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Old 05-08-2011, 07:46 PM   #691
foul plug
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Any Autocom converts????

Ok, i like ALMOST everything I'm reading about this system but I've been spoiled by the quality of Autocom pro unit (old system). anyone a convert to the Sena units?

What I really like about Autocom is....
  • Auto volume (adjusts to ambient noise and is usally spot on)
  • SEAMLESS vox between rider/pillion. not a single letter of a word is missed.
  • vox sensitivity auto adjusts to ambiant noise
  • music muting (50%) with vox or GPS
  • aside from the helmet connection, no other "garbage" is visible on the outside of the helmet.
  • ability to use any 2 way (amateur) radio i choose (yes i saw the adaptor that is on the way for the sena)
but what i don't like is....
  • "brain" must be wired to all devices
  • BT connection to devices is a bit of after thought
  • brain must be moved from bike to bike (yes, I'm one of those guys)
So, is there an Autocom convert that would tell me their take on the Sena system in reference to the AC?

tnx!
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Old 05-09-2011, 06:44 AM   #692
worwig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foul plug View Post
Ok, i like ALMOST everything I'm reading about this system but I've been spoiled by the quality of Autocom pro unit (old system). anyone a convert to the Sena units?



What I really like about Autocom is....
  • Auto volume (adjusts to ambient noise and is usally spot on)
  • SEAMLESS vox between rider/pillion. not a single letter of a word is missed.
  • vox sensitivity auto adjusts to ambiant noise
  • music muting (50%) with vox or GPS
  • aside from the helmet connection, no other "garbage" is visible on the outside of the helmet.
  • ability to use any 2 way (amateur) radio i choose (yes i saw the adaptor that is on the way for the sena)
but what i don't like is....
  • "brain" must be wired to all devices
  • BT connection to devices is a bit of after thought
  • brain must be moved from bike to bike (yes, I'm one of those guys)
So, is there an Autocom convert that would tell me their take on the Sena system in reference to the AC?

tnx!
I had an Autocom Active Plus Duo on two bikes. Unlike you, with earplugs in, my Autocom was WAY too low in volume. It was a total failure for me because of the low volume.
So I converted to the Sena's.
It works, finally, I can hear my passenger, and my devices. WOW!
And the Sena system has that easy to adjust volume knob, a big plus for me.

But, compared to the Autocom, the VOX doesn't work very well. It takes a number of seconds to 'kick' on. You miss many seconds of conversation. It is almost better to manually switch it on with the press of the button, and wait for it to connect. You can leave the intercomm connected, but the will shorten battery life and keeps you from playing other bluetooth audio.
When any one channel is on, all other channels appear to be 100% off. So if the intercom is on, you don't get music/GPS etc. I believe the exception is an incoming phone call, but I don't really use the phone.
On long trips, you need a charger.

If you are happy with the Autocom system, then the Sena system may be a downgrade for you.
For me the Autocom system was a total fail due to the low volume, so I had to do something. The Sena addressed the low volume for me.

When I get off the bike, I still reach for that cable to unplug it.
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:10 AM   #693
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I had an Active Sport 7 on my bike.
I used to switch setup from Bike to Bike. It took 15 minutes to do that...and made switching bikes something I dreaded.

Most of my riding nowadays has been commuting, which can be up to 200 miles a day.

Everything Worwig said is true.

The Autocom does somethings a lot better:
Ability to listen to your music while intercom.
Share music between rider and pillion.
VOX between rider and pillion.
No need to charge on longer trips.

But like others, I only need to wear earplugs with the Sena because the volume is fantastic. For those that are having problems with volume, I can only imagine that it's due to general hearing loss or poor placement of the speakers. The speakers should be centered on the ear (as with the autocom) and nearly touching the ear for max volume.

I also understand the lack of desire to have an external box on your helmet. It makes it tight to get my helmet into my Givi bag.

However, the ability to remotely control my volume, answer incoming calls, and manage my music (play, pause, forward,etc) makes up for it.

If you don't have a windshield some say that the outside box can generate wind noise, but I can't say that it's bothered me - though I don't ride without a windshield often enough.

What the Sena has enabled me to do though is ditch my Zumo 550 for the most part and use my Droid X for most of needs (GPS, Music, Phone) without needing to touch the screen. (If your windshield is protective enough and you're going slow enough, you can use voice commands for much of what you need).

I have my Droid in a Ram box and I have my phone connected to a charger for my commute. At anything other than direct sunlight, it's enough to see the screen clearly. Strong daylight though washes out the screen.

