We’ve tested them all over the past 10 or so years and love them all. They are our favourite way of protecting our hearing, staying in touch with the outside world (work commitments!) and enjoying music on the ride.
We have a ready stash of three types of music earphones as well as Insta-Mold and Lab-Flex earplugs on hand for every riding situation.
So which is the best?
Recreational Stereo Wires, and plugs (from $75 for plugs and $240 for earphones)
These have speakers in the cables surrounded by a rubber “boot” to isolate them from percussive sounds. These drivers are then connected by acoustic “air” tubes that go into the plug.
Made on the spot and ready to use the same day;
No driver or speaker inside the earplug, so they are softer and comfortable;
Hard wearing so you can be rougher pulling on a tube rather than a wire;
Best wind noise soundproofing;
Two-year warranty on earplugs and electronics.
These are best for phone calls and listening to audio books as the vocals and mid-range are very clear. For music, they have deep bass, but not a lot of top end, so they’re great for modern duff-duff music.
These are great for a long trip because of the comfort of the soft plug with no driver in them. Be careful how you position the thick air tube against your earlobes for maximum comfort.
In-Ear Music and Phone monitors (from $289)
These feature a single or dual driver fitted inside the earplug.
Better quality high-fidelity sound in all frequencies. You can get single or dual drivers which are used for musicians, so they have to be good;
Comfortable because the cable is so thin;
Two-year warranty on the earplugs and one year on the electronics.
If you love music, you’ll love these. Go to your music settings and turn up the bass for the best all-round sound.
Because the driver is inside the plug, it is a little bulkier than the recreational earphones.
Be careful with the delicate cords when pulling the helmet off or putting it on and don’t yank at them.
They are pretty hard wearing as mine only started to fray after about two years of rigorous daily usage.
They still worked fine, but Earmold Australia owner Aaron Dalle-Molle tidied them up so I should get several more years of wear out of them!
Lab-Flex In-Ear Music Monitors, Phone Monitors and plugs (from $120 for plugs and $299 for earphones)
I asked Aaron to make a pair with a genuine iPhone cable which is an option available with these and the recreational monitors.
The new iPhone7 has a lightning plug instead of a normal 3.5mm stereo audio jack, so these earphones plug directly into my phone, but not a Bluetooth unit. I wanted something I could wear with a helmet without a Bluetooth unit attached.
You don’t need to visit Earmold Australia or one of their agents to have the moulds done, you can go to your audiologist clinic and get a full set of ear impressions done there and post them directly to Earmold and they make the plugs from the impressions.
There is a five-to-seven day turnaround to have these made.