Are S$2,000 in-ear headphones worth it?

Are S$2,000 in-ear headphones worth it?

On May 2nd, Fender released its brand new FXA9 (pictured above) – In-Ear Monitors – that go on the market for a burn-a-hole-in-your-wallet S$2,000. In-ear monitors, or IEMs as they're usually referred to, are earphones meant for live performing musicians to monitor sound, and for regular music lovers to cancel out any background noise.

To the uninitiated, this is surprising. Why in the world would people spend S$2,000 on plastic?

But the audiophiles among us can’t wait to get their hands on these beauties and the sound they create, and here’s why:

Six balanced armature drivers. Normal earphones have two drivers in them – this has a whopping 6. Not all drivers are the same either: the balanced armature drivers are high-quality that deliver all types of sounds, whether it be low, mid, or high.  

A shell that fits 95% of ears. Thanks to Fender’s own Digital Hybrid Technology™, these IEMs promise to fit 95% of ears comfortably, ensuring a comfortable listening experience especially if you’re the kind to drown out the world with music for hours and hours on end. The nozzles on the shell are plated in gold too. Real gold.

Silver plated cables. The cables were manufactured with three layers of silver, ensuring that these bad boys never rust. If you’re pissed at how your iPhone earphones don’t last you a year because of shoddy cabling, fret not — this FXA9 is built like a tank. 

To top it all off, these IEMs are handmade in Fender’s own workshop in Nashville, Tennessee. 

We had the chance to try the FXA9 at the Singapore release, and we were blown away. With such a focus on rare materials and workmanship, the sound that listeners get is extraordinary. These IEMs paint a soundscape for you: if you’re listening to Coldplay’s 'Everglow', these IEMs make Chris Martin's keyboard come alive in front of you. If you’re listening to Ed Sheeran’s 'Shape of You', you’ll feel like he’s in your bedroom, giving you a special one-on-one performance.

Their lower-priced CXA1 aims to please budget-conscious audiophiles with a model that includes an inline microphone and a full-range 8.5mm titanium micro driver. Even as Fender continues to excel as a manufacturer of music instruments, their earphones are no slouches.

The IEM market is notoriously competitive and wide-ranging — while spending way below S$2,000 can get you an excellent-performing pair, the pure combination of top-class engineering, design and performance makes every dollar count for the FXA9.

Both Fender FXA9 and CXA1 models are now available through TC Acoustic — FXA9 retails for S$1,999 while CXA1 is priced at S$219.