"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
Usability9.5
Value For Money9
Pros
Superb Noise Filtering
Excellent Comfort
Highly Durable
Cons
No Rope-like Attachment
Pricey Pro Version
9.1
Our Score

You can order here: http://flareaudio.com/

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.

The ISOLATE

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

Colors

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.

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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.

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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.

3

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.

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Page 2: Usability testing

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About The Author

Senior Reviewer

Self Proclaimed Musicality Guru, Photographer, Audiophile and part time Ninja. I started my audio journey back in 96' and haven't looked back. My ultimate goal in this life is to experience as many Hifi rigs as possible...because I am an audio addict.

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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: https://store.sensaphonics.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=ERSERIESPLUGS

          • 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 ?

          • Neusymar de Lima

            You seem to be a pro on the subject. I am considering what to purchase. My wife snores a lot and I cannot sleep, and have not found anything to help yet. Could you advise me what might work best for this problem?

  • 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.

          • Fábian Wolarski

            today I showered with a drugstore plug (3m Pomp Plus).
            for comparison’s sake, could you tell me how the water sounds with the Isolate? Are there a lot of highs missing? and what about the towel? Do you hear something while drying yourself (towel rubbing against skin)?

          • 24bit

            Never had to review the sound of water before! Is this an audiophile reviewers first? haha 😉

            Honest, the sensation of having isolators in and sticking your head under the shower is just addictive to me. I don’t know why, but I enjoy the hell out of it. I find it very relaxing and I’ve not tried it with other blockers yet. As for the towel, absolutely. All that sound goes right through your head and into your canals despite you wearing blockers.

          • Fábian Wolarski

            thanks.
            btw: I just saw this review from a user who is used to ACS 15 and tried the Isolates out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIW0NpbVSEo

          • I’m glad they work for you at least, any ear protection is better than none! Does your employer offer any plugs?

          • badblue

            They do, but just simple foam ones

        • Piers

          I find the universal fit ACS Pacatos are pretty comfy and only cost about a tenner. I tried a few and found these to be the only ones that don’t suffer that awful occlusion effect

          • Fábian Wolarski

            frequency curve is nothing special though: https://www.acscustom.com/download/Pacato/Pacato.pdf
            you can find similar curves in simple plugs from 3m

          • True, but those are the lowest attenuation earplugs. I would always recommend people go for the ER20 at the very least.

          • Their universal fit Pacatos and ER20s are great for occasional gig goers, I recommend them to everyone who see live music. The Pro 26 customs are even better if you have the money.

        • Fábian Wolarski

          they need normal (standard) attenuation measurements, so we can compare.
          they reference signal is truly strange. why not use a flat signal? and where is the db scale?
          but it looks interesting. because I look for something that attenuates more from 0-1000 than the rest, because that is the day-to-day noise that stresses us (traffic and so on).
          they don’t claim to have designed them for musicians

          • The graphs they publish show the attenuation levels – the reference signal is likely pink noise (equal acoustic power per octave), I can’t currently access the text of the BS standards as I can’t log in to the BSI site (it’s horrendously expensive to buy the documents on their own!)

            The curve is just the mean of the attenuation figures – Y axis is decibels (attenuation), starting from zero dB and increasing in attenuation as it rises; the X axis is the centre frequency of the tested octave.

            They do have standard attenuation measurements, and ACS earplugs are independently measured by the British Standards Institute to comply with various UK regulations. Here’s the Pro 20 spec sheet including attenuation measurements: https://acscustom.com/uk/downloads/PRO%2020%20SPEC%20SHEET.pdf

            In the UK, BS EN 352-2:2002 (and related standards) detail the acoustic and subjective testing methods for these kinds of plugs. ACS go by BS standards for their testing and relevant figures. (I simply talk about ACS as I’m familiar with the product as a user)

            The ISOLATE has gone through none of these industry body tests from what I can see, so they can’t emphatically claim any kind of standards-compliant noise attenuation comparable with other manufacturers’ products. Basically, they’re saying, “trust us.”

          • Fábian Wolarski

            to understand their messurement you have to understand that the software they used is designed for other purposes (though it could be used to show the real attenuation graph (with subtraction), which it doesn’t).

