June 23, 2022
The original Caldwell E-MAX Shadows are solid electronic in-ear hearing protection. They have a 23-decibel (dB) reduction rating, which is good for in-ear hearing protection, and a whole slew of electronic features. Their recharging carry case provides four to five charges; they could connect to your phone wirelessly; different ear tips are included, and sound levels could be adjusted while in the ear. There is a lot to like about the E-MAX Shadows, but the E-MAX Shadows Pro in-ear electronic hearing protection brings a few upgrades that truly make them one of the best options for earpro on the market today.
While the original E-MAX Shadows were well-received by end-users, there were a number of interfaces that made them hard to use. The biggest issue was how to operate them while they were in your ear. There aren’t buttons, so the Shadows are activated by touch, and the volume is controlled by sliding one’s finger up or down the length of plastic that extends down from the tip inserted in the ear. It’s not impossible to operate by any means, but it takes some getting used to, and buttons would be easier to operate.
It's nice to see companies listen to their customers, and Caldwell did just that. The new E-MAX Shadows Pro are button-operated, and they removed the length of plastic that extends down the ear on the original shadows. This makes them both easier to operate and much more aesthetic while wearing them. Caldwell also created an extensive video series on their website to showcase everything from how to connect to your phone and activate noise-cancelling to which tips to use and troubleshooting options.
The decibel rating has been bumped slightly to 25 dB noise reduction, too, and you’d be surprised by how much difference two decibels can make. The charge has also seen a boost, going from five hours to six hours of operation while shooting. Like on the original Shadows, the carry case recharges the buds, but it now has an internal, illuminated indicator to show charge levels on the buds and an external indicator to show the overall charge of the carry case.
One of the big advantages to electronic in-ear protection like the Shadows Pro is how much easier it is to get a cheekweld on rifles and shotguns. The decibel reduction compared to over-ear muffs is actually comparable, so it makes shooting way more comfortable with similar hearing protection. Losing the buds in the field is another concern raised by customers, so Caldwell added an optional magnetic lanyard to keep the buds together while runnin’ and gunnin’.
The E-MAX Shadows shouldn’t be limited to shooting, though. One of the greatest features of these earpro is that one can make and take phone calls or listen to music since they wirelessly connect to your phone. They’re great for mowing or operating other heavy machinery, and they have practical applications while traveling. Basically, you get everything modern earbuds do with noise-cancelling and hearing protection.
Finally, price on the Caldwell E-MAX Shadows Pro isn’t too bad. MSRP sets them at $169.99, but your out-the-door cost is going to be a bit less. It’s hard to understate how important good hearing protection is, especially when teaching new or younger shooters, and good earpro will make the entire experience better and keep them coming back.
Caldwell E-MAX Shadows Pro Specs
- Type: Electronic, in-ear
- Decibel Rating: 25dB reduction
- Battery Life: 6 hours
- Wireless: Yes
- Accessories: Magnetic lanyard, recharging carry case, optional ear tips
- Manufacturer: Caldwell, caldwellshooting.com