Fender FXA2

Pros

  • Look amazing
  • Comfortable fit
  • Replaceable cables

Cons

  • Sound is too bright at times

Key Features

  • Review Price: £155
  • Custom 9.25mm precision rare-earth drivers with "groove-tuned" port
  • 6Hz-23kHz frequency response
  • 112dB @1mW sensitivity
  • Four tip options

What are the Fender FXA2?

The FXA2 are the second cheapest pair of in-ear headphones in iconic guitar maker Fender’s current audio range, sitting above the £78 Fender CXA1, but well below the £1100 flagship FXA9 Pro.

Functionally the FXA2 are fantastic value for money, offering a luxurious design and one of the securest and most comfortable fits at this price point. They also look outright gorgeous. Were it not for the slightly bright sound, these would be the top dog at this price point.

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Fender FXA2 – Design and fit

The FXA2 earpieces look wonderfully understated, with an ergonomic shape that you’d expect from more costly IEMs. Beyond the Fender logo on their sides, the only obvious design feature is a small grille marking the location of the “groove-tuned bass port”.

Fender claims the port improves the headphones bass response by increasing the amount of air reaching the FXA2’s “custom 9.25mm precision rare-earth drivers”. It gives the drivers room to breathe, basically.

The black FXA2 I reviewed come with a detachable, braided MMCXi cable that neatly plugs into the two earpieces.

This combination of subtle features make the FXA2’s one of the prettiest sets I’ve tested at this price point.

The FXA2 also tick most of the right boxes when it comes to fit. Fender markets the headphones as having a custom 3D-printed chassis, which will offer an “ideal fit” for 95% of users when paired with the correct-sized set of buds. From my time with these earphones there’s definitely some truth to this claim.

The lack of Comply foam tip option is a minor annoyance, but I found the four silicone sets were more than good enough. After finding the correct size I was able to get a comfortable, secure fit, with decent sound isolation despite me having outright cavernous ear canals.

The secure fit is aided by the stiffened ends to the cables, which make it easy to hook the headphones round your ears.

My only minor quibble with the Fender FXA2 design is that the cable doesn’t feature an inline remote, which is a minor annoyance if you want to change tracks on the fly without pulling your phone or media player out of your pocket.

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Fender FXA2 – Sound quality

Sound quality on the FXA2s is good. The 9.2mm drivers and bass port help to offer decent volume levels, wonderful dynamism and solid detail definition.

Listening to post-rock guitar the crescendo sounded powerful and swelled with every volume increase. It was also easy to pick out individual parts and instruments, despite the music’s complex, textured composition. Through it all the sound remained wonderfully distortion-free, even when the song hit eardrum-breaking levels.

The FXA2 also offer a decent stereo image, compared to other headphones in this price point, such as the slightly older Shure SE315, which remain fairly impressive. Listening to jazz it was possible to isolate the location of each instrument.

Sound isolation is also excellent, though I’m not convinced the FXA2 can actually block 22db of ambient noise as Fender claims.

Sadly all these charms are slightly let down by issues with the tonal balance. The FXA2 offer a fairly bright sound that overly pushes the high end. High-pitched trumpets in jazz and wailing rock guitars dominate the sound and at times can even take on a slightly acidic quality.

Being fair to Fender, these moments are rare, but the overly emphasised highs are a minor annoyance that hamper what is otherwise excellent audio quality at this price point.

The low end feels nicely balanced and matches the quality of Shure’s set. Blues double bass lines and rock parts have a decent enough rumble and don’t sound muted. Mids are also reasonably well defined and manage to avoid sibilance for the most part. But both their charms are at points overshadowed by that over-amped high end.

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Should I buy the Fender FXA2?

The Fender FXA2 are some of the most comfortable and swish-looking in-ear headphones you’ll find at this price point, and are a great choice for music fans looking for a mid-range set. The only slight downside is that, despite offering generally solid sound quality, their high end can at times be a little too forceful.

Verdict

Beautiful in-ear headphones with solid, but slightly tarnished, sound quality.

Score


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