From the creative geniuses that brought you the Andromeda, the Andromeda CK Pacific Blue, Andromeda CK Snow White, Andromeda CK Iceberg Special Edition and the Andromeda S (also known as SS for Stainless Steel) comes a brand new, totally unique release: the Andromeda Special Edition Black.
Wait no, scratch that. The Andromeda Special Edition: Gold. Sorry, it’s just that when I look at these IEMs, the first colour that comes to mind is really… you know what, I’m rambling. Let’s move on.
The Campfire Andromeda Special Edition: Gold is a mouthful of a name that I’ll hereby shorten as “AG” (for Andromeda Gold) and the original Andromedas as “OG”. It sports two extra bass drivers and boasts a crossover-less setup, so at this point it has nearly nothing in common with the OG except for the shell shape. It has more in common with the now-discontinued Orion for obvious reasons, which brings into question why Campfire decided to associate this new model with the OG in the first place.
Some background here: many would be aware that I have huge respect and appreciation for the OG, getting a much lauded “S-” grade in my ranking list. It is an IEM that, while known for its imaging chops, also has a sound signature that is wholly unique to everything yet somehow doesn’t sound tonally wrong. The OG is characterised by its warm body, which in combination with a contrasted upper treble emphasis made for a sound that was absolutely brimming with “wow factor” that little would find offence to. Unless of course, you’re absolutely afraid of treble.
It’s no surprise that expectations are high for the more expensive, limited-to-1000-units variant of the OG that promises a more “dramatic” experience. With Campfire’s recent string of controversies and bad press, the AG may be one of their last chances to redeem themselves.
MSRP: $1,300 (out of stock)
Driver configuration: 7BA
This unit was kindly loaned to me by the industry standard bloke, “McMadface”. S/N is censored just in case.
My unboxing posts are pretty much the only times I’ll ever talk about build quality, accessories and the like. I’m not really the person to ask about these things as I don’t really care about them that much.
Accessories: leather case, tips (which also include Final Audio E-types) and a Campfire Audio lapel pin.
Cable: 4-wire twist braid. Not the highest quality cable I’ve handled; prone to kinking and it’s not very supple either. Average at best.
Connection: MMCX. Sturdy components used, no complaints.
Build: metal build, should be pretty obvious.
Fit: a less common, “boxy” type of shell shape. I personally had no issues with the OG’s fit but the AG comes with an extended nozzle with helps with insert depth. Good change here.
Isolation: good, no surprises here.
- The “wow factor” of the OG is not present in the AG. I can also suspect it being due to the boosted midrange which reduces the contrast between the mids and the upper treble, resulting in a less dynamic and fun signature.
- The kind of boost used in the AG’s midrange is not my cup of tea. It’s a very generic kind of midrange boost that is common in many chifi products, and I’m surprised to see the AG going with it. It’s not tonally wrong, but I have certainly heard better mids in other IEMs especially in the kilobuck realm.
- Bass is standard-fare BA bass. Wideband boost from lower-mids down increases note weight and richness like the OG, though isn’t the cleanest bass that I’ve heard. Then again, I also have the same criticisms for the OG so it’s at least “par” here.
- Treble sounds subdued in comparison to the OG due to the reasons mentioned above. Not a dealbreaker and may be what you are looking for if you found the OG too sharp, but to me it takes away one of the main reasons why you would buy an Andromeda in the first place.
- Resolution and transients sound midle-of-the-road in terms of kilobuck IEMs. Nothing bad but not its specialty.
- Imaging capabilities are excellent, just like the OG. Great outward diffusal of the soundstage and the instrument positioning is relatively accurate for an IEM.
Author’s note: talking to other audiophiles on Discord, it seems that there is a 50/50 divide between the AG versus the OG. I’m of course in the OG camp but I have to remind you all again: I am just a guy.
My usual thanks to all those who continue to support me on Patreon. And of course, my deepest gratitudes to “McMadface” who sent me his own personal unit so that I may throw my hat into the review-ring early. If not for him, you’d be hearing my opinion on these in like, December or something.
And my shoutouts to other my very special big-money boys: