Atomic Floyd HiDefDrum earphones £85
7th Jan 2009 | 11:54
They're solid, look amazing and sound fantastic
It's no secret that the white-label earphones that come with most MP3 players are almost always astoundingly awful. They're worth about 10p and make even the highest quality tunes sound like utter bum.
Luckily, there are plenty of reputable manufacturers out there who make high quality earphones and headphones that you can buy to replace those cheap plasticky free ones.
The problem with upgrading though is that it can be quite expensive to get a pair of good quality earphones. And if you're going to spend upwards of a hundred quid, you need to be sure you're getting your money's worth.
Enter Atomic Floyd - a new company dedicated to making the best earphone products around, at affordable prices.
Impressive build quality
The first thing you'll notice about the HiDefDrum earphones is that the build quality is absolutely staggering. They're made from heat-treated steel, titanium and incorporate 24 carot gold audio connectors. They feel as though you could run them over in a tank and they'd emerge from the mud without a scratch.
As a result, the small earphones are reassuringly weighty. But do they sound as good as they look and feel? The answer is a resounding, booming, resonant yes.
The secrets of sound quality, claims Atomic Floyd, lays in its materials. A heat-treating process is used to harden conventional steel into a density that retains the most consistent resonance of sound. The 'true tone' acoustic chamber inside the earphones is created with a material that's been dubbed 'Acoustic Steel'.
It's essentially injection-molded steel that's been heat-treated for 10 hours at 1300°C. This gives the metal extra strength which allows for thinner walls, and that in turn maximises the volume of the acoustic chamber to produce great sound quality.
It may sound like a load of mumbo-jumbo but despite the ridiculous name, the HiDefDrum AcousticSteel earphones really do sound absolutely fantastic.
Good audio performance
High tones sound extraordinarily crisp, while the smooth, chocolatey bass creams your ears with rich and precise mid and low end.
The features don't end there, either. These earphones are designed to work with the Apple iPhone, as well as MP3 players, iPods, Skype products and RIM BlackBerrys.
A button on the cord works like a remote to pause and play your music (this will only work with specific products) and when you get a phone call, the built in microphone allows you to field the call without removing the earphones.
As we discussed above, the price of this kind of product can often be a bit of a stumbling point. Shure's earphone line-up, for instance, has prices ranging from about £50 all the way up to £300.
The dilemma there is that while the cheaper products sound vastly superior to those crappy bundled earphones, they're still nowhere near as good as the high-end ones. And that's why you need to find a balance between price and quality.
The Atomic Floyd HiDefDrum earphones - and the rest of the Atomic Floyd range for that matter - do offer that balance.
The set we tested can be purchased for £85 - and that's remarkable value for a product that offers extraordinary build quality, as well as a great sound and iPhone compatibility.