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Two none-related questions.

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
My first question is about ear plugs. not buds or phones of any kind, but plugs. I'm going to a Tool concert friday night and we're going to get as close as we can. I don't want to hurt my ears since I'm very fond of them, so I plan to get some plugs. real plugs this time, not paper or something. Are there any particular brands that block sound more evenly than others? I don't want to mess up the experience!

I also want to know if it's legal to listen to open headphones while driving? I probably won't bother, but I figure some of my "extra" cash for audio stuff should go into my car since the speakers are pathetic. Thus increasing the need to get good ye cost efficient phones that don't need an amp.
post #2 of 4
Most of the typical foam ear plugs usually block up to like 25-35 db, but that's only at higher frequencies. The attenuation of lower frequencies is much smaller. This is the cheapest solution and probably give you the best protection for the money.

If you want something with a more even attenuation across the spectrum, you might have to get the ER-20. Unfortunately, I don't know where you can get these beside mail order. There was a few companies distributing the ER-20's at music or drug stores, but I don't know who they are and where you can buy them. In my experience, the ER-20 might not attenuate enough of the low frequencies.

The ultimate solution is to get special ear plugs that require a special mold of your ear. This would get rid of occlusion effects because it takes into account of the bend in your ear. This solution is very expensive and lengthy in time because the plugs have to be manufactured at a lab.
post #3 of 4
I'm with pedxing - if you can get you hands on some Etymotic ER-20s, you'll be doing youself a favor. I use them quiet a bit and I find that they lower dbs across the spectrum. They fit comfortably (easier than the ER-4s that I use) and are not too obtrusive.

From what I can gather, the users of this forum are younger than me (I'm approaching 50). I can only say to you younguns: protect your ears. Hearing loss or tinitus is not fun. I attend a lot of concerts (jazz) and while they are not as loud as some rock concerts, my ears aren't what they used to be. I have tinitus (not severe) and it is not cool. Dudes - you only have one set of ears and if you love music, love your ears.
post #4 of 4
What you want are referred to as musicians' earplugs. They are used, for example, by symphony musicians who may be sitting close to loud instruments. They provide even attenuation across the audible spectrum.

Look for the E-A-R UltraTech ear plugs. They are actually Etymotic ER-20's, providing about 12 dB of attentuation. The tips are the same as the flanged tips of the Etymotic 4 series of earphones. They go into your ear canal. One advantage is that your speech does not sound funny to you--there's a proper term for this, but I can't think of it at the moment.

They are generally sold at musician supply houses/shops, professional audio dealers, and industrial safety supply houses. I don't remember how much they sell for, but it's <$25. They come in a blue plastic container and have a cord that attaches to each and runs around the back of your head. You can also order them directly from Etymotic Research.

You can find info about them at the Etymotic Research web site, www.etymotic.com.
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