By: Will

Images by blacksheepwarrior.com and TEAheadsets.com 

Summary:

The Television Equipment Associates Inc (TEA) Invisio V60 communications suite is a powerful solution for today’s professional military and police personnel. With a low profile, noise control and a staggering number of input/output options, the Invisio V60 suite, provides military and police professionals with a communications solution for practically every potential mission.  

Like any other communications solution, the suite does have its benefits and drawbacks and we will go through all the positive and negative aspects so you can make the best purchasing decision.

Continue reading our full TEA Headsets Invisio V60 review below.

The components:

The TEA Headsets Invisio V60 components that we received for this review were numerous and to be quite honest we didnt get a chance to test all of them.  We did however get an opportunity to run the unit through its paces in a handful of configurations/situations and your potential use and configuration may look completely different than our review.  

The Invisio V60 arrived with the majority of the components in a mil spec admin style pouch that featured two Tactical Tailor MALICE clips for potential mounting to tricky bags or anywhere else you may use molle (Not sure why it would need to be on a tactical vest).

Opening the pouch via the overbuilt zipper revealed a neatly arranged assortment of components necessary to run the V60 communications suite.  

The Following items were included in the pouch from top left to right:

  1. M80 Dual-Com Wireless PTT
  2. Invisio V60
  3. Invisio X5 headphones/microphone 
  4. Cables for AN/PRC 148, smartphone audio, Motorola XTS 5000, rotary wing plug
  5. Soft ear inserts

Included separately:

  1. Hybrid Rail Boom Mic for use with Opscore helmet rail
  2. Aux Power supply
  3. Cable Splitter

Why it’s so special:

So, what is so special about the Invisio V60 communications suite? Well, it gives MIL/LE professionals who operate in high noise situations the ability to both block harmful noises while at the same time transmitting communications without bleed over from say a helicopter hovering overhead or loud outboard engines. It also provides (with the proper headset) a powerful comms suite for dismount patrols and complicated multi agency/unit/government operations.

Now you may say that a standard set of Peltor headsets can accomplish close to the same thing and you can actually use muff type protectors with the V60 suite, however, they are much more bulky and the V60 unit is far more capable than a direct connect PTT to radio set up.  

In addition to the low profile of the X5 earbuds, which include a built in bone conduction mic, pass through hearing amplification and noise canceling, the V60 multi com control units itself is where almost all the love happens! 

The V60 features quad-com capabilities which allow the user to listen and communicate on up to 4 separate channels. The unit is plug and play with pretty much all legacy headsets and radios. The V60 is pretty versatile and TEA has connectors that allow the operator to connect to virtually any device from iPads, cell phones, 2-way radios, vehicles/aircraft/watercraft as well as computers.

In fact, the possibilities are so vast that I was actually a little overwhelmed at first with the systems capabilities and I’m 100% certain that I didn’t maximize a tenth of the unit’s capabilities.

What the V60 is capable of doing:

At the risk of filling this review with a lot of technical terms and mind numbing comms jargon (all of which I am unqualified to to expound on as I’m not a comms SME), I want to include a few of the V60’s features as this review is primarily written to inform departments and military professionals of the units capabilities and performance verses fostering page views for entertainment.

1. Open Microphone Option

The V60 is able to provide the user with in-ear hot-mic without cross-talk interference. Now, all I can say regarding this is I didn’t try it and this should probably be categorized under “kids don’t try this at home” as it is probably best kept for “professionals”. Im laughing inside as I write this as probably are some readers that are familiar with the seemingly, unavoidable and awkward hot mic moments that seem to live on in the locker room for years.

2. Split Ear Audio

The split ear audio option allows you to assign separate input channels to certain ears thus removing any doubt as to which comms channel is transmitting.  

3. Independent Audio Streams

This is one of those options that I really don’t have a need to play with and will probably require a comms professional to set up and brief users with, let alone explain.  

Basically, the V60 has four separate audio streams that can be set up to use either ear and feature different device volumes for each device.  An example would be a MIL/LE professional working on a task force that used two types of radios (state/local) and an audio feed being streamed from a body wire or other device and transmitted through a phone.  Thats just an example and may or may not be relevant as I didn’t use the V60 in that capacity and as I said before I’m certainly not an SME on that side of the house.

4. Advanced Mode Settings

The V60 is “user” configurable via computer and the settings can be tweaked to represent the needs of the mission. For example, a military helicopter will operate at a different impedance setting than a civilian platform of the same type. For example, you are an air softer who just scored some hot Special Forces peltors and you jump in your daddy’s robinson only to find out that civilian aviation communication gear is different than that of the military.

5. The Invsio V60 is submersible to 20 meters 

TEA offers headsets such as the M3 that are specifically made for wet environments.

Other options found on the Invisio V60 are: Automatic, hot-swap cable detection, centralized power from the attached radio or power supply and automatic start up when the first radio is powered on. The reverse is true when the last radio or input device is turned off.  That along with the four PTT buttons pretty much sums it up for the level of detail required for our Invisio V60 review.

Invisio X5 Headset

Almost as crucial as the V60 unit itself is the X5 headset earbuds.  these little bad boys are truly incredible! 

So, what is so incredible about them? well lets look over some of the functions that they are capable of and don’t forget that while some of these features are found on other headsets, the size alone of the X5 in comparison is pretty impressive.

1. Invisio Bone Conduction Microphone

The INVISIO X5 ear buds feature TEA Headsets patented Bone Conduction Microphone. The microphone sits just above the soft foam tip and according to TEA, “Provides clear speech in high noise and the ability to be heard even at a whisper”.  

