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custom molded ear plugs

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by sadworld, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. sadworld


    Feb 2, 2009
    going in tomorrow to get sized for my earplugs... i need to make a decision on what degree of db reduction i want... i need to know this before i order... what do you guys recomend or have experience with... choices are 9, 15 and 25 db reduction.... im leaning toward 25 but i'm concerned that things will sound too different... we play loud rock.....thanks for any input. matt.
  2. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    I've been fine w/15's on some pretty loud stages. Definitely recommended.
  3. fourfinger

    fourfinger Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2003
    Central Ohio
    I just got mine. Westone, from an audiologist at local hospital.

    I chose the 25s. I have not tried them in a band situation yet.

    I think they'll be great for me, but I was already used to using foam earplugs regularly. They are WAY better than foam, I can tell already.

    The audiologist wasn't in when I arrived, and the clerk gave me them to try on, but didn't tell me they had the stoppers in instead of the filters. So at first I was bummed, thinking they were not what I expected.

    But I figured it out right away, and after popping in the filters I could tell they were very much like I expected.

    Here's what they are like:

    They are more comfortable in my ears than foam earplugs (not that I ever found foam uncomfortable, I thought they were fine).

    When someone else speaks, the 25s still let their voice and words through very clearly, sounding perfectly normal, just noticeably quieter.

    When I speak, my voice sounds loud and muffled, almost exactly as if I were wearing foam earplugs. I wonder how it will be with stage monitors, but I have little doubt it is going to be pretty good.

    I always had trouble hearing my note in the monitors without earplugs. Part of what I liked about foam earplugs was the extra boost to my own voice. I think that will still be the case with the 25s.

    I chose 25s because I have some hearing loss already, and would rather err on the side of caution.

    If I don't like my 25s, I can get a set of 15s for $50.

    I should have done this long ago. Good luck with yours!
  4. WHughes


    Nov 25, 2008
    Washington State
    Some guys in my band have these.
    My limited experience with plugs is that my bass sounds very muffled and I constantly think I am out of tune. Then I pull the plugs out. Is it that way with the pro models as well? I have definite hearing loss and a constant ringing from years and years of this.
  5. fourfinger

    fourfinger Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2003
    Central Ohio
    Foam plugs block more high end than the "musicians" plugs.

    I found that it takes some getting used to foam earplugs; it's as if the brain knows what it should be hearing and makes the translation after a while. It is more of a challenge if you're doing improvisation or especially if you do a lot of singing (sometimes, all you can hear is your own voice).

    Have not done new plugs with full band yet, but from all indications so far, they live up to their hype.
  6. 15dB, IMO. I'm sure 25dB filters would sound fine, but I find 15dB appropriate for nearly every situation. Unless your stage volume is louder than the average house volume, 15dB should be enough. No reason to make it quieter than it needs to be.
  7. mbrain


    Feb 20, 2006
    I use either ER9's or ER15's. Both are fine in loud situations--my ears never ring when I get off stage, and it's much more pleasant to play when an out of control drummer isn't killing you with his crash/ride cymbals.

    ER15's have the flattest response/attenuation. You can see the curves at this link:


    I think everyone ought to have a pair, even though they aren't exactly cheap.

    Oh, and they are *way better* than foam plugs (which have a horrible frequency response).
  8. TomB

    TomB Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2007
    It is not at all the same with Westone and other ''pro'' models as with foam plugs, IMO. As an earlier poster described, once you've adjusted to the experience, it's like not wearing them, only quieter. Because they cut out so much ''white noise'', I found they actually make the bass stand out more in the mix. Singing is the biggest adjustment, but once you've adjusted, it's like having your own personal monitor mix... more of yourself. I never found any of these things to be the case with foam plugs. Oh, and because they're custom molded, they're way more comfortable for a long night. They were the best $100 or so dollars I ever spent on gear. Of course that was over 10 years ago so I bet they cost more now.
  9. +1 I've been using the Westone with the -15db filters for years now. They still allow plenty of treble response through, and since they are molded to your ear, they are very comfortable. Unless you are playing in a stupid loud situation, I'd go for the least amount of DB reduction you can get (-10db would be perfect), to just take the edge off the volume, protect your ears, but not reduce the volume and muffle the tone so much as to make it sound bad. The -15db filters actually work very well in the few really loud situations I get myself into (i.e., standing right on top of a very loud drummer on a small stage in a big room, etc.).

