Review: MSA Sordin Digital Supreme Pro X

IMG_4190

For the last 4 or 5  years, I have been a huge proponent of the Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Earmuffs; that was until I broke more than six pairs in the span of a couple of years. This last set gave up the ghost a couple of months ago, and it was the last straw. Since my birthday was rolling around, my wife asked what I would like as a gift. Since the day prior my Howard Leights had stopped working and was properly retired with several 9mm bullets, I told her that some nice electronic muffs would be perfect.

Below is the last range day that my Impact Sports worked properly, I limped them along a few more trips but eventually they died a noble death.IMG_1537

A few days later my beautiful wife presented me with a set of MSA Sordin Digital Pro X earmuffs with the woodland camo band. She couldn’t be any more perfect. Shortly after I had reason to go to the range and eagerly took the Sordins with.

Since my friend Scott was still rocking the Impact Sports, we decided to compare them a bit, other than the obvious differences, the one that stood out most to me was the larger earcups. That was always a point of annoyance with my old muffs, this time my ears fit inside the cushions almost entirely without being pinned down by the cushions. IMG_4179

The set I was given featured the removable and washable woodland camo headband cover. The headband cover has four velcro tie downs to keep the wire in the right spot as well as a velcro closure. On the bottom side of the headband, you find some absorbent material to wick some sweat away. IMG_4195 IMG_4192

While I may upgrade to a set of the gel cups later to do a post on if they are worth the spend, the standard foam units came standard on my set of muffs. The standard foam cushions feel perfectly fine when wearing them for 6 hours or less, past that I found that the pressure gave me a bit of a headache if they aren’t removed during a cold range.

Inside the earcups is some sturdy foam with what appears to be a knit screen to absorb any sweat your ears might produce. Over time, I feel like a hygiene kit would be a necessity since the foam is going to get pretty stinky. Thankfully those are readily available at a reasonable $15 for the foam cups and $43 for the gel cups at the time this was written. IMG_4194

The battery compartment is well thought out and weather sealed. The muffs take two batteries, the first is inserted negative side first and pushed down to clear the battery hole; the second will be positive side first. Make sure to not over tighten the battery cap, it is rather easy to do and will require pliers to get it back off. Thankfully with a 600-hour battery life from two AAA cells, changing batteries is a task that is rare. Some users have reported three years of use on the same set, but I think I might change them yearly to prevent damage.  IMG_4193

MSA fitted the muffs with two mics that are situated on either side. Out of the following list of electronic muffs, the MSA Sordins seem to have the best sound quality I have come across yet. Sure, the Sordins are in the next price bracket, but if you want the best sound quality, the Sordins seem to be the go to.

My past muffs for reference: Impact Sport, ProSounds M-4, Peltor Tactical 100, and some pair of Walker’s that I can’t recall the model number.IMG_4191

I appreciate the departure from the dials and wheel controls found on most muffs. The buttons are easy to locate and provide a very tactile click as well as an electronic beep when depressed. Most importantly, the muffs feature an auto shutoff after 4 hours of no button presses. IMG_4190

My one and only complaint about the MSA Sordins it how large they are when collapsed. My old Howard Leights got very tiny when folded up; the Sordins are notably larger due to the adjustable plastic headband. While it isn’t that big of a deal, it is a small annoyance that I am more than willing to deal with for the level of quality that the Sordins bring to the table.

Like I would expect, the Sordins also feature a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can pipe music or radio into your ear pro. I find this useful when I am running a shot timer on my phone and don’t want to turn the volume to the max setting. IMG_4188 IMG_4187

After spending several weeks with the MSA Sordins, I think I have found my new go to muff. I didn’t find it got in the way of any rifle or shotgun that I fired regardless of what shooting position I was in. The muffs are low profile enough to stay out of the way.SPL-1

So the question remains, are the MSA Sordins worth the $265 that they are going for currently? I think so. If you are a heavy shooter like I am and have broken several sets of cheaper muffs, the Sordins are just the ticket. Built to be bomb proof and filled with some of the best electronics on the market, you are getting more than you are paying for in my humble opinion.

