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[REVIEW] Dual Driver Fun!!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Dual Driver Fun

 

 

In this review, I’ll be bringing to attention two rather rare and possibly underrated personal audio gears, the Atomic Floyd Superdarts and the Koss KDE250. Both these ‘earphones’ are not just rare in terms of their popularity but also the technology behind the drivers and driver orientation or use.

 

 

Atomic Floyd Superdarts+

 

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We’ll start off with the Superdarts. Atomic Floyd is a UK based (I think) earphone company that has been around for awhile now but always seems to be operating just under the radar. I’ve only had access to these as my good friends @NoisyMotel distributes them in Australia. They’re known for their trademark solid colours and some really well machined products, made out of solid stainless steel. The Superdarts, their top-of-the-line IEM, is a hybrid dual driver IEM that has a balanced armature that handles most of the mids and treble while a dynamic driver handles the lower frequencies. On paper, this combo sounds like a match made in heaven, so I’ll share my experiences with them here.

 

 

External Looks: 4.5/5

  • Looks really good! Loud bold colours that somehow seem to still stay on the classier side of things, and not look too ‘teen’ ish or cheap.
  • Well machined earpieces, remote and Y splitter really just screams class.

 

Build Quality: 4.5/5

  • The earpieces, 3.5mm jack, remote/mic and y splitter are well machined stainless steel, amazingly solid to the touch
  • The strain reliefs on the earpieces, splitter, remote and jack are all beefy and well supported
  • Incredible build, this looks like a product that will last through the ages
  • The only thing that stops this being a 5/5 is that past the Y-splitter, the cable leading towards the two earpieces are slightly flimsy and thin-ish feeling.

 

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Comfort: 3/5

  • The steel milled body is rather heavy
  • The weight of the earpieces, along with the design that does not really encourage around the ear cables mean that the IEMs have to be worn cable down, and this is causes the IEM to sag rather low (where they somehow achieve BEST sound)
  • This sagging, along with the rigid groves hurt my ears after awhile as they’re always resting on my outer ear.
  • Prolonged wear causes soreness to my ears L

 

Sound: 7.5/10

This is where it gets interesting. There has been lotsa comparisons with them and the TF10 in terms of sound signature, but I disagree, to a certain extent. While they both share the same V shaped sound, they both convey them very differently. The TF10s are one of my fondest IEMs. They’re incredibly edgy, aggressive, exciting and totally blows off your socks with their bass. The TF10s overall SQ is slightly ‘choppy’ or slightly disjointed, almost coarse sounding in regards to the overall coherence of music. The Superdarts are more coherent in this aspect. They’re bass is strong and punchy, but unlike that of say the Radius DDM or IE8, the bass almost seem ‘armature-like’ as they’re fast, fast enough to almost appear as a fully armature driven IEM. Decay on the bass is only a touch longer and more indulgent then the TF10s (whose dual armature driven bass decays too fast to be natural) The treble sparkles almost as much as the TF10s, but again in a very different way. The slight grain and edginess of the TF10 is not present in the superdarts, instead replaced by a colder, crispier treble that still sparkles just as much at every chance it gets. Both have mids that trail the bass and treble in presence, but both follow the overall signature, aggressive and edgy on the TF10, smoother, colder, drier on the Superdarts. Soundstage on both are about on par. I never liked discussing ‘soundstage’ on an IEM anyway. But if I’ve to choose, the TF10s bass somehow makes the presentation sounding a touch more ‘grand’.

 

Isolation is so so, about on par with the Vsonic GR07. Lagging behind the Westone UM1 and the Shure SE series. Better than the IE7s or IE8s.

 

Overall: 19.5/25 (RRP: ~USD300)

I’ve got high hopes on a hybrid, and though they did not disappoint, I’m somehow caught wanting more from them, especially for their asking price. The armature portion of the drivers is well within my liking, but I thought the dynamic driver needs more tuning. I was hoping for a warmer, lusher dynamic driver response, with a more indulgent bass. What we get from the Superdarts however is the TF10s colder, drier, yet more coherent sounding cousin. At least this one looks better.

