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And then there are the Andros. There is a reason that the word "special" is used with them so often.
I own the Comets and the Atlas but have never heard the Solaris or the Cascades. Ultimately what it will boil down to is your own personal preference and sensitivities. If it's at all possible I would suggest trying to demo whatever it is you buy before you buy it as $1000+ is a lot to drop on something before you're totally sure it's for you. Another thing is to take absolutely everything you read on the internet with a massive grain of salt-- including and especially the opinions of many of the self-styled internet arbiters of what high-end IEMs should sound like. A few weeks ago I purchased the Comets and fell in love with the Campfire sound and immediately started craving the next level. I am by no means a basshead but I do appreciate a good deal of substance on the low end-- in my ideal world my IEMs will replicate the sound of a good hi-fi stereo complete with a sub. With that the Atlas caught my mind so I decided to research it online. I came across various expert opinions that described it as "bloated", "bassy", "harsh sounding" so I retreated from the Atlas a bit and noted that many of these same people were in love with the Andromeda, so I thought maybe that was where I should pull the trigger. I just about did before the opportunity came up for me to try out the Atlas and when I did I was totally blown away by their sound and I realized that none of the major criticisms I had read were valid relative to my perceptions. There is a tendency in the audiophile community to prefer a more mid-centric sound, which is why (I think) the Atlas sound isn't more popular in such circles. For people like me, though-- who listen primarily to music rooted in rythym (rock, blues, EDM, reggae, funk, hip-hop), who have the opinion that the low end, not the mids, are the foundation of a good sound, and lastly who believe that listening to music should be a beautiful, engaging and above all a fun experience-- the Atlas' massive and enveloping sound is absolutely perfect. I am thinking of picking up a Solaris one day for times when I crave a sound that is more airy and holographic (with slightly less emphasis on the low end), but I can't imagine them replacing the Atlas as my go-to daily. If you've ever heard the Vega or the Andromeda that might be a good litmus as to what you might prefer.
You're absolutely correct. It's easy to fall down these rabbit holes. I'm kinda leaning towards the Atlas at the moment since I love the sound of the Cascades and I love my Comets. Seems like the best of both worlds. How often do you use your comets since you purchased the Atlas?
I don't. In fact I'm currently trying to sell them. I put them on a few days ago and, after a two week exclusive diet of the Atlas and their meaty DD bass and massive sound, there's simply no turning back. One thing that is worth pointing out about the Atlas is that some people have experienced issues with fit and driver flex. Finding the right tips can take time (I really like the Final Audio tips and the CA silicons) and sometimes it takes some experimenting to find their sweet spot in your ears, but the reward of sound you get from the Atlas for your patience is well worth it IMHO. I have found that a shirt clip helps a lot in relieving downward tension from the cable and I have had no issues walking around town for hours with the Atlas in my ears (haven't tried jogging or anything though).
I figure I'd probably just relegate the comets to my gym bag. I purchased the BTX1 bluetooth cable for gym use and running.
Here's a great video comparing the 2 (with the Hifiman Re2000):
You need to try the Equinox
Comet works fine with my Xiaomi Pocophone running latest Android
I haven't found much on the equinox. Seems to be a custom atlas from what I've seen.
Hey guys. Just on the topic of sibilancy I was experiencing with the Atlases, I should mention it turned out that I was actually listening to these in such a way that the seal I created in my ears was actually flexing the drivers in a way which caused them to accentuate the treble frequencies. Which is crazy! and was why I was experiencing so much harshness in the upper treble region. The trick that solved this was switching to the final e tips and inserting them into my ears until I heard one loud click and when I let go of them I should hear no loud click (maybe 1 or 2 softer clicks). Previously when I let go of them I would hear a second click and think thats just because the pressure is being equalised. But it turns out this was wrong.
I always thought that a symptom of driver flex is just sound going completely quiet indicating a bad seal but i didnt realise that it can be flexed while playing at normal volume but also accentuating treble. Im just surprised nobody has ever mentioned this. I cant imagine how many people may be experiencing this problem without even realising it. I noticed one guy deep in this thread mentioned he was experiencing a lot of sibilancy with these and KB gave him a list of suggestions to try and fix it. Maybe he was experiencing this problem too without even realising it.
Btw they do sound really fantastic now. I do feel like female voices are a little too peaky which causes me to decrease the volume by a notch or 2 but overall fantastic. Sound imaging on these are phenominal. In most songs the singer sounds like he/she is right infront you and you can, I dare say, actually feel their breath on your face when they are singing with minimal music in the backround.
But seriously though, why hasn't this problem been mentioned before?
I'd love to try a custom with that short nozzle length, just a shame it's $$$$!
Can someone explain to me how you would know if your iems are experiencing driver flex? What are the tell tale signs?
They "click" when you push them in your ears, in the worst cases this happens even when simply moving the head or opening the mouth.
From my experience with balanced armiture iems it used to be 2 easily identifiable things: 1. a simple click when inserting the iem into the ear indicating the driver has been flexed and 2. Sound goes quieter because the movement of the driver is constricted due to it being flexed. This usually automatically goes away as soon as you let go of the iem with balanced armiture and it was never a big deal. You could eat; walk; go for a run and you would never experience driver flex again while the iem was in your ear.
The Atlases are my first experience with dynamic drivers and my idea of driver flex has altered slightly in a sense that driver flex has a 3rd symptom in conjuction with the 2 I mentioned, that is: an abnormal change in sound signiture due to the constriction of the movement of the driver. And you don't need to hear a click for the other 2 symptoms to occur. With these I'm farely restricted with what I can do, everytime I chew on food the volume goes quiet in one ear, as well as hearing clicks and abnormal sound signitures; when you run you get driver flex, heck even when you tilt your head backwards you get driver flex (from the 3 symptoms I mentioned).
Its weird because with BA iems you dont want to hear that click as you feel like you're damaging the drivers, but these its like you need to flex these drivers by hearing that click otherwise their sound signiture is completely altered and treble sounds extremely harsh. So with these I'm always trying to get that 1 click in my ear which is how these should be worn. It is a real struggle trying get the correct fit or "sweetspot" as @Rockwell75 pointed out. Unless both my drivers are defected (though I doubt it), I'd like to know if other people have the same issue.
Maybe these have nothing to do with being dynamic drivers but instead just being very large drivers. Idk. This is just from my experience.
If you are pushing your IEMs into your ear and hear a wrinkling sound (with the music off obviously), then that is driver flex. Like crinkling a bag of potato chips kind of sound.