Second time's the charm, it seems. Atomic Floyd's AirJax earphones didn't blow us away last November, but we've spent the last couple of weeks with a beautifully designed new model -- the HiDefDrum sound-isolating earphones -- and these finally prove Atomic Floyd's hyperbole-rich marketing is far from unjustified.
Unlike the AirJax model, this £85 pair of steel earphones deliver incredible clarity and deep, velvet-smooth bass. From the word go it was clear these 'phones are perfect for dance music, pounding pop and electronic anthems.
Assisted by a rear-mounted bass reflex port and comfortable sound-isolating tips, the bass on these earphones is not only powerful, but incredibly low on distortion. The Black Eyed Peas track Anxiety sounded as good through these as through a pair twice the price, as a result of their punch, depth and clarity.
And don't get us started on how good Pendulum's In Silico record sounded. Drum 'n' bass rarely sounds this good in a pair of £85 earphones -- Denon's AH-C551s are the closest competitor, and will have their work cut out for them from the Atomic Floyd n00bs.
Female vocals sound smashing, too. A smidge of Vanessa Carlton -- clean, piano-driven rock -- let the HiDefDrums show off their clarity and crisp treble.
But they're not a 'warm' pair of earphones. Compared to models from Sennheiser or Shure, they don't deliver a live-like sound, a sound that makes acoustic music and instruments sound perfectly natural. This just furthers our feelings that they're perfect for any kind of electronic tunes, pop hits and dance anthems. Just don't rush out if you're solely into the warm sound of a nylon-stringed acoustic guitar.
It seems as well, say colleagues, that they leak quite a bit. Rory cranked them up to his normal epic volume and we could hear them across the office. So keep the volume down on the bus, okay?
You can order now direct from AtomicFloyd, with next-day delivery in Europe. But before you do, check through our gallery of hands-on photos and close-ups over the next few pages.
Notice those little holes? That's your bass port. It's also where cheeky sound waves escape to annoy nearby train passengers or, in our case, CNET UK editor Jason Jenkins.
Not the world's smallest or lightest earphone, it must be said. But they are comfortable.
A gold-plated 3.5mm plug fits the original iPhone, and the cloth-covered cable (seen in the next photo) incorporates a microphone for answering calls.
Here's that cloth-covered cable we just mentioned. As you can see, it's a cable. Covered in cloth. Hence the name.
Finally, a slightly arty shot of the included pouch for storing your arty earphones.