Fidue Sirius ($899)
Fidue’s flagship consists of a 1+4 hybrid, with a dynamic driver for the bass. While it has a slight midbass emphasis, the bass is more neutral than the Velvet’s. The Velvet has more bass quantity, producing a more powerful impact. The Sirius’ midrange is warmer, and more forward. Vocals have more intimacy, and are more natural in tone and size. Both share a brighter than neutral upper midrange. The Velvet’s midrange however has more clarity, with better articulation of individual notes. In addition, the Velvet’s brighter lower treble gives it a more energetic presentation.
While both create a wide stage that is not overly deep, the Velvet’s stage is airer, while the Sirius stage is warmer. In addition, the Velvet has slightly better imaging. Taken together, the two are more different than similar, with the Sirius having a warmer, midcentric signature, and the Velvet a brighter, fun-based tuning.
Campfire Audio Dorado ($999)
The Velvet and Dorado can both easily be categorized as a ‘fun’ tuning: a very wide stage, engaging V-shaped signature, but most of all: powerful bass. The Dorado’s dynamic powered bass has more weight than the Velvet, even in its ‘warm’ setting. There’s noticeably more mid- and upper bass, giving the bass a rounder, more impressive feel. In addition the tone of the bass is warmer, while it has a more natural decay. However, due to its size the bass is more prominent in the presentation. The Velvet’s bass is punchier, but also quicker.
The Dorado’s midrange is slightly warmer, with a relatively more forward vocal presentation compared to the more laidback Velvet. The midrange sounds a bit smoother, compared to the clearer sounding Velvet. The Velvet’s midrange however sounds cleaner, with more space between individual instruments. This is partially due to the Velvet’s lower treble peak, which contributes to the airy sound. Dorado’s treble is smoother and thicker, but offers less pinpoint precision.
A while back I posted this article on the difference between the ‘music lovers’ and ‘audiophile’ tuning philosophies; one is designed to sound exciting, the other for its accuracy and trueness to the tone. The Velvet might well be the poster boy for the former: with its wide stage, powerful bass, and high-energy sound, the Velvet was simply designed to sound awesome. The Velvet won’t necessarily be the most refined iem, but there’s a youthful playfulness to the sound. There’s no doubt the powerful sub-bass will get your foot tapping or head nodding, while the presentation as a whole is clear and detailed. The bass might too much for a purist, and the treble less suitable for sensitive listeners. But we all have our guilty pleasures, be it a pop hit or some catchy club mix – and there’s nothing like the Velvet to make them shine.