Beyond Guitars: Fender Unveils In-Ear Monitors from Aurisonics

Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, the giant behind the Fender Stratocaster, has just announced a new product line: in-ear monitors from the legendary guitar manufacturer. There will be five models when the products hit the shelves in March. However, it’s the history of these products that is the most interesting.

Last year, Fender purchased Aurisonics, a high-end headphone manufacturer based out of Nashville. Aurisonics has an incredibly loyal following and impressive product lineup of custom and high-end monitors, including a successful Kickstarter campaign for their Rocket monitors, and an even more successful series of monitors using single or dual Hybrid-Dynamic Tuned Balanced Armature designs. Fans of Aurisonics need not worry—the products will continue to be produced in Nashville, and company founder Dale Lott will remain, along with a team of his current designers. Now, however, they’ll have the technical support, and financial backing of Fender.

Guitar makers branching out in this way isn’t that bizarre. Gibson (makers of the Les Paul guitar) recently acquired huge stakes in Cerwin-Vega, Onkyo, and Pioneer Electronics’ home entertainment division. (Oddly enough, not the same Gibson that joined forces with the Pioneer Woman’s home baking products line.) It’s easy to see why a guitar manufacturer could get into the headphone world—a guitar pickup isn’t that different from a speaker or microphone, thank you, Mr. Faraday.

Fender is starting out with five new models of pro in-ear monitors. These aren’t just rebranded versions of older Aurisonics models—but they are based on previous designs, just tweaked, retuned and refined. They still use the 3D-printed housings based on modeling of a composite scan of thousands of ears to create a universal fit.

The entry-level DXA-1 will retail for $99, and has a translucent shell. Even at that price point, it uses a titanium driver and like most of the models, comes with a detachable MMCXi cable. This model is designed to be used as playback for a smartphone or similarly-powered device.

The next four models are the FXA series, beginning with the FXA2 for $199 (which has been tuned with slightly more bass to appeal to drummers and bassists) and topping out with the FXA7, for $499. These models all have a 3D metallic housing in a variety of colors. All models will come with a luxurious Fender carrying case, a set of SureSeal tips, cleaning tool, 1/4-inch adapter, and the silver-plated, low-oxygen cable. The FXA7 uses a pair of tweeters with the dual Hybrid Balanced Armature array, and it’s tuned for both the audiophile and professional recording/mixing engineer looking for a clean, uncolored sound.

Aurisonics has a loyal following, and from all accounts, it looks like Fender will be respecting that heritage, creating an array of in-ear monitors to appeal to many tastes, budgets and professional requirements. It’s not clear if they’ll continue to produce any custom designs but one suggestion for moving forward: they better be ready to sell out quickly if they ever produce a model with the Stratocaster Sunburst color scheme.

Paganini's picture

Pretty nice review, all of these models are stylish and I'd say that thay are cheap. I think students can't afford it, but they can use custom written thesis and save their time and nerves.