Best Ear Plugs??

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by eternally found, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. eternally found

    eternally found Supporting Member

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    Do they exist? I want to protect my hearing, but still hear! In some instances I get to use in-ears, problem solved. But in many places (bars, etc) I don't have the option. Any ideas for affordable ear plugs that simply shave off say 9-12 dB, but retain clarity and allow me to hear the "mix" on stage still?

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. B Money

    B Money Member

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    on most medium-to-loud stages, even 12db reduction is not enough (at least not for me).
    I use custom fit Westone ES49 musician earplugs with 25db filters. The clarity is amazing, they really do a great job of reducing the volume without killing the highs or making it sound weird. Also, because they are custom molded to your ear canals they are comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

    One of the best music gear purchases I've ever made. Seriously fella, spend the money and invest in your hearing.
     
  3. Simon

    Simon Supporting Member

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    Do you have to pay to see a doctor to get ear impressions?
    Mind if I ask what that cost, including the purchase of the plugs?
     
  4. 78deluxe

    78deluxe Member

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    My experience is the process will cost you about $300

    $100-150 for the Doctor visit and molding (yes, required)

    $150 for the plugs

    Something like this is decent on the super cheap:
    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/hearos-high-fidelity-ear-plugs

    They are not perfectly balanced, but they are much better than Orange Foam.

    I agree the custom molds is the best option if you really want to hear the mix with minimal colorization.
     
  5. ceeinwa

    ceeinwa Member

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    I found a hearing aid clinic who sold me impressions and 25dB Westone customs for $150.

    Shop around a bit.
     
  6. wahfreak

    wahfreak Silver Supporting Member

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  7. B Money

    B Money Member

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    Those Etymotics are really quite good.

    IIRC (it's been several years now) I paid slightly less than $200 "out-the-door", including a pair of 15db filters. I later went back and purchased the 25db filters, as I felt like I wasn't getting enough protection. I played in a loudish rock band.
     
  8. sants

    sants Supporting Member

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    I just got my ACS pro 17 plugs. Honestly, universal fit are decent and some are better than others but customs are much better. I've developed tinnitus over the last few months and have been determined to preserve my hearing. I found that with universal fit plugs i was spending a lot of time adjusting and pulling them in and out.

    The customs are much more comfortable and sound like normal hearing only attenuated and like you have something in your ears. The ACS 17 cuts a flat 17db. If you are on a stage that hovers around 100-103 db the 17 puts you at safe limits. I would go custom all the way. I bought some erasers and while very good, they don't protect as much in the higher frequencies.

    I was going to go with westone but found better reviews on the ACS stuff for customer service.

    FYI, all of them use filters manufactured by the same company (Etymotic) and almost all are made from silicone. Basically all the same product. Mine cost me $225 for everything. The plugs themselves are usually $175-185 and $25-50 for impressions. If you pay more than $250 you are paying too much.
     
  9. MONSTER ZERO

    MONSTER ZERO Member

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    http://www.macksearplugs.com/details/musicians-ear-plugs/hear-plugs-ear-plugs

    I use those and love em. They bring the volume down enough to make loud situations easily bearable for me. I think I paid 40 bucks for them.
     
  10. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    Custom molds are da bomb. I also have a set of Earasers that are pretty good. There are a few new ones at NAMM that I hope to check out this weekend.
     
  11. Jon C

    Jon C Silver Supporting Member

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    Westone fitted plugs for me (I've had them for years, ~$150-190/pr. IIRC) with 15 or 25dB filters, or the Etymotics. I just ordered a pair of the new Etymotic 20s to try those. I agree that 12dB is not enough reduction, IMO 15dB minimum is needed for many situations.
     
  12. Madison

    Madison Supporting Member

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    Earasers.
     
  13. Icecaprock

    Icecaprock Member

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  14. pickdropper

    pickdropper Supporting Member

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    The ER-20 earplugs attenuate by 20dB on average. The NRR rating is 12dB, which is a much more conservative estimate. You can read more here:

    http://www.etymotic.com/technology/nrr
     
  15. eternally found

    eternally found Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the input folks! I remember some friends talking about Etymotics a while back, those er20's look great! And for $13? It's a no brainer! Good heads up on the reduction as well, I'm more concerned about clarity than actual volume. Stages get freakin' loud...
     
  16. 78deluxe

    78deluxe Member

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    In past research it seems as though the ER-20s are the same thing as the Hearos I posted (which cost less)

    Hearos were a "dealer" on the Etymotic site previously, as in they likely were just a re-branded version of the same product.
     
  17. Simon

    Simon Supporting Member

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    Update, Well I got some Etymotics and used them all weekend.
    I find they totally change my gtr sound and I'm constantly wanting to pull them out.
    I don't feel comfortable with them.

    I was really hoping they wouldn't be as extreme as my experience with regular (Non musician) plugs, but it's not the same sound to me at a lower volume as some have stated.

    What should I try next, fitted? Thanks for the help.
     
  18. wahfreak

    wahfreak Silver Supporting Member

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    Ear plugs are like condoms. They do the job but it'll never be the same as not using them. Let me know if you find something that does not change the sound at all.
     
    Kyle B likes this.
  19. Simon

    Simon Supporting Member

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    I'm to the point where I have to do something before it's to late.
     
  20. jay42

    jay42 Member

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    I also have Westones. Relative to inflation, they seem to have gone up. Over time, I collected 9, 15, and 25dB attenuators for various applications.
     

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