on 11 January 2013
Atomic Floyd SuperDarts +Remote Headphones
I am an audiophile, and listen more or less exclusively to classical music. My main listening system is high end, and my last pair of ear-phones were etymotic i6's. I used these for 6 or 7 years, but alas one of the channels died last month. Consequently, I spent some time looking and reading for a likely replacement, and was fortunate in finding a small retailer who had a range of ear-buds on display, and I was able to try various types, including the etymotics, B&W, Klipsch, Sony, Denon, AGC, and some other brands. I require a set of buds that sound good, are comfortable, durable and cut out the roar of a jet engine while flying. Most of the expensive buds I tried sounded good. The etymotics were the best at sound exclusion. However, I was not convinced that they were durable, as the cable was extremely thin, and looked very fragile. The B&W seemed more robust, but were not too good at keeping out the background noise in the shop. The sound of the Klipsch was not too good in my ears.
The Darts were the one brand that I could not try before purchase, but settled on them because the reviews suggested that the sound was good, and the construction was durable. There was a suggestion that they would cut out some of the noise of trains and planes. I ordered them from the manufacturer, as I did not want to risk inadvertently purchasing a "chinese-clone".
They arrived a couple of days ago, and in short I am very pleased with them. The box in which they arrived was well packed, and waterproof. Some of the contents (rubber-buds, jack and plane jack) were stored in a disc-shaped rubber pouch, which is useless due to an open edge from which the contents escape quite easily. I left the buds to run from my itunes over-night, and used them for the daily commute-by-train the following day. There is a choice of size for the thin, rubber-ball ear pieces, and the medium sized ones fitted my ears best.
I was impressed by the sound quality, though I had to make a small adjustment with the in-line volume control (which I found conveniently placed and easy to use). An hour of Sibelius on the way to work, and Marie-Claire Alain playing Bach's organ works, on the way home, was wonderful, and the sound was much better than my old etymotics. My only crticism is that they seemed a little gentle in the presentation, and I think that the attack, or front edge, of each new sound is slightly "rolled" forming a slightly "polite" delivery. But all other dynamics were very enjoyable - bass was deep, and other aspects of the range were really good. There was good separation of instruments, and the various instruments of the orchestra are realistic and recognisable, very musical and very enjoyable. Marie-Claire's organ was really deep and dynamic (sorry, but I couldn't resist that). I soon found myself listening intently, and the ear-buds did not detract from the enjoyment of the music, or get in the way of the music. Physically, they were Ok as the buds stayed in my ears, and only fell out once, when I caught the cable unintentionally.
Other reviews have commented on microphonics and extraneous noise. I did not experience any microphonics, despite having a scarf, winter coat, and the ipod in my jacket's inner pocket. However, I did hear my foot-steps, which was something I did not have with the etymotics. I was also disappointed with the level of background noise, particularly road traffic, as this intruded on the music and was noticebly greater than the old etymotics. My old etymotics had a small clip that held the loose cable in place, which the darts don't have, and I did miss that, but this is a small detail.
My conclusion is that the ear-phones were excellent, but the rubbery ear-seals were the weakness, so I replaced them with some spare 'cones' that I had bought for the etymotics. When fitting them, they had to be forced over the barrel of the ear phone, but once in place allowed a perfect seal in my ear, stopped the "foot-step" echo, and significantly reduced the extraneous background noise from traffic and the train-chatteratti. The quality of the sound from the phones is not affected. Consequently, overall, I feel delighted with the purchase, and I'm looking forward to years of use.
In conclusion, the phones are fantastic, but the ear-seals are a weakness, which is why I gave a 4-star score.
on 23 November 2012
I'm no audiophile, but it will come as no surprise that these wipe the floor with standard ipod earphones or with £50 Sennheisers. Sound is immersive and whilst they're nothing like I get from my mate's Grado over earphones, I hear stuff I never knew existed before in my favourite tracks. Attractively packaged, they feel like a luxury product. The metal is nice and `heavy' and the Kevlar cord feels great and all but completely eliminates tangles. It is not clear to me why the Kevlar was not used for the cables up to the ear pods, I think that is a big omission as they still get tangled. Case is rubbery - the earphones fit in very easily (wrap the cord around 3 fingers and then stuff `em in.
