A couple of weeks with the Radius Atomic Bass earbuds (Verdict: Simple, competent)


The Radius "Atomic Bass" headphones were designed in Japan. You will know this primarily because Radius repeats it over and over in their promotional literature, but also because there is a hint of restraint in the aluminum design. Unlike most gaudy headphones, the Atomic Bass earbuds don't draw undue attention to themselves or your ears — this despite having relatively cheap-looking white rubber cords.

And the Atomic Bass earbuds are cheap — but in a good way. They're just $40 on Amazon; I've seen them elsewhere for around $35. That's about par for the aftermarket earbuds course, putting them up against entry-level models from V-MODA, Sony, and Sennheiser (among others).

They sound clean, although that nuclear-class bass isn't all that pronounced. The bass is there, healthy and strong for earbuds, but it's the highs that seem to dominate, at least after about a dozen hours of listening through an iPhone with the EQ turned off. Again, that's not a bad thing: the middle frequencies seem to suffer as they do on most inexpensive earbuds, but the sound on the whole gets out of the way of the music itself, which is really all you can ask of something at this price. (Unlike, for example, those horrendous Koss Sparkplugs I saddled myself with a few weeks ago.)

What they lack for iPhone users is an in-line microphone. After my V-MODA Vibe Duo Nero headphones stopped working — there are clearly quality control issues at the company, as some have reported to be on their fourth or fifth pair – I missed the ability to take calls or pause and change music tracks with an in-line button, but not terribly. And those buttons aren't worth an additional $60. (Most iPhone headphones seem to be hovering around $100.)

In short, these little earbuds are worth your consideration, especially if you can find them for under $40. As long as the rubber cord stays is as sturdy as the cool aluminum angled driver chassis, of course.

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  1. I’ve recently seen several very positive reviews for Skullcandy earbuds, too. They’re in this price range ($25-$75), and have an iPhone version of their high-end model for $80 on their site (probably available for less elsewhere). link

    I haven’t tried any of them, but they seem to be widely touted as an excellent value.

  2. i had some panasonics in the same price range they lasted me about 6 months but i sweat like a pig so that probably was why they got ruined.

    i’m not sure whether iphones have bluetooth a2dp on them but they should. although the limitations of wireless microwave band devices about the body have some limitations as the body blocks the signal, which lead to me changing my preferred way of carrying them around – on the shoulder strap of a bag. wires are so irritatingly fragile even when they are are designed to be as strong as possible.
    i think a different, body-penetrating frequency would be better for this, but i still prefer the wireless headset to anything with cables.

  3. …rubber cord stays ARE as sturdy as…

    and I take it you didn’t notice any microphonics from the cord rubbing on things when at low music volume?

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