FIELD TEST

Airheadz Wireless-Passport Modular Headphone System
By Andy Sabisch
From Page 46
June, 2011 issue of Lost Treasure

No one likes change and, when you find something that you’re comfortable with, it’s easy to stick with what works and not give anything different a second glance.
For treasure hunters, accessories tend to fall into this category and headphones or digging tools probably top the list in terms of equipment that we tend to stick with once we find something we are satisfied with.
I’ll admit I tend to resist change and, in fact, used the same digging tool for more than 20 years until someone finally convinced me there was something better out there. Now I couldn’t imagine going back to what I had used for all those years.
Headphones are another area where, while there are a myriad of choices out there, I have tended to stick with one or two sets over the years.
When the magazine called to tell me a set of headphones was enroute for testing, I have to admit I was not overly excited, but little did I know different in this case definitely meant better…but I’m jumping ahead, so let’s get into the field test.
Features
I talked with the staff at AirHeadz before the package arrived to discuss the product and what set it apart from other headphones on the market.
I was genuinely interested in seeing how its Bluetooth wireless technology functioned in concert with various metal detectors.
Many of us – especially those that hunt areas where corded headphones continually get snagged on brush and the like – have wished for wireless headphones that would work without issues, such as signal lag, a bulky design, poor sound quality, or flimsy construction, resulting in premature failures.
Except for the cordless headphones available for the White’s V3i and the line of French-built XP Detectors, high-quality, wireless headphones that can hold up to the rigors placed upon them by treasure hunters have remained elusive.
Opening the package when it arrived, it was quickly apparent this was a quality product.
Starting with the fitted, embroidered Cordura case that comes with the package, and continuing to the headphone system components themselves, it was clear the system had been designed to withstand the demands our hobby put on equipment. The difference between conventional metal detecting headphones and the AirHeadz system was readily apparent.
If they look familiar, you are probably someone that has watched a NASCAR race, flown in a small plane, or served in the military, as the actual headphones themselves have been used in these applications for years.
These applications are just as, if not more, demanding than metal detecting, so for a product to remain in favor by end-users, the design must be one that is not only robust, but also offers the required level of performance and these headphones have met both of these requirements.
The AirHeadz headphones have been available in the treasure hunting community as corded headphones since 1998, and the wireless option was first introduced in 2008.
Unlike most other headphones in the metal detecting industry that use speakers designed for reproduction of music, AirHeadz headphones use speakers designed to encompass the audio range associated with voice communication and do so with a high degree of precision well suited for the type of signals produced by detectors when passing over buried objects.
Combining these speakers with an industrial-grade, noise reducing design rated at 28 decibels, which blocks out virtually all external noise, you will be able to hear signals that would otherwise have been missed entirely or indistinguishable as result of being mixed with extraneous noise.
The wireless system consists of a transmitter and a receiver. The small transmitter unit is affixed to the detector with a piece of Velcro and plugged into the detector’s headphone jack.
The receiver unit is clipped to the headphone band or Velcroed in place. Turning the two components on provides a wireless connection that spans a distance of up to 30 feet and does so without any loss of signal, processing delay or interference.
Signal volume, when using the wireless configuration, can be adjusted with either the knob on the side of the headphones or the <+> and <-> buttons on the side of the receiver unit.
For optimal signal processing, maximum battery life, and to ensure you do not miss a signal from your detector, it is recommended that you set the volume (if your detector has a volume control) on your detector and the headphones to MAX and adjust the volume on the receiver volume to your desired level.
A common comment voiced by users of the AirHeadz system is that they can hear signals they could not hear before with other brands or models of headphones.
The targets we are all hoping to find are usually deeply buried, on edge, or very small and produce barely detectable signals that can be easily missed due to external noise, or headphones that are not providing you with every bit of audio information from your detector.
These headphones ensure you hear everything your detector is capable of detecting.
Another interesting comment AirHeadz has heard from users is that, unlike some headphones, which cause feedback when wearing a hearing aid, this issue has been eliminated in both versions.
You can purchase the AirHeadz headphones as either corded or wireless. There are two different cords and the one you order will depend on the detector(s) you own.
One cord works with Minelab and Garrett models while the other works with Tesoro, White’s, Fisher, Bounty Hunter, and Teknetics detectors.
The advantage of having a cord with you in the field even when using the wireless option is that if the battery does go dead you can simply connect the cord and you are back in business.
Since you can purchase the system in either configuration, you may opt to start with the corded version and upgrade to the wireless configuration, since all the components are available “ala-carte” without duplicating any of the pieces as you upgrade.
The headphones can be ordered in your choice of configurations…the traditional “over-the-head” or “behind-the-head.”
The “behind-the-head” model is favored by electronic prospectors or detectorists that wear hats with brims all the way around to keep sun off, and shows that AirHeadz did their homework to see what the end user wanted in their equipment.
