Brand: Atomic Floyd
Model: SuperDarts +Remote
At Play3r, we have taken a delve into the consumer audio market recently and with the rise in portable media devices such as smartphones, tablets and music players we couldn’t resist when we were asked to review the latest product from Atomic Floyd – the SuperDarts ear buds with remote.
Atomic Floyd are relatively new in the audio scene, but already have a fairly impressive range of high end audio products, although they are all ear buds – for now. All of Atomic Floyd’s products are made from the highest quality materials – from machined stainless steal housing and in-line remote, to high quality, tangle resistant braiding. The particular pair of ear buds I am reviewing today is the top of the line SuperDarts, with an inline remote. At £199.99 they are not cheap, but have a range of high-end features:
Precision engineered for spectacular acoustics. A 9mm dynamic driver with neodymium magnet surrounds the high definition armature, producing layers of distinct yet smoothly fused sound. Air vents enable more air movement for deep, punchy bass, underpinning defined mids and crystal highs, and leaving no note behind.
Stop your music and conversations from disappearing into thin air. Soft silicone eartips seal out more ambient noise than conventional ones. Fed up of dirty looks? Keep your music in your ears and the world out with 2-Way Noise Isolation.
Click your way around your music, plus answer and end calls with the sleek yet tough stainless steel remote. Adjust volume with the + and – buttons. Control music and video playback with the centre button: 1-click play/pause, 2-click skip to next, 3-click go to previous.
Made in Metal
We apply 1300°C heat to injection-moulded steel for 10 hours so thinner walls can be carved out, resulting in an enlarged acoustic chamber. The increased driver movement delivers more power for crystal clear, pitch perfect, pure, glorious sound.
Built for life
Premier grade materials for unstoppable performance. Anti tangle, high performance Kevlar® audio cord + noise eliminating, abrasion resistant TPU earphone cables. Plus, 3 times stronger, armoured plug with gold plated, stainless steel connector.
SoftSeal eartips in three sizes – S, M, L, with every pair of earphones. Try them all to make sure you find your perfect fit. Getting it right increases comfort, keeps noise out and music in, and delivers superior sound quality with improved bass.
Sensitivity (1 kHz): 100dB SPL/mW
Impedance (1 kHz): 16Ω
Frequency range: 5 – 25,000Hz
As you can read, the SuperDarts ooze quality with many top end features like dual drivers and injection moulded steel housing. Lets take a closer look…
The SuperDarts come in an attractive box with a large image of the ear buds on the front in gloss. The packaging has been designed with a monotone colour scheme with red highlights – Atomic Floyd’s brand colours.
The rear of the box features a better overview of the ear buds with the connector and remote, but not much else.
The front of the box has a magnetic door which when opened reveals the features, the contents of the box and the SuperDarts in all their glory.
Inside the box you have an owners handbook and a silver packet – I wonder what’s inside?!
Ripping open the little packet you have a small black case with Atomic Floyd embossed on it, a flight adaptor, two different ear tips and a DJ jack (3.5mm to 6.3mm)
So that concludes the accessories, now I’ll take a look at the SuperDarts themselves.
Straight away I noticed the bright red cable braiding with a stainless steel joint, where it branches off to each ear bud. The main cable is braided with a kevlar reinforced braid, making it incredibly tough and tangle resistant.
The 3.5mm jack looks fantastic; it has a stainless steel body with rough texture and a gold plated 3 pole jack.
The in-line remote has 3 buttons, forward, play/pause and back. These double up as volume adjustments or pick up/hung up buttons when in a call, as the remote also features a mic.
Here we have one of the SuperDart ear buds. The shell is similar in design to the jack, with a rough textured stainless steel body, with a red band saying “supercharged” around it. The middle section has the Atomic Floyd branding in red letters and then you have the ear tip, which is the medium sized silicon ends. The ear buds have quite a weight to them, no doubt caused by the metal casing.
When you remove the ear tip you can see the stainless steel shell in all it’s glory. Inside here you have the dual drivers which are meant to give you some pretty incredible sound.
So the SuperDarts look the part, but do they perform just as well? Now I’ll take a look.
