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NEW - Campfire Comet and Atlas

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  1. sorrick
    I received my Atlas on Wednesday and they are getting better and better the more I listen and burn them in. When I first listened to them, the mids and highs sounded a little bit recessed/veiled and the bass was a bit overpowering, almost like the bass formed a aural fence that you had to step over/through in order to get to the guitars, vocals, and other instruments. However, after about 5-10 hours of listening, they opened up and now the mids and highs are not at all recessed. The bass has also tightened up and it really is lovely having that big, full, and impactful bass that anchors the sound without overpowering the mids and treble. The treble is very clean, smooth, and non-fatiguing. A previous reviewer put it very well saying it is not sparkly, but it does have a nice sheen with nice but not overemphesized detail. I have not had any sibilance and all, which is nice.

    I’ve done a lot of back and forth with my phantoms and they are both very different but also in a weird way very similar. Both the phantoms and the Altas have very big, full, fun, and musical sound, which can seem both intimate because of how engaging they are, but also vast in terms of soundstage when that is in the recording. The fullness and depth of both gives each iem a very three dimensional, well rounded (dare I say spherical) sound, although they are weighted differently.

    The phantoms on the whole are much more balanced and although they are warm and definitely not bass light, they are very linear with bass, mids, and highs are all more or less equally emphasized. Now, because of how engaging everything is, they feel more like everything is emphasized at the same time (everything is turned up to 11), but the part that steals the show is the cohesiveness and how everything comes together rather than any one part (highs, mids, or lows). There is more sparkle in the treble with the phantoms than the atlas and to my ears a little more treble extension, but I would not describe the phantoms as super sparkly either (less sparkly than Noble Encores, for example). The phantom mids also seem to have a little more detail than the atlas, but not hugely so. The thing that really steals the show is the simultaneous naturalness of tone with the phantoms, while also maintaining great clarity, and in this sense, they do outpace the atlas. Sticking with the spherical sound analogy, they would be almost like a basketball or soccer ball, very evenly weighted.

    With the atlas, the low end is definitely the thing that you are immediately struck by, but as you listen, although the bass is definitely emphesized, it is done so in a very natural and cohesive way. The big trick of the atlas is that although the bass is very big in presentation, it does not overtake the mids or the highs, and does not steal the show in a way that makes you feel like the bass is overpowering. It more provides a really nice anchor to the sound, weighting it for sure, but doing so in a very natural, and intimate way. The dynamic rumble and emphasis of the bass makes you feel the lows like you are right there at a live show, feeling the thump of the PA, or in the case of more acoustic or classical music, like you are right there in the studio feeling the bottom end of the cello or upright bass. It is very visceral bass that grounds the sound. The mids and highs are detailed, well textured, have good clarity, and natural in tone, and while the bass emphasis makes it so they do not sound quite as totally natural as the phantoms, there is something very organic, full, and whole about the bass-weighted sound. I’ll call it bass-natural...to use the sphere/ball analogy again, the atlas is like a medicine ball. The bass gives a very satisfying heft to the sound, but it is still well rounded, natural, and satisfying. It is ultimately not 100% true to life, but it is a very lovely, earthy version of reality. The big plus of the robust bass is that while it does not overemphasize bass where it does not belong (you do not feel like classical music to overly bass), it does pull it out of songs where you’ve always wished the bass sounded better/fuller than it does (I’m look at you ‘Starboy’ by The Weeknd/Daft Punk). The atlas are also a lot more forgiving on poorer quality recordings than the phantoms, which can be. I’ve if you listen to a lot of modern pop, hip hop, heavily compressed, or even classic rock where the recordings are not always the best.

    All in all it really depends on what flavor you are looking for. If Ihad to choose the atlas vs the phantom, I would probably lean on the phantom because I love how right it gets it tone-wise, but I’m really glad I don’t have to, because I love the still very natural, but grounded/earthy version of reality I get from the atlas.
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
    dpwolfordMD, siruspan, knopi and 6 others like this.
  2. fuhransahis
    Excellent comparison, and 1 million percent applicable to my own case, as I own the Phantom but am considering the Atlas as a complement! :L3000:
  3. sorrick
    They complement each other very nicely. Ironically, I got the phantoms because I wanted a closed, sound isolating iem that could give me some of the holographic, natural sound I got from the Audeze i4, but with a warmer signature that would be a nice complement to my Noble Encores. The atlas intrugued me because I have a soft spot for great, visceral bass, and big sound, but not at the expense of the rest of the spectrum.

    I told myself I would either return/sell the atlas if they were too much, or sell the encores (which I do really love)...I think I’m going to have to part with my beloved encores.
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
    fuhransahis, faithguy19 and kakistos like this.
  4. faithguy19
    Awesome! Thanks for the thorough comparison. I was only able to audition Phantom at Axpona but I thought it was very very impressive.
  5. emptymt
    Very elaborate comparison, thx a lot for this!

    Based on what you say, I think I really need to give the Atlas a listen, from what you say there are some things that I know I will like such as how big it sounds, but some that worries me as well particularly the mids as I like slightly forward mids!

    Some of my recordings is indeed poor quality, I listen to Metal from classic to extreme, ranging from the 80s till today. I don't really listen to pop and EDM was in the past for me.

