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Earplug Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by GreggBummer, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    So are your car keys. :)

    The problems I have with the ER-20s is that they don't block enough sound for some situations (such as the extremely loud one the OP describes) and they don't attenuate equally across all frequencies.

    But I keep two pair with me whenever I go to a gig just in case something happens to my custom plugs.
  2. doktorfeelgood

    doktorfeelgood layin' it down like pavement Supporting Member

    +1...Right On msquared...I used the ER-20's and they're better than nothing but you're right...they don't attenuate across all frequencies equally. That's why I went with the custom ones. I keep my custom ones in a small plastic case and wipe them off and put them back in the case when I take them out between sets. And, like I said, I've had these earplugs for 2 years now with the same filters and they're perfect. I guess the fact that I'm careful with them and take care of them might have something to do with it. Who spends $125 on something and then doesn't take care of it..?
  3. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    +1 on the "hearos" or ER20 style earplugs that look like this...

    for about $15 (NOT FOAM CYLINDER PLUGS!!! unless your ears are really sensitive to loud sound.)


    In the long run you might look up an audiologist in the phone book and get some "musicians earplugs" like this...


    they'll run you between $100-200, but they're frequency repsonse is even flatter than ther ER20 plugs.
  4. Yes, I know. But car keys are far bigger...

    It is true that the custom ones sounded more linear, but in a loud volume setting the nuances are really lost concerning such differences, at least on my ears.

    I might get another set, but it's not fun placing another $150+ for a set that I might lose again...

  5. sparrow


    May 26, 2005
    Those earplugs saved my hearing! :D
  6. figuredbass

    figuredbass Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2007
    NYC vicinity
    You're very wise to protect your hearing. The recommendations others have posted of the ER-20's are good. But I find that sometimes things go beyond even what they can safely protect, and have to occasionally resort to the foams. I use two types, each of which offer very high protection. The trade-off is the usual muffled sound they produce, but trading off some sound quality sure beats trading off your hearing! :cool:

    1. Aearo "E-A-R" Classic. They are cylindrical foam with a NRR rating of 29 dB.

    2. Howard Leight "Max". They are bright orange-red, require careful fitting to work optimally, but provide the highest protection, with a NRR of 33 dB.

    You can find both of these types on line in boxes of 200 pairs for about $29.99, about 15 cents a pair, far more economical than buying them in a drugstore if you use them regularly.

    I don't use them (or anything as heavy as these) for quieter gigs like jazz or theatre, but I ALWAYS have them on hand for when the gorilla or gui**** gets ugly... ;):D
  7. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    Really? I find the opposite to be true. The louder the volume, the more skewed the sound of the plugs seems to be.

    I will say that the effect is actually positive for bass players. The old adage of "if it sounds like it has too much high end on stage, it sounds perfect in the crowd" works well with these plugs because you end up cranking the highs or playing in a fashion that brings more highs out.

    One downside for me is that I like to leave my plugs in all night so that I'm used to the different volume level and I don't have to re-adjust to it. Having the highs more attenuated than the lows really messes with me when I'm trying to have a conversation.
  8. ishouldbeking


    Feb 5, 2007
    Hollywood, CA
    Endorsing: SIT, Eastwood, Hanson
    My problem with the ER-20's are the ridiculously goofy look. Yeah, yeah, i know, who cares how you look, that's not important, but whatever, it bugs me.

    Foam plugs don't bother me with the way they look at all, nor do custom plugs... but a freakishly long clear stem sticking out of my head drives me nuts everytime i see myself in a mirror. If I had longer hair it might not bother me, but as it is, the alien look just doesn't cut it for me.

    I have a set of the Alpine Music Safe plugs on the way since they're supposedly far less noticeable (shorter stems), plus the flexibility of three different levels of sound blockage sounds appealing.
  9. I have a pair of custom Westones - cost be about $150 with 15db and 25db interchangeable filters. I have about 6 years on those puppies and there is no sign that they need replacing yet. So we're talking about $25 bucks yearly for the use I've gotten out of them so far. To me, they sound worlds better (and feel better yet) then the Sonic IIs I wore before (though those little guys still hang out in my gear bag for emergencies or moments of stupidity). I also keep a bag of 200 foam plugs in my car in case I need them for things like loud band at the bar night or to give away to other band members.

    The coolest part of the custom plugs is that they really do pretty much sound like you simply turned the world's volume knob down. Right after I got mine I played a show at a local venue that is known for having a great vibe but really garbage sound. Popped in the plugs and discovered that the room does have aweful sound, but only because the engineers are either deaf or unused to mixing in sonically live rooms. All it took was 15db of attenuation and everything sounded spectacular! To this day I find that the best way to hear the vocals and the bass clearly at a really loud show is to put in a pair of decent earplugs. The results are just as good when you're on the stage as when you're in front of it.
  10. ForestThump


    Jun 15, 2005
    By all means protect your ears but also talk to the other musicians you are playing with. Good drum tone does not come from hitting them hard and if the guitarists have huge amps in a small space they aren't getting the best tone unless they are seriously doing damage to themselves and the others.
    Many of those Marshall cabs you see in stadiums are empty and only there for the "drool" potential as props.
  11. I guess I DID post this in the wrong forum, so I send my apologies again to the moderators.

    Thank you all very much for your advice, relating your experience's, and the kind words regarding my service.
  12. doktorfeelgood

    doktorfeelgood layin' it down like pavement Supporting Member

    I looked into these. I use the custom molded ones but these look good for spares. Thanks for the info. )-(
  13. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I also use the ER20s. I played in a rock band 2 years ago that was really loud, the 20s made it more manageable. Eventually, i am going to get at least 1 set of the musician plugs made.
  14. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    For those of you who regularly use custom molded earplugs, what level of attenuation do you normally use? 9dB? 15dB? 25dB?

  15. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection.

    Sep 2, 2004
    Vancouver, BC Canada

    I have those and love them. Been using them for about 3 years now.
  16. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    I use 15dB. I play at a kinda loud church with drums, two gtrs, one acoustic, keys and two singers. maybe run around 100-105 dbc on stage. sometimes at the quieter parts of the performance I pull one out to hear REALLY soft passages when pastor is talking over band.
  17. Yep, usually the 15dB filters are the default ones shipped unless you ask for higher or lower attenuation. 25dB is for *really loud bands* or loud DJ work. You could always order new filters for the custom plugs, actually you should order new ones now and then as they get dirty and stop functioning 100%. --Kent
  18. rduckwor

    rduckwor Nashville Cat Supporting Member

    Jun 14, 2007
    L.A. - Lower Alabama
    I've never used the Etymotic ear plugs, but I have a pair of their in the ear monitors and they are the best intra-canal monitors I have ever used. 25dB sound reduction just as ear plugs and good fidelity sound reproduction.

    Thanks for going over there. Too many of us forget to tell you guys how proud we are that so many of you stepped up. Glad you made it home more or less whole.
  19. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification

    I have a set of each, and use them all in different situations. 9 for jazz gigs, 15 for most gigs, and 25s if I'm playing with a big band...trumpets are L-O-U-D!
  20. doktorfeelgood

    doktorfeelgood layin' it down like pavement Supporting Member

    I use the 15 db filters but will probably be getting the 9's for quieter gigs. Either that or check out the Alpines. They look like they'd work well. )-(

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