Future Sonics Atrio MG7 Review

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Future Sonics Atrio MG7
Reviewed Sep 2011

Details: Flagship universal IEM from the pioneer of dynamic customs, Future Sonics
MSRP: $189.99 (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $175 from amazon.com
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 32Ω | Sens: 112 dB | Freq: 18-20k Hz | Cable: 4.2’ L-plug
Nozzle Size: 2.5mm | Preferred tips: stock bi-flanges, Shure Olives
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear

Accessories (4.5/5) – Bi-flange silicone tips (3 sizes), porous foam tips (4 sets in 2 sizes), cleaning tool, and zippered carrying case
Build Quality (4/5) – As with the old MG5 Atrios, the teardrop housings are made of plastic and feature molded rubber strain reliefs and thin, filterless nozzles. The memory wire has been dropped but the cable remains the same – light and flexible but not very thick
Isolation (3.5/5) – Excellent with any of the stock tips or Shure Olives
Microphonics (4/5) – Low when worn cable-down; nonexistent otherwise
Comfort (4.5/5) –The fit of the Atrios reminds me of the Phonak PFEs. When worn properly, the housings don’t touch the wearer’s ear at all although the bi-flange tips can be a bit intrusive. Thankfully, the memory wire has been dropped so they can now easily be worn cable-down

Sound (8.8/10) – The original Future Sonics Atrios were introduced back in 2007 and quickly rose to fame as some of the best basshead earphones money could buy. Four years and several revisions later, the low end is still the most attention-grabbing aspect of the Atrio sound – deep and powerful, yet controlled and accurate. The bottomless bass extension that made the old Atrio a hit is still very much a selling point of the new one. The bass is a bit forward in the overall signature but manages to be powerful without throwing off the balance. It can be reasonably tame when necessary but can also become dominant and explosive when track calls for it. The lack of a mid-bass hump helps, eliminating the bloat endemic to so many bass-heavy earphones, and the sub-bass emphasis gives the low end good rumble and a tactile feel. The drivers are still not the quickest out there but they don’t lose resolution quickly the way many mid-bassy earphones in the lower tiers do. The difference between the Atrio and lesser bass-heavy earphones such as the Fischer Audio Eterna is obvious – next to the Atrio, the Eterna sounds overly soft and bloated, with noticeably poorer clarity and detail resolution. Even the similarly-priced Sennheiser IE7 lacks control and tightness at the low end next to the Atrio.

The midrange of the Atrio is recessed slightly in comparison to the low end but still impresses with clarity and detail. It’s not quite there up with the HiFiMan RE272 or Sony MDR-EX1000 on either count but competes well with the RE-ZERO and Turbine Pro Coppers. The mids are slightly warm and thick compared to the similarly-priced VSonic GR07 but lack some of the overall refinement and don’t achieve as neutral a tone. They sound smooth but slightly ‘dry’ in character, which contributes to a more crisp and monitor-like sound next to the softer, more lush MTPC and Sennheiser IE7. The treble is boosted in comparison to the old Atrios, which sounded dark and a little murky for my taste. The top end of the new Atrios isn’t laid-back and will not mask issues with the source material. It is a little more edgy than before but no less smooth on the whole than that of the VSonic GR07. Top-end extension is still only moderately good and the overall tone is still just a bit on the dark side but the treble quantity should be sufficient for most listeners without risking violent sibilance and harshness.

The presentation of the MG7 is not particularly impressive for a top-tier earphone but works well enough with the sound signature. The soundstage is relatively well-rounded but width and depth are only average, superseded easily by the spacious soundstage of the Sennheiser IE7 and even the lower-tier FA Eterna (pretty much the only area in which the Eterna can compete with the new Future Sonics). The bass of the Atrio layers well over the rest of the sound and the healthy note thickness makes the thinner-sounding RE-ZERO somewhat less convincing despite its similar soundstage size. The MG7 also images better than the ZERO does, providing a more accurate sense of placement and distance. The brighter VSonic GR07, expectedly, carries better air and sounds spacious and open in ways the Atrio can’t quite match but separation seems improved over the MG5 version. The timbre is not up there with the Sony MDR-EX1000, JVC FX700, or even Monster MD, but then neither is the price. In its tier the Atrio is very competitive – I don’t feel that Sennheiser’s IE-series earphones perform better, for example. A final point to note – as before, the Atrio is not at its most brilliant at low listening volumes but – due to the newfound treble prominence – may now become tiring at extremely high levels as well.

Value (9/10) – Outfitted with the updated MG7 transducers, the latest-gen Future Sonics Atrio manages to preserve the bass-heavy sound signature of the previous iteration while making serious performance gains on the dynamic-driver heavyweights from the likes of Sennheiser and JVC. With no changes made to the exterior save for the disappearance of the memory wire, the MG7 Atrio remains a somewhat unsightly but highly practical earphone with its secure fit, high isolation, and low microphonics. The bass-heavy sound signature, now made slightly more v-shaped with added treble, still offers a surprising blend of fun, dynamic-driver sound and monitor-like accuracy and control. It’s not perfect, but it’s an impressive step forward and one that should make the competition very wary of the low-profile PA-based manufacturer, especially whenever bass quantity and quality are brought up.

