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Milwaukee Tool has announced new RedLithium USB Bluetooth jobsite earbuds, model 2191-21, which are said to “deliver a best-in-class jobsite audio experience.
These are Bluetooth earbuds that are designed for professionals and on-the-job use.
They feature a Jobsite Awareness Mode, which – when activated – “provides enhanced situational awareness by actively sensing external noises and reduces volume pass-through of loud sounds until levels reach a designated listening volume.”
Milwaukee bundles the earbuds with foam and silicone tips, with both style providing noise reduction.
The noise reduction rating (NRR) is 22 dB for the silicone tips, and 25 dB for the foam tips.
The earbuds come with a charging case, with a tap-control legend on the inside, and space for storing an alternate set of earbud tips.
The case charges via USB-C, and comes with a USB-A to USB-C charging cable.
You can also swap out the RedLithium USB battery – a 3Ah battery is included with the kit.
The earbuds deliver up to 10 hours of runtime per charge, and the charging case provides up to 70 hours of runtime (with multiple in-case charges).
The case looks to be fairly portable, although it is isn’t as pocketable as those that come with consumer Bluetooth earbuds.
The earbuds and case both have battery fuel gauges with multi-color (red, yellow, green) LED indication
Milwaukee says that their wireless audio solution is built to “survive on the jobsite” and is water, dust, and impact-resistant.
You can listen to music via the Bluetooth connectivity, or make phone calls when connected to a smartphone.
Each package comes with left and right earbuds, the charging case, a USB charging cable, 3Ah RedLithium USB battery, 3 sizes of ear wings, 3 sizes of foam ear tips, and 3 sizes of silicone ear tips.
ETA: September 2023
There’s still plenty of space in the jobsite Bluetooth hearing protection and audio market, and it’s interesting to see Milwaukee Tool’s first entry.
The Jobsite Aware Mode seems interesting.
The earbuds come with 22 dB and 25 dB tips – silicone and foam, respectively, which provide for passive noise reduction.
So with the Jobsite Aware Mode, it looks like you get “amplified “enhanced situational awareness” by means of what sounds like amplified speech and similar. But when the environmental noise levels pick up, such as when tools are used, the enhancement turns off.
I presume that a mic picks up speech and similar sounds to counteract the passive noise reduction when it’s safe to do so, and automatically dials it back to safe levels when loud noises are detected.
To clarify, this is NOT a form of active noise reduction, but rather a way to minimize the downsides of passive hearing protection when it’s not needed.
Milwaukee is not the first brand to do something like this. The ISOtunes Aware hearing protection earbuds, $200 at Amazon, also provide noise suppression with electronic amplification for improved environmental awareness.
I would expect for the Milwaukee earbuds to operate similarly, at least in essence, where the electronic amplification shuts off once the environmental noise exceeds safe levels.