The headphone that probably blew me away most with this combo is the 300Ohm Sennheiser HD800. On paper the Atlas seems like a match made in heaven as it shares the same characteristics as the Sennheiser and in this case it really is a match made in heaven both in SE as well as in BAL mode. Great speed, incredible sound stage, great body in bass in mids, excellent impact and so many detail. The Atlas does it all without ever making the HD800 sound harsh, too sharp or wide and I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually was tuned by a big HD800 fan. I especially love it with the DAC filter set to Super SL, but all I can say is WAW.
The Focal Utopia is another headphone I really like and it’s one of my personal favorites to be honest. With the Atlas in low gain it delivers great clarity, speed and precision, with a neutral amount of body overall. For some the body with this combo might be a bit light in the mids, but I really love the bass impact, detail, overall layering and musicality. It’s another excellent combo with an excellent sound stage, great depth and awesome speed, especially in the Short SL DAC mode and in the balanced configuration.
It’s clear the Atlas performs well with most headphones and exceptionally good with a number of them. Atlas is neutral and precise, fast, balanced, linear and detailed and so you will hear this in the headphone you’re listening to. You might like completely different things than I do, so the advise is still to listen to your favorite headphone with the Atlas yourself. The combo that disappointed me most was the MX4-combo, that’s easy. Choose which headphone I love most with it however, now that’s a lot harder as so many have excellent synergy with the unit. It simply shows the Atlas really is a high end, top quality DAC/AMP/streamer, etc…
Synergy – Earphones
The Atlas has more power than you’ll ever need for any IEM and seeing IEMs in general are extremely easy to drive, most people won’t be using something like the Atlas to drive them. But you always can and so for this test we have chosen 2 specific IEMS: the Meze Audio Rai Penta and the oBravo Ra C Cu which needs and loves a lot of power.
For the oBravo Ra C Cu to sound best you have to up the gain of the Atlas to MID and together with the Short SH DAC setting, it just sounds incredibly good. The Ra loves power and when supplied with enough of it, it sounds very good. If you don’t get the source right the most expensive IEM in the world won’t sound extraordinary, but in this case, it absolutely does.
The Meze Rai Penta also performs excellent from the Atlas but it even in LOW gain mode, gets loud fast. The Rai Penta and Atlas combo is really splendid, and it’s another combo I just can’t stop listening to. Listen to Lykke Li’s “Youth Novels” or the OST of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, and impressed you will be.
I tried a whole series of my favorite Custom IEMs with the Atlas to test it for noise, such as the Jomo Flamengo, but there just wasn’t any to be found. Atlas will sound clean and perfectly silent on that pitch black back ground.
I spend a lot of time listening to gear every single day and my wife accepts that (Best ever! She might be reading this) but I tend to stop listening/working at 9PM in the evening so we can spend some quality time together. The last few weeks my wife hasn’t always been happy with me though, “You’ve been spending way to much time in your office” is what she says. Well what can I say… blame Atlas.
It’s one of those amps you enjoy so much and listening to your favorite tunes is just pure bliss. I just want to listen to more tracks and turn up the volume because it sounding so good.
Atlas might be a bit expensive (and huge) but boy does it sound incredible. You get a high end, very well balanced, detailed but musical sound and you’ll fall in love with it right away. It’s no wonder the first batch sold out directly. You better start saving up and don’t forget new, extra large, furniture. Listed! (check out our choice of Best DAC/AMP combos here)
Oh and also, guys, can you make me a portable version of this? Seriously, like, soon. Thanks.