We recently received a set of DownBeats ear filters to take for a test run and we decided to take them for a spin at Sound Nightclub in Hollywood. For those of you that haven’t been to Sound this is one of the premier sound systems in Los Angeles built by the genius’ at Funktion One. A perfect testing ground for this unique product.
Summary – The DownBeats are a new product that work more like a filter which reduces approximately 18 decibels of noise rather than an earplug that aims block sound out completely. The idea being to enhance the concert or club going experience instead of blocking it out or leaving with your ears ringing. The promise: you can attend shows and still hear the music clearly while greatly reducing the risk of hearing damage.
Comfort – I’ve tried more earplugs than I can count, from the crappy orange foam jobs to actually wadding up wet paper towel a la MacGyver when faced with no other options. I’ve even gone so far as to order my own custom musicians plugs that formed to your ear (I used to play drums). The DownBeats are small and come in a very nice metal carrying case that doubles as a keychain so you can pop them in there when you are done.
I wore the DownBeasts for 4 hours consecutively and more or less forgot they were there. Very comfortable and compact, so if you are self conscious of things sticking out of your ears you will go unnoticed.
Do They Work – I could always here things relatively clearly and it was really nice to not have any major ear fatigue at the end of the night or that dreaded ringing. I was fairly close to the speakers all night and everything sounded great. I could also easily hear my friends talking to me which made it a lot easier for me to engage in conversation on the dance floor.
Any Gripes – For the cost ($9.99) these things are an incredible deal, however it would be nice to have a spare earpiece included as sooner or later one of these guys will fall out or get lost. Always good to have a spare!
Conclusion – DownBeats has introduced a comfortable and cost effective way to protect your ears and enhance your experience around loud music. There really is no reason not to be wearing something like this when you are out at concert/club, especially when it helps you hear things even more clearly.