Pro-Tips: MSA Sordin Supreme series hearing protectors

MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-X Neckband (OD Green)

MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-X Neckband (OD Green)

 

Tips and tricks for owners of MSA Sordin Supreme-series hearing protectors, from experienced users who have been there and done that.

If you haven’t already read my MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-X Neckband review, you might want to check that out first.

General Care & Feeding

  1. Use top-quality, name-brand alkaline or lithium 1.5V AAA batteries from Duracell or Energizer.  Those batteries are going to be in there a long time, so use the best you can get.
  2. Set a recurring reminder in your calendar to change the batteries in your Sordins yearly — I like to take care of stuff like this on 26 December every year.  A fresh pair of batteries will last at least 600 hours of active use in the Pro-X units, making it a risk that the batteries will age and leak before you realize they need to be replaced.
  3. Use a hard-lacquered chopstick or small hardwood dowel to help install or remove battery #1.  Using a screwdriver or other metal tool can damage the battery or, if it slips, damage the contacts inside your Sordins.
  4. Make sure your Sordins have a chance to air out after you wear them all day — specifically, avoid putting them directly into a sealed container or zip-lock bag until after any trapped sweat has had time to evaporate off.  If you don’t let them dry out, they will get funky sooner or later.
  5. Distinguishing between the volume-up and volume-down controls by touch can be problematic.  I stuck a small piece of Gorilla Tape on the plastic directly underneath the volume-up button so I could find it by touch on the first try.  By the time it falls off, my fingers will know which one is which.

Comfort & Safety

  1. Wear foam earplugs under your Sordins for extra protection if you’re not doing something mission-critical.  This will increase the effective noise reduction, but you’ll still be able to hear quite clearly by bumping the volume control up an extra notch or two.
  2. Take out your foam earplugs for anything hearing-critical, such as various audible cues on The Test at Rogers, or when working closely with a shooting instructor who may want to speak quietly to you 1:1.  (At Rogers, I got into the habit of wearing foam earplugs during warmup and training sessions, then taking them out during The Test.)
  3. Don’t spend nearly US$300 on hearing protection then cheap out and use the stock foam earmuff seals  Get the upgraded gel seals: they will seal better over eye-pro and be more comfortable when worn all day.
  4. Keep the original foam earmuff seals in your spare-parts kit in case one of your gel seals gets shredded.  (Not likely, they’re tough, but it does happen.)
  5. For added comfort in hot weather, a set of cotton earcup covers is quite nice.  All of the covers I’ve seen are one-size-fits-all with elastic around the opening.  You can get them with your Sordins from SRS Tactical.  You can also find similar products on Amazon, such as the Avcomm Deluxe Fabric Headset Ear Covers.

Maintenance

  1. The flexible cable sheath connecting the two earmuffs can crack over time.  According to SRS, this is a non-warranty item, so you may want to proactively wrap the cable sheath in black UV-resistant electrician’s tape when you first receive your Sordins.  If you skip this and later find the cable sheath cracking or splitting, immediately spiral-wrap it with tape to prevent further issues.  [Tip from PPGMD at pistol-forum.com]
  2. Plan on replacing the foam inserts at least once per year, when you replace the batteries.  If you bought the gel-seal upgrades, you’ll end up with an extra set of foam inserts so you’re good for two years.
  3. If you do require warranty work or repairs to your Sordins, contact SRS Tactical first.  They can handle many repairs in-house which would otherwise involve shipping your Sordins back to Sweden for service.

Camera Mounting/Usage Tips

  1. The Contour cameras are great for side-mounting on ear-pro, but you are likely to need to trim off extra bits of the mount.  This is straightforward to do with multiple passes from a sharp knife, or with a large pair of tin snips or aviation shears.
  2. The Contour low-profile mount may seem like the best option, but I found that sticking it on the outside of the right earcup aligned with the label pointed the camera too high, and requires trimming/sanding the end off the mount.  It worked, but to get good video I had to wear my Sordins rotated forward about 15 degrees from where they’d normally sit.
  3. The rotating adjustable mount is nearly as low-profile, and requires only that you trim off one of the four tabs so it doesn’t flap around collecting dirt over the recessed product label.  This is the recommended mount if you’re going to run a Contour camera.
  4. There is no easy or especially comfortable way to mount a GoPro to the neckband Sordins.  Alternatives:
    1. Mount the GoPro to the visor of an “operator cap” (Google search results for “GoPro baseball cap mount” show many good options)
    2. Get the headband version of the Sordins instead, and mount the GoPro to the top of the headband Jerry Miculek style
    3. For a temporary GoPro setup, you can put on your operator cap, then put the headband mount over the top, then put on your ear-pro, at which point you will understand why people find better mounting options quickly after trying the headband
  5. The newer cameras with wireless on/off remotes that strap on with a wristband are full of awesome, with a topping of awesome-sauce.
  6. Figure out a system to remember when to turn the camera ON and OFF, then stick to it with discipline.  Your humble correspondent has forgotten to turn the camera ON before any number of great moments.  I’ve also forgotten to turn it off after recording a shooting sequence, and may or may not have realized it was still running literally seconds before I was about to start “watering the bushes” during a break at Rogers.  Good times.

Have a tip or trick not listed here?  Let us know in the comments and we’ll add it to this Pro-Tips guide!

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4 thoughts on “Pro-Tips: MSA Sordin Supreme series hearing protectors

  1. Can you flip the muffs around so the mics point rearward like you can on el cheapo Peltors? Makes a big difference at gun skool…

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    • You can on the headband version, but that’s the one downside of the neckband version. Turns out that being able to flip the ear-pro around backwards is a significant advantage on certain stages at Rogers, where the instructors tell you to draw at the sound of the pneumatic pump kicking on.

      That’s the point at which I realized that I had to take my earplugs out for The Test to pick up on all of the sound cues. Not unlike the real world, IMHO.

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      • I’ve got a pair of old Peltor Tac 6-S behind-the-head muffs that are pretty much worthless indoors (at least relative to my regular passive Peltors) but they’re okay outdoors as long as nobody’s running around w/11-inch ARs or Barretts or the like. One of the things I do like about them is that it’s easy to pop the muffs out of the headband and flip them around.

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      • That’s an interesting question. My guess is that the posts attaching the neckband to the earcups are designed to be grunt-proof, but I’ve not tried popping them out. I’ll (gently) try and see if they can be removed to facilitate swapping sides.

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