Review: Future Sonics G10 – Bassy Done Right

Sound

Despite sensitivity of 113dB @30 Hz, the G10 hisses very little even when connected to noisy amps and DACs. This is great noise for a number of my favourite DAPs:

iPod nano 1G (reviewed here)
iPod Shuffle 512MB (reviewed here)
AK100 (reviewed here)

and a few truly great amps that may hiss with sensitive earphones:

ALO Audio Rx (reviewed hereRMAA’d here)
ALO Audio CDM (reviewed hereRMAA’d here)
Cypher Labs Theorem 720 (reviewed here)

Paired with any of the above, the G10 is silent. Not that you’ll need an amp. The G10’s impedance curve is pretty curveless (as shown by Headfi’s ClieOS). If your player can handle a mean 32Ω earphone @113dB sensitivity, it can handle the G10.

Which brings us down to what the G10 is all about. I’m tempted to say bass, if only because the G10 really hits it down there. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard the opening seconds to Markus Schulz’s Mainstage yawn with low-end detail quite like they do through the G10. Refreshingly, that yawn transfers into lithely muscular mid and upper bass ranges that, despite heavily active and ferocious sound pressure, tread lightly on the midrange.

No, you won’t feel that bass like you feel it from an energetic over-the-ear phone. But because you feel the G10’s lows, it’s like your music has gone 4D. Lovely. Spatial elements in the low range run together more than I prefer, and low-frequency sound pressure generally congeals just under and in front of the ear lobes. But, it’s a very good take on high sound pressure low frequencies.

Better, unlike Atrio, which had the tendency to boom plastically where bass and mids crossed paths, the G10 is clean as a whistle, even when fed crazy fast trance and EDM. This is bassy done right. On the whole, the G10’s low range is wholesome, grounded, and absolutely egalitarian in its interaction further afield.

Which it doesn’t need to be. The G10’s midrange is clear, marginally forward, and pretty detailed. How its jumps out of such throbbing, energetic, and wildly elevated bass keeps me scratching my head. Vocals have both forward and rear edge. They are full, but do not jump out at you. Mid-to-high voices strings probably best demonstrate the G10’s ability to press out texture with feeling. That said, low notes from wild acoustic guitars can get hot, and press into their neighbours more than I prefer. Your mileage will vary.

High-frequencies are clear, but don’t drag much sound pressure behind them. They’re neither peaky, nor crazily spacious. In fact, the G10’s soundstage is best described as coherent, if not live: flat, broad, and painterly rather than photographically detailed. You won’t pick out all the minutiae of your favourite music. Instead, the G10 gives up a wide, centre-detailed array, where instruments play clearly, but whose payload is their interacting with the whole.

Which makes the G10 incredible for folk, rock, jazz, and anything live. Its throbbing, clear bass is great for any decade of hip hop, and is fast and clear enough for trance. But the G10 isn’t a trance phone. It’s not a death metal phone. It does both with grace, but it lacks enough absolute contrast between highs and lows that would do you before the ecstasy does.

So, while it’s not absolutely great for my favourite genre, it is miles closer than were the Atrios. Make no mistake, the G10 is bassy. It’s just that it’s bassy done right.

The meh

The G10 sounds good enough and fits well enough that I’d love to take it everywhere. Wherever I go, I leave the stock carrying case at home. It’s too big. And ugly. And while I imagine it will hold together, I’ve had it only for a couple of months and have treated it nicely. Then there’s the G10. It’s pretty solid, but it’s plastic. I’d like to be throw it around like I do the Echobox X1, but I dare not. I’d love if these things were metal.

End words

In every area except maybe the cable, the G10 is a serious upgrade to the Atrios. Despite reaching even lower and despite packing more sound pressure in its bass band, it sounds more coherent. Its midrange is so natural. The G10 is less easy to scratch than the Atrios, and Future Sonics have done away with the latter’s awful rubbery stress relief. Both came with those lovely yellow foamies. And the price hasn’t really changed despite 10 years and a steady upward push from manufacturers across the board.

The G10 is a steal. If only it was made of steel.

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Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.

7 Comments

  • Reply November 26, 2015

    Ant

    Nice review! How does the sound quality compare to the echobox x1?

    • Reply November 27, 2015

      ohm image

      That’s too broad a question. And comparing the actual quality (ability of each to stand against industry-accepted metrics) of each isn’t something any normal reviewer I know is set up for. That’s a job requiring many tens of thousands of dollars of microphones, damping, silent boxes, custom computers and of course, audio analysers.

      As to subjective opinion, it’s pretty obvious from the reviews: the X1 is contrasty, the G10 is bassy but clear.

  • Reply December 22, 2015

    Aladdin Tarakji

    how do these compare with the rha t20, and the sennheiser ie80. Disregarding price, which one of the 3 has the best sound? thanks!

    • Reply January 18, 2016

      ohm image

      Sorry, I don’t have either Sennheiser IE80 or the RHAT20.

      That said, it is probably really important to stress what it is that you are looking for in your music. Bass? treble? mids? And do you like sharp or smooth? Space? I’m sure people can help you but without some help from you, I think we can’t help you find an earphone that meets your criteria.

      • Reply January 19, 2016

        Aladdin Tarakji

        I’m looking for an energetic IEM, mainly for EDM, pop, and dance (not classical or jazz basically). Something along the lines of neutral, with good bass presence and soundstage. Main thing is the energy though. My only requirement is that I don’t want over the ear cable design (shure, westone etc). Like I tried the rha t20 and loved the sound (that’s what i’m looking for i think), but the over-ear design and bulky cable didn’t work for me. So comfort is a huge priority. Using Bang & Olufsen H3’s right now and while they’re amazing, I’m looking for an upgrade, with a similar sound signature I think. Trinity deltas sounded perfect, but too large of a housing lol smh. something under $400, with energy, comfort, and not the over the ear cable design.

        Thanks a bunch!

        • Reply January 21, 2016

          ohm image

          My internet was down for two days. I’m sorry I am again late (it’s getting better though).

          The G10 isn’t energetic if you mean treble energy, but it is well resolved up top. And, the G10, while wearable down, is best up. Why? Its shape precludes it from really going into the ear unless worn up. I suppose some ears will fit well with it down, but very probably most will not. The G10 is much less bulky and heavy feeling than the T20.

          I’m not sure how else to help you. I hope you find what you’re looking for.

  • Reply August 8, 2016

    Mike

    I just returned the RHA, first the 750’s & then the T20’s purchasing the Future Sonics G10. I’m in Love with these, I play drums so I need & desire that Bass low end Punch & natural clean Highs, plus these are super light & Comfy.
    The RHA (although definitely much prettier In Ears than the G10’s) the Highs where just too much for me (Hurt, piercing, fake sounding) & the Lows lacking plus they are bulky/heavy.
    Future Sonics (G10) sound Amazing, Natural highs, & Serious low/mid end Clean Punch.
    Perfect fit & most importantly sound for what I Like. Plus NOBODY paid me to write this, I paid full price 🙂

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