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Atrio Earbuds by FutureSonics


Author:  Ian Garris
Date:  2009.02.25
Topic:  Audio
Provider:  Max Borges Agency
Manufacturer:  Atrio






Introduction:

With the proliferation of portable digital audio players of ever-increasing capacity, and codecs suporting increased fidelity and bitrate, more and more people are demanding higher quality headphones to keep up with their music. FutureSonics is one company you've probably not heard of, but you've probably heard of Justin Timberlake, The Police, U2, Shakira, Ricky Martin, or Carrie Underwood. They do know who FutureSonics is, and use their products. I'm sure you have probably heard of Shure or Bose, two audio companies playing in the same league as FutureSonics (but more heavily marketed). Compared to them, FutureSonics' Atrio is a sleeper hit, equal to or better than equivalent-priced ear buds according to Head-Fi (A forum for fans of hi-fi portable audio to gather and discuss their hobby) discussions - I better know, I waded through about half of a hundred-and-eighty-one page discussion of the merits of these things. Let's see if they're up to the ... er wait, there was no hype.

Packaging:

No surprises here, shrink-wrapped paperboard with a push-out cardboard tray. Inside that however was a surprisingly useful* little belt case that will comfortably contain your headphones and all that's included, or your headphones and an iPod Nano, or whatever other essential bit of kit you want to stick in there. Also included is a package of ear tips, two sets each of two sizes of 'foamies'. As fans of in-ear monitors call them, these are disposable open-cell foam things with a hole punched in the middle, into which the pointy end of the earbud is stuck. Also included are three sets of double-flange rubber ear tips; these are easier to use and quicker to put in than the foamies, but don't maintain as consistently good a seal with all ears. (Pay attention, this will come up again!)

The other thing included is a little plastic rod with a metal wire loop at the end - you've probably never seen this before, but don't throw it out. It's a tool for cleaning out the tips of your new earphones, and you will need to clean out your new earphones sooner or later, as they will inevitably become clogged with earwax.

*(Not two minutes after I wrote this sentence, the belt loop broke its stitching. Caveat emptor, the case was a courtesy, and you get what you pay for. That said, only the thread broke; I'm going to sew the loop back on with dental floss, an old hiker trick.)

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