Marketing frequently works on me, specifically marketing for hearing protection. That’s how I ended up with a set of the new ISOtunes SPORT Caliber bluetooth enabled earbuds.
ISOtunes Sport Caliber Technical Specifications
The Caliber earbuds are individual buds, with no connecting wires to get tangled up. They claim 25 db of noise reduction which makes them suitable for indoor range use with handguns. Additionally, the earbuds are entirely controlled by tapping on the left or right ear piece depending on what function you want to perform.
Unboxing the ISOtunes SPORT Caliber
The earbuds come in a lovely bit of packaging, which holds the earbud container/charger. Their charger is very reminiscent of the AirPod Pro made by Apple, except the ISOtunes charger is a bit larger. This is necessary because the buds are larger. The buds are larger than AirPods because they do a lot more. The charger itself is a nice olive drab color, and uses a USB-C to recharge itself, and by proxy the earbuds.
Truth be told, the form factor of the case and the earbuds themselves is very nice. They feel in the hand like they’re a quality product, and the packaging and case/charger reflects that.
Using the Caliber EarPro
Unfortunately, there was some trouble on initial start up with the ISOtunes SPORT Caliber hearing protection. The instructions are a bit complicated, which means the touch controls are slightly complicated as well. I highly recommend visiting their website and reading the quick start guide to figure things out. One of the problems encountered, for example, was powering the buds up. The guide says they’re supposed to come alive when you take them out of the box, but a couple of times mine haven’t. The solution: touch and hold whichever earbud isn’t on. This turns it on. Turning them is as simple as putting the Caliber back in its case. Or, you can use the touch-and-hold method to turn them completely off.
Controlling the ISOtunes SPORT Caliber Earbuds
Again, the controls took a little getting used to. ISOtunes even acknowledged this on my instagram post. However, once you’re used to the controls it’s a piece of cake. Alright, the earbuds are in your ears, and they’re working a little too well. You can’t hear any ambient sound. No problem, just single tap the left ear piece to increase the volume on the Tactical Sound Control technology. Now you should be able to hear more ambient sound. You can adjust this up, or adjust it down to where it’s off and have as little sound as possible.
Secondly, the controls for the right earbud are simple. For example, to start/stop a song or a playlist, just tap once. Then, to skip a song, double tap the right earbud. Getting a phone call? Tap the right earbud once. Piece of cake.
Indoor Range Testing the Caliber
Because the Caliber hearing protection are designed for shooters, our first stop was a local indoor range. In this case, the Caliber hearing protection was up to the challenge to protect my ears from pistol fire. However, when another customer came in with a rifle, I added a set of over the ear hearing protection to help with the noise. Another key point to remember is when you put the earbuds in, you have to squish the foam tips like you would a regular old foamie. Overall, the Caliber worked adequately on an indoor range. Part of that depends on how much sound dampening your range puts in.
Outdoor Range Testing the Caliber
By the time I got to an outdoor range, I’d had the Caliber for about a week. Whenever I go to an indoor range, I double up my hearing protection, so the real test was going to be at the outdoor range. The Caliber hearing protection definitely passed this test. I used them while working on some drills and filming some video. To start, I turned the Tactical Sound Control off, and starting pumping music into my ears. All in all, having music in my head made the normally dreary task of shooting groups quite enjoyable. The sound reduction was perfectly acceptable for magnum caliber pistols, a .223 rifle, and a an Aero Precision EPC-9.
The Airplane Test
However, I wasn’t quite done testing the earbuds. The real test was on a 2.5 hour flight. As you know, planes are horrid, noisy experiences. Normal AirPods don’t down out enough sound. How did the Caliber do? Fantastic. Not only were they completely comfortable, but because they’re hearing protection I didn’t have to turn my movies up as loud. They passed the airplane test with flying colors.
Do the ISOtunes SPORT Caliber hearing protection work as hearing protection? Yes, I’d give them 4/5 on this, only because on an indoor range you really should double up. As headphones that can isolate you from the noisy Airbus? 5/5. Form factor and comfort? 5/5 as well. At a retail price of $200 I think they’re absolute worth the money, especially if you shoot alone a lot and like to listen to music.