 

 

 

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Edited by wilzc - 5/23/12 at 12:38am
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 

Koss KDE250

 

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The next product of this dual driver review is the Koss KDE250. Now these are one of the more expensive Koss products around, retailing for around 250USD. These however can be had on eBay for about half the price. Koss is a very popular budget American headphone company whose PortaPro and KSC75 is one of the most popular models amongst the budget crowd. Once in awhile, Koss will introduce some higher end gear like their electrostatic ESP950. The KDE250 is one of their more eccentric designs, a clip on style headphone with a side firing ‘earbud’ piece sticking out of it. The main body houses a large 20mm driver, obviously driving the lower frequencies while the earbud portion houses a 13mm driver for the mids and highs. I’m not sure however, if the KDE250 actually employs a crossover. 

 

 

External Looks: 3.5/5

  • Cool, in a slightly dorky way.
  • The pieces are built well, and the genuine leather carry case is a beauty

 

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Build Quality: 4/5

  • Koss built this with love, that can be said.
  • The main housing itself is built with some really strong plastic, metal with a rubbery matt touch on the other side of the clip
  • The Koss KDE250 has been tossed around quite abit and show absolutely no sign of wear
  • They’re many parts and swivels can be a weakness over the years however
  • The only downside are the very thin cables from the Y-Split towards the earpieces.

 

Comfort: 2/5

  • Now these are rather strange to wear, because they’re clip ons that require you to insert the earbud part into your ears, the catch? The earbud piece is kinda angled eccentrically, like a shovel that digs into your ears.
  • This earphone is also EXTREMELY FINNICKY. They require a perfect positioning to sound their best, and because of the nature of their design, they don’t really stay in place at all, so constant adjustments need to be made for them to sound good. Too deep? Too much bass, no treble. Too shallow? No bass.

 

Sound: 8.5

Comfort and fit issues aside, when they are positioned right, they’ll sound right, and when they’re sounding right…  my god they sound ‘right’. Slightly V-shaped sound signature, its not a recession in the mids, but the treble and bass are just slightly prominent. Treble is airy, like what you’ll expect from an open backed headphone. Clarity shines across the board. Mids are neither recessed nor forward, but a tad dry. Vocals are done beautifully, and images well but the KDE250 may lack some layering. Bass is thunderous but well controlled, slightly muddy, but controlled nonetheless. Soundstage is the best ever in ear (well sort of in ear) headphone I’ve ever heard. The stage width extends to forever, more than any other headphone I’ve heard. The height and depth of the KDE250’s staging however is very poor.

 

Isolation is poor, almost non-existent if at all.

 

 

Overall: 18/25 (RRP ~USD125)

The finicky fit and comfort issues vary greatly from person to person. Honestly I fall in the middle ground, having easily obtaining optimum fit, but its still too finicky as they don’t really stay in place. But these are definitely a shocker. For someone who’s never heard of them, they’ll definitely be taken aback by the sonic goodness that the KDE250 offers. Like somehow someone made the popular ATH-AD700 into a clip on, add more bass and viola.

 

 

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Edited by wilzc - 5/27/12 at 9:38am
post #3 of 10

Great write up!

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks.

 

And I appreciate your review of the ASG-1 (and 1.2) versus my most beloved GR07.

 

I couldn't stand the ASG-1

 

:/

post #5 of 10

Good read thanks!

post #6 of 10

Great review! :)

 

I see you've found some time there mate. :P


Edited by billymav - 5/24/12 at 9:27pm
post #7 of 10

nice pictures, i rarely see those phones

post #8 of 10

dont know how i missed this review before, but i agree for the most part on your review of the koss kde250's, love them to death, even more so than many of my full size phones

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Glad you liked it

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by wilzc View Post

Glad you liked it

 

 

how do you wear your pair? everytime i think i found the perfect fit, i experiment a little more and find something even better

 

 

i found that for more bass, bending them at the clip (the joint where the words koss are written) and then twisting the earpieces upwards towards the upper part of your ear so that it sits almost diagonal increases bass almost double and the fit is a little more secure

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