Special Ops Paintball: Throat Mic Review - IXRadio XTM85R-G1 - Special Ops Paintball

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Throat Mic Review - IXRadio XTM85R-G1 Something better than FireFox?

#1 User is offline   sartek 

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 12:29 PM

Throat Mic Review - IXRadio XTM85R-G1
Product can be found here: http://www.ixradio.com/

Well, I finally got my throat mic from the post office today. So far, it has exceeded EVERY expectation I have of a commercially available throat mic that wasn't designed for MilSpec tolerances. (I have a MilSpec throat mic for my USAF UHF radio)

Most people out there in paintball have heard of, or seen the FireFox throat mics, and some have used them. From what I have experienced in testing a firefox on my radios, they just wouldn't do. JTPaintball70 steered me towards a company I had never heard of before, and I had been searching for a throat mic for a while now. IXRadio.

So off I went to their website to browse through their radio accessories. This alone was impressive. Not only do they make Throat Mics, but also Acoustic Mics, Boom Mics, Lapel Mics, Ear Mics, Speaker Mics, and Program Cables for various computer programmable radios.

I pulled up the throat mic page and found one of my first surprises about the IXRadio throat mics. These things are pretty much customizable, without the cost that most would find with the Iasus SniperB throat mics.

TYPE:
XTM 70V - Throat mic with stereo earbud, VOX switch/PTT button
XTM 79DT - Throat mic with dual transducers, coiled cord hear hook, VOX switch/PTT button
XTM 80V - Throat mic with dual transducers, acoustic earbud, VOX switch/PTT button
XTM 85R - Throat mic with dual transducers, acoustic earbud, remote PTT button only

4 types of throat mics, each with a nice advantage.
The 70V was the basic, no frills throat mic. Next up was the 79DT. Dual transpoders with a coiled wire earbud and flexible earhook to hold it in place. Nice, just not what I wanted. The 80V has dual transducers for better pickup and noise cancellation. This is what I wanted in my throat mic. Then I found the 85R model. I noticed the difference between it and the 80V right away. The 80V has the VOX / PTT Button inline with the mic, meaning the wiring goes from the radio plug to the PTT/Vox then to the mic transducers. The 85R has two separate wires for the PTT button and the mic transducers. Also, the three versions with the vox/ptt button use a metal spring clip to hold the button to your clothing. The 85R has a velcro band that the ptt button attaches to, and the button is also smaller.

So I found my throat mic I wanted. That was when I noticed the next great detail.

This mic is available for just about ANY radio out there. 27 different pinouts, ranging from different length pins, 1 or 2 pins, different wiring in the pins, stereo vs mono pins, etc. The best part: No adapters except for the HIGH end radios with funky plugs (handheld HF/VHF). Firefox mics require an adapter plug to fit anything other than a motorola 1-pin radio. Those adapters cost at least $10 each. The IXRadio mics that require an adapter plug, come WITH the plug.

So now I had my throat mic all picked out and went down the list to the Cobra 1-pin setup for my 4750WX. That was when I noticed another detail that surprised me. The cost. --$28.90--

They were ALL that price, except for the 2 that required an adapter, and a threaded Yaesu plug, and those prices were understandably higher.

Ok so now I'm thinking this cant get any better. It got better.

Down at the bottom of the order page was a deal for the throat mic and a hardshell, molded radio case with a swivelling metal belt clip, plus a lanyard d-ring. The strap closes using a fairly strong magnet, no snaps to mess with.
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I'm sure many have noticed that on most tactical vest with a radio pouch, those of us with larger radios are S.O.L. (like the Cobras, and the Motorola 7000 series). Our radios are just too tall.

The package deal was $5.00 more.. I couldn't pass it up, so that's what I bought.

The real kick in the pants was when I went to pay for it with paypal. Shipping was only $4.00. I'm sorry to say this, but there was nothing that could convince me to buy a FireFox now.

So I ordered it. Yes, it's getting shipped from Singapore. Their website says 7-12 days delivery time, as it has to pass customs in L.A. 12 days later (today) I picked it up from the post office. I didn't even wait to get out to my car before I had the package opened.

