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TechnologyTell Review: Doppler Labs DUBS acoustic filters

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I love music and I love it loud. There’s something about having speakers blast out tracks at high levels that amps the excitement. However, not everyone agrees. The kids and dogs easily consider loud music excessive to their hearing, which is why I play my stuff at moderate levels when at home.

But that’s what concerts and local shows are for. Babysitter for the kids, drinks and live music for the adults. But as much as I love loud music there is a cutoff point, where pleasure turns to pain. Ringing in the ears or mental fatigue after a show is never that much fun to endure, especially when you don’t have to. Acoustic filters is the answer, my friends.

Design & Comfort

Unlike your basic foam earplug, the Doppler Labs DUBS acoustic filters are meant to last. If you’re going to be participating in activities that warrant earplugs, why waste money on disposables? All you need is a solid set that works well, which is exactly what DUBS does. Just like owning a favorite pair of wired/wireless earbuds for music listening, you should have a great set of filters for loud environments. DUBS even come in a pocketable hard case with a lid that snaps shut.

Doppler Labs DUBS acoustic filters box

Sort of looks like miniature boots when sitting upright

These DUBS acoustic filters fit like standard in-ear buds. It’s just one size that should fit most, but may not fit all. Each bud is a singular piece that doesn’t have a removable tip, like you might be accustomed to with most earbuds headphones. It’s all fused together, so don’t try to separate it unless you want to ruin your DUBS.

The tips are your standard, soft silicone that fits well in the ear. There’s no wrong way to insert the DUBS acoustic filters as long as it’s comfortable.

I’ve turned them all different directions to see if it makes any difference – it doesn’t. At least to performance. It’s also impossible to shove them in too deep. So find that comfortable spot and you’re all set. Each of the DUBS acoustic filters create a good sound seal, and the rest of the body rests in the outer ear without sticking out that far.

Not once have I ever felt that these filters would fall out on their own. I really do like the way they sit, and once they’re in I don’t get that compulsion to constantly tweak and adjust the fit. Just stick them in, leave them there, and you’re good to go. These DUBS acoustic filters are very light and practically invisible. After taking them out from extended wearing (2.5+ hours), I haven’t experienced much (if any) fatigue or soreness. I could (and have) pop them right back in and leave them there. They’re that comfortable.

Performance

The DUBS acoustic filters are tuned to reduce sound by up to 12dB. Not just any sound, but the loud(est), harmful kind, leaving everything else relatively untouched. Like nearby conversations. One experiences a very minimal amount of muffling and diminished sound, only because objects (the DUBS) are plugged in the ear.

Doppler Labs DUBS acoustic filters

Comes in four colors – I chose white

I probably had one of the best times field-testing the DUBS acoustic filters. Our first stop was a local Irish pub in midtown Sacramento. Normally, de Vere’s is pretty full on Saturday evenings, but our Sacramento Republic FC was playing a home game for the championship (we won!).

Needless to say, de Vere’s and every other place serving up big screens and drinks was PACKED.

While wearing the DUBS acoustic filters, I immediately noticed how the clink of glasses and excited squeals were no longer sharp nor shrill. Everything else remained the same, and I was able to hold normal conversations as if I weren’t wearing the filters at all. My companions thought it bizarre of me to remove and re-insert the DUBS over the course of a couple of drinks. But I’m very satisfied at how these filters don’t impair my ability to hear others.

Doppler Labs DUBS acoustic filters palm

A little smaller than standard earbuds

Of course, your own voice will sound (in your head) as if you’re slightly underwater. But it’s much less than if you were wearing standard foam earplugs. With the DUBS acoustic filters, you can also hear yourself chew.

You’ll want to remove them while eating, because that chewing noise in your head tends to block out a lot of what others say. It’s about the same level if you were to stick fingers in your ears while eating.

Covering the filter grills with fingers diminishes sound some, but not as much as I thought it might. Doing so with the DUBS is ever-so-slightly more effective than jamming fingers deep in the ear. So far, these filters are way better than fingers.

After drinks at the pub, we went around the corner to Goldfield Trading Post, where The White Buffalo was playing that night. It’s a cozy (small) place – maybe 45 by 120 feet. During the live performance, my smartphone measured (with Smart Tools sound meter app) music playing at 80dB. It was awesome. The DUBS acoustic filters retained all the detail, tone, and pitch that I would expect from listening with naked ears. But better, since you get to enjoy all the energy without any of the wincing.

Doppler Labs DUBS acoustic filters ear

Unless you’re really looking, they’re not very noticeable

It’s as if the DUBS acoustic filters put a nerf tip on noise’s piercing spear before it lances the eardrums. Shrill shrieks and cheers that erupt after each song? Dulled. The sonic force of the kick drum that can painfully thump the ear drum? Far less intense. Ringing of cymbals and hi-hats? No more pain, and no residual ringing in the ear after exiting the venue. The DUBS acoustic filters let you hear and feel music longer without any ill effects or fatigue.

A great set of regular earplugs may be just as effective as the DUBS, in terms of reducing decibels to a non- or less-harmful level. However, those regular earplugs don’t discriminate.

As such, using them while listening to concert music might sound like your head has been dunked in a full fishbowl. The DUBS acoustic filters are designed to block out harmful elements from high decibels, while retaining clarity with everything else heard all around. You can still hear and talk to people normally, even if you’re mowing the lawn, using heavy machinery, or taking off in a plane.

Verdict

If you frequent concerts or local venues to enjoy your favorite artists, you need a set of these. If you don’t go out for live performances, you should. It’ll do you good. And when you go, bring the Doppler Labs DUBS acoustic filters. But whether or not you enjoy music, you should be able to appreciate keeping your hearing. It’s either acoustic filters now or hearing aids later in life, right?

The DUBS acoustic filters are useful at any time sound may be louder than is comfortable. Since these filters are small and come in a protective case, they’re pocketable to carry everywhere. The low-profile design rests in the ear well, and they’re snug enough to stay put and not fall out accidentally. Sure, you can always opt to just stick fingers in ears and make everything sound distant, but that’s for children. Cut out the noise, leave the signal. Get DUBS.

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  • bad product!

    Beyond that, the product once received is very poor. The devices are so small that they do not fit my ears and I had to place them so far into my ear to get a closure that they got stuck and I had to have help getting them out.

    I simply cannot believe that your team would ship a product knowing the vast majority of the population does not have petite elf ears that your devices do not properly fit.

    The whole idea behind your product is to block sound and to do so you MUST have a proper fit.

    I am sorry to say these DUBS without proper fit are worthless and dangerous as the black end piece came off inside my ear and had to be removed with hemostats.

    Disappointed to say the least.

    • http://plus.google.com/+StanleyGoodner/about Stanley Goodner

      That’s a very strange experience, since the design/curve of the DUBS only lets it enter so far into one’s ear. Although I do agree that having interchangeable tips of varying sizes would help people who don’t have that “average” size canal for tips. But the reason that there are no separate tips is because the “end piece”, as you called it, is permanently affixed to the DUBS body.

      So it’s kind of unclear if the DUBS is too small for your ears, or too big that it got stuck?

  • BrS

    I give them credit for having an interesting design, but they’re not the only ones or even the first to produce an ear plug of this type.