Review: Etymotic Research Music Pro Electronic Earplugs

Drones, robots, AI, the Terminator—if you’re into the ultimate manifestation of a sci-fi dream world, it would appear the machines are very close to ruling mankind.
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Drones, robots, AI, the Terminator—if you’re into the ultimate manifestation of a sci-fi dream world, it would appear the machines are very close to ruling mankind. As far as a musician’s hearing goes, however, such a tech takeover is a blessing. Case in point: The adaptive, “robot” processing of the Music•PRO earplugs ($299 direct) automatically reacts to high sound-pressure levels to prevent those decibel blue meanies from damaging your hearing, or even from making your live performances uncomfortable. Normal mode provides 15dB of sound reduction when the Music•Pros perceive a dangerous volume level, and Enhanced mode (read: Hearing-Damaged Musician Mode) increases low-energy sounds by 6dB and kicks in a 9dB signal reduction when hazardous levels appear.

The Music•PRO kits comes with batteries, a cleaning tool, a neck cord, a case, filters (for keeping earwax out of the plugs and smoothing frequency response), and enough ACCU•Fit eartips to fit all but the most unique ear canals. In Normal mode, the processing is so fast you hardly notice it while performing onstage. There are no compressor-style “clamp downs” or pumping and breathing. The sound is so natural that I wondered whether the plugs were working. A walk into a few brutish cymbal crashes assured me the electronic guardian was on the job, however, as the searing impact was almost imperceptibly reduced to a comfortable level. Enhanced mode is nice for clarifying soft conversation on the bandstand, though, with my rock act, I kept to Normal mode to avail myself of the added protection. Thanks to these miracle machines, I now have a (slight) hope of still being able to hear music in my 60s and 70s. Whew!
—michael molenda

Kudos Saves your hearing while not interfering with your music.
Concerns Pricey.
Contactetymotic.com

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