Review Price £199.99
Atomic Floyd SuperDarts - Sound Quality, Isolation and Verdict
Atomic Floyd boasts about the "SoundProof" 2-way noise isolation of the SuperDarts Remote. However, what this boils down to is perfectly ordinary - they stop outside noise from getting in, and stop your music from getting out into the world.
The Atomic Floyd SuperDarts earphones give you an usual amount of freedom to choose quite how invasive they are. Supplying oversized tips means you can pitch them up near the entrance to you ear canal, or use the right-sized one and they'll get about 3/4 of an inch away from your cerebellum. Opt for the latter in particular and noise isolation is very good.
However, microphonics - the rumbly noises created when the cable rustles up against your clothing - are particularly noticeable here, in part thanks to the big metal ingot at the cable join. Atomic Floyd offers goodies, but tends to supply them with a side salad of problems too.
In several respects, the Atomic Floyd SuperDarts Remote veer towards the "extreme". The paint job, the conspicuous metal construction and the odd cable design - all help to separate these earphones from the headphone standard.
The sound is no different. These earphones use two drivers per earpiece. However, where the majority of multi-driver earphones use an array of micro armature drivers, here there's a mix of the dynamic and armature type - one of each. Armature drivers are renowned for their accuracy and detail, while dynamic drivers are adept at providing bass. Is it the perfect marriage?
In some respects is it. The Atomic Floyd SuperDarts offer intense, biting top-end detail, with greater crispness than the majority of rivals at the price, including the Shure SE 535 and Sennheiser IE8i.
Bass performance is excellent too. There's no muddying mid-bass hump, plenty of power and quite remarkable low or "sub" bass. Hand the SuperDarts some dubstep and it can handle the genre's low frequency basslines with unusual authority. And the bass never appears to be bloated because slightly higher up the frequency spectrum, where the low-end starts to merge with the mid-range, the SuperDarts are more reserved.
Performance at these extremes is quite notable, but there's a distinct V-shaped sound here that can at times seem larger-than-life to the point of being almost cartoonish. There isn't much mid-range warmth or presence here, and the tone isn't all that balanced - certainly less so than we'd expect at the price. The top-end can often seem a little aggressive, lacking the light touch and fidelity to handle the bright sound signature. They can become a little harsh when pushed.
While there are factors to the sound here that better rivals at the price, the greater cohesion of the Sennheiser IE8i and Ultimate Ears Triple Fi 10 keep them above the SuperDarts on our favourites list. We'll have to hand it to Atomic Floyd, though, they absolutely supply the "big beating heart pumping bass" and "acid sharp details" promised on the company's website.
The Atomic Floyd SuperDarts clearly want to make an impact, and these earphones do just that. An unusual design, and more balls-to-the-wall elements than pairs from the bigger names make sure of it. However, some comfort issues and the tiring lack of mid-range warmth to the otherwise impressive sound stop it from becoming a high-end classic.
Scores In Detail
- Design & Features
- Sound Quality