NEW YORK -- When the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve, revelers will ring in the New Year by blowing into a noisemaker, generating a high-pitched shriek that can exceed 140 decibels. That 140 decibels roughly equates to a jet engine, or a firearm. This is only one of the ear-splitting noises common to the holiday season, and one of the reasons that Doppler Labs – a "hearables" technology company formed in 2013 – has introduced DUBS Acoustic Filters.
DUBS Acoustic Filters are stylish, high-design earplugs that utilize advanced acoustical physics. Rather than shutting out sound in the manner of traditional foam earplugs, the DUBS act as an audio "filter," letting preferred frequencies enter while minimizing the rest, preserving sound clarity for things like music and conversation.
The result is a controlled acoustic experience, a welcome approach in the passive, protective audio field for general consumers. Legendary composer and music producer Hans Zimmer (Interstellar, Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception), now a Doppler Labs advisor and investor, has said that the world has "waited a long time for a high-performance earplug that captures music the way it's meant to be heard and meets the expectations of audiophiles. The DUBS are unlike any hearing protection I have ever used. The experience and sound quality is simply better."
"The earplugs field was ripe for disruption," said Noah Kraft, chief executive officer, Doppler Labs. "You can find foam earplugs in every airport in the nation, and they look like the first audio-protection idea anyone had – create a soft foam shape and just stick it in your ear. Earplugs are awkward and unflattering. DUBS Acoustic Filters was created to change that: to bring design, innovation and some style to a space that badly needs it."
The DUBS reduce audio levels by an average of 12dB. The impact of this can have an important effect over time: noise-induced hearing loss, while common, also tends to be gradual, and thus difficult to notice. The accumulation of rock concerts, howling babies, ambulances, screaming sports crowds and the din of everyday life gradually wears down the inner ear and eventually makes hearing problematic.
The DUBS have become popular with musicians and DJs in particular and are quickly becoming a club staple in part because their sleek aesthetic masks the fact that they serve an audio safety purpose. On December 4, for example, visitors to Marquee New York were presented with a set of DUBS for a concert headlined by David Guetta. The DUBS will also be available at the New Year Eve's celebration at Marquee Las Vegas.
The DUBS are currently available in the US and Europe, and will be expanding to the UK and Canada in early 2015. The DUBS come in four colors: teal, blue, pink and white. They are a small marvel, comprised of 17 discrete internal parts that work together to filter external noise. They come in a small protective case that fits easily into a pocket or a clutch, and are reusable.
Doppler Labs was founded by Noah Kraft, Fritz Lanman - a former Microsoft executive and an angel investor in Square and Pinterest – and Dan Wiggins, a former SONOS transducer engineer. The company is headquartered in New York City.