Safe & Sound: Earplugs Reviewed at SXSW

Article by: Art Gimbel

Fri May 02, 2014 | 00:00 AM

When your ears are left ringing for hours after a live concert, it's time to take necessary measures to protect your hearing for the future. We road-tested four low-cost earplugs at some of SXSW's showcase events to find out what gives you the most (muffled) bang for your buck.

Downbeats + Snoop Dogg at Guitar Center's Austin Rooftop Showcase

"Drop it like it's hot."

Price: $13.95

Decibel Rating: 18dB

Comfort: Excellent, cozy, and low profile

Overall: My personal favorite. Good sound, low profile, and a sweet case make Downbeats a winner.


Etymotic Research ETY ER20 + Cashmere Cat at Hype Hotel

"Wedding bells (but no honeymoon)."

Price: $12.95

Decibel Rating: 12dB NRR

Comfort: Decent

Overall: Excellent sound, but long stems feel awkward. Best sound, but found myself not using them. 

Rating: B+

Hearos High Fidelity Earplugs + Lady Gaga at the Doritos Bold Stage, Stubbs

"Bad romance."

Price: $11.98

Decibel Rating: 20dB NRR

Comfort: Good

Overall: Decent and comfortable set of plugs, the music was not a clean as the ETY20's

Rating: B

Hearos Ultimate Softness + Phantogram at Guitar Center's Austin Rooftop

"Black out days."

Price: $6.99 for 20 pairs

Decibel Rating: 32dB NRR

Comfort: Cozy

Overall: Very comfortable with great noise reduction, nice to extras give to friends