Vibes Earplugs – Simple But Geeky Ear Protection

Products Reviews
Great concert sound without the ear damage (Image by Skip Owens)

Why wife and I recently got to see Elton John as part of his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” concert tour as a wedding anniversary gift to ourselves. We both have sensitive ears, so when we attend concerts like this we always wear ear protection. My wife has even more sensitive ears than I do, so she even wears ear plugs when we go out and see movies in a movie theater. If you have paid any attention to the Elton John ticket prices, the cost of admission is pretty astronomical. So we didn’t want to dump that kind of money into an experience only to have to block it out with a set of cheap foam earplugs. That is where the Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs come in…

What Are Vibes?

Vibes look like a cross between a standard set of earplugs and a pair of ear buds. They have removable silicone tips that come in a variety of sizes so can select the right size of tip for each ear to get the best and most comfortable seal. But that is where the comparison to a standard set of earplugs ends. Regular earplugs rely on pure sound isolation and decrease mostly the high frequency (treble) sounds but not the low frequency (bass), and that means everything you hear sounds muffled (sound clarity is compromised). This is where the Vibes really shine. Vibes earplugs are designed to filter out specific frequencies so that sound that is allowed to pass into your ears still sounds well-balanced and clear. The result of this custom frequency filtering is an official EPA noise reduction level for these earplugs if 15 dB, but that over simplifies the story. The Vibes actually provided better protection than that because they are customized to filter out as much of the sound level as possible without sacrificing sound quality, so that means some frequency levels are suppressed more than others.

Features:

  • Sound Enhancing Filtering: Increases sound clarity and balance when compared to standard earplugs
  • Noise Reduction: Lowers decibels by approximately 15 dB across the frequency spectrum
  • Low profile design
  • Multiple Fit Sizes: Comes with small, medium and large interchangeable tips
  • Reusable

What comes in the box?

  • 3 sets of silicone tips (small, medium and large)
  • 1 pair of Vibes earplugs
  • Small plastic carrying case
Vibes comes with a nice compact carrying case and various sizes of silicone tips (Photo by Skip Owens)

How Do Vibes Perform?

My wife and I got in our seats for the Elton John concert just a few minutes before he came out on stage. As soon as Elton walked out on stage the place erupted and we quickly slipped the Vibes into our ears. Instant relief. The sharp high frequency crowd scream was reduced down to non-painful levels but you still “felt” the intensity of the crowd. If we had just used foam earplugs it would have changed the experience to sound like we were listening to the concert in the next room over, which defeats the whole concert-going experience.

The concert arena just before Elton John walked out on stage (Image by Skip Owens)

As Elton John went through his playlist of songs we totally forgot we were even wearing earplugs. The Vibes were very comfortable (like wearing a set of good fitting ear buds) and really just got out of the way of the whole experience. What impressed me the most about the sound quality was just how much more clear the music sounded. Live concerts pump so much sound at the audience and sometimes that sound ends up just being noise. Some of the best concerts I have been to have been outdoors where the overall sound levels are lower and the sound clarity is increased. Wearing a set of Vibes for an indoor concert, in my opinion, gives an indoor concert the clarity of a good outdoor concert. I took the Vibes off for short periods of time throughout the concert and I immediately noticed that with the Vibes in my ears I could distinguish more of the sound spectrum than when I took them out. Turns out it isn’t just marketing hype, the Vibes really do help increase sound clarity. I think the reason music sounds more clear with Vibes vs without is because they help keep the frequency levels more balanced (which is really hard to do with in indoor concert where you get some much sound reflection from the building and a lot of crowd noise).

Verdict

The Vibes earplugs worked just as advertised. They were comfortable to keep in your ears for multiple hours at a time as our Elton John concert weighed in at just under 3 hours in duration. The sound isolation is enough to protect your ears as we didn’t have any of the standard ear ringing after the concert that I am sure many of you are familiar with. The sound quality was very good. When you first put them in you are concerned that maybe they are blocking too much sound, after all how could a concert going experience sound this quiet. So you take the Vibes out of our ears only to realize that the music actually sounds better with them in. So you just sit back and enjoy the rest of the concert in comfort knowing that later that night and tomorrow your hearing will be just as good as it was when you walked into the concert and you didn’t miss anything about the experience (except the post-concert ear ringing).

Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs are available now from Amazon for about $24 a pair.

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