These are a huge leap forward over foam earplugs. I have never had custom-made earplugs for attenuating noise, so I can’t compare to those, but I can say that for US$20, you really ought to have a pair of these in your gig bag, and consider using them whenever your ears feel tired or overexposed.
First Impressions / Setting up
In the little cardboard hang box they are supplied in is a moulded see-through plastic case containing a smaller black plastic box in which you’ll find the earbuds themselves, on a detachable nylon cord. The transparent presentation moulding also contains three extra sets of different-sized silicone fittings to attach to your earbuds, depending on the size of your ears (the holes, not the flappy bits!).
Due to handy little holes on the side of the earplugs’ black holder, you can wear them around your neck, protected in their box – although the box isn’t exactly a fashion item, being just cheap black plastic.
The earplugs themselves, however, are rather nice looking – they have a little bit of weight to them, being metal (there are chrome, gun metal, maroon and pink /purple versions available), and a small hole where the cord screws on, which when attached makes them look like miniature hair dryers!
So all you do is test out the different sized silicone fittings to find one that lets you get them nice and deeply into your ear without being too loose, and you’re ready to go.
I have already tried to use cheap foam earplugs in a venue (many years ago), and I hated them. So I was interested to see how these performed. I didn’t actually take them to a club, but I took them to a Spanish feria, which if you’ve ever been to one you’ll know is probably a harsher test than any club! The quality (low, very low) and volume (ear-splittingly high) of the PA sound coming from the fairground rides is such that I wouldn’t be surprised if all the operators are already deaf. Oh, and the music’s shit too, but that’s another story entirely.
So, it turns out that the design of the detachable ear fitting (that you’ll remember comes in four sizes) is quite clever, borrowing from some other in-ear headphone designs that are out there. The silicone kind of hangs loose so that it moulds to your ear whatever the shape of each ear internally, and I have to say the fit was both snug and secure, without being at all uncomfortable.
But what about the sound? Well, it’s impossible to escape that earplug “feel” – when you have anything in your ears, you can hear a kind of bass rumble from your own internal wiring whenever you salk, and the “whoosh” of blood through your ears is audible too. That’s just the way it is. But what’s great about these is that – just as advertised – you can hear everything else too.
The sibilance is “s” noises and the sharpness of “t” sounds, for instance, cut through clearly. And music that before was painful becomes manageable, and still enjoyable. So basically, it’s job done.
In short, these are a huge leap forward over foam earplugs (which really, aren’t fit for purpose when it comes to club or DJ use), I have never had custom-made earplugs for attenuating noise, so I can’t compare to those, but I can say that for US$20, you really ought to have a pair of these in your gig bag, and consider using them whenever your ears feel tired or overexposed.
Personally, I couldn’t DJ in them. To me, it’s putting a buffer in there that I don’t want. When I DJ, I control the monitor speakers anyway to get them to the volume I choose, and while I am sure boffins will tell me I’m doing nothing to protect my ears in such situation, it’s a decision I’m comfortable with. However, for around the club? Yup, they’re a great idea. If you feel a bit self-conscious, you can tuck the cord into your T-shirt so it looks like you’re wearing headphones (but then again, why would you do that in a club?!), but really, they’re quite stylish little things anyway – it’s not as if you look like you’re wearing a hearing aid or anything.
But actually, that’s exactly what these are: A hearing aid. It’s just that they’re a preventative one – to prevent you needing the real thing later in life. So if you care about your hearing, or are already having issues, but you can’t afford custom earplugs, you should definitely consider doing your ears a favour and giving the V-Moda Faders VIP a go.