Peltor is the leader in electronic hearing protection (earpro) for the outdoor sport industry. We had previously reviewed the Peltor Sport Tactical 100; and last year at SHOT Show, I was introduced to the Peltor Sport Tactical 500 and 300 models. While both of these are in Peltor’s Sport Tactical series like the 100 model, they are vastly different from the entry-level model in many ways. Not only having bigger ear cups on both models, but also a lot of additional features and the biggest of those is using the digital sound compression technology, which is a first for a consumer grade electronic earpro that’s under $250.
Most of the consumer grade electronic earpro has the analog system that uses sound clipping technology. Which is when the electronic inside of the earpro detects the loud sound of gunfire, it automatically cutoff the audio input. The superior digital system use by the Peltor Sport Tactical 500 and 300 compresses the sound input instead when it detects gun fire sound.
The audio quality is surprisingly good on the Peltor Sport Tactical 500. When it’s first turn on, the left ear cup outputs an electronic hissing noise but it went away in about a minute. That seems to be it’s some kind of environmental calibration for the system. Afterward the sound output is crystal clear and the best of all, it sounds very natural and more than few occasions that I didn’t realize the headset is on until I was turning it off.
As see in this picture, the Peltor Sport Tactical works with both the Apple or Android smart phone via a Bluetooth connection. It will passes the audio for you to hear the phone call or playing musics. However, since it doesn’t has a microphone input. You still need to hold up the phone close to your mouth to talk into it in a phone call.
The difference between the 500 and the 300 model in the Peltor Sport Tactical series is the addition of the Bluetooth wireless connection in the 500 model. The Peltor Sport Tactical 500 also has a slight better sound reduction, but I believe Peltor is just doing that in the software that runs the electronics to differentiate it from the cheaper 300 model.
Dynamic Suppression Time (DST) feature that comes with the 500 and 300 model is basically the active sound cancelling system that generates a opposite sound wave to cancelling some of the loud sounds that’s coming in. Peltor uses a more complex algorithm in its active sound suppression technology than other electronic earpro like the Howard Leight that uses it on the market. The Peltor system could tell if the noise is from a smaller caliber like a pistol or a rifle caliber firing, and adjust the suppression time accordingly. It could also account for the sound echoes such as a indoor range or a wide open outdoor range. By default this function is on, but the user could turn it off.
The Peltor Sport Tactical 500 as well as the 300 models is powered by 2x higher capacity AA size battery. I have been using my couple years old Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable NiMH battery with it. To my surprise, the batter life is not great. It may lasting about two 2 days of use before the “low battery” voice comes on. Perhaps, it’s the Bluetooth or its digital system that needs more energy to run.
Both models also have wire-control with 4-segment 1/8 (3.5mm) plug that connects with smartphone and mobile device. Once plug-in, the user could use the large buttons on the right earmuff to control simple functions on the attached device such as increase or decrease the volume, pause and play, or even answering the phone call, even though neither Peltor earpro models have a microphone. The featuring 500 model has the addition of a Bluetooth connection that does that same but wirelessly.
The mico-USB port next to the audio jack is for recharging the optional 3M Alpha 1100 li-ion rechargeable battery back. Which it fits into the same battery compartment for the two AA size batteries.
During my field-testing, the Peltor active sound suppression feature seems to performed seamlessly even with full auto firing at the Big 3 East event. I also used the Peltor Sport Tactical 500 at the 2017 Red Oktober event and found it made it very easy to hear the range commands in a busy shooting competition environment.
Peltor Sport Tactical 500 Specs:
|Noise Reduction:||26 dB (NRR)|
|Weight:||14.4 oz w/ battery|
|Power:||2x AA battery|
|or rechargeable Li-Ion pack|
|Audio Input:||3.5mm jack and BlueTooth|