Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Vancouver Canada
Rider Communications - Advanced Class
Having ridden with Comm systems since the SMH10 was launched by SENA a decade ago, myself and my nerdy riding buddies have been pushing the limits of these things, especially since we all switched to CARDO Packtak Bolds.
We all run radar detectors, and each of us have found our own solutions for "radar alerts in our helmets". I am sticking with my H.A.R.D. system, and they have rigged up BT transmitters that pair with their CARDOs, however, they lose the feature of listening to music while talking. I like music too much while riding. We even spent an afternoon with a shit-load of different cabling, splitters sending/receiving units to find a way to achieve getting 5 sources of media in our helmets. Trust me, these guys are way smarter than me and both are audio nerds and one owns his own IT company.
In the end, the only solution was a BT transmitter for radar for them (they give up music) and the H.A.R.D, system for me. We have even looked at industrial MESH technology, radios, everything short of talking to the US military to find a better solution. While the CARDO is superior to SENA in many ways, we all still miss the big dial of the SMH10, but we have all burned an SMH10 on trips when they get wet (not waterproof). The tiny button on the CARDO is a big design fail.
Now I am at a crossroads. At 55 my hearing tests reveal that I have "normal hearing loss for my age", which basically means I lose out on some higher frequencies. "Hear that bird chirp?"......Me: "Um, No". I have been using custom molded In-Ear monitors with Dual drivers for 7 years. They offer excellent fidelity and Noise Reduction. Unfortunately, on long 12 hour day rides my ears are sore as hell from putting the helmet on and off (mostly off as the plugs tend to rip out of my ears).
One fellow rider swears by cheap foam earplugs and speakers, but he doesn't listen to music, just comms. So off I go last week to find a more comfortable solution.
On my desk, standard CARDO speakers, the new JBL speakers, IASUS XSound speakers, Pulse Speakers and and the ones from UClear. I also have 3 different in-line amps with various specs, etc...........I spend a full day doing 80mph burns down the highway testing various configurations, amp settings, music profile settings, different speaker placements, with and without foam ear plugs.
Can I hear a buddy talk? Yes, but I'm straining to hear him. Music? Yeah, it's "there" but at 80-100mph, it is so muted, I'm not enjoying it. Helmet is an RF1200 and a GT-Air.
I get a set of Etymotic ER3XR earphones mated with COMPLY's foam ear tips, and a set of PlugFones (cheap). Both work amazing, don't need an amp (neither do my $300 custom molded in-ear monitors), but the Etymotics do begin to hurt after 6 hours of riding and the Plugphones broke easily when changing the flange tips to their foam tips, sent them back. Other earphones I tried were:
MAXROCK Sleep Earphones
MEE Audio Sport F1-M6 Earphones
90% of the people I have asked for advice, or read their reviews about helmet speakers are basically city riders or speed limit riders. Zero value for me there. Or they are 25 years old and have no clue how windnoise will affect their hearing in 20 years.
I refuse to give up on my quest for comfortable all day hearing protection (Foamies) and speakers.
So...........CALLING ALL AUDIO nerds. What do you know that you can share about helmet speakers?
Also, is there anything from NASA or the Military that can be adapted for bike to bike communications and audio? I'm at a point where I may just fire up a company to develop a proper comms system.