Historically speaking, I’ve been going to live music shows for about 38 of my 53 years on this planet and for many of these years I also was a Heavy Metal drummer that kept an active rehearsal and live gig as a part of his everyday life. I also happen to live in New York City which is a pretty loud place almost 24/7 no matter where you find yourself. Now with the concerts being in mind, I’ve been one of those people who not only uses but also strongly recommends using some kind of protection and with this blog I’ve given a brief overview of the Flents, Etymotic and Eargasm offerings. Recently, I got my hands on a pair of “Vibes” Hi-Fidelity earplugs and I couldn’t wait to try them out.
They come nicely packaged as you can see by the images below and will be a good place to store them for those times that you don’t plan on putting them to use. In addition to the earplugs and the case/holder, you get several different sizes of the white rubber ear buds. This is great since not everyone has the same size ear canal. I’d suggest you keep the extra buds in the box or risk misplacing them like I did for a few days.
My first use of the Vibes earplugs was when my friends in the local Rock outfit “Command Z” had a gig way out in Long Island for a radio station competition. The gig took place in an intimate space with brick walls so it was going to be loud and why not give the new implements of hearing protection a go while in the audience under that setting. There were five bands and five soundchecks and during breaks a lot of loud conversation and people speaking “drunkese” and I had to applaud the efficiency of these earplugs. I’d take them out before chatting with people though since otherwise you are shouting yourself.
The next go round would be the performance of Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda and unlike his band of note, this was much more of a Rap performance and those shows mean lots and lots of loud bass. The kind of bass that makes your body rumble and shakes your brain inside your head. Once again, they worked like a charm and I should stress that I still heard the show fine. I just didn’t have all the extra overpowering sound coming at me which would mean no throbbing headache on the way home or ringing in my ears later.
Now you’re probably wondering if I gave these a go at a Metal show and well, of course I did. I had my Vibes with me for the Powerglove, Kings X and Blackmore’s Night shows. I’d add that I will be bringing them to the Dimmu Borgir show but that is happening after this is being posted so the results from that one will be forever the mystery. Out of those referenced gigs I didn’t need them for the Blackmore’s Night show since that is much calmer and sedate than the chaos of a Glove gig and the loud groove of the dudes in Kings X.
Closing Thoughts: Truth be told, I really, really liked this brand of earplugs. They felt so much more comfortable and didn’t make me really feel like I was wearing anything in my ears. Based on the length of time that one needs to wear this kind of thing, I feel that comfort is as paramount as is the functionality and performance of them. Now you will notice that there isn’t a means to attach a cord to them to prevent loss. If you are a klutz, you will want to keep that in mind and return them to their case as soon as you are done or not thinking you need them anymore. The specs line out that you can reduce the sound by about 22db which is great and as mentioned already, I was still hearing my shows fine. As they are reusable, the best practice is that after each use that you wipe them with a lightly soaped tissue or cloth. Keeping your ears clean is a good idea too but that is just common sense right? They are priced at about $24 a pair but you get what you pay for. Good ear protection is not cheap at all but these are still lower in price than a competing brand. If you can splurge for a couple of different kinds I suggest trying them out but take this as a recommendation.
A “Chronicles” PSA: I liked how these were cited as being good for those suffering with Autism as some of my friends children have this and too much sound really upsets them. I also cannot stress enough to the parents who bring their kids to the shows that they must use ear protection for the kids. It does not take away from the experience or make them “less Metal” or “less Rock”. Its being a smart parent with your child’s health and welfare in mind. I didn’t always wear these way back in the day but nowadays its rare to find me without a pair in my pocket or bag. Hopefully you will be smart with your hearing as once it goes away its gone.
Official Website: http://www.discovervibes.com