Atomic Floyd is a company that really hasn’t made a huge mark in the audio industry. Atomic Floyd, however, has one aim in mind. They “relentlessly pursue design of in-ear headphones with an exhilarating sound performance where you can hear and feel the difference.” This is a mighty large goal, and for the most part, they do hit the mark. The Atomic Floyd MiniDars have a stylish design, ample audio quality, a good build, top-notch comfort, and a decent bang for the buck. Read on for the full review:
- Driver Type: Dynamic
- Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 18 kHz
- Sensitivity: 107 dB
- Impedance: 17 ohms
In The Box
- Atomic Floyd MiniDarts+Mic
- 3 Pairs of Silicone Tips (S, M, L)
- Hard-Leather carrying case
- Airplane adapter
- ¼” adapter
Design was definitely a big factor for these tiny MiniDarts. The entire headphones, from the earpieces all the way down to the headphone jack are branded with the Atomic Floyd name throughout. The color theme on these headphones follows an attractive red, silver, and black color styling that really stands out well.
Each earpiece, as stated before, has the Atomic Floyd branding embossed around it. The left and right markers are also embossed as well. The entire headphones are symmetrical and there is absolutely no way to blindly figure out the left from the right in the dark. The tiny metallic earpieces have ridges on the edges; these add some extra texture to the design as a hole. The earpiece design on these headphones is really just gorgeous and stunning at the same time.
As we go down the red, plastic cable, we reach the unadjustable, circular Y-split that also doubles as the remote and mic. The metallic fashion continues here as well. The Words Atomic Floyd are embossed here as well around the upper arch of the circle. On the lower half are the words sound reborn, which reminds you that they are after, not only design, but sound as well. On the back of the remote is a silkscreened picture of a mermaid with a trident. Around the entire arch of the circle are the words explore the new forms of sound hear the difference – just listen, this once again is to remind you that sound is a priority.
Going all the way down the, now fabricated, cable once more, we terminate at the headphone jack. The headphone jack follows a similar design to the earpieces. It is composed of a nice aluminum finish and has Atomic Floyd and sound reborn embossed into it as well.
The overall design of the MiniDarts is just really beautiful and well thought out. There is no doubt that Atomic Floyd really has a lot of respect for their name, company, and their mission as it is shown in the beautiful design that these headphones hold.
The audio quality was a major mission for Atomic Floyd, and overall, the quality was good. It definitely isn’t perfect, but it is musical and has plenty of details and an overall enjoyable sound. There were some major and minor problems I had with it, but nothing that turned me away, or made me cringe.
The bass on these is actually quite smooth, in some cases it’s a little too smooth. Overall though, it’s still enjoyable. The main problem I had with the MiniDarts was the flabbiness that came with certain bass-heavy songs. These were mainly sub-bass-driven songs. Otherwise, the bass as a whole has fantastic texture overall. The bass does offer a punch as well, but it just isn’t tight enough to satisfy. Also, the bass lacks impact. Nothing was done over the top, but nothing underdone either in terms of quantity. The bass body was also another thing that lingered in my mind while I listened to these. The bass on these also digs really deep, allowing it to really get into the sub-bass spectrum that you don’t hear, but feel instead. Overall, the bass is well balanced, but could use some improvements.
As we go up the spectrum into the mid-range, we get a mixed bag like we did with the bass. I do believe that, although the bass is the most prominent and noticeable part of the spectrum, the mids are most quality part of these headphones. The mids on these are actually quite detailed. The instrumentals are really out there and in your face, especially the higher-up-mids. Sometimes though, I did find that the instrumentals would be lost in heavier songs. The vocals are just about near perfect on the MiniDarts. They are vibrant and dynamic and really shine on these. The vocals on these Atomic Floyds remind me of the vocals that Etymotics have. The separation and timbre on these are really good as well. The mids, although not the most prominent part of the spectrum, are really the most quality part of the MiniDarts.
