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Trinity Audio Engineering Atlas water resistant sports in-ear monitor

Rating:
4.5/5,
  1. Brooko
    Trinity Atlas – Sports Earphone and V Shaped Dual Hybrid
    Written by Brooko
    Published May 31, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Build, fit, clarity, cable quality and selection, accessories, tuning (bass) options, response to EQ
    Cons - Very V shaped signature, some stock tips not ideal for nozzle size (slip off)
    atlas13.jpg
    For larger views of the photos (1200 x 800) - please click on the individual images

    INTRODUCTION

     
    Following the successful launch of the initial Trinity range on Kickstarter, Bob (Trinity's CEO and lead designer) received a lot of calls for a sport suitable IEM. So even before the initial campaign ended, he was designing a new model using the original Delta hybrid configuration of their own dynamic driver paired with a custom tuned BA. This time it was placed in a more ergonomic chamber and a waterproof coating was added along with a shorter third cable ideal for exercise (armband DAP wearers). The resulting product of course was the Trinity Atlas and that is the model I'm reviewing today.
     
    The underlying vision and philosophy behind Trinity is that high quality audio should be affordable to everyone – and without compromising on build or materials. And just because it is high quality – it shouldn’t mean it has to be high cost.
     
    Bob has been incredibly busy over the last couple of years, and this has led to the release of the original range (Hyperion, Techne and Delta original), and since progressed to the Atlas, Delta V2 and coming releases of the Phantom/Master series (Sabre, Master4, Master6, Phantom Air and Hunter – some of these are still in active development). One thing I really appreciate with a company like Trinity, and a designer like Bob, is the willingness to involve his consumers in some design decisions, so that the end result is (hopefully) exactly what the target audience is looking for.
     
    I count myself incredibly lucky to have been able to work with Bob on most of his projects – via email, PM and phone – and must admit a little personal pride in what Trinity have achieved. So without further comment – let’s have a look at the Trinity Atlas – a community inspired project.
     
    DISCLAIMER
    I was provided with both prototype models during development and also a couple of final models of the Atlas on its completion. These were given free of charge both for development during the programme, and for the purposes of reviewing them after the public release. Bob does not expect them back. In the past I have purchased Hyperion (2) and the Delta V2, but have been provided free review samples (either prototypes or finals) of the Hyperion, Techne, original Delta, and Sabre.
     
    Apart from my obvious involvement in feedback on the development, I am not otherwise affiliated with Trinity in any way, nor do I make any financial gain from my contributions.
     
    PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'.
    I'm a 49 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile – I just love my music. Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up. I vary my listening from portables (including the FiiO X5ii, X3ii, X7, LP5 Pro and L3, and iPhone 5S) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > USB > iFi iDSD). I also use a portable set-up at work – usually either X3ii/X7/L3 > HP, or PC > E17K > HP. My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Beyerdynamic T1, Sennheiser HD600 & HD630VB, and AKG K553. Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs, and lately it has mainly been with the Jays q-Jays, Alclair Curve2 and Adel U6. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).
     
    I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock. I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock. I am particularly fond of female vocals. I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences. I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880. I have a specific sensitivity to the 2-3 kHz frequency area (most humans do) but my sensitivity is particularly strong, and I tend to like a relatively flat mid-range with slight elevation in the upper-mids around this area.
     
    I have extensively tested myself (ABX) and I find aac256 or higher to be completely transparent. I do use exclusively red-book 16/44.1 if space is not an issue. All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line). I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables, and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences. I am not a ‘golden eared listener’. I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 49, my hearing is less than perfect (it only extends to around 14 kHz nowadays).
    For the purposes of this review - I mainly used the Atlas straight from the headphone-out socket of my FiiO X3ii + E17K, and also used (at different times) my iPhone 5S, and a variety of the other DAPs I have around me (concentrating a lot on the portability factor so this included X1 and M3). Although I tested the Atlas with an amplifier, I do not think they benefit from additional amplification (I use mine mainly for consistency when reviewing and also to extend battery life on the X3ii). In the time I have spent with the Atlas, I have noticed no changes in the overall sonic presentation, but am aware that I am also becoming more used to the signature of the Atlas as I use them more often (brain burn-in).
     
    This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.
     
    THE REVIEW
     
    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
    The Atlas arrived in the traditional grey Trinity retail “book style” retail box – measuring 125 x 190 x 55mm. The box is simple but well presented, with the Trinity logo and model (ATLAS) on the front cover, and specifications, accessories and a little about the Atlas on the back.
     
    atlas01.jpg atlas02.jpg
    Front of retail box
    Rear of retail box

     
    Opening the front flap reveals an information and instruction manual. On the main part of the box is another protective board cover with clear window to observe the new Atlas. Opening this then reveals a foam inner with appropriate cut-outs to house the Atlas, carry case, provided tips, and filters.
     
    atlas03.jpg atlas04.jpg
    First opening
    Inner packaging behind the cover

     
    The entire package is comprehensive and includes:
    1. The Atlas
    2. The Trinity zippered carry case
    3. 5 pairs of tuning filters
    4. 4 sets of silicone tips (1 pr small, 2 pr medium and 1 pr large)
    5. 1 set of dual flange silicone tips
    6. 2 sets of foam tips (1 pr med and 1 pr large)
    7. 1 multi braid cable, 1 x long multifunction mic/control cable, 1 x short multifunction mic/control cable
    8. 1 shirt clip
    9. 1 straight to right angle jack converter
     
    atlas05.jpg atlas06.jpg
    The complete package
    Tip selection

     
    The Trinity standard case is black, has an internal mesh pouch for tips etc, is triangular shaped, and zips to open/close. It is reasonably spacious, has a good mix of both flexibility and strength – so it is comfortable to pocket, but still protects your IEMs really well.
     
    atlas07.jpg atlas09.jpg
    Filters and holders
    Cables, right angle connector and clip

     
    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
    (From Trinity)
     
    I've included the specifications from the original Delta for comparison.
     
    Atlas
    Delta Original
    Type
    Hybrid BA + 8mm Dynamic Driver
    Hybrid BA + 8mm Dynamic Driver
    Frequency Range
    19 Hz – 21 Khz
    19 Hz – 21 Khz
    Impedance
    16 ohm
    16 ohm
    Sensitivity
    110 +/-3dB @ 1kHz 1mW
    110 +/-3dB @ 1kHz 1mW
    Cable
    1.2m std + 1.2m & 0.6m mic enabled (replaceable)
    1.1m OFC std (fixed)
    Jack
    3.5mm gold plated, straight jack
    3.5mm gold plated, straight jack
    Weight
    Approx 18g with tips in place (std cable)
    Approx 14g with tips in place
    IEM Shell
    CNC polished aluminium
    CNC polished aluminium

     
    FREQUENCY GRAPH
    The graph below is generated using the Vibro Veritas coupler and ARTA software. I must stress that they aren’t calibrated to IEC measurement standards, but the raw data I’m getting has been very consistent, and is actually not too far away from the raw data measured by other systems except for above 4-5 kHz where it shows significantly lower than measurements performed on a properly calibrated rig. So when reading the graph, don’t take it as gospel – or at least remember that the area above 4-5 kHz will likely be significantly higher. It is my aim to get this system calibrated at some stage in the future.
     
    The graph is provided merely as a point of discussion and further in the review you can see comparative data to some other IEMs. The graph in this section is the Atlas with gold (or middle) filter. I used this filter for this section simply because it is the middle filter. In the filter section of the review is a graph showing all filter frequency responses.
     
    atlaschannels.png
     
    The Atlas is a lot different to the original Delta, and is probably closer to the Hyperion in its overall tuning. It has a definite V shape with a steady rise from mid-range to mid-bass and still rising into the sub-bass. This gives quite a warm low end with pretty prominent bass impact. The fundamental mid-range from around 700 kHz through to about 1.5 kHz is relatively recessed which makes male vocals particularly a little thin, and vocals generally appear a little further back in the mix. There is a rise in the upper mid-rang from about 2-4.5 kHz, and this gives the Atlas sweetness with female vocalists and also a lot of clarity and air. There is a peak in the lower treble at 9kHz which brings some added definition to cymbals and violins, and which also largely avoids sibilance. The channel matching is excellent.
     
    I'll go into much more detail when we reach the sound section.
     
