In the last quarter century, the personal monitor field has become progressively more crowded, onstage setups have become increasingly efficient and professional earphones innovator Future Sonics is partially responsible for both. Plenty of folks can claim to be pioneers, and many brands are referred to as “in-ear monitors” (or IEMs), but Future Sonics CEO Marty Garcia holds the actual “Ear Monitors” trademark. He registered it for a product launched in 1985 when Todd Rundgren underwent the first wedgeless tour relying on Garcia’s custom-fit monitoring system.
The mg6pro is delivered with a replaceable cable, carrying pouch and cleaning tool in a personalized otterbox.
Throughout the past three decades, the Future Sonics client roster has grown and included Depeche Mode, U2, the Who, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as well as countless other touring mainstays and session musicians — dozens upon dozens of artists actively engaged at every level of musical performing and recording. In 2010, the Ear Monitors brand celebrated 25 years of full-range, custom-fit clarity, received permanent recognition in the TEC Foundation’s TECnology Hall of Fame, and Future Sonics launched a new proprietary dynamic speaker in the mg6pro featuring a 13mm transducer. This upgrade stands as further proof that there is more backing Future Sonics as an authority than just a trademark and some recognizably colorful acrylic faceplates dotting performers’ ears.
The specs present the mg6pro as possessing an 18 Hz – 20,000 Hz response, 32-ohm impedance, 110 dB sensitivity rating and an average of 24 dB ambient noise rejection, delivered with a replaceable cable, carrying pouch and cleaning tool in a personalized OtterBox. Future Sonics pioneered the concept of custom molding Ear Monitors for isolation and secure fit. They also employ a single transducer design, deliberately multidriver and crossover-free. While the numbers show is that the mg6pro is efficient, it is also touted as being an easily serviceable and even upgradable little beast (as example, owners of previous generations can update to the mg6pro driver for $199). However, the specs don’t do justice to one thing: presence, which the mg6pro has in abundance.
Even Future Sonics’ recently upgraded universal fit atrio m5 earphones ($199) have more forward subbass than seems possible from a 10mm driver, and the mg6pro takes this capability to convey aural excitement and increases both its depth of focus and its control. The mg6pro comes with three Low-Frequency Vents of varying sizes, which allow you to step up or down the driver’s exhaust and therefore the tightness and energy of subbass, which on the smallest hole is already pushing air at a quantity to write home about for those used to a balanced armature’s facsimile of extension.
Undoubtedly a multi-driver IEM can allow you to hear some unprecedented sparkling frequencies, but where the mg6pro shines is allowing you to feel them. Its tremendous proficiency for resonance doesn’t come at the expense of balance, however. The mg6pro’s bass is not boosted, but is palpable. At first, it is hard not to focus on its abundance, but once past the initial, revelatory establishment of its corporeal nature, it doesn’t intrude on the sound’s melodic cohesion. There is no overt tuning in the midrange that makes the mg6pro fun, its just allows a composition’s character to be as expressive as intended. One place the mg6pro could be considered “lacking,” in comparison to balanced armature IEMs, is in the brightest, more piercing tendrils of treble. However, there is adequate effervescence, and the speaker’s speed/decay is accurate and non-fatiguing (especially appreciable in vocal material).
The mg6pro’s dynamic imaging stands apart from what is now a primarily armaturesaturated, stage-monitoring category, so the closest cousins that can be compared to its tonal signature are top-tier universal earpieces such as the Monster Turbine Pro Copper and the Sennheiser IE8 (each less than half the price of the customs). Side-byside listening to these, with the Westone 4 quad-armature universal thrown in as a wild card, reveals certain things, beginning with the fact that the mg6pro doesn’t provide the eerie, hermetic isolation of a foam-tipped universal. When using on the go and/or in outdoor environments, the vents allow a little bit of whoosh in extreme wind circumstances, but that’s a barely noticeable sacrifice for what is a spacious sound.
As for presentation, the mg6pro isn’t as holographic as the Westone 4, not as airy as the open-back-headphone-like IE8, and not as upwards leaning as the Pro Copper, yet none of that is a detriment. What the mg6pro possesses is appealing immediacy that is linear in a way that’s more reminiscent of a full-sized orthodynamic driver headphone. Listening to a track like M83’s “Midnight City,” a throbbing synth-rock equivalent of motorsport drifting, the mg6pro navigates all the dusky contours as it accelerates through an unconstrained junction of merging percussion and melodic tracers.
Ultimately, the Future Sonics mg6pro Ear Monitors provide a textured, for the most part transparent, soundstage in a package that is detail-oriented without being sterile. Future Sonics Ear Monitors have long been known to musicians and front-ofhouse engineers. The mg6pro should now also be considered for studio personnel and audio enthusiasts looking to appreciate musical impact.
Contact: Future Sonics | 877-374-3277 | futuresonics.com
Washington, DC-based live DJ and journalist Tony Ware has been an editor for Pro Audio Review and contributes to sister publication, Electronic Musician.