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Atomic Floyd SuperDarts Review

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By smithamb, Junior Member on 17th May 2014, 06:56 PM
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Pros: Deep, deep bass. Very crisp highs. V-shape sound body is ideal for baseheads.
Cons: Slightly cold mids. Not too great for vocals/instruments. Rather small soundstage.
Atomic Floyd are a relatively small British based company that not many people have heard of. They continue to sell their products through as few authorised dealers as they feel necessary which means that the £200 price rage for these is pretty much what you're going to have to pay if you want to have your socks blown off by these little gems.

First Impressions:
As I opened the parcel that the earphones came in, there was an essence of premium quality. The box has been finished with a matt texture and a rather shiny picture of the earphones themselves led me to believe these were worth every penny. When i first popped the earphones out of the rather premium box, I plugged them straight into the nearest source of music I could to test them. However, initial impressions weren't fantastic. The bass wasn't very deep, the treble was harsh and the mids just lacked warmth.

A plethora of different striking statements were made around the box. Things like 'Spectacular Sound - Made in metal' and 'Steel. Kevlar. GOLD.' really created an air of drama about the whole process.

The display on the product itself is brilliant. The earphones also come with a small rubber carrying case, 3 different size buds and a DJ adapter. I found the silicon tips to be a little subjective when it came to fitting correctly and I couldn't find the right size for me so I had to look elsewhere for the right fit.

However after about 30 hours of burn in using white noise, the difference was immense. The bass was ground shakingly deep and powerful, the highs were twinkling with every note and the mids started to warm up a bit. I mainly listen to Electro/Dance and these earphones suited them perfectly. The lows were not sluggish or muddy at all and when it was called upon, fast and dynamic bass was delivered.

However I do listen to a few other genres as well, such as classical and guitar oriented music and sadly, this is where the Superdarts fall down. They just didn't give me the sense that I was actually listening to the artist himself/herself in the same room. The way that the SuperDarts were built means that they just weren't made for reproducing beautifully warm mids. Having said that, it is clear that Atomic Floyd were not going in that direction when they made these and therefore it cannot be too much of a criticism.

Build Quality:
As it says on the box, they were 'Built For Life'. The SuperDarts really are something of a masterpiece when it comes to earphone beauty and robustness. They apply '1300°C heat to injection-moulded steel for 10 hours so thinner walls can be carved out, resulting in an enlarged acoustic chamber.' Its this sort of level of detail that makes these earphones really special. They have also incorporated a kevlar cable that works really well when it comes to being tangle free and also feels very sturdy. The 3.5mm jack is gold plated which ensures that no feedback can be heard when listening to even the quietest of tracks.

Being crafted from steel and premium materials, these earphones do weigh quite a bit and can become quite uncomfortable after prolonged periods of time. If you have rather small ears, you might want to look elsewhere as the rounded earphones are rather hefty. It also has an inline mic which does work rather well with the volume and track controls.

In the past, I have owned: Bowers and Wilkins C5, Sennheiser IE8
But I have also sampled many other earphones.

With regards to bass, I would say that the SuperDarts win hands down. It just reaches deeper than other earphones that I have heard previously and it does this while delivering it crisply and powerfully. Compared to the likes of Shure SE535, this is on another level when it comes to bass. However, the C5 and the IE8 aren't too far behind.

As I said previously, this is where the SuperDarts fall short of my expectations. The deliverance of the mid range frequencies from the SuperDarts is rather feeble and there just isn't much warmth at all. The soundstage is also quite small as the earphones are rather 'Forward' when it comes to delivering the music to your ear canals. This is where the likes of Shure and Westone absolutely trounce Atomic Floyd, along with the IE8 or IE80's. If you predominantly enjoy listening to vocal tracks with a lot of acoustic instruments, you will be disappointed with the SuperDarts.

The SuperDarts perform rather well when it comes to the higher end of the frequency chart as the internal sound setup within the earphones slightly boosts the highs and the lows. The crash of a cymbal will ring in your ears with a certain sparkle that, whilst not being too harsh, gives an amazing amount of detail. As stated earlier, the SuperDarts are probably not for the dedicated audiophile as they just do not live up to the standards of other IEM's and they might not be able to reproduce everything the artist intended you to hear. They're not awful in this respect and I must admit that I was hearing a few new things in my favourite tracks.

If you have ever heard a pair of SuperDarts then you probably know what I am talking about when I say they will rattle your skull. The bass response from these things is almost unrivalled. I purchased my pair for £200 and in all fairness, i think they are worth that. The overall sound quality is pretty good and for genres like Electro/Dance, i would go as far as saying that these are THE headphones if that is your taste. They really do please the inner basehead in me, I'm just not sure whether the slightly cold mids and forward highs will be to everyone's taste.
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17th May 2014, 09:19 PM |#2  
vectron's Avatar
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Good review, mate! Truly head-fi worthy write up

Here, on this side of the pond, Atomic Floyd is not as big name. B&W is popular, and I actually reviewed P7 and P3 (check out my index from sig). Though these sounds like not my cup of tea, I'm trying to distance myself from v-shaped sound since I gotta have my vocals clarity. Balanced or a bit mid-centric is fine, as long as it not too much upfront/analytical.

I assume you can't post picture in your review because you don't have enough posts yet? Would be good to see some shots.

I went ahead googling it, and found pictures from T3 review:

To be honest, I'm a bit confused with this design. I assume that's the one you have/reviewed? The back of the shell has some rough edges; if those come in contact with ears - that's not going to be fun. Not to the same extent, but I recently reviewed a pair of cheap Chinese earphones: (honestly, not that great), and that diamond cut was really bothering me. How is it with SuperDarts?

The biggest concern is where/how the wire comes us. It's very non-traditional, looks like absolutely no strain relief, and feels like that wire will break any minute. I know the kevlar reinforced cable probably strong enough, but my concern is the attachment in the back of the shell?
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