    BUILD QUALITY / DESIGN
    The Atlas is quite a different beast compared to the former Trinity models. Gone is the cartridge style casing, replaced by a 2 piece aluminium ergonomically designed casing – similar to the Shure SE series in shape. One of the features of the Atlas is a splash proof coating so they are ideal for an environment which could contain high moisture (i.e. exercise).
     
    atlas14.jpg atlas19.jpg
    Internal face - nicely rounded
    Filters/nozzles simply screw out

     
    The Atlas measures approx 18mm across, and 16mm from top to bottom (11mm if you're just counting the main body). The depth is approx 15mm at its widest point, and another 5mm once the filter/nozzle is fitted. There are 5 filter/nozzle options which are interchangeable for tuning. These nozzles also fit the Techne (and will fit the upcoming Sabre). The nozzle is angled forward which is ideal for securing a comfortable fit – especially with the somewhat shallow fitting (more on that later).
     
    atlas16.jpg atlas15.jpg
    External face
    From the rear - nozzles are nicely angled forward

     
    The shell is two piece and has a visible seam, but the body is nicely rounded, and the fit is comfortable. On the orange model the seam is quite noticeable especially at the nozzle, but it appears pretty sturdy at this stage, and I've had the Atlas for quite a few months now. There is a small vent at the top on each earpiece adjacent to the MMCX connectors. The housing is beautifully rounded in the internal side with hard edges, and a simple R or L is printed here for piece identification. The outer facing side is convex and actually feels really nice when handled (sort of fits your thumb). It has the Trinity logo printed on both earpieces.
     
    atlas17.jpg atlas18.jpg
    Casing on these isn't 100% perfect, but joins are secure
    Connector cavity - vents adjacent

     
    At the top of the atlas is a forward angled hood which houses a standard MMCX socket. There are three cables included – the standard Trinity multi-braid cable, and two rubber jacketed cables equipped with a multifunction remote and microphone. The standard cable measures 1.1m in length from jack to MMCX connectors. The connectors so far have been pretty firm and I've had no issues with connections cutting out. The Atlas connectors freely rotate in their sockets. The male connectors have an L or R embedded in the plastic, but they are relatively hard to see. This does not matter as much with the Atlas – as it is impossible to mistake which earpiece is which due to their over-ear ergonomic design. There is good strain relief at the socket junction. The Y-split is a really nice looking aluminium tube with good flexible strain relief at the bottom, and a superbly implemented cinch at the top. The jack is gold plated, with spring loaded strain relief. It is iPhone case friendly, and for those who prefer a right angled jack, Trinity include a right angle adaptor which works really well.
     
    atlas20.jpg atlas10.jpg
    MMCX connector
    Trinity's excellent standard multi-braid cable

     
    The standard cable is the same as the one used on most of the Trinity products and is one of the best I've used (until you get into the mega-buck boutique cables). The cable consists of 4 OFC wires – both sets of two tight woven into a spring like weave. These two weaves are then woven again together below the Y-split. The end result is an extremely flexible, and gorgeous looking cable with virtually no memory. The weave also gives it strength. So far in my testing (over-ear), cable noise is minimal – unless it comes into contact with a rough surface (zipper etc). The cable can be slightly tangle prone – but careful winding and storage solves that easily.
     
    atlas11.jpg atlas12.jpg
    Long mic/control cable
    Short cable - ideal for ports armband

     
    The secondary cables are both rubber jacketed, have 4 pole straight jacks, and this time each has a combined single button control and microphone port on the left hand earpiece. The push button control is a universal standard (one-click pause/play, two click next track, three click previous track, and press and hold activates Siri on the iPhone 5S for me). The controls work with both the iPhone and also the FiiO M3 (but strangely not with the X1 and X3ii – I'm guessing this is a FiiO issue rather than Trinity). The control unit hangs about 4cm below my ear if worn over ear, and just below my chin if worn straight down. The microphone is pretty clear, and I had no problems being clearly understood when test calling my wife. The cable also has reasonably low microphonics when worn over ear. The 0.6m cable is ideal for armband use or top-pocket. I only have two gripes with these cables. The first is that the cinch keeps coming off the cables (they are open both sides – and work their way off easily. The second is that the cables tend to retain memory. But considering you're getting three cables, and they are all working pretty well – these are minor critiques.
     
    Overall the build quality and attention to detail is very good.
     
    FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION
    I have one ear canal slightly different to the other one (my right is very slightly smaller) - so I tend to find that usually single silicon flanges don't fit overly well. Atlas's shape is also ergonomic, so that means shallow fit. But because of the angle of the nozzle, I was surprised when I found that the Atlas's large silicone single flange worked perfectly – as did the included foam tips. There is one issue though – because the nozzles have a very narrow diameter, the included foams and double flanges tend to come off in my ears (if I get a very good seal) – frustrating! I did experiment with a number of after market tips, and had good fits with Ostry tuning tips, Sony Isolation tips, Spinfits, and Comply T200s. The ones that surprised me were the Shure Olives. If you are prepared to force them on, they fit quite nicely and provide an excellent seal and great durability.
     
    atlas31.jpg atlas32.jpg
    Stock tips - dual flanges won't stay intact
    Stock foam (again issue with staying on) but Ostry tips are good

     
    Isolation with the Atlas will depend on the seal you achieve, and with the Shure Olives I find isolation is average to above average for a hybrid containing a vented dynamic driver. With music playing you’re isolated pretty well – but I wouldn't be using these for long haul travel.
     
    atlas33.jpg atlas34.jpg
    Spinfits and Sony Isolation are excellent
    Spiral Dots are a no-go, but Shure Olives fit if you force them

     
    Comfort for me is absolutely excellent and the ergonomic design is really ideal. After a while I don't really notice I'm wearing them and they sit slightly inside my outer ear (YMMV). I would have no problems lying on my side or sleeping with the Atlas intact.
     
    COLOURS
    The Trinity website offers the shells in 6 colours – orange, red, purple, silver (polished aluminium), gun-metal, and matt black. During the KS campaign there were also some two tone offerings available. I've got a couple of photos of some models I had during the tuning process – all are quite striking. More on the Matt black one in the next section.
     
    atlas22.jpg atlas21.jpg
    Prototypes and test samples
    My "specials" are matt black on the left

     
    ATLAS FILTER SYSTEM
    Each filter stands just under 7mm tall, with a 4mm diameter threaded base, and 5mm nozzle. The filter screws easily into the main body of the Atlas, and can be replaced for different tuning. Most of the filters have a very small tuning vent located toward and just above the threaded section. The vents control the bass quantity. There are 5 filters included but the changes they give are pretty minor.
     
    atlas08.jpg atlasallfilters.png
    Filters x 5
    Filter measurements - changes are mainly bass related

     
    Red has the most bass – about 15 dB above the mid-range at 50 Hz, then each filter has a little less bass than the previous (about 1.5 – 2 dB increments): red, orange, gold, purple, and ending with gun-metal. My favourite filter is actually the gun-metal.
     
    The spare filters are housed in the now familiar little aluminium tube with the screw on cap (you get two of them). This is brilliant as the tubes fit neatly in the case pocket so that your filters are always with you – and the tube should be big enough so that it won’t get easily lost.
     
    atlasblackshell.png
     
    When Bob sent me the final Atlas for the review – he actually initially sent me the black matt pair you saw in the previous photos. They are beauties, and as luck would have it – they are also unique (see the graph). They have a reasonably big drop off in bass from about 200 Hz down. They also fit my preferences quite well (I sometimes just EQ them up a little). The amazing thing is that the channels on this pair are also perfectly matched. Lucky – or did Bob do it intentionally? I don't know – he won't say, but I love my unique Atlas.
     
    SOUND QUALITY
    The following is what I hear from the Trinity Atlas. YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline). Most of the testing at this point (unless otherwise stated) was done with my FiiO X3ii + E17K as source, and this time the gun-metal filter in place (my preference), and Bob's included silicone tips. I was using the orange “correct” Atlas (not my “specials”).
     
    For the record – on most tracks, the volume level on the E17K was around 20/60 (on low gain) which was giving me an average SPL around 65-70 dB (with peaks around 75 dB). Tracks used were across a variety of genres – and can be viewed in this list http://www.head-fi.org/a/brookos-test-tracks.
     
    Thoughts on General Signature
    The sound signature with the gun-metal filters is still mildly V shaped with enhanced bass, a recessed primary vocal area, and slightly elevated upper mid-range or presence area. Bass – even with this filter can tend to be a little boomy but the balance overall is not too bad. Lower mids are a little on the lean side, but there is a natural progression through the upper mids with female vocals being emphasised a little more. For those who've had Trinity products before you will recognise some of their “house sound”.
     
    Overall Detail / Clarity
    Tracks used: Gaucho, Sultans of Swing
     
    1. Slightly noticeable mid-bass hump (even with this filter) and bass guitar does tend to slightly dominate – it is worse with other filters
    2. Good detail retrieval – cymbals are very clear and clean with good decay. If I switch to other filters some of the finer detail can be masked.
    3. Guitar has extremely good edge but is slightly peaky
    4. Vocals in both tracks are leaner in the mix and a little to the back.
     
    Sound-stage, Imaging, and Sibilance Test
    Tracks used: Tundra, Dante’s Prayer, Let it Rain
     
    1. Good directional cues, and just outside the periphery of my head space – so reasonably good width, but slightly less feeling of depth
    2. Imaging is relatively clean with precise placement
    3. Good contrast between vocals, piano and cello with Dante's Prayer. Loreena's vocals are more forward than Knopfler's in the previous section.
    4. Good immersion (applause section of Dante's Prayer) with impression that crowd is around you – but again more sense of width than depth.
    5. A nicely holographic presentation of “Let It Rain” - not as good as Delta V2, but still thoroughly enjoyable. Sibilance is present in “Let It Rain” - I know it exists in the recording. However it isn't overly emphasised, and for me is very tolerable. Again cymbal presence in this track is really good.
     
