V-Moda, the headphone/earphone maker, sent us over their new noise reducing ear-plugs for review. The “Faders” are not your typical fluorescent orange foam earplugs that you often see at concerts, festivals, clubs, or on construction sites. No sir. V-Moda calls the Faders “High-Fidelity” and they look similar to their Remix earphones with a sleek red metal chassis and quality silicon inserts.
The Faders claim to reduce incoming noise by 12dB, yet keep the fidelity so you can still enjoy quality sound without blowing out your eardrums. We took them to Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience to see how they would perform in the real world. Jason’s tribute to his late father John, regarded as one of the best rock drummers of all time, was certainly the perfect opportunity to test the Faders with banging drums, deep bass, screeching guitar solos and piecing vocals. Jason puts on quite a show and if you’re a fan of Led Zep, and John Bonham in particular, this multimedia concert should be on your calendar.
As with the rest of V-Moda’s sonic lineup, the Faders are “a design homerun,” according to one evaluator, “with quality construction, a comfortable woven cloth connecting the earbuds and an understated aesthetic.” If you’re someone who’s concerned about looking like a dork by donning earplugs at a loud event, the Faders will make you appear like you’re on the noise reduction cutting edge without giving the impression that you belong on the Enterprise.
The Faders were “excellent” for effectively lowering the decibels, but came up “short on the fidelity” front. In our real world test, the Faders just “sucked too much of the music’s energy” according to one reviewer and “practically eliminated all the sheen from James Dylan’s vocals while he was channeling Robert Plant.” That said, they were an improvement over the typical foam ear plugs, which “end up turning everything in the lower registers to mud, killing the high frequencies and kicking 2K in the groin.” One reviewer experimented with the size of the silicon tips and how deeply she inserted the Faders into her ears to effectively “find the sweet spot between clarity and reduction.” Another reviewer wondered out loud if the Faders were “actually anything more than the shell of [V-Moda's] Remix earphones re-marketed as high-end earplugs.”
We tested the frequency reduction in our studio with the new Sound Chef Pro and found that anything under 80 Hz and over 12500 Hz was nicely eliminated with the Faders, which would certainly contribute to achieving less fatigue during long exposure to high decibels.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for stylish earplugs, and care more about saving your precious hearing instead of true fidelity, V-Moda’s Faders are worth a look when they debut.
FutureMusic Rating: 75%