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Very Good IEM, Deep Tight Bass

BulldogXTRM
Posted · 997 Views · 1 Comment

Pros: Excellent tight and deep bass response, good detail

Cons: A little bass heavy for my tastes, could use a slight mid-range boost

Review Topics:
About Me
About the product
Expectations
Comfort/Fit
Build/Design
Isolation
Value
Overall/Summary
Purchased on: 12-1-16
Price paid: $380.00
Normal Retail Price: $499.00
Pros: Excellent tight and deep bass response, outstanding detail
Cons: A little bass heavy for my tastes,  could use a slight mid-range boost


About Me


To get started, let me tell you a little about myself.
I’m a gigging musician (lead guitar/backup vocals), an audio forensic analyst, a novice sound engineer, and an avid music lover with a wide taste in music. Being an audio forensic analyst is a plus I find when reviewing audio products simple because I know what bad audio sounds like and usually know how to correct it. My experience allows me to be familiar with the limitations of my own ears and the equipment I’m using.


For the consumers, my perspective for all my IEM reviews will be based on these things. I won’t sugar coat things or make things sound better than they are. I’m just like you and I want good value for the money I pay for any product.


To the manufacturers, I’ll always give you an option to respond to any concerns such as quality that I have during my review. I’ll contact you directly and will do so before my review is published. I want to provide an honest and tangible review for your prospective customers without being unfair to you as a manufacturer.
I’ll always be fair and my review will be based on my perspective and my experience.

Now on to the important stuff.

 

About the product/expectations


I purchased these IEM’s for my personal use and although discounted, I paid retail.
My review is actually of an Aurisonics branded Harmony IEM. I’ve been told that they are nearly identical to the FXA7 with only a few minor modifications in the design of the Fender branded FXA7, but nothing that has changed the sound signature. I’ll consider both the Aurisonic and the Fender branded product to be identical product unless someone, can show me otherwise.


The Aurisonics Harmony/Fender FXA7 is the flagship of Fender’s new line of IEM’s. Although Fender is new to the IEM market, Aurisonics is not. Most readers at Head-Fi.org are familiar with their lineup but to those that aren’t, Aurisonics has been around for a while. They’ve developed their customer base by catering to the bass head, IMHO. Their signature sound has detailed mid’s, just slightly rolled off highs and deep sub bass with prominent lows and low mids. Overall, most Aurisonics/Fender offerings should have a balanced sound that is a very good match up for listening to most music. The EQ balance of their offerings should allow for long period use with very little ear fatigue.


Build/Design


The Harmony/FXA7 is according to the manufacturer a 3D printed shell. The sturdiness of the design appears to be on par with top end products that I’ve owned or used in the past. The shells look well made and the connections are all gold plated. It’s what I would expect in this price range. The cable that was included is a twisted/braided type with an L 3.5mm connector. It has stress relief in the key points including the Y of the cable and has a slider to cinch up the cable to the back of your head/neck like I would expect from a mid to high end cable.
Although I’ve heard stories of the MMCX connectors coming loose or audio cut outs because of the loose connection, I experience nothing of the sort. The connections are very tight in my opinion and some of the tightest MMCX connections I’ve ever seen. It looks like Aurisonics listened to their customers and fixed the issues. I would expect the Fender branded IEM’s to be very similar to my late model Harmony’s.


Comfort/Fit


The Harmony/FXA7 is according to the manufacturer a 3D printed shell which should fit most people well. Aurisonics claims to have measured thousands of people’s ears and come up with a fit that will seat comfortably on over 90% of all people. I can say that for my ears I found them to fit well. They were easy to seat in my ear and I had no problems with getting a good seal with any of the provided ear tips. They were a bit larger in width than most IEM’s I’ve used and they stuck out slightly on my ear. It wasn’t a flush fit, but they didn’t feel bulky. Overall the fit was a near perfect fit for my ears and I believe to get anything better I would have to venture into custom IEM’s.


I first used the provided sure seal tips. I found the large and the tapered tips to give me the best seal. I like the design of the tapered tips and I think for most people this would be the go to tip that was provided. It should accommodate people with small ear canals all the way up to people with large canals. What I didn’t care for though is the material the tips were made from. The material wasn’t soft silicon nor was it hard plastic. It did conform to my ear well, but it felt sticky to touch. This may be by design and actually be beneficial to some people as the tips did tend to hold the IEM’s in place well.
Personally I like Comply foam tips or the Shure Olive tips for most things, but recently I’ve began to use the Spinfit tips and I’m really enjoying them. I find the Spinfit medium tips give me a seal comparable to Comply foam tips without me having to worry about replacing them very often. The other plus is that I don’t have to worry about compressing them before inserting them into my ears. Overall these are very good in terms of quality and build. Good job from Aurisonics and Fender.


