Review: Future Sonics Atrio Special Edition headphones

It doesn’t take an audio aficionado to know that you can’t settle for the headphones that come with your MP3 player – even though plenty of people still wander around with their standard white buds, travelers are one group that will usually invest in a pair of headphones designed to keep the music in, and the noise out.

In this review, I’ll introduce you to the headphones that artists like U2 and Keith Urban pick when they want to enjoy their music – the Future Sonics Atrio Special Edition.

The new Atrios Special Edition headphones come in an environmentally friendly box – and the included case is made of reclaimed rubber, made from old inner tube truck tires!

Inside the Atrios Special Edition headphones are Future Sonics MG7 transducers – and while that on its own doesn’t mean much, all you need to know is that these headphones do things to music I did not think were possible. In fact, these headphones make music sound so good, that I actually started to regret having so much of my music collection in relatively poor MP3 format instead of in lossless. To put them to the test, I started with some MP3′s, but later switched to lossless files (in FLAC).

For fans of numbers, the Atrio Special Edition headphones reproduce 18Hz – 20,000Hz Response, Sensitivity level of 112dB @ 30Hz with /- 26 dB Ambient Noise Rejection.

Inside the box, you’ll find two different sets of earpieces – silicone flanged and expanding foam. The silicone earpieces are pretty standard, and come in three different sizes. The foam ones are what you use when you really want to kill the noise around you. To insert, you roll them flat, then pop them in your ears to let the foam expand. The results are amazing – noise is canceled to the point where you can hear yourself blink. Even standing 4 feet away from a running dishwasher blocked out almost all of its noise.

The headphones do not come with an in-line microphone, or remote control buttons – so they really are designed for owners to enjoy their music – and may not be a solution for someone looking for a day-to-day pair of headphones. But to be honest, the audio performance is so good, that you’ll not want to be disturbed by calls or anything else while wearing them.

My only minor quibble with the headphones is that the silicone earpieces tend to attract a lot of dust. I’m not sure whether they are made a little stickier to keep the seal effective, but they will need a bit of a wipe after a few days use.

And speaking of cleaning, the headphones also come with a handy ear-wax removal tool, because the downside to in-ear headphones is that they’ll accumulate grime as you use them.

I’d be crazy if I told all my readers to all go out an invest $229 on a pair of headphones, but if you value your music, and appreciate being able to block out almost all outside noise, these are a better bargain than some active noise canceling headphones, and a lot easier to carry around.

You’ll find the new Future Sonics Atrio Special Edition headphones at futuresonics.com or at Airport Wireless stores around the country.

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