When you think “Fender,” your brain conjures up images of guitars, of long-haired tattooed musicians exploding into ear-piercing solos. It’s an appropriate assessment — the Stratocaster (or one of its many clones) is usually the first instrument of aspiring rock gods. What you don’t think about are earbuds. But after a recent acquisition, the guitar maker is hoping to change that with its line of in-ear monitors.
I just happen to be in a band. (Actually, several. Okay, five. I’m in five bands.) And no matter where we play, we need to be able to hear ourselves. To accomplish that, everyone from Beyoncé to a local band at a small club uses “monitors.” Unlike the wall of sound directed at the audience, the in-ear and speaker-based monitor system is mixed for either a particular person or area on stage. And from my own experience if you’re a musician and can’t hear yourself — or worse, your bandmates — you’re going to have a bad time.
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