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Ear plugs... what works for concerts???

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Howdy folks! I was hoping to pick the brains of the folks here about suggestions for ear plugs. Am trying to find something that doesn't just muffle sound, but acts as a way of turning down the volume without distortion. Have tried the Etymotic ER 20 and appreciate what they do. Apparently, I've got sensitive ears. For me, the ear plugs make concerts bearable. However, the sound quality IS affected. Sound is muffled, higher frequencies are more affected and the balance is off.

So, what do y'all use?? Anyone have recommendations for ear plugs that block the volume, nbut not the fidelity?

Thanks!
Bruce
post #2 of 27
I don't think any ear plugs will attenuate the sound how we'd like them to. Usually, I just insert them enough so they take the edge off the volume without muffling too much. If anyone else has some tips here I'd be interested in hearing them/trying them too.
post #3 of 27
I personally find the ER20s okay at what they do. However, I find it difficult to get a proper seal, which makes them sound weird at times. This is despite the fact that tri-flanges go into my ears very easily if fitted onto an IEM.

There are always customs, such as the ER series ones. I suppose they work better for the simple fact that musicians use them onstage, though I may be totally wrong.

http://www.ultimateears.com/custom/M...n-Earplugs.htm
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
Aaron, agreed, it seems odd that it's harder to get a decent fit with the ER20 than it is with ER4! But, I've had the same experience.

Would be very interested in getting feedback from folks that have tried other options... ER-25 appear to be what I'm looking for, but would love to get some idea from folks that have used them whether it's really worth the cost. They plugs targeted toward musicians all claim to simply lower volume while maintaining fidelity.

Thanks!
Bruce
post #5 of 27
I use the ER-20 regularly and never have trouble getting them in. I do use water to help with the seal, though. It's pretty easy to do; whenever I get to a concert I go to the bathroom, and get water from the sink.


The ER20 and normal construction-worker foam earplugs are all I've tried though. Good luck finding something more to your liking.
post #6 of 27
The musicians earplugs really are that good. If you want the fidelity, then I'd say go for it. What kind of concerts do you go to? One other thing, they're really really comfy, I have forgotten that I am wearing them on many occasions.
post #7 of 27
Been to over 100 live rock concerts. I have some custom ear plugs, as well as the ER-20s. The ER-20s are completely worth it. They reduce the volume without smashing the frequencies...the reduction is even.

The one thing I'd like to see from them are 25DB of protection though...
post #8 of 27
I carry ER-20's and cheap foam ear plugs with me everywhere.

-Ed
post #9 of 27
The ER-20 have so far gotten me happily through a Dragonforce concert and an Amon Tobin DJ set.
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
I've got the ER 20 and they work pretty well to reduce the sound to less painful levels. But, to my ears, it's not even reduction across all frequencies. The highs get squashed more readily than the lows. Definitely not the worst thing in the universe, but I was having a hard time really enjoying Porcupine Tree a couple weeks ago because I wasn't hearing everything that was going on... but the good news was that I wasn't hearing all the db's they were putting out! Nice not to emerge from a concert with your ears ringing and head splitting.

Bruce
post #11 of 27
I go to concerts several times a month (Doping Panda@Studio Coast tomorrow ), so my musician's earplugs were one of the best spent $200 on audio. I absolutely love them.

I also carry around the ER20 as a cell phone strap.
post #12 of 27
I have custom-molded Westone "musician's earplugs" (created using the same materials and methods as Etymotics) with 15 dB and 25 dB reduction interchangeable pads. I'd never go to a concert or a gig without them. I have sensitive ears (read: easily destructible), and at volumes higher than 90 dB, I get aural distortion, so I can actually hear considerably better with the plugs in.

If the concert isn't unbearably loud (ex. Radiohead try to keep theirs under 100 dB), the 15 dB reduction plugs provide more fidelity. Just remember that with 25 dB reduction, a large portion of what you're hearing is due to bone conduction--the vibration of your head. If the SPL is high enough, you can still damage your hearing even with the highest-reduction ear inserts.
post #13 of 27
infinitesymphony, I'm really curious about the customs. How much trouble is it to switch between the 15dB and 25dB inserts, and what do spare inserts cost? Also, what material is your earmold - hard acrylic, Otoblast, W1 silicone, or one of Westone's other choices?
post #14 of 27
I have a pair of customs by Sonomax, they are about $120. They work great, and when you are having them made, you can choose from several custom filters for the enviornment you'll be wearing them in.

Alternately, the E-A-R "HiFi" model is a universal fit plug that is made for even attenuation and natural sound. It is my concert hearing protection of choice and works great.
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by episiarch View Post
infinitesymphony, I'm really curious about the customs. How much trouble is it to switch between the 15dB and 25dB inserts, and what do spare inserts cost? Also, what material is your earmold - hard acrylic, Otoblast, W1 silicone, or one of Westone's other choices?
I have a pair of Westone ES49 earplugs (bottom of the page) in whatever material is shown--it feels like a soft plastic. Changing filters is just a matter of popping out the old one and pushing the new one into place--very easy.

I purchased mine through my university's audiology department, so I had a large discount. According to Westone's site, the earplugs go for $162-$176 / pair and the filters are $38 each, though that $162-$176 probably includes one set of filters of your choice. Mine came with the 15 dB attenuators and I paid extra for the 25 dB set--a great decision in hindsight.
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