            I know the software: http://www.roomeqwizard.com/

            What the graph shows is:
            1) a reference sweep with 60 db MAX(!), and that max is only valid if they used a calibrated SPL meter.
            why is the curve not flat, or at least almost flat? because they used a shitty speaker or a non liniear mic instead of a SPL meter.
            2) the same sweep beeing somehow forced to pass the plugs before hitting the mic

            So you have to subtract 2) from 1) to get the attenuation.

            we both agree that they should provide an indurtrie standard messurement like ALL the others do.
            Actualy we should demand it together as users. I wont buy it without this at least.

          • I completely agree. The problem is, people see the nice log graph, don’t know how to interpret it – or don’t ask about the test method. I hate products with shoddy marketing, particularly when they make bold claims about hearing protection. Your hearing is so important it’s worth far more than £25.

          • Fábian Wolarski

            now that I see that the values go below 0 lol….wtf? the graph is close to useless

          • More than that, while the graph scale is pointless (though accurate), the test method leaves a lot to be desired. They’ve deliberately not shown the effects of bone conduction using a dummy head. While OK for demonstrating laboratory conditions blocking, it’s not adequate for real world marketing.

            They also essentially acknowledge that custom earplugs will produce a superior attenuation to the generic earplugs I presume they have used for comparison. The wood holder for the earphone driver will not be the same shape and absorption as a human ear canal so it means the generic earplug results are useless.

            They also didn’t use a reference source of tone from an external source, they used a headphone driver (DT770?) which will have a coloured frequency response.

            Nobody’s ears are perfect holes like on their test rig, so the seal with a cylindrical metal plug is never going to be as good, hence the foam tips which will affect the attenuation. I think some people will end up forcing them into their ears to get a good seal, and I suspect they’ll hurt their ear canals.

          • Fábian Wolarski

            I actualy had sent an email to them asking for industry standard tests, and they replied:

            “Hi Fabian,

            Sorry for the delay in replying.

            Both our products are currently with test houses and we are waiting the results. As soon as we have the results we will post them online.

            Kind regards,

            Tristan Mill

            Technician”

        • Fábian Wolarski

          I found this, where they show how the test was done. It’s like I said before. sweeptests. Since this is completly diferent form the industry standard test, because bone conduction is not taken into acount at all, it is useless for comparison to other products: Hi Martin,
          I used a pro headphone unit to test Isolate at full level which was over 100dB. Please don’t pay attention to the dB numbers on the left of the graph, this is because the software was run as a reference trace to compare dB difference between tests, not overall level, thus this is why I ran a reference trace first so that dB difference could be shown.
          Kind Regards
          Davies

          Also an oficial coment there on the link:

          “Hi Martin,
          I used a pro headphone unit to test Isolate at full level which was over 100dB. Please don’t pay attention to the dB numbers on the left of the graph, this is because the software was run as a reference trace to compare dB difference between tests, not overall level, thus this is why I ran a reference trace first so that dB difference could be shown.
          Kind Regards
          Davies”

          which means that the dB values are useless also, even between the measurement and the reference, since nothing is calibrated.
          The only thing we can see on the graph is by comparing the foam with the Isolate, which shows that they perform much better up to about 700HZ. But we see nothing absolute here. bone conduction will vary a lot over the frequency range

        • God_Zilla

          Chris, question for you: Would you say that these are worth it over basic foam ear plugs or not worth it at all? I used to have a pair of ACS ER15s when I was DJing and clubbing loads, but then I left them in a taxi and decided that as I was getting older and clubbing a lot less I couldn’t justify spending another £150. Since then I’ve been making do with the foam ones. I’m wondering if it’s worth taking a punt on £25 for these.

          • Could be, but these will just plain block sound as opposed to attenuate. For anything less than a gig I doubt you’d hear anything at all, I wouldn’t feel safe wearing them in normal situations.

            I’d rather spend £10 on the universal fit Etymotics as opposed to £25 of weights with a rubber seal on them… or start saving for some new ER25s. It is nearly Christmas!

        • 24bit

          “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 neighbor’s Prius because that’s ‘what you can obtain’.”

          Incorrect. There are no other Isolators anything remotely close to the level of the Flare Isolate for what they do. Nothing on the market does what they do that I am aware of. These are an industry first. The aim of sound blockers is to make you as close to def as possible. The aim of the Isolates are the total opposite of that and to make you as spatially aware as possible while blocking only the potentially damaging dB levels that are absorbed into the materials of the product, as well as retaining a balance in the presentation.

          There is no reason to obtain $500 sound muter’s so I can tell people they mute sound more than the product that wasn’t intended to bring you closer to being deafened.

