In New York City, Halloween is one of our busiest weekends music-wise. Its one holiday where all of your “non-music” friends are looking to party and show off their costumes while DJs fly in from around the world for spooky themed shows. Pier of Fear has established itself as arguably the biggest EDM Halloween event in NYC, filled with food trucks, a haunted maze sponsored by Blood Manor, and unparalleled talent on the decks. The first night of Pier of Fear was a huge success, and Saturday’s line-up was just as great– Nicky Romero, Dirty South, John Dahlback, and more would take to the stage to revel in the night’s festivities. With Saturday being my third or fourth night of halloween revelry, I was getting to the point of weariness where any overly loud noises put me in a grumpy mood. Luckily, I had one final trick up my sleeve.
With the number of shows and festivals I attend in a given month during the year slowly creeping into the double digits (and the polite yet constant nagging from those of my ‘rave’ friends that are older and wiser than I), I’ve known for a while that I needed to pick up a pair earplugs but kept putting it off. I have constantly looked for ear protection that was comfortable, effective, and to be completely honest, didn’t make me look like a complete asshole. I remember heading to Ultra for the first time years ago and my mom giving me a package of 50 neon green foam earplugs and telling me to “share with friends” (I forgot to pack them and they are now lost in the cluttered abyss of my childhood bedroom). I would invest in etymotic plugs that I would buy online prior to trips to festivals that I had planned months in advance, but would end up losing them after one use thanks to flimsy containers that popped open with a squeeze and my inherent general irresponsiblity. The fact that my hearing was declining with each bass-drop was starting to worry me more and more. Thankfully, Dubs Acoustic Filters came into my life.
Dubs Acoustic Filters, created by Doppler Labs, are “advanced tech earplugs using Dynamic Attenuation to deliver optimal hearing protection while preserving sound fidelity” as per their website. In my opinion, though, they are just little glorious ear nuggets of awesome. I was able to get my hands on a pair and test them out for day two of Pier of Fear, featuring Nicky Romero, Dirty South, and John Dahlback at Pier 94. As I entered the complex, I popped a pair, which almost look like a pair of wireless earbuds, into my ears. The first thing that I noticed was that I could still talk to people pretty easily without having to take one bud out or feeling a bit “head under water” listening to your own voice blare inside your head as you try function with them on. Yes, the sound was immediately at a lower volume, but still audible and clear. With Pier 94 being such a large venue, I first felt the thump of the bass, and as I moved closer to the mainstage heard chords and melodies slowly infiltrate my ears. The plugs use a filtration system that reduces the sound pressure at different frequencies to keep the music sounding awesome, and you’re ears protected with 12 dB less noise blasting into them.
As the main floor filled with costumed ravers still on a Halloween weekend high of adrenaline and facepaint, Arno Cost had the crowd dancing and singing along to Audien’s remix of Bastille’s ‘”Pompeii”. A song like that was perfect to walk into, testing the filtration of multiple layers of melodies using classical piano sounds as well as your typical house synths paired with a driving kick drum. Each piece of the production could be still be heard through the buds, as well as the crowd singalong during each chorus. Throughout the night, as the tracks played seemingly got louder and louder and the drops seemed to get heavier, I was completely engrossed in the music without having my ears bleed. John Dahlback’s big house sound of his track “Sirens” and the new collaboration “A Little More” with Kaskade and Sansa drove fans crazy as the night raged on.
Dirty South and Nicky Romero filled the primetime spots on the Pier of Fear stage on Saturday, and they more than delivered incredible sets. Dirty South opened with his inspiring track “Unbreakable” featuring Sam Martin, and fans were immediately sent into music bliss for the rest of the evening. Dirty South’s vocal tracks have always been some of my favorites when it comes to mainstream electronic music, as there’s nothing more powerful than hearing an entire crowd singing “City of Dreams”. As I danced through his set, I began to forget that I even had my Dubs in my ears. I wasn’t shouting at anyone because I couldn’t hear them from the plugs, and the music was ideal. Even from the middle of the crowd, I didn’t seem to have any noticeable loss of sound quality and I raged just as hard as everyone else around me.
By the end of the night, I was pleasantly surprised to walk away from Pier of Fear without my ears ringing like the night before. Dubs Acoustic Filters proved to be comfortable, sleek, unobtrusive, and most importantly, effective. I could easily pop them in and out of my ears, and the design kept them flush to the inside of my ear. For those fashionably inclined, they even come in 4 different colors! The quality of their noise reduction paired with the ability to store and reuse over and over more than justifies the $25 investment for a pair of Dubs.
For more information on Dubs Acoustic Filters or to grab a pair for yourself, visit http://www.getdubs.com/
Originally written for ENL by Maggie Popovich