    Bass Quality and Quantity
    Tracks used: Bleeding Muddy Water, Royals
     
    1. Strong mid-bass and sub-bass impact and strong portrayal of the overall dark mood. Mark's vocals are lean compared to the quantity of low bass.
    2. Average speed and bass resolution – strong impact, and is quite boomy.
    3. Signs of mild bass bleed into the mid-range
    4. Strong sub-bass and rumble (“Royals”) and for me it is mildly excessive.
    5. Good separation between mid-bass impact and vocals (“Royals”) with the gun-metal filter – but with the gold filter there is again some bass bleed.
     
    Female Vocals
    Tracks used : Aventine, Strong, For You, Human, The Bad In Each Other, Howl, Safer, Light as a Feather, Don’t Wake Me Up, Ship To Wreck.
     
    1. Very good transition from lower-mids to upper-mids – this is one of the strengths of the Atlas, and typical of most Trinity IEMs
    2. Euphonic presentation with good air and a definite touch of sweetness to female vocals
    3. High contrast between vocals and lower pitch of instruments like cello – again if switching to gold filter bass is stronger than I would like.
    4. No signs of stridency with Aventine and Strong – a good sign of cohesion
    5. Good bass impact with music with highly dynamic content (Feist, FaTM)
    6. Surprising with tracks with lower bass impact because the Atlas can actually be quite delicate when it wants to be. Gabriella Cilmi was really stunning, as was Norah Jones and Sarah Jarosz. Definite tick for most female vocalists.
     
    Male Vocals
    Track used: Away From the Sun, Art for Art’s Sake, Broken Wings, Hotel California, Immortality (Seether unplugged), Keith Don’t Go, Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town.
     
    1. Male vocals are thinner, and more distant. Turning up the volume increases the bass impact – trade-off if you are not a big bass lover.
    2. Bass presence is generally visceral with rock - very dynamic, but there is good contrast with lead guitar.
    3. Really good portrayal of older classic rock artists like 10CC. Good detail and contrast between bass and vocals with “Art for Art's Sake”.
    4. Managed to make the Eagle's Hotel California a little boomy but otherwise a good rendition. Does guitar very well.
    5. Surprised me with Seether's cover of “Immortality” - quite nice tonality and balance – but still wishing male vocals had a little more weight.
    6. Good but not great with Pearl Jam. Vedders vocals could use a little more presence, and the timbre isn't as good as it can be. Cymbals and high level detail is really good with the gun-metal filter. Not a fan of the gold filter with Pearl Jam though. Vedder sounded like he was standing about 2 foot from the microphone, or they simply had the mixing board wrong.
     
    Genre Specific Notes
    1. Not bad at all with Alt Rock, although bass guitar does dominate slightly with PF's Money. It wasn't bad – but I've heard better. PT's Trains was really quite good – could be the higher pitch of Wilson's vocals.
    2. OK with Blues and Jazz – double bass was good and there was a nice mix of higher end detail with cymbals / hi-hats. Sax was slightly subdued and although enjoyable would not be my first choice for this genre. I tried briefly with the gold filter, and just as quickly took it off again.
    3. EDM, Hip-hop and Trance (if you love impact) can really hit hard. This was a real strength of the Atlas and I guess this is where the V shaped signature really shines. Eminem was really dynamic – and AVB's album “Imagine” was really enjoyable – especially when the tracks with female vocal backing were queued. The Flashbulb was really good (this group isn't overly bass heavy electronic) and “Reunion” was an album I thoroughly enjoyed with the Atlas.
    4. Pop was pretty good generally and results tended to vary depending on the artist. I could see a younger generation really enjoying this presentation especially with some more modern female pop artists. Perhaps I am starting to show my age a little.
    5. Indie was really good for the most part. A lot of Indie artists seem to have a higher pitched vocal presences, and the Atlas captured this really well. Band of Horses was dynamic and very enjoyable, and Yesper's combo of acoustics and sublime vocals was a real treat. Wildlight's “Dawn to Flight” was enjoyable, but because there is a reasonable bass presence in the track already, I found it tended to encroach on Ayla's vocals slightly. Take some bass away though and the presentation of vocals is brilliant.
    6. Classical was surprisingly very good. The upper mid-range lent a lot of presence and space to strings, and the low end was pretty good for piano and cello. Female opera was also sublime, but male opera just a little thin.
     
    AMPLIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
    The Atlas is easily powered straight out of the portable devices I have, and I haven’t experienced any issues with the iPhone 5S, or any of the FiiO DAPs. With typical pop/rock songs on the iP5S I’m usually at a volume level of around 25-35%, on the X3ii around 30-40/120. I did try amping with the E17K, but noticed no obvious signs of improvement (apart from when I was utilising the EQ). I tried the IMS Hybrid Valve Amp, but this wasn't a good pairing – too much warmth for my liking. I couldn't say that the Atlas either benefits from or needs additional amplification.
     
    atlas26.jpg atlas25.jpg
    Perfect exercise partners FiiO M3 and Atlas
    Atlas, the X1 and sports arm-band

     
    EQUALISATION
    By now you'll understand that my biggest issue with the Atlas is simply the amount of bass. So I set out to use some very basic EQ (using the E17K's tone controls) to reduce the mid and sub-bass. I returned to Wildlight's track “Dawn too Flight”, and set the bass to -4dB (still using the gun-metal filters). This will be too bass light for many, but for me the transformation was incredible. Wonderful balance, and I was left with a much flatter signature, and Ayla's incredible vocals. This is the beauty of the tone controls on the E17K, and the best part is that it can be done in a few seconds, and you don't need to be adept at EQ to get something you like very quickly. The Atlas responds extremely well to EQ, and I've added a graph below so you can see the result of the change. Modifying the bass also stops some mid-range from appearing so recessed. While I had the Sabre on the rig, and out of impulse really, I dropped both bass and treble tone controls by -4 dB. The result was wonderful and this ended up a lot closer to my ideal signature. Magic!
     
    atlasEQ.png atlas27.jpg
    EQing with the E17K - both -4 bass, and then -4 bass and treble
    X3ii and E17K are a perfect duo to tame the Atlas bass

     
    COMPARISONS
    This is always a hard one to judge – because you want to compare with something in a close price bracket, and also with something that others may be able to get an instant feel for. The problem is that I know people with an interest in some of Trinity's other line will want comparisons to the new Delta V2 and also the upcoming Sabre. So in the end I chose them and also The MEE Pinnacle P1 – as it is also an ergonomic design and in a very similar price bracket.
     
    All of these comparisons are very subjective – and influenced by my own preference, physiology and bias. Comparison was once again with the X3ii + E17K, but this time the Atlas had the gold filters in place (middle filter option). Note that you have the ability to reduce bass further by utilising the gun-metal or purple filters. All IEMs were volume matched with a 1 kHz tone and using a proper SPL meter. Lastly please note that while the Atlas KS price was $150, I am using the current price of $218 from the website for comparison.
     
    Trinity Atlas (~$218) vs Trinity Sabre with gold filter (pre-order $110 / normal $185)
    atlas30.jpg atlasvssabre.png
    Atlas vs Sabre
    Frequency graph

     
    Both have fantastic build quality – precision aluminium shells, 3 x quality detachable cables (the Sabre's are two pin), and extremely good comfort when worn. Both also come with 5 sets of filters – but in the Sabre's case the 5 are duplicated with longer filters for deeper insertion (the filters will fit both Sabre and Atlas in case you are wondering). The filters also pretty much do the same thing as far as sonic change goes – increasing or decreasing the bass response. The one advantage Atlas still has is the slightly more ergonomic fit, and also the water-proof coating. Sonically the Atlas has more bass and is more V shaped. The Sabre has very good bass in its own right though – and the push pull dynamics are very smooth and quite fast for a dynamic driver as well. In the mid-range, the Sabre is a little more intimate (vocal presence is closer), and they have a more vibrant tonality. For the introductory price at the moment, the Sabre really is an obvious choice – and when it reverts to normal RRP a lot will depend on your preference for bass (with the Atlas able to deliver far more / very elevated levels). For me personally I would definitely take the Sabre – unless I was using EQ or using my “special blacks”. If EQ or the “specials” are an option – then the Sabre has a real fight on its hands.
     
    Atlas (~$218) vs Delta V2 with gold damped filter ($145)
    atlas29.jpg atlasvsdelta2.png
    Atlas vs Delta V2
    Frequency Graph

     
    Again both have fantastic build quality – precision aluminium shells, and quality detachable cables (the Delta V2's are two pin) – although this time the Delta has 2 compared to Atlas's 3. Comfort wise I have to give the nod to the Atlas – the ergonomic shell is just a better fit (for me the Delta V2 is still very comfortable though). Both come with filters, the Atlas 5 vs the Delta's 7. This one isn't a fair fight though as you can make a lot more changes with the Delta's filters – and for me it is one of the best filter systems available in the market today. Once again the Atlas has the splash proof covering as a bonus. Both are dual hybrids – and you still have the Trinity house sound with an elevated upper mid-range. Switching back and forth between the two though, the first thing you easily notice is the Atlas's elevated bass and more impactful thump, and also the peakier upper-mids. The Delta V2 just sounds a little more relaxed, a lot more balanced, and for me anyway – more refined and smoother. This one isn't a fair fight – to me the Delta V2 will always be the better option simply for its variety in tuning.
     
