Disclaimer: Future Sonics sent me the Future Sonics G10 free of charge. It goes for 219$ USD. You can find all about it here: Spectrum Series G10.
In 2007 I hit up Scandinavia for the last time as a bachelor. I went with my mum, my dad, and a pair of Future Sonics Atrio, the latter which were weighed down by a Cowon D2, the former which were weighed down by me. It was a great trip. Sweden, Norway, and Denmark are incomparably beautiful in the summer. I, on the other hand, am not. And not much has since changed. I still love trance. I still am prematurely greying (though once just the temples has grown all the way into my chest). Likewise, in intervening 8 years, Future Sonics have kept things remarkably on the down low.
On paper, their new G10 looks like this:
NEW G10™ 10mm Proprietary Dynamic Drivers
18 Hz – 20,000 Hz Frequency Response
Sensitivity 113db @ 30 Hz/1mW
Up to -29db Ambient Noise Rejection (A.N.R™)
50″ / 1.27m Reduced Microphonics Cabling
Standard 1/8″ (3.5mm) Gold Stereo Mini-Plug Connector
1 Year Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty
Ultra-Wide Spectrum Audio
Reinforced Tubular Strain Relief
Intuitive Thumb Placement Design (LT & RT)
Micro-Profile & Ultra-Lightweight Design
100% Armature & Crossover Free Technology
Multiple Fit Options
The biggest change is skin deep: Atrios came in either black or blue; thus far, the G10 is grey. The Atrios had a long, rubbery, and crack-prone neck, the G10 makes do with hard rubber lead that’s made for the long haul. The twisted cable is new, and, at first glance, is strong. With a bit of centrifugal force, you can stretch it between your fists. Will it survive multiple Japanese summers? Is it stronger than the also stretchy Who knows, it may be as tough as other cables. If it isn’t, what do I do? I’ve got my fingers crossed.
Apart from the cable, I’m pretty happy. Like Atrios, the G10 isn’t pretty, but at least this time, its grey body doesn’t quickly scuff up. As I said above, its stress reliefs are better. Its neck cinch is as sturdy as are most industrial y-splits. Its thin profile plug should work with most smartphone cases.
the G10 airs out its 10mm driver with single ports per channel between the stress relief and the flanged driver cap. Its seams are noticeable. Greasy finger prints are hard to rub away. It appears sturdy, but in no way does it compare to the indestructible and finely tooled Echobox X1 Finder. But it is on par with many other plastic earphones.
What isn’t on par is the quality of its finish. The G10 bristles with plastic spurs, wavy lines, and other small imperfections. When I think of plastic, I think of mass market. And today, that mass market is largely wrapped up by high-quality finish. In 2015, we should expect better finish from a +200$ earphone.
That said, the G10 completely and utterly embarrasses Kennerton Audio anything, many of which run up much higher prices at the till.
The G10’s low profile design has a few benefits: it goes in flat and keeps a low profile inside the ear. Assuming you find the right angle, it fits securely and comfortably. It won’t fit flat enough for comfortable side-sleeping, but by and large, it disappears. Of course, flush fit depends on you using low-profile ear tips. Either the black or yellow foamies, for instance do the trick. The dual flanged tips are another matter entirely.
One fly in the ointment is the G10’s wide diameter driver cap, which may not fit ears whose canals are narrow. Not that its rounded edges hurt, but they can run obliquely against your skin, precluding firm fit. I have no problem with them. Naturally, your mileage will vary.
The G10 can be worn both up and down. Either way is secure. Partly because the cable isn’t prone to overt microphonics, partly because the neck cinch alleviates a large portion of residual noise, the G10 adequate for the active commute. But it will make a few noises.
A nice touch are the divots that fall perfectly under the thumb, making it difficult to mix up left and right channels, even in the dark.
The G10 comes with a large, and lumpy carrying case, a wax cleaner, a bunch of grey foamies, a single set of yellow foamies, and some dual flanges in S, M, and L sizes. It’s a pretty well-rounded set. The yellow foamies are gems. In fact, they transform the Ultrasone IQ from something exotic into something generally palatable, if not perfect for trance.
Future Sonics suggest that the G10 attenuates up to 29dB of ambient noise. I’m not sure about that. You’d have to have the tiniest ear canals that squish the sound tubes just right, and compress the ear tips enough to cause pain. The G10 attenuates well enough, but not as well as an Ultrasone IQ, which, in these ears, doesn’t come close to attenuating 29dB.
Sound impressions follow on the next page or after the click HERE: