Whether you’re a touring musician or a serial gig hound, we’re all using those two funny-shaped pieces of skin and cartilage at the side of our heads to enjoy our music. They’re the inlet through which whatever particular formulation of sound waves we live for enters our brain, causing that dopamine release of happiness when we hear a particularly epic chorus or savage breakdown. Enter Loop Earplugs, a new offering that aim to protect your eardrums while still allowing you to enjoy raucous rock'n'roll – and keep you looking stylish at the same time.
Here at Louder, we like things, well, loud. We get it, talking about hearing protection isn’t particularly rock'nroll. Rock and metal should be about walls of Marshall stacks, oversized drum kits with way too many cymbals, and vocalists who go from low growls all the way to piercing shrieks right? Well, it was with horror we listened to a drummer’s story of how they now have to sleep with headphones on because the constant ringing in their ears was driving them insane. From that day on, we opted to wear earplugs, and you should too.
Loop Experience earplugs review: Design
Our set of Loop Earplugs arrived in a luxurious-looking black and gold box made of soft card. Ours is the Experience set, one of three variations that Loop offers its customers. Rated at -18dB, not only are they great earplugs for concerts and rehearsals, but they’re also ideal for motorbike riders and beleaguered parents too.
Opening up the box we find a tiny, circular case with the Loop logo lightly debossed into it. A small loop of elastic is attached to the top of the case, for attaching to keyrings and the like. When we open the case we discover our set of Loop Earplugs looking like some kind of alien jewellery thanks to their unusual design. They certainly look more like an accessory than something functional, standing out amongst the plethora of earplugs we’ve tried previously.
It's also worth pointing out that they're available in a variety of colours: Black, Silver, Gold and Rose Gold.
Loop Experience earplugs review: Features
Loop Earplugs don’t just look like this for the sake of it, there is in fact a method to their unusual design. Looking closely at the loop attached to the earplug you can see a tiny hole on the inside of the circle. This is where the sound enters, travelling around the full length of the loop before it hits the noise filter located in the ear tip before terminating at your eardrum.
Nestled among the box they arrived in are three alternative size plugs so you can mix and match them to suit your unique ear canal shape. There's a total of four different sizes including the ones already attached to the earplugs, which should be more than enough to suit the vast majority of ears out there.
We can’t help but feel it’s a slight oversight that there’s no cord to hold the earplugs together. Like most earplugs, they’re small and relatively fiddly to get out of the case and we could easily see them getting dropped on the floor of a dark venue to vanish forever.
Loop Experience earplugs review: Usability and comfort
Popping the Loop Earplugs in takes a little getting used to. It’s not unlike our usual moulded earplugs that need to be orientated the correct way to fit into your ear canal. It doesn’t take us long to get them in however, and once they’re there you can hardly feel them. In fact, we found ourselves loudly discussing last week's rehearsal hijinks with the majority of the bar, blissfully unaware the music in the background had stopped, and much to our partner’s chagrin.
Loop Experience earplugs review: Sound
Our litmus test for the Loop Earplugs was our local Metal To The Masses final. Featuring the best in heavy music from Viking Metal all the way to Deathcore, we can think of few better ways to test how a new set of earplugs perform.
With our earplugs out, the mix of drop-tuned guitars was muddy, the bass overhyped, and the mids nigh-on non-existent. Popping our Loop Earplugs, in we see that same mix transformed before our very ears. They tame the low end fantastically well, the low bass string is suddenly punchy and articulate, the guitars are cutting through the midrange nicely, and we can actually hear the vocalists' best pig squeals.
As is inevitable with any kind of ear protection, you do lose some of that high-end sizzle, but it’s a price we’re willing to pay to actually be able to hear what these talented instrumentalists are playing. Loop Earplugs make the experience of listening to live music infinitely better, and the best thing is that the protection they offer will ensure you’re able to keep on listening without strain.
Loop Experience earplugs review: The alternatives
Loop Earplugs aren’t quite priced at the budget level, but they’re not priced for a premium audience either. If you’re looking for a budget set, then we can highly recommend the Fender Musician Earplugs. Costing less than $10/£10 you get great protection that probably costs less than those gig tickets you just bought.
If you’ve got a little more cash on your hip, then Earasers earplugs are a more premium offering that does a fantastic job of ensuring you get an even balance. Although aimed primarily at musicians, these will work well for all music fans, ensuring you get the best possible sound without any hearing damage.
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