Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Testing, testing…

3m cans

I’m auditioning the 3M WorkTunes Wireless Hearing Protector with Bluetooth Technology for the Amazon Vine Program today.

I’ve already reviewed two audiophile Bluetooth headphones this year – the Bang & Olufsen H8 and the Parrot ZIK 2.0. They are superb headphones that perform like you would expect headphones in the $400-$500 price range. They both have noise canceling that works very well under normal listening conditions.

But the 3M cans are a different animal. They are basically a set of industrial grade ear protectors with a rated 24 db noise attenuation into which the 3M folks have packed speakers, a Bluetooth chip and an AM-FM radio.

I’ve used the two audiophile headphone sets on my riding lawnmower all summer with decent results, so I was curious to see how purpose-built noise protectors would work.

After a half-hour of mulching leaves I can report that they are far superior to noise-cancelling circuitry in reducing mower noise. And the sound quality when paired with my iPhone 6 is surprisingly good.

The price on Amazon.com is pretty reasonable at $89.99 (list price is supposedly $140.60). 3M also makes a wired version (without Bluetooth) that sells on Amazon.com for $31.70, but if you’re actually going to use these while working or being active, the wireless Bluetooth version is the better choice.

Paired with your smartphone, the wireless WorkTunes headphones will alert you to an incoming call, but they don’t have a speaker, so you’ll have to take off your headphones and answer your phone as you would normally.

The controls are fairly intuitive, letting you toggle through AM, FM, Bluetooth and an optional Auxiliary connection. With Bluetooth, you can pause or play songs and step forward and backward through your playlist. The radio functions include the ability to tag stations for quick access.

Hearing protectors designed for shooters run in the 30-34 db range, so these may or may not be adequate for the shooting range, depending on your sensitivity.