- Manufacturer & Model
- Atlantic Technology FS-HAL1 Hi-Res Certified In-Ear Monitors
- $199 (3.5mm connection version), $229 (Lightning connection version)
Comfort level is high, strong bass, easy to drive, sturdy construction.
The FS-HAL 1 is a relatively new In-Ear Monitor from Atlantic Technology. Comfort level was found to be high and usability was aided by a convenient flat-sided volume/phone control. Sound quality was even tempered with a beautiful midrange, confident bass, and a lively upper region that's ever-so-slightly subdued. Currently on sale for $169 through Atlantic Technology, the FS-HAL1 is a fun musical buy.
Atlantic Technology is a familiar company to the audio/video crowd, making loudspeakers for over 30 years. Now they have turned their attention to the latest ear gear craze. Here, I will be reviewing Atlantic Technology's FS-HAL-1 In-Ear Monitors. This In-Ear Monitor (IEM) features a three-way design, with dual balanced armatures for the mids and highs and a Graphene bass driver.
Getting a good seal is of the utmost importance with IEMs. Supplied are two sizes of silicone tips that give the user up to 25 dB of noise isolation. I started out with the medium size, which sounded fine but kept falling out, then stepped up to the large size after a two-song audition, which gave me a satisfactory seal. There are hooks included for those more active during their listening than I. The cord is sturdy, inspiring confidence, has an in-line 3 button remote control, is quite robust and removable/replaceable, too. Should something happen to the cord, you're not out a moderately-priced set of IEMs. There is a collar on the earpiece that allows that the cable to rotate 360 degrees for even more flexibility. Microphonic effect was moderate, and can be overcome by clipping the cord to one's shirt. The Y-split is fitted with a metal resin-filled collar. A standard 3.5mm jack (with 1/4" adapter) or Lightning connector is available.
Comfort was not a problem for me, I wore these for several hours upon first try, which also speaks well for the sonics, as we'll address. At home or at my work desk, the fit was solid and did not distract from the listening experience.
All tracks were sourced from TIDAL, streamed through a Samsung Galaxy S9.
Harry Mancini's "Pink Panther Theme": The opening/closing high hat had a snappy sound, the triangle ring possessed a wonderful decay. The upright bass that soon followed was authoritative, opening saxophone reverberation stood out, then the horn section kicked in, revealing a nice, wide soundstage. We're off to a great start!
London Grammar "Hey Now": As Reid's voice kicked off the song, the FS-HAL-1 conveyed her signature "smokiness," then showed itself to be fully capable of stepping up to the task of Hannah stepping her voice up several octaves. Also, a signature of this particular song, the bass, was surprisingly deep and well-controlled.
Stevie Wonder "Visions" Tidal Master: Pops and clicks at the song's beginning were laid bare, along with incredibly balanced high, middle and low frequencies. The minimal amount of performers highlights the images within the wide soundstage of this recording, which was also laid bare by the FS-HAL1s.
Jefferson Starship "Jane": This song is really thin in the lower registers, something that's always bothered me as this is my favorite Starship track. The slightly accentuated bass of the FS-HAL1 helped to kick it up a few notches (and was much appreciated!).
LSD "Audio": The FS-HAL's bass accentuation is a boon with this track as well. In no case does this bloom bleed into or intrude upon the midrange. The midrange is a real treat, combined with the ultra-low bass kick make these IEMs quite addictive to listen too with songs like this.
Daft Punk "Get Lucky": The recorded midbass was a bit heavy-handed and the FS-HAL1 let me know it, possessing a thickness that was a bit much. Songs that are already midbass-boosted are not helped here, although I would not go so far as to say it was overbearing by any means. I still found myself still bobbing my head from side to side while enjoying this song.
After listening for three consecutive hours, I went into torture test-mode with Bassotronics' "Bass, Love I You." Here, the accentuation leaned toward one-note bass in the midbass, but it didn't intrude upon the mids, which is a positive and something I never experienced with any songs. Once again, ultra-lows were well represented and make these IEMs stand out. The song's three synth bass hits at 2:42, 2:45, and 2:47 were impressive. Midrange detail was brought to my attention, yet again, with a synth solo by "Bass Technology", beginning at the 2:39 mark. Moving on to a third Bassotronics favorite, "One Word Bass," I received a mild skull massage as my ears delved into subsonics that can only be felt. Fun!
I finished up bass stress testing with ZAYN, PARTYNEXTDOOR "Still Got Time." This track has a lot going on in the lower bass region and it was easy to differentiate one tone from another, showcasing the abilities of the Graphene woofer.
The flat-sided volume/phone control was easy to use, buttons accessible, unlike round controllers, where buttons seem to roll away when needed. I found them easy to drive with the Galaxy S9, even at exuberant levels, leaving a couple of unneeded ticks on the volume control. I absolutely loved the carrying case. Just wrap the cord around 3 fingers, tuck the ear gear in, and zip it closed. It even has a little mesh pocket for extra accessories.
The Atlantic Technology FS-HAL1 renders the midrange beautifully and possesses a low bass punch that's a standout attribute and adds life to sterile recordings. Its middle highs are just a bit accentuated, lending a sense of extra-detail, but not to the point of being fatiguing. The ultra-highs are subdued, a personal choice that I gravitate toward, so if that is your bent, you'll likely appreciate this presentation too. I found it to be a satisfying balance, overall. The soundstage has an appreciable width to it. Not a reference-level tool, but a preference-level toy, one with exceptional midrange clarity, which along with the prodigious bass capabilities, separates these from a very crowded field. I had a LOT of fun playing with the FS-HAL1. In a word: FUN!
FS-HAL 1 In-Ear Monitors Specifications
- Hi-Res Certified: Yes
- Drivers: Graphene Dynamic woofer + 2 Balanced Armature High-Frequency Drivers
- Battery: Rechargeable Lithium Polymer Battery Run Time: 30 Hours
- MMCX Connectors: Detachable 2 Gold Plated, Snap Lock Connectors With 360⁰ Rotation
- Frequency Response: 5 Hz – 40 kHz
- Impedance: 32Ω
- Maximum Input Power: 10 mW
- Sensitivity: 104 dB/mW +/- 4 dB
- Cable Type: Secure, Comfortable Over-Ear Memory Cable
- Cable Tech: 20 Core of 0.085 Strand Oxygen-Free-Copper
- Cable Length: 3-foot, 1.2 meter
- Cable Controls: In-line 3 button Remote, Volume Up/Down And Answer/Hang-up
- Connector Options: Gold Plated 3.5 mm or iOS Lightning Connectors