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Protect My Ears While Monitoring My Practice

Discussion in 'Recording' started by flemingkr, Mar 6, 2002.

  1. flemingkr

    flemingkr Member

    My conga practice is hurting my ears. I foolishly tried foam earplugs, but the -29dB renders practice useless--can't correct my slaps if I can't hear.

    My solution idea is a microphone and a pair of headphones, with something in between the two that has a volume control on it. The sound in the headphones has to be close enough to reality that I can tell crappy conga playing from less crappy conga playing :) . I have no clue as to what "close enough" is, nor how to specify it. I don't know what kind of device can, should or needs to go between the mic and headphones (duh...I assume it's an amp of some sort).

    Other extraneous info: someday soon I'd like to record me on congas, me on bongo, me on shaker (it's all about me) and put it all together in a single recording. So I'm thinking one of them nifty $600-800 4-track digital units.

    I mention this because I'd like the solution for my immediate problem (protect my ears yet allow me to hear myself play at a controllable volume) to be as reusable as possible in the recording environment of the future--capital preservation as it were. In other words, $500 in reusable gear is more attractive than $300 in non-reusable gear.

    That's about all the better I can do for a question--my ignorance would astound you. "Ample headroom" to me means I don't mess up my hair when I get in the car.
  2. Greg Malcangi

    Greg Malcangi Member

    Have you tried practising using your hands instead? :D

    Seriously though if your ears are actually hurting you are giving them far too much volume and are without doubt causing damage. Unfortunately, I can't remember the company but there is a least one company making ear plugs specifically for musicians. The advantages of these specific plugs is that there are various models available providing differing amounts of reduction in dB and that the reduction is reasonably even across the entire frequency range. If I remember correctly you need to have a mould made of your ears as each pair of plugs are tailor made. Again from what I can remember they are quite pricy but several top class muscians whose opinion I respect swear by them.

    Anyone know the name of this company/s?

  3. flemingkr

    flemingkr Member

    Very good! Today was largely without humor until now.

    Ears don't actually hurt--just prolonged ringing. I'm concentrating on the slap, and it's taking me a lot of repeated pounding. It's fairly easy to play more delicately with the other strokes but it'll be quite a while before I can control this one.

    I have found other plugs--they don't fit in the ear canal, but are self-molding to the outer portion of the ear (they're nearly 2 cm in diameter). Make of a silicone product.

    They're rated at -23db vs -29, maybe I'll give 'em a shot. Thanks for the info, BTW--and the laugh.
  4. ¿HuH?

    ¿HuH? Guest

    try shooters earplugs from a gun shop... designed for clamping the transients while allowing the rest, like a peak limiter sort of... its the transients that are causing most the ringing.
  5. flemingkr

    flemingkr Member

    Ah yes!! I remember using them when I was a lad--LeeSonic I think was the brand. Used to shoot each and every weekend--a LOT--forgot all about those nifty little plugs.

    Does this mean I don't have to go out and buy some Sennheisers and several thousand dollars worth of gear? I'm so dissappointed.
  6. ¿HuH?

    ¿HuH? Guest

    sure, you can spend a couple of grand too. There are many here who are too happy to help you in that department ;-)
  7. LittleJames

    LittleJames Member

    A friend of mine went to an ear doctor in town that custom makes ear plugs for symphony players use and you know how picky they are.
    I would suggest that you go to a specialist to get fitted for plugs. You'll hear all the harmonics but they'll just be softer.
    I'm going soon to get a pair.
    100 bucks for the doctor and 150 for the plugs.
    I think my ears are worth at least 250.
  8. flemingkr

    flemingkr Member

    Okay, that's useful cost-benefit info. Is it possible that for the same $250 (+ another $100 or so) I could get a mic, headphones a box I could plug them both in to, and get at least the quality of sound I'd get thru the earplugs? The mic and headphones then can be used for other stuff.

    Make no mistake, I AM an idiot--if you can't tell already I seriously don't know squat. But does the cocnept hold water even if the cost analysis is debatable?
  9. LittleJames

    LittleJames Member

    SM57 - $78
    mic cable - $30
    small 4x2 mixer - $100

    Having to lug this extra gear around when you play out seems to be excessive. Get the ear plugs, hone your chops, get the mics, mixer, audio card, software, sugar, coffee, cream .......... and then you get the women :D
  10. flemingkr

    flemingkr Member

    I don't think these drums will ever leave the house, but I get your point just the same. Thanks to everyone who helped out here--I really appreciate it. It's a bit of the ol' chop-honing I'd be doing now!

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