The rechargeable battery associated with the wireless transmitter / receiver provides 8+ hours of continuous use.
The batteries can be recharged using either the standard wall charger or the optional USB / car charger. After the initial charge, a complete charge takes 90 minutes or less.
Field Test
Putting the AirHeadz headphones on for the first time I was taken aback by just how comfortable they were and how much of the outside noise they blocked out.
Comparing them to other headphones in my “arsenal,” the AirHeadz were clearly quieter and, in comparing signals on a few different detectors, the system did allow signals from targets at the edge of the detector’s detection capability to be heard with more clarity and consistency.
The first time you use the AirHeadz wireless system, you need to match the transmitter to the receiver. The process is extremely straightforward and, from then on, even if you switch detectors, the two components remain in-synch with one another.
Loading a few different detectors in the truck, I drove over to Atlanta for a day of relic hunting in some of the more heavily wooded areas along the Chattahoochee River I frequent to test out the wireless feature.
As anyone that has hunted in dense underbrush knows, corded headphones are continually getting snagged and pulled off your head when trying to hunt these areas.
Unfortunately, headphones are needed to find the deeper targets and block out the noise from wind, leaves, and other distractions that come with hunting these sites.
The first three detectors I tried the AirHeadz system out on were a Minelab E-Trac, White’s MXT Pro, and Teknetics G2. Affixing a small piece of Velcro (included with the system) to the appropriate location on each detector, swapping the transmitter between them was a snap.
Having hunted this area many times before, and always cursing the thick underbrush, the benefit of not having a cord quickly became evident.
The way I conducted this part of the field test was to mark signals with surveyor flags and then recheck them using the same detector and other headphones I’ve been using.
What was clearly evident was that the signals from the marked targets through the AirHeadz headphones were in fact clearer, crisper and more readily discernible than with my regular corded models.
A few marginal signals that were detected with the AirHeadz system could have been missed due to external noise or the faint whisper they produced and, in this case, produced Civil War relics that included two percussion caps, a pistol bullet, an Eagle cuff button, and a few small pieces of “camp lead.”
Unfortunately, the bad weather did not pass South Carolina by so I was not able to get out as much as I would have liked, but I did hit several wooded areas with sites dating back to the 1700’s, as well as a few local beaches for testing and comparison with other headphones.
The amount of external noise, such as wind, rustling leaves or even bird chatter, blocked by the AirHeadz headphones really helped me (and a few friends that tried them) focus on target signals.
It did not take long to get used to the wireless option and not having a cord to contend with.
If this is any indication of how others feel about them, one of my friends using the AirHeadz system on his detector packed it in as the temperatures dropped into the 30’s and “forgot” to return the headphones…jokingly he called me later to see if I really wanted them back.
He is in the process of tumbling his clad coins from last year to put towards a set of his own.
Summary
Headphones are an accessory we all see as a “must have” item; however, we tend to find a set that works and then not put any more thought into it.
As I found out, sometimes a new accessory can boost the performance of one’s current equipment without the need to buy a new detector…and the AirHeadz system appears to have done just that!
Does the AirHeadz Wireless - Passport Modular Headphone system cost more than other headphones? Yes, but if you are not able to hear that faint whisper of a signal from a deeply buried relic, gold coin on edge, or gold nugget with your current headphones, did you actually save anything by not going with the best equipment available?
Unless you are simply out metal detecting for exercise, the potential to make great finds is what this hobby really offers and equipping yourself with gear that improves the odds of that happening should be a driving factor in the equipment you select.
Adding a set of AirHeadz headphones to any model of metal detector will enable you to squeeze every bit of performance out of the detector, and allow you to find more in areas you and others have given up on as being worked out.
During the course of this field test, I quickly became a convert and have been using the AirHeadz system in both the corded and wireless configurations on several of my detectors.
Extremely comfortable even after several hours of continuous use, I’ve noticed fringe signals that could easily have been missed before are easily discernible and a number of “keepers” have been added to my collection as a result of using the AirHeadz headphones.
The old adage “You get what you pay for” holds true for this product and, if you want to boost your finds, a closer look at this innovative system is highly recommended.
The corded version of the system comes with headphones, one cord and carrying case (the “over-the-head” version lists for $199 and the “behind-the-head” version lists for $259).
The wireless version includes the headphones, transmitter and receiver, charger and carrying case (the “over-the-head” version lists for $340 and the “behind-the-head” version lists for $394).
The system comes with a 180-day warranty. Optional accessories include cords for different brands, “muff socks” when using the system in hot climates, a USB/ car charger, and gel ear cushions.
For more info on the AirHeadz Modular Headphone system, contact the company at www.AirHeadzWireless.com or at (541) 878-4653, and be sure to mention you read about them in Lost Treasure!
 

With two versions to choose from, hunters that prefer hats with brims all the way around now have a model that works for them!
The AirHeadz system, including the headphones, cord, wireless system (transmitter and receiver), wall charger, carrying case and optional USB / car charger.


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