Volume and pause controls worked on my Blackberry Bold as did using the mic to make phone calls. All features (volume, skip, pause, play, etc) work on my Ipod Touch and on my iPhone 5. When walking I get some brushing noises through the cable, something I really hoped I would not get at this price point, but not as bad as cheap earphones.
Noise isolation is actually pretty good - using them for making phone calls feels a bit weird and I wonder if I am shouting to myself - and I have used them successfully on flights without being bothered by intrusive babies, hostess trolleys or jet engines.
Comfort is not bad, after a couple of hours my lugs start to feel it, but I just wiggle them and I'm all good.
The remote control is FIDDLY. Unlike cheaper earphones I find myself fumbling to get to the volume etc. I think it is because the control is rounded as opposed to more flat meaning you squeeze around until you find the buttons - it's the one thing I have not got used to 2 or 3 months on.
Whilst it's true that if anyone tried to take these off me I would cause a riot and it's also true these earphones are a thing of beauty, at £150 I may have been expecting _even_ more. So 5 stars @ £100, 4 stars @ £125, 3 stars @£150.
on 18 March 2012
I did a reasonable amount of research before I bought these, and, of all the 'higher end' I.E.M.s + earphones I read about, there were always one or two things I couldn't get over; mainly, loads were 'over the ear' type, which I didn't want, and quite a few great earphones gave a 'neutral' sound, which usually means not much bass! Well sometimes there is supposed to be bass! All the professional reviews (there are quite a few!) of Superdarts seem to be glowing! Saying they handled all types of music really well! Actually I couldn't find a bad word against them, other than, can you justify £200? Well I could, so I bought some, and they are GREAT!
Firstly they need about 24hrs to bed in, I just left them running on a rock mix at 3/4 volume for a couple of nights. Bedding in certainly makes a difference!
High end sounds are crisp and so detailed, without being harsh.
Mid range reveals things you never noticed before + I now hear and understand lyrics much better than before.
Bass is exactly where it is supposed to be, not boomy over everything, but deep dry clean controlled bass you can feel as well as hear. Importantly, the bass does not hide or muddle the other music, you can hear the instruments separately. I've never heard bass drum like this! Clearly, every dry thump.
Sometimes the music is surprising, almost startling definitely in a good way, it has reaching for your iPhone /iPod to see what the track is!
Stereo separation is better than anything I've had before, and soundstage, although maybe not up to Senn HD250 (good quality over ear headphones) levels, is still very good! (The bass is better though)
I can honestly say now I can hear a difference in the recorded bit-rate, up till now I have everything in 128kbs because I couldn't really hear a difference. Now I can. But don't worry ALL music is improved, good recordings at 128kbs really is OK. I'll re-do my tunes in 256kbs sometime. (Big task).
Another review here on Amazon,is fairly accurate, I've never tried 'youtube music' only ripped+downloaded, and that's 'good recordings brilliant'+'less than good, fully acceptable'
Noise isolation is excellent, you really do shut yourself off from the outside world!
Comfort is very good, (small buds where I normally use medium!?) FIT IS VITAL! If they don't fit properly they won't sound good and they will fall out! A bad fitting is not "too heavy!" Sometimes these headphones are criticised for being too heavy, well for me they really sort of jam into my ear & can't fall out. Correct fit is a personal thing. One more time - FIT IS VTAL TO A GOOD SOUND!
