Review: ProSounds M-4 Electronic Hearing Protection

A few weeks ago we blogged about the Kickstarter that ProSounds is running to launch their new M-Series line of muffs. We liked the features that the M-Series offered and got a change to put the top of the line M-4 Electronic Hearing Protection through the ringer. The M-Series offers a lot of high end features in an attractive price bracket, the question remains as to how well the high end features work together. Only one way to find out.

The muffs that they sent us had the old SportEar branding on it, the new ones shipping from the Kickstarter will feature the ProSounds name. The ProSounds people have assured me that everything else will remain the same. At a glance the muffs look a lot like other popular electronic muffs, but if you take a closer look you see the little features that set the M-4 muffs apart like 4 microphones, independently adjustable volume, and two 3.5mm input jacks that set it apart from competing ear muffs. IMG_1036

The M-4 muffs fold a bit different than most other muffs on the market. It took a bit of getting used to, but I found I kind of liked the way they fold.IMG_1037

The ProSounds M-4 muffs came with the required 4 AAA batteries, I am not sure that the Kickstarter muffs will come with batteries or not. Each side has its own identical battery compartment as well as a separate volume adjustment. I found it interesting that ProSounds treated each ear cup like a separate entity instead of part of a system. The earmuffs muffle all sounds over 85dB but allows you to boost sounds under that as much as 6 times the normal.IMG_1039

The black circles that you see on the body of the muff happens to be 2 of the 4 microphones on the muffs. You might notice there are no wind screens on the microphones. I did experience some wind noise as a result. The high winds on my range created a repetitive popping sound that I have not experienced on other electronic muffs and found rather distracting. The popping was loud enough that it activated the electronic 85dB cutout making it impossible to hear normal conversation. I did wear the muffs for a long period in my backyard and did not experience any of the popping with little to no wind. In a shooting bay or somewhere where high speed straight line winds are not present they wouldn’t have any issue at all.     IMG_1041

The ear cups house the speakers and the electronics behind the foam. The ProSounds people tell me that the circular part houses the speaker and the other foam section houses the electronics that allows normal conversation under 85dB to pass through but still blocks out harmful noises like gunshots. IMG_1044

The ear cups on the M-4 muffs are reasonable low profile so you don’t look like you are an extra in Police Academy 16. You can kind of see how tight the headband is in this photo, this made the headband a bit uncomfortable for a blockhead like myself. After adjusting the headband a bit the M-4 muffs felt rather snug, but comfortable. IMG_1183

Each ear cup has its own 3.5mm jack so you can pipe whatever you like into your muffs. Plugging something into the 3.5mm jack cuts the mics out on that side and the speaker will play whatever is being fed into the ear cup. The ability to use the muff’s two inputs to run two radios at the same time while protecting your ears is kind of a interesting feature that might be useful to some professionals. IMG_1188

I found the muffs were low profile enough for me to get behind a rifle and really tuck in without the muffs being pushed away from my ears. I wasn’t able to get photos of shooting prone as a result of the epic amount of mud on the ground, but I did try it at home and had no issue tucking in behind a scope. The ear muffs did a wonderful job of blocking out the sharp crack of gunfire when coupled with some earplugs, not that I felt like it was necessary but is a habit of mine. IMG_1071

My friend Mike gave them a go and said they fit his melon wonderfully. He was able to nestle right up to his Gunsite Scout without any interference with the stock. The snug fit means they didn’t even move under recoil a bit.  IMG_1138

Mike was pleased with his shooting as you can tell by his grin forming. After shooting that Gunsite Scout of his I fully understand the doofy smile, that is a really cool bolt gun that I am going to have to take a closer look at in the future, it may very well be the ultimate truck rifle. IMG_1163

I think that the ProSounds M-Series has great promise if wind isn’t much of a problem at your shooting range. After playing with them in an area shielded of wind I was amazed at the level of detail my ears could pick up. I was even able to pin point where around me the noise was coming from, something that hunters will love. The electronics are truly impressive and anyone that is lucky enough to pick up a set will be pleased with them.

The ProSounds M-Series is still available on Kickstarter so you can still scoop up a pair for a bit of a discount over the MSRP of $139. The Kickstarter can be found here and more information about the ProSounds M-Series can be found here on their website.


  • Useless in wind, not waterproof, using the 3.5mm jack turns off the exterior audio, two wheels required to turn the on/off, requires a complex stereo to mono cable arrangement to get stereo music, and a snug fit (which causes headaches during all day range sessions IME).

    For something that is supposed to retail for $140, the list of negatives are pretty long of these. I am glad I bailed out of this kickstarter.

    • Patrick R.

      At this price point I probably would opt to spend a bit more on some Sordins.

      • I think the Sordins are the cream of the crop (I have two myself). But there are also some good sets at lower price points. For example the Peltor Sportac is in the same price point as the M4, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

        • Patrick R.

          But the cream will rise to the top, ooh yeah!

      • 6.5x55Swedish

        Or Peltors SportTac, they work really well too.

        • Budogunner

          I have a pair of Sportacs and love them for the price. I’d not settle for anything less in electronic ears, though.

          Props for the honest review. I’ll be giving these a pass.

  • flyingburgers

    The fact that you have to set each side’s volume and balance it, drag around two sets of batteries, and then feed your external audio into each side independently sounds like a huge negative and not any sort of feature.

  • Paul Hurst

    “The muffs block all sounds over 85dB”

    No way.

    • Patrick R.

      They muffle all sounds over 85dB, I will have to fix that slip. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • My Gun Safe Guide

    Thank for sharing great information.

  • Comrade Misfit

    The “Pro Series” muffle sounds to a 25dB NRR. With all due respect, for $140 or so, that’s piss-poor. The el-cheapo electronics from a big-box store will do 23dB. Electronic Howard Leight Pro Sounds ($50) offer a 30dB reduction. Decent passive-only muffs will reduce 30dB.

    25dB NRR for $140 is no bargain.

    • Dana King

      That all depends on how the noise rating is calculated. I own a set of MSA electronic hearing protection and theirs is rated at “only” 18dB, BUT they block more noise than any other electronic hearing protection I’ve ever tried. Yes they cost $300, and they’re definitely worth every penny, BUT if one just looked at the 18dB rating, rather than how that rating was calculated, then one would miss out on what I consider the best active ears I’ve ever used and owned. I’m not saying this new startup company’s ears is calculated in a similar manner. What I am saying is that the noise rating alone does NOT tell the whole story.

  • lowell houser

    You know, I have a friend with a newborn that just had his first have-to-leave-before-I-kill-him breakdown. It got me thinking – could these things be tuned to cancel out baby cries? The parent could keep these by the baby and put them on in the event that the kid just would not stop crying. Have a feeling Babies R Us couldn’t keep them on the shelves.