    Atlas (~$218) vs MEE Pinnacle P1 ($199)
    atlas28.jpg atlasvsMEEP1.png
    Atlas vs MEE Pinnacle P1
    Frequency graph

     
    The P1 is a full range dynamic, but it is ergonomic, built incredibly well, and in the same price bracket. Comparatively both have very good builds – with the Atlas being a lot lighter with its polished aluminium vs the P1's forged zinc alloy, The shaping on both is very comfortable, but this is one time the Atlas is bested for fit (for my ears) – the P1 is just figure hugging and totally disappears when worn. Both have quality accessories, both have detachable cables (Atlas x 3 vs P1 x 2), and both have very good carry cases. The P1 is a lot harder to drive and does benefit from extra amplification vs the Atlas being easily driven by almost anything. The other two features the Atlas has which P1 doesn't is the variable filter system and also the splash proof covering. Sonically there isn't a huge amount of difference between these two – the Atlas has the bigger bass response but they are very similar in the upper mid-range. And to show the versatility of the Atlas, if you sub in the gun-metal filter, the bass actually matches extremely closely to the P1 with the main difference now being slight differences in that upper mid-range. This one would be hard to pick a winner.

    ATLAS - SUMMARY

     
    The Trinity Atlas is an interesting earphone for me. I always preferred the Delta's mid-range (both 1 & 2) so after it was completed, I didn't really spend a lot of time with it. And when I first started seriously using it for this review and spending a lot of time just listening and playing around with the filters, it slowly dawned on me how good it actually is.
     
    The Atlas has the typical Trinity finish and attention to detail, quality accessories – including a choice of 3 cables, and a filter system which (while not as good as Delta V2's) still gives some reasonable options for controlling the bass response. It has a water resistant finish, and when coupled with the short cable, it is ideal for exercise and gym use. Fit and comfort are very good.
     
    Sonically the Atlas is pretty much V shaped no matter which filter you use, and all that changes is the quantity of bass you end up with. This can vary from almost bone shaking in its intensity (red filter with copious sub-bass) to the gun-metal with a mild v shape. The mid-range is typical Trinity with leaner low-mids and elevated upper mids. These make female vocalists a true joy to listen to, but it does come at the expense of a little body (leaner) with lower range male vocals.
     
    The Atlas responds well to EQ, and a few judicial tweaks can net a really pleasant sound signature far more appealing to my own preferences. For my own tastes the gun-metal is the best filter and the one thing I would have liked would have been another filter even slightly lower in bass quantity.
     
    Overall though, the Atlas is still one heck of an earphone and at the KS original price was an absolute bargain. At its current RRP, you still get a lot of earphone for your money – and while it is not maybe 100% to my tastes, for what it offers it is an easy 4 star recommendation (it would be 5 star at the KS price).
     
    Finally thanks to Bob for allowing me to be involved along the way – and for supplying the samples for the review.
     
    atlas35.jpg
      djvkool, peter123, capnjack and 8 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. seanwee
      I see........ thanks !
      seanwee, Jun 2, 2016
    3. Inks
      Seems to have same drivers as the Delta, differences in sound are probably due to housing.

      Looks like adding some foam or thin cloth to the filters will help it mimic the damped Delta filters.

      Would also be interesting to know what covering the vent will do to the FR
      Inks, Jun 3, 2016
    4. Brooko
      Good calls - pretty sure the drivers are the same - and the freq diff will be down to a combo of housing and damping. I actually still have some of the old filters off the Rockjaw Alpha Genus.  If I can find them, I'll dust them off and give them a try.  Some of those were internally damped.
      Brooko, Jun 5, 2016
  2. Jackpot77
    Trinity Audio's strongman IEM - Mid-fi sound at a budget-fi price
    Written by Jackpot77
    Published Feb 29, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Tuneable filters, build quality, accessories, customer service, durability, overall SQ if you like an energetic sound
    Cons - Tuning filters can be fiddly to swap, not as smooth in the treble as I personally like
     
    20160229_174929_HDR.jpg
     
    ​Trinity Audio Atlas - initial impressions
    ​Updated 1/3/16 with photos and correct US pricing (originally down at $100 rather than £100)
     
    I purchased these as part of the Kickstarter launch for Trinity's latest in-ear monitors in the recent campaign, and took delivery in the new year. I climbed onboard the campaign based on the buzz around the previous Trinity IEMs (Delta and Hyperion), which have been very well received on Head-Fi. These are my initial impressions based on a solid burn in period and a few solid weeks of use on my daily commute and in the gym. I am still pretty new to this hobby and writing reviews, so please take everything with a pinch of salt - your own mileage may vary!
     
    About me: newly minted audiophile, late 30s, long time music fan and aspiring to be a reasonably inept drummer. Listen to at least 2 hours of music a day on my commute to work – prefer IEMs for out and about, and a large pair of headphones when I have the house to myself and a glass in my hand. Recently started converting my library to FLAC and 320kbps MP3, and do most of my other listening through Spotify or Tidal HiFi. I am a fan of rock, acoustic (apart from folk) and sarcasm. Oh yeah, and a small amount of electronica. I am not a basshead, but I do enjoy a sound signature with a bit of body to it.
     
    ​Tech Specs
     
    Balanced Armature + 8mm neodymium dynamic drivers
    1. 5 x Interchangeable tuning filter system
    2. Impedance 16Ohm
    3. Sensitivity 110 +/- 3DB
    4. Frequency response 19 - 21000HZ
    5. 24ct Gold plated 3.5mm Jack
    6. 1.2M & 0.6M Cable with remote & Mic/1.2M Multi-braid cable (non remote/mic)


    Unboxing, packaging and accessories
     
    Excellent for the price range. The IEMs come in a lovely presentation style box that oozes class. The buds themselves are bundles with a nice triangular carrying case (pocket friendly), a selection of silicon and foam (Comply) tips, three different detachable cables (two with microphone), a shirt clip, right angled jack connector and two small steel tubes to hold the sound filters. The sheer volume of accessories puts many competitors to shame, especially at this price point.
     
    20160229_175015_HDR.jpg

    Sound quality
     
    Test gear
     
    LG G Flex 2 (with and without Brainwavz AP001 mini-amp)
    Sony NWZ-A17 (as above)
    Sansa Clip+ (Rockboxed, amped as above)
    Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (straight from the output jack)
     
    Test tracks (mainly 320kbps MP3 or FLAC/Tidal HiFi)

     
    Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats – S.O.B. / Wasting Time
    Blackberry Smoke – The Whipporwill (album)
    Slash – Shadow Life / Bad Rain (my reference tracks for bass impact and attack, guitar “crunch”)
    Slash & Beth Hart – Mother Maria (vocal tone)
    Richie Kotzen – Come On Free (bass tone)
    Otis Redding – various
    Elvis – various
    Leon Bridges – Coming Home (album)
    Foy Vance – various
    Blues Traveler
    Daft Punk – Random Access Memories (album)
    Sigma - various
    Rudimental – various
    Rodrigo y Gabriela – various
    Mavis Staples – Livin’ On A High Note
     

    Filters used and initial impressions:
     
    This is a filter-based earphone. For those of you who don't know what that entails, there are multiple small circular filters that can be swapped on the earbud that alter the sound signature of the music being played. These range from boosting the bass (the red filter) through a more flat "reference" tuning to a treble boosting filter. Think of these like manual EQ for your earphones - in practice, it allows the user to decide what their preferred sound is for their own personal preferences, rather than being stuck with one tuning for all circumstances. The filters come in their own small steel tubes which fit neatly into the carry case, so you can even swap them out on the go if you need to change the sound based on what you intend to be listening to that day. My personal preference sits between the orange filter (the second bassiest, with a mild V shape to the sound) and the gold filter (a smooth and neutral sound with a little bit of extra bass thickness), so the below observations are based on those two filters - there are three more, which add more bass (red) or more treble (gunmetal and purple) in varying degrees.. Whichever filters you choose, the sound quality is excellent. The detail retrieval and general tone of the IEMS is sharp, detailed and well textured. These particularly shine with female vocals - there is a lovely tonality to the sound, with plenty of high end detail you would expect from a headphone costing far more.
     
    Highs
     
    One of the strengths of the hybrid setup used in these IEMS (one dynamic driver and one balanced armature) is the treble reproduction. The signature can vary depending on the filters used, but for my preferred filters, the treble produced is crisp, clear and fairly detailed. It is more of a sharp treble than a smooth signature, with pronounced "bite" to my ears in the upper registers. The presentation never manages to drift into sibilance, but the edges of the high notes are quite etched, leaving a more raw and jagged impression than smooth and silky. My personal preferences tend more towards IEMs with a rolled off, smooth upper end, but the Atlas is no less enjoyable for its sharpness. For those enjoying a slightly brighter signature, the detail and energy on offer here will greatly appeal. Two other aspects usually driven by the treble characteristic of a headphone are the "air" and soundstage - in this respect, the Atlas has a decent feeling of airiness for its bracket, but nothing spectacular. The rawness and bite on show leaves a more lasting impression in that regard.
     
