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ProGuard FlexMonitor II review: Sound enabled, fully blocking earplugs designed for motorcyclists…
On first glance these look like other sound enabled custom plugs… but not so! The unique feature of the ProGuard FlexMonitor II design is the ICIDS (InterChangeable Insert Driver System): the sound producing drivers are removable, allowing the resulting hole to be replaced by another set of plugs (choose from 19dB or 21dB) which then makes the whole system suitable for existing in-helmet Bluetooth comms… Hence the little stick-out wires which are secured to the drivers.
The whole procedure is simple and easily achieved using the supplied tool.
I’ve destroyed sound plugs in the past, not by simple use or age, but by having the cable snag in jacket zips which have then worn through the cable to finally expose the copper cabling. ProGuard is ahead of that game by weaving Kevlar into their cable which makes it seriously strong and resistant to tearing even if it does snag. Seems simple but us Bikers should thank them for it…
Given that the plugs are made from molds taken from your actual ear, the fit is perfect. A ‘twist-and-slot’ technique means they are quick to fit and remove; they are colour coded for ease of recognition. The low profile negates any helmet pressure and the tactile silicone is pleasing to both the hand and ear canal. A post-Christmas weekend trip to North Yorkshire (and the subsequent meandering around the Moors) meant that they were in for hours on end and supplying the sound of my choice without any discomfort at all, and I mean none, nada, nill.
Like all custom plugs reviewed to date, the ProGuard FlexMonitor II are designed to block sound. You can still hear the bigger ‘important’ stuff but it’s the reduction in wind noise that’s key to mitigating the threat of Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) and the demon that is Tinnitus*, and the FlexMonitors perform this key function admirably with dB numbers down to below ‘Whisper’ – so five stars there 🙂
So onto the sound quality. As I’ve said before in other reviews, I’m no Sound Engineer but I do “enjoy music” – such genres as Industrial and Melodic Death Metal through to plain ol’ Pop and Rock all have their place in my iTunes library.
With the FlexMonitors you do not experience the rising inability to hear the cymbal work as your speed increases. Gone is the desire to want to turn up on windy days – as is wincing in slow-moving traffic as the dBs are now plainly set too high… Set the volume as you would if it was ‘background music’ and get going…
The blocking nature of these plugs coupled with the superb sound drivers allows the volume to remain constant no matter what is happening outside the helmet: these plugs deliver an exemplorary audio experience for sure and all whilst blocking insidious noise.
With a faux leather carry pouch to carry all this goodness in, the FlexMonitors II are a great choice when deciding on sound enabled motorcycling earplugs.
£262.80 and available from their website.
Choose from several colours and if you do not have your own molds, there is an additional £30 charge. Overseas customers should supply their own molds to ProGuard.
You can also opt for the CE approved 19dB and 21dB filter kit (for in-helmet comms) at £24.
Proguard has numerous options available for those people who wish to provide themselves protection against Noise Induced Hearing Loss and the ever looming threat of Tinnitus.
Tinnitus (‘permanent ringing noise in the ears’) is a result of permanent hearing damage and it’s understood that exposure to noise (either loud or prolonged) can trigger the condition. It’s estimated that between 10-15% of the population have the condition in varying levels.
Of course, that leaves 85% of the population unlikely to develop it, but bikers fall into the high-risk category because of the prolonged exposure of wind noise; it can get over 100dB in a helmet at speed; that leaves the ‘safe’ exposure time down to 10-15 minutes… Ignore Tinnitus at your peril.