Sound


I found that for me both the provided sure seal tips and the Spinfit tips provided very similar results. However I like the feel of the Spinfit tips better and my review of the sound is based off of using these tips.
I compared sound using two well known IEM’s and an industry standard over the ear cans. The IEM’s that I use are the Shure SE215, Westone UM Pro10 while the over the ear cans are the AKG K701 with a custom cable. These are used for comparison purposes so that people can understand what I’m talking about when I describe the sound. For me I prefer a neutral EQ from my monitors when mixing and adjusting my sound, but when playing guitar in my band I like a little more tight bass response. My go to choices, give me just that.


Overall I found the soundstage of the Harmony/FXA7 to be very good. It provided what I believe to be an accurate spread without being to airy. The overall sound was very pleasing for all the music I listen to. It gave me a since of being in the studio which is a good thing.


I found that compared to the AKG K701’s the Harmony/FXA7 was far from a flat response the K701’s are known for. The Harmony/FXA7’s provided much more on the low end and the highs were rolled off just slightly. The mids were on par with K701’s for details and overall the Harmony/FXA7’s provided a lot of details that I didn’t expect. To put it simply, they were very good in this area. I wouldn’t use them for my only mixing monitor due to the emphasis in the low end, but the details they provided would give a good starting point.


I like the SE215’s for their V-shaped sound. For most of my guitar playing I like a bit of thump in the low end and I need my high’s to sing, both without compromising the mids. I find that for the price point of the SE215’s they do exactly what I’m looking for. The Harmony/FXA7’s do an even better job for what I’m looking for but they are far from V-shaped in sound. I would describe them as an L shape with the low end being higher than the treble side. The Harmony/FXA7 would likely become my go to set when gigging because of the increased details
that were available and they provide a great deal of instrument separation. Outstanding job from Aurisonics/Fender on this point.


My Westone UM Pro 10’s are my normal listening IEM’s because they give somewhat of a neutral sound in my opinion while being extremely comfortable. I usually forget that I’m even wearing them. So on this point, for normal listening, I didn’t care for the Harmony/FXA7 as much. As I stated earlier they felt good in my ears, but they are heavier than I would like for normal everyday usage. Compared to the sound of the Westone’s the Harmony/FXA7 was on par as far as ear fatigue goes. Although they weren’t neutral, I found that I got little to no ear fatigue from them. The Harmony/FXA7 provided more bass, slightly rolled off highs compared to the Westone’s.


Based on my findings, I found the Harmony/FXA7 do be a very good choice for most music and would recommend them for anyone looking for more details in their sound. They excelled at providing details. If you’re looking for a IEM with emphasis in the low end, these would be an excellent choice, the bass is deep and tight with natural decay. The mids are spot on where I think they should be with great detail in the vocal/guitar range. The highs are slightly rolled off, but still provide shimmer and sparkle where it belongs. I didn’t find the highs to be at all shrill or unpleasant. Outstanding job from Aurisonics/Fender on the sound quality.


Isolation


The sound isolation of the Harmony/FXA7 is very good with the provided sure seal tips, but of course when used with a Comply foam tip or the Spinfit tip, isolation is slightly better. I feel like the build larger earpiece sitting in the ear provided an increase in isolation probably due to having more surface area to block sound. Very good isolation.
Value
I hesitate when trying to gauge value in any product unless there are issues with build quality or the product is just an outstanding value. Based on what I paid for these IEM’s at $380, I think they are a very good value. But when looking at the retail price point of $499, I’m a little hesitant to give them good marks, but nonetheless, I believe the Aursonic/Fender Harmony/FXA7 is a good value. When compared to a Shure SE535 which is also a triple driver design I think they are probably a step up. This isn’t to say that the Shure’s aren’t a good IEM, but I think the Harmony/FXA7 is a step closer to being in the range of a custom IEM.


Overall/Summary


Based on my experience, I highly recommend these IEM’s for anyone looking for a step up in details and instrument separation. The soundstage is very good with a good spread. The highs are slightly rolled off, but detailed and provide shimmer and sparkle where it needs to be. The mid’s are very good with exceptional clarity in the vocal/guitar range. The lows, well… This is where these IEM’s really step up the game. The lows are deep an tight with a natural decay.


In baseball terms, I wouldn’t say these are a grand slam, or even a homerun, but they are definitely a stand up triple.
Very good job from Aurisonics/Fender with the Harmony/FXA7.

1 Comment:

Your pros/cons summarizes my impressions better than anything else.
Nicer bass, but mids are clearly lacking compared to the older Aurisonics ASG generation.
Regarding built quality, these are the last nicely built models before the "cheap" Fender FXA models (not price-wise but quality-wise) and their awful rotating mmcx connectors.
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