ProEars electronic earmuffs + MP3 player, can't get it to work


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Objekt
July 5, 2010, 03:20 PM
Anyone else use ProEars electronic noise-cancelling earmuffs? I have a set of the Dimension 2 model, which was discontinued years ago. It is basically the same as their current Pro Mag Gold model, except for one glaring flaw: it has 2.5 mm (3/32") input jacks on the ear cups, instead of a more standard 3.5 mm (1/8") jack.

That's where the problem is. I can't find the proper adapter or cable to use the input jacks. I would like to use my Sansa Fuze media player to listen to music through my ProEars at the range, but so far have been unable to find the necessary hardware. The Fuze (sorta like an iPod, only cheaper and better) has a 3.5 mm jack, and I have a patch cable with 3.5 mm plugs on both ends. I'm only lacking the adapter necessary to plug the 3.5 mm connection to the earmuff's 2.5 mm jack.

I tried 2 different 2.5 mm-to-3.5 mm adapters at Radio Shack, but neither one worked. One was probably designed for use with a cell phone, as I didn't get any sound. The other sorta half-worked, but the music came through broken up, as if it were being rapidly stopped and started.

I called Pro Ears about this a week ago. They offered to have someone call back to sell me a special 2.5 mm Y-adapter cable, but I haven't heard from them yet.

Where does one get the magical hardware required to do what I want to do? I've scoured the Web, but found very few 2.5 mm adapters in general, and none that offers a way to connect to both ear cups.

I would settle for having music on one side only, but like I said, I tried all the available adapters at Radio Shack without finding one that worked.

Anyone else have this problem? How did you solve it?

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rcmodel
July 5, 2010, 03:23 PM
When I'm at the range, I like to be able to hear other shooters and range safety commands.

I can't see piped-in music masking it as being a good thing atall.

rc

Objekt
July 5, 2010, 03:29 PM
You would be right, except you're totally wrong.

There are plenty of times I'm alone at the range, or at my part of it. There is no need to hear "safety commands" when no one else is around.

There are such things as volume knobs. There is no requirement that I turn up the music so loud that I can hear nothing else.

I gather you think input jacks on electronic earmuffs are "unsafe."

Anyway, you didn't even come close to answering my question. How about trying to do that instead of preach?

rcmodel
July 5, 2010, 03:37 PM
Gotcha!
Please excuse me, but people with I-Phones and cell-phones stuck to their heads while driving, eating in restaurants, shopping, and shooting just push my buttons wrong! Some things just require your full attention!

Try Radio Shack for jacks & adapters.
They carry a lot of them in most all sizes.

rc

Objekt
July 6, 2010, 01:42 PM
No problem, it's one of the limitations of the text medium. Things can sound like they have a certain tone when that wasn't the writer's intention.

I tried Radio Shack. Unfortunately, they had nothing that worked. 2.5 mm adapters in general are of limited variety and availability. The majority are designed only to work with mobile telephone equipment. I think what I need is a 2.5 mm-to-3.5 mm adapter that will take in a stereo signal but put out two mono signals on 2.5 mm plugs. Those don't seem to exist.

The other choice is to buy a 3.5 mm Y-adapter, and two 3.5 mm-to-2.5 mm adapters. Two problems with that:

1) I'd have about 2 pounds of adapters hanging off my earmuffs.
2) There's no assurance it would work.

I called Pro Ears again. They don't sell a 2.5 mm Y-adapter.

I did find an adapter for sale on Ebay, but the listing is pretty shady, and the seller is located in South Korea. International shipping issues aside, there's again no assurance it would even work.

It's frustrating that I seem to be the only person to ever have this problem. I've found no evidence that anyone has ever posted about such an issue, anywhere on the web. Maybe I'm not looking in the right place. I already posted on two high-traffic forums - here and AR15.com - but I guess I'll keep looking.

JohnBT
July 7, 2010, 06:33 PM
Have you called a place like monoprice.com? I buy all of my cables and such from them. Dirt cheap, great quality. I started off using their HDMI cables in lengths from 3' to 50' and now I buy what I can from them.

www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10401

19&41
July 7, 2010, 06:48 PM
If you don't want to get into fabricating the cable, an easier adapter to find would be a 3.5mm Y adapter to RCA plugs, and then RCA to 2.5mm plugs. I'm sure you could find them on Ebay in the electronics section. If you are handy with a soldering iron, you could get 2 2.5mm plugs, cut off the RCA plugs and replace them with the 2.5's. That would be shorter than the RCA plugs plugged into the 2.5mm adapters. Radio Shack may carry the RCA/2.5mm adapters and the 3.5mm stereo/RCA plug "Y". It's just tough to guess what a specific Radio Shack will have these days.

