“It’s hard to make ear protection sexy, but Minuendo has gone above and beyond the basics”: Minuendo Live review

Specialist live music earplugs promise to dampen the sound, but not the magic

  • £99
  • $99
Minuendo Live review
(Image: © Chris Corfield)

MusicRadar Verdict

Ear protection may not be the most exciting investment you’ll ever make, but it could be one of the more important ones. Minuendo has nailed it in terms of price, performance and portability with the Live earplugs.


  • +

    Slick design

  • +

    Lots of customisation options

  • +



  • -

    Cheaper than custom earplugs, but still an investment

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Minuendo Live review: What is it?

For anybody, the prospect of losing your hearing is particularly bleak, made even worse if you know you’ve brought it on yourself. Across a lifetime of listening and performing music, your hearing is at risk if you don’t take the proper precautions to look after it. Musicians have been blessed for a while with the proliferation of in-ear sound attenuation plugs, which are designed to mitigate against the threat of standing next to a loud drum kit or raging guitar amplifier. But while these musician’s earplugs do a great job of reducing sound pressure levels through brute force, they’re not great if you still want to, you know, actually enjoy the music you’re hearing. 

Enter the Minuendo Live earplugs. These are designed specifically with live music in mind, with concert and festival goers best placed to benefit from the fixed 17dB noise suppression on offer. They’re compact, lightweight and come with a collection of interchangeable foam and silicone tips so you can find the right fit for your ears. The Norwegian brand Minuendo is building a nice reputation in music performance circles, thanks to its (more expensive) adjustable earplugs, but how does their expertise translate to a broader audience, with a different set of requirements and plenty in the way of more traditional competition? 

Spending around $/£100 on a set of tools designed to make music quieter could be seen as a big ask, so will the Minuendo Live earplugs be seen as a wise investment or overkill? Let’s find out. 

Minuendo Live review: Performance & verdict

Minuendo Live review

(Image credit: Chris Corfield)

Straight out of the box, it’s clear we’re not dealing with a set of cheapo foam earplugs. We’ve all seen those; they’re fluorescent, numerous, come in a plastic tub, and are often favoured by construction workers. This ain’t that. The Minuendo Live earplugs immediately show themselves to be a more premium offering, from the tasteful white plastic housing - they also come in black - through to small details like the way they magnetically attach to each other when you’re not using them. I also liked the way you can attach a special thread and wear them around your neck if you’re in a situation that requires you to take them in and out frequently. 

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In the box you get the two earplugs, then no less than 11 different options for interchangeable tips in both silicone and foam, in different sizes to accommodate different ears. There’s also the aforementioned neck leash, and a small zip-up carry case to aid with portability. 

The Live’s big selling point is its fixed attenuation levels - unlike its more expensive stablemates, which can be adjusted to cover different listening environments, the Minuendo live earplugs offer 17dB of noise reduction. There are probably a few reasons for this, chief among them the need to increase simplicity. As these are marketed as earplugs for use in live music situations, with the blurb specifically noting nightclubs and concert venues, Minuendo is trying to appeal to a much broader audience who doesn’t maybe know - or care - about the art of fine-tuning a sound to one’s liking. 

To test the Minuendo Live, I started taking them with me everywhere I went. From band practice to a small venue for a live performance, and from a loud city centre pub to a long walk past a rather noisy civil engineering project near my house. What became immediately apparent was their versatility. Adjustable earplugs are great and certainly have their place, but as a set-and-forget option, the Lives immediately showed their worth. In the live performance, I was able to stand close to the stage, adjacent to both the drum kit and a 4x12 Orange guitar cabinet, and yet still hear the nuances of the guitarists playing dynamics in a way I might not have otherwise been able to.

Minuendo Live review

(Image credit: Chris Corfield)

The city centre pub experience was interesting too; once I’d gotten over explaining to my fellow revellers that it wasn’t a pair of headphones in my ear, and I wasn’t being rude and listening to music while I was conversing with them, it showed the true extent of the Minuendo’s attenuation capabilities. The low-level hum of background noise was virtually non-existent as if using ANC headphones, only I could clearly hear the voices of everyone at the table with me without needing to adjust the earplugs. I’d opted for the silicone ear tips which did a superb job of allowing the ‘right’ noise through.

To summarise, the Minuendo Live earplugs are extremely thoughtfully designed, with enough visual flair to disguise the fact they’re essentially ear protection devices. The wide variety of ear tips means there’s customisation on offer, both for comfort and for different listening situations, and nice touches like the magnetized casing and carry pouch minimise the risk of losing them. It’s hard to make ear protection sexy, but at least Minuendo has gone above and beyond the basics. A sound option for anyone who finds themselves in loud environments, and wants to invest in something decent but doesn’t want to spend too long thinking about it.

Minuendo Live review: Hands-on demos

Hearing Tracker

Matthew Allsop - The Hearing Guy

Minuendo Lossless Hearing

Minuendo Live review: Specifications

  • Noise Reduction Rating: 17dB
  • Eartips: Foam and silicone, various sizes
  • Included: Earplugs, carry case, 11 sets of ear tips, cleaning brush, neck leash
  • Contact: Minuendo
Chris Corfield

Chris Corfield is a journalist with over 12 years of experience writing for some of the music world's biggest brands including Orange Amplification, MusicRadar, Guitar World, Total Guitar and Dawsons Music. Chris loves getting nerdy about everything from guitar and bass gear, to synths, microphones, DJ gear and music production hardware.