Pros: Comfortable, well-isolating, low microphonics, powerful but controlled bass, clean midrange and treble
Cons: Plasticky build; not very pretty; mediocre presentation


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About Author

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

22 Comments

    • ljokerl on

      A new FutureSonics product? That’s something you don’t see every year…

  1. Pingback: MWTS: Future Sonics Atrio (MG7 drivers, recabled with Westone cables) - www.hardwarezone.com.sg

  2. Pingback: Future Sonics Atrio (MG7 drivers, recabled with Westone cables)

  3. Adam on

    Hi,can u suggest me a pair of iem for edm music.need something with decent bass

  4. ashneel99 on

    Sorry bothering you again Joker, but do they need an amp to shine? I’m gonna use ’em with my clip zip and J3. I don’t have an amp for iems and can’t afford one atm. (I’m pretty much a headphone guy. I have a Speedballed crack only )

    Kind Regards

    • ljokerl on

      It’s been a while since I had the MG7 but I never had any complaints using it with the J3 without an amp.

  5. newmann on

    Hello!

    I have the same question. 🙂

    I bought a Vsconic GR07BE, but i found the bass a bit little compared to my previous Brainwavz M2 and Klipsch S4. What would you suggest, if there is no Atrio Mg7 anymore. I would like to get more bass, less treble, maybe warmer sound, i can live with less details if necessary. What about Wooduo 2, Shure SE215, are they a big downgrade?

    Thank you!

    • ljokerl on

      Yep, the “Bass Edition” on the GR07 only refers to the fact that it has more bass than the regular GR07. It is not really indicative of overall bass quantity.

      The Wooduo 2 is not as refined as the Atrio but it’s good great deep bass. It’s a good alternative considering also that it’s a fair bit less expensive. The SE215 has less bass than Atrio/Wooduo, but more than the GR07BE. Its bass quantity is at least on-par with the Brainwavz M2.

      My suggestion would be the Yamaha EPH-100. It’s not quite up there with the true “basshead” earphones but it’s got lots of bass and pretty good overall sound quality – better than the Wooduo. It’s right in the old Atrio price range, too.

      • newmann on

        Thanks for the answer, I should have asked you before the purchase I think..
        Which has more bass SE215 or EPH-100, is the bass quantity of EPH-100 on par with Brainwavz M2?
        I don get the proper fit with my GR07BE, I thought I will order Sony Hybrid tips first, would they improve the SQ/bass?
        I will try to ask somebody in my country to let me try the EPH-100 for sure. Other members in a forum suggested to buy Soundmagic E10 and VSD1, but I think they are under these, and VSD1 would not be a big step up in bass quantity, am I right?

        Thanks for your work and help again!:)

        • newmann on

          I think I am looking for more fun and warmer sound, the GR07BE is too bright for me, although for vocals and for some pop music its great, I listen to hiphop and rap quite a lot and the I miss the bass and the fun sound, even though it has more detail and a more professional earphone its not as fun to listen to.

          • newmann on

            I could buy an SE215 LTD for 120$. I dont know for how much could I sell the GR07BE (I live in Europe), would it be a good deal?

          • ljokerl on

            The EPH-100 has more bass than the SE215 and M2 (and E10 and VSD1 as well). The VSD1 actually has a little more bass than the GR07BE while the E10 has a similar quantity.

            Obviously a poor seal with the GR07BE would reduce its bass quantity but it doesn’t have too much bass to start with. Getting a better fit should help but perhaps not to the degree that you want.

            IMO the SE215 for $120 is not bad but not a great deal. For sound that’s so-so but when you factor in build quality it’s pretty good.

          • newmann on

            And what do you think about Dunu DN-1000? I heard some issues about the Yamaha, thats what I am a bit afraid..
            Is the Dunu a bit warmer than the GR07BE, does it have a bit more bass (in quantity)?

            Thanks 🙂

          • ljokerl on

            Yes, the DN-1000 has more bass than the GR07BE. Overall, I really like it. I won’t spoil any more but the full review should be up today or tomorrow at the latest 🙂

  6. ashneel99 on

    Hello ljokerl,
    Great review as always. The Atrios seems to be the sound signature I’m looking for, however these are now discontinued. I also don’t know if Futuresonics are coming up with a newer model. Could you please suggest me some other iems with similar sound and price??

    Kind Regards

    • ljokerl on

      It looks like you can still get them on amazon. Anyway, two other options I would consider are the HiSound Wooduo 2 and EPH-100 from Yamaha. The Wooduo 2 has lots of deep bass but is more harsh and not quite as refined overall as the Atrio. It is cheaper, though. The EPH-100 has a little less bass (but still plenty) with good midrange presence and smoother treble.

      • ashneel99 on

        Thanks ljokerl…Amazon unfortunately doesn’t ship to my country (I am in Mauritius 😉 ). I am allergic to harsh treble, so I won’t get the Wooduo 2. I have been considering the Yamahas, but again various reports on Head-fi of one channel failing, moisture,etc have put me off. I am in a tropical island so that can be a big problem. Have you heard the Dunu d-1000? If they’re worth it, I might just save some more money.

        Kind Regards

        • ljokerl on

          The DN-1000 has quite a bit of treble as well. It’s not real harsh considering the quantity, but it’s definitely brighter than the Atrio or EPH-100. I wouldn’t really recommend those for someone who is treble-sensitive.

          • ashneel99 on

            Finally I managed to get in contact with Future Sonics and I’m ordering a pair…Big thanks for the help.Excited about the Atrios

          • ljokerl on

            Glad to hear FutureSonics was willing to work with you!

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