As we step into the high range, the quality does drop slightly once again, but not as much as it did on the bass. The highs are definitely the not the worst part of these headphones, they are actually quite good. The highs are detailed and sparkly giving the headphones a really nice sense of liveliness. They are engaging and really out there, but definitely not blaring in your face. The do sound slightly recessed and hidden in some cases. In others though, they are just right. Quantity, however, says little about quality. The quality of the highs is actually quite good. As stated, they have good sparkle and great detail. The extension is there, but can go a little further. The main problem with the highs was the smeared feeling that I got from them that really made them lack clarity in each individual note. The highs are good overall, but nothing more.
OK, noise isolation is actually an advertised part of these headphones. Atomic Floyd does have the right to advertise this as well since the isolation works very well. It is able to really easily block out just about all noise from your external world to leave you with only yourself, and your music. They aren’t Etys, but they are the next closest thing.
I didn’t really flat out talk about it, but the cable on the upper-half of the headset is made of a thinner plastic, while the lower-half has a fabricated cable. This actually decently helps with microphonics as the upper half is what normally causes the most microphonics. Since it is thinner, however, it does help reduce microphonics overall. Is this a permanent solution to this problem? No. I do wish they would have included a clip with the headphones. Nonetheless, wearing them over the ear does eliminate the problem.
Overall, Atomic Floyd did a great job on the audio quality of the MiniDarts. The bass is really deep and powerful, but can overpower every once in a while. The mids are extremely dynamic and detailed. The highs can use some work, but are still lively overall.
The build on the Atomic Floyds are also a mixed bag. The MiniDarts do come with a nice, compact, and mobile hardcase that has a leather exterior that gives the MiniDarts an overall luxurious feel to it. The case is protective, but also keeps mobility in mind with its petite size.
The aluminum housings on the MiniDarts are built like a tank. They will withstand just about everything. They look good, feel good, and are also build strong and solid. I have no problems with the material used on the housings as they are selected with quality in mind. I do have a problem with the lack of a strain relief for the cable that leads out of the IEMs. Everything on these has a strong, rubber, and black strain relief, why not the housings? This also makes it a pain to remove the headphones without pulling on the cable (for the record, you should never remove any headphones by pulling on the cable).
The cable on these is also mixed, and I mean that in the most literal, and figurative, way possible. The cable is, as stated earlier, made of thin plastic in the upper half, and fabricated in the lower. The plastic part is really weak and inferior; it just has the cheap feeling all around. Contrary to the scrawny plastic cable, however, the fabricated cable is strong, durable, and feels like a million dollars. The cables, both the fabricated and plastic, don’t tangle easily, which is a big plus as well.
The headphone jack comes back to fix up the build quality for the most part. The aluminum construction is, once again, top notch. It seems very strong and can handle some abuse. There is a nice flexible, rubber strain relief comes out of it which can help keep the cable from going bad. The main caveat I have with the cable is the straightness, however, its overall build really makes me overlook this problem.
Comfort is not a problem with the Atomic Floyd MiniDarts. They are extremely comfortable to wear. The aluminum design, although having some heft to it, is actually really light with a good center of balance. The IEMs stay put in your ear and are comfortable to wear in the long run. The IEMs come with 3 pairs of tips to ensure that you get the proper fit for sound and comfort. Too keep the short story even shorter, the comfort on these are superb.
Now it’s time to see how much these headphones will set you back. Through Atomic Floyd’s website, these sell for 140 British Pounds. That is approximately 220 US dollars, which can set you back a lot since they cost more than a new iPod Touch. The design and comfort really keep these in the running in terms of price. However, the audio quality just doesn’t completely cover the price you pay. For about 50 bucks lower, you can find headphones with the same audio quality as the MiniDarts; sometimes better audio quality too. The build quality looks and feels pretty strong though. The added remote and mic also does help their value slightly, but not by much. I can’t help but feel that you are somewhat paying for the design of the product, not just the audio the drivers push out.
Overall, the Atomic Floyd MiniDarts are an enjoyable pair of IEMs that will satisfy many genres. It does have its weaknesses, but also its strengths. The overall sound of them is mostly quality, but also keeps in mind that music has to be enjoyed, not analyzed. The Atomic Floyd Minidarts is an IEM with a really eye-popping design that doesn’t forget that sound is as important as looks.
I’d like to thank Andreas for the review sample.