The new ProSounds M-Series Electronic Muffs offer shooters hearing protection coupled with enhanced hearing while blocking out damaging noises.
Hearing protection is, and should be, as essential to most shooters as the ammunition that feeds their firearms. Various studies have shown repeatedly that exposure to incredibly loud sounds, such as those produced at the muzzle of most firearms, can cause immense damage to one’s hearing, and that this damage, no matter how slight it may seem at the time, can be permanent.
For this reason, wearing appropriate hearing protection is an important part of most trips to the range, and there are tons of hearing protection products available to the shooter. While any form of hearing protection is almost certainly better than none, not every product is created equal, nor do each have the same benefits or advantages.
In the shooting industry, hearing protection products range from simple and affordable foam earplugs and modest passive earmuffs on up to highly expensive, customized electronic plugs and muffs. However, as with many things in life, some of the most attractive options exist somewhere in the middle.
One such hearing protection option is ProSounds’ new M-Series Electronic Muffs. Announced earlier this month, the M-Series consists of the M-2 and M-4 electronic muffs (ProSounds also offers the M-P passive muff in the line). Both electronic options provide a lot of excellent features at a price that’s well within the reach of many shooters.
While the M-Series Electronic Muffs are priced higher than most standard plugs and passive muffs, they are less expensive than many other electronic earmuffs on the market and are substantially less expensive than most custom-fit electronic earplugs, which can often climb above $1,000.
Both the M-2 and M-4 Electronic Muffs offer 25 decibels (dB) of noise reduction, but they also feature Electronic Shutdown technology, which will automatically block any sound louder than 85 dB, as well as directional microphones that provide enhanced hearing for any sounds below the 85 dB threshold. Because of this, shooters are able to hear the noises they want to (conversations, commands, etc.) while being protected from the noises they don’t want to hear (muzzle blasts). The muffs, which operate on four AAA batteries, also incorporate a volume wheel for easy adjustment and feature an auxiliary port for plugging in any phone, tablet or listening device.
With MSRPs on the M-2 and M-4 muffs listed at $89 and $139, respectively, shooters can get a lot of bang for their buck with the M-Series. In addition, ProSounds—which, like SportEAR, falls under the AXIL brand—is currently holding a campaign on Indiegogo for the launch of the M-Series muffs, with both models being available at discounts (more info on the campaign below).
The pair of muffs provided for review was the M-4 Electronic Muffs, which features four directional microphones as opposed to the M-2’s two microphones. This set wore the SportEAR branding but was identical in all other respects to the ProSounds model. I loaded batteries into the earmuffs’ battery compartment and hit the range to give them a spin.
I was immediately impressed with the M-4’s ability to enhance hearing up to six times that of normal hearing while simultaneously blocking out the harmful muzzle blasts popping off all across the range. I was easily able to engage in normal conversation without raising my voice or asking others to do the same while shots were being fired all around.
Adjusting the volume of incoming sounds was remarkably simple with the accessible dual adjustable volume control wheels located on both muffs. What I appreciated most was just how easy the wheels were to find and adjust with the hands. With some other electronic earmuffs, I’ve occasionally found myself fumbling for the dial—not so with the M-4 muffs.
During the course of testing the ProSounds electronic muffs, I felt confident that my ears were being adequately protected, even when firing loud, screaming rounds such as the .300 Win. Mag. Any time a potentially damaging sound occurred, the muffs simply blocked that sound, and then once the sound subsided, returned to enhanced hearing.
The M-Series muffs also felt comfortable on my head, which is an important consideration for any set of earmuffs. The M-4 Electronic Muffs, featuring a relatively thin and lightweight overall profile, never once interfered with my shooting, and when it was time to pack up, the muffs collapsed neatly for compact storage.
Any shooter looking for a set of electronic earmuffs priced somewhere in the middle should strongly consider the M-Series. The 25 dB of noise reduction and Electronic Shutdown technology offers adequate hearing protection, while the four directional microphones (two on the M-2 muffs) provide clear, enhanced hearing for those sounds which are safe to the shooter.
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