We know that there’s not much I have to say when it comes to how beloved and reliable Campfire are when it comes to turning IEMs that look interesting, sound great, and are always seeking to improve on what came before. So let’s take a look at the Campfire Audio Dorado 2020 and see what Campfire has in store for us this time.
What’s in the Box?
With the box here, Campfire has once again returned to the paper constructed box. This one is a deep earthy green color and features the gold night sky inspired detail throughout.
When you unfold the shell and flip up you’ll see your zipper case, which has a cool campfire badge on the front and is a very funky orange/apricot color. You’ll notice the material is pretty unique here and that is because it is made from upcycled marine plastics. This is in collaboration with a program called the Seaqual initiative that partners with companies to make products out of raw materials from ocean cleanup, so Campfire should be totally commended for this - the case looks good and more importantly it is doing good!
Inside the separate compartment here you have another mini box featuring two mesh bags, one of which contains a variety of ear adapters, including - 3 size campfire marshmallow (foam), and 3 size silicone, as well as some other bonuses. There is also a cleaning tool, and a campfire audio pin.
Design and Fit
Now let’s open the zipper case and get to the main event here.
The first thing to notice on the design front is that these new Dorado’s for 2020 have gotten a big makeover. The light subtle gold color of the housing from the previous model is gone here and replaced by a deep, smooth charcoal and black color that has them looking extra smooth and sleek.
Our material for the housing here is a high density ceramic, and the nozzle is brass with a black PVD finish. The older Dorado was one of Campfire’s more comfortable and ear friendly shapes, and the design of it has been carried over here.
As a company that is always looking to make improvements, the folks at headquarters have made the nozzle a little thinner, which allows for a snugger fit all without any added pressure, allowing these to be extremely comfortable across the board. I was able to wear them for long amounts of time with little to no fatigue.
Like the other 2020 updates, the cable has changed from a brighter silver color to a more smoky one. The cable here is litz wire in a medical grade PVC jacket and is one of the most durable that you’re going to find that comes included with a unit. The connections are Beryllium Copper MMCX.
An important part of the fit process is of course always going to be spending enough time ensuring you find a good ear tip for you. For the record, Campfire recommends the marshmallow foam tips for ideal seal and resonance, but definitely err on the side of comfort here.
You may find our video review useful as well. See it below.
Those of you who are familiar with the previous Dorado know that this particular unit is a hybrid one, meaning that it uses a combination of two different types of drivers:
For the low and mid frequencies, Campfire utilizes their groundbreaking amorphous diamond-like carbon plasma dynamic driver with plasma enhanced CVD diaphragm. If this sounds like a lot, that's because it is.
This is some really sophisticated technology that Campfire has engineered, as they were the first company to implement this type speaker technology especially for IEMs. The has also been given a little boost this time around, jumping up from 8.5mm in size to 10mm for the 2020 model.
The second driver is a single balanced armature driver with Campfire’s unique tuned acoustic expansion chamber. which will handle all the mid and high range frequencies. These drivers have been optimized to cross over and provide a unique and premium sound experience.
As far as signal output, these have a very low impedance of just 10 ohms, meaning they are easy to drive and can be powered by pretty much any source you’re likely to use such as a laptop or a computer. That being said, make sure you watch your volume because these can pack a huge wallop volume wise, which you don’t want sneaking up on you. The sensitivity is 98 db at 1khz.
The Soundstage here is exactly up to the quality you’d expect from a Campfire release, and it provides one of the wider stages that you are going to experience with an IEM.
The sound has a sense of fullness all while creating a decent amount of separation between instruments, and each part has a clarity and a resonance that is discernible. Pans have a smooth fluidity to them, and the imaging is specific and tight, if not the most spacious in terms of vertical depth. You can get a good amount of immersion with the right material.
I took a listen to Lingus from Snarky Puppy’s we like it here, and the clarity afforded to the guitars percussion and synths really gave me a sense of space that almost made me feel like I was in the room.
When it comes to sound quality, the bass is decently powerful, but also surprisingly neutral. This may lead to it feel insufficient to some bassheads, who may be better off looking toward the reissue of the Campfire Vega. However, the bass is certainly not weak, the dynamic driver makes sure of that. There is a focus on balance and dynamics of bass tones and timbres. This is accompanied by a pretty subtle lift in the sub bass, which gives the low end a good amount of color and body that might otherwise be lacking if it were more flat.
In listening to a couple tracks of the Graduation album by Kanye West, including Good Morning and Champion, the beats still hit with a good amount of weight that you want in this style, but there was a sense of control and tightness that keeps the track relatively reeled in.
The mid range frequencies is where this 2020 Dorado really announces itself and makes it case. Campfire is a brand that excels in delivering audiophile earphones that provide detail and clarity, and the new Dorado is right up there in terms of top performers. Low mids get the slightest of boosts here that give certain tonalities a bit of lift to elements like pianos guitars and vocals. A track like Volare by the Gypsy Kings excels here - the amount of detail in the different plucks and strums of the many guitars is very prominent and dynamic without ever blending together, and the unique male vocal is extremely rich textured with a good amount of warmth to boot.
The high frequencies also perform excellently here, supporting a timbre that is crisp, even and features even more detail retrieval. That being said, there is a sharpness that can build upon itself as you get into the upper registers, and something like for instance classical female vocals do come in a little hot, and be just a little too much so for some out there. But if you want to hear particularities like articulations in attacks in instruments like flutes or yearning violins these are going to achieve that well. The highs here definitely have sizzle and sparkle.
The dorado 2020 is yet another testament to Campfire refusing to be complacent with an already great line of products. Subtle updates here like design features for comfort, and a larger driver for a slightly different sound signature, mean that Campfire products will always have something unique to offer.
These will be great for you if you like
-sleek and comfortable design
-strong but neutral bass
-great detail retrieval in highs and mids
May not be for you if
-more colored low end
-more massive soundstage
The Campfire Audio Dorado 2020 IEMs are available at Audio46. Get a pair today!