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Audio Accessories for Your Portable Radio

MRA has a variety of audio accessories for your needs. Each accessory is popular with different types of use and everyone has their own personal likes and dislikes. Getting the right accessory for the job and your personal preference enhances your experience and satisfaction with the use of the radio.  When carrying a radio on a belt, the speaker is facing away from you and with a lot of ambient noise, it is difficult to hear.  Also, whenever you need to talk, you must pick up the radio from the belt, carry on your conversation and then replace the radio on the belt.  Often times, it is not convenient to do so and it is not uncommon to drop the radio while attempting to reattach the radio to the belt.

Listen Only Earpiece

Listen Only EarpieceA listen only earpiece allows you to listen to the radio, but does not have any microphone for talking on the radio.  This accessory is useful for those who only have to listen on the radio and never talk or talk very infrequently.  It allows you to mingle with a crowd and still hear the radio while having some privacy, since the crowd cannot hear what is being said on the radio.  It is very small, light weight and comes with a straight cord and a connector that will mate with the radio.  The units that we have in stock utilize the air tube audio interface with either an ear mold ear insert which comes in 3 sizes for either left or right ears or the round button which is universal for all ears.

Speaker-Microphone

Kenwood Speaker MicThis is the most popular audio accessory, commonly used by police, security personnel, construction, special events, oil production, etc.  The unit has a speaker which allows you to easily hear the radio and a microphone which allows you to talk on the radio built into a small compact package.  The unit typically has a retractable coil cord which is often run up the back and draped over the shoulder and clipped onto the shirt near your head so that you can hear the sound out of the speaker easily.  When it is time to talk, you can turn your head and face the microphone, press the PTT button on the side of the speaker-microphone and make your transmission.

Speaker-Microphone With Earpiece

This is the same thing as the speaker microphone, with one exception.  There is a 3.5mm phone jack on the bottom of the microphone which allows for a listen only earpiece (described above) to be inserted into the jack which turns off the speaker in the speaker-microphone and now routes the audio through the earpiece so that you have privacy from nearby people hearing what is being said on the radio.  This arrangement is convenient to be able to easily switch between listening to the speaker and listening through the earpiece by simply unplugging the earpiece from the speaker-microphone.

Over-The-Headset

Dual Muff HeadsetThese come in various different models for various different applications.  They are:

  1. Lightweight Single Muff with boom microphone
  2. Lightweight Dual Muff with boom microphone
  3. Heavyweight Single Muff with boom microphone
  4. Heavyweight Dual Muff with boom microphone
  5. Lightweight Single Muff with noise canceling boom microphone
  6. Lightweight Dual Muff with boom microphone
  7. Heavyweight Single Muff with noise canceling boom microphone
  8. Heavyweight Dual Muff with noise canceling boom microphone
  9. Heavyweight Dual Muff High Noise Environment with noise canceling boom microphone.

There are many variations of each model which have different options for different situations such as the location of the PTT button, the type of PTT button, a quick disconnect which allows you to quickly detach the radio from the headset, audio gain on receive or transmit controls, noise canceling adjustments, type of ear pad and type of muff.  These are used when you want to keep your arms & hands relatively free to do other things and do not want to be picking up a microphone to talk and you do not want the receive audio sound blaring.  This is very common in studio production.

Single muff over the head headset with boom micThe single muff covers one ear and allows you to hear normally from the other ear.  This is used during most TV and movie production.  Dual muff is used in higher noise environments when there is not a great need to communicate with people who are not on the radio.  Having a noise canceling microphone makes your transmission more intelligible by keeping the background noise out of the radio transmission, but you have to speak very close to the microphone to be heard at a normal volume level.  Item 9 above is for very high noise environments like being on the tarmac of an airport and needing to keep the high noise from causing hearing damage.

We carry the lightweight single muff headset in stock as well as the heavyweight dual muff with noise canceling microphone in our rental fleet.

Behind-The-Headset

Behind The HeadsetAre used in a similar fashion to the lightweight single muff over-the-headset.  The behind-the-headset is less noticeable than over-the-headset because the band goes behind the head & is often hidden by the hair.  It does not interfere with fancy hair fashions that are commonly worn by women.

Lapel Mic earpieceThe following kits are also known as lapel microphone kits.  The number of wires in the kit refers to the number of cables that emanate from the plug that connects to the radio.  All of the kits are similar in nature and are available with the air tube earpiece, D ring earpieces and several other earpiece options.  The air tube is the most commonly used earpiece.

One Wire Kit

One wire surveillance headsetThe cable goes from the radio to the microphone which will have a PTT switch integrated into the body of the microphone.  The earpiece is also connected to the microphone and often has a coiled cord to keep from having too long of a cable dangling around the body.  It has the simplest and cleanest wiring for use.

Two Wire (Surveillance) Kit

2 wire subservience headsetThe device is like the one wire kit from the radio to the microphone, however, there is a 2nd cable from the radio to the earpiece.  Typically, the air tube interface is used for the earpiece, but they kits are available with most other earpiece configurations.  This is the most common of the 3 kits

Three Wire Kit

Kenwood Three Wire Kit (Lapel Microphone Kit)

Three Wire Kit (Lapel Microphone Kit)

The device is similar to the two wire kit except that the PTT switch is completely separate from the microphone and has its own cable from the radio to the PTT switch.  This allows separate paths for all 3 elements of the kit for routing the wires.  This makes this version of the kit more versatile, but has more wires to get tangled or caught on objects as you walk nearby.

Earpieces

Surveillance radio headset Each of the different lapel microphone kits have a variety of earpieces.  They are as follows:

The Ear Tip

Ear tip headphoneWhich looks like a button mushroom.  It is inserted into the ear canal and  it blocks sound from outside sources and allows you to hear the radio solely through the one ear.  Some versions of the ear tip have a double flap to seal even more effectively than the standard ear tip.  Also, there is a noise attenuating ear tip that attenuates outside noise even further.  It is made of a foam rubber compound which is flexible and squeezable.  When it is inserted into the ear, it compresses a bit to stay in the ear, so it applies pressure to the ear.  If you are not accustomed to having an ear plug in your ear, you will experience some discomfort from the ear plug until you build up a tolerance for having it in your ear.

The Ear Bud

Which is similar to the button mushroom, except it tends to fit into some of the grooves of the outer ear and not block the entire ear canal from outside sound.  This is similar to the ear buds that you use with a cell phone or on an airplane.

The Ear Mold

ear mold headsetIs a earpiece that fits into the natural grooves of the outer ear and “snaps” into the grooves.  It applies a small amount of pressure to the ear, so it tends to be more comfortable than the button mushroom and takes less to become accustomed to having it in your ear.  Although you will hear the radio clearly and easily with the ear mold, it does not close off the ear to hear anything else besides the radio so you can hear almost normally through the ear with the ear mold.

The D Ring

D ring headsetIs a sound transducer that hangs over the upper part of the ear and sits outside the ear.  It allows one to hear the radio well, but does not have the hygienic issues of a ear mold or button mushroom which is inserted into the outer portion of the ear canal.

The Swivel, The C Hook and The Ear Hook

Swivel headset earpieceAre all sound transducers that sit in the groove between the head and the top of the ear and have a transducer that rests on the outside of the ear, directly in front of the ear canal.  Each one has a slightly different configuration as to how it is held onto the ear and since it is not inserted into the ear, is more hygienic when used by multiple personnel.

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