    ​Mids
     
    The Atlas has crisp sounding, well defined mid range, with a nice sharp crunch on guitar and vocals providing a good sense of energy to tracks that more laid back IEMs may miss. I liken this IEM more to a chainsaw than a rapier - both sharp weapons capable of making a cut, but very different in the way they do things and the damage they leave behind. Again, visceral is the order of the day - listening to Slash or some old school Bon Jovi through these definitely gets the blood pumping in ways that more detailed, analytical earphones may not. In terms of detail, the Atlas does actually provide a good level of fine detail in amongst the rawness, with instruments reasonably well separated on the soundstage so individual guitar work and bass lines can be picked out of the chaos of the moshpit in the middle if you concentrate. Vocals are a little more recessed than some of the more mid-centric IEMs I have been listening to recently like the Aurisonics range, but not so much that it overly affects the listeners enjoyment. While there may be a "final" layer of detail missing from the presentation, this is definitely an audiophile-friendly presentation, and the IEMs respond well to higher resolution audio files to sharpen everything up in your ears accordingly. On the flip side, the raw nature of the sound can also be good for papering over the cracks in any poorly recorded music, so it is quite a forgiving headphone for people without their entire catalogue in FLAC or high-bitrate MP3s.
     
    Bass
     
    For the bassheads among you, the bassier filters provide a decent thump of sub-bass and mid-bass growl when required, so this can definitely fit the bill if you are looking for a 'phone with a pronounced bottom end. Compared to other bass-monster IEMs like the ASG series from Aurisionics, the bass is a little lacking in definition and the lowest notes of sub-bass, but that is just nit-picking in terms of the quality on offer here. Low notes present with a good rasp into "sub-woofer" territory, with more oomph being added to the mid-bass sounds as you change down through the filters (think of the emphasis being on the bass notes from Flea's Red Hot Chilli Peppers catalogue, rather than the sort of sub-bass you hear in the cinema having your fillings vibrated out of your head by the latest Michael Bay produced blockbuster). The beauty of the tuning filters allows you to select a default bass quantity for your earphones without having to resort to EQ, leaving the music unaltered by any digital effects and allowing a more "pure" sound. In terms of "bleed", the bass stays put in the lower registers and doesn't colour the main soundscape too much, so pumping the bass with the filters still allows the mids and treble to cut through the overall sound pretty well. Like the mids and highs, there is a certain rawness to the presentation which does give a good sense of drive to rock music and other up tempo recordings, pulling you into a live gig type vibe when listening to well mastered singalong classics. Live music also presents very well on these IEMs, complementing the sound very well. 
     
    20160229_175005_HDR.jpg
     
    ​Soundstage
     
    Soundstage is a little above average for this type of earphone, and instrument separation and micro-detailing are both good, so you can hear the tiny details in between the main sounds and the position of all the instruments without blending into one another if you listen hard. Overall, this competes reasonably well with some of the Aurisonics ASG range I have had the pleasure of hearing, which cost around $300 more.
     
    ​Amping / driveability
     
    These respond well to amping, but are more than easy enough to drive from a phone or low-power MP3 player, so are a perfect pair for out and about or gym use.

    ​Fit and build
     
    These are quite a shallow fit (dependent on which tips you choose), so may not be preferable for those who like to insert their earphones directly into their brain. The isolation and security of fit is excellent though - more than suitable for a trip on public transport or a session in the gym. The cable is worn "over-ear", which allows for zero microphonics when using their default braided cable. The braided cable is one of the stars of the show, feeling on par with replacement cables you see on Amazon/eBay costing more than the total cost of the entire Atlas package. Soft, pliable and with zero cable memory, this is an excellent example of an MMCX cable done right - other manufacturers take note! The buds themselves are machined metal and look absolutely gorgeous - the matt black "stealth" look fits securely into your ears and looks very high class with the small engraved Trinity logo just about visible if you look closely. The earphones are also nano-coated inside and out to make them ideal for use in the gym and outdoors, as the splash proof coating should make them more resistant to sweat and the elements than other IEMs in this price bracket.

    Summary
     
    A truly excellent all round package at a price far lower than the quality on display deserves. The company is pretty active on Head-Fi and their website as well, with excellent customer service and a refreshing customer-friendly attitude and approachability. If you are in the market for IEMs at this price range and want a pair with multiple sound signatures, excellent ergonomics and impressive build quality and accessories, this is a good starting point for entry into mid-fi sound at a budget-fi price.
     
    Comparisons
     
    Flare Audio R2A
    My previous daily driver, and an outright brilliant IEM for my personal tastes. The treble is sharper on the Atlas, producing slightly more perceived clarity in the higher registers due to the rolled off sound produced by the R2A. This helps with a sense of detail retrieval that edges it over the Flare as a general impression, as the microdetails being presented are just a little crisper in presentation, so tricking the mind into thinking they are more “there” maybe. Mids and bass are more raw sounding and feel slightly less smooth, with the Flare producing a slightly deeper bass extension in the super-low registers to my ears. Comfort wise it is fairly similar, although the tiny size of the Flares allow them to be worn in bed, so are better suited for situations like that. Soundstage is smaller than the Flares, which do punch well above their size in that regard.
     
    Aurisonics ASG-1.5
    As a sirect comparison with the bassier filters fitted, the quality of bass is similar between the two (the 1.5 edging it slightly in extension and tone), with the 1.5 having vast quantities more, which colours the sound significantly. For mids and upper register, the Atlas has a slightly more recessed but clearer midrange, and totally outclasses the 1.5 in the treble due to the additional BA being used.
     
    Echobox Finder X1
    My current daily driver. In terms of treble, the sharp presentation is more similar to the high end on the Atlas, but with a slightly smoother feeling overall. Bass on the Echobox can slam as hard (or harder) than the Atlas bass cannon filters, but has a leaner and more textured sound. Mids are similarly laid back on both, but different in presentation - the Atlas provding the raw edge and the Echobox providing a detailed yet smooth tone, which still manages to bring out emotion in a singer's voice - two different signatures, neither being markedly superior. Treble is edged by the Echobox team, but only if you prefer a very sharply defined sound. Build quality is also won by the Echobox team, but only just – to be fair, there isn’t much on the market that can compete with beautifully machined titanium as a housing, but the aluminium shells of the Atlas and overall cable and finish run it very close. To my ears, the Echobox has slightly better separation, possibly due to the less raw edge to the sound.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Walderstorn
      So if i read correctly u would give almost 5/5 in the price range and the 4/5 is for overall comparing with everything u've heard? I guess i can understand that.
       
      Good review.
      Walderstorn, Mar 4, 2016
    3. Jackpot77
      Walderstorn - yes, you have it spot on. On a value for money basis, these are excellent, but just a tiny shade off perfect for me in terms of other sound signatures I have heard. The star rating is difficult to be objective about, but a 5* rating only seems right for me personally if everything about the product ticks my boxes and is on a similar level to my other personal favourites. Hope that makes sense!
      Jackpot77, Mar 4, 2016
    4. Hi-Fi'er
      This review never stated what filters were used when comparing to other IEMS?
      Hi-Fi'er, Jan 18, 2017
  3. AverageDude
    A review (or is it ?) of the Trinity Audio Engineering’s Atlas…
    Written by AverageDude
    Published Feb 11, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Sound quality, price, comfort, mids, Bob
    Cons - Highs can sometimes be improved (compared to the other frequencies)
    (reviewer's comment: Purchase date is the date my reward was delivered, and purchase price of 77,5 GBP is that I paid during the Kickstarter campaign. However, as I wrote in my review, my comments, ratings and the value I find about these earphones still apply at full retail price)
     
    Please be gentle with me, it’s my first time (posting a review of sorts on Head-Fi, that is).
    Furthermore, I am neither an audiophile guru, nor a native English speaker, just an average dude who loves music.
    Being what and who I am, I am not going to post an actual review about the Trinity Atlas ; there are many here who are much more competent than I am in describing the sound, showing frequency response charts, comparing the Atlas to other earphones or suggesting tweaks.
    What I plan to do in my « review » is just to show and explain why I love the Atlas, as a simple, average, boy-next-door guy.
     
     
    BACKGROUND :
    With the exception of EDM, I enjoy almost any kind of music ; blues, folk and all kinds of rock music are my favorites, but I love country, classical, and world musics as well as jazz, and I can even enjoy some pop from time to time, or even have a go with rap.
    I have always been interested in music, but it is only when the Beatles’ 2009 remasters were released that my interest in quality music (lossless music and USB DACs) really rised.
    My first purchases were an Audioengine D1 DAC and a pair of A2 powered speakers from the same brand.
    After a couple of years of using this setup, I felt the need (and got enough funds) to evolve to something a tad more serious.
    I then upgraded to a Schiit Bifrost DAC and a Lyr tube headphone amplifier, that I coupled with an AKG K701, and later a pair of Audioengine A5+ ; I am currently still using this combination as a sedentary setup, with the exception of an Asgard 2 taking the place of the Lyr (and all but the Multibit upgrades to the Bifrost).
    While on the go, though, I was stuck with my 5th and 6th generation iPod Classics (that could not play 24 bit files, and whose sound quality could be definitely improved).
    I experimented with an Astell & Kern AK100 (the mkI) which did not provide me with the satisfaction I was expecting, but it is only when I got my Pono Player that I felt the Audiophile Nirvana was at reach of my financial possibilities.
    Since I received my Pono Player on December 6th, 2014, I’ve had the opportunity to experiment with a couple of headphones (Beyerdynamic DT1350 and Sennheiser Momentum over-ear), and several earphones (Klipsch Image S4, CustomArt Music One, Flare R2A and R2Pro, and Trinity Hyperion and Delta, before I got the Atlas).
    I also got a Fiio X3ii that I mainly use in conditions I’d fear for my Pono Player’s safety (mainly when doing sports).
     
