1x DD, 2x BA
I think everyone knows Campfire Audio, especially their favorite by many model, the Andromeda. Mammoth has something in common. The shell. And that’s all. The sound is absolutely different, but I’ll be more specific later.
Besides Andromeda, there are plenty of CFA models. Some share more similarities when the rest stands on the contrary. I think that my favorite one is Solaris LE.
If I had to say where’s Mammoth in CFAs offer, I’d say it’s a baby of Dorado 2020 and Vega 2020, but it inherited the look from Ara and Andro.
Packaging & Build Quality
Well, the packaging is, as always, awesome. Beautiful box in dark navy color, with a very specific graphic on the top, which matches the hard case. Inside, you’ll find an almost standard setup for CFA.
The Smoky Glow Litz cable, but wait, glow? Yep, this cable is fluorescent, which means it shines in the dark. Of course, after some sunbathing. It looks nasty, especially because it’s spooktober right now, but I have to nitpick a little here. When they’re in a bright place, the jack and MMCX connectors are white, so they don’t match the rest. That’s just my opinion, but as you can know after my CE4 CIEM review, I do care about the look.
After the cable, the time has come for eartips. CFA has delicately changed the setup lately, so there are Final E Tips, Campfire Audio tips, and foam tips in three sizes. Besides that, there is a cleaning tool, and… a lapel pin. Even if I don’t have any suitable shirt right now, I’m sure I’ll buy one. That thing is just lovely!
The last thing that is one of the most interesting in CFA boxes, the earphone case. There are obviously two soft pouches with slots of each IEM, but the hard case is peculiar. It’s called “All seeing eye”, and well, judge its look by yourself. I’m just thinking if the designer was high during the designing period. But I like it, and it is definitely memorable.
Build quality is also perfect. The whole construction is really solid, but sharp edges might be uncomfortable for people with smaller ears. In my case, everything is fine, and you’ll know the fit if you used any IEM with this shell. Going back to the topic of build quality, the earphone is built of three elements, the outer shell, the inner one, and the nozzle. OF course, it’s all made of aluminum, so the only thing we can be worried about is the paint chipping that might happen after some time if you won’t be careful, but that’s normal with metal pods. MMCX connectors are pretty tight, and the earphones don’t spin themselves.
Inside of the Mammoth shell, Campfire Audio set 3D printed acoustic chambers and three custom drivers. The first one is a 10mm bio-cellulose dynamic driver which is responsible for the bass, and two balanced armatures. One of them sings with the midrange, and the second one stays for the treble.
The cable used is standard Smoky Litz Cable, but with a glowing jack and MMCX connectors.
Well, as I said at the beginning, it feels like Dorado 2020 and Vega 2020 had a baby. What does it mean? Powerful bass with delicately boosted higher midrange, and delicate treble. Let’s start with a more precise description.
The review was written using Final E Tips and foam tips, as I couldn’t get a proper seal with Campfire tips.
The bass is powerful. It needs to be greatly amplified to rumble with full power because the subbass with weaker sources like the smartphone is just one wave of sound. With a decent mobile DAC/Amp or DAP, it’s gorgeous. “Oxytocin” by Billie Eilish shows that perfectly. When Mammoths are underpowered, the whole bass is slow, and the subbass sounds like one sound, it’s too blurred. After I plugged them into the Earmen Eagle, the lowest part improved in a moment. It becomes more textured, way faster, and starts to slam harder. That’s the part where Mammoth is literally like Vega 2020, with a bit dryer playstyle. Midbass on the other hand is pretty soft and delicate. It’s not muddy, but it aims more for pleasure than just for fun. It’s precise and shows directions in a very good way, so I know exactly where the drums are. Kickbass is yet again, a little softened, with a very nice timbre, that lets me chill with the music. For more fun, I have to use more technical sources. They speed up that part, so Mammoth paired perfectly with Cayin N3Pro. Solid-state for fun, Triode for the biggest chill, and Ultralinear for daily use.
To describe midrange I need just one word. Smooth. It’s smooth, chilling, and vibrant. It matches perfectly for smaller squads with rather sad moods, like Polish Kortez. Male, low voices are a bit nasal and darkened. Female voices are on the other side of the red line. They’re more charming, pushed to the front. But the smoothness is everywhere, you won’t hear much of the hoarseness of Dua Lipa or any other vocalist, which makes me sad a little, as I love that in the sound. Guitars also have the same issue/feature (call it what you like). They’re glazed and lack details. That’s for sure not the IEM for rock or metal fans, but for electronic music? Damn. Especially with a female voice, that’s the genre where Mammoth shines. “Born Yesterday” by Arca feat. Sia is the perfect example of a song that sounds unbelievably great here. Their voices are sweet, smooth, and pleasant. I can’t take anything that sounds as delightful as Mammoth here, so I can forgive the CFA’s lack of technicalities in this IEM.
The treble is similar to the mids in terms of smoothness, but it is more pushed back. Way more, which makes them sound dark. That’s the second part where they are similar to Vega 2020. Unfortunately, the treble is also missing details. It can be loved by those who hate sharpness and sibilances but hated by anyone who loves sparks and highly detailed treble. I’m between those two groups, as I like it when highs are signalized, with a lot of sparks, but obviously without any sibilances. Is there anyone who likes them?
