I don’t know about you, but I use different hearing protection for different environments. And I usually default to the lightest, least obtrusive option that gets the job done based on where I’ll be shooting. I usually double up indoors with in-the-ear plugs and good over-the-ear muffs. But when I’m outdoors, I go with something lighter, cooler, and more flexible.
I’ve been using Caldwell’s Bluetooth enabled E-Max Power Cords for weeks now and I’m a fan. They come with a range of ear tips and silicone “wings” to fit your particular ear and situation. I use the larger foam plugs that are comfortable and provide the most protection. They’re great even when it’s hot out, and they stay securely in place.
Unlike some I’ve tried they comfortable and wearable for long periods. I used them for two solid days of training at Gunsite without them irritating my ears at all over hours and hours of constant use.
In addition to USB connection with your phone (I used them daily while walking the dogs or listening to podcasts) E-Max Power Cords also have adjustable ambient sound which works well for hearing an instructor or talking to others on the range. Pairing these with your phone is quick and easy.
The control buttons on the connecting cord are simple and intuitive. The central multi-function button lets you turn ambient sound on an off, pause and start music or a podcast your listening to, and answer phone calls. And while the Power Cords are rated at six hours on a full charge, I’ve had go almost eight hours, significantly better than other brands I’ve tried.
Two minor gripes. First, the multi-function button feels just like the volume up and down buttons. Caldwell would do well to give it a different texture to make it easier to distinguish by feel. Also, the microphone is located in the control strip. When ambient sound is turned on, if it rubs against your collar, you get a scratching sound that’s annoying. On the plus side, it does a good job filtering wind noise.
In short, I’m really happy with them. I’ve used other similar USB-enabled ear buds and the E-Max Power Cords are light, comfortable and their long battery life means they won’t crap out on you in the middle of a range session.
- 22 db NRR (noise reduction rating)
- Battery Life: 6 Hours per charge
- Micro USB rechargeable
- Bluetooth pairing with phones or other capable devices for music or phone calls
- Adjustable ambient sound amplification
- Multiple ear tips
- MSRP: $109.99 (street price about $75)
Things That Don’t Suck: Caldwell E-Max Power Cords is written by Dan Zimmerman for www.thetruthaboutguns.com