A collection of musically themed musings by Brendan Bush in Burlington, VT

Mail: PO Box 1556 | Burlington, VT 05402


Filed Under: Live Shows, Random Thought

Written by Brendan

Monday June 28, 2010

earloveI’ve been a pretty off-and-on earplug user for concerts over the years. Generally if I’ve expected a show to be loud (a few recent ones that come to mind are The Hold Steady, Metric and Drink Up Buttercup), I bring earplugs. Though admittedly, even the shows that I don’t consider to be “loud” often leave my ears ringing for a good 24 hours. But the sound quality of the earplugs I’ve been using for years (Mack’s, the kind you can get at any drug store) is horrendous. There is a huge loss at either end of the spectrum, and generally I felt like the earplugs were really taking away from my enjoyment of the music, even if they were prolonging my ability to hear the music at all.

So lately, I’d been on the lookout for a higher quality brand of earplugs. I wasn’t sure where they were sold, or how they’d be different, but I was sure there was something out there that would allow me to protect my hearing without compromising the sound quality at concerts.

Imagine my excitement when I got an Facebook invitation to a group called Earlove from August Forte, a Chicago-based music label rep. who introduced me to JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound. Earlove sells “Hi-Fi Earplugs” with about 20 decibels of sound reduction (though the government only allows them to claim 12dB). Unfortunately I couldn’t find them for sale anywhere around here, so I ordered a few pairs online. The actual manufacturer is Etymotic Research, and they are less expensive if purchased directly through them, but with the shipping costs included, I got a better deal by buying a 3-pack from Earlove.

I finally got to test them out last week at the Fiery Furnaces/Vacant Lots show, and I have only wonderful things to report. First and foremost, no ringing ears the next day! The Vacant Lots definitely put the noise reduction capabilities to the test, and Earlove passed with flying colors. What was even more exciting was that there truly was no muffling, no dampening, no bass overload and no muted vocals.

I highly, highly recommend Earlove Hi-Fi Earplugs to anyone looking to protect their hearing without compromising sound quality. My only complaint is that although I ordered 3 pairs with 2 cords, only 1 cord was sent. It turns out that I don’t really need the cord anyhow, as they fit perfectly snugly in my ear and come with their own carrying case, but it’s always frustrating to pay for something (even if it’s only $1) that you don’t receive.

Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

2 Responses to “Earlove!”

  1. Susie says:

    So…In this vein, I’m curious about your preferred head phones and iPod docks…Any thoughts on either?

    • Brendan says:

      I’m still rocking a 3rd generation ipod (circa 2004), thus any recommendations I’d have on a dock are useless (before it was stolen, I had a fold up Altec Lansing speaker set that was amazingly portable and had decent battery life. Alas, the only thing I use my iPod for anymore is a long car ride.

      I have 2 sets of headphones – Beyer Dynamic DT 250 (large, over-the-ear studio quality) and Koss PortaPro earbuds. I don’t find many occasions these days to use the big ones, as the majority of my music listening is done over speakers in my office or living room. But I love the Koss earbuds. They come with a bunch of different foam-like attachments for different shapes of ears. I find they both stay in my ears very well and do an excellent job of blocking out external noises when music is playing.