Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs Hands-On Review


Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs

The Breakdown

The Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs are an interesting product that have garnered mixed reactions from our reviewers. Both head and helmet shape will determine if these are a good addition to your riding experience. Our original reviewer found them to be uncomfortable to wear underneath his full-face helmet, while I have found them to be perfectly comfortable while riding with the Neotec II.
Overall
Pros
Approximate 22 dB reduction in sound; Good quality construction; Multiple tips to ensure ideal fit; Washable tips
Cons
Potential for discomfort due to sound tube design

For the past three weeks, I have been deliberately muting the sound that I hear. Testing earplugs isn’t particularly complicated – after all, you just put them in and then carry about your normal business – but these earplugs in particular claim to have an ace up their sleeve.

You see, the Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs are designed to reduce as much as 22 dB of sound while allowing certain frequencies to pass through to your ear. The intended result for motorcycle riders is a safer audible experience while still allowing you the benefit of enjoying your intercom system.

wBW has reviewed many sets of earplugs over the years, but none have made the same claims as Vibes.

Hot off the heels of my Neotec II review, the Vibes were tested in conjunction with the Neotec II and, more specifically, with the Sena SRL intercom system.

So, let’s dig into the Vibes and see if they do what they claim.

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In the Package

Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs
Image: Vibes

Inside the box you’ll find the Vibes with three sets of tips. There’s also a small plastic carrying case which fits the entire lot, including the Vibes themselves.

What Makes the Vibes Special?

Earplugs typically come in two varieties: off the shelf, and custom made. Most are made of foam, though a moldable putty is also a common material choice.

In all cases, earplugs work by blocking the ear canal and reducing the intensity of the sound waves that pass through them. The end effect is that sounds are quieter and your hearing is safer. For motorcyclists, this is both a boon and a problem: while reducing the level of noise is generally good, drowning out environmental sounds that we need to stay safe – other vehicles, emergency vehicles, etc. – is problematic.

Vibes aims to offer a solution: as opposed to simply muting sound, Vibes filter sound via their sound tubes. Vibes claims their “sound-enhancing acoustic filters” reduce up to 22 dB of volume while allowing you to still hear your engine, nearby vehicles, and your intercom system clearly.

A Poor Start

The vibes originally made their way to Kevin, who most recently reviewed the Sena Momentum helmet. Unfortunately, after a bit of trial and error, Kevin wound up sending them my way since he wasn’t able to get them to fit comfortably.

At 22mm long, and made mostly from plastic, the Vibes can conflict with how your ear sits in your helmet. For Kevin, this meant significant discomfort.

Fit & Comfort

Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs
Image: Vibes

However, once I received them, I haven’t had the same issue. In fact, I find them quite comfortable to wear and barely notice that they’re there. I’ve tried them while wearing the Shoei Neotec II, Vemar Sharki, and Vemar Kona. In all cases I haven’t had any problems with them.

They’re quite lightweight – as earplugs are – but are notably lighter than others I’ve worn. I also found that my ears don’t feel “full” when wearing the Vibes in the same way that moldable earplugs do. They fit snugly in the canal, but due to their design, don’t impact any other surface.

I’m not sure why Kevin found them uncomfortable, but I suspect that head shape plays a big role here. I’ve got a relatively tall and narrow head – intermediate oval to a “T” – and haven’t had problems.

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Free shipping (with Amazon Prime)
30-day return policy
Excellent selection
Competitive pricing

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Performance

Out on the highway is where I notice the Vibes the most. To be clear, their impact on noise is noticed immediately, but they are quite effective at drowning out wind noise and buffeting at highway speeds.

They are also noticeably better in terms of SRL sound quality compared to a set of generic foam earplugs I compared them against. I’m actually able to hear music/calls at highway speeds in the airstream, whereas without them all I hear is buffeting. Compared to the foam plugs, the sound quality of the music via the SRL is also tangibly better.

In the city, I’m able to hear the engine rev and the same is also true of the vehicles around me. However, ambient noise is noticeably reduced and nothing ever sounded “loud”.

I’m Digging the Vibes

Being able to listen to music clearly at speeds in excess of 70 mph is a boon. With an MSRP of just $24, the Vibes offer riders an affordable and capable solution that doesn’t eliminate their situational awareness or ability to enjoy in-helmet audio.

Those with wide heads or narrow helmets should pay attention to their design, however. You may experience the same effects Kevin did. For that reason, if you’re going to pick up a pair, I recommend you do so via Amazon Prime so you can send them back easily enough if you find them uncomfortable.

Disclosure: Vibes provided the earplugs to us at no-cost for our review.

Pros

  • Approximate 22 dB reduction in sound
  • Good quality construction
  • Multiple tips to ensure ideal fit
  • Washable tips

Cons

  • Potential for discomfort due to sound tube design

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Vibes
  • Price (When Tested): $23.99
  • Made In: Malaysia
  • Alternative models & colors: n/a
  • Sizes: 3 tip sizes included
  • Review Date: June 2018

Shopping Now? We Recommend:

webBikeWorld has worked closely with Amazon over the years to provide our testers with products to review. In addition to being a great site to shop from, they’re also a great partner.

Amazon

Free shipping (with Amazon Prime)
30-day return policy
Excellent selection
Competitive pricing

Buy This Earplugs on Amazon

Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs Image Gallery

4 Comments

  1. Arthur
    June 13, 2018
    Reply

    This is not really new, there are a few other manufacturers that have been doing the “frequency filter” thing for couple years now, i.e. No-Noise, just to name one. I do wear the No-Noise product, and like it, but only after they changed the color from clear to orange. Drop a clear plug in a dirty parking lot and most likely kiss $25 good-bye. This happened to me and I gave up trying to find it after wasting 20 minutes looking lost, lol. The length of this brand you reviewed could very well be an issue with some full-faced helmets. My ears are very particular about what plugs I can, and can’t use. For example, I cant wear custom-moulded plugs, as they make the ear structure too rigid and therefore I can’t get a helmet to slide over my ears.

    Good to see that ear plugs are getting more attention, design-wise. I think there is a lot of room for improvement with the filtering technology, I’d like to see it bumped up to around 30db. 🙂

    • June 13, 2018
      Reply

      Agreed re: the length of the Vibes. As Kevin mentioned, he just can’t get them to fit comfortably. I, fortunately, haven’t had the same problems. I just put on my old HJC IS-MAX and the fit is still great. I think head/ear shape are a huge factor.

  2. McRider
    June 14, 2018
    Reply

    Perhaps it is possible to just cut off some of the earplug stem that apparently causes the problem. I’ve done that with other ear plugs.

    • June 14, 2018
      Reply

      Doing so would ruin the dual noise-canceling tubes. The plastic stem is actually hollow, with one tube inside the other with a small bit of space between them.

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