Interviewed last year, Gaudio was kind enough to loan me their IEMs for me to review after I reached out to Nicola. I didn’t receive compensations nor incentives of any kind in exchange for this review and the IEMs will be returned to Gaudio.
How does a relatively new small Swiss company fares against the experienced Campfire Audio, more specifically, their previous TOTL (and my personal favourite) all-BA IEM, the Andromeda Special Edition: Gold? Is it even a fair comparison?
Hold my beer 🍺
(1) Dethonray Honey H1 / Firmware: 2.00 – Audio effects: none / Music app used: Vox, Tidal & Swinsian and (2) Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 / Firmware: 1.40
CABLE & TIPS
Stock Satin Audio Hyperion cable, 3.5mm, Single-ended & Final Audio medium silicone tips
Both the Clariden & Nair are review sets which are likely to have a good few hours behind them
See review playlist
Let’s cut to the chase: to my ears, the Clariden beat my Campfire Audio Andromeda Special Edition: Gold in a way which is frankly embarrassing. There, I said it 🤷🏼♂️
Now, perhaps I discovered that I have a preference for an elegant, slight W-shaped signature. Perhaps.
The most stunning aspect to me is the amount of details and layering the Clariden provide while remaining a fatigue-free listen with my warm(ish) sources.
Compared to the Andromeda Gold, the Clariden have less bass, i.e. in quantity, not in quality. I find the bass presentation in the Clariden to be better, i.e. less boomy.
The mids are not as dipped on the Clariden as they are on the Andromeda Gold. They are clearly more forward yet, again, not in an annoying way.
The highs are there, and they can sparkle, yet with no sibilance (unlike the Dorado 2020’s single BA which sometimes comes in too hot with the same sources).
The soundstage is also great. It’s not too closed-in, nor grandiose — just right.
Overall, the Clariden sound much more coherent and natural than the Andromeda Gold which, in comparison, now sound a bit boomy and veiled to me. They are musical yet detailed in a way which I never expected — especially after reading other reviews mainly praising the Nair.
Speaking of the Nair, I have less experience with a neutral tuning and would say that the Nair are detailed yet musical.
There does not seem to be any bumps anywhere. They’re neither particularly boring nor entertaining until a track with which they excel (think mid-, string-, wind instrument-centric tracks and/or a series of details which elevates the record to a whole new dimension) comes around and then you’ll be in for a ride.
Last but not least, both IEMs scale really well, so the better the gear, the better the sound. They’re good on a smartphone with a good quality dongle, excellent with a DAP and genuinely ✨ stellar ✨ via Dethonray’s Honey H1…
COMFORT, TIPS AND SEAL
The following applies to both the Clariden & Nair.
I’ve got large ears, so the rather big shells are not an issue for me. They’re really comfortable and with the Final Audio tips size medium I forget I wear IEMs within minutes.
The cable is also very good. It has no microphonics, is flexible and does not keep tangling on itself.
Build quality is fantastic and on par with the likes of Campfire Audio’s.
Campfire Audio has been my go-to brand for IEMs — always has been. I love their brand, marketing, unboxing experience and overall approach. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw and heard Gaudio’s Clariden which, for a lower price than the Andromeda Gold, floored me.
I know I’ll find myself at odds with most reviewers regarding the Clariden, perhaps with a notable exception. Yet this place is about experience, my experience, and there you have it: despite all expectations, the Clariden are the best IEMs I have heard to date and will buy them as soon as I can.
Detailed yet musical, the Nair and their neutral tuning are a nice complement to the Clariden which are musical yet detailed. If your tastes lean towards something more neutral, they’re definitively the ones for you.
Personally, I found that the Clariden suit more the music I listen to as well as match my tuning preferences more than the Nair. The Nair, however, do have that slight edge over the Clariden on some particular tracks.
The Clariden have therefore achieved the unthinkable: not only have they knocked down a star off the Andromeda Gold’s review; they surpassed the Dorado 2020 before I even had a chance to write their review and became my overall best IEMs. Outstanding work.
5 / 5
4 / 5