Campfire Audio Fathom Review

Campfire Audio Fathom Review by MajorHiFi

Last year, Campfire Audio impressed me with its Chromatic series. This product line included some of my favorite new IEMs from Campfire Audio in recent memory, such as the Supermoon, and Bonneville. Now, Campfire Audio is welcoming a new IEM separated from that line with the Fathom. The Fathom is a six-driver IEM that costs $1,049. Can it match the highs from last year’s Chromatic series?

Campfire Audio Fathom items

What You Get

  • Fathom IEMs
  • Time Stream cables, 3.5mm and 4.4mm
  • Leather case
  • Zipper case
  • Drawstring IEM bag
  • Marshmellow and silicone tips

Campfire Audio Fathom single

Look & Feel

The Fathom takes on the same design as the Andromeda Emerald Sea but in a new solid black with purple accents on its MMCX connectors. It’s a more familiar shape compared to what we’ve seen in the Chromatic series. While those IEMs might have had more aesthetic flash, the Fathom still cuts a clean look that feels like a classic Campfire build. One of the biggest differences here is the extended nozzle, which impacts the overall level of comfort that the Fathom gives compared to other Campfire IEMs. I had no problems with how the Fathom sits in my ears, but there’s more pressure in its seal compared to the Andromeda Emerald Sea.

Campfire Audio Fathom cable

Design

Inside the Fathom is a series of six balanced armature drivers that are custom-made. These drivers include dual super tweeters and dual woofers. It has a very low impedance of 11.7 Ohms and an SPL of 94dB. You can drive the Fathom with any device that has a 3.5mm or 4.4mm balanced headphone connector.

Soundstage

With Campfire Audio, I’m used to hearing a lot of spaciousness. Sometimes the soundstage they present can be blissfully holographic, but that’s not the kind of IEM that the Fathom is. I didn’t think much of its presentation at first. Its width was nice, but nothing jumped out spatially. It takes some time, and listening to the right tracks to get the Fathom to reveal its tricks. Although it may come across as a flatter sound field, the stereo imaging is very precise, with distinct layers that stack next to each other without confusion. You can feel the space between sound elements, which is impressive for how linear this soundstage is. You don’t get that sense of tallness from instruments, but the Fathom shows its scale through its forward display, distancing the sounds in a way that localizes their specific origin. There’s great depth to this soundstage, and the Fathom makes it immersive without holographic elements.

Low End

While the bass shows some nice detail it lacks a bit of weight. There isn’t a consistent body to the tone, but it still has a presence that you can perceive. It does a good job of filling out notes with a defined mid-bass, but the sub-bass doesn’t play much of a part in the sound signature at all. The lows have a well-rounded and balanced presentation, but it’s missing some teeth. Sometimes it comes together with a distinct fullness, but it oftentimes feels a bit empty. Nothing ever sounds unrealistically presented in the lows though. The frequencies have a good shape to them, they just rarely showcase and drive.

Mids

Campfire IEMs like to have darker textures, which can be hit or miss for me, but the Fathom controls it well. It uses the fuller frequency content of the mid-bass and uses it to shape the midrange timbre with richer details and dynamic range. Nothing feels lost here, as the mids are organized clearly throughout a large assortment of frequencies that gives the sound a ton of life. It remains rather unexcited but still well-balanced enough for you to still be engaged with every instrument and vocal performance. You get a sense of room and evenness even with its warmer foundation.

Highs

Elements of the highs express the right amount of detail, but the surface area is smaller than you might expect. The highs lack height, but it doesn’t skimp out on the clarity and realism that resonates throughout the entire sound signature. There’s a satisfying click to each note that comes across as crisp without the added sizzle. While it’s missing some flavor for me, the highs still have a great resolution that is fully transparent without all the harsher aspects that can sometimes come with more expressive tuning.

Summary

Although the Fathom doesn’t have everything that some of my favorite Campfire Audio IEMs have, it still brings a lot to the table. It doesn’t haveĀ the most flavorful response, but it makes up for it with rich, realistic details throughout its sound signature. The build is of the quality you’d expect from Campfire Audio, but its large spout might create a few issues for your level of comfort. Otherwise, the Fathom is a sound you might not be expecting from Campfire Audio, but it kept surprising me with more detail and immersive qualities.

ProsĀ  Cons
  • Accurate imaging
  • Rich mids
  • Crisp highs
  • Great solid black design
  • Stock cables
  • Weak sub-bass
  • Large spout

The Campfire Audio Fathom is available at Audio46.

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Alex S. is a sound designer and voice-over artist who has worked in film, commercials, and podcasts. He loves horror movies and emo music.