Silence is golden, but when you are working from home or trying to get some sleep, it's platinum. Flare Audio has been in the high-end headphone game for a while, and we have tested some of their buds; see links below. Recently, however, the company went in the opposite direction with its product portfolio and started up an ear protection division.
The Isolate ear protector was born and met with critical acclaim; more recently, the company has introduced a 2.0 version and a more sound isolating model appropriately called SLEEEPS.
We got our hands on both and ran them through some tests.
Work from home test with a noisy toddler in your midst - working at home has its ups and downs, but being forced to do this along with co-parenting a two-year-old is tough. No matter where I sit in the house, there is always the sound of little thumping feet and high-pitched squeals. The Isolate 2 helped reduce the noise levels sufficiently enough for me to concentrate but not feel like I was in a cave of silence.
Studio and DJing - I've got a couple of DJ rigs at my house, so I decided to crank up the sound beyond what I would typically play to see how the Isolate's handled decibel reduction. The noise level was noticeable, but the sound's clarity remained somewhat intact, which would make these great for small night clubs and concerts.
Constructed out of solid aerospace aluminum (Isolate 2) or titanium (Isolate 2 PRO, premium model) and equipped with memory foam tips to help create a better seal - these little guys feel premium.
• Reduce noise levels by 32db
• Details in sound are sustained through bone conduction via the aluminum/titanium base materials. No muffled, squashed sound!
• 6 color choices and improved fit
• Key chain capsule accessory available
More info on how ISOLATE® ear protectors work and why metal is the best material for earplugs
Link to Flare Audio's ear protectors range
SLEEPS Ear Plugs
Sleep test - Our house can get a bit of road noise and the occasional howling cat (ours). The SLEEEPS are crazy looking little creatures that want burrow into your ear, but let them. You squeeze and mush up the little memory foam tips and gently wedge them into your ear canal. Don't be an idiot and push too hard, these are your ears after all!
The plugs are amazingly comfortable and bring an almost eerie level of quiet like you are on a spacecraft alone in deep space and can only hear the echos of your mind. So if you need to be able to hear your child or be alert for some reason - do not use them as you can't hear anything.
However, if you are home alone in a noisy city apartment or on an airplane, these are your new best friends.
SLEEEPS® ear plugs MSRP $13.99
These little guys are constructed out of silicone and memory foam to create one single plug. The SLEEEPS are one size fits all and will last you up to a month of regular use. Mush up the tip, insert into your ear, and tuck away the stalk - then wait for the quiet time to ensue.
• Two color options grey or glow-in-the-dark (the obvious choice)
• Three pairs in a pack to last you up to 3 months of regular use if you are using them nightly.
• Come with a small soft mesh carrying sack or an optional aluminum case. Don't leave these around if you have animals or small children; you will lose them.