          • ISOLATEs are just rubber sealed metal bungs you use to cap off your ear canals. There’s no clever sciencey stuff going on here, they’re simply attenuating – just like other well made sound blockers. The only difference is they’re not circumaural (e.g. Peltors), they’re intraaural.

            Proper ear plugs actually do clever sciencey stuff thanks to their tuned filters and bespoke fitment, and you don’t lose the ability to hear directionally.

            What the ISOLATEs do do is introduce those who can’t afford £100+ custom earplugs to the different feelings of bone conduction and sound transmitted mostly via the sinuses as opposed to directly into the ears.

            If you throw them in your ears, expose yourself to high SPLs and then exercise the appropriate jaw muscles (the ones you move to make your ears pop on a plane) to open up the sinuses, you’ll hear the difference. This will be the same whether you’re wearing Peltors, ISOLATEs or custom plugs.

      • Piers

        I just think you’re comparing apples with oranges here. I really do recommend trying some proper filters, they only cost a tenner, so are definitely worth it.

  • Jason Kelly

    Hi Chris, please don’t think I’m being rude, but do you get any financial kickback for a review? I’m very interested in purchasing a set with curiosity in mind, and am curious to how independent reviews actually are.
    I feel however until independent observations and independent analysis based tests are done as to their claims, that paying such a high price especially for the titanium edition, and the benefit they claim over the aluminium aircraft grade which they say is 8-9db noise reduction, is a hard sell as unless you only really use these in the home for bedtime or navigating through noisy city areas, I can see these easily misplaced while at work or in a night club for example.
    I worked as a coach builder with some very heavy and industrial equipment, and not only me but others frequently lost one as you take them out for conversations and a break, also workplaces often being dirty environments and unless inconveniently washing your hands, because they attract so much dirt when rolled up or just handled which can cause ear infections, I would have thought to expensive and inconvenient for anything but for as mentioned above.
    With this in mind, how many are going to fork out upto fifty quid for these, the kickstarter campaign attracted about only £450 in funding and indigogo higher at the moment because of a couple of business packages purchased, however good they claim to block out unwanted noise I think it will be a niche market unless costs are lowered, I would also assume that is why other manufacturers of ear protection products have never thought to take this route, even if they are aware of the benefits in using superior materials because of these reasons.
    Also to add these are also at a 30-40 % discount price!

    • 24bit

      Apologies for the late response. Missed yours among the barrage and I think I was responding to another comment while you made this one 5 months ago, otherwise I can’t figure out why I didn’t see your comment. So sorry about that.

      Swapping from the Titanium to the lower end model results in less balance and more loss of the low end. The Titanium is absolutely the more linear feeling. Why? Not a clue for sure. My theory is that is has to do with the specific angular design, meshed with a solid body and the foam tips in just the right way. I can take those tips and jam them on other isolators and they just don’t do the same job at all, so something else is going on for sure. What that is, I’ve not a clue haha.

      These not being slung together on a strap or string is a problem. It scares me each time I go out with them, but not once has either flopped out of my ear. We need to be responsible with it and not careless because you are right, they can get lost so easily.

      • DEATHPROOFBUM

        Better late than never, thanks for your reply.

      • disqus_hoah9Mf9yw

        Hey sorry, just want some clarification. So the aluminum version reduces more of the low end? I’m basically using these for reducing engine noise of buses, which has lots of rumble around 60hz and between 100-250 hz (I measured). So would the aluminums work better for me?

        • 24bit

          Either would work the same, at least in my opinion. The Pro version stabilizes hectic sound more than the standard aluminum. Meaning, if there were a lot of bass and shrilling sounds around you, the Pro will do a better job making everything more linear feeling. That Hissss and Pop of Bus breaks won’t be as apparently vivid on the Pro as it would the standard. But, I think a constant low rumble, ignoring anything else, would be reduced the same amount.

          Pro version seems to negate very harsh upper end more efficiently than the standard. Both versions seem to house the same “response” when it comes to rumbly bass experiences from a powerful engine. Honestly, in this case I’d not recommend the standard, but the Pro. You’ll hear things clearer overall than the standard while also reducing potentially hazardous treble too.

  • Marshie

    How do you know what size to get?

  • Zabou

    I am considering those in order to block extremely low frequencies at night due to construction works (railways) in our street. We no longer sleep as those low frequencies are not attenuated by foam ear protections (3M EAR Soft FX) and we are desperate for a solution! Any hint, advice, suggestion is more than welcome!

