If you’re looking for a new pair of earplugs to wear to the Eras Tour, band practice, or loud events, chances are you’ve come across the Minuendo Earplugs. Minuendo’s Lossless Earplugs make a lot of promises, and they don’t exactly come with a cheap price tag either. These passive earplugs are the most expensive pair on Amazon, so when I was given the opportunity to review them, I couldn’t pass it up. Are these Minuendo earplugs all hype, or do they live up their lofty price? Let’s dive in to what makes these earplugs special, who they’re for, and our thoughts on if you should get a pair for yourself!
Minuendo Lossless Earplugs: What’s in the box?
Minuendo left no stone unturned when it comes to features and accessories. Let’s go over everything that you get when you buy Minuendo’s earplugs!
Tips: These earplugs come with nearly a dozen pairs of tips, meaning you can find the size and style that’s perfect for you. I am a big fan of trying multiple types of earplug tips, so I was happy to find both foam and silicone options are included with the Minuendos.
Leash: Minuendo also includes an optional leash with their earplugs, so you can keep them around your neck when they’re not in use. This is a nice feature that helps avoid losing your plugs on long days where you might go from “plugged” to “unplugged” often. To add the leash to your earplugs, simply push the loop on the end of the leash through the small hole on the side of the plug, then push the excess leash through the loop.
Brush: A small cleaning brush is included for removing dirt or ear wax from your Minuendo ear plugs.
Carrying case: A small, zippered case is included, which is great for protecting your earplugs in your pockets/backpack/suitcase.
These earplugs are are constructed with patented membrane technology, meaning your ear drums are protected from the harsh pressure of loud sound waves. They also offer stepless adjustment, with a sliding dB reduction from -7 to -25 decibels. To adjust the sound reduction, you simply slide the switch forward and backward until you find a level that’s comfortable and safe. They are also magnetic, meaning you can lock them together when not in use (be careful to slide them apart, not pull, since pulling can dislodge the magnets, more on this later).
We’ve reviewed our fair share of earplugs on our site, but unboxing these earplugs felt more unboxing your brand new iPhone than it did a pair of plain old earplugs, aided by either the high end packaging or the curiosity of what could possibly make these earplugs worth $150 (probably a fair mix of both). As with any piece of audio equipment, the real question is…
Minuendo Lossless Earplugs: How Do They Sound?
All of the features in the world don’t mean anything if the sound isn’t great. Thankfully, the Minuendo high fidelity earplugs live up to their name. I put these earplugs through their paces at a concert, a loud theater, and a jam session, and they performed fantastically at all three.
The first time I wore these earplugs was at an outdoor concert, and I started with them on the highest noise reduction setting (-25). I actually had to double check that I had them set correctly, because I was surprised just how clear the audio was coming through. Yes, the band felt 25dB quieter, but the treble and bass was coming through the membrane with so much balance and clarity that it caught me off guard. Throughout the show, I cycled through the stepless noise reduction options until I found my comfort point, which was somewhere in the middle. After the show ended, I had no ringing in my ears and no regrets about wearing the Minuendo earplugs.
While I don’t typically wear earplugs to the movies, I find that it’s a great place to test the long-term comfort of earplugs, and it’s a great excuse to see a film (this time I saw the new Ninja Turtles film, which I give 3/5 stars, if you were curious, and the art style was fun). Once in the theater, I settled on the “wide open” -5dB setting, which was just enough to take the edge off.
In a jam session setting, these also performed well, and I set the noise reduction to the full -25dB. This was great for getting rid of harsh cymbals and guitar amps. I typically wear in ear monitors when playing music professionally, but these will be my new go-to when I’m just casually jamming.
After using these earplugs for a multiple hours, I am inclined to say that they are the best sounding earplugs on the market. When it really comes down to it, most people’s problem with wearing earplugs isn’t the actual reduction in volume, it’s the reduction in perceived volume that comes with the uneven frequency balance the earplugs provide. With the Minuendo ear plugs, you can still hear everything clearly and with a percieved loudness thanks to the broad frequency spectrum that’s allowed to pass into your ears, albeit quieter, via the membrane.