    During my audiophile journey, I’ve learned that getting something better than what you’ve previously owned passes through trials and errors ; I’ve also learned that noticing a step up is much harder than realizing a step down.
     
     
    TRINITY AUDIO ENGINEERING :
    I first backed Trinity Hyperion and Delta early in April of 2015, before I backed Flare’s campaign late in May.
    I must confess I had buyer’s remorse (or backer’s remorse if you prefer) for backing Trinity giving Flare’s promises.
    I got both Flare’s and Trinity’s rewards within a couple of days’ difference, and though the R2Pro show outstanding performances, I’ve found their value was much lower than that of the Delta, were absolutely unforgiving to average recordings (which, you must admit, are the norm rather than the exception), and were much less comfortable than the Delta were.
    As a result, I’ve only listened through my Delta plugged into my Pono Player for about a month or so.
    When I returned to the Flare, I was not as enthusiastic as I first was. Brain burn-in, it might have been.
    I therefore wore only the R2Pro for about one week to see if I could return to my initial impressions… which I somewhat did. But when I returned to the Delta, the joy of listening to music was much higher.
    I have come to think the R2Pro might be my critical listening IEMs, while I’d wear the Delta when I wanted to actually enjoy music.
    Now, let’s be honest : I am not one who listens recording techniques or engineering qualities ; I, for one, want to listen to music and actually enjoy it. And for that, the Delta’s were the favorite IEMs I had ever owned. And probably one of the cheapest too.
    A word about Bob too… Many here can praise how involved some manufacturer can be ; there are a lot of entrepreneurs, or even representatives from bigger companies, that are present on Head-Fi. I personally got in touch with some from different companies, but Bob stands apart. The commitment he shows to his backers or customers is absolutely outstanding : from respecting the estimated shipping date for his Kickstarter projects to offering a cash back program when previous owners want to upgrade to a newer version of the Delta, or to upgrade to the Atlas, through a total availability and a no-nonsense attitude when a piece shows a defect… Bob’s attitude makes me proud I’ve backed Trinity from its first campaign on.
     
    It was therefore only natural for me to back Trinity’s second campaign for the Helio and Atlas.
     
     
    TRINITY ATLAS :
    I first contemplated getting both the Helio and the Atlas, but when the campaign relaunched, with much lower prices, I got in touch with Bob to ask him whether the Atlas were so much better than the Helio (I must say I had grown a total confidence in Bob’s advice) ; he then told me that while the Helio were really good, that’s the Atlas that were the star of the campaign and, to quote him, « his best realization yet .»
    I pledged for a couple of Atlas, thinking one of them would be used on audiophile purposes (mostly through the balanced connection to the Pono Player), while I’d use the second one as my sports setup (through the Bluetooth lanyard).
     
    I got my Atlas and the balanced cables about six weeks ago, and have avidly listened to them since then… I think I may now write down what my impressions about them are.
     
    Being familiar with Trinity’s tips, I assumed my favorite tips for the Delta – the provided foams –  would be the ones I’d prefer with the Atlas too, and it proved right.
    I must confess I did not experiment with neither the red filter (enhanced bass), nor the gunmetal one (treble focused), as I usually like more of a quite neutral sound signature.
    Once I fitted the purple filters (that are supposed to be the most neutral) on the Atlas’ shells and the foamies on the filters, I connected the balanced cable’s MMCX connectors to the Atlas, and plugged both jacks on the appropriate plugs of my Pono Player (left jack = headphone out and right jack = line out), then turned out balanced mode on the player.
     
    I was then ready for my first ever go on balanced connection…
    I usually am one who listens to albums all in a row, but for the purpose of testing, I selected tracks I knew well.
    • « Faith » by The Cure (16/44.1) : I love the whole album, but this song may be the one I love the most… The despair, melancholy, hopelessness of the song never struck me as it did with the Atlas in balanced connection. The bass sounds exquisite, but more than only listening to it (the song and its bass), I actually did feel it. You know, when you’re in a concert and you feel the instruments within your guts, and everything that surrounds you blurs and evaporates, and there’s only you and the music. This is how I felt. For the first time. And I must have listened to this song about 10000 times.
      When I fitted the gold filters, I had a feeling of increased bass impact but also, maybe, a sense of greater details retrieval. For the first time since I was first wearing IEMs, I had a feeling my brain actually shook with bass (and I had about the same feeling with « Russia On Ice » on Porcupine Tree’s Lightbulb Sun (24/48 DVD audio rip) and « Why So Serious ? » on The Dark Knight’s OST).
    • « One Of These Nights » (24/192 digital download) on the same titled album by The Eagles (this album is mostly underrated in my opinion). There were so many details on that song I had not been aware before, how can a band include that many guitars and harmonies on one single song ?
    • « Harvest Moon » on the same album by Neil Young (16/44.1). We’re getting serious here : this is the song I chose as a first dance when I got married. :wink:
      How stupid do you feel when, listening to a song, you turn around, 180°, thinking someone is actually brooming just behind you ?
    • « What God Wants (Pt. I) » on Roger Waters’ Amused To Death (24/192 Blu-ray audio rip) : the bass guitar has such an impact you actually hear the moment Waters’ (after checking on Wikipedia, it actually is Randy Jackson’s) finger hits and leave the strings.
     
    These were my impressions within the first minutes of getting my Atlas.
     
    First impressions, however, can sometimes prove to be incorrect, hence my waiting a little while so I can actually live with them and compare them with my other head gear so I can have more of a proper feeling about the Atlas.
     
    Over the time, I found I enjoyed the yellow filters more ; bass may be a tad emphasized with these over the purple filters, but my impression of further details retrieval with these proved right time and time again.
     
    Now, after having enjoyed them for several weeks, how do I feel about the Atlas ? Bring on the Phantoms Bob, I’d be surprised how you can design a piece of equipment that sounds better than the Atlas !
     
    In balanced connection with the Pono Player, my feeling about the sound signature – with the purple and yellow filters fitted – is how natural, « organic » would I say, it sounds. When using that setup, I’m not listening to a DAP, no matter how good it is (and I must say I love my Pono), but I feel like I’m listening to live music. There is this listening experience, but also another aspect that gets more to your guts, you know, like actually feeling the music deep inside.
     
    I typically listen to music for about four to six hours a day, and I play only albums ; once again, my favorite kind of music is the rocking kind, and I haven’t given classical or rap a go with the Atlas, as I wanted to test them with albums I know well.
     
     
    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES :
    Trinity is known to provide a high quality packaging and ridiculously numerous accessories.
     
    IMG_2576.jpg
     
    For the purpose of a comprehensive review, I’ll repeat what the Atlas come with :
    • the Atlas shells (obviously),
    • different cables : (1) standard braided – maybe the best earphone cable I’ve ever seen, especially given the retail price of the Atlas –, (2) standard lengthed rubbered with mic and remote and (3) shorter lengthed rubbered with mic and remote. On top of that, I’ve ordered the dual 3,5 balanced cable for the PonoPlayer ; this one is a braided one too and as far as I know, is also available in balanced TRRS configuration for other DAPs that play balanced in this configuration (such as the HiFiMan, but I’m not familiar with this player),
    • no less than 7 sets of tips : (1) silicone (S, M, M and L), (2) double flange and, (3) my personal favorites, Trinity’s foam tips (M and L),
    • two aluminum tubes to store the four remaining sets of filters (the fifth one being screwed on the Atlas shells),
    • a high quality semi-rigid carrying pouch with a mesh liner (I use it to store a spare set of tips and my filters, so I always have them all on the go),
    • a 90° angled jack adapter and,
    • a placstic shirt clip.
     
     
    BUILD QUALITY :
    All metal. The shells are sturdy and heavy enough to show this is a quality piece of equipment ; they are not too heavy neither, and I’ve nothing actually felt them or their weight in my ears.
    The braided cable is exquisite (unfortunately, my picture is not up to the cable's quality), tangle-free and the over-ear fit makes them microphonic-free.
    My only concern is how the MMCX connector would survive regular plugging and unplugging from the shells. I think only time will tell…
     
    IMG_2579.jpg
     
     
    FIT :
    As I previously wrote, when first experimenting with the Atlas, it is strongly recommended testing each tip in order to find the set that not only is the most comfortable, but also that provides you with the best seal, which is mandatory in order to get an accurate bass response (and, consequently, a balance all over the frequency range.
    Should you not be familiar with how to know whether you get a good seal or not, I’d encourage you to check the following link : http://www.sensaphonics.com/test
    With two short test tracks, you’ll find out in about a minute whether your IEMs are properly worn.
    The Atlas being the third set I get from Trinity, I assumed the I’d go with the tips I’ve loved best with my previous Trinity IEMs which, in my own case, proved right.
    I’ve found that I get the best response, at least for my personal preferences, with the tips located just at the entrance of my ear canals (yours may vary) ; the tips being not actually compressed within my ear canal, the Atlas are extremely comfortable, and can be worn for hours without the slightest discomfort.
    To be totally honest, I personally found the Delta even more comfortable (even paying attention, it occurred to me I could not tell whether I felt them in my ears) ; but I’ve suffered from the Delta’s microphonic noises, which is a shame as they were otherwise perfect.
    Don’t get me wrong : it is not the Atlas that are problematic, it just is the Delta that are unbelievably comfortable !
    Compared to the Delta, the Atlas are designed to be worn over the ear, which is a fit I prefer for many reasons : comfort, no microphonic noises, stability of the fit, ...
     
