily for him, both activities are not mutually exclusive which helps to lighten the workload. Always on the go, Nic's enthusiasm for hi-fi is focused on all chains of the portable system: iems, cables and daps.

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