    • 24bit

      These would not suffice for you. These are made to retain as much of the low end as possible, so you’ll both hear and feel that sound surely if you use this Isolate. I would suggest you try a custom earmold kit and make your own ear impressions. That way, you can flatten and control the depth of the mold in your inner ear and you’ll be able to sleep on your side without too much of a bother. I did this, it works great for when I want to nap during the day and there are lots of things happening elsewhere in the house.

  • Dani Sánchez

    Me siento estafado, en el mes de septiembre hice un pedido a través de Indegogo por importe de 55 Libras, y a fecha de hoy 30 de Noviembre no he recibido el pedido. Nadie responde a mis email y paypal (mi forma como hice el pago), no se hace responsable de reclamar.

  • Dani Sánchez

    In September I did an order across Indiegogo for amount of 55 Pounds. Today On November 30 I have not received the order. Nobody answers to my e-mail and paypal (my form since I did the payment), he does not become a person in charge of protesting.
    I feel defrauded and want to inform all those that could be interested, in order that they avoid to be defrauded.

    • James Banerjee

      Hi Dani

      Can you please contact Flare Audio on [email protected] and I will help resolve this issue.

      Kind regards

      James @ Team Flare

    • Hey Dani
      Did you get your order straightened out ?
      I want to order but would like to hear about this first
      Thanks

      • Dani Sánchez

        Hey, Yes, finally received the order. Thanks for your interest

        • headfonics

          Great job and glad you got them 🙂

  • Halldór Freyr Sturluson

    i got mine some time ago and have just tested them a little bit, i have never used thing like this before and i was testing it out here at sea and went down where the machine is and they worked great and i also still heard everything so i wasnt sure they were working right or not but know i know. great review and looking forward to trying them at a concert. i also have a friend that is a bass player and he ordered too and says they work great. thank you

    • 24bit

      Months later, do you still feel the same? I assume you are like me here in this case, and have found that the Isolate is useful in other environments as well. 🙂

  • Run

    I have PTSD and I’m having trouble with noisy environments like stores and other places with many people. I do want to attend normal conversations, though. Is this product suitable for my situation?

    • 24bit

      I’ve been asked this question by others who have told me they had PTSD and even severe anxiety due to loud, noisy environments. In theory, it would help out. In actual practice, I couldn’t possibly say for sure it would help you or not with absolute certainty. But, I have heard positive feedback from two others who shared this issue with you who have contacted me and who purchased the Pro model, so based on that, I recommend it strongly. If you want to dim the exterior world but still be spacially aware, I’ve never come across anything as good as the Isolate for this, so I absolutely think you should try it at the very least.

      If you do buy, please drop a message back here and let me know, as well as everyone else. I am sure everyone would love your incite and experiences after you give it a try.

      • DGSLP

        I’ve just ordered a pair for every member in my family. I want to test them out before recommending to veterans with PTSD/mTBI who tend to get over stimulated by loud noises but are sufficiently hypervigilent to refuse to wear noise canceling protective devices. My thought is that this may take the edge off and decrease angry outbursts resulting from over-stimulation.

  • Tarles Choris

    The biggest problem about this product is the advertising. It basically says it will block sound, like snoring at night. It does not. So I’ve been deeply disppointed especially for that price. It reduces the sound and allow you to hear EVERYTHING at a comfortable volume (and it does it well, as said in the article) but definitely doesn’t “shut” anything. Be aware of that before buying. Except at loud music venue, I don’t personaly see any use for this.

    + you pay for the 3 pairs of foams and you should only need one . But yes you need to try it to be sure …
    + the foam can be easily damaged too, be carefull because they are expensive.

    • 24bit

      It certainly does not block snoring, I agree. I think that was an unwise advertising statement in their ads. I have no answer for why those statements are in their ads, sadly. This product was intended for:

      -Music concerts, loud offices, urban busy street corners, factory workers, airport workers, any place that is annoyingly or dangerously loud but that you need to still retain spacial awareness and balance from top to bottom.

      This product was not intended for:

      -Blocking snoring, noisy kids, trains or cars, loud equipment or anything at all that is bothersome in dB level that you want to drown out to the point of nearly being inaudible.

      • Tarles Choris

        yes that’s a shame but they still publish these ads, i’ve seen it this morning on Facebook. They got even worse because they mention the snoring now. They really sell the product like you will get ultimate peace for your ears.
        They expose to a huge disappointement, like me, in my case just a waste of 50€ for misinformation / lying advertising. Even if I admit that the product looks good for what it’s made for … But I had to read this article + comments to understand.