With my autocom, getting on my bike was usually a longer process.
Plug in my in ear speakers, plug that into my helmet, plug my helmet to the bike. Plug in my phone to the autocom, plug my phone into the charger. Same for my wife... oops, she stepped on the cord and it came unplugged. wait, we can't go until she's plugged in.... waiting... waiting...

Nevermind once you're riding and then she moves and the autocom wire gets pulled under her leg and your head gets jerked back and then you're disconnected... again.

Sena...
put in earplugs. don Helmet. drop phone in charger and go.

Plus, I don't feel the weight of the Sena, while I always felt like there was a weight to the Autocom wire pulling on the side of my head.

sure, there are things I would like to see improved on the Sena, but I'm very happy so far. Plus, I never had a way to connect to my riding friends, but at least with the Sena (if they're on the Sena) I can.





Quote:
Originally Posted by worwig View Post
I had an Autocom Active Plus Duo on two bikes. Unlike you, with earplugs in, my Autocom was WAY too low in volume. It was a total failure for me because of the low volume.
So I converted to the Sena's.
It works, finally, I can hear my passenger, and my devices. WOW!
And the Sena system has that easy to adjust volume knob, a big plus for me.

But, compared to the Autocom, the VOX doesn't work very well. It takes a number of seconds to 'kick' on. You miss many seconds of conversation. It is almost better to manually switch it on with the press of the button, and wait for it to connect. You can leave the intercomm connected, but the will shorten battery life and keeps you from playing other bluetooth audio.
When any one channel is on, all other channels appear to be 100% off. So if the intercom is on, you don't get music/GPS etc. I believe the exception is an incoming phone call, but I don't really use the phone.
On long trips, you need a charger.

If you are happy with the Autocom system, then the Sena system may be a downgrade for you.
For me the Autocom system was a total fail due to the low volume, so I had to do something. The Sena addressed the low volume for me.

When I get off the bike, I still reach for that cable to unplug it.
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:26 AM   #694
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I'm interested in getting the Sena SMH10 and found this thread before posting. I've read over the 15 most recent pages and I'm trying to sum up what I think you guys have established. Let me know if this sounds right?

1. There is a forum member named "Rocket Dog" that sells these to members here cheaper than you can buy them on the net. (Not sure of the price?)

2. You are better off buying a set (2 of them in one package) of Sena SMH-10 because it's cheaper that way.

3. The Sena SMH-10 seems the headset of choice by most people here.

4. When connecting the Sena to things like a Garmin Zumo 665 GPS or an iPod, some of you have experienced sound quality issues (due to the Zumo or iPhone). One way to work around that is by purchasing a seperate Bluetooth transmitter connected through the 3.5mm stereo plug output.
4a. Note: This would NOT work if you are pairing an iPhone through a Zumo and want to use the phone functionality because the Zumo isn't paired directly to the iPhone...just the aux transmitter.

5. I called Garmin just now to clear some other things up:
5a. Some people here have said that you can't transmit Bluetooth to your Sena SMH-10 while downloading XM radio stations from your Garmin Zumo 665?? Garmin said that you should be able to simultaneously download XM radio, then transmit that music through Bluetooth to any paired device as long as you have the latest Bluetooth A2DP. (Not sure what the latest Bluetooth would have to do with it?) Regardless, you can always use an Aux Bluetooth transmitter plugged into the 3.5mm stereo plug out of the Garmin.
5b. Checking both Sena and Garmin's website. The correct pairing when using an iPhone (that you want as a phone and MP3 player), with a Sena SMH-10 and Garmin Zumo 665 is this: iPhone -> Zumo, Zumo -> Sena SMH-10. This way, your Garmin acts as a communication center and all calls and music get routed on screen.
5b1. Note: You most likely can't stream live Pandora music from your iPhone through the Zumo, only phone calls. (Even Garmin didn't know) The Zumo only plays MP3s from it's internal memory.

6. Somone said that there is a "switch" you can buy to go on your handlebars that could change songs on your iPhone and skip to the next song? Nobody replied to that but that sounds good if you just want to pair an iPhone to a Sena SMH-10!

7. Powering all this stuff up is a whole different problem:
7a. There are iPhone chargers for your motorcycle: http://www.powerlet.com/product/appl...ging-cable/420 You can purchase a mount for your iPhone as well and have it mounted, powered, waterproof, and paired to your Zumo or Headset!
7b. The Garmin Zumo 665 can be wired directly to the CANBUS so it is only powered when the Bike is on. (Just like your car) Some people have complained that the head unit itself still draws power even if the Garmin is off? A simple quick-disconnect spliced into the hard wire would fix that problem so you can physically disconnect the cable when the bike is in storage.
7c. You can possibly recharge the Sena SMH-10 headset batteries if you hook up a charging station to your bike. I'm not sure if a inverter would be needed or if you could wire in some sort of connection?
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:56 PM   #695
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I'm interested in getting the Sena SMH10 and found this thread before posting. I've read over the 15 most recent pages and I'm trying to sum up what I think you guys have established. Let me know if this sounds right?