Treble can delicately open up with brighter sources, but it is not an as significant change as in the bass, which can really transform into something else. For example, I launched my favorite “Pristine” by Snail Mail, and with Cayin N6II R01 it was boring, dull. Then, I tried xDuoo XD-05 Plus. Again, nothing special. But when I plugged Earmen Eagle… It is okay. I mean, it’s still boring a little, but it is a better option. That’s why those aren’t all-rounders, like Fir VxV or my favorite earphones, Craft Ears Four.
At this point, I must admit, that Mammoth shocked me. It goes off the head instantly, especially with mid/kickbass and higher midrange. Properly recorded percussion goes behind me, to get the final slam in front of me, and at the same time, the vocalist can swing in front. A great example is “Oxytocin” by Billie Eilish that I mentioned before. The electronic midbass is moving like cars on the side lanes of the road when I am sitting on the middle one.
The separation and imaging also stay on the highest level, and I’m wondering if there’s an IEM with a bigger soundstage and one that sounds more natural in it. Some earphones focus on being the most exact, others on more fancy presentation, and then we got Mammoth with a very natural style, which doesn’t tend to any side. And that’s a very good point, especially because the soundstage doesn’t really rely on the sound source, it has always a similar style.
That’s a little tougher part because Campfire Audio Mammoth is measured at only 8Ohm, and 94dB of sensitivity. That means a lot of sound sources can cause background noise and hum. Even those strictly made for IEMs, like iFi Go Blu. I’m not really susceptible to the background noise, but this time it is a little irritating. It’s hard to find a proper source.
With Cayin N6II R01
The sound is greatly balanced, it comes for the chill presentation, with a little longer decay on the bass. Vocals are highly smoothed, with bigger addition to their timbre. Treble remains untouched, it sounds like described above. Hum is irritating.
With Earmen Eagle
Now it’s more technical, and faster. Bass slams harder, but subbass is delicately blurred, as Eagle doesn’t provide too much power used with a phone. Midrange gained a little more texture but lost its vibrant style. I prefer that pair for male, bold voices. Treble is delicately brightened. It has more to say now, especially in terms of sparks. Hum is slightly hearable using phone, and disappears when I’m using my Huawei Matebook 14 on battery.
With Cayin N3Pro
Similar presentation to the Earmen Eagle, but subbass is way more exact, cause there’s more power. The midrange isn’t coldened nor darkened and it keeps passion in the sound. Treble is still delicate, yet it gains a little more life.
Overall, the sound rises in terms of dynamic, it comes with more fun. Vocals are starting to drip with sweetness and charm, and they lost all of the nasal styles. Unfortunately, the hum is even more irritating than with the N6II.
VS Craft Ears Four
These two are tuned absolutely different. Mammoth is going for chill and pleasant sounding when the CE4 performs in more engaging and fun. The first one can shake your head with the bass because of its quantity, and Polish CIEM can make you shake your head given its dynamic.
With CE4 the sound is way more textured, more technical.
Bass is much faster, but it lacks the chill and subbass amount from Mammoth. The midrange is clearer, isn’t as sweetened as in the Mammoth, but it’s more exact and shows much more details.
Treble is also way more opened with Crafts, it shows us pleasant sparks and doesn’t contain any sibilances.
VS Campfire Audio Vega 2020
Maybe the Vega is almost two times more expensive, but I think it should be mentioned there.
Beginning from the bottom, the bass. It has a very similar subbass quantity, yet the Vega needs less power to get the right texture. There’s more midbass going from the Vega’s nozzle, and it is warmer. Kickbass has a delicately harder start, but the decay of Mammoth is barely slower.
The midrange of the cheaper model is smoother and contains fewer details. But, the Vega’s midrange is pushed further back compared to the old mammal, so it’s more enjoyable, especially the higher one.
The treble sounds almost the same in terms of style, yet Vega got more details here. It’s easy to explain due to the price of those two IEMs, but if you’re looking for something similar to Vega 2020, but cheaper, the Mammoth might be a great option. And if the Mammoth isn’t enough for you, the Vega is a really great option.
VS Campfire Audio Holocene
Brothers in the terms of the time of release, but they have nothing in common when we’re talking about the sound.
Holocene has more air between the instruments, and it’s way more technical. It’s also easier to drive, it sounds good with weak sources, but it doesn’t have that chill effect for me. On the other hand, it lets me dig into the details and level of realization.
The bass is more textured, kept in the line. It doesn’t stay long on the field but isn’t that comfy to listen to. The midrange is harsher, less delicate for realization mistakes. It provides more details, which sometimes are a little splashy. A similar thing applies to the treble, it’s highly detailed for the price, but can be unpleasant with more technical sources.
Soundstage in Holocene is smaller, keeps most of the things close to the head. It also doesn’t have that natural feeling from Mammoth, it’s more about marked points.
There’s no winner in this competition, as both IEMs were made for different purposes.
Campfire Audio Mammoth is one of the best options if you’re looking for bassy IEM with a chill playstyle, that lets me forget about the lack of details. I’m going to be listening to them during evening walks and sitting under the blanket with a cup of hot tea. Everything is completed with a huge set of accessories, and an unordinary designed “All seeing eye” case.
Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as accompanying equipment:
- Headphones – Campfire Audio Holocene, Vega 2020, Craft Ears Four, Dunu EST112, Final A8000, Fir Audio VxV, Craft Ears Six
- Sources– Cayin N3Pro, Cayin N6ii R01, xDuoo XD-05 Plus, Earmen TR-Amp, Earmen Eagle, iFi Go Blue