The MSA Sordin Digital Supreme Pro X retail for anywhere between $265 on up to over $300 depending on options and if there is a sale going on. I wasn’t able to track down a hard MSRP at the time this post was submitted but if we find one after publication we will add it.

You can learn more about the MSA Sordin Digital Supreme Pro X electronic hearing protection on the MSA Safety Company‘s website HERE.



Patrick R

Patrick is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and works in the shooting sports industry. He is an avid recreational shooter and a verified gun nerd. With a lifelong passion for shooting, he has a love for all types of firearms, especially handguns and the AR-15 platform. Patrick may be contacted at tfbpatrick@gmail.com.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


Advertisement

  • JumpIf NotZero

    LOL Howard lights 😀 good one!

    I bought my MSAs in 2008, have replaced the batteries maybe 3 times, they’re the best out there. Get the gel cups.

    • HSR47

      This. The gel cups are a necessary addition. Not only do they do a better job of blocking out noise, but they make the ear cup deeper. If I have one gripe about the Sordin line of headsets, it’s that they have very shallow ear cups.

      You’re also right about batteries: There have been a few times where I’ve pulled them out of my trunk and found them still on from the last time I used them. In terms of batteries, they’re much closer to aimpoints than eotechs.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Id rather pay $265 once than $90 three times.

    • Sunshine_Shooter

      Especially since you’d save $5.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Thatll buy me half a cup of coffee.

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      It was more like $40 6 times.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Been there.

    • Billy Jack

      Shouldn’t they be bullet proof or have lasers or something for that price?

      • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

        If they don’t break, they will be well worth the spend.

    • HSR47

      $265? Even with the gel seals and aftermarket headband I still don’t even have $200 into the set I use.

  • Barrett

    The gel cups are worth it 100%. Howard’s are great for spares or loaners for new shooters, but Sordins are worth the investment. Mine are 6 years old and still going strong.

  • TechnoTriticale

    Any idea what the response time is in milliseconds?

    The MSA site doesn’t say.

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      I wasn’t able to find it either.

  • Rey Mariano

    very very similar looking to the tci liberator series 3:-)

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      That they do.

    • HSR47

      That’s because they’re made by the same company.

      MSA is one importer, but they’re not the only one.

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    Why the total lack of any technical information, like the NRR at the very least?

    • Jeff S

      Appears to be NRR 18 as per the Amazon page. IIRC the Howard Leights are 22.

      • Bill

        Which isnt really enough. I use a variety of different active ear pro, and tend to add plugs when serious guns are used, or we’re indoors.

        • Billy Jack

          Are the in-ear molded active plugs worth it? I never bothered checking them out since they are custom made and look expensive.

          • Bill

            I have no first hand experience with them, but have an associate whose opinion I place great value in who swears by them. And they are expensive.

            I just keep a plain set of corded plugs looped around my electronic muffs for when they are needed.

          • Billy Jack

            Yeah. I’m not ready to put some SCARs in my ears but I imagine if they work as much as they cost it’s an investment in your future ability to hear.
            I do the same with some corded plugs and muffs. Jerry Miculek suggested it in video a so I figured with a person who shoots that much I should pay attention. But then I watch people like Hickok45 who just use plugs and seem ok but I haven’t seen him discuss his hearing.

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      Because the NRR of 18 that MSA advertises differs quite a lot from independent testing. I feel that the reader thinking of buying these muffs should do their own research on the specs.

      Someone smarter than I explaining it: https://trevoronthetrigger.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/msa-sordin-supreme-performance-the-misleading-nrr18db-rating/

  • Thanks for the review. I’ve been eyeballing these for a while and will take the plunge very soon.

  • shooter2009

    The extremely light NRR kills the deal for me…not at that price.

  • Lee

    I have 5 impact sports and i never have had any issues with them breaking or dying on me. I use them really hard too. I let them roll around in truck beds, they get dropped everywhere, i use them in the rain, ect. After reading these comments, im starting to think i have very good luck.

