Review – Alpine MusicSafe Pro
Review – Alpine MusicSafe Pro
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When I shoot concerts, I am usually “bombed” by a level of decibels far above the safty level. As the photographers stand in front of the stage, in the PIT where we have to share the space with some bass speakers from the sound equipment, I am subject to noise levels that at short/medium term can , and will certainly cause Irreversible hearing problems .
To protect myself, I started wearing earplugs early on, but I never felt comfortable with any of the ones I encountered. Either because they were not comfortable, or because they destroyed the sound, or because I did not feel that they protected me enough and for many other reasons.
I ended up using then the ones that are bought in Pharmacies, made of gel. Since I never found any capable of making me happy, I ended up using the cheapest ones I found.
Of course this was never the best option, first because the protection was never ideal and then because this type of earplug completely destroyed the sound quality. Obviously when I go to photograph a concert, I go to work and not to have fun, but for me it is important to listen to the music so that the music inspires my work.
It did not take long for the earplugs to start getting “forgotten” in the backpack, even at concerts with more volume, even being aware of the risks, I ended up preferring comfort and sound quality.
When my friends from Alpine sent me the Alpine MusicSafe Pro set I was curious about the specs, and very eager to test them as fast as possible.
As I photograph several styles of music, with very different volume levels, I can either shoot a Fado concert or soon after a Rock concert. What aroused me most was the fact that Alpine MusicSafe Pro came with 3 filters for Low, medium and high volume !
This was ideal for me! It meant that with Alpine MusicSafe Pro I could go for any show that they would live up to it.
The question that I needed to answer was if in the real world they really worked and if that did not ment losing sound quality.
I made the test at a Soul/Funk concert with lots of volume, lots of quality sound and a lot of the bass speakers right there in front of the stage … the decibel levels were close to 118dB!
I’ll tell you how they behaved, but let’s start from the beginning …
What’s in the Box
When I opened the package I was very pleased with what I saw, first because it was accompanied by a very nice postcard that my friends from Alpine sent me and then because the packaging shows the care they deliver on their products.
In the packaging we find 3 pairs of filters, a strap to hang the Earplugs to the neck, 3 earplugs (yes 3), and a storage box to carry everything safely.
The storage box
The storage box that comes with the set is rigid and has a larger compartment to accommodate the 3 plugs and strap.
Having a pair of plugs already with the filters installed, we are left with two pairs of filters apart; As they are easy to lose , the storage box has a special compartment for them, there are 4 small holes in the side where the filters are very safe, that hardly allows us to lose them.
The storage box Cover is colorless, and has only one paper to cover. Anyone who chooses can leave the cover without paper, but Alpine encourages the creation of a personalized paper, so it is easier to find our storage box is if we have to share a media room with other photographers who have an equal storage box, or Even in the event that we lose the storage box, whoever finds it will know who it belongs to and may return it.
The earplugs are made from a material Alpine calls “Alpine ThermoShape” which is soft, flexible and durable, due to the warmth of the ear it adapts to the shape of the auditory duct and they can be purchased in three colors: Black, Gray . They are quite comfortable and easy to use, its easy to insert the earplugs in the ears and they stay in place without any problem and I did not have to adjust them as i used to do with other earplugs from other brands.
And to keep them always clean they can be washed with warm soapy water.
The Alpine MusicSafe Pro show their full potential when used with filters, and there are 3 available ones. They are White, Gray and Gold
White is for low volumes, Gray for medium volumes and Gold for high volumes.
I started my test I using the golden filter , I went to the front of the stage and soon after the first chords I realized that the sound of Alpine MusicSafe Pro is fantastic!
The volume gets more controlled but without losing the sound quality , I do not know how they managed to do this but even the bass maintains is body, all the sound is nice and controlled.
To confirm that the Alpine MusicSafe Pro really work, I measured the decibels with the phone … 118dB!! Uau, unbelievable, 118dB and I there leaning against the columns perfectly comfortable and enjoy a great sound! But I still needed more confirmation … I took the plugs and it was a big difference, the sound was very loud and because I was so loud I could not appreciate its quality.
I took this opportunity to change the filters. This time I went to the gray filter and noticed the difference between the gold and the gray, at that concert the gray alowed a lot of sound, so I went back to the gold and I did not take it off again. I do not remember feeling as comfortable next to the stage as this time.
Note that the filters are very tight in the plugs, so it is not quick to change them, it is something that should be done carefully and calmly and I do not advise you to make the change in the middle of the PIT, because if any filter falls to the ground It will be hard to find it in the dark.
Just for reference, the recommended maximum noise level for not creating hearing problems is 80dB. In concerts the value of 120dB is easily exceeded.
The maximum recommended time for 109dB is 90 seconds …
At the end of the night, when I went to bed, I did not hear the usual ringing in my ears …
I highly recommend the Alpine MusicSafe Pro. They are my choice and I will not shoot any concerts without them. However, if you can not purchase the Alpine MusicSafe Pro please always use some kind of ear protection when shooting concerts.