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Flare Audio Isolates - Tip Longevity


geoham
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Right...

I haven't read anything about these plugs 'tech specs' that make me thing they'll be any use for me. If you want to reduce drastically external sounds, yes, but onstage? No.

One of my guitarists uses them. He was very happy at first (but then he rarely used any earplugs before, and when he did it was the foam ones). Now he's not as happy, but he still likes them. I hear others like them too. It makes no sense to me. But I decided to have a go. I got a pair of the aluminium ones. When I first saw them last year they were around £70 (fundraising site), but now it's around £25... and I can certainly use heavy duty earplugs when I end up sharing a room with some bandmates, so why not? ;)

I tried them last night.

They are comfy. Two 45-50min sets, no trouble at all.

They cut down a lot of noise, more than probably any others I've used. That was a little off-putting at first as it felt a bit detached, and I could not hear people talking to me as clearly as with other plugs. But they clearly offer good protection against loud noises onstage.

They're most definitely not 'hi-fi'... no surprises there... BUT, they were actually surprisingly pleasant after the first couple of songs. I had to make sure they were well inserted. I used the small tips and maybe I should try the medium ones too. When they're not completely sealing the ear canal, it's horrible. However when they're properly in... I had no trouble hearing the guitars, or vocals... Drums were also clear, even if they lacked some of the sharp attack of the snare/cymbals, but it was fine. Bass? I turn down the low end quite a bit, as usual in this particular stage, but I could hear myself very well, it sounded bassy enough but there was great definition which in this stage with this band (it gets loud onstage, and I hate it, but I just can't have this fight every time and I love the band too much to quit over it) is always hard. There's one song where we do a little silly audience participation thing where we all go down and squat on stage, meaning I'm usually blasting my bass cab right at my head, and it can be a bit unpleasant at times, but not yesterday. I thought I played better and had much more control...

So, my verdict is "not hi-fi, not amazing, but considerably nicer than I thought they would be"
I like them more than the xmas tree ones, and although they sound different I think I prefer them to my custom moulded ACS with the 17db filters.

I would not say "quick, everybody, buy these!" but they do sound better than sticking your fingers in your ears and they allow you to free your hands so that you can play, and the noise reduction is big.
Cons: depending on the band mix onstage maybe it won't be so good for some as they are definitely not flat response, but they're good enough for the bass sound I like [1]... also, they do reduce noise a lot so you can feel a bit detached from the music at first.

[1] I favour bridge pickups... Stingray for example. Not lots of booming big lows, but prominent and low-mids rich, "finger funk" type of tone, if that means anything to you.



edit: second gig tonight... festival at a sports hall. Big, echoey. Loud. I enjoyed listening to the band before us with the earplugs, without them it was urgh. The 'stage' sound was just as bad. Sax player next to me was complaining about not hearing well. I heard my bass loud and clear and well defined, and heard the guitar and vocals quite well too. Still a bit weird as everything is MUCH quieter... but I enjoyed it.

Edited by mcnach
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