I’ve been looking for the perfect hearing protection for hunting. Normally, I’d wear foam earplugs or shooting band earplugs, but I’ve found myself wanting something better. I need something that protects, but also let’s me hear birds flushing. Specific to this review, I’ll be reviewing the GWP-BTN-BT part number. This is a Walker’s Razor XV 3.0 review, which is a behind-the-neck headset with ear buds and bluetooth connectivity.
To be 100% transparent, I bought these with my own money and haven’t been paid a cent by Walker’s. This is from the lens of a customer. If you do buy a set, use this link to purchase on Amazon and help support this publication.
Hearing Protection for Hunting
As mentioned, I’ve been looking for hearing protection for hunting that is a step up from foam earplugs or shooting band earplugs. Hearing protection is important to me and while I do sometimes keep one earplug out to hear birds flushing, a ringing ear will remind me to put that earplug back in quickly. While the foam plugs work great for simple hearing protection, they don’t let the sound in that I need to be an effective upland hunter.
There are a few solutions for hearing protection for hunting:
- In-ear plugs
- Over-the-ear muffs
- Electronic ear muffs
- Electronic in-ear plugs
To simplify the idea, in-ear plugs block out sound by inserting material into your ear canal, protecting your ear drum. Over-the-ear muffs do the same thing, but are cups that sit over your ears to block out the sound. Electronic versions of both have a microphone on the outside that selectively records and plays back sounds through a speaker, allowing your ears to hear what the electronics allow you to hear.
My Walker’s Razor XV 3.0 Review and Thoughts
I unboxed my Razer XV 3.0’s in January after a quail hunting trip. The contents of the box includes a flexible neckband with power and volume controls and two retractable wired ear buds. The ear bud tips are dense foam and in the box, come with two other sizes allowing for small, medium, and large ear canal fitment. The foam earbuds are more dense than normal foam earbuds you’d find in your a motel nightstand. Also in the box is a cloth pouch to keep all of your stuff together, but at this price range, I would have expected a nicer case.
I put them into my ears and turned it on. While they can operate without an app, downloading the app and connecting to your Bluetooth will help you visualize the controls better. There’s not much too the app other than volume and some modes. I can’t tell the difference in modes, really.
The sound coming out of the ear buds is loud enough, but not natural. They aren’t by any means Apple Airpod Pros in sound quality. For listening to birds, they’ll work just fine, but the sound isn’t natural. I didn’t find enhancing the sound for magnification to be very helpful, but some may.
What is most interesting is the response time to the active noise cancellation. When clapping by my ears, the microphones on the outside of the earbuds hit a hard limiter and turn off the speakers that are in my ear canal. This effectively turns them into in-ear foam plugs to protect my hearing. Not a beat after my clap, the speakers are back on to allow for any other sounds to come back in. It truly just filtered the clap.
Walker’s Razor XV Review from the Field
The real test. My first thought in the field is that these are a world’s better than over-the-ear muffs, electronic or otherwise. I’ve used electronic ones at the shooting range and those are fine, but I couldn’t imagine preferring muffs in a hunting situation.
I like that these are connected by a band rather than individual ear buds that could fall out and get lost on the ground. These seem to stay in my ears just fine which is a product of lightweight speakers, microphones, and wires. There’s not a lot of mass to the earbuds. While this felt cheap at home, it made perfect sense when wearing them for a prolonged period.
The neckband controls aren’t as intuitive as I like, but I set the volume once with my app and forgot about it. When I turned it off, I had trouble finding the button to turn it back on. Otherwise, the neckband it self feels like the right size for this application. It’s big and sturdy enough without being cumbersome. I can see thought went into this design as the heavy neckband manages the cables so that they don’t get yanked out.
While these are great, they are limited by battery life and don’t come with a charging case or anything like that. The auto power-off is also set to a time which is at worst a small annoyance. The lack of a custom fit is acceptable at this price point and being foam, they fit my ears just fine. I’d rate these as a “buy” if you’re looking for budget electronic hearing protection for hunting. However, I’m sure there are better options for a few more dollars. I wish the sound quality was better on these.
How much hearing your quarry and hearing for a lifetime worth? Whatever the price, I will always keep a set of foam earplugs in my hunting pack for backup hearing protection. A lifetime of hearing is more important to me than a successful day in the field, but these Walker’s Razor XVs seem to give you both.