The SuperDarts are a premium grade pair of ear buds, so I have high hopes for them and expect them to perform admirably across the board for all audio tests. For these tests, I will review the SuperDarts across several genres of music, which gives us real world results, using my PC and iPhone.
For this particular part of the testing stage, I’ve chosen a selection of lossless audio files, so compression has no negative impact on the quality of the audio. I’ll also test using the standard mp3 format, which most of us use nowadays.
Firing up Daft Punk’s Harder, Faster, Stronger, Better, it was clear from the moment I hit play that the audio quality was going to be superb. The bass was impressive for such small ear buds, with a nice deep feel to it with no distortion at the higher volume. The high tones were also flawless, with a nice crisp and fresh feel to them, although the mid-range wasn’t so. The bass of the SuperDarts drowned out some of the quality and clarity of the mid-range, although with a bit of tweaking in the EQ, I was able to improve this.
This fairly washed out mid-range issue was common across all the genres I threw at it, although again, I was able to compensate with a bit of EQ tweaking although it was still noticeable. When testing on an iPhone, the inline remote was very useful, being able to easily pause, change track and volume at ease – these functions however, do not work on Android, so it’s next to useless (other than the inline mic, which was fairly standard).
Another feature that SuperDarts boast about is the two way noise isolation so others can’t hear your music and you can’t hear them. You can adjust the isolation properties straight off the bat if you alternate between the different ear buds, with the largest offering the highest noise cancellation. When in use, you can barely hear the outside world, which was a godsend as I do a fair bit of travelling on the train.
I decided to watch a few Blu-ray’s with the SuperDarts plugged in and again the bass was incredible and the high tones very crisp – especially in the latest Transformers movie. The slightly drowned mid tones were not as noticeable, although still present.
Design and Comfort
I absolutely love the look of the SuperDarts, the whole design of them screams high quality (and expensive). The stainless steel ear buds and inline remote, combined with the red cables create a very premium quality to them. I’m not particularly keen on the positioning of the cables in each ear bud – they are right on the end of the housing, so they stick out – a fairly annoying problem if you wear a beanie style hat. The fact that they stick out so much also looks a bit silly in my opinion – I have fairly small ears compared to others, so having a metal plug sticking about 1cm can put you off wearing them. Comfort-wise, they fitted well – especially after finding the correct ear bud fitting, although after prolonged use, they did cause some discomfort where the edge of the metal casing dug into my ears.
Normally there is a fairly large gap between the quality of sound with ear buds, with sound quality sounding pretty much the same across the board for headphones in the £40 – £100 range (in most cases). It isn’t until you take quite a jump to around the £200 mark that you notice any significant increase in performance (again, in most cases). With the SuperDarts however, I don’t think this is the case. Sure they look fantastic and feel like a premium product, the lack of audio quality in the mid-range slightly disappoints me, although they are still far superior to most ear buds. This could be a problem caused by the dual drivers in each ear bud – as some sacrifice has to be made in order to fit more into the housings.
What I like about the SuperDarts the most is the quality of the product and the overall appearance. They certainly look like they cost a small fortune but they have the best build quality I’ve seen on ear buds to date. The attention to detail is incredible and the metal casing looks fantastic. Sure I’m not overly keen on the sticky-outness of the ear buds, but this is subjective and not something I care about when in public.
It’s a shame the audio quality isn’t top notch for the SuperDarts – especially for the price you are paying. If these came in at the £150 mark, I’d be more forgiving about the sound, but overall I was impressed with it and it certainly was a massive setup from my sub £40 headphones I use every day.
If you have the cash to splash and care more about aesthetics than performance then the SuperDarts are right up your street. The build of them is outstanding, although not to everyone’s’ taste (like most things in life). They offer considerable performance in the audio department with lovely deep bass and crisp high tones, although will leave you wanting more when it comes to mid tones. I think from all the raving about the design and build quality it is fairly obvious which award I’m going to be leaving with Atomic Floyd, none other than the…
Fantastic design, deep bass, crisp high notes, however the mid range leaves you wanting more.