The Atomic Floyd Super Darts Titanium in-ear headphones are out now for £250.
I listen to trash.
I like badly recorded death metal, faux-civil war indie punk and singer songwriters who might as well produce their records inside a busy branch of Starbucks on Wednesday afternoon. The idea of spending £250 on a pair of in-ear headphones that do nothing other than look and feel nice, and promise to make your music sound “epic” gives me a severe case of anxiety and dread. I wouldn’t do it. It would make me enjoy my terrible music less, and upset me when I eventually drop them down the side of an airline seat or into the slobbering jaws of a London Underground tube train door.
With that in mind, I really like the Atomic Floyd ‘SuperDarts Titanium’ in-ears, because while they do indeed cost £250, they aren’t that bothered about reminding you of that fact every ten seconds. Absurdly expensive? Maybe. But they're not particularly absurd.
What does £250 buy you here? First you get an “obsessively engineered” neodymium 9mm driver, with airvents and a strong, bold, loud sound. You get a nice selection of different ear tips, titanium construction (yes really) coupled with an oddly plastic remote, and an intricate but not OTT design which is reminiscent of both a rose and a bullet casing. (More details here.)
There’s a Kevlar-reinforced cable, a lightweight feel and an overall sense of competence. And yes, they sound great - not particularly unique or weird, perhaps, but extremely impressive. They certainly made mincemeat of Titus Andronicus and J Mascis. Good for you, expensive earphones. Good for you.
There are really two main things that your £250 does not buy you. First, it does not buy you value. This is a tautology, but it is important. Second, it won’t necessarily buy you the peace of mind that you’ve definitely, absolutely bought the best headphones ever made, which is probably what you’re after if you’re spending that sort of dough on in-ear headphones. There are other equivalent in-ears and they are also well-made, great-sounding and slightly ridiculous. And yes, there are headphones that cost half as much that sound - to me - about the same.
If you’re the type of person that wants your headphones made of titanium - maybe to go with your watch, your pen and your revolver - then you can’t go wrong here. If you have £250 to get rid of and you want some earphones, these are great. But I can’t pretend to be anything other than half mystified, and half afraid, that anyone would actually do that in real life. At least not with my record collection.