Aug 2, 2017

Quality Audio with Hearing Protection, Chasing a Unicorn?

TL:DR
Anyone know of a decent sounding IEM that offers a useful NRR for shooting skeet and trap or an audio enabled ear-pro that doesn't sound like crap. Full size earmuffs are not an option for my style of shooting.

Question for more experienced users: I'm looking for mobile setup to give ear protection with decent audio. I shoot skeet and have just started playing music while I shoot skeet as a mental crutch (let's be honest). Right now I'm using Walker's Razor XV Bluetooth headset paired to my phone, but I would like something more reliable. But it seems like the whole concept of quality audio with good NRR is too much of a niche.
As for the XV: its the first thing of its kind Walker has made, so doesn't sound great, has iffy build quality, poor BT range, and buttons in all the wrong places. A photo of my three month old set is below.
I'd like something with fewer compromises, and am going to be testing out Plugfones Ranger plugged into a SoundBlaster E5 paired to my S7 playing/streaming Tidal. Obviously Plugfones are going to be the weak link. Anyone know of a good IEM that will save my hearing or ear-pro that wont drive me crazy?

Thanks All.



Walker XV Bluetooth (Mine pictured)
http://www.gsmoutdoors.com/shopping/Razor-XV-P842.aspx

SoundBlaster E5
https://us.creative.com/p/sound-blaster/sound-blaster-e5

PlugFones
https://www.plugfones.com/tech-specs/
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Little bit of an update for anyone who cares:

I've been using a pair of Mee Audio M6P IEMs that I got from a MD Blue-box with the SoundBlaster E5 paired with my S7. Using the Walker foam tips (go figure, they fit), and fiddling around with the E5 to monitor the microphone channel I can let conversation pass through and gunfire to be cut off. There is a slight delay that I'm trying to work around, and itl feels like a hack-job but it seems to work for me. More importantly, it gets me acceptable audio with hearing protection that doesn't interfere with my cheek weld.
One thing you can try is to use IEMs with traditional ear defenders. It's a little dorky, but I do it all the time at work. You get all the isolation of the ear defenders, and the audio quality of the IEMs.
Have you tried etymotic's? Etys can isolate as much as 30db and sound very good. I think they are tilted a little bright for my taste, but I still use my old er6i when I mow the lawn, etc.
jrubins
What I keep hearing is that they are not designed for protecting from a firearm report. Except for a cheaper earbud billed as jobsite hearing protection. Am I just looking at the wrong model?
DogFort
I mean, they're not going to *tell* you it's safe for firearm usage. I have not used them in that capacity, either. However, I do use them when I use air impact tools or gas-powered tools. They don't make the er6i anymore and apparently they are expensive on the used market.
Here's the new version:
https://www.amazon.com/Etymotic-Research-Noise-Isolating-Earphones/dp/B003S3RFIQ/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1501772851&sr=8-6&keywords=etymotic
"35-42 dB of noise isolation when inserted properly."

You could roll your own solution with some radians and some balanced armature drivers or something like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Decibullz-Earplugs-Comfortable-Protection-Shooting/dp/B06XKPPFB6/ref=pd_sbs_200_1?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B06XKPPFB6&pd_rd_r=KXCFH989CEW1EZB025SY&pd_rd_w=N9ZPg&pd_rd_wg=spQDG&refRID=KXCFH989CEW1EZB025SY
"31dB Highest NRR"

These guys https://www.amazon.com/Pro-Sho-34dB-Shooting-Protection/dp/B01FPWTJBI/ref=sr_1_5?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1501773128&sr=1-5&keywords=shooting+hearing+protection
34dB – Highest Hearing Protection Ratio Earmuffs

So etys are in-line with other solutions for shooting hearing protection. But they are very dependent on insertion. YMMV. I am not a doctor. Or lawyer. Use at your own risk. Call a doctor if you have an erection lasting longer than 4 years.


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