I had decided to put my radios in the car for a little road test with a friend (literally). I turned my radios on Scan and handed one to my friend, while I had my throat mic on and plugged into the other one.

Now, IXRadio claims 90% noise cancellation on these mics, and I believe it. I had found some random people on the radio to talk to, and only one of them had any idea I was in my car. I was driving down the road with my window down and my car stereo on.

As a fun little test, I rolled up my windows and turned the radio all the way down, then started whispering jokes to a guy on the radio. My friend in the seat next to me couldn't hear what I was saying clearly, until I pointed at the volume knob on the radio he was holding and he turned it up. The throat mic picked up extremely well.

Most throat mics pick up best when the transducers sit high on your neck, to the sides of your windpipe. The 85R is no exception to this, but it still picked up clearly enough to understand when I had it sitting low on my collarbone. I also noticed that it would pick up the change in tone in my voice very well. From listenign to many people use FireFox mics on the field, they tend to flatten the tones and make it hard to understand sometimes.

The band for the throat mic is not adjustable for size, so you may have to bend it a little to fit your neck.

Here's where I get to the pictures:

The IXRadio XTM85R-G1 model Throat Mic for Cobra Radios. (note the extra beige colored earbud replacement, and the 2" of acoustic tubing I had to cut off because it was so long)
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Something else you may notice is that the plug is a single piece, molded plug. The FireFox throat mics all have a T-plug for the PTT button that the mic has to plug into. If you need an adapter for it, that means 3 plugs to get your FireFox throat mic to work with your radio - Adapter, T-plug, and Mic.


The 85R also has two molded strain reliefes on it. The large one is where the main wiring splits to the PTT button and to the mic. The smaller one slides along the wires and can be used to take up the slack of the long wires
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The wires are also VERY long (over 4ft.), so you wont have much trouble placing everything where you want it.
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The PTT button was nice, too. It came with it's own velcro band to attach to, and the button was a molded silicone membrane like the FireFox Commando edition, instead of a hard plastic button like on the Firefox paintball edition. I've heard the paintball edition's ptt button tends to stick a lot. the button is also a little smaller than the Firefox ones.
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For my last test, I took the stock earbud mic and put it next to the 85R to compare the wiring.
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You can see from the pics that the throat mic has much thicker wiring, and the molded strain relief is very well formed on the transducer. Most headsets use a 0.8mm, 2 or 3 pair wire. IXRadio uses a 1.5mm wire which helps increase the durability and decreases the likelyhood of broken wires inside the insulator.

You can also see the plug that the acoustic tube plugs onto. That piece rotates a full 360* so you can wear the earbud in your left or right ear. The acoustic tubing does come LONG, so you may have to trim it down some. I chose to trim it from the end that connects to the neckband, as the coiled tubing against my ear annoys me. The tubign Length without being stretched was probably around 8-10" long. I cut off about 2".

Thanks JTPaintball70 for the inspiration. Now I know where to point my team when more of them complain about getting something better than their FireFox PB Edition (peanutbutter edition, it sticks!:blink: )

This post has been edited by Evil Fingers: 28 June 2007 - 04:10 PM

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#2 User is offline   KalFalnal 

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Post icon  Posted 12 October 2005 - 01:37 PM

And I just ordred my firefox paintball edition Monday. <_<

Well, I'll just have to get one of these and use the firefox for my loaner radio!

Thanks for the excellent review.
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#3 User is offline   KalFalnal 

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Post icon  Posted 12 October 2005 - 01:41 PM

Hmm, any thoughts on this earbone mic?
Might be alot more convient than a throat mic, no slippage and what not.
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#4 User is offline   a5rt15 

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 03:12 PM

that things SWEET!
i'm defidently going to get that






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#5 User is offline   sartek 

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Posted 12 October 2005 - 05:14 PM

the problem i have with the earbone mics is that they use the vibrations of the bones in your inner ear to pick up sound, and they aren't the comfortable to people with small ears. to get an idea of what they would transmit, plug your ears with your pinky fingers and talk. it sounds kind of nasally.