I recently had to go back to my Sennheiser cx500s for a few days and the difference is HUGE! Less stereo effect, less soundstage+ inferior sound. I know the CXs are cheaper, but the superdarts are MILES better.I'm completely converted/spoiled now, I could't go back to cheaper ones. Actually the CX500s are ok for the money, but the difference is, one is like listening to speakers and the other is like listening to music being played for you! Incidentally the Superdarts are even really good at low volume too! Another thing that has to be mentioned the backup and support, Andreas at Atomic Floyd has proved to be BRILLIANT! I did have a slight problem with my first set, as in the remote was a little unresponsive, and I wasn't happy to live with this, so AF replaced them. They answer ALL emails properly and promptly! And my exchange was sorted in just about a week! I have read three comparisons (people who have both) of these with SHURE 535s, and these are apparently as good but maybe with better bass? Makes them good value!
To sum up: Smooth, crisp, deep, natural, thrilling, immersive, REAL! + enjoyable. So enjoy!
I've played just about everything through these headphones and my strongest positive comment would be that the sound is noticeably clearer, brighter, with no distortion in and around the high notes and no static in the background. Music with a definitive heavy beat plays well with a noticeably smooth percussion, you can hear the instruments rather than just a mechanical "thump, thump, thump". It's safe to say that the headphones do exactly what they're supposed to do; present you with a stream of clean, sharp music without any distractions but; there's a risk that the sound is so filtered the intensity of the music is missing and you don't get a "big" sound, there's plenty of top note but the bass is somewhat light. The earphones are stainless steel, comfortable to wear though on the heavy side, I haven't noticed any noise pollution, not a sound escapes once they're properly fitted into your ears. Compatible with iPod, iPhone and iPad, the remote is robust and has the following features:-
Included with the headphones is a travel case, set of SoftSeal eartips, reinforced plug, DJ jack/adapter mini-jack & flight adapter.
Design is minimalist, sophisticated and the quality of the materials used in construction superb.
You expect a quality pair of heaphones at this level and this is exactly what you get.
They look and feel very high quality.
The sound is excellent and equal to other headphones that I have tried in this market segment - as good as some so called "professional" on the ear headphones.
They are a bit heavy in the ear so if they arent fitted properly they will tend to fall out or come loose in the ear.
on 26 February 2013
I've previously had a pair of Sennheiser, Bang & Olufsen and Bose earbuds, but when the Bose pair died I was questioning the wisdom of parting with yet more money for earphones. "What is the point?" I asked myself.
I did the research, and looked at Klipsch, Shure, Bower and Wilkins, Bose over and over again without really ever feeling like I could justify the price. Then, I stumbled upon the Atomic Floyd SuperDarts. Sure, they were more expensive than anything else I'd looked at, but LOOK at them! Is gorgeous an adjective one can use to describe a pair of earphones? I think the answer is a resounding 'yes', thanks to the design boys at AF!
Then I started getting to the reviews of the sound these things make and the argument for taking the plunge was gaining momentum. As I stood in the store and held the exquisite box (it really is, just wait until you get your pair (because you will!) and you'll understand) the argument moved into the 'compelling' category and so I parted with the, admittedly, steep asking price.
No regrets. None whatsoever. I was patient and took around ten hours burning them in, but the results have been fantastic. Suddenly Radiohead's Kid A album has a new richness and depth I just didn't know was there. Now, I'm no audiophile, but I know 'neutrality' is a big thing in those circles. I rather think one would be hard-pressed to describe these earphones thus. However, for me (and I would wager most people with a wide range of musical tastes and without the ears of a dog) that is better. It gives the music more drive. It makes the White Stripes sound dirtier and more guttural. I'm listening to Django Django's 'WOR' now and it's just fantastic. I listened to some Azelia Banks earlier and the quality these little ear phones was just stunning. That said, they're not inventing anything that's not there, and their abilities in the mid and high range do not lack. Yo-Yo Ma unaccompanied playing Bach sounds just fantastic, and a track like Ray LaMontagne's 'Burn' is like the artist is whispering his sad lament into your brain!
I found that I had to use the small tip size, but have managed to get an excellent sound isolation- conducting an experiment in a quiet office and my colleagues couldn't hear Nero's 'Promises' at full volume. Thing is, I didn't need the volume that high at all- I have it set to just before the first orange box on the volume counter of my iPhone 5 right now, and I can't hear my furious typing.
