I’m all about improving two things at the range, my safety and my comfort. These two things can often be at odds with each other, so when a new product comes along that promises to provide effective safety and comfort, I have to jump on it. IsoTunes is a rapidly growing company involved in the ‘protect your hearing’ world. They’ve grown rapidly and contacted me regarding testing a few of their ear protection options. Today, we are reviewing the IsoTunes Caliber BT earbuds.
The IsoTunes Caliber BT earbuds are wireless earbuds. Each is an individual unit dedicated to preserving your hearing without diminishing your situational awareness. BT stands for Bluetooth, and these earbuds can be connected to your Bluetooth-enabled device, be it a phone, radio, or what have you.
They come with a carrying case that acts as an external battery charger. You charge the case, and the case charges the earbuds. This allows the earbuds to be fairly small due to a small internal battery, but they can remain charged and safely carried with the impact-resistant case.
The Caliber BT earbuds have a slick and simple setup. Out of the box, you can swap the soft portion of the earbuds for various styles and sizes to ensure a good fit and excellent hearing protection.
Plugging In With The IsoTunes Caliber BT
Like all electronic hearing protection, the Caliber BT earbuds are designed to magnify the noise around you but to instantly shut out loud noises, like gunshots. This combination makes it easy to have a conversation, hear range commands, and, most importantly, retrieve instructions on the range. If you compete or train, electronic earbuds are a must-have to hear instructions and directions.
Each earbud has separated controls. The left earbud controls the external volume of the headphones and the noise amplification. A single tap increases the volume up to eight times the normal volume. A double tap on the left earbud turns it down. The right earbud allows you to control Bluetooth audio and phone calls. You can play and pause tracks, skips tracks and go to previous tracks, and answer and hang up phone calls.
Pop them out of the case, and they automatically turn on. It’s pretty handy and removes the need for tiny controls. That being said, they can be manually shut off if you just want hearing protection. All you have to do is press the right earbud for five seconds, and it shuts off. You can turn them back on by pressing the right earbud and left earbud for three seconds each.
It all sounds complicated, but ultimately it becomes fairly simple to use. It takes a little effort to get used to but is plenty easy after a little practice.
With the Caliber BT headphones, we have two quality measures for audio, internal and external. The external is the noise around you, and internal is your Bluetooth audio.
External audio is always going to be a little rough. It’s not music or movie clear. Wind can be amplified, which can create issues. That’s present with every type of electronic hearing protection out there.
With the Caliber BT headphones, I was impressed with the multi-directional headphones. It makes it pretty easy to hear the direction the sound is coming from. It’s easy to hear and have conversations with folks around you. I love using these while I jog because I can hear vehicles, dogs, and other potentially harmful things around me. Nothing takes me by surprise.
The internal audio is fantastic. I can very clearly hear my music or whatever media I want to listen to. You can mix internal and external audio, and that will affect audio quality, but you can also completely mute the external mics and just listen to audio.
At the Range
Electronic hearing protection has always seemed to be fairly widely accepted by the gun-buying public. For some reason, it’s a product that takes batteries that we seem to trust wholeheartedly. The individual earbud-style of electronic ear pro is somewhat new, and I was curious to see how they’d work in the field.
They fit in the ear well and are quite comfy. Additionally, they are all in the ear, with no wires or tethers to get in the way. This results in a set of hearing protection that works exceptionally well with long guns. No stock contact to your hearing protection, so a good cheek weld is easy. There is no tether to get caught on the stock and pull an earbud out at the range, and generally nothing to get in the way.
It’s fairly nice and makes shooting long guns really easy. As it gets warmer, the Caliber BT earbuds have really proven their worth. They are smaller and cooler than my typical muffs. Plus, I’m not getting a weird tan line with the Caliber BT versus my usual muffs.
They shut down the noise of a gunshot before it’s even perceived, without issue. It’s instantly off and quiet when you fire your weapon. If the Caliber BT earbuds field sustained high noises, they shut off all external volume. That sounds annoying, but it’s the opposite in reality. Without this auto shutoff tech, your range trips would sound like a phone call with terrible signal.
As soon as the noise subsides, the external mics come back on and work perfectly.
Durability and Design
Anything electronic must be rugged and durable. Since these are aimed at shooting, which is often an outdoor activity, they have to be weatherproof. Luckily, the IsoTunes Caliber BT is IP67 rated. They can be splashed or submerged without issue. This also makes them dustproof.
I’ve used them for shooting as well as jogging and riding my lawn mower. (Remember the tan line joke, it really makes a difference where.) They’ve been rained on, exposed to a lot of sweat, dropped, and exposed to dust and dirt, and haven’t once failed me. Hell, they’ve never even slipped out of my ear, which is impressive.
My only complaint is that they feel a little heavier than most single-ear earbuds. Of course, more recreational earbuds are designed to block the sound of gunfire, so they do deserve a little break. Overall the Caliber BT headphones are quite impressive. The controls are simple but deep, the audio is fantastic, and they are comfortable to wear. All that, paired with a bombproof design, makes for an excellent experience.