    IMG_2577.jpg
     
     
    SOUND :
    As a first time « reviewer », this part is the hardest part to write…
    I can always tell when I love a sound signature, but I’m having a hard time describing the sound signature I am looking for.
    Describing, in a language that is not mine, how a pair of headset sounds is something not only uneasy, but also eminently subjective.
     
    My Atlas have about 50 hours of burn-in time ; to me, the biggest improvement happened around the 10 hours mark ; I feel they keep on improving over time, but after 10 hours or so, the Atlas have lost their initial harshness.
    All my music is lossless and goes from the standard 16/44.1 CD rips to the 24/192 Blu-ray Audio rips or digital downloads. I also have several DSF files, but they are far less numerous since my PS3 showed the infamous yellow light of death.
     
    The first thing that strikes with the Atlas is the level of detail retrieval ; even on records I thought I knew, I discovered parts I had not noticed before.
    The purple filters seem to be on the neutral side, but even though there is a really tiny bit of bass emphasis on the gold (which makes them a bit more fun to listen to), the latest show even more details than the purple.
    As far as the bass is concerned, it is really hard to tell both filters apart when A/B-ing them, it is only through longer listening sessions that their differences show.
    Once again, despite the fact I like to claim I love better a neutral sound signature, I’ve found I liked better the « funnier » (I’d prefer the « more alive » tag to it) signature of the gold filters.
    Bear in mind that the changes between the « neutral » (purple) and « slightly V-shaped » (gold) is really subtle.
    Given the fact I settled with the gold filter, which is subjectively my favorite filter (at the moment of writing the review), I’ll try and give my impression on « how » the Atlas sound with the gold filters, both in balanced connection with the PonoPlayer and in single-ended with my Fiio X3II.
     
    Lows :
    The bass section is very well defined all over the range ; the bass has a very good impact, more so than with the purple filters.
    I may have a feeling the only limit of that filter is when the bass pace accelerates and goes into complex arrangements (think of a very fast drum solo or complex bass arrangements), maybe because of the increased impact of the bass.
    Being a rock lover, John Bonham’s drums or Steve Harris’ bass have never been defaulted with these tips, so I’m all good.
    While the Delta (with the gunmetal filters) were sometimes a little bit too « boomy » (which is not a flaw in my opinion, I really like them), bass is much more controlled on the Atlas.
     
    Mids :
    I think the mids are Trinity’s strong point in all of their IEMs : hey sound absolutely natural and strikingly real. It also is on this range that the instrument placement is the best ; on several occasions, I have felt a sense of 360° placement with a feeling of music coming from behind me.
    It is with the mids that the level of retrieval is the greatest too ; in my experience, they have never shown any weakness, and I honestly cannot think of anything else I would want them to be or to sound like.
     
    Highs :
    I really love the coherence shown by the Atlas, which are my favorite IEMs so far, and think all of Trinity earset show outstanding value. However, the highs may be the frequency tuning I like less (I am far from disliking it, it just is that I feel the lows’ and mids’ tuning much more to my liking).
    I have a feeling the highs are more easily put in default compared to the other frequencies. Bob Dylan’s or Neil Young’s harmonica playing sometimes show less precision and details than the other instruments, and I regularly have to turn volume down on highs-oriented music (once again, Dylan’s harmonica may feel a bit painful on a slightly over recommended listening volume).
     
    Imaging and soundstage :
    Thanks to the mids tuning, instrument placement is very good, though depending on the quality of the recording – you can’t compare the quality of the recording and mixing of Muddy Waters’ Folk Singer with that of L7’s debut album).
    Soundstage is good, but is restraint by the form of the gear ; do not expect to visualize a whole stage, but you will definitely not have the feeling music is stuck in your skull.
    With imaging as it is with soundstage, it is important to remember it is IEMs we are talking. Both characteristics are well above average on the Atlas.
     
     
    CONCLUSION :
    During Trinity’s first campaign, many backers came with several requests : an over-ear fit, a sport-oriented earset, detachable cable, more refined tuning possibilities, … none of which could be incorporated in the Hyperion-Techne-Delta campaign by Bob, who obviously wanted to respect estimated delivery dates.
    However, all of the suggestions were taken into account when designing the Atlas ; moreover, Bob showed extreme respect to his backers by offering a cash-back program to those already owning previous products but wanting to upgrade to a newer model (the Atlas or the Delta V.II).
    I personally find a bit sad the Atlas were marketed as « sports earphones » ; they may have been designed for sports use, they definitely have the ability to be enjoyed under sports circumstances, but they are much more than just sports earphones ; as far as I’m concerned, with my somewhat limited experience, they could be tagged as audiophile earphones.
    Purists may argue that their filter system, or even the balanced armature, defaults the audiophile purpose, but it is definitely not my feeling.
    Trinity has given me – as well as several hundred backers – the opportunity to get a high-class IEMs at an affordable price.
    Even at full retail price, I’d recommend them without the shadow of a doubt.
    And if you’re not willing to trust an AverageDude’s word on his first review, there are dozens of other Head-Fi members who are Trinity backers or customers and who share my feeling about this set of earphones, the guy and his company J.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. AverageDude
      @Dickymint : I am with you on the "Emotion" factor brought by Trinity's earphones, especially the Delta and Atlas.
      @zepthompson : and thank you for the tip (pun intended) on the typo I made :wink:
      AverageDude, Feb 12, 2016
    3. istlove
      Nice review! Where can i get the earphones?
      istlove, Mar 24, 2016
    4. AverageDude
      AverageDude, Mar 25, 2016
  4. Hisoundfi
    "Atlas" an earphone that does everything, and at a price that seems to good to be true!
    Written by Hisoundfi
    Published Sep 15, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Unbelievable accessories package, Multiple filter/cable options, Fantastic upper midrange and treble response, Tuning filters to customize sound
    Cons - Bassy filters response can be slightly sluggish with some genres
    Trinity Atlas Beta Sample Initial Impressions and Review
     
    At the time this review was written the Trinity Atlas was part of a Kickstarter project. The item can be purchased for around $140 USD or higher, depending on what options you select. Here is a link to their Kickstarter web page:
    20150914_234322.jpg
     
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/157887895/high-end-in-ear-headphones-and-wireless-in-ear-hea
     
    First things first, I’ve been spoiled with lots and lots of phenomenal gear in the last year. Reviewing has opened doors that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to. It’s a result of my love for this hobby and the Head-Fi community. It has given me a chance to experience and report on many of the best personal audio gear there is. I’ve met a lot of very cool people and experienced some of the most phenomenal products there are.
     
    When I first started chatting with Bob, it was a result of me complaining about the time it was taking to get my hands on the Delta/Techne/Hyperion Kickstarter products. Bob was quick to respond and reached out to me personally via PM on Head-Fi. To be honest this was a first for me. Never before has a company, let alone the main man in charge tried to contact me personally to resolve any issue(s) I was having. Long story short, we got things sorted out and the end result was more insight into the Trinity brand. And before I forget to mention it the Delta/Techne/Hyperion package DID NOT disappoint. I was very happy with my purchase of all three.
     
    There are some very different companies that exist within the realm of high fidelity audio. There are the big dogs that operate on endless budgets that pump out earphone releases with the sole intention of maximizing their profit margin while keeping their faithful following happy. Then there are companies that are middle of the pack, offering a variety of products that are geared towards a select group, whether it be the high end and high priced products or the budget-fi world I’ve grown to know and love. Before all is said and done, what’s left are unique companies like Trinity.
     
    Trinity has the same vision as the Head-Fi community, and it’s a beautiful one. Bob and the team at Trinity has set out to give the Head-Fi and Kickstarter community what it wants, which are great earphones that punch above their price that the masses can afford. Trinity’s products are based on OUR feedback, making it a win-win for everyone in the end. Anyone who participates on the Trinity Head-Fi and Kickstarter thread understands how personable and involved Bob is in the shaping of Trinity’s products. He is almost too transparent at times with his products and design, but let that be a testament to his goal which is to give all of us headphone enthusiasts the products we are looking for. High five Bob! We love ya!
     
    When the Head-Fi community wanted a solid hybrid IEM with phenomenal sound quality, along comes the Delta, one of the first hybrid earphones that offers three tuning filters (and two more rumored to come). Along with the Delta, Trinity released an ergonomic single dynamic with three tuning filters called the Techne, and the widely popular micro dynamic Hyperion. Trinity has put themselves on the map for sure with their inaugural releases.
     
