Minuendo LossLess Earplugs – An Honest Review
As someone who feels quite strongly about encouraging musicians and concertgoers to wear ear protection, Minuendo’s lossless earplugs certainly sparked my interest. Their levers allow you to adjust your noise exposure on the fly without having to take them on or off. In this article, I explain my honest opinions about what they’re like to wear.
At a high level, they are some of the best universal earplugs that I’ve used to date. Their adjustable levers make these a lot more practical for a wide variety of settings (from 7dB to 25dB reduction), and they come with many different ear tips that should comfortably fit almost everyone. They filter sound in a high-fidelity manner and don’t dull the sound like more primitive earplugs would. However, they are certainly not perfect.
Please note that Minuendo provided me with a free sample of these in order to test them out. However, my opinions are my own and I am honestly explaining my thoughts in this review.
I consider these a bit pricey, but they certainly could be worth it as they are very practical in various situations, such as during gigs and rehearsals, attending concerts, loud workplaces, loud cinemas, etc. They also come with a generous 10-year warranty.
Value For Money7.5/10
- High-quality sound with a natural frequency response (they're passive, so no batteries are needed).
- Stepless adjustment allows you to quickly control the noise reduction (7dB to 25dB)
- Comfortable - comes with sets of ear tips to suit everyone (different types of silicone, double-flanged, triple-flanged, and foam tips).
- Magnetic locking system - combined with the chord that you can wear around your neck.
- 10-year warranty - guaranteed to be in good shape and last a long time, with a warranty if anything happens.
- Relatively Pricey - they are priced relatively high compared to many other universal earplugs out there. Though their adjustability and sound quality can justify the price.
- Stepless adjustment can be a bit difficult to get exactly even on both earplugs when you want to adjust the level of noise reduction quickly, though stepped adjustment would also come with its own disadvantages.
- Build - they are a bit light (although they still seem pretty solid and there is a generous warranty).
Keep in mind, you have to manage expectations with these. Although they do an outstanding job at maintaining high fidelity sound, they still isolate you a bit from your listening environment, even at the lowest setting of 7dBs of noise reduction. This is simply due to the fact that the sound is going through a small filter on each earplug.
These earplugs are made by a company called Minuendo (based in Norway) and you can buy them through any of their distributors such as SoundBrenner and Gear4Music. You can find the full list of distributors on the Minuendo website.
First Impressions – Comfort, Seal, and Design
These Minuendo lossless earplugs are lighter than I was expecting based on their price, but it makes them quite comfortable to wear. They come with 11 pairs of different tips that you can choose from. This allows you to get a great seal, which can feel pretty close to the feeling of wearing custom-molded earplugs or in-ear monitors.
Minuendo recommends that you use the triple-flanged silicone tips for the best possible fit as it will allow you to get a better seal, however, you can also opt to use other tips for the sake of comfort (including foam tips which some find easier to wear).
I found these earplugs very comfortable to wear. I personally find it difficult to get a good seal in my right ear using most types of earplugs, but some of the ear tips that come with these Minuendo earplugs did the job very nicely for me.
I tend to find triple-flanged silicone tips to be less comfortable when worn for longer sessions, but it’s all down to your personal preferences. It’s all about trial and error with these ear tips. It’s worth trying out a bunch of them to determine which ones give the best balance between seal and comfort.
They also come with a case that you can as well as a connecting chord so you can wear them around your neck. They also feature a nice magnetic locking system so that you can conveniently attach both earplugs together (which is quite useful), along with a cleaning brush.
Keep in mind that when wearing these, they can look like you’re wearing a set of Bluetooth earphones and therefore they’re not very discreet. This may be a factor for some people.
Sound Reduction and Quality
Minuendo Lossless Earplugs have significant sound reduction at their highest setting (25dB) and you can flick the lever on the side of each so that you can hear more around you (down to 7dB) without taking the earplugs off.
This stepless lever is very useful to quickly change your noise reduction on the fly. You can easily move it back and forth, but it can be hard to get them exactly right on both sides when changing them quickly. Other than that, I found these to work very well.
As far as sound quality, I found them to sound very natural which is great. They are up there with some of the best earplugs I’ve tried. They don’t dull the sound like other more primitive earplugs would. However, they are still are earplugs, and don’t expect miracles from them. The sound is still going through a small filter, so you’re still going to hear the sound a little differently in comparison to not wearing earplugs!
There are no electronics used here. They are not powered by batteries and they are completely passive. This is noise-isolating ear protection, which is what you want in order to protect your hearing from loud music, sounds, and sudden transients (in comparison to noise-canceling headphones which are used for canceling out lower levels of background and ambient noise)
Minuendo Earplugs vs Custom Molded Earplugs
Minuendo lossless earplugs allow you to quickly adjust your sound reduction on the fly, whereas, custom-molded earplugs are molded directly based on an impression of your ear and will therefore be easier to take in and out while getting a great seal in your ears. Certain custom-molded earplugs may also offer a greater amount of volume reduction. It’s a matter of personal preference whether you should go for Minuendo earplugs or custom-molded earplugs.
Overall the sound quality and fidelity between custom-molded earplugs and Minuendo earplugs will be relatively similar as long as you can get a good seal from both.
Minuendo earplugs do not have electronics and therefore cannot be compared to custom in-ear monitors (as the latter also act as earphones). However, custom in-ear monitors can be comparable to custom-molded earplugs in this case if we are just taking noise isolation and hearing protection into account.
I expect to wear these earplugs quite regularly going forward because their adjustability really makes them a lot more practical in comparison to other types of ear protection that I currently own. Their many different adjustable tips also provide a good mix between comfort and seal in your ears.
The earplugs are not perfect and they do come with drawbacks. Ideally, I would probably prefer some sort of stepped adjustment instead of being stepless, so you could clearly know when you have the same level of noise reduction for both ears at the same time. However, “stepped” earplugs would come with their own drawbacks. Minuendo deemed that stepless adjustment was more suitable to their functional design, while offering the benefit of enabling finer adjustments.
Of course, they have many of the same limitations that almost all types of earplugs have. They’re still going to alter the sound to some extent, even though the sound quality and fidelity from these earplugs are in fact very good.
I greatly welcome more innovation in the field of ear protection, as it’s something that’s badly needed in the music industry (among other industries). Overall, I am happy to recommend Minuendo’s Lossless Earplugs and I am looking forward to seeing what else Minuendo bring out in the future.