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Review: Fender’s First Ever In-Ear Monitors

An updated Aurisonics design made for the most discerning ears.

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Andrew Haynes

“It’s kind of surreal, in a way, the little company I started in the basement five years ago is now part of one of the biggest companies in the music industry. It’s just crazy!” A jubilant Dale Lott, founder or Aurisonics, told Jude Mansilla of Head-Fi, referring to Fender’s acquisition of his company. Back in 2011, Lott founded the Nashville-based boutique in-ear audio company, and it quickly became a favorite of audiophiles and performing musicians alike. Recognizing the quality of Aurisonics products, Fender purchased the company and commissioned Lott to create a line of five professional-grade monitors. The monitors range in price from $100 to $500, feature custom drivers that deliver clear and precise sound, along with a 3D-printed housing designed to fit the natural contours of the ear. The whole enterprise is a winning combination: Fender’s name is attached to an incredible product, Lott received the financial backing that’s allowed him to continue to innovate, and customers worldwide can access Lott’s designs at an affordable price point.

Lott has worked in the audio industry for over two decades, mastering audio, designing products and working in forensic audio analysis. When he founded Aurisonics, his goals were to produce the best-sounding in-ear monitors on the market, and to protect customers’ hearing. These goals continue to be realized in the Fender monitors, illustrated best by the flagship FXA7 model.

For audiophiles or performing musicians, the crystalline highs, powerfully rich lows and a near-custom fit fully justify the FXA7’s $500 price tag.

The FXA7s boast a wealth of features that balance distortion-free sound with incredible comfort. The monitors have dual HBDA (Hybrid-Dynamic tuned Armature Array) tweeters, which deliver a detailed high end, and a custom 9.25mm rare-earth dynamic driver, which provides a full-range frequency response, complete with a deep, punchy bass. To facilitate proper bass reproduction, the FXA7 includes a Groove-tuned bass port that allows more air to reach the driver without adding unnecessary bulk or weight to the monitors.

The housings of the FXA7s are of a 3D-printed design based on the compiled scans of thousands of ear canals. The resulting fit feels like a custom-mold for most users (an estimated 95 percent), sealing the ear canal for reduced ambient interference. This secure fit, along with Fender’s secure-fit tips, reduces ambient noise by up to 22dB. The monitors come with detachable MMCX cables — made from silver-plated low-oxygen copper cable — which reduce signal loss and are easy to swap out.

For audiophiles or performing musicians, the crystalline highs, powerfully rich lows and near-custom fit fully justify the FXA7’s $500 price tag. With the strong support of Fender, Dale Lott and his team have the ability to put some of the best in-ear monitors into the hands of more music lovers. Lott notes, “From our earliest days we’ve been positioning ourselves to serve musicians. Finding a market among audio fanatics has been welcomed, but being acquired by the biggest name in the music industry is the right marriage — it’s authentic to both our brands.”

Buy Now: $500

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