The ISOLATE Noise Blockers By Flare Audio
"If you want something that will keep your ears safe from harmful dB levels, as well as retain balance and good tone and texture to low end and up through into the treble region, then I suggest you try Flare Audio's ISOLATE as soon as you can."
Technical Capability9.5
Build & Fit8.5
Value For Money9
  • Superb Noise Filtering
  • Excellent Comfort
  • Highly Durable
  • No Rope-like Attachment
  • Pricey Pro Version
9.1Our Score

Check out their Indiegogo page here:–4/x/14426555#/

This is not an audio product that delivers sound, so hopefully nobody is mistaking this for a new IEM from Davies Roberts:The Mad Scientist, as I call him now. His ISOLATE is simply a high-quality earplug of sorts that I am not even sure of how to classify. Truthfully, I’ve had a funny conversation with Marcus, the owner of Headfonics, about how to classify this product and neither of us knew how to categorize it properly. Does it fall into the designation of noise cancellation products (NC), does it place more appropriately into noise filters or perhaps bone conduction? The truth? It is all three in one and unlike any other “earplug” I’ve ever used.


Flare Audio’s ISOLATE comes in two versions as well as in multiple colors and including replacement tips.


ISOLATE, a standard version made of “Solid Aerospace Aluminium” that will sell on Indiegogo for £24. The basic dimensions are 1.76g, 17.5mm long, 8.5mm diameter so not that much bigger than a standard IEM driver shell. ISOLATE Pro, a higher end version made of “Solid Titanium Grade 5 metal” will sell on Indiegogo for £48 and is slightly heavier at 2.89g, 17.5mm long, 8.5mm diameter. The EARFOAMS replacement tips will be available in packs of 3 after the campaign ends.


Do note, these prices are reflective only of the IndieGoGo pricing and will go up after their IndieGoGo campaign has completed.

Build Quality

Outstanding. My Pro version feels hefty and as solid as can be, bullet like and dense with a high-quality vibe from top to bottom. They are really not much different, if at all, from Flare Audio’s immensely successful R2A and R2PRO IEM’s from last year. There really isn’t much else to say here: each plug is a solid chunk of metal and the memory foam tips are of Comply quality, so it receives the highest marks possible for an IEM style housing. I can’t compare it directly to anything with similar housings…because I know of nothing on the market that uses materials in this manner. The Vmoda Fader’s are pretty popular among the audio crowd, but I failed to uncover what type of metal they actually use.

Cross Section

In Vmoda’s cross section photo of the Fader, which you can view on their website if you wish to see it, it seems like there are ridges, divots and areas for sound to freely bounce around. IE: they don’t seem like a solid husk inside there, but the ISOLATE’s from Flare Audio do. That seems really important for actually blocking sound and such, wouldn’t you say? As far as what is actually inside the ISOLATE, I’ve just got to trust Davies on that with his cross-section photo above, which illustrates very little to almost no space between components for sound to move freely.


My Experiences With Earplugs

As an audio reviewer and someone who’s hobby it is to experience music through various audio equipment for hours a day, I’ve always struggled to keep my ear’s tiddly bits safe and tidy. This isn’t always the easiest feat to accomplish at loud venues or when demoing speakers, when I am at NAMM and hear nothing but blasting music and live performers who let their guitars scream incessantly, when visiting other audio enthusiasts who insist on blasting their Magnepans or Martin Logan speakers to absurd volumes or even when my niece shrieks at her favorite cartoon series for going to commercial. Typically, I’ve used the Vmoda Faders as my go to sound killer and they’ve done an alright job. I know full well how many different brands of plugs are out there that were “intended to keep your ears safe in loud places” that simply fail to do as such, due to working at a specific type of job that required usage of earplugs at all times.


12 years ago, when I worked in a large manufacturing plant, we workers had to walk down a large flight of steps to reach the factory floor.  Just before opening large, sound isolating doors to enter, we had to pick up our plugs and would be denied access if the security guard didn’t see us putting them in our ears before entering the doorway. Earplugs were distributed in a large vending machine type of contraption and it seemed like every week, they were a completely new brand or new type: some were foamies that needed to be rolled and allowed to puff in your ear, others were rubber. I think it is safe to say I’ve experienced dozens of brands and types of earplugs, even going as far as to keep a few custom molds from my custom IEM’s for usage as sound blockers as well. The reason I forced a trip down memory lane is because I’ve never experienced an “earplug” quite like Flare Audio’s ISOLATE Pro. I’ve got to say that upon the first usage, I started experiencing some extremely positive, but weird qualities that I didn’t fully understand until I spoke to Mr. Roberts about them.


