I’ve mentioned before how I think a good set of ear defenders are a massively important part of any photographers, or musicians equipment. The ultimate of course is to get some custom moulded to your ears, but that can be pretty expensive. When I found the planet waves plugs on their site (if you follow my bass playing, you’ll know I use planet waves leads, and D’Addario strings), I had to check them out.
In the past I’ve used Hearos disposable plugs, which are comfy, but muffle the music to the point you can no longer enjoy it. I’ve used Elacin ER20s, which aren’t quite as comfy (though not as bad as some people think) and make you look like an alien with things sticking out of your ears. I’ve used the Hearos reusable plugs, which look like little ludo pieces. They all have faults, and comprimises. When obviously what we want is something small, comfy, reduces the noise level to an appropriate level without sacrificing audio quality.
So, thanks to my awesome music shop, and the awesome D’Addario rep, I managed to get my hands on a set of these to try out (what can I say, I’m a loyal customer, and loyalty often gets rewarded). I put them through their paces over the weekend.
On Friday (the 15th Feb 2013) I shot a Johnny Cash tribute. A slower start for the plugs. The noise level wasn’t too high, and they handled it fine. I could enjoy the music, despite the top end being cut a fair amount. They were more comfortable than the ER20s, but took more care to put in since you have nothing to hold to help direct them (plus you want to know where the tab is so you can take them out easily).
On the Saturday night I shot 5 metal bands, with Meta-Stasis being the headliners. Being metal, it was a fair amount louder than the Johnny Cash tribute, but after a good few hours, I’m happy to report I left without the tinnitus that often results from exposure to loud music. So, while they offer slightly less protection than the ER20s, it is in fact still enough to keep your hearing safe.
On the Sunday night was a band practice with my old pop-punk band. This provided the only real downside to these plugs. The decreased top end in comparison to the bass made following my guitar more difficult. Though for bass players they work well. The guitar thing is still manageable, and they’ll do the job, it’s just about the only place I feel like the ER20s beat the Planet Waves. Even then it’s not by too much.
Overall, for my purposes, until I can get some custom ones, these are the best I’ve found.