As a musician, hearing loss can be a death sentence. Mixing and mastering can take a big hit, as can live performances. But that doesn’t stop me, or others from attending shows. When attending, it is always important to wear ear plugs to ensure your hearing takes as little damage as possible. The orange earplugs that you can sometimes buy at merch booths can be annoying to secure in your ear. To combat that, California-based headphone company V-Moda has their Fader earplugs.
Design wise, the earplugs are very straightforward. There are the two individual barrels for the the earplugs and they are attached by a somewhat flexible cord. This chord has threaded ended that go into the ear plugs, making it easy to keep them together. If you want separate the earplugs so there are no wires, unscrewing the barrels from the cord is an easy enough.
The earplugs themselves are comfortable when kept in for long periods of time. I had them in the for the entirety of the synthwave show I was at (look out for our Perturbator review in the upcoming days!) which was around 3-4 hours. V-Moda provides six additional ear tips in addition to the stock ones on the earplugs, accommodating various ear canal shapes and sizes.
Stylistically, the ear plugs look great, and this is my first time with the red color (I’ve owned two pairs in the past, one my best friend ‘borrowed’, the other my mother lost). They have a nice sheen to them and they don’t seem to scratch easily, although only time will tell. Naturally, the company had to cut cost somewhere, and that is with the case. The case is a tiny plastic shell that barely hold the earplugs and the wire. It’s an mildly easy case to tear, and stepping on it once would crush it to a pulp. Does this bother me? Truth be told, no. I tend to carry a little tin for my headphones/ear plugs, so I never think about the case. I can see it being an issue for some people, but they’re small enough that you could buy a cheap Pelican case off Amazon for a couple bucks.
As far as sound dampening, these did a spectacular job! As luck would have it, my friends and I were right below the speakers at that show. The music was blaring, but the earplugs were able to reduce the amount of volume that reached my ears. Note, this does not mean that what I heard was muffled, more so of lowering the volume to a comfortable amount. I felt that in the brief moments where I took my earplugs out to get a brief sound comparison, I wasn’t losing any quality in the music I was hearing. It is also worth noting that I downloaded a SPL meter onto my phone and it ready 90-95 dB which is around how loud these shows tend to be. According to HearNet, that’s somewhere between a subway and a factory. It also cut out some of the really high pitched frequencies that I heard with the earplugs out.
For twenty bucks, these earplugs are a no-brainer. They can be indispensable for the frequent concert goer and they are not only durable, but stylish for those that care about looks. I got them here from Amazon and don’t regret any of my previous or current purchases of it. If earplugs aren’t all you need, check out our thoughts on the KZ ZS5 IEMS, the best IEMS we recommend for that price point.