Are the Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Comfortable?
In a word: YES. Honestly, how could they not be? With 11 different tip options in both foam and silicone, there’s almost certainly a tip that’s perfect for you included with the Minuendos. I personally would put the comfort on par with my daily driver earplugs, the Loop Experience, which I consider to be extremely comfortable.
When I was leaving the concert, I made it halfway back to my car before I remembered that I was wearing earplugs. This is something that hasn’t happened to me before, so it goes without saying that these earplugs are comfortable. I would be surprised if you couldn’t find a pair of tips that don’t disappear into your ears as you wear these earplugs.
Besides the breadth of tips included with the Minuendo Lossless Earplugs, another contributing factor to their comfort is their light weight. Despite being larger than most ear plugs, they are light enough that you shouldn’t have any problems with long term comfort. If you don’t have a problem with the weight of AirPods, wearing these earplugs for an entire day will be a breeze.
Minuendo Lossless Earplugs: Technical Specs and Build Quality
The usability of these earplugs is a huge plus. Unlike other adjustable earplugs, they have onboard switching, meaning you don’t need to carry around little pieces to make adjustments to your sound reduction. The switch is so convenient to use, and the fact that you can adjust the noise reduction on the fly without even taking the earplugs out is fantastic. The magnetic attachment and removable leash make it easier to put your earplugs in and out of the case without dropping one of them, which is important considering the cost of your investment in these plugs.
The included case is a nice touch, and while it’s a little large to keep in your front pocket comfortably, it will do a good job protecting your earplugs. It’s a slightly rigid, but still soft, zipper pouch, with just one compartment. I wouldn’t hate if it came with a small mesh pocket to hold the leash and brush in place, but otherwise, it does the job.
You won’t find any photos of the included brush in this review, because it went missing in my first 48 hours of owning these earplugs. I’m sure my Roomba will enjoy eating it for dinner.
Small complaints aside, the aforementioned “sliding” motion is the only real qualm I have with these earplugs. I found other reviews that mentioned the magnets coming out of their slots, so I figured I’d “pull” apart the earplugs to see how many times it takes to dislodge the magnets, and it only took a few tries before one of the magnets slipped out of its spot. The “slide apart” motion is not intuitive to me, and frankly, I’d probably forget to slide them apart instead of pulling if I were in a hurry to protect my hearing, so I wouldn’t blame someone for unintentionally breaking their magnets pretty quickly. I would consider this to be the only major flaw in the Minuendo design, and I would probably suggest an integrated magnet for future iterations of this earplug.
The aesthetics of the Minuendos is pretty middle of the road. To me, they look more like a pair of wireless earbuds or in-ear monitors than earplugs, so they should blend into most musical settings. With public use, I wouldn’t be surprised if others assume are earbuds and leave you alone, which may very well be a selling point to many. I personally don’t mind the look, but your milage may vary, and taste is subjective, so you can make up your own mind about the look of these earplugs. By the way, if you’re wondering how awkward it is to take a good photo of yourself wearing earplugs, the answer is very.
Who are these Minuendo Earplugs for? Are they worth the money?
You know we couldn’t write this review without mentioning price. Any time a product is the most expensive thing in its category, the question of “who in the world is paying so much for this?!” is going to come up.
So, when the question of price comes up, there will always be people who scoff at any premium product, letting you know that the budget version has never let them down. And to be honest, they’re usually right. If your goal is just to reduce volume to safe levels, you can do that with the bright orange construction site earplugs. However, Minuendo is aiming a little higher with this offering.
