Disclaimer: The Fender FXA9 was sent to us by Fender USA directly in exchange for this review. The unit doesn’t need to be returned as far as I know.
Fender, in case you didn’t know already, is the leading guitar manufacturer in the world. Fender goes back all the way to 1946 and their guitars are used by both amateurs as well as top level professionals. Of course we’re not here to review Fender guitars, but we’re here to cover their series of universal inear monitors from the DX and FX-series.
Now Fender didn’t come up with a whole product-line of IEMs out of the blue. Fender actually acquired Aurisonics – which we all know – and they used their knowledge to deliver top quality IEMs that represent the value and image of Fender.
We all still know the Nashville based Aurisonics, as they have made a whole series of IEMs over the years. The only one we got round to reviewing however was the ASG 1, and that was back in 2012. After the merge with Aurisonics, Fender released 5 universal monitors to the world. Later these 5 were followed by a sixth, a new universal flagship, and it’s that one we’re looking at today, the FXA9.
The Earsonics ES5 actually was the last universal I reviewed so it’s about time I review another reference IEM in a universal shell.
FX (& DX) -Series
In order to fully understand Fender’s IEMs and the FXA9, let’s quickly go over the first five monitors they released.
The Fender DXA1 Pro, priced at $49,99, has a custom 8.5mm titanium micro dynamic driver. The Fender FXA2 Pro, priced at $149,99, uses a custom 9.25mm rare-earth dynamic driver Groove-tuned™ port.
The Fender FXA5 Pro, priced at $269,99 using 2 balanced armature drivers and the Groove-tuned™ port. The Fender FXA6 Pro, priced at $299,99, uses a single HDBA tweeter, a custom 9.25mm precision rare-earth driver, has the Groove-tuned™ bass port and a zero-crossover design
The Fender FXA7 Pro, priced at $379,99, uses dual HDBA tweeters, a custom 9.25mm precision rare-earth driver, the Groove-tuned™ bass port and a zero-crossover design.
The FXA9 is Fender’s flagship universal monitor and it was announced around may/June last year. Back then it was selling for $1.299 USD and that’s pretty much still the case right now. We saw all of the other Fender monitors drop in price since they were launched, so I expect the FXA9 to drop later this year or in 2019 for sure. The Fender FXA9 product page can be found right here: https://shop.fender.com/en-BE/audio/in-ear-monitors/fender-fxa9-pro-in-ear-monitors/6886000021.html#start=1
“The culmination of Fender’s 70 years of experience creating premium audio tools, the FXA9 Pro In-Ear Monitor is a next-generation, low-profile in-ear monitor engineered for transparent, audiophile-quality audio. Assembled in the USA, the FXA9 uses bleeding-edge technology to create a peerless listening experience that’s as dynamically honest and pure as it is comfortable.”
The Fender FXA9 features six HEXAD balanced armatures and the typical Fender Groove-tuned bass port. The universal shell is 3D-printed and it should fit 95% of all ears. The goal is to give it a sort of custom feel/experience to its owners
The FAX9 is hand-built in Nashville and cable-wise it features a detachable in 3.5mm finished, triple silver-plated cable with an MMCX connector. For the money you also get a small “deluxe” carrying case, a 1/8″ to 1/4″ Adapter, four sizes of Secure-Fit Tips and a cleaning tool.
All of Fenders monitors actually come in a really nice box where the monitors are perfectly displayed. Even when they’re inside the box you can perfectly look at them from all angles as the top of the box offers a 360 degree view on the IEMS inside. I really like this approach and I haven’t seen it in any other reference IEM that passed my hands. Accessory wise for the price their could have been a balanced cable, a soft pouch and a fancier carrying box but all the basics are right there.
12Hz-22kHz frequency response for lifelike sound reproduction
121dB @1mW sensitivity for distortion-free audio
Noise reduction: NRR 22db
Imput impedance: 21Ohm +/- 10% @ 1kHz
Features (from the Fender product page)
Hexad balanced armature array
Fender engineered the FXA9’s proprietary six-driver BA system to work in perfect harmony within their exclusive tuning. Segmented in discrete compartments within the housing, the bass and the sub bass drivers work together with the port design to deliver true, natural bass.
Independent sound bores
Three sound bores in each 24k gold-plated nozzle separate the low, mid and high frequencies.
Every Fender IEM model uses a driver-specific internal design, allowing Fender to engineer precision-shaped compartments to ensure precise alignment for each driver, minimizing phase and distortion issues. The 3D-printed housing creates a coupling effect between the drivers and the housing for enhanced bass and reduced ambient interference, while providing a custom-molded-like fit.
Triple silver plated cable
Constructed from triple silver-plated low-oxygen copper cable, the low-impedance MMCXi cables reduce signal loss. Fender has minimized stereo crosstalk by eliminating bifurcation and common grounds from their design, while also making the cable discrete from the IEM. The unique plating treatment creates unique looks and unrivaled performance.
Constructed and hand-painted exclusively by their top staff, every FXA9 is meticulously made to their exacting standards. They limit daily production due to the complex assembly process, ensuring each monitor represents the pinnacle of their in-ear technology. Even the Fender “F” logo, normally reserved for their top-end products, is incised on each housing cover and then painted by hand.
Ambient noise reducing
With the combination of the 3D-printed housing and patent-pending secure-fit tips, these in-ear monitors reduce ambient noise by up to 22dB, allowing you to filter out unnecessary noise and hear what you need the most.
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