MSA Supreme Pro Earmuffs, Neckband version

MSA Supreme Pro Earmuffs, Neckband (10079966)

MSRP $299- $402

Features: 

  • Compression Technology (82db Max)
  • Never miss range commands or conversation Amplifies Up to Four Times
  • Unassisted Hearing
  • Slimmest Profile for Best Comfort
  • Two Microphones for True Digital Stereo Directional Sound
  • 600 Hour Battery Life On Two AAA Batteries
  • Automatic Shutoff after 4 Hours
  • Noise Reduction Rating of 18 db
  • Waterproof Battery Compartment
  • Lacquered Circuit Boards
  • AUX input for connecting external audio sources (iPods, dog trackers, radios) 3.5mm Mono Jack Plug Wire (included)
  • Folding headband for easy carrying and storage
  • Audible Push-Button Technology
  • Two-Year Guaranteed Warranty by Manufacturer
  • Weight Only 11 Ounces

Manufacturer Specifications: 

  • * Weight: 11 oz 
  • * Noise Reduction Rating (NRR): 18 dB 
  • * Compression Technology: 82 dB Max. 
  • * Power: 2 AAA Alkaline 
  • * Aux Input Jack: 3.5mmProduct Information AUX input permits connection to external sources, susch as communication radios, dog tracking devices and mp3 players

 


Initial observations:

I recently picked up a pair of MSA Sordin Supreme Pro Earmuffs (SORDINs), Neckband version (10079966). Out of the box the headsets come with 2 AAA batteries, an informational booklet and a 3.5mm auxiliary cable with a male headphone connector on either end. You will notice that the front of the box shows both versions of the Supreme Pro aka. Avenger series one without the boom mic and on the back of the box, and a version with a boom mic on the front of the box. The price difference between the two, is about $350.

SRS Tactical does make a comms conversion kit (see photo below) (Part Number: CS6000 ) for the SORDINs that allows you to add comms to your headset for about $232 but for that price, you might as well shell out the extra couple green backs and get the AVENGER MIL Spec Tactical Communications Headset – neckband (Part Number: 74700).

Enter a caption

 

Above : Norwegian service team memeber seen using the TCI Liberator II
If you have ever seen the TCI Liberator II and wondered about the similarities the units it is because TCI took the non mic versions of the SORDINs and replaced the auxiliary inputs with their own microphone system. Their units will run you anywhere between $650 – $950 but as I have not personally had any first hand experience with these units I cannot speak to their specific pros and cons.


Over all design:

The SORDINs feature 2 rounded ear muffs which are flat and have a considerably low profile allowing them to fit nicely under most helmets. Unlike the PELTOR Comtac 2 headsets that have a battery compartment on each cup, the SORDINs are powered by 2x AAA batteries on the left cup. To access the battery compartment the user simply turns the metal screwcap counter clockwise and inserts the batteries in a stacked configuration.

The function buttons on the SORDINs are located in a half moon shaped depression on the lower area on the right cup. This design minimizes the risk of the buttons accidentally being pressed. The SORDINs have 3 buttons which are raised enough to allow tactile operation of the headsets even while wearing gloves. The button in the middle is the power button, the one to the front turns the volume up while the one to the rear turns the volume down.


I have heard some people complain that they would have preferred a more pronounced tactile indicator on the buttons themselves so that one could feel which button was the volume up and which was the volume down. The volume up/down bottoms do have a plus and minus symbol depression on them, but they can be hard to feel on bare skin. It comes down to personal preference I suppose, however I personally find that simply remembering that the one toward the front is up and the rear is down works pretty well. There is an audible chirp each time you press a button so you know if you actually changed the setting. One feature I really like is that the SORDINs remember your last volume setting and instantly restores it when you turn them back on.

