Call me jaded and cynical. But when I heard that Campfire was releasing a new and improved Andromeda in 2020, I sighed and shook my head in annoyance. I should disclose that I own the Andromeda 2nd edition, and I’m obsessed with it. There’s no bigger fan than me. So, why fix something that isn’t broken? Which brings us to the big question on many audiophiles’ minds: Does the new Andromeda sound and feel better than last year’s model? Or is this just an advertising gimmick created by Campfire to sell more IEMs? Let’s find out in this Campfire Andromeda vs Campfire Andromeda 2020 Review.
Is the Campfire Andromeda 2020 Better than the Andromeda 2nd Edition?
I found no difference with respect to fit. I’ve never had problems in terms of comfort with the older model. And the Andromeda 2020 had the same easy, yet snug feel in my ears. That being said, the shells look slightly more compact, especially when you compare it to the very first Andromeda model. (Pics below show comparison with 2nd edition)
A few main differences to note here. First the Andromeda 2020 employs a single printed body to house all the internal components. So, fewer moving parts, which should theoretically mean more reliable performance over the long run. I have personally never had problems with my Andromedas, though I’ve read a couple of complaints about failing drivers in the previous model. To be honest, mo drivers mo problems. This is true for any IEM. I don’t know if Campfire’s refinement of the design will fix such issues, but the new body should at least have some impact on the sound. We’ll see if this claim holds up below.
In addition to the new housing, Campfire has also added a new grill pattern to the spout to make it less susceptible to ear wax. But the zirconium aluminum shells are finished in the same emerald green anodizing.
Campfire has also made the Andromeda more P.C. They’ve swapped their leather case for cork, an environmentally friendly material. The cork is sustainably harvested, so its extraction is harmless to the tree. (And the interior of the case is lined with faux wool, so no sheep have been harmed either).
This review highlights the qualitative differences between the old model and the Andromeda 2020. To read a full review of the Andromeda, click here.
Again, I was skeptical that there would be any noticeable difference between last year’s Andromeda and the new Andromeda 2020. No, the tuning hasn’t changed. But I have to admit, improvements have been made. The most discernible difference lies in the level of resonance. The Andromeda 2020 has a tighter, mored dampened and more controlled feel. This becomes especially apparent in sparse arrangements, and is most obvious with respect to percussion instruments. In mixes with heavier instrumentation, the contrast may be less obvious. But the decreased resonance has an effect on almost everything, from acoustic guitars to string instruments, to double basses. It just takes that “solidity” of the Campfire sound to a higher level. Because of this added level of control, unsurprisingly, clarity and separation are slightly improved as well. There’s just less “stuff” in the mix. Less “shine” or “glow”, which can almost seem like a bad thing when talking about the higher frequencies, but in fact, it cleans up the overall sound profile.
Now, I should mention that the contrast is less than strikingly glaring, especially if you’re AB-ing for only a minute or two. So those who own the first edition shouldn’t break down into tears. I don’t know whether it’s worth spending an extra 1100 bucks on a new pair if your originals are still in decent shape. I guess it depends on your degree of perfectionism. But if I had a choice between the two models, would I go for the 2020? Of course. And was I somewhat remorseful that I didn’t wait till 2020 to get my Andromedas? Of course. I should also note that I was comparing and Andromeda that had hours of play on it to an Andromeda that had just been unboxed. Could that have played a big factor? Probably not.
Why fix something that isn’t broken? Well, sometimes you don’t know something needs fixing until its fixed. More reliable internal structuring, refined shell design but most important, more controlled, higher resolution sound. One could argue that the differences between the Andromeda 2nd edition and Andromeda 2020 are somewhat marginal. But nonetheless, seasoned ears can tell. And as an owner of the previous Andromeda, I’m really bothered by it.
You can find both models for the best price here
|Frequency Response||10 Hz – 28,000 Hz||10 – 28,000 Hz|
|Sensitivity||115 dB||94 dB|
|Impedance||12.8 Ohms||12.8 Ohms|
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