COMPANIES TO WATCH
|Fischer Amps CEO Jochen Fischer.
German-quality solutions for sound engineers, artists, and audiophiles are driving retail sales.
WHEN PINK SOARED above world stages in her acclaimed 2018 Beautiful Trauma tour, she relied on an in-ear/headmic combo developed by Sennheiser and Fischer Amps. Various Fischer products are also the choice of Katy Perry, AC/DC, the Scorpions, and the Blue Man Group, not to mention thousands of concert halls, houses of worship, tour sound rental firms, and cruise ships. While marquee credits were earning Fischer a place at the big league audio and touring table, “FA”-branded products have begun driving retail demand from all manner of musicians in the trenches—from garage bands and weekend warriors to demanding pros.
Fischer Amps manufactures headphone amplifiers, rackmount and portable battery chargers, and in-ear monitors. All but the portable chargers are not only developed in Germany but also completely handcrafted there, with highly skilled technicians ensuring the tightest specs through stringent QC protocols. The company’s products are sold in more than 30 countries worldwide, and sales have grown by double digits every year since 2012.
A guitarist and vocalist who also studied electronic engineering, Jochen Fischer started working as a sound engineer for renowned bands and productions in the early ’90s. When not touring, he repaired tube amplifiers for his bandmates and other artists, informally establishing his own business.
As many major touring productions began to adopt wireless microphones and in-ear monitor systems (IEMs), Fischer explored alternatives to the expensively disposable alkaline batteries and the less reliable NiCd rechargeables. Next-gen NiMH cells performed well but took an untenable (for touring productions) 16 to 18 hours to charge. In 1996, he developed a rack-mountable fast-charger that recharged the batteries in two to three hours while the show was being set up, not only helping productions to go “green,” but also saving them a lot of money. The success of Fischer’s invention marked the official launch of his company, Fischer Amps.
In 1999, when in-ear monitoring was still in its infancy, Fischer Amps took over the Europe-wide distribution for Ultimate Ears Pro. That same year it introduced its Hardwired In Ear Belt Pack, a wired headphone amplifier with two direct balanced XLR inputs that requires no special cable. Over the years it expanded the range to include rack-mount headphone amplifiers; special headphone amplifiers combined with low-frequency transducers as IEMs for drummers such as the Drum In Ear Amp and Shaker Amp 400; and many performance-enhancing products. Recent additions include an increasingly popular line of Fischer Amps earphones.
Among the company’s recent product milestones, the Fischer Amps In Ear Stick is a small, lightweight headphone amplifier that won the German Innovation Award in 2018, bestowed by the German Design Council for products providing innovative solutions to persistent problems.
Fischer Amps is developing its largest presence in m.i. retail with its FA earphones, which offer high efficiency, exceptional resolution, and superb dynamic response and sonic accuracy. The line comprises four universal-fit models with three or four balanced armature drivers and different frequency response profiles to fit individual users’ needs and preferences. The Ultimate Ear line features seven high-end custom-fit models with up to six balanced armature drivers and four passive crossovers.
Fischer Amps’ mission is to develop pro audio products that represent game-changing innovation or simplified solutions for sound engineers and artists. Convenient handling, top workmanship, and unsurpassed reliability are hallmarks of the brand. Another is close collaboration with its expert end-users. “Staying in close contact with major sound engineers is essential for us,” says Fischer. “Their feedback and need for solutions is the driving force of our work. Artists and their engineers need top-quality equipment and superior support and service. Satisfying these needs has been our goal right from the start.”