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Ear plugs; how much cut?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by seanm, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I'm interested in how much cut people want from ear plugs. When gigging, I like the Hearos -22dB. I find they have a nice even cut.

    For practice, we are much louder. There I like the -29dB plastic earplugs. They attenuate the highs more than lows so I can still sorta hear myself.

    I have tried some -32dB foam ear plugs. Supposedly they are up to -40dB at high frequencies. But when I wear them, it feels like the music is coming from far away and it messes up my timing.
  2. rickenbaker


    Jul 20, 2007
    I got myself some recently after our first rehearsal with a drummer. I got -12db (or somewhere around that) and they work perfectly fine for me. My ears aren't ringing after rehearsal but I can still hear most of what's going on. it's quite nice
  3. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    I recommend getting the Alpine MusicSafe Pro earplugs which not only sound better than typical foam earplugs but come with 9, 15, and 26dB filters. This allows you to use the 26dB filters when you go to see a loud show and switch to 9 or 15dB filters for stage use.

  4. jamo71


    Aug 8, 2010
    Champlin, MN
    I am going to give these ear plugs a try. Thanks for the tip.
  5. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    When I got fitted for my plugs, the audiologist recommendd that I get -15dB inserts. Mainly because I have a big dip in my hearing at 4K and any more reduction would make it difficult to understand speach with the plugs.

    Even at that relatively low amount of reduction, I find that the Fletcher/Munson curve causes me to not hear low frequencies quite as well. I need to periodically pull one out to be sure I'm not overdoing the lows with my bass rig or PA.
  6. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    This is one of the advantages of the non-full range ear plugs. They cut the highs much more than the lows. You might underdo the lows, but never overdo it.

    Is underdo even a word?

    But I have to admit that with the foam earplugs, I cannot easily hear speech.
  7. ivanthetrble


    Sep 9, 2002
    I have Westone custom made plugs. The filter can be changes and I usually wear -25dB. Occasionally I will use the -15dB. I like these over foam because foam makes everything sound muffled. With the Westone's everything sounds the same, just not as loud.
  8. tsunami1052

    tsunami1052 What the Funk?

    Sep 13, 2005
  9. wcriley


    Apr 5, 2010
    Western PA
    I'm sure the highs are down just as much as the lows due to the F/M curve. At 60 years old and having spent too many years in bands, the military and on constructions sites, my hearing drops off on the upper end anyway.

    With the -15 inserts in my MicroSonics I have less trouble hearing/understanding speech in loud environments than I do without. Go figure.
  10. Warfender


    Oct 25, 2009
    I run Westone custom -15. Had the -25 but was too much for me so I measured my buddies hole in the filter on his -15 and drilled my to the same. PERFECT!
  11. Calebmundy


    Apr 5, 2007
    Just got some molded plugs by Sensaphonic, and I went with the -15db on recommendation. Seem to be working well so far. I play in a couple of very loud bands that do 4 hour straight sets, and I could hear well, but didn't have ringing afterwards.
  12. dystopiate


    Feb 21, 2008
    New York City
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, Aguilar
    I have Etymotic customs (same filters as Westone, and I imagine others, use). I found the -25dB filters to be incredibly excessive, even at crushing volumes. They also cut the higher frequencies to a greater degree than the -15 or -9 filters (they all cut highs. No one offers truly even reduction). I found myself taking them out to speak to people, even if they were shouting, which kind of ruined the point of having them. I've played at teeth rattling volumes on stage and in rehearsal spaces. I can't imagine using more than -15dB.
  13. mozilla314


    Dec 19, 2011
    Wow, who makes the -29db earplugs? I'm trying to get the most db cut I can get. I don't care about hearing the rest of the band, I just care that
    my bass lines are correct. I don't even have to hear myself, if I can "feel" the bass that's enough for me.
  14. Mine are fitted by a local hearing aid firm - I use 9 db cut. More than that and I can't hear subtleties in the music, and my band isn't that loud. 9 db is enough that my hearing is OK and I can still hear what I'm doing. I tried 15 db but it was just a bit too much cut.

    IMO if you actually NEED 25 db or more in noise reduction to protect your hearing, your band is too loud.
  15. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I have custom molded ear plugs, called Musicians Ear Plugs. They have removeable filters so I can change them from a full plug (-33Db) to what I use (-15Db) to what I should have gotten (-9Db). The ear plugs off the shelf only block high frequencies. The ones I have block all frequencies across the board, but you can still hear everything.
    My band plays at about 103Db on stage, so we are pretty loud. -9Db for moulded ear plugs is plenty for me. Some might have issues playing with more blocked sound. Also, I have my hearing checked every 2 years and it is above average in all frequencies.
  16. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    +1 We are too loud. The band volume at rehearsal went from not needing earplugs to extreme in one shot. It was not a gradual thing. It used to be you had to go right up to the garage door to hear the guitar practicing... now you can hear it faintly way down the driveway.

    There are no subtleties at that volume, it is just a roar. I only put up with it because the gigs are fun.

    I am the only one who wears ear plugs :rollno:
  17. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    I wear -9dB or -12dB ear plugs at practice (because the room is small and sound is bouncing around all over the place), depending on which room we're practicing in, but any more than that seems excessive IMO/IME.

    On stage, I don't wear them because my bands always make it a point to keep a low stage volume and let the FOH provide the power. When I'm at shows, I'll bring along my -9dB plugs, but may not need to wear them.

    My attitude on low dB padded plugs might change if I ever fork over the cash for a proper pair.
  18. ivanthetrble


    Sep 9, 2002
    Tell that to our gui****! ;) Don't be surprised when he answers you with "WHAT?". 13 years of playing 45 gigs a year with no hearing protection. Yeah, that is a really smart thing to do.
  19. Jools4001

    Jools4001 Supporting Member

    Really? What's the point in that? Have you tried turning down?

    I play in a loud band - Rock covers with quite a few heavier bands in the set list(Metallica, Saxon, UFO, Maiden etc) if that's any guide. When we rehearse we play at maybe half gig volume which means we can actually hear what needs to be worked on.
  20. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I would love to turn down. Lead guitar likes to play loud :atoz:

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