Campfire Audio Fathom Packaging Review featured image

Campfire Audio Fathom Review

In this review, Marcus assesses the performance of the Campfire Audio Fathom, which is a new 6 custom BA driver in-ear monitor tuned for audiophiles. It is priced at $1049.00.

Disclaimer: This sample unit was sent to me in exchange for our honest opinion. Headfonics is an independent website with no affiliate links or services. I thank the team at Campfire Audio for their support.

Click here to read more about Campfire Audio products we previously covered on Headfonics.

Note that this article follows our current scoring guidelines which you can read in more detail here.

Campfire Audio Fathom Packaging Review featured image
Campfire Audio Fathom Review
Summary

The Campfire Audio Fathom is a very balanced-sounding BA IEM with a natural, agreeable lilt to its sound signature combined with excellent vocal presence and impressive imaging.

Arguably, this is 'next level' Andromeda at 'same level' pricing. It also fills a high-end gap left by the since-departed Ara.

Sound Quality
9.1
Design
8.9
Comfort & Isolation
8.9
Synergy
9.3
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8.8
Pros
Beautifully balanced sound signature
Excellent vocal separation & Imaging
Sleeker form factor than previous CA aluminum IEMs
Cons
Lack sub-bass power
Foam tips dull the vibrancy of the performance
9.1
Award Score

It is raining Campfire Audio IEMs here at the Headfonics HQ of late and from what I hear that is just the tip of the iceberg regarding expanding the line-up in 2024. 

The most recent offerings we have reviewed have been planted, powerful-sounding monitors such as the Bonneville and the Supermoon. The new Fathom goes in a very different direction with a more delicate or purist tuning created to appeal to ‘audiophile’ tastes. 

The Fathom is priced at $1049 and is separate from the Chromatic Series with more of a traditional ‘Campfire’ aesthetic and an entirely balanced armature driver configuration.

Some might describe its signature sound as the bigger brother to the Andromeda series or perhaps even the son of the now-discontinued Ara. Either way, the Fathom sits in between both and I can tell you it is one of Campfire’s smoothest BA offerings to date.

To learn more about how I reached that conclusion and how well the Fathom performs in more detail, keep reading my full review below.

Campfire Audio Fathom attached to cable

Tech Highlights

The Campfire Audio Fathom is one of the first new all-BA driver monitors in the Campfire lineup since the triple-driver Holocene and the 7-driver Ara.

This time we have 6 balanced armature drivers and all of them are customized as opposed to off-the-shelf.

The driver grouping is two custom Knowles single diaphragm tweeters for the highs, with two custom Sonion BA for the mids, and two custom dual-diaphragm Knowles woofers for the lows. There is a single crossover on the highs at around 6k.

The Fathom is rated with Campfire Audio’s usual in-house benchmarking system so impedance is fairly light at 11.7Ω with 6.75Vrms required to hit 94dB @1K for SPL.

Having benchmarked it against the likes of the Ara and the Andromeda 2020 it’s a fairly sensitive IEM which is in keeping with how most, (not all), Campfire Audio IEMs generally perform.

Campfire Audio Fathom design

Design

At first sight, the Fathom’s sleek black bright-dip aesthetic is in line with Campfire’s traditional anodized CNC-aluminum housing. However, on closer inspection, there are plenty of subtle changes here to give it a more compact and smoother form factor. 

The face plates are no longer flat and finished instead with a subtle but unmistakable prism-type angular finish giving the front a bit more character than what I am normally used to seeing.

There is a method in the madness though because the angling and cornering on the Fathom is very smooth now, much more so than the Andromeda 2020 or the original version from back in 2016.

Whilst metal is never going to form and yield to your ear’s dimensions quite as well as the resin from the Chromatic Series designs it does feel much smoother inside the ear than previous incarnations.

The underside of the main Fathom driver shell has also had a bit of a rethink based on comparisons to the Ara and the Andromeda 2020 equivalent. The two-step shaping of the shell to the nozzle is now gone with a singular smooth incline and increased chamfering on the edges. 

Also gone are CA’s trademark triple screw locks on the plate which, in a way, gives it a sleeker low-profile look than previous models. The shells are now held together by a small rainbow-finished lock ring at the rear

The rainbow PVD on the now stubbier beryllium/copper MMCX connectors is a consistent theme throughout the Fathom package. It’s heavily included in the outer wrap of the packaging with a matching finish on the carry-case carabiner. 

Campfire Audio Fathom beside a foam ear tip

Comfort & Isolation

All of the above changes make the Fathom one of the company’s lower-profile monitors when stuck in your ear. In my ears, the fitting was almost flush and stuck out a lot less than the Andromeda 2020 or the Ara. 

You do have to be careful though if handling them without the cables attached as the smoother edging and smaller form factor make for a slightly slippery IEM so they could fall out of your fingers if you are not careful.

You get competitive isolation from the Fathom and are on par with the likes of the Ara or Andromeda 2020. With no venting, it’s superior to hybrid models such as the Bonneville.

The Fathom comes with a similar tip selection from the Bonneville and Supermoon IEMs. Thats wide bore single flange silicone and foams, (Marshmallow tips). Both come in 3 size options, small, medium, or large.

As with the last few Campfire Audio IEMs I have reviewed, I found a home with the wide-bore silicone tips with the foam tips pushing the nozzle a little too far back from the 2nd bend reducing dynamics and dimming the highs a bit much. 

The foams do isolate just a little bit more, but not so huge that I would want to use them over the better-performing silicone tips. Your experience might differ from mine but I do like how these silicone tips Campfire has been using on their recent IEM designs for a while now.

Campfire Audio Fathom stock cable

Stock Cables

As with recent models, the Fathom comes with Campfire Audio’s new Time Stream cables. However, this time the 2.5mm TRRS terminated version has been dropped leaving only the SE 3.5mm and the balanced 4.4mm options. 

Still, that’s one more cable than some of the more expensive “Essential” packages from higher-end models such as the Stellar Horizon and given the more modest price point, it’s still a relatively good deal.

I think most users these days will go with either the 3.5mm or the 4.4mm jack so maybe the 2.5mm version is less useful with modern sources and DAPs.

For those new to the Time Stream cables, both of them included here are of the same flat geometry and wire choices, i.e. eight silver-plated copper conductors in a ribbon configuration encased in a transparent PVC jacket.

These are physically wider but flatter cables than traditional alternatives but the pros are that the cable is very memory and tangle-free making them a pleasure to work with in everyday use.

Just to further differentiate from cables supplied with alternative CA IEMs, the Fathom version is finished in a matching black for the barrels and connectors.

Campfire Audio Fathom Packaging

Packaging & Accessories

The Fathom packaging has plenty of rainbow tones on the outside. However, as a former long-time music journalist, I have to admit that the font on the outside of the supplied box also strongly reminds me of Motorhead’s classic rock band logo.

I doubt that was the concept when designing it but it’s cool, everyone sees things in their own way, mine just happens to be beer-fueled New Wave Metal.

Aside from the regulation colorful outer packaging, the Fathom also comes with the guts of the higher-end Deluxe accessory line-up which is good value for me at this lower price tier.

You get a mesh protective black Breezy Bag Jr. along with matching dual pouches for the driver units, as well as CA’s Dimensional Folding leather carry case complete with rainbow carabiner. 

Most everything can fit in that large Dimensional Folding case and close properly with a magnetic enclosure. The leather is nice and soft, perhaps too soft for any real protection for the drivers so I would recommend using the smaller dual pouch for the drivers if packing on the go.

Click on page 2 below for my sound impressions and recommended pairings.

Click on page 3 below for my selected comparisons.

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