So, all-in-all: one very happy camper! It was a thought to part with so much cash for the perceived 'lower' quality of a pair of earphones as opposed to a pair of headphones, but the quality is so good that that has ceased to even be a consideration. And the practicality of just winding them up and shoving them in the wee case that comes with them is so much better than any pair of headphones. Oh, and that kevlar cable is excellent, too- you do still maybe get the odd knot or two, but they're an absolute doddle to undo.
Basically, if you enjoy music and listen to any sort of amount on your iPod or other iOS device it's really straightforward: you need Atmoic Floyd SuperDarts in your life!
on 20 December 2012
In short, these headphones are the best IEM's i have bought! I can't comment on mp3 player sound feedback as i use the superdarts with Ipod/Ipad and Macbook, but from the devices i use the sound quality is outstanding, A nice clean but detailed sound without over the top bass. Price wise they are a little on the more expensive side, but the build and sound quality as said above is just outstanding. What i also liked about the superdarts was the accessories pack inside the box containing various sized eartips. a rubber case and various adaptors. Atomic Floyd are onto a winner with these earphones, Highly recommend!
on 20 July 2013
I've had these headphones now for about 5 months. They are unbelievable. The sound is flawless, other people can't believe it when they hear the quality, people with awful beats headphones are furious when they hear these because the sound if so much better for a lower price. With the complaints of the heaviness, they are heavy, and you will need to buy some foam ear tips. However, having bought these, I have been using these headphones very often and during workouts where I can run on a treadmill for 45 minutes and not have them come loose once; in short - problem solved.
I would 100% recommend buying these headphones, they're more expensive than others, but they are 3x as good in sound as a £50 pair and 3x as durable. Additionally, the microphone works wonderfully, it's perfectly positioned to pick up sound and the volume control is really handy to have. Not sure about other phone types, but it's 100% compatible with iPhone, you can even access Siri by holding down the pause button for a few seconds which is great when you need to call somebody and have your hands full etc.
Summary: 10/10, been using for 5 months now and not a single complaint to make.
on 8 June 2013
Like lots of people I've been searching for the perfect headphones ! Bought, returned, re-sold on ebay, sold to a mate ! I've done it all many times !
These are far by my favourite but like some reviews havnt got on with the ear buds as the phones are solid and heavy. That frustrated me as they kept coming lose. But I've found my perfect set up.
Atomic floyd super darts - sold, quality and great sound. Not engineered sound like some headphones. Quality
Personalised buds - cost me £80. Made for my ears and just replace the ones that came with them.
Filo headphone amp for my iPhone. Makes a world of difference
I'm in heaven.
on 16 February 2015
I had been lusting after a pair of these SuperDarts for many years, and I finally saved up enough for them and... wow... easily the best thing I've ever put in my ears. The bass is so incredible in comparison to other earphones that I had to turn it down on the EQ on my phone just to get used to it. The treble is also incredibly crisp, with loads of headroom for complex sounds. The SuperDarts really come into their own when listening to classical or jazz, when being able to hear tiny nuances of the instruments with rich lows and crisp highs is vital. These have breathed new life into my appreciation for Dave Brubeck and George Gershwin. Seriously - if you buy these, look them up.
They're built very sturdily - I've had mine for over a year now and use them every day and they're showing absolutely no signs of wear and tear. One thing I will absolutely say though: when you buy these, get a pack of Comply TX-500s and swap the stock earbuds for the Complys. They're a lot more comfortable, are much better at noise isolation and stay in your ears more snugly. You really won't regret it.
I used to have some high-end Etymotics but they didn't have the same responsiveness as these and they broke after 8 months of use - the Atomic Floyds have held up to much more punishment and deliver a superior sound every day. They even beat the £260 Bose headphones I borrowed recently for a comparison and they mop the floor with the more expensive Beats by Dre headphones which crank up the bass but sacrifice everything else. If you like your music, and want to hear every detail, then these are what you need.