    WELL worth the money to do this right!

    Edit: To your exact question.... the -25db will sound pretty close to just foam plugs (which I believe are, in general -30db). For loud rock, get the -15 IMO. It will just take the edge off the volume but will still sound good.
  10. dbassman59


    Dec 19, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    15 db is what I wear ... they're perfect
  11. sadworld


    Feb 2, 2009
    thanks guys, i just got fitted for my plugs and i ordered the
    -15db.... 2-3weeks and i'll have em. can't wait to check em out. matt.
  12. OtterOnBass


    Oct 5, 2007
    One more for posterity. I love the 15 db filters I have. My friend ordered the 25 db and doesn't wear them because they are too quiet. He does take them to concerts.
  13. lotsolowend


    Aug 23, 2006
    Nederland, Tx
    i have the 15 and 25. i bring the plugs and both sets with me everywhere. when i first got them i used the 25s at rehearsal and actually thought the band 'took a hint' and turned down because it was surprisingly quiet (they in fact got louder and the 25s reduced the volume THAT much)

    i never put the 25s in after that. i use 15 everywhere i go - just got back from SXSW and every band i saw i just wore the 15 and was fine. i didn't wear them when i was on stage though (i rarely do if we play short sets) so i had a small amt. of ringing b/c of that but it didn't get any worse as i wore the 15's for the 14 hours i was out there
  14. sadworld


    Feb 2, 2009

    since you have tried both can you comment on the sound of the 25's? did they let the highs in and things were just quieter or did they actually change the tone or deaden things? how bout the 15's?
  15. I wish i would have spent the $$ on my pro plugs years earlier. I'm 32 and suffer from hearing loss. I wear them all the time and also to concerts. I have the 15s and my only complaint is that the sound leaks in while i'm screaming; opening my jaw all the way changes the shape of the ear canal.
  16. dbassman59


    Dec 19, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    Can't wait to hear your feedback. For me, these earplugs are simply like turning down the volume on everything ... I would guess that without earplugs baseline hearing for all tones is 100% ... While wearing these proper 15db earplugs it's like 95-98% because you hear your voice easier with them in while singing. But it's like 100% if you don't sing. Hearing you're own voice when you sing in a way that's a good thing anyways. Bottom line ... I got completely used to them after first practise.

    Mine cost me about $200 CDN. If I lost mine and even if the price somehow quadrupled ... I would pay it NO QUESTIONS ASKED ... They make that big of difference ...

    Imagine after every practise and every gig ... no ringing ears ... in fact your ears are no more fatigued than if you just listened to the radio or watched TV.

    And wait until you where them at a concert ... you'll be blown away by how clear everything sounds ... I wore mine to a recent Def Lepard / Styx concert ... it was awesome ... at the end of the show ... no ringing or fatigued ears what-so-ever.

    I guess as you can tell I just can't say enough ... to all you TB'rs .. GET PROPERLY FITTED EARPLUGS ... .you won't regret it and as a 'perk' my extended health plan' at work covered 80% of the cost!!
  17. ironrat


    Sep 24, 2008
    screaming???????? :eek: why?
  18. Commreman

    Commreman Faith, Family, Fitness, and Frets Supporting Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    New Jersey
    I have a set of custom molded earplugs, 15db cut. They have saved what is left of my hearing, and are very comfortable to wear. I wear them at most of my shows, and concerts that I attend. I can't make any comment about screaming, though. I haven't tried that with them in!
  19. cause i'm the singer too! :)
  20. Bjazzman


    Dec 7, 2004
    Madison WI
    can you get custom molded ear plugs to fit the shure slc5's?

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