19&41
July 7, 2010, 07:17 PM
Just found this. The cable, all in one, on Ebay.

http://cgi.ebay.com/1x-stereo-3-5mm-2x-mono-2-5mm-male-Headphone-Cable-/180527851462?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a084c67c6

dmazur
July 8, 2010, 01:38 AM
Another solution is to just use the "earbuds" under the hearing protectors. This doesn't use the input jack feature, but it does work.

(We do this at work so the crane operator can hear the radio in his pocket over the noise of the diesel. It works because the rigger rarely needs to hear what the crane operator thinks...and the crane operator usually has both hands busy.)

It works the same with standard hearing protectors, noise-cancelling headsets and electronic amplifying / hearing protectors.

I'm not into tech, but I believe it won't be long before we have noise-cancelling hearing protectors with Bluetooth... :)

Objekt
July 8, 2010, 11:21 AM
Just found this. The cable, all in one, on Ebay.

http://cgi.ebay.com/1x-stereo-3-5mm-2x-mono-2-5mm-male-Headphone-Cable-/180527851462?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a084c67c6

Holy cow, that's EXACTLY the doohickey! Thanks. I didn't find it last time I searched Ebay.

Unfortunately, it looks like Ebay is only letting people pay with PayPal. I don't do PayPal, so I guess I'll have to look elsewhere.

Objekt
July 8, 2010, 11:28 AM
Another solution is to just use the "earbuds" under the hearing protectors. This doesn't use the input jack feature, but it does work.

Excellent idea, as it involves neither additional expenditure, nor waiting for something to be shipped.

I gave your idea a "dry run" here at home, and it just might work. The only problem is, it's not very comfortable. The earbuds have plastic stems that stick out a bit. There is very little room inside the earcups, so the stems get pushed into my ears. Some experimentation may mitigate the problem, but I'll probably need some lower-profile earbuds.

I've owned the ProEars for over 5 years, so it's probably time for new ear cup seals + interior foam. That may make them more comfortable as well.

Objekt
July 8, 2010, 11:41 AM
Have you called a place like monoprice.com? I buy all of my cables and such from them. Dirt cheap, great quality. I started off using their HDMI cables in lengths from 3' to 50' and now I buy what I can from them.

www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10401

Yes, Monoprice rocks. I've used them for years, to keep from paying $40 for a $5 cable at Best Buy, et al. Unfortunately, there is nothing on their website that is quite what I'm looking for.

They don't actually advertise a phone number, but I emailed them to ask whether they had the cable I'm looking for.

WardenWolf
July 8, 2010, 02:00 PM
You might consider upgrading to a pair of Howard Leights. They're starting to take over the industry around here due to their much higher quality at a much lower price point. The local gun club, a very high-class place, now sells them exclusively. A pair of $70 Howard Leight electronic muffs easily outperform $200 muffs from most other brands. They're an Australian brand. My HL electronic muffs use a standard 3.5mm jack and even came with a cable for connecting an external device. They're just great products.

Objekt
July 10, 2010, 05:35 AM
Might be time for replacements. I originally bought the Pro Ears Dimension 2 model (similar to today's Pro Mag Gold models) for indoor range use. I had tried one of the less massive models & found them inadequate. Since then, the bulk has proven annoying. It does interfere somewhat with getting a proper cheek weld on a rifle or shotgun.

I mostly shoot outdoors today, so I'm sure I could get away with something slimmer.

I do have access to a set of Peltor "tactical" electronic earmuffs. I just keep forgetting to use them because they were originally a gift for a friend who can no longer shoot due to injuries. Makes me sad to use them, when I remember the reason they're not being used.

eta:
So...yeah. The ProEars forced a conclusion by quitting completely, during an Action Pistol match on Saturday. I can no longer get them to work reliably. I get either just static, or nothing, from one side or both sides. They do not transmit outside sounds as they're supposed to do. Battery freshness is not a factor, unfortunately - I guess some connection or component somewhere inside has gone.

A very nice fellow loaned me a pair of the Howard Leight "Impact" electronic earmuffs to finish out the match. Very nice gear, and very affordable! They sport a 1/8" input jack as well. Initially, I wasn't sure they were on, because the sound was so clear and static-free. They clamped down quickly and effectively on gunshots. They were also comfortable to wear with earplugs, which is sometimes necessary (e.g. shooting indoors, guy next to you has a muzzle brake on his rifle).

The only thing I did not like about the "Impact" earmuffs: they are wired to each other through the headband, and there is not enough slack in the connecting cable to turn the ear cups fully to the outside. I usually turn them that way to wipe off sweat, when I remove the earmuffs during cease-fires. Minor point, could probably get used to it, but by and large I prefer not to have the ear cups wired to each other.

I used my friend's Peltor tactical earmuffs for Sunday's 3-gun match. Excellent stuff as well, although lacking an input jack. Slim and very comfortable to wear, aside from the heat.

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