        • 24bit

          I’m with you on that. I am baffled by the ad phrasing they’ve chosen.

      • Theresa Ann Casper Nelson

        So, what would you, sound guru, recommend for blocking out snoring? Oh and I would still need to be able to hear the alarm clock in the morning.

        • 24bit

          I’d not recommend this Isolate for that, lol. I don’t think most blockers will block so much noise that you’ll not hear someone snoring right next to you. Perhaps, on the other side of the room if it is a sizable room, but certainly not near by. If they do block close (which there are products that allow that) then you probably won’t hear the alarm clearly.

          I’d try Macks Earplugs first, you’ll need to research to find the one rated at 32db. Start there and if that doesn’t work, I’d try the Rooth C&P models intended for sleeping. These Flare Isolates are intended for the opposite, as mentioned. You’ll hear everything around you, but linearly and muted, safe from dangerous dB levels. Best of luck!

          • Theresa Ann Casper Nelson

            I read your review and saw the comments here pertaining to snoring so I figured, “why not ask him what COULD work for snoring?” I’ll look into the Macks Earplugs. We’re not across the room but we are in a king-sized TempurPedic bed. That means I can’t feel him move but I can definitely HEAR him! LOL!

          • 24bit

            I can hear my cats purr and the fan in my room when I have the Isolates in. So, it wouldn’t at all be suited for this. But, the Rooths have some buyers saying it helped their snoring situation, so that is probably the best place to start. Please make sure to post here if you opt to buy those other models, let me know how it went!

    • enzomedici

      I was going to buy these, but not after your review. Thanks. I don’t want to hear everything. In fact, I don’t want to hear shit…nothing…nada. I will keep looking for something that blocks all sound.

      • Kerry Seagrave

        I was buying them to also block sound bt if they don’t no point. Have you found anything that does?

        • 24bit

          There is certainly a point in trying to save your ears from damaging sounds, all while retaining spacial awareness in dangerous places. That was the aim of this product. They were poorly marketed on that factoid and I am glad to bare the responsibility of correcting that problem the company had with ads on this topic.

          They are not full noise blockers. If you want something closer to total muting of sounds around you, there are plenty of other products. As I mentioned already, try custom iem mold kits ($20USD, do it yourself kits). The Vmodas I spoke about in this review block noise better as well. So, you have a ton of options out there.

          You have virtually no options if you work in a very loud place and need hearing protection, but also want or need to still hear things around you. Bad idea to mute everything in a factory or construction zone. Ideally, you want to block the dangerous dB levels and still be audibly aware of your surroundings. That is what the Isolates here do, they retain sound enough for you to hear it, but block the potentially dangerous levels of sound all while retaining a balance.

        • Mike Bazan

          For what it’s worth I’ve found the best for blocking noise is custom moulded silicone. You can get DIY kits or go to an audiologist. An easier/cheaper option are the foam plugs that are shaped like a little toadstool with a flexible stalk. They give the best seal (apart from custom) and you can sleep on them without getting dislodged or uncomfortable. For motorcycle helmets the only thing that works is custom moulded although they tend to emphasis bass. The foam plugs always get dislodged (for me anyway).

      • Laara

        Let me know if you find something ~ I felt excited when I found these & now I will not buy if they are disappointing . I want to block all sound too .

      • James Ball

        Let me know too! I’ve been looking for something to “turn off my ears” when I sleep for years.

  • Tiffany Rose Elston

    i’ve had problems with ear infections for years, and pain caused by wind passing by my head. even light breezes in the spring and summer will make my ears ache painfully. I’ve not been able to cycle or skate or run due to this, and im wondering if this might work to block the wind to my ears while still being able to hear well enough to be safe.
    it seems like it might be worth a shot, two decades without being able to bike makes me sad 🙁

    • 24bit

      Can’t say anything about the ear infections, but the cheaper model should suffice for you for wind reduction.

  • How effective will these be at cutting out wind noise inside a motorcycle helmet? I need to be able to hear car, horn and road sounds, as well as the audio from my helmet speakers – only the wind noise needs to go.

    • 24bit

      Not very, I tested that on an electric scooter that tops at 20mph and the wind noise was very prevalent, but not bothersome. There, but muted and toned back significantly. Wouldn’t recommend these to you, as their aim is to let you hear most things around you clearly but protect from dangerous dB levels. So that omnipresent woosh will only be muted a bit with this product.