If you’re the type of person who listens to vinyl records for the sound, enjoys going to dozens of concerts a year, or works in music professionally, you will probably have an appreciation for these earplugs. With concert ticket prices launching into the stratosphere, it almost feels silly to go to a show with muffled, uncomfortable earplugs. If you’re actually considering buying these earplugs, then chances are you are one of the aforementioned audiophiles, and you understand the importance of avoiding ear fatigue, especially if you depend on your ear health for your career. While I can’t say if the high price tag is worth it to you, because “worth it” is one of the most subjective measures possible, I can say that they feel worth it to me (with some caveats).
If I were to lose my ~$45 Loop earplugs, there’s a world where I’d upgrade to the Minuendos for my replacement. However, I don’t think the difference is stark enough that I would discard my Loops to make room for the Minuendos, if that makes sense. They are certainly a nice to have, and oh boy are they nice to have, so if dropping the big bucks to have the best and most expensive earplugs is something that you’re into, you won’t regret buying them. If they can sort out the magnet issue in future versions of this product, I’ll have zero complaints about these otherwise wonderful earplugs.
Final Thoughts on Minuendo Lossless Earplugs
While Minuendo’s earplugs are pricy, they are a premium product that is worth the cost, as long as you’re the type of person who truly values high quality sound and ear health. The adjustability of the noise reduction rate is the biggest selling point to me, since it allows you to strike the balance between “this is safe for my ears” and “this is too quiet to get into it.” The high fidelity sound is apparent when you put them in, and the build quality is solid. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend the Minuendo Lossless Earplugs to the avid concert goer, the musician or producer who is into ear health, or the audiophile who can’t stand muffled audio. While I would consider reducing volume to be a basic function that just about ever pair of earplugs can achieve, the best pair of earplugs is the one you’ll actually wear, and if you’re particular about what goes in your ears, the Minuendos just might be the solution for you. If you’re still undecided or just want to know more about what goes into buying earplugs, check out our Earplugs Buyers Guide below.
Earplugs Buyers Guide
1. Noise Reduction Levels
The primary purpose of earplugs is to block out unwanted noise. Different earplugs offer varying levels of noise reduction, usually measured in decibels (dB). The higher the dB rating, the better the noise isolation. If you’re frequently exposed to loud environments like concerts or construction sites, opt for earplugs with higher dB ratings. For everyday use, a moderate noise reduction level should suffice.
2. Comfort and Adjustability
Comfort is key, especially if you plan to wear your earplugs for extended periods. Look for earplugs that come with different sizes or are adjustable to fit various ear shapes. Moldable earplugs are particularly comfortable as they conform to the unique contours of your ears. Some earplugs also come with features like ergonomic designs or double-flanged tips for a secure and comfortable fit.
3. Ear Tip Material
Ear tip material plays a significant role in both comfort and noise reduction. Here are the most common materials:
- Foam: Foam earplugs are soft and easily moldable, providing a snug fit that blocks out noise effectively. They’re a popular choice for sleeping and general noise reduction.
- Silicone: Silicone earplugs are durable and hypoallergenic. They can be reusable and come in various shapes for better fitting. Silicone earplugs are suitable for activities like swimming and showering.
- Other: Some earplugs incorporate advanced materials like thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) or wax. TPE earplugs combine the comfort of foam with the durability of silicone, while wax earplugs are moldable and comfortable, great for custom fits.
4. Budget Considerations
Earplugs come in a wide price range, from budget-friendly options to high-end, specialized models. Consider how often you’ll use them and in what situations. If you need earplugs for occasional use, a more affordable pair may suffice. However, if you’re looking for long-term comfort and superior noise reduction, investing in a higher-priced pair could be worthwhile.
While aesthetics might not be the most crucial factor, it’s worth noting that some earplugs come in a variety of colors or transparent options. If you’re concerned about visibility while wearing earplugs in public, you might prefer discreet or flesh-toned options.
In conclusion, finding the right earplugs involves assessing noise reduction levels, prioritizing comfort and adjustability, considering ear tip materials, factoring in your budget, and possibly selecting an aesthetic that suits your preferences. By taking these factors into account, you can make an informed decision and enjoy a quieter, more peaceful world whenever you need it.