EDIT: The throat mics take a little bit to get used to.. i've been wearing mine all day so far and it feels like somethign is putting slight pressure on my windpipe, but I hardly notice my mic at all now. It stays in place VERY well.

This post has been edited by sartek: 12 October 2005 - 05:15 PM

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#6 User is offline   Gfei 

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Posted 13 October 2005 - 10:51 AM

Wow, so I don't have to pay $80 for a throat mic. I'm so excited. Thanks for the post.
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#7 User is offline   KalFalnal 

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Posted 13 October 2005 - 12:19 PM

sartek, on Oct 12 2005, 05:14 PM, said:

the problem i have with the earbone mics is that they use the vibrations of the bones in your inner ear to pick up sound, and they aren't the comfortable to people with small ears.  to get an idea of what they would transmit, plug your ears with your pinky fingers and talk. it sounds kind of nasally.

After doing that I'm thinking that you'd have to speak a little louder with the earbone mic. Too bad though, assuming it fit ok and could pick up quiet talking/whispering it'd be sweet.
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#8 User is offline   Stret 

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 11:24 PM

sartek, have you tested these while in play?
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#9 User is offline   KalFalnal 

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 06:27 PM

Sweet. I just ordered one.

I played with my Fire Fox Paintball edition throat mic yesterday and was very disapointed. It worked fine when I initially put it on. However when I started moving and got all sweaty no one could understand what I was saying. In the products defense though I do sweat alot, move alot and I have a skinny neck.

I'm glad I only bought one! Nearly ordered two, so I'd have one for my loaner radio, but I figured I'd get one and test it out first.

So now I've ordered this IX throat mic. I ordered the Motorola single pin version even though I have cobra radios. I have two fire fox moto-->Cobra adapters, this way I'll be able to use my new throat mic with motorola or Cobra radios. Oh yeah, for a few bucks more I ordered the package with the storage case for the mic. :wacko:

Thanks again for the review Sartek!
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#10 User is offline   Animal Mother 

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 06:44 PM

After reading this review, I have decided to pass on the Fire Fox and go with the IX.

Nice job Sartek. :wacko:
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Posted 16 October 2005 - 06:48 PM

FYI Earbone mics pick up whispers just fine. I have a set of radios that have them and they work great.....just fall out alot like earbuds and then you dont hear anything. :wacko:

The benefit of the earbone is you can take it out of your ear and whisper into it ever so absolutly quietly and they will hear you.

But put it back fast to hear the replies.
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#12 User is offline   Stret 

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 07:03 PM

Animal Mother, on Oct 16 2005, 06:44 PM, said:

After reading this review, I have decided to pass on the Fire Fox and go with the IX.

Nice job Sartek. :(

Same here, Sartek I love you now :wacko:
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#13 User is offline   godswrath 

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 07:52 PM

well i can tell you alittle about the firefox throat mics, dont buy one. the first one i got, the speaker didnt work. the second one i got lasted about 2 games and i noticed the wires comming part where it connects to the speaker. so i have no intentions on buying another firefox or getting this one replaced. they have good customer service but there product sucks. i got the firefox commando addition. just my 2 cents.
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#14 User is offline   sartek 

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 01:10 AM

I have not had a chance to actually play a game with my radio, though I did have it on for a little while reffing at HonorBound2005. Oddly enough, most of the players I talked to over the radio could hear me just fine, while sometimes the other refs couldn't understand me. granted, they also had a lot of problems with their radios cutting out and other maladies..

On a side note, make sure you shave before using one of these.. contact on bare skin is best.. I noticed that the further into the weekend for the game, the worse the transmissions became from the stubble on my neck rubbing under the transducer coils.


(on another side note, I managed to leave my cobra 4750's both running from Friday morning to Sunday night without having to recharge them)
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Posted 18 October 2005 - 02:21 AM

outstanding research and review sartek. Thumbs up bro
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