The Bone Conduction Microphone uses a small microphone that picks up vibrations from the users jawbone by way of the users inner ear.

2. Hear-Thru Microphone

The Invisio X5 ear phones feature hear-thru capability much like traditional hearing protection. the X5 system provides multi volume natural situational awareness as well as impulse noise protection ie. gunfire and other dangerous sound levels.

While we only tested the X5 earbuds, TEA offers a handful of different types including the X6 dual sided custom ear buds.

Other accessories:

TEA offers an abundant number of accessories for use with the V60 and X5 earbuds as well as many different mounting options.

The most popular accessories will probably be the wired and wireless remote PTTs and the auxiliary power supply.

The V60 unit itself can be mounted using molle, MALICE clips, alligator clip  or a universal plate for zip ties etc.

Field Notes:

So how did it work compared to the above stated capabilities? Well, let me, once again, preface my notes with the statement that I am by no means a comms SME.  I did however try to make sense of it all and will do my best to present my results.

Setup:

I set my V60 on my Raine Black standard plate carrier (read our review here) using the supplied molle clip. In addition to the V60 unit, I placed the included power supply on my kit which thankfully fit in a single molle loop.  

After installing the main V60 unit, I threaded the X5 earbuds through the molle under the rear velcro identifier and snaked it over and through the Raine Black plate carrier’s left shoulder strap and down to the V60.  

After arranging the proper sized earbuds, I attached the supplied radio cable to my radio and plugged it into one of the bottom plugs. Incidentally, I found that by switching inputs on the bottom of the V60 unit I could control which ear it would transmit through. I also attached my iPhone 6 and thankfully the audio plug fit even while using my Magpul iPhone 6 Field Case.

Finally, I attached the included MX80 wireless PTT to my rifle platform and decided it was time to test the system.

Notes on the X5 earbuds.  

The X5 earbuds are pretty nifty and when properly set up, performed quite well. Incidentally, proper set op of the X5 earbuds is crucial as at times they provided crystal clear audio and at other times they made me sound like I was speaking through a straw. The performance I experienced was always consistent with the X5 earbuds performing poorly or properly depending on the set up. This leads me to believe that it is paramount that they be properly fitted and tested before each mission and that the properly sized foam tips be employed.  To clarify, whenever I took the time to properly set up and test the X5 they worked as advertised, but they do need to pass a fit and sound comms check before each use as the system relies on bone conduction to achieve the desired quality.

The kit arrived with a healthy assortment of durable, foam ear pieces. I must have small ear canals as even the short/small foam tips seemed to big for me and, for me, comfort wasn’t on the same level as my standard listen only ear mic that i typically use.

The X5 earbuds did however provide perfect noise canceling and once I figured out that I could control the volume via the V60 unit, situational awareness was vastly improved.  

TEA has gone to great lengths to make the X5 both comfortable and stable while being subjected to high winds and aggressive movements etc. I still however, believe that departments and units that wish to make serious use of the V60 comms suite seriously consider the X6 custom moulded earbuds as they will most likely provide greater comfort and overall user acceptance of the system.

I did get some feedback from at least two aircrew members who relayed that rotor wash was not significant while transmitting with an arial platform close overhead which is a big plus!  

Also of consideration is the type of mission that you plan to use the V60.  TEA  has designed the entire system with high noise environments in mind which doesn’t exactly translate well to dismount patrol operations. TEA does however offer a multitude of headphone options and compatibility with current systems used in dismount operations which negates any criticism that I might have had.  

Criticisms:

I always cringe a little inside when it comes time to write about a products shortcomings. What might seem like a shortcoming to me may not in fact be relevant to another end user and its always important to not take yourself to seriously.  If I were to be completely honest, this system is way more than I would ever need and probably more technical than I am qualified to properly review.  In fact, it probably would have been better for me to review the Invisio M3 Patrol as that would have kept me within my lane so to speak. 

I do however feel capable of offering some constructive criticism on, one of my favorite components, the M80 wireless PTT.  The M80 is by far one of my favorite features of the V60 comms suite! Having the ability to wirelessly key one or two channels at a time without removing your hands from your weapon platform is truly convenient and safe.  However, while the M80 works well, it has a few shortcomings that could be improved!

The M80 mounts to a mil spec picatinny rail but requires the user to remove the included t-bolt and tiny nut first.  After removing the hardware, the user then must slide the M80 on to a rail as it is not direct attach compatible. This limits the number of mounting locations as using a standard M4-LE with A2 sights would force you to either remove your optics/PEQ and slide it from the rear of your flat top receiver towards your desired location on the hand guard or remove the hand guard altogether and slide the M80 on. 

The solution to the problem would be to integrate a clamp style attachment point that has been standardized in the accessory industry for years and wouldn’t add size to the already bulky unit.

Secondly, in line with the above, the mounting hardware is not secured to the M80 and can easily be lost while in storage as the retaining bolt moves freely through its channel. See images to make sense of all this.

To sum things up:

The Inviso V60 comms suite really is impressive and I highly recommend that it be considered as long as careful thought is put into which accessories and options are purchased according to your departments mission set.  There are some really nice features that the suite offers and small details like breakaway connectors for those moments when you dismount the bird without remembering to un-plug make a difference. 

I also believe that some of the suites other options such as discreet, wireless earphones/mics would be super useful for a handful of different scenarios.

Where to get it:

TEAheadsets.com

Don’t forget to tell them that you read it here first! 

Don’t forget to sign up for our Newsletter! It typically goes out about once a week and features links and other info you might have missed while running and gunning!
[mc4wp_form]