Motorola recently launched a new line of headsets for its Talkabout two way radios that are sure to raise a few eyebrows. These aren't your typical run-of-the-mill earbuds or D-ring style earpieces. These are actual over-the-ear, muff-type headsets. Yet this still isn't your standard audio earmuff. This is something completely different, especially for FRS/GMRS radio headgear.
These are noise protection headsets.
That's right. Motorola now offers high-end sound isolation earmuffs designed specifically for its consumer two way radios.
There are accessories for ear protection when it comes to business radios, and there are a multitude of options available, but its rare to find such accessories in the FRS/GMRS arena. The introduction of such a product in the consumer market is quite a leap for the Motorola brand, or any brand for that matter. Yet, it does make sense.
There is no doubt that ear protection is important when using any audio device, and two way radio users can sometimes find themselves at risk, especially when operating their transceivers in high noise environments. Activities such as hunting introduce sudden, harmfully loud bursts of noise from gunshots. Yard work such as lawn mowing, tree trimming and leaf blowing expose users to extended periods of potentially harmful, high-decible noise and can hinder communications. Throwing a noise reducing headset into the mix can decrease the risk of long-term hearing loss and improve communication at the same time, so producing such a product for a consumer grade radio and making it available at a reasonable cost is a very good idea.
Apparently Motorola agrees, because it created the Talkabout Hearing Protection Headsets. There are currently three models designed to meet individual budgets and needs, and all three will be available from Buy Two Way Radios.
The Motorola MHP61 Talkabout® Isolation Earmuff provides passive hearing protection against loud noises over 85dB and has a 21dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). Although primarily designed for two way radio communications, the MHP61 is also a bona fide stereo headset with high quality speakers that deliver a decently full sound and are quite acceptable for listening to music. It features a low profile cup design to help prevent it from hitting the stock when shooting with rifle. It also has soft ear seals to keep the noise out and an adjustable compression style headband that offers comfort for extended wear. The seals and headband are all replaceable and can be swapped quite easily.
The MHP61 is packed with a cable with an inline PTT microphone and button designed to connect with Motorola Talkabout FRS/GMRS two way radios. It also includes a second cable with a standard 3.5mm connector for use with other audio devices. The MHP61 is also lightweight. As a passive audio accessory, it does not require batteries, so you can just plug it in and go. The MHP61 is now available. MSRP $49.99.
The Motorola MHP71 Talkabout® Electronic Earmuff is the next step up in the series. Like its entry level cousin, the MHP71 protects against loud noises over 85dB and has a 21dB Noise Reduction Rating. Unlike the MHP61, however, this model isn't passive. It is an active electronic device, utilizing an audio clipping technology to filter out the noise while it amplifies low-level sounds up to 4 times with up to 20 dB gain, so you can hear what you want while you block out what you don't.
The MHP71 also adds a volume control knob on each ear cup that allows you to control left and right cups independently to compensate for your individual hearing profile. It also has a connector jack on each cup for greater reliability when using external audio devices.
Technical differences aside, the MHP71 has the same basic physical attributes of the lower-end MHP61, namely the low profile cups, soft ear seals and adjustable compression headband.
There is one other difference between the two models, and it is a significant one. As an electronic noise-protection accessory, the Motorola MHP71 requires batteries. These are "N" cells, and they aren't included with the product, but they are readily available separately and can be ordered from Buy Two Way Radios. The MHP71 is due for launch December 2013. MSRP $69.99.
The Motorola MHP81 Talkabout® Electronic Earmuff is the top of the line among the three headsets in the series. This is a comfortable headset with the same low profile cups, soft ear seals and light adjustable compression headband as the other two models. As with the MHP71, the MHP81 has the independent volume controls, external inputs and electronically protects against loud impulse noises while it amplifies low audio up to 4 times with up to 20 dB gain. However, while the MHP71 utilizes noise clipping technology, the MHP81 uses noise compression. The MHP81 offers low harmonic distortion, a step up from the MHP71.
The Motorola MHP81 requires 4 "N" cell batteries (not included) which provide up to 335 hours of battery life. Two batteries hide away in each cup and are easily accessible. This model comes with a carrying bag for easy transport and storage. The MHP81 is now available. MSRP $119.99.
Clipping and Compression
The MHP71 and MHP81 both suppress loud noise, but they do it in different ways, and the difference can be quite noticeable. The MHP71 uses clipping and the MHP81 uses compression. Clipping the audio cuts a sudden loud noise, such as a gunshot, at a specified threshold. This clipping may cause a level of distortion that varies depending on the loudness of the noise. Compression lowers the volume of loud noises while raising the volume of low sounds, in effect allowing normal conversation to be heard while minimizing or supressing a sudden loud noise. Compression is a cleaner and preferred method of noise supression.
The MHP61 is available in black. The MHP71 and MHP81 are available in hunter green with black overmold. Although designed for Motorola Talkabout two way radios, all three of these headsets can also be used for cell phones, mp3 players and other audio devices so you can listen to high quality audio while you filter out loud or harmful external noise.
This video from Motorola shows how the MHP81 looks and works to deliver optimal sound while it supresses harmful noise.