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Campfire Audio Andromeda 2020 Review – Return of the King

Pros –

Class-leading build quality and industrial design, Balanced and coherent signature, Extended and sparkly top-end, Very wide soundstage with holographic imaging

Cons –

Obviously coloured tone won’t suite all, Angled housings may cause issue for some

Verdict –

The Andromeda 2020 isn’t just a homage, but an entire overhaul that addresses the original’s weaknesses whilst compounding upon the its core charm.


Introduction –

Campfire Audio was born in Oregon, USA from a passionate team of locals. They brought their expertise from ALO Audio while introducing new smarts for in-ear designs and incorporating local metalwork to achieve a stunning union of qualities. For many, the Andromeda was what really put them on the map, an IEM that impressed users and critics in all regards. It is a musical and unique earphone that is simply very engaging and easy to like. The model has been subtly refined over the years but never drastically altered. This changes with the new 2020 incarnation that makes use of 3D printed solid-body acoustic design to provide a new interpretation of Campfire’s original hit. The Andromeda 2020 promises a more balanced sound, sharper imaging and a more detailed presentation at the same competitive asking price.

The Andromeda 2020 costs $1099 USD, not a small cost, but very welcome in the sea of modern flagships costing multiples more. You can read more about it and treat yourself to a set on Campfire Audio.

Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Caleb from Campfire Audio very much for his quick communication and for providing me with the Andromeda 2020 for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.

Specifications –

  • Drivers: Dual Low BA, Single Mid BA, Dual High BA + T.A.E.C
  • Housing: Machined Alu Shell, Anodized Emerald Green, Stainless Steel Spout
  • Connectors: Custom Beryllium/Copper MMCX
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz–28 kHz
  • Sensitivity: 94 dB SPL @ 1kHz: 7.01 mVrms
  • Impedance: 12.8 Ohms @ 1kHz Impedance

The Pitch –

T.A.E.C

Tuned acoustic expansion chamber is a 3D printed sound chamber for the 2 high-frequency balanced armature drivers. It’s a tubeless design mitigating the loss of extension and resonances of a traditional tube and damper system. It also provides the impression of a larger soundstage

3D Optimised Acoustic Construction/Solid Body

With a sophisticated driver array, it’s important to ensure all work in harmony. The Andromeda 2020 employs Campfire Audio’s new solid-body acoustic design whereby the drivers are arranged with a 3D printed array that gives them finer control over the sound output by each driver in addition to reducing resonances for an overall more refined and resolving sound.

Unboxing –

Campfire Audio always impress with their unboxing experience and the Andromeda 2020 continues suit. There’s a stunning foil-laminated sleeve that opens up in origami-like fashion to reveal a hard box inside. Here, buyers will find the sustainable cork carrying case in matching green. It has a faux shealing interior that feels soft and protective alongside a smooth metal zipper. The earphones are inside within one of CFA’s dual-compartment pouches that keeps the earpieces separate to prevent scratches.

There are an additional 2 of these pouches, one containing 3 pairs of CFA silicone tips, one holding 3 pairs of foam tips. A separate bag contains 5 pairs of Final Audio E-tips that were my preferred option. They offer a flexible sound tube for a slightly more personalised fit and deliver an especially coherent sound too. The extra cases are very welcome as they can be used on other IEMs too and are very pocketable. Campfire Audio score bonus points with their inclusion of a metal pin and cleaning tool.

Design –

I think most readers will be acquainted with Campfire Audio’s legendary milled aluminium BA shells. The Andromeda 2020 continues this legacy, in signature emerald green with silver nozzle and faceplate screws – a timeless combination. However, as compared to the 2018 Andromeda, the only other variant I also have on hand, the finish is noticeably smoother, the edges more refined and general fit and finish a step up even from the class-leading examples of industrial metalwork that came before.

Indeed, the sharp edges are now subtly rounded, the colour a shade lighter and the finish more even. The rounded MMCX block and milled perimeter that possessed clear ridges on the previous models are now flawless; simply a more refined aesthetic with the same tough angulation and loads of character. The nozzle has been changed, not in dimension, only design; the 3 bore design superseded by a grill similar to that on the Atlas and Ara. However, all the highlights users otherwise enjoy remains.

Up top are the same reinforced Beryllium MMCX connectors and, as always, they provide an especially confident click and very low tolerances. The cable is the smoke jacket variant as seen on the 2019 CFA models and newer. It has a softer jacket than their previous models and a twisted as opposed to square braid in addition to pre-moulded ear guides over memory wire. The result is a more supple and easily conforming cable, it is lighter and more comfortable. The same high-quality right angle plug remains and the internals are Litz SPC as well but with double the strand count that aids both ergonomics and sonic performance.

Next Page: Sound, Comparisons & Design

5 thoughts on “Campfire Audio Andromeda 2020 Review – Return of the King Leave a comment

  1. Hi Ryan, thanks for a great article. I purchased a pair of the Andromeda 2020s based on an earlier review you did. I’ve been very happy with the purchase ever since. One somewhat underappreciated aspect is the cable. It’s very supple and I much prefer the dark color over white. Also the stiffer material around the ears make them easier to slip on and slip off. At this price point every little thing counts, in the Andromedas do not disappoint me.

    Like

    • Hey Tom,

      Glad my reviews helped you out and that you’re enjoying your Andro 2020!

      I agree, the moulded earguides are much better than the memory wire used before, the jacket is also very soft – CFA clearly know what they’re doing here as they used to make custom cables under ALO Audio!

      One thing I didn’t mention in my review was that the smoke cables don’t discolour like the old silver ones. Of course, this will be more of an aesthetic quality.

      Take care and enjoy!

      Best,
      Ryan.

      Like

  2. Thanks Ryan. In the article you mentioned their sensitivity. It was a struggle for me trying to pair them up appropriately with a DAC connected to my iPod/iPad. The apps I listen with are VOX and Qobuz. Neither has a volume control. So I am reliant on the volume on my i device. Pairing my iPod with a Dragonfly Cobalt DAC produces great sound but I lose all granularity with volume control. I eventually bought an ifi micro iDSD DAC with their IEMatch feature and that solved it. I saw your two recommendations for DAPs in the article. Do you have any others you’d recommend for the Andromeda 2020?

    Thanks again!

    Like

    • The sensitivity is definitely aggravating at times, I have the same issue since I prefer to listen at a lower volume as well from my Pixel 4, I often struggle with volume control. I believe on IOS devices, manually dragging the volume slider gives you a few more steps than using the volume buttons. In terms of DAP recommendations, it depends mostly on your budget.

      The M2X had a slight hiss with the Andro if you’re sensitive to that, otherwise, it’s a great source. I tried the Fiio M9 in the same price range and it also had some background noise with the Andro. Actually, a source that didn’t hiss was the Fiio BTR5 and it also has its own fine volume control. That may be an option for portable use, I would not personally recommend the BTR3 or lower as you will notice some degradation of SQ there.

      Like

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