When we first got a few pairs of the Silynx Clarus Pro In-Ears into the shop, I'll fully admit, I was skeptical. Many of the claims on the product box seemed a bit too good to be true. Earbuds rated at NRR 25db? How can that be? Many of the over-ear hearing protection solutions only offer up to NRR 20db of sound reduction, so how can just a small set of ear buds protect my hearing better than something that covers my whole ears?
Well, the combination of electronic attenuation and multiple sizes and densities of foam ear plugs is what makes that possible. First lets talk about the electronic element of the unit. Built in a rugged aluminum housing, the control unit is where you adjust the Active Hear-Thru control, turn the system on and off, have the battery storage, and the auxiliary input. Now, if there has been a simpler system for controlling active electronic hearing, I have yet to come across it.
The Clarus Pro is completely controlled off of a single button! That's right, a single button both turn the unit on and off, and will cycle you through the different levels of Hear-Thru protection, announcing each level in a faintly British sounding female voice. The different levels are +3,+6+9 and +12 decibels of amplification via the small microphones located on the outside of each ear bud.
These allow you to enhance your hearing of your surroundings, while still providing adequate hearing protection from loud sounds such as gunshots, all while running for 100+ hours on a single AAA battery!
When I've taken these to the gun range, I never had to worry about any of the gunshots being too loud, but more importantly I could clearly hear everyone around me and what they were doing. I could imagine these being incredibly useful out in the field while hunting in a large group, or what I intend on using them for, having better situational awareness and ease of hearing commands at shooting matches. The only downside I could find to the unit's construction and layout was that the initial set-up to get the Silynx customized for you is fairly involved, and it took me around 20-25 minutes just to get everything initially lengthened and looped in the right places, but after that initial set-up, getting the unit back on for a range trip takes less than 2 minutes.
Second, lets talk about the ear-buds themselves. They are the loop over the ear type, and do come with rubber cable keepers to help keep the cable looped over your ears in place and comfy, (I used these in all of my testing).
As previously stated, the Silynx comes with 3 different bud sizes, to customize the ear-buds for your individual ear canal size, as well as 2 different densities of the ear buds, one for moderate noise levels and one for extreme noise levels.
They are all very easily distinguished from each other via color coding and size. I found that for me, the moderate noise, small size buds were the perfect fit, and even in an all-day test, the Clarus Pro was one of the most comfortable set of ear-buds I've ever come across, much less hearing protection.
The ear-buds are connected to the control unit via a very high quality braided cable, which also includes the phone/media control button/microphone for phone calls( I'll address this in just a moment), which the included manual recommends running down your shirt/coat and clipping the control unit to your belt, or running the braided cable along your gear, and clipping the control unit to either your neckline or chest area of your gear.
Once I had everything run underneath my jacket, I never noticed anything getting in the way or bothering me, it was almost as if the whole system had just disappeared and only left me with enhanced hearing and hearing protection!
Previously in this blog post, I mentioned an auxiliary port. The Clarus Pro allows for users to hook their cellphone up to the unit, and not only be able to make and receive phone calls using the built-in microphone/button-controller, as well as listen to music from your phone, all while simultaneously using the Active Hear-Thru to both amplify your surroundings as well as preventing hearing damage.
Now I will say, and maybe I received a faulty AUX cable included with my unit, but the media being played through the ear buds definitely left something to be desired. The audio was very scratchy any time I moved, and lacked any real sense of depth, i.e. the sound was very tinny sounding. To me, that's not necessarily a deal breaker, but if your main goal is to be able to jam some Wu-Tang while you shoot your local PRS match, you may want to look elsewhere.
Soon I will be doing an experiment with a secondary AUX cable to see if that helps the problem at all, so please check back in the next couple of weeks to see an update to that area of the review.
At the end of the day, I'd wholly recommend the Silynx Clarus Pro in-ear hearing protection. The small, un-obstructive size of the in-ear ear-buds makes getting and maintaining a cheek-weld while shooting rifles an absolute dream when compared to over ears, the hearing amplification and protection is above and beyond anything I would expect from such a small unit, the incredible battery life, and the construction of the unit is top notch.
The downsides being both the somewhat involved set-up of the unit and the sub-par audio while listening to music while using the ear buds is indeed a bummer, but neither would take the Clarus Pro out of my recommend category.
The Silynx Clarus Pro Hearing protection is available from Bison Tactical for $249.00.