Gear Spotlight: V-MODA Faders VIP Tuned Hearing Protection

By Bradley Iger

April 21, 2014

What Is It?
We all know that prolonged exposure to loud sounds can damage our hearing. But what if those loud sounds are why we're there in the first place? V-MODA Faders earplugs are specifically designed to maintain the clarity and detail of the sounds you're listening to while also reducing your exposure to damaging noise by 12dB evenly across the frequency spectrum. This makes them ideal for racing spectators, music fans, and anyone who spends a significant amount of time around especially loud sounds but also needs to be able to hear fine detail, like those who work in factories and machine shops.
Things We Like
Traditional foam earplugs are designed to muffle sound. The problem here is that if you want to actually hear what's going on around you just at a lower volume, the sound is altered significantly. The main issue is that the ranges of the sound spectrum are muffled at different levels by foam earplugs, often resulting in bass frequencies which are more prominent while choking mid range and high frequency sound, making what you're hearing sound more like standing outside of a night club rather than being inside of it.
The V-MODA Faders address this by reducing volume across the board as evenly as possible and eliminating harmful noise while preserving the integrity of the sounds themselves. As the name Fader suggests, think of these earplugs as a volume dial for your ears.
Faders also come with "medical grade BLISS 3.0 hybrid-silicone fittings" that range in size from XS to L, providing a snug fit for everyone who doesn't have either freakishly large or small ear canals. To keep everything together, a carrying case and lanyard are also provided.
Most importantly, the earplugs work as advertised. Instead of the typical muffling approach of cheap alternatives, the V-MODA Faders have a "tuned" effect that preserves the sound instead of smothering it while simultaneously preventing hearing damage. Also, because the plugs are silicone based, they're also cleanable, which means you won't have to replace them after a certain number of uses.
Things We Don't Like
Because the attenuation magic of the V-MODA Faders is housed inside of metal shell that sits on the outside of the earplug, you wouldn't want to rest of the weight of your head on these earplugs. Accordingly, the Faders would not be ideal for use while sleeping.
Also, the included lanyard - which is detachable - suffers from a "stethoscope effect" in that it has a tendency to transfer very faint sounds directly into the earplugs - the sound of the lanyard rubbing against your shirt, for instance. Fortunately, this is resolved by simply removing the lanyard, but then again, that kind of defeats its intended purpose.
Some have also reported that the V-MODA Faders also do not cancel out sound evenly throughout the sound spectrum. Some complain that they cut out too much of the high end spectrum, while others have expressed that the high end spectrum is too emphasized when wearing the Faders. These are essentially polar opposite results from the same pair of earplugs by two different users. Like most things in life, your mileage may vary. Different sound situations, different ear fitment, and different perceptions of those sounds will all have an effect on your results with an attenuating device like these earplugs.
Bottom Line
Ultimately, the V-MODA Faders fall in a middle ground between simple foam earplugs and electronically controlled attenuating earplugs like those made by Etymotic Research, which cost hundreds of dollars. The V-MODA Faders provide a solid choice for those who want to preserve the clarity of the sounds they're listening to while preventing hearing damage, and don't want to break the bank to do so. 
V-MODA Faders VIP Tuned Hearing Protection
Earplug design reduces noise by 12dB across the sound frequency spectrum. Multiple earplug sizes ensure a snug fit. Available in Electric Pink, Gunmetal Black and Red Rouge colors.
What's Included
V-MODA Faders earplugs, XS, S, M, L sized silicon earplug fittings, removable lanyard cord, carrying case.
$19.99 available from the Winding Road Racing