1. There is a forum member named "Rocket Dog" that sells these to members here cheaper than you can buy them on the net. (Not sure of the price?)

Ans...yes-call for quote

2. You are better off buying a set (2 of them in one package) of Sena SMH-10 because it's cheaper that way.

Ans...yes- a pair is not 2x the price of one and if you have a pillion or want
to do bike to bike you will need two.

3. The Sena SMH-10 seems the headset of choice by most people here.

Ans...I love my two-your millage may vary.

4. When connecting the Sena to things like a Garmin Zumo 665 GPS or an iPod, some of you have experienced sound quality issues (due to the Zumo or iPhone). One way to work around that is by purchasing a seperate Bluetooth transmitter connected through the 3.5mm stereo plug output.

Ans...This applies to the Zumo 550 which had a mono bluetooth connection
to the headset. The fix was to use an external stereo bluetooth
transmitter that plugged in as you say. the Zumo 665 has a stereo
connection so this is not required.

4a. Note: This would NOT work if you are pairing an iPhone through a Zumo and want to use the phone functionality because the Zumo isn't paired directly to the iPhone...just the aux transmitter.

Ans...The Zumo's have two bluetooth channels. One pairs with the phone
and the other with the Sena. If you want to control the phone
(phone directory, etc.) with the Zumo, you have to pair the phone
with the Zumo and not with the Sena. I.E. phone>zumo .. zumo>Sena


5. I called Garmin just now to clear some other things up:
5a. Some people here have said that you can't transmit Bluetooth to your Sena SMH-10 while downloading XM radio stations from your Garmin Zumo 665?? Garmin said that you should be able to simultaneously download XM radio, then transmit that music through Bluetooth to any paired device as long as you have the latest Bluetooth A2DP. (Not sure what the latest Bluetooth would have to do with it?) Regardless, you can always use an Aux Bluetooth transmitter plugged into the 3.5mm stereo plug out of the Garmin.

Ans...The XM receiver/antenna connects via a hardwire to the Zumo. It acts as a controller/display for XM. The audio from it goes out via the 3.5
connector and via bluetooth....exactly like the Zumo mp3 player audio. If you want stereo on the zumo 550...as above...you need the aux bluetooth
adapter plugged into the 3.5 port and paired with Sena.

5b. Checking both Sena and Garmin's website. The correct pairing when using an iPhone (that you want as a phone and MP3 player), with a Sena SMH-10 and Garmin Zumo 665 is this: iPhone -> Zumo, Zumo -> Sena SMH-10. This way, your Garmin acts as a communication center and all calls and music get routed on screen.

Ans...You cannot route music from the iphone..or any phone...through the
Zumo. The only audio that will route through the Zumo is the phone
audio and then only if it is paired with the Zumo. If you want to hear
the phone music, you have to pair it directly with the Sena, but then
you give up the ability to control the phone with the Zumo.

5b1. Note: You most likely can't stream live Pandora music from your iPhone through the Zumo, only phone calls. (Even Garmin didn't know) The Zumo only plays MP3s from it's internal memory.

Ans...Correct, as explained above. Also, XM and Audible books from
memory.

6. Somone said that there is a "switch" you can buy to go on your handlebars that could change songs on your iPhone and skip to the next song? Nobody replied to that but that sounds good if you just want to pair an iPhone to a Sena SMH-10!

Ans...I don't have an iphone, but I think the Sena will change tracks by
pressing the large button, and turning it one way for forward and the
other for back...but only if paired directly with the phone.

7. Powering all this stuff up is a whole different problem:
7a. There are iPhone chargers for your motorcycle: http://www.powerlet.com/product/appl...ging-cable/420 You can purchase a mount for your iPhone as well and have it mounted, powered, waterproof, and paired to your Zumo or Headset!

Ans...Don't know the charging arrangement for the iphone.

7b. The Garmin Zumo 665 can be wired directly to the CANBUS so it is only powered when the Bike is on. (Just like your car) Some people have complained that the head unit itself still draws power even if the Garmin is off? A simple quick-disconnect spliced into the hard wire would fix that problem so you can physically disconnect the cable when the bike is in storage.

Ans...The Zumo draws negligible current when off...microamps. It will turn
off automatically when bike power is removed if you wire it to
a switched power source.

