We think we speak for the majority of the music-loving community when we say that certain styles of music are best enjoyed loud. There's something primal about a blisteringly loud rock or metal concert. For us, searing guitars, rumbling bass and gut-punching kick drums are what gigs are all about. However, one thing we could live without is hearing damage. That's why we never attend a show without a set of the best earplugs for concerts safely in our skulls.
Today we turn our attention to the Eargrace High Fidelity earplugs, which promise to deliver up to 23dB of attenuation via their specially designed filters that Eargrace say can "reduce noise while retaining the entire sound spectrum".
While they may be primarily marketed toward musicians and gig-goers, the High Fidelity hearing protectors can also be used for just about any loud event, from rowdy nightclubs and pubs to calming the roar of a crowd at sports match.
Made from a non-toxic silicone material, Eargrace claims the High Fidelity plugs are highly comfortable, even after prolonged use, and will not cause itching or pressure pain – something we will put to the test.
Naturally, one of the best ways to test a set of earplugs is to wear them in a loud yet controlled environment – so what better place than the rehearsal space of a noisy, punk rock band. Over the course of the jam session, we paid careful attention to the overall clarity of the sound, the comfort of the fit and, of course, the overall noise reduction.
Eargrace High Fidelity Earplugs review: Features
In terms of features, there isn't all that much to talk about with the High Fidelity plugs, you do, however, get a few goodies in the box. Each set comes with two different sizes of earplugs – large and small – to ensure you get the best possible fit for your ears. You also get a handy aluminium carry case, which can be fitted to a key ring, as well as a neck cord and a cleaning brush.
The plugs themselves are made of a transparent silicone material and feel very soft and pliable. It's also refreshing to not have any faffing about with filters and extra parts. The earplugs come ready-made, with no need to insert the filter yourself – making them a very convenient option.
Eargrace High Fidelity Earplugs review: Comfort/performance
As we said, these plugs are incredibly easy to use – simply select the correct size for your ears and stick them in – but how comfortable are they? We actually found Eargrace's High Fidelity earplugs to be very comfy indeed. Okay, they aren't as invisible as the custom moulded plugs we are used to, but you soon acclimatise to the feeling of them in your ears.
Now, a massive hurdle for earplugs to overcome is how well they stay put while singing – or if you aren't a vocalist, then simply talking. It's very common for plugs to become dislodged when you move your jaw, and this can be infuriating for someone trying to pour their heart out into a microphone. I'm delighted to announce these earplugs did a great job at staying in place and didn't leak in any unfiltered sound – a massive win in my eyes.
That brings us on to the noise reduction and clarity of the plugs. Eargrace boasts that these earplugs deliver 23dB of attenuation, and while this may be true, we certainly didn't feel like we were getting that level of protection. When we compared them to a set of the Alpine MusicSafe Pro earplugs – which offer up to 22dB – we felt that there was a dramatic difference in volume between the two sets. So if you are going to a particularly loud concert, then you may want to opt for a set with a more consistent attenuation.
That said, the clarity of the plugs was pretty good. The high frequencies of the cymbals remained bright and present, while the low end of the bass didn't get too muddy. As the frequency spectrum was rather broad, we did find that the vocals got lost, and we struggled to hear ourselves sing – so for that reason, we wouldn't recommend them for vocalists in a noisy band.
Eargrace High Fidelity Earplugs review: The alternatives
If you've been looking for a while for a new set of earplugs, then you'll not need us to tell you that there are a slew of options out there, varying from the cheap and cheerful foam plugs to top of the range hi-tech options.
Now, while we enjoyed most aspects of Eargrace's High Fidelity plugs, we feel more comfortable recommending the Alpine MusicSafe Pro earplugs. These plugs are around the same price, offer more in the way of extras, and more importantly, we feel they offer better noise reduction.
For those looking for a budget option, it's hard to beat Fender Musician Ear Plugs. Fender manages to deliver a super functional set of hearing protection at a price every musician and live music fanatic can afford.
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