There’s a new headset in town. The CR-TAC from codeRED
A noise cancelling Dual Muff headset with “hear through” technology using electronic amplification of ambient sounds. Welcome the CR-TAC from codeRED Headsets.
If there is one piece of gear you won’t miss having with you for a game, then it’s for sure your radio communication/hearing protection equipment. The essential tool to stay connected to your teammates is a proper working radio including a proper working headset as well an PTT that works flawless with it.
In my opinion, codeRED offers you these tools and guarantee you a great user experience. The CR-TAC is the third headset from their product line I’m now running for myself. Using their TBCH and the Throat Mic before without having any kind of issues in the field as well enjoying crystal clear audio, I’m very excited to see that codeRED came up with a tactical headset that now offers full hearing protection as well.
IMPORTANT THINGS FIRST
NO, it’s not a M32 EARMOR copy!! I know that as seen from the outside it looks like one but let me tell you why:
codeRED partnered with a factory that also makes products for EARMOR so the ear cup from the CR-TAC are technically the same. They have had them make substantial modifications to the design so that it will work for their intended market: SWAT Teams, HAZMAT and Tactical Units in the US.
Of course, it is also a high-end affordable product for the airsoft community and I think it will find its appreciation as soon as players get to know the benefit out of it compared to the once from EARMORE.
The point why I’m saying this is, I used two EARMORE M32 before who never made it into a review release and got sent back to the shop after a few days of testing. I don’t want to go all in detail here, but the overall performance just sucked! That’s it.
So, what are those “substantial modifications” codeRED pointed out? They included Kevlar reinforced cables to provide a strong and robust wiring system, withstanding scratches and other mechanism impact to keep you going in rough situations.
A redesigned Boom Mic a first of its kind, featuring a robust mounting clip to secure the mouth piece in place with the headset, but can be completely folded up to get it out of the way if you don’t need it. The mechanism itself looks solid and strong made, guaranteeing a long life as I see it from a “first glance” point of view.
The mic is also adjustable in its length, providing you the ability to adjust it to your preferences. The boom mic will have a wind sock included and if you want to switch sides because you’re a left-hand shooter, the CR-TAC is ready for it out of the box.
codeRED also told us that they’re working on a dynamic boom mic which will be available very soon as a replacement/spare part item for their end-users, providing an even higher outgoing audio quality.
Furthermore, the CR-TAC Headset is able to take their popular Throat Mic with 2.5mm adapter which can be easily connected to the microphone port. They also tested various Throat Mics from the market with the Headset and they did work, but when it comes all down to transmission quality which is the key, I think you should stick to theirs as it is definitely superior quality.
But great thinking about modularity straight out of the box!
The Headset itself connects to PTTs with a Nexus TP-120 plug wired to US NATO standard. It is fully compatible with their LE proven Pro/NX Series PTTs, as well Peltor, and MSA Sordin works great. The named codeRED PTTs are available in many versions to fit your radio. You can buy them straight away with the headset and depending on which model you need, the price increases a bit. Check their Connector Chart for more details.
Under the hood, the internal electronic modifications on the headset got improved to have noticeable results in live fire situations. Regarding the feedback codeRED got from the Law Enforcement community during the testing period, the noise cancelation for both 9mm and .223 (incl. suppressed rifles) was overall good. The guys were still able to hear footsteps behind them or enhance audible surroundings by increasing the amplification volume for example.
Speaking for myself, I still need to hit the range to find out how the performance goes during life fire. But what I can say regarding the noise cancelation, I used some TAGInn grenades to play around with and I was satisfied how good the headset worked it out. Those grenades come at 130db when they detonate near you.
UPDATE 20.10.21! I got the chance to finally hit the range and test it with live fire. The result can be read here!
LEVELS OF AMPLIFICATION
The key feature of any tactical headset. The CR-TAC offers you 5 levels of amplification to either hear enhanced ambient noise and movement or to suppress high noise environments or weapon fire.
Activate it by pressing the “ON” button for about 3 seconds and then use the + or – to select the level of your choice:
- Lowest level of 22db. No amplification, sound reduction only
- Slight amplification, slight sound reduction
- Normal ambient sound level
- Slight enhanced ambient sound
- Fully enhanced sound amplification, clipped to 82db
codeRED uses the so called “hear through” or commonly referred as “talk through” technology, using electronic amplification of ambient sounds by running the 5 levels of battery powered sound amplification as named above.
The buttons are very easy to reach, even while wearing gloves and you get a clear feedback while pushing it, which is a must for a tactical headset. No fancy design right here, usability and pure performance in mind.
Quality wise, I think they last a long time before you need to replace them. Just treat it like you want to be treated. “Nicely”
Once adjusting the CR-TAC for the first time, you notice that this headset is made from solid materials with best performance for the end-user in mind. It fits strong in place without producing too much pressure and after a decent time of usage, you’ll also notice that it holds its adjustment.
The silicon gel ear pads provide a good fit around your ears and feel comfortable too. The transmitted audio quality through them is crystal clear like I know it from their other products I have in use.
As with all headsets, you better run some eyewear that has comms-compatible arms as they’re much slimmer designed to reduce the pressure towards your head coming from the ear pads. But that’s just me thinking loud…
The headband itself is made from a thin self-adhesive Velcro, keeping the wiring well secured. No additional padding is attached to it but to be honest, that’s no needed. If you think you need some, go and get yourself some aftermarket headbands for it. There are plenty of them available and the replacement is easily done.
How’s the usage with a helmet you ask? It works I say. Been running it for a day as seen in the picture. The headband fits underneath just ok and the generated pressure coming from the helmet is ok too. You can handle it, but there’s a more pleasant way available.
The CR-TAC is read to take on the common available helmet adapters such as those for ops-core or EXFIL helmets. I think, there’s no future explanation needed. Those are ready to buy straight from codeREDs webshop, just add them into the cart if you’re buying a CR-TAC Headset and you’re ready to roll.
Is there more to say at the moment? I think that I’m done for now as seen from the introduction point of view to this product. For sure, I’ll give it way more time in the field the next months and stress test it during my next life fire time on the range. That’s the best way to provide good feedback for codeRED to improve the CR-TAC for their customers if there are noticeable issues.
If you want to get yourself one, visit their website for US and international orders. If you live in central Europe, go and get it from Airsoftwinkel. These guys are your go to source regarding all things codeRED.
Thanks for reading and enjoy your CR-TAC Tactical Headset.