    While the products are awesome, there are some things that I thought could be improved on. One was the fit and features. I mentioned to Bob that I wished the Delta was designed to be better set up for an over the ear fit. Other ideas came from the community, and sure enough Bob listened.
     
    Bob contacted me shortly after that to see if I would partake in some beta testing for the soon to be released Atlas. I was really excited and honored to have the opportunity. After some communications back and forth, I think he understood my intentions as a reviewer and Head-Fier. I want everyone reading this to understand that my goal is to help the Head-Fi community get their hands on the best products they can and at the best prices possible.
     
    Before I continue, I first and foremost want to thank Bob. Not only for the opportunity, but also his vision in designing his products. On behalf of all of us on Head-Fi and Kickstarter, we salute you for what you are doing sir! Cheers!
     
    The Atlas package came in a bubble wrap package. There was no retail packaging so I can’t comment on this at the moment. When the retail packaging arrives I will edit this and attach it to a more formal review.
    20150914_235926.jpg
     
    I received two versions of the Atlas. It didn’t take long to decide which one I liked more. Needless to say it was pretty unanimous between all beta testers which version will be used.
     
    The Atlas is a remarkable build. The housing is made of all CNC machined metal housings that are very solid. The housings will come in a variety of different colors to choose from (Purple, Polished Aluminum, Orange, Gunmetal, Matte Black, Red). I LOVE the polished mirrored look that came on the beta model. The shape is phenomenal and I have no complaints about them. Their design follows along the line of many over the ear designs like Shure, Westone, and Fidue. Another great feature of the Atlas is that Bob has decided to put an nano-coating on the entire housing, making them water resistant and less prone to water damage and corrosion.
    20150914_234430.jpg
     
    The Atlas has detachable MMCX connectors. They seem solid and well placed. The location of the MMCX jack sets up perfectly for their over ear fit. I have no problems with the placement.
    20150914_234547.jpg
     
    Another great design on the Atlas is the filter system. The filter design follows more along the lines of the Techne model rather than the Delta, offering five sets of threaded tubes that are shaped to hold ear tips and have venting that helps shape the earphone’s response. While I didn’t get the exact finishes of the filters, I did receive what could be the final production of filters in terms of tuning. I will report that there has been discussions of tweaking the filters to possibly maximize the listening experience. With that being said, even if we can’t come up with another filter option, the ones I received are excellent and everyone should be able to get a filter that matches their preferred tuning.
    20150914_234642.jpg
     
    Along with the housings I received two cables. One was a MMCX cable that is the same material as the first line of products. If you aren’t familiar with the original cable it is a braided cable with virtually no memory and very little spring. I love this cable and the MMCX application makes it even better. The other cable I received is a MMCX rubber coated cable with a universal single button microphone and remote. This cable seems very durable and reminds me of the RHA T20 cable in terms of thickness and durability. This cable has very little memory and less than average spring. The Trinity Atlas package will consist of three cables. To be honest I almost chuckle at this. At the current asking price I really don’t understand how Bob is making money off of these. The three cables by themselves should be more expensive than the Kickstarter asking price! There are also other cables that can be purchased like a bluetooth cable or Pono balanced cable. Don’t forget, because these are MMCX cables they can most likely be used on your other earphones with a MMCX connection.
     
    As far as tips are concerned, I got the same gray and yellow silicone stock tips that come with the first line of products. While these tips are very formidable, both Paul (Brooko) and myself were in agreement that Sony hybrid tips worked better. Because of this Bob will be supplying a similar style tip called “KOMBI” hybrid tips. Thank you Bob!
     
    Other tips that will ship in the package are S/M memory foam tips and double flange silicone tips. The other accessories that will come in the package are a shirt clip, a carrying case and a jack adapter. I can’t comment on any of this at the moment as I didn’t get any of this in the beta package. If they are anything like the first line of products they are excellent.
     
    Here are some specifications and lists of accessories before I begin with sound impressions:
     
    SPECIFICATION

    Balanced Armature + 8mm neodymium dynamic drivers

    5 x Interchangeable tuning filter system

    Impedance 16Ohm

    Sensitivity 110 +/- 3DB

    Frequency response 19 - 21000HZ

    24ct Gold plated 3.5mm Jack

    ACCESSORIES

    1. S/M/M/L silicone ear tips
    2. S/M memory foam ear tips
    3. 1 pair of double flange silicone tips.
    4. S/M/L "KOMBI" hybrid tips
    5. Shirt clip
    6. Carry case
    7. Jack adapter

    COLORS AVAILABLE

    You will be able to chose the colour of your Helio or Atlas IEM, choosing from the following selections:

    1. PURPLE
    2. POLISHED ALUMINIUM (excludes Helio wireless)
    3. ORANGE
    4. GUNMETAL
    5. MATT BLACK
    6. RED

    FILTERS EXPLAINED

    1. RED = Enhanced bass. Offering a V shape signature while retaining plenty of musical detail
    2. ORANGE = V shape signature with slightly decreased bass
    3. YELLOW = Neutral + Offering a more balanced sound signature with a very slight increase bass over neutral with a great mid and high range sparkle
    4. PURPLE = Neutral - Offering a more balanced sound signature across the frequencies.
    5. GUNMETAL = Treble. Offering a reduced bass signature with an focus on upper mids and treble.

    20150914_234503.jpg
     
    Sound Impressions
     
    Okay, so now you want to know how it sounds?

    The Atlas offers FIVE different tuning filters that all bring something different to the table. Here is a graph I made with my Vibro Veritas and ARTA software. It gives an idea of what to expect from each filter.

    TrinityAtlas.png

     
    The filters are vented to control the earphone’s bass response. As you can see by the graph, upper midrange and treble regions are almost identical, and from 2K and over it is pretty much an identical earphone. With that being said the tuning in this range is phenomenal, offering lots of detail and no sibilance from what I hear. There is no significant spike from what i can hear and everything sounds very natural and not overdone in any range.

     
    Red Filter

    This is the bass cannon filter from what I hear. The bass is there in abundance and is the star of the show in this configuration. You will still get good dynamics and better than average details, but the forward bass presence overshadows the reduced midrange presence. This will be the filter that will appeal to bassheads and those who like Hip Hop and EDM. Expect a consumer friendly tuning with excellent upper mids and treble presence and detail in this configuration.

    Orange Filter

    This filter sounded and measured almost identical to the red filters. I am wondering if I possibly got a red filter that was mistaken as the orange. For now all I can say is that it is pretty much the same as the red filters. I assume once Bob reads this he will contact me and see if there is a mishap in the filters I received. If there is a mix up I will be sure to edit this.

     
    Yellow Filter

    This is one of my personal favorites. I am a big fan of the Fidue A73 and this is very similarly tuned. To my ears the bass on the Atlas is just a touch slower in comparison, but the treble has just a touch less spike and is a touch more natural and resolving than the A73. This filter will be a favorite to many who buy the Atlas, as it is somewhat consumer friendly and enjoyable with just about every genre.

     
    Purple Filter

    At first listen this one was just a touch thin, but over time the purple filter’s sound grew on me and ended up being a tie with the yellow filter. The overall sound is very balanced to my ears, and the bass has better speed at the cost of less sub bass extension. Still, bass response isn’t necessarily lacking. I really enjoyed the purple filter with warmer sources.

     
    Gun Metal (gray) Filter

    This filter is the thinnest sounding, yet still carries a bass that can be heard and felt. Upper mids and treble are the star of the show in this configuration. It honestly has the sound of a high quality single balanced armature to my ears. Those who despise throbbing and thumping earphones and want to enjoy a thinner and more linear sound with a nice and complimentary bass presence, these are for you.

     
    Source Selection

    The Atlas is pretty source dependent. Because of it’s configuration and tuning filters, owners will enjoy tweaking their listening experience by experimenting with various sources and filters. For all you future Atlas owners, I promise that Bob has provided enough filters and cables to allow you to find what you consider to be a perfect, or darn near perfect combination for your preference and application.

    20150914_234322.jpg
     
    Conclusion

    With an array of cables and filter options, I would buy the Atlas if it cost twice as much as the current asking price. They have provided enough options that I can honestly say that they have pretty much eliminated the chance of anyone being able to say they can’t find a configuration that is ideal for their preference. Aside from being a Beta tester I have also jumped aboard the Kickstarter and ordered myself a retail pair. This is going to be a remarkable package at a price that is almost too good to be true.

    Thanks for reading and happy listening!
      jant71, leobigfield, peter123 and 4 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Inure
      Very detailed review. However, these look rather chunky and large. Do you foresee that to be a problem? As they are sport iems, I expect them to be lightweight. It would have been nice to include pictures of you with the Atlas on, if that would have been possible. Other then that, your review was excellent and very informative. The interchangeable sound signatures are a very interesting idea. I can't wait to try these out! Thanks for the amazing review. 
      Inure, Oct 29, 2015
    3. Paulus XII
      How does it sound?
      Paulus XII, Dec 29, 2015
    4. airomjosh
      im thinking of upgrading my lz-a2 and i know i should go to a3 route but the build quality and their design attract me most. are they an upgrade to lz-a2 in terms of overall sound quality?
      airomjosh, Mar 9, 2016