Conree Electronic Earmuffs

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Conree contacted me and sent me a their electronic earmuffs to test. Hearing protection is a must when participating any shooting sport because hearing loss is caused by exposure from loud noises above 85dB and once damaged, hearing loss can not be healed. Along with eye-protection, it’s not worth it to cheap out and use a product that doesn’t provide the minimum level of protection promised.

I had never heard of the Conree brand before which is not a good start when choosing hearing protection. Fortunately, I have the tools to test the earmuffs before wearing. So if they failed to reduce noise to a safe level, I wouldn’t take them out to the range.

The Conree ME123 headphones come in a Spartan black box with an illustration of the headphones. Inside the box was a ~1.5ft 3.5mm audio cable, user manual, and the headphones. The user manual was as Spartan as the box, with very little instructional information, repeated in multiple languages.

The headphones are black plastic and light weight. The headband had a faux leather cover and allowed the ear cups to fold into a compact 5x5x4.5 configuration. The headphones run on 2 x AAA batteries, housed in the left earcup.

The earcup’s foam earpads are comfortable and provide a good air seal and sound isolation. The AUX jack can be used to connect the headphones to phone or radio. The sound level is dependent on the headphones volume level; when turned off, no AUX sound can be heard. The speakers have poor bass response and high volume output from my computer sounded clipped, so these are not headphones you would want for hifi music listening.

In my audio testing the headphones reduced ambient noise from my handvac by approximately 27dB; this is 4dB better than Conree’s stated 23dB NRR (Noise Reduction Rating). While the noise profile of a high-speed vacuum motor is not the same as that of a .44magnum handgun, it is a good enough for me to feel it safe to test these headphones on the range.

At the range, I was pleased to find that the headphones were light weight and comfortable for the 1hr I spent shooting my 9mm Glock. The headphones did respectable job. Unlike some headphones by Earmor and Caldwell, gunfire noise was attenuated (reduced) but not completely cut off, so I was able to follow people’s conversations around me rather than completely dropped out.

What I would have liked is a bit more max volume. Many of us use supplemental foam earplugs under our electronic earmuffs when we shoot indoors. The Conree’s max volume was barely loud enough to hear speech around me without earplugs, and not enough to amplify natural sounds of prey animals that are useful in hunting.

Overall, these headphones compare well against my Howard Leight Impact Sports. Not quite as low-profile or as loud but very close in audio quality and a bit better sound seal around the ears. I would recommend them for smaller heads or kids for whom Impact Sports do not provide a comfortable and secure fit.

A few days after my range test, I discovered that I had forgotten to turn off the headphones. The LED light was still on but I could hear no sound through the headphones. The unit has an auto shut-off after about 4 hours. This did work in my case to deactivate the headphones except for the LED light, but it did conserve battery life which still held a full-charge based on the reading from my battery tester.

Available on Amazon from my Affiliate Link:

Panasonic HF100 Headphones

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The HF100 is one of Panasonic’s most affordable wired headphones. They feature a clean modern design in a semi-open headset; the ear cups do not completely cover all of your ear. The ear cups do feature padding that provides a good sound isolating seal around your ear though some may find the squeeze uncomfortable over long periods of time.

They are a step up from their HT21 budget headsets but sound quality is very similar. They are well balanced for headphones under $30, though far from audiophile quality. Those looking for thumping bass will be disappointed. They are better than the free headphones issued on flights (unless you’re in Business class).

Unlike the HT21, these headphones also include an inline microphone and volume controls in the audio cord. The flat insulated wire cord feel somewhat silicone coated and ends in a standard 3.5mm TRRS jack. These lend themselves for use as inexpensive gaming or Zoom headsets, though they lack the heavy bass and venting for the former.

For the price and the microphone feature, these headphones are a good option for travel headsets or headsets you can send with your kids to school. They are inexpensive enough that you won’t have to cry about losing or breaking them. Though their lightweight construction does make me question their durability?

They come in a variety of colors (white, red, pink, black, and blue). I purchased these blue headsets from Amazon and they are also available from Best Buy, Walmart, and other retailers. Purchase through my Amazon Affiliate link to support my channel:

Add Bluetooth to your old headphones: Comsoon J27

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Comsoon J25 Bluetooth Receiver easily and cheaply allows you to add Bluetooth audio to your old wired headphones or earbuds or your car through its AUX audio port. 

Right-angle cable
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Best Headset Under $10: Panasonic vs Koss

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A head-to-head review of the Panasonic RP-HT21 and Koss KPH7G, two of the least expensive headphones in their lineup. Both headphones offer decent sound quality for under $10. I wanted to pick up an inexpensive set of headphones for my 12-year-old, who’s trashed some more expensive ones I’ve given her.

Annoyingly the closed-ear Bluetooth headphones she uses are too isolating. She doesn’t hear us when we call her and kids are apt to ignore you anyway; why give them an excuse. These old-school walkman-style earphones are on-ear and allow the user to hear more of the ambient world around them. Plus they’re less appealing to thieves (we’ve lived in New York City and San Francisco so street crime is real).

The Panasonic were the better performers in my audio testing. But the Koss’s lower volume output is much safer for younglings to wear (instead of damaging their hearing long-term with louder noise). In the end, I kept both but gave my daughter the Koss.