Page 2: Usability testing

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  • wasaki

    This should be used for flare R2 Iems, I’ll try one .

    • 24bit

      I love them. Once people get wind of how well they perform at music concerts or in loud construction type areas, they’ll sell very well.

      • WiseOwl

        Hi 24bit, How would you say they might work for the following types of noises: fireworks show/spectator, thunderstorm, gunfire/about 100 yards away? Thanks!!

        • 24bit

          I got to use them for the 4th of july fireworks earlier this month! They were amazing, I could hear and feel everything without wincing and blinking each time a big one went off. I loved it, was the first time I’d ever used anything during a fireworks display and I didn’t have anything else to compare with, but I can’t see myself ever not using them in the future. A bonus was being able to sit amid a crowd of thousands and not fully hear any annoying little kids or jerk people nearby, was lovely.

          I live in Cleveland, not sure if you’ve been here during severe storms but we are lightning and thunder central (outside of Florida IMO). We get some huge thunderclaps and this month has produced some bad ones in my area. I’ve slept with the Isolates on and was not so bothered by Thunder. The problem is that you’ll feel the thunder regardless of what plugs you use, so that is bound to wake you up. But, the rain pounding on the windows and the roof have been muted enough to not be so bothered enough to be awoken by it. Big thunder though, really nothing you can do about that.

          As for gunfire, I couldn’t say, never shot a gun before or been near one using any plugs. Couldn’t chat at all on that subject.

  • Kane Harrison

    So they are a small turned piece of metal with a Comply foam tip. I’ll make my own thanks, it’s about £3 in parts if you use aluminium.

    • 24bit

      Send them to me for review when they are done!

    • Christopher Loughrey

      Yeah, they seem very expensive for what they are. I’m sceptical. Everything on Kickstarter seems to be excessively priced

  • George

    I use ACS moulds but own some r2’s and they’re brilliant so am tempted by these. How do they compare to pro level plugs such as the ACS ones? Also I believe it is penchant not pension.

    • 24bit

      I’ve never used any of the ACS plugs before, sadly.

  • Nevets

    Can you estimate the SNR or NRR values for these? I use 3M 1100s for protection at concerts (I have tinnitus) and I’d like to understand how the Isolate PROs compare.

    • Ole Alfheim

      I’m always very keen to hear more details on this… I got tinnitus as well, and I feel that even with foam plugs my tinnitus temporarily get worse for days after the concert, most likely due to their inability to block the very low frequensies very well… Hopefully the Flare Isolate will fix this! 🙂

      • David

        Hi Ole.

        Get better earplugs if you already have tinnitus. I had tinnitus and used foam because I thought they were the maximum protection. They pretty much are in the higher frequencies but they are terrible in the lower. This gave me serious ear injuries which I think are nerve based. By using the foam, my nerves tried to hear the higher frequencies so it basically raised the volume, or rather, increased my sensitivity to sound. Of course, our ears are not able to just raise the sound for one frequency so it increased it for both the lower and the higher. This meant my ears probably had to contain bass sounds about 25 db higher, which is extreme.

        This resulted in oversensitive hearing which only recently got better from about 9 months ago, although it’s unlikely to ever be the same. At least now I can listen to normal conversations.

        It doesn’t have to be these ones, there are a lot of great brands out there. And these ones are probably not proved to be secure by scientists although they certainly show promise. Just invest in some really good plugs that you can use for a long time. It’s worth every penny.

        • 24bit

          I agree, these are not for you if you want to block bassy regions. These Flares retain good low end throughout in loud places, so these are no no’s for you I would think. Also sorry for the late response, didn’t see your comment until David here responded to you.

          • David

            So they don’t block the bass/low frequencies? Mainly they balance the middle and high range?

            They sure are a bit confusing considering how they work differently from ‘normal’ earplugs. I use molded earplugs with filters at different db myself which basically blocks all frequencies at the same levels(with only a difference in about 5dbs), the lowest to the highest. These are extremely expensive though and very sensitive to water. Also, considering I hear sounds at -5 db(didn’t know that was possible either before I did a hearing test) it means that the maximum filter of 25db is not enough in some extreme situations like concerts. That’s why these sounds like an interesting alternative.

          • 24bit

            I mentioned a few times in my review here that they retain low end frequencies better than any other isolator or plug I’ve ever used. I honestly dont know if they were a fluke design or specifically designed that way, but a lot of people agree they do a fantastic job of keeping low end and blocking mid/high band freqs.

            I also shower with my Isolates lol, it is a very Zen experience, low light baths/showers with them in. Sounds weird, but the experience is really addictive.