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      You have. I started thinking about why I saw so many failures and I think it might have something to do with the 8-10 range days that are common for me.

      • Aono

        I switched from the $40 Howard Leight to a $65 Peltor 100 after the audio stopped working on the former out of the blue like you would expect from cheap Chinese junk eventually. I’m pretty happy with the vastly improved sound quality of the Peltors, and the fit works for me. If they let me down I’ll look at the Sordin’s. One failure is enough for me.

        Question: how are the Sordin’s about amplifying far off road noise and such? The Peltors are better than the Leight’s in this regard but there is room for improvement there.

        • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

          They are pretty good. I can hear people coming down the road to my range with them much better than I could with the Howard Leights

    • jng1226

      I’ve not broken as many as Patrick, but I’ve broken 3 sets of Impact Sports. They seem to last about a year, and at their street price, that’s not too bad. I recently got the MSA Supreme Pro Digital for $188 on mega sale, and they are truly in a different class of sound quality.

  • Cap’n Mike

    Sordins are worth the money.
    I can hear better with them than without them.
    The Gel ear cups are so worth it.
    Dont be fooled by the 18NRR rating, they are as good or better than any other muffs.

    This is from Trevor on the Trigger’s Blog.

    “MSA Sordin Supreme performance specs
    Some ear-pro makers put noise-reduction labels on their products by picking the frequency range with the greatest reduction, then calling that the noise-reduction rating. By those standards, what rating would we give the Sordins? Screenshot 2014-05-01 22.19.49

    If I were a marketing guy, I’d look at this chart, shout “38.7dB noise reduction!” and rush off to get stickers printed to slap on all of the boxes. That’s quite a difference from the 18dB NRR shown on the lower part of the chart, isn’t it? Let’s get to the bottom of this!”

    Google “MSA Sordin Supreme performance: the misleading “NRR=18dB” rating”

  • gusto

    Peltors are also great

    I had molded-inear things before but never got it to work for me properly even after sending them back for refitting, havign something IN my ear messed with my tinnitus

    I still wear peltors when I hunt even thou I have a suppresor on, why risk the little hearing I have left? and I like to have my radio into the gear, that wasn’t possible back then but is now

    on the range I have an older model sordin without sound magnification

    • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

      The Tactical Sport 100s I have don’t hold a candle to the Sordins. Peltor may have another great set, but they ones I have tried don’t stack up.

      • gusto

        don’t you mean the other way around?

        sordins are an offshot of peltor, some employees of peltor left and started sordin

        both are owned by 3M nowadays

        • Patrick R. – Senior Writer

          No.

      • Bill

        I have Sordins and Peltors and keep grabbing my ComTacs. It may be more habit than anything. On the average, like “high bore axis,” I don’t notice a difference in sound reduction. For me, fit is critical; either they do or that don’t, and my ComTacs fit very well. That and environmental protection ’cause we shoot in any weather.

  • MindMelder

    I concur. The MSAs are really awesome and plus nothing says tacticoolio like a 3 bill earmuff. Seriously though.. they are super comfortable and offer great protection. Hopefully they last a few years and my opinion of them is wtill intact

    • HSR47

      For awhile you could get them as government surplus for about 100-145 per set…

      The only disadvantage was that they were only selling them in lots of six.

  • Dual sport

    I own a pair, recently purchased.

    Comfort- 8 or 9 out of 10

    Sound quality- sucks so bad they don’t rate.

    I’ll be contacting the seller about inspecting them. There has to be something wrong with this pair. The two Howard Leights I have work and sound great compared to these.

  • Ron

    I have several pairs, they are pretty good but some just stop working and MSA has always said “sorry, they are out of warranty”

  • iksnilol

    Any ear muffs with bluetooth (to listen to music and such). Not interested in the active noise cancellation and all that, blocks sound too badly, don’t consider it real ear pro.

  • jim

    and made in….? (China)
    Interesting how you like the enlarged ear cup but dislike the folded size.

    • David Vileta

      They are made in Sweden.

  • Jakewwa

    What is the recommended comfortable headband for bald heads?