The SORDIN is completely waterproof and made to withstand the rugged outdoors. Some people will also appreciate the a 3.5mm aux input jack which allows the wearer to connect things like MP3 players, radios etc. While this is not a feature I really see myself using, I did try it out and found it to be a cool add on. As a headset for listening to your favorite death metal band though, I will say that the sound quality leaves much to be desired though it is comparable to other ear muffs I’ve tried with a similar feature.
The headband consists of a cloth/mesh, adjustable suspension strap at the top and a wire tension band at the rear which is covered by some fabric for comfort. The headsets are very light and comfortable to wear, but the foam earcups have to go. Unlike the PELTORs which come with gel earcups out of the box, the MSAs don’t unfortunately, and for anyone who intends to wear any type of earmuff type earpro over an extended period, do yourself a favor and swap out the foam cup with gels…they really do make a huge difference in fit and comfort. Over the head either with a beanie or ballcap the Supreme Pro Headband fits extremely comfortably. I was initially worried that the rear band on the SORDINs would get in the way of the H-NAPE on my OPSCORE HeadLoc system and it seems to sit just below the H-Nape and ORC-dial, the fit may vary slightly depending on your particular head shape and how the helmet sits but I found it to be pretty comfortable initially however, I started to notice that during a particular long day on a carbine course that the slight pressure at the rear and side of my head became almost too uncomfortable. Also while in the prone the neckband piece would kind of push up on the H-Nape.

 


Functionality:

The SORDIN’s sound amplification is amazing, and sounds almost as if you aren’t wearing ear muffs. If you are a shooter who is putting on a pair of electronic ear muff for the first time, these will ruin you from ever using anything else. The microphones located on the front of the muffs are designed to simulate the natural human hearing orientation.  The Volume can be turned up to be able to hear a twig snap and turned down enough to be rocked to sleep by the sound of jackhammer operating a few feet away. Users should see about a 35-40 percent reduction in hazardous noise, which is more than enough for indoor/outdoor rifle or pistol use.

The manufacturer claims that due to a custom designed microprocessor controlled ASIC* circuit one can get at least 600 hours of battery life which will be a nice change from the Peltor Tactical Sport Muff I had been using that seemed to go through batteries like insanely fast. That said if you are a casual shooter, make sure you take the batteries out of the unit before stowing your gear to prevent any battery leakage.

 

Conclusion:

Like many things in the industry, you get what you pay for and when it comes to hearing protection, and the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro Earmuffs are worth every penny! There is a reason why designated hitters from many SOF units choose SORDINs.  The headband version is ideal for those who like the option of being able to wear their ear pro over a hat, but are also looking for added comfort when worn under a helmet.

The OPSCORE FAST helmets have pads that are designed to be configured to accommodate the head band of ear muffs but MICH/ACH users in particular, will greatly benefit from this low profile neck band design. Many users choose to attach their ear muffs directly to their brainbuckets using the ARC rail adapters but for those of us who prefer to have the option to be able to wear them independently of the helmet, the head band option is probably going to be just a little bit more comfortable.

I noticed that without the optional gel earcups, the seal around the ear was easily broken such as by the ear pieces of my eyepro in which case the sound protection was significantly diminished which became very noticeable while shooting at an indoor range.

If you are a casual shooter who hits the range on sunny days for an hour or two once or twice a month you will probably do just fine with the $100 or less ear-pro bin. However if you are a neck-stepper, teamguy, a competitive shooter, a hunter, or someone who plans on wearing their ear-pro in all types of weather conditions, over long periods of time then I would highly recommend looking into MSA/SORDINs product offerings.

(below are some photos of me shooting at an indoor range using the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro)

Factoids:

Mine Safety Appliances (MSA Safety Inc.) was partially founded by Thomas Edison in 1914 developed a battery-powered camp lamp for miners to help prevent methane-related explosions caused by open flame lamps

Sordin AB, a Swedish company, founded in 1989 is recognized in the industry for developing advanced hearing protective devices.  Sordin AB was responsible for developing the modular integrated communications system currently being used with   MSA’s ACH Helmet.

In May 2004, MSA acquired Sordin AB.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s