V-MODA Faders First Impressions and Use
Lets talk about your ears. If you are really honest, you know that you've made some mistakes. Maybe you were an avid concert goer when you were in college. Maybe you had a Walkman when you were a kid and played it so loud that when you took off your headphones, your ears were ringing. Heck, maybe you work in an industry that requires you to be around sustained loud noise. These days, ear protection is not only provided but required (just ask OSHA). But back when I was in High School, I worked at a glass plant for a summer. It was loud, hot, and miserable. They provided earplugs but no one cared if you used them or not.
Research has shown that, even if you have avoided the above situations, your hearing will deteriorate with age. Of course, with age also comes two important things - money and wisdom. While we could only afford the crappiest home theater systems (or stereo systems depending on your age), now we can afford much nicer systems. The last thing you want to do is spend a bunch of money on a system you can't enjoy because of hearing loss. At the same time, getting a high end music system encourages people to see more music live so that they can compare (or just tune their ears). When you start going to concerts again, you're going to want have hearing protection on hand.
V-MODA contacted us about their Fader Tuned Earplugs and I have to say, I couldn't help but request a review sample. I've recently acquired my motorcycle license and I'm very interested in protecting my hearing. Buzzing around the neighborhood is one thing, but any sort of extended ride requires that you protect your hearing. The road noise alone is enough to justify hearing protection. If you have a loud bike (or a riding buddy with one), you better have earplugs in.
I'd picked up some of the pharmacy stock foam earplugs but, frankly, I've never been a fan. They're just too uncomfortable. Plus, you can hardly hear a thing in them. Add a helmet to the mix, you better be fluent in sign language if you want to communicate with those around you. But V-MODA's founder and DJ, Val Kolton developed the Faders with world-renowned musicians Erick Morillo and the Manufactured Superstars. The design goal was to creature a comfortable, affordable earplug that protected your hearing while maintaining the ability to hear the music and conversations going on around you.
The V-MODA Faders come in gunmetal grey, red, or pink. The review pair were gunmetal grey. The arrived in a small cardboard sleeve surrounding a plastic clamshell case. Three of the four different earplug tips are on display as is the black carrying case. If you've ever owned earbuds, you'll probably recognize the tips on the V-MODA Faders. Black rubber ends have color-coded collars to recognize the different sizes. The smallest (labeled extra-small) are very difficult to install and remove from the Faders. The others aren't nearly as bad.
The Faders look like a set of earbuds. They stick out your ear as much as any pair of earbuds I've used and have a removable string connecting the two. There is a hole in either side of the black case so that you can run the string between the two to keep the case handy. Since getting the string and the Faders back into the carrying case is nearly impossible, I kept the string outside the case which made what looked to be the worlds smallest purse (keep these away from your daughters, fellas). The body of the Faders is metal for longevity.
If you are familiar with rubber-tipped earbuds, the use of the V-MODA Faders is just the same. Just push them in and don't worry about them. Now, if you have oddly shaped ears, the different sized tips should cover you. If you've had a problem keeping earbuds of this type in your ear, don't expect anything different from the Faders. Their tips, while advertised as "patented medical grade BLISS 3.0 hybrid silicone fittings to perfectly fit ears of all sizes, even the smallest and largest of ears," didn't seem any different than the ones I've used in the past. That said, there is a reason so many manufacturers use these types of tips - they fit just about everyone and they are comfortable.
Inserting them is as easy as pushing them into your ears. The V-MODA Faders are obviously ported in some way as I could hear air whistling by as I moved with them. The removable string is simply unscrewed from the back of the Faders for those that aren't worried about losing $10 worth of earplug by turning their heads too fast. I preferred to use the cord and attach the case through the hole. I could put the case behind my head and it usually rested on my neck (or just inside my shirt) easily. This kept the case handy and made sure that if one Fader was to fall out, I wouldn't lose it.
If there is a knock against the V-MODA Faders it is that they look just like earbuds. If you are at a concert and you've got earplugs in, people think you are weird. But if you are wearing what look to be earbuds... well, they start to give you a wide berth. The other problem I had was the distance they stick out of your ears. I was hoping for something a bit more flush. Motorcycle helmets are generally pretty tight and it was nearly impossible to put the helmet on without dislodging on of the Faders. If you can wear earbuds with your helmet, you won't have a problem. I can't, so it was.
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