7c. You can possibly recharge the Sena SMH-10 headset batteries if you hook up a charging station to your bike. I'm not sure if a inverter would be needed or if you could wire in some sort of connection?

Ans...The Sena charges off a 5 volt supply. The easiest way to charge it is
to get one of the available 12volt to 5volt adapters meant to plug
into a cig plug. Their output is a USB connector..or several..that will
connect to the charging cable supplied with the Sena. If you get one
with several outputs, it will charge both Senas and probably the
Iphone too.

Jim
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:50 PM   #696
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Thanks for confirming all that Jim (Old School).
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Old 05-10-2011, 01:45 PM   #697
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Thumb Sena SMH10's now have a **2 year Warranty**

Just got word from our Sena rep... Effective immediately, all new - and get this - previous Sena SMH10 headset purchases have a two year from date of purchase Sena factory warranty.

Sena believes so strongly in their product that they are moving to a two year warranty period and if you've purchased previously, your warranty is automatically extended for an extra year.

Now - Howza 'bout that?
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Old 05-10-2011, 02:03 PM   #698
The Yeti
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That's awesome Adam! Mine should be here tomorrow!!
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Old 05-10-2011, 02:09 PM   #699
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Quote:
anyone a convert to the Sena units?
Yes. Look at my profile to see the posts I've made comparing them.

In summary, I would take the Autocom in a heartbeat if cost was no object. I'd have one installed on every bike and pay someone else to wire everything up, including all the ground loop isolation they require. I got an estimate of around $1400 per bike. Just buying the parts is around $700 per bike. After doing a few bikes, I could buy another bike with the savings.

So, being that I'm not independently wealthy, I think the Sena is a reasonable compromise for being so inexpensive. The intercom is far from seamless, requiring a button press, and totally interrupting everything else. It also isn't smart enough to pause a podcast during intercom (but neither does the Autocom of course).

Quote:
Somone said that there is a "switch" you can buy to go on your handlebars that could change songs on your iPhone and skip to the next song? Nobody replied to that but that sounds good if you just want to pair an iPhone to a Sena SMH-10!
I built that. I haven't seen one for sale. Here is a thread with pics and details on my build: http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58843

Quote:
You can possibly recharge the Sena SMH-10 headset batteries if you hook up a charging station to your bike. I'm not sure if a inverter would be needed or if you could wire in some sort of connection?
Just use the included 12v automotive charger.
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Old 05-10-2011, 02:11 PM   #700
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Oh, if I owned a single bike, and planned to keep it that way, it would be the Autocom for sure! But with two in the stable and more planned, and two riders, plus one rider being a passenger sometimes, and one other passenger, it was getting too expensive/complex to manage the Autocom.
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:25 PM   #701
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RocketMoto

I've been lurking here for a couple of years off and on. Decided I would finally jump in.

A few weeks ago I bought a '96 R1100RT that has some sort of communication system but no headsets. I even got in touch with the previous owner (I am #3), but he never used it and it was on the bike when he got it.

After a bunch of local shops and postings on another forum, I eventually got in touch with Adam at RocketMoto. What a blessing.

Adam has spent a couple of hours on the phone, numerous emails, attached pdf files, reviewed photos I sent of the unknown com system. No one has been able to identify this thing. No markings, one lablel with a six-digit number. That's it.

He has educated me on Autocom, Starcom1 and Sena.

All without having sold me anything.

Yet.

I think I have settled on the Sena system. And without a doubt, RocketMoto will be where I get it.

Adam is one in a billion.
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Old 05-13-2011, 05:36 PM   #702
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I am an Autocom convert, though I still have my Autocom gear, just in case.

Since most of my riding is solo (commuting) I have not yet tried the intercom functions yet. My gut feeling is that the Autocom is better as an intercom simply because of the fact that you can talk to each other and listen to music/GPS at the same time. In fact, the main reason I bought my Autocom about 7 or 8 years ago was for 2 up riding. I never really used it solo, it was too much of a pain in the ass to connect all the cables on a daily basis (connect & disconnect four times a day).

Without a doubt, if you are a solo rider, the Sena is the balls. I've used it every day since I got it about 5 or 6 weeks ago (possibly even longer). I only use the earbud clamp, the added noise reduction with my earbuds is incredible. In fact, I was just telling someone at work today that when I take off the earbuds for a quick jaunt (like when I stop at a store on the ride home) and ride without them, my bike is pretty loud.

