Enough about the marketing blabla. I’ve been wanting to do an article on hearing protection for a very long time already and this was the perfect occasion to do so. I use hearing protection all the time and I have several different types of them:
I don’t carry my hearing protection with me at all times so when I’m on-the-go and need some silence I tend to use my custom inear monitors for that. I just unplug the cable and enjoy the -26dB “isolation”. While ciems can do the job, I don’t recommend using them like this. They’re a lot more expensive than custom hearing protection and losing one would be a costly affair, and on top of that you would have mono sound. The monitors featured below are the CustomArt 8.2.
The ones I use for going to concerts and parties are my custom hearing protectors from Variphone which reduce sound with -25dB. These are softer then my acryl ciem ones and therefor offer even better comfort. The good thing of these is that they don’t block out sound but they reduce the level, leaving you with a good musical experience. That’s exactly what Flare is saying with the Isolate.
When I’m out and there is an a lot of noise I didn’t expect there to be I turn to my Vision Ears protection which I got from VE for free with my Vision Ears VE5. They’re always in my wife’s purse and these serve as my back up pair. I have to admit I don’t really like using this type of protection but it for sure is a lot better than no protection. Comfort wise however these aren’t the best.
A long time ago when I was a twenty something I, like so many, used the regular harder foam plugs which you have to roll and put in your ears. These are the kind they often give away fro free at festivals. The good thing of these buds is that they – when used correctly – protect your ears very well. The downside of these plugs is that they just block out sound making music sound muffled and wrong.
Half a decade ago, when I was still renting a house, I lived right next to a busy road with a lot of trucks passing just a few meters from my bedroom. I would wake up at night because of traffic and so I started using the softer Howard Leigh Max Lite. These are designed for people with smaller ear canals and they’re extremely comfortable. But these, like the harder ones, simply block sound. Another downside of these is that you can only use them once. I still use these when I’m staying in hotels and I buy these in boxes of two hundred sets. All of the above protectors don’t work when I’m riding my bike/wearing a helmet and I use these for that as well as they are smaller and stay in place when putting on my helmet.
And now there’s the Flare Isolate Pro that was added to my collection which brings us to the next chapter.
Using the Flare Isolate Pro
Basically the Isolate is a piece of aluminum/titanium with a foam tip stuck on it. They look a lot like the typical Comply tips but Flare calls it Earfoam and there’s no hole on top of the foam. Extra tips will be available shortly and I hope they’ll be affordable as I can’t really see myself using one pair for a very long time. Up to now I’ve managed to clean them with a wet piece of kitchen towel and that seems to work.
With the Earfoam tips supplied I had to use the smallest tips and really push them in my ears. I have small canals and I’m not the biggest fan of this kind of tips but once they’re in, they stay in (which is great). Putting on on the foam tip was very easy and you can start using the Isolate immediately, just make sure you push the tip down all the way. The pre-production Isolate sets we received came in a simple pouch with a manual but this won’t be the package the regular customers will receive. I do hope there will be a small box in stead of a pouch, one that has a compartment for extra tips.
Not taking into account my ciems, the Flare Isolate for sure is the prettiest ear protector I have. For what they need to do hearing protection doesn’t need to be pretty but it’s always nice to have a pretty product. The finish on these is real good and the titanium compound simply looks sexy. Sexy hearing protection, you heard it here first. For the price they’re going for you do get quality in return.
Comfort wise the Isolate Pro scores pretty good. They weigh practically nothing but they do stick a bit out of your ear. The Isolate are more visible than the foam or custom protectors and they to me are not as comfortable as my light foam ones or certainly my customs but the Isolate works, looks good (it has a perfect finish) and stays in your ears, which is most important.
Sound wise these kind of surprised me. I have to say I was quite skeptic about the concept of plugging a foam tip on a piece of metal into my ears. It seemed to me that it would just block the sound like the cheap foam plugs do, but for some magical reason (it’s all explained on their websites) it doesn’t do that. The Isolate simply turns the volume down but still lets you experience and enjoy the sound or music around you without it being too loud and harmful. You keep feeling a good sense of the bass and the music in general and there isn’t too much quality launch.
Is the Isolate the best hearing protection I have? No, not to me. The sound quality with my custom plugs and -25dB filter works even better, leveling out the sound more resulting in better quality sound while being fully protected. The Flare Isolate Pro does come right behind the Audionova plugs though. Price quality-wise the Flare does score best. These don’t even cost half what I paid for my customs.
I fully recommend the Flare Isolate Pro to protect your hearing. Your ears are so extremely important and protecting them is an absolute must. The Flare Isolate Pro does the job, they’re well built and very affordable. I can fully understand why the Kickstarter blew up like that and those people haven’t even heard them yet. Once these are on the market I think a lot more people will order them, so I suggest you get them now before the wait gets too long.
Nice job, Flare!
Feeling lucky? Then join our free giveaway (worldwide) and maybe one set of these Isolate Pro Titanium will be yours! EDIT: THE GIVEAWAY IS OVER
Flare was so nice to send out an extra pair for our readers. If you do care about protecting your hearing and want a shot at winning a set of Free Titanium Isolate Pro, then join the free giveaway on the next page. Click HERE