      If your aim is to reduce that sound and still hear stuff around you, then this is a good product and either model will be okay for that. The Pro model tanks more bass than the aluminum, so either or will suffice. Not sure what the legalities of using plugs while driving is, but if it is legal, I’d recommend them.

  • RaceFan

    Would these (or the newly released mini version) be adequate for drag racing? Would you recommend the aluminum or titanium? Thanks!

    • 24bit

      The Pro would be much better for you in this regard because it handles low end better than the standard. I’d opt for the Titanium, and yes, I do think it would help you a lot in hearing the sounds around you while being protected from loud, sudden noises.

  • Richard McLachlan

    These earplugs are useless. The smallest size, is far too large for small ear canals, and the long stem means its impossible to sleep with them. Fine if you bought them for going to a club… but they are sold also for sound reduction when sleeping, yet they can’t be used by anyone who sleeps on their side, the metal stem drives the earplug up into your brain!

    Dishonest company, selling them unfit for advertised purpose.

    • Peter Wright

      The very rude and aggressive post above has prompted me to write a review and as I don’t own any my review is impartial. My partner was always sleeping in the spare room due to my snoring but since she bought the titanium version she hasn’t left for the spare room once in 2 months. Fantastic result. And as a woman she has small ear canals, and she sleeps on her side. So i would say a great product that does as it advertises.

      • James Ball

        Not sure where you got “very rude” and “aggressive” from? Richard just said they were useless, and I’d have to agree with him. I bought a pair so I could sleep through snoring and I find they are only marginally better than the industrial strength foam plugs I’ve been using for years 🙁 They are also too long to allow you to sleep on your side without hurting your ears. I’m glad your partner is finding peaceful sleep using them, but they are a waste of money if you are trying to survive a partner snoring. They should stick to their original audience – pro musicians or trades people working in loud environments.

  • Maria E.

    I’m very intested in Isolate, because I have tinnitus and as I’m young, I often go to pubs & concerts. I’ve read a lot of reviews from Isolate. A part of them say that are wondeful earplugs, and others say
    that are useless and scam.

    I’ve searched in Ebay and similar websites Isolate second hand, in order to try them without risking a lot
    of money, but I haven’t found any! So maybe they are not as bad, if people who bought them don’t sell them…? What do you think?

    Thanks very very mucho for your comments! and sorry because of my english (I’m Spanish)

    • 24bit

      Not at all suited for tinnitus, these are plugs that balance out sound well instead of drowning everything out in loud places. There are much better plugs that remove more sound from the environment. The aim of these Isolates is to retain awareness and sounds around you without them being painful or potentially dangerous.

      • María E

        Thanks very much for your kind and helpful answer. I totally agree, I’ll search other earplugs, as you advice, that isolate more.

        I’m really grateful, thanks once more!

  • Karin Nicholas Lauesen

    Will these be sufficient when on the shooting range?

  • Barry Kearney

    my wife bought these to help deal with my snoring. They caused her a lot of pain as she sleeps on her side. Flare Audio should warn customers about this as they are heavily promoting them as a snoring solution. Complete waste of money for us. As a gesture of “good will” they said I can return them for a refund. But That leaves my paying 16 pounds freight from England to Australia return. Not a lot of “good will’ in that.

    • Cat Dobre

      Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, I did order them a month ago, but….surprise! They never arrived! And when I contacted them to ask for shipment tracking no., they said they don’t have one!! In God’s year 2017, they don’t have one… Even so, I was poised to get them, so I was about to order them the 2nd time with Express DHL this time, when I reached this site and…. not anymore. I am cured now, esp. that I read the terms and conditions on Flare site that are… incredible to say the least, when it comes to shipping the orders. What a horrible experience!

      • Cat Dobre

        Well, I had to come back and say the Flares finally have arrived today.

        I tried them on and they are OK, at least better than what I have been using.
        I think, I will be able to sleep with my window open and not hear the car noise at night/day.
        I even tried them lying on my side, ear in my pillow, and the first time hurt like hell, because I had put them wrong, inserted too deeply. The second time though, they were perfect! When you insert them, you have to still feel comfortable enough to be be on your side, so it works! I admit I was really skeptical, but maybe it depends on the sleeping position much and the pillow type. My pillow is really soft and thin and I sort of lie on my cheek more, I don’t know… But I am happy now 🙂 So, best of luck to all!