I simply love the Sena for solo riding. It paired with my iPhone on the first try. I have made numerous phone calls (and received numerous calls) while riding, something I only did once with my Autocom. We've been doing a lot of work at our house and I have been coordinating the subs via cellphone from my bike while riding, making use of the time that I am on the bike.

The SR10 unit is due out next month and I am on the list to call for one (not sure if I will be able to get one, that is one long list). It will allow me to use my Ham Radio on the bike as well.

Battery life is great, I charge it once a week, my rides are getting longer and longer, so I think I get about 6 or 7 hours of riding before I charge. So far, I have not had any problems with low battery.

In the coming month, I should be riding 2 up with the wife and kids so I will know more about the 2up abilities of this thing. I am keeping the bar pretty low. My wife & kids are used to the Autocom, this will be a bit of a shock to them ;-)
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:54 PM   #703
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Yes, the one audio stream at a time is a bit disappointing, but not a deal breaker.

I rode to the coast this past weekend. The intercom was on VOX, if that matters. It had my phone paired using Trapster with occasional voice commands. Six hours over, and ten hours back (highway over, back roads back). Never did charge the battery. So more then 16 hours of operation.
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:41 PM   #704
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Quote:
Originally Posted by worwig View Post
Yes, the one audio stream at a time is a bit disappointing, but not a deal breaker.
That little 'feature' may be considered a plus by some...myself included. Personally, I think it's great that my wife can listen to her 'wifey' music, and I can continue to listen to my Metallica/Pantera/Anthrax without complaint.
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Old 05-14-2011, 05:53 AM   #705
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Just a few comments on the Autocom/Sena comparison. I've had an Autocom system on my bike since 2007. It has worked flawlessly. I have always used it with earbuds (I cut off the helmet speakers). The main purpose in getting the Autocom was to talk to my wife (pillion) and to hear GPS commands. It handles those functions with ease. The VOX works very well, every time. I have, from time to time, used my iPod with it. That works well also. I have never used a phone with it, nor bike-to-bike. The downside was that my wife would have to plug in her helmet lead after getting on the pillion seat and that was sometimes a bit of a challenge as she fumbled for the lead coming out from under the seat and then I'd get this god awful crackling sound in my ears as she mated the two plugs (lead from bike to lead from helmet). The reason we decided to give Sena a try was that my wife needed a new helmet and we didn't necessarily want to go through the bother of re-installing her Autocom headset on the new helmet. In the end we both bought new helmets and mounted the Sena clamp units on them (I bought the optional earbud clamp unit and use it). Installation was pretty easy, and we don't notice any weight at all, in fact we really don't notice they're there. As for appearance, I think they look bigger on the helmet in pictures than they do in real life. As to performance, they're easy to use, and obviously no wires to fuss with whatsoever. The voice quality is pretty good and the volume control is a breeze (no such ability with the Autocom). The downside of the Sena when using intercom to speak to a passenger is that the VOX really does not work. It doesn't work poorly; it is pretty much hopeless (and yes, I have it set properly). You can yell all you want and it will not turn on. If you do somehow manage to get it to turn on, it will shut itself off automatically (after about 15 secs), even if you're still talking. I asked a friend with a Cardo system how his VOX worked and he said he had to leave his, and his wife's, system on constantly. With the Sena, we tried leaving the intercom disengaged until we wanted to talk, then one of us would tap the jog dial to engage it. That works -- in a way -- but it takes severals seconds before the systems engage and you can communicate with a passenger, and vice versa. That makes it impossible for your passenger to warn you about a traffic hazard, e.g., a deer on the side of the road. The only option is to leave the two units continuously engaged. I'm not sure what this means for daily battery life during long trips (and we do a lot of long-distance riding). Charging at night is not an issue, it's whether they'll last all day. The other downside to this arrangement is, given I use earbuds, I can hear every little "noise" and there is a continuous "sound" when they're engaged. I don't think you'd hear this with helmet speakers. I don't use the Sena for any other functions at this pint (my GPS is not Bluetooth capable; I don't really care that much about music on the go, and I don't use it with my phone. I did try it with my phone while indoors, and somewhat like the VOX function, I didn't find it worked very well in any event.

In summary, to me the only advantage to the Sena over the Autocom is simplicity and lack of wires (and perhaps cost). In terms of actual sound quality/performance, the Autocom is miles ahead. The most frustrating/disappointing aspect of the Sena is its utterly useless VOX function. In that respect, it does not perform as advertised at all.

The Autocom is still installed on my bike and I have one helmet that's still Autocom capable. I'll use it on solo trips to hear my GPS commands (and possibly my iPod). We'll use Sena when two-up, since my wife's new helmet is obviously not equipped with an Autocom headset