I definitely agree, atlas needs time investment to sound good, you have to be quite particulate with the nuances it makes when rolling cables/tips.
I couldn't agree more. Atlas requires ones time to be tuned in properly.
As someone who's been owning the Atlas for about a year now I'd like to share my experience with it as well as some tips to what I did to it to make it sound exceptional to my ears.
First off , burn in. This , as a dynamic driver , requires it and Atlas especially.
Overwhelming low end at first starts to begin seattling at about the 100hr mark, but I could hear changes up until 300hr, some say 500hr even.
The FR it then has to my ears needed EQ. As someone who prefers faster , dynamic music , rock and mostly metal I needed to eq the low end , especially at around 200hz by -3db and boost the midrange at 1200hz a bit.
Then came the ear tips.
This IEM is very sensative to fit and ear tip type.
As for the fit I found the Atlas sounds best with a fully sealed(non-loose) fit.
This however brigs me to the Atlas's biggest issue.
The driver flex.
Whenever I could get a good fit and seal that would introduce a complete or partial loss of sound coming from the monitor known as "driver flex".
Driver flex , as many of you know, occurs due to the vacuum created between the driver and the ear drum that disabbles the driver to move and thus create sound.
I believe this issue Atlas is especially prone to as its driver is very thin and light , as most high end DD membranes tend to be.
Foam tips would likely avoid this, but I found them to mess up the sound the most for me.
After testing many tips , I found the best for the Atlas sound wise to be the Spiral Dots by JVC (or the newer ++ )
But as they are made of silicon, a full seal fit would make driver flex a very common occurrence.
After a lot of frustration I have figured a solution to this.
I simply took a 14 gauge IM needle and pierced a few holes through the JVC tips ( at the tip of the boar).
This allowed air pressure to normalise after insertion in the ear and avoid the driver flex.
The pirced holes must not be too many or too wide as you would then loose the ability to have a full seal.
I found 5 holes around the tip with a 14 g needle to be sufficient.
Driver flex would still sometimes occur but much less frequent.
As for cable rolling I couldn't recommend the Alo Audio SXC8 more!
Even Ken Ball @KB recommended this pairing
This, to me , brings the Atlas to a whole new level of SQ and fidelity.
And lastly I found the Atlas to sound its apsolute best when playing through a quality set up REALLY LOUD.
This might sound weird to some but I recommend you give it a try at least.
I love listening at a few steps down from painful anyway but simply put I found this vastly increases bass timbre , positioning/imaging and provides a vary realistic treble presentation.
So to summarize I believe the Campfire Atlas is a very powerful thick sounding IEM on its own but with these tweeks regarding , Tips, Seal, Cable , Volume and Eq it juices them up to a whole new tier.