Future Sonics Atrio earphones
Future Sonics, like its competitor Shure, is a company that is largely focused on creating products for musicians. Future Sonics' line of custom-molded in-ear monitors are well-respected and run $600 a pair. The M5 and M8 Atrio earphones (identical except for color) are consumer-friendly earphones that bring Future Sonics' proprietary driver technology down to an affordable level ($199). The end result is one of the most full-range earphones we've heard. When it comes to the low-volume reproduction of lower frequencies found in drums, bass, keyboards, and guitar, the Atrio earphones surpassed the sound quality found in more expensive earphones such as the Shure SE310 and SE420. However, discriminating audiophiles may be disappointed with the Atrio's less-detailed high end.
The Atrio series will not win any beauty pageants. Future Sonic's single-minded slogan, "Sound is everything," might work in the musician world, but everyday consumers need a product that looks as good as it sounds. Quite frankly, the Atrio headphones look like they came from the dollar store sale bin. The plastic housing looks cheap, shiny, and bulky -- nearly twice the size of Shure's SE310 and three times the size of Etymotic's ER6i. The bulkiness may be the result of the unique earphone driver that the Atrio uses, but the trade-off is a larger-than-average, gaudy design.