    The Atlas is better priced compared to the Phantom, so I can save lots of money if I go with Atlas!
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
    dpwolfordMD likes this.
  6. haiku
    Amos said there´s no big difference when you use other cables, as the stock cable is already very good and has great synergy with the atlas. I can confirm this.
  7. emptymt
    If only we could choose the termination, it would've been so much better.
    Slashn77 likes this.
  8. haiku
    You guys need to listen to the Atlas out of the Dac section of the ALO CDM tube amp. The sound quality is a dream come true!
  9. subguy812
    Nice impressions..I am not sure how long you have had the Phantom, I know it has been available a bit longer and you really had two days of listening to the DD Atlas. I will be curious how much more the gap might narrow between the two after a little more time. While I have quite a backlog in my review queue at the moment and should be critically listening to other IEM's that I received first, I cant seem to put the Atlas down. I have settled in with the Final Audio tips and as my brain has adapted to the sound of the Atlas and the DD has had more hours logged on them, the Atlas is really showcasing it's diversity throughout the frequencies.
    dpwolfordMD and fuhransahis like this.
  10. Beechedwhale8
    So how would you guys compare the quality of the mids on the Atlas to those of other high end iems? Do they stack up?
  11. Giraku
    My early impression on Atlas comparing with Tia Fourte and U18 Tzar.
    I got my Atlas 5 days ago, and so far about 20 hours on them.

    Source: AK SP1000Cu
    Cable: Effect Audio Leonidas 2.5mm balanced for Atlas, Effect Audio Horus 2.5mm balanced for both Fourte and U18t.
    Tips: Stock foam tips on all of them.

    Since it is too early to do a detailed in depth analysis, I noted what I heard on some music tracks of a variety of genre. I tried to match the volume as much as possible before critical listening on each track separately, although the adjustments were done subjectively.

    Alive by Hiromi (contemporary jazz trio, instrumental) 24bit / 96kHz FLAC
    U18t was the best with fast and hard hitting bass while maintaining a cohesive balance across all the frequency range. Also U18t was a detail monster with huge sound stage. Atlas was the second. Bass was a bit too dominating. But the shimmering cymbal sounded best on Atlas. Fourte had a great sub bass but overall too polite. Fourte was more resolving than Atlas with wider sound stage. But Atlas had more depth.

    Maleficent Suite by James Newton Howard (movie soundtrack) 16bit / 44.1kHz FLAC (CD Rip)
    Atlas was the winner closely followed by Fourte. Big and solid bass created a very nice foundation of the score. Fourte had better sub bass extension but the bass quantity was clearly lacking compared to Atlas. For some reason, bass was not impressive on U18t on this track. And U18t got too analytical.

    The Very Thought of You by Emilie-Claire Barlow (female vocal jazz) DSD64
    Fourte had the best vocal performance, intimate but not right on the face with smooth and relaxed presentation. U18t was great but a bit sterile sounding, although it was the most airy sound production. Atlas had very full and rich vocal right in front of my face. Very detailed but a bit too close. But the flugelhorn sounded best with Atlas for some reason.

    Caravan by Wynton Marsalis (jazz instrumental) DSD64
    Trumpet sounded so real on Atlas with near perfect balance of quartet sound, quite enjoyable. U18t was on a bit of bright side for trumpet, although timbre was probably most accurate. Please note that "accurate" and "real" are different for me. To my ears, Atlas presented the most life like music on this track. U18t was a bit analytical. Fourte was right in the middle between Atlas and U18t with smooth and nicely enjoyable presentation.

    We've Got a World That Swings (male and female duet jazz) 24bit / 96kHz FLAC
    This was a tough battle. Atlas had the best male vocal, while Fourte had the best female vocal. Occasionally, heavy bass on Atlas was a bit distracting. So probably Fourte was the 1st and Atlas was the 2nd with very small gap in between. U18t was again a bit too analytical but cleanest among them.

    Summary: These 3 TOTL IEMs sounded great on all the tracks. No doubt that they are on the top tier in terms of the sound quality department. All the above assessments were my subjective perception, therefore obviously YMMV. To me, Atlas was the most casually enjoyable and most forgiving IEM, while U18t was the cleanest but most analytical. Fourte sits right in the middle. Some people are talking about recessed mids on Atlas. But to my ears, Atlas has very full mids, not recessed at all. Obviously the biggest difference in this comparison was the big bass on Atlas. Switching from Fourte or U18t to Atlas, bass sounded a bit overwhelming for the first 10 seconds or so. But after my brain quickly adjusted to the Atlas sound signature, going back to Fourte and U18t I started missing the bass quantity right away. I'm not a bass head at all. Still the strong bass of Atlas is really good on various tracks. The Atlas bass does not interfere with mids. And the trebles are also very clear independent from the bass. I guess after burning in for 200 hours or so, the bass will be a bit tighter and slightly less emphasized, which will likely make the Atlas sound signature more attractive.
    If I'm hard pressed to pick only one out of the 3, I will run with Atlas and Fourte. Can't decide between these 2. Please do not get me wrong. I do love U18t, but mostly for critical listening.

    Ok. That's enough. Going back to weekend relaxed listening with Atlas. Now listening to Worrisome Heart by Melody Gardot...
  12. aaf evo
    I am tempted to try an Atlas but not sure it’s worth it since I’m planning to go CIEM w a Legend X. Is there anyone who didn’t like the Vega who likes the Atlas?
  13. ExpatinJapan
    Its not that I didnt like the Vega perse, but I loved, loved the Andros.

    And I am very smitten with the Atlas
  14. aaf evo
    I’d probably still own the andromeda if the fit wasn’t so bad. Since then I’ve gone through the Vega, Fourté, U18t, and now I’m on the LX. Atlas seems to have overwhelmingly positive reviews which makes me want to try it. I absolutely hated the Vega.
  15. kdphan
    Good to know
    I was also more impressed with the andromeda compared to Vega. But it seems people are saying the Atlas is a mix of the two. This is good to know.
    ExpatinJapan likes this.
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