            Near loud speakers, bone conduction will occur, no earplug will block all that, some of it is going to run right through your eye balls and your face meat and your teeth. With these flares, the higher end frequencies are blocked, but I can still hear the music without it sounding totally drowned out. These plugs are for those who want to retain thump and sound, but stay protected from high amounts of volume and high frequencies. It isn’t for people who want to block everything. There are lots of tips that isolate muchhh better than these, but I’ve never heard any that do such a nice job keeping balance and not sounding like I am under water.

          • David

            I see. I think it is mostly a language barrier for me. So then it sounds like it has a similar block rate of foam plugs but makes the sound a lot clearer and less muddled?

            Thanks a lot for the quick answers! These plugs sure seems cool. It’s nice to see some innovation in this field.

            And you are right, but even far from loud speakers 25db is not enough for me. 😛 To avoid ear irritation my ears can stand about 75-80db for 1-2 hours. For reference, 85db is what most people can handle for 7-8 hours without damage. Most concerts are at about 100-120db, at that point it takes about 15 minutes for most people to risk serious ear damage. When people feel pain in their ears it’s usually at 125db, so don’t trust your instincts on this one. Protect your ears peeps! (and also, note that 83db is double the volume of 80db. The db levels are logarithmic and not linear.)

            Sorry for my educational post combined with my questions. I’m sure you already knew most of the information. But considering how much I have suffered myself from my lack of knowledge I want to spread the word to other people who might read this. I hope it didn’t feel like I hijacked your article! In the end though, it shows how important this product is.

            These are the closest to the ones I use I could find on an english site, for reference. They are custom silicone ER earplugs:

          • 24bit

            Correct. These Flare Isolates are not mean’t to block a lot of sound. They keep good low end, good amounts of bass. They block problematic or dangerous higher frequencies. There are many sets that block sound much better. But, these Flares are intended to let you hear what is around you without dangerous loudness, or without loosing too much bass.

            No problem at all, mate. I love helping and answering questions 😉

          • Paul

            Are not meant to block a lot of sound? Their Indiegogo page states “ISOLATE® is not like any other ear plug; it blocks all sound from entering your ears including bass frequencies for the first time ever”. Which one is correct now?

          • 24bit

            No mate, they are not made to block a lot of sound. They are made to only block dangerous high frequencies and dB levels, as well as retain as much low end bass as possible. It will block the low end as anything covering your ears will, but this is a unique isolator that for whatever reason is able to retain hood heft in very loud venues near loud speakers of very loud places, you can still hear things around you in a somewhat balanced manner and that is what makes them unique. They try to retain balanced without totally muting everything, so you can still hear things around you, but also block dangerous high frequencies and dB levels.

          • Nils Sps

            Hey guys,

            As I suffer also from tinnitus and sound oversensitivity, I’m looking for what you are mentionning as better solution for blocking the sound. I’m using ACS 27 but they don’t block enough sound for me so I’m using Hearos Extreme (some foam earplugs) which feel more effective to me. Would you know any better solution for blocking maximum sound ?

  • Robbin Poh

    How’s the effect from the Isolate Pro vs the basic Isolate?

    • 24bit

      Couldn’t say, I’ve only (not) heard this version. lol

  • Johannes Ruprecht

    Looks cool..but I don’t know where to buy these plugs.. mh..

    • headfonics

      The link is at the top of the article, first sentence, first line.

      • Johannes Ruprecht

        Damm, I started at the “The ISOLATE” line. Thx a lot

  • Adam Dennis

    My standard ISOLATE’s just turned up at my office and I have to say that I am VERY impressed, and these are just the lower tier ones. Will have to see how they perform at my Band’s practice session on wednesday.

    • 24bit

      That’s awesome, mate!

    • I just read this review and it was originally posted 15 days ago and so I am wondering if you have used them at a band practice yet? If so what your experience was like in that environment?

      • Adam Dennis

        Fantastic. So little ringing after practice, and compared to my Alpine in-ear defenders, the frequency response was so much better. Would definitely recommend these for practice and gigs.

  • David

    Do you know what the DB levels are for high, middle and lower frequencies? I have found that info to be hard to find.

  • prej

    Does somebody bought them from indiegogo ? I read that there is a lot of case when you don’t receive your product from this website. Was it OK for you ? Is it possible to buy them from a more “reliable” website ?

  • DuffingtonQC

    Hi there.

    I got mine through Kickstarter and I love them.

    Just a quick question, how do you change the foam bits that go in the ear as I think I need to put a smaller one in one ear. I have lost the packet that explains how to do this.

    Many thanks

    • 24bit

      Just gently pinch and pull. They slip off just like normal IEM ear tips.

  • Piers

    I’m slightly confused here. Why have you not compared them to high fidelity filters such as the ACS Pacato? Comparison with low fidelity plugs seems kind of pointless

    • 24bit

      I don’t have access to every noise blocker/protection product. I compare with what I have or what I can obtain.

      • You should definitely obtain comparable quality earplugs for a representative result. Reviewing with low quality / small sample size of competition is a waste of time, akin to comparing the 0-60 of a Jaguar test drive car against your personal Toyota and the neighbour’s Prius because that’s ‘what you can obtain’.

        Long-time earplug user (and custom earplug owner) checking in. I’ve used loads of plugs – Elacin/Etymotic generic plugs (the christmas-tree shaped ones, which are excellent for the price), cheap foamies, rubber buds on headbands, squishy dense plugs which expand to fill your ear canal and various other esoteric products.

        I came to the realisation that you’re inevitably going to get bone conduction, and once you start attenuating external sounds to this extent voice occlusion becomes a big issue. I suspect these ISOLATE earplugs do nothing for occlusion, so your own voice will ‘boom’ in your head if you have to talk.

        I’ve used ACS Pro 20s for the past few years but I’m not afraid to evaluate other products on merit. I approached ISOLATE’s products with an open mind. I’ve not had a set in my ears yet, but as a sound engineer I feel I’m able to study their published information and come to a fairly accurate conclusion.

        ISOLATE’s own dB comparison chart (from their Indiegogo page) has a reference of 60.3 dB (what? A-weighted? C-weighted?) and their foam, aluminium and titanium products. 60 dB is not whisper quiet, but it’s nowhere near what I’d consider loud.

        The BBC advises a peak listening level of 80 dBA in their radio studios, which is DEFINITELY louder than you’d listen at home (compare it with listening to music loud in the car). I’m listening to some pop music at 80 dBA and it’s pretty loud. You’d struggle to have a shouted conversation over the top! Most live music venues will have SPLs easily exceeding 90 dB, rock concerts will probably peak at 100 dB. There’ll definitely be transients around that. (3 dB increase is double the acoustic energy, 10 dB / octave is perceived double volume. dBs are logarithmic).

        Remember, our ear’s response is not linear and depends on the volume of sound it hears. It’s far less sensitive to mid range at 60 dB than it is at 80 dB and above. ISOLATE just take the flat “block everything” approach, and their chart doesn’t have any reference to Impulse Peak Insertion Loss, something just as important to measure. If Flare’s (one size fits all) earplug doesn’t fit your ears properly, you won’t form a proper seal, and you risk unintentional exposure to very loud sound.

        My ACS Custom Pro 20s (custom moulds which automatically block an amount of sound, plus filters that attenuate in three bands – IPIL of ~ 32 dB and average additional attenuation of ~20 dB across the spectrum, weighted to the mid and high range) cost £150.

        Ok, £150’s a chunk of change, but they fit my ear canals perfectly and I can wear them all day without discomfort. Any generic earplugs inevitably never properly isolate or work their way loose as the ear canal sweats.

        ISOLATE products to me represent poor value for money. If you want to spend £30 or £50 on (albeit nicely CNCed) metal bullets with a rubber grommet — which may not fit your ears properly, reducing your protection and attenuation of average & impulse noise — go for it. But don’t expect these to be miraculous cure-alls…

        Personally, I’d be concerned about these earplugs possibly being difficult to remove from the ear canal, whereas my ACS customs sit flush and are easily inserted and removed with no danger of them getting stuck. Made from silicone, they’re also light and hygienic, whereas metal bullets I bet would be quite heavy and possibly uncomfortable after wearing for more than an hour. Not sure I’d want to sleep with them in. And not sure how the metal would react to lots of sweat…

        Personally I’d rather buy customs. Guaranteed to seal into my ear canals properly and have measured and verified attenuation levels from a company which has a lot of experience in the market. There’s loads of companies who produce customs for the music, industrial and motorsport markets. I know with the ACS Pros, you can also swap out filters and even buy full sound blocks (think mini rubber bungs) should you want to completely deaden outside noise.

        As always, caveat emptor. I’m sure the company makes good sounding IEMs, but I think I’ll skip these earplugs. Unless you need to completely block noise, and wearing Peltors is too inconvenient, I’d recommend you save your cash and buy something like the Etymotic ER20 or ER20xs one-size plugs. (check their tech specs for their attenuation figures)

        • badblue

          I work in an oil refinery, as a welder and I have been using the titanium ear plugs at work and they are so far, amazing. I bought them because they were cheaper then the molded ones I can get, and I don’t have a bad thing to say about them. They are comfortable, easy to insert and remove and don’t seem to be bothered by sweat either.

          • 24bit

            I shower with mine…it is a very Zen experience haha.

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