Review: Radius Atomic Bass Earphones

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Call me a snob for liking my $150+ Ultimate Ears, Shure and Etymotic earphones, but they sound fantastic and fit perfectly. Oh, uh, excuse me while I remove the egg off my face. I’d never heard of Radius until I received a pair of Atomic Bass earphones a couple weeks back. I figured a pair of $40 earphones would sound like a $40 pair, but no, I was wrong.

I don’t particular think the drivers on the Atomic Bass are anything special, but the seal is a different story. I’ve lambasted other purveyors in the past for having shoddy tips because it’s usually the key reason certain earphones fail to impress, but Radius manages to hit the nail on the head. But then again everyone’s ears are different. They worked for me, though.

One thing I typically do with in-ears is step out onto the street to see how much traffic I can hear. I was surprised when I stepped out of the CG office on 23rd Street and heard nothing. The seal is that good. I tried it on the subway with the same results and volume generally hovers somewhere to the left of the middle. So, for me, the seal is quite good and the AB come with three sets of silicone tips. The smallest of the bunch are really tiny. And Radius says that you can fit these into your ears three different ways, but I’m cool with the over-the-ear or dangling methods.

Sound quality pales in comparison to the UE, Shure or Etymotic in-ears that I bounce between but it’s impressive for a pair that costs $40. As the name would imply, they’re pretty bassy but not in an overpowering drowned out way. They hit hard when they need to from low to high. However, overall sound quality suffers when you turn the volume about ¾ of max. They didn’t distort from any particular genre of music that I’ve been listening to, but I could hear that they were on the very cusp of doing so. However, it’s not unbearable and you don’t really need to turn them up that high unless you’re already going deaf. Some tracks, however, weren’t exactly crystal clear, though.

I didn’t find a whole lot to complain about but we all have our own pet peeves, right? The wiring is super thin and gets tangled easily. Thin cords might not be an issue for some, but I’ve grown accustomed to wearing my in-ears over-the-ear and the Atomic Bass just don’t cut it. I know it’s not my ears because I haven’t had any issues with other in-ears. The cords just aren’t weighted enough to sit tight like others do.

I can’t point out a whole lot of negatives about a pair of $40 in-ears when they’re as good as the Radius Atomic Bass models. I like my headphones/earphones to be bassy and the AB deliver. Overall sound isn’t as good as others in my arsenal, but they’re good enough for around town use and I wouldn’t be heart broken if they were stolen. I’d recommend these to anyone who are in the market for sub-$50 earphones.

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