1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Musicians Earplugs - 15 or 25 dB reduction?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by CanadaBass, Feb 25, 2006.

  1. Hi all,

    I'm seriously thinking of getting some custom-molded musicians earplugs. Mainly for going to concerts and playing live. I've heard differing opinions on whether 15 dB or 25 dB noise reductions are better. I definitely want to hear the high frequencies. I want to be able to hear things like harmonics, bass chords, etc. when I'm playing (or listening) to them. Would 15 dB be sufficient filters or should I do 25 dB? One audiologist said that 25 dB are good for drummers, and another told me that 25 dB are good for all musicians. I play regular bass guitar, not acoustic.

    Looking forward to your comments, thanks. :bassist:
  2. go with 15s. 25 is too much IMO
  3. DanceHallClasher,

    Thanks man! I appreciate your insight.:cool:
  4. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    I have customer earplugs, and I have them set up so i can easily change from 15 to 25 db, depending on the occasion. Sometimes 25 db is best. It didn't cost that much more to have the extra filters, but you may have a different type that doesn't allow that option.
  5. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    A friend of mine just got some custom molded ones at 15. He says it's perfect and was glad he didn't go 25.

    I'm gonna order some soon and go with 15's.
  6. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    My custom molded ear plugs have 15dB filters in them, but they can be changed to 25 (or even 7.5) if needed.

    15dB is good for most situations though. I play both drums and bass, but not super-loud like certain punk or metal bands do.
  7. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    Played in a loud band, and got the 25s. Mine were removeable filters, so I could've gotten 15s too, and may at some point. Today, though, I'm only playing with acoustic guitarists, so no plugs needed.
  8. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    My 15's are just perfect. The 25's are basically similar to just stuffing standard ear plugs in your ears.... too much for me... you lose all the treble range and things sound bad. The 15db filters on the Westone's are just perfect... they take the edge of really loud situations, but they allow a full range of sound to come through... it still sounds decent, just softer.
  9. Thanks for all of your input guys!

    I think I'm going to go for the 15 dBs. I don't play super loud and want to preserve the full frequency range --definitely don't want any muffled sound. I've had musicians earplugs before, and stood front row at a loud club show. It was perfect, you could still *feel* the show physically but sonically it was like turning the volume knob down to a comfortable level. Not sure what db those ones were.

    Appreciate your opinions, cheers. :bassist:
  10. Kosko


    Dec 12, 2005
    I went to Google first to look this up, I'm happy Talkbass was one of the first listenings. Anybody have any more experience with this question since 06?
  11. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Yes.. I finally moved to the 9db's and have put my 15's in storage. For most who play at a professional level (i.e., not kid stuff with Marshall stacks and idiots), the 9's just perfectly take the edge of loud stage volume (i.e., volume of a band cranking at the volume level of a loud unmic'd drummer, which is literally as loud as anyone would need to play), and impacts the tone and experience even less thant he 15's.

    Life changing!
  12. Ezbass


    Apr 3, 2008
    I use 15s, I dropped to 9s for a while but they got messed up and I'm back with the 15s. 25s seem like a lot of attenuation unless you're playing or are into metal.Tone wise they shouldn't make any difference as they are built to attenuate volume not frequencies. The only thing you should bear in mind is if you sing, because the higher attenuation you get the less you'll hear of everything else and the more of your own voice will be in your head (make sense?).
  13. Same here, I had the 15dB's and then switched to the 9's. With the 9's it's still possible to enjoy a concert, the 15's took all that "live" feeling away.

    However, very good choice to go for custom earplugs. Never without them again!
  14. nboyer941


    Jul 22, 2008
    Burnsville, MN
    25's are too much. I feel they would be good if you were trying to cut out everything and not hear at all (construction job, or something). I also recently switched from 15's to 9's. We don't have a loud stage volume, so the 9's work perfect for me. I mainly use them to cut the drum noise.

    Anyone who is contemplating the ear molds....just do it. It's worth every penny.
  15. nboyer941


    Jul 22, 2008
    Burnsville, MN

    This is interesting to me. I know what you're talking about and I agree....but, what about people who use IEM's? I've never used them, but I would imagine the "live feeling" would be taken away with IEM's.
  16. I have these custom made earplugs that you an change the actual 'plug' part of..... They are called Exinore ER here in Holland (EU).


    I bought 9dB and 15dB plug-ins with them. I am happy with 15dB. No more ringing ears when I play standing right next to the cymbals, crashes, and a guitarplayer who plays on '11'. ;)

    I'm sure that 25dB would be too much for me, although I know a drummer who uses 25dB when he practices at home in that all-concrete room.

    With 9dB it's easier to have conversations, but with 15dB it's possible as well. First, everything seems muted and the music is like 'recorded', not the 'rush' and 'adrenaline' of live music, but....you get used to it, really!

    When I go see other bands I wear them as well. Often bands sound BETTER when they are not as irritatingly loud (although like I said I like the rush of loudness just as much as most of us).
  17. svtb15


    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig
    I have the 15db ones and they seem to work well..if not on IEMS... In some of my gigs the stage floor and side fill monitors can get pretty loud... and need to get over the crowds sound.. especially in large venues... its amazing how loud a crowd can be.. its like thousands of 3 inch wide mouth speakers pointing at you . LOL

    I have become used to them (15db) so i dont change for a smaller gig.. I would use a 9 db one on a jazz gig.. but anything with Monitors and rock drums 15 for me.. But i would like to try the 25 db...
  18. DavidE


    Feb 7, 2010
    I have 9s and 15s. I find even the 9s ruin the sound, but offer plenty of volume attenuation. I wish they didn't kill the high end.
  19. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I went to a Hearing Rehab Center and had 9 dB custom fitted earplugs made. At age 60 I have some hearing loss in the upper end and it is worth about $170 to protect what I have. To me, 15 dB is enough that I can't hear nuances or even a half-step mistake in my playing. 9 dB is enough for me. 25 is way overkill.
  20. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I used IEM's for several years. They did make me feel isolated, plus any time someone on stage tried to tell me something, unless they were on a mic, I couldn't hear them. I solved that by adding an ambient mic to my IEM mixer.

    I agree with most who have replied; 25dB is too much reduction for most situations.