You hear about small, innovative software companies being acquired by big corporations all the time. Well, for those still rooting for old-school hardware manufacturers, here’s something to warm your heart: Nashville’s Dale Lott started his boutique in-ear monitor company, Aurisonics, in 2011, and his products became so lauded that Fender recently purchased the firm and asked Lott to produce a line for them—the first time the gear giant has ever marketed IEMs. Lott’s designs are now included in five USA-made models of Fender Pro In-Ear Monitors: DXA1 ($99 street), FXA2 ($199 street), FXA5 ($299 street), FXA6 ($399 street), and the pair tested here, the FXA7 ($499 street).
For a $500 IEM, you want a secure fit, and, thanks to the FXA7’s 3-D design that modeled thousands of ear canals, it’s estimated that 95-percent of users will be accommodated. Happily, I was one of the 95-percent, and the FXA7s slid into my ear as if they were custom modeled for me personally. Audio reproduction is clear, balanced, dimensional, and relatively flat—essential qualities if you want to mix music using the FXA7s, as overly “hyped” bass, mid, and/or treble frequencies will skew your mix decisions. They are also excellent for stage-monitor use, as the tight “custom” fit significantly reduced ambient noise, and the FXA7s presented all elements of the band with clarity and articulation. While mixing and performing live band rehearsals, I would wear the FXA7s for two or three hours straight, and ear fatigue was virtually non-existent. The FXA7s might trigger a bit of sticker shock, but they definitely deliver professional audio quality, comfort, and isolation, and those are the boxes an excellent IEM should tick.
Kudos Great fit. Great sound. Comes with carrying case, extra tips, a cleaning tool, acoustic noise-filter earplugs, and a detachable cable.