BackgroundThis is my first time reviewing products and I hope you guys take this review with a grain of salt! I bought these last december as a replacement pair of iems after my last pair (cheapo and horrible sounding soul sl49s) broke. I had a budget of 200 and was looking for a bassy iem. I was at Stereo Electronics demoing some iems and i narrowed it down to the Atrios m5 and the shure se215. Now i know the se215 is widely praised here on head fi but i just found the Atrios sound much more natural and clearer. Fast forward 3/4 of a year and now im reviewing them.
Disclaimer i do not work for futuresonics and am not getting paid to review these lovely iems.
PackagingThe Atrios come in a simple, eco-friendly box. There is a small clear portion to see the iem which unlike other iem boxes, shows you how your iem will look like. The box is made from recycled waste and though that sounds disgusting, this packaging is akin to recycled cardboard boxes and is pretty sturdy. It touts that the Atrios produce true bass response and studio quality sound. Overall, the packaging deserves a 4.5/5
The Atrios come with an array of tips, their proprietary bi-flange silicon tips, black and beige ComfortFit tips. The bi-flanges come in 3 sizes, small medium and large. The black and beige foam tips also come in small medium and large. A small cleaning tool is provided to clear out debris from the nozzle should any ear wax enter and change the sound quality. Also included is a carrying case and an informative booklet. It is soft type case that wont protect against a much pressure but it should protect against most moisture. The materials used to make it are also recycled but have a good feel to them. Overall however, i wished FutureSonics included a 1/4 inch adapter and an output divider to share music thus, they only get a 3.5/5 for accessories.
The fit on these is pretty unique. In order to avoid microphonics,which is horrible on these, i wear them over the ear. The housing kind of rests outside your ear. This causes irritation sometimes when the housing touches my ear. But what can i say, my ears are pretty small.
Looks and Durability
Now, i wont completely bash the designers at FutureSonics for the design of the iem but damn, they look pretty weird!! The teardrop shape is reminiscent of the shure se420 and does look good at times. However, i still feel that they will attract attention and in a bad way. I'll give the looks a 2.5/5.
The durability is pretty questionable here. My current pair are replacements and I am confident i will send them to be replaced pretty soon. The lack of proper strain reliefs is a bad sign and i hate the way the rubber sections on the housing, which I assume is some kind of strain relief, keep degrading. That i guess is due to the fact that i wear these over the ear and the cord pulls on the rubber, causing the rubber to tear and degrade, kind of like a rubber tire being worn out. Other than that, I dont have any qualms about the iem. The strain relief on the plug is adequate. The yoke also doesnt seem to need any strain relief and is very durable. The housing, though it looks like cheap plastic, is very hard and rugged. The wire is pretty thick and yes, you guessed it, durable. I do have a problem with the cable though, It is a very memory prone wire and i dare not keep it in a case for fear of dealing with very ugly looking wires. Instead, i hang them vertically and the wire stays straight. Durability gets 3.5/5.
When i demoed them, i was stunned by the clarity, the bass and the natural sound. However, when i took them out of the box, i was utterly disappointed with the sound, Although i dont remember how it sounded exactly, it was enough for me to revert to my old pair of cheap phillips iems. YES, it sounded THAT bad. I kept playing music through them and tried to burn them in but to no avail. Thus, i chucked them aside for a couple of months. It was not only until a few moths ago that I read a review by a fellow headfier saying that it needed a long burn in period that i took them out of the box and tried them again. WOW, they sounded amazing. So guys, if you plan to get these, burn them in for perhaps a few weeks and then hear them. Another thing is that although it says on the packaging that the Atrios provide bigger sound at lower volume, i highly disagree. I have to crank up the volume to about 70-80% to get to my desired volume, when i usually only put it to 50% for my westone 1s.
Let me first start on instrument separation. These separate instruments pretty well and i can discern between the many different instruments, even in fast rock songs like Dance Dance by Fall Out Boy. These reproduce all music very naturally. You would actually think the singer was performing live in your ears, as if you were listening to a PERSON, not a voice singing.
Here comes the commentary on the soundstage. These dont have a huge soundstage. In Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines, the first few lyrics, everybody get up, sound very close to you. Personally, i dont like that. However, they dont sound echoey or caged up, music sounds free to roam and is not constrained.
Bass. These are undoubtedly, unbeatable bass monsters. Unlike other bassy iems, these do not have a mid bass hump. These have boosted sub bass, allowing rumble in the song without muddying up the mids and highs. This in my opinion is a remarkable concept that is very effective in allowing the Atrios to be bassy while being extremely clear and setting the Atrios apart from most other iems. Thumbs up, FutureSonics.
Mids. I feel that the mids are a tad recessed. In Emile Sande's Clown, her voice is overshadowed by the piano, and is not as forward as i would like. Even with this though, i like how the mids are placed, they are there but dont interfere with the instruments. Vocalists beware though!
Highs. The mids and highs are actually pretty neutral however, the highs does tend to be just a tad more pronounced. Treble extension IMHO, is fantastic and i can hear all the treble in a song. There is a noticable crisp, or how i like to call it "bite". At times however, i can find the Atrios to be a bit too fatiguing. I sometimes take them out after an hour of listening to rock, where the treble can make my ear hurt. I do recommend using the foam tips to help with attenuating the treble a bit and help with the fit.
The type of music i recommend using them for is mainly rock, pop and anything that doesnt require a forward mid-range.Again, vocalists and mid range lovers beware.For the price? Wow just wow these are a bargain for their sound and i applaud FutureSonics!Overall, the sound gets a solid 4.5/5!
Thanks for reading my review and i hope this gets you to buy these value for money iems!