If you hate the feeling of wearing in-ears, Fender's new FXA9 may change your mind.
The $1,300 (approximately £1,000, AU$1,725 converted) in-ear monitors are designed to fit comfortably into 95 percent of ear types, even for those with tiny ear canals -- like me. And it's true, the FXA9 felt comfortable even after long periods of use.
The magic behind the in-ear comfort is Aurisonics, an earphone Fender acquired last year. Aurisonics scanned thousand of ears to figure out the perfect design that would fit most ears perfectly, almost like a custom mould.
Like its other Fender IEMs, the FXA9 features 3D-printed shells and is hand-built in Nashville. It features detachable triple silver-plated cables that loop over your ears, as well as six balanced-armature drivers to pump out the music.
As headphones meant to deliver accurate sound for musicians, these IEMs are pretty good. Bass is deep and smooth, and even as bass guitar riffs mixed up with booming Chinese Tanggu drums, I could clearly hear the separation. Treble is clean too, as you'll feel like you're sitting right in front the singer even as your ears pick up the crisp-yet-soft hi-hat beats from a rock track.
Noise isolation is fantastic as well. While testing the headphones in the office, people had to tap me on the shoulders or frantically wave their hands at me till I noticed. I wasn't blasting the music at full volume, so you should have no issues listening on a noisy train.
If you're willing to spend for quality, Fender's FXA9 will definitely be worth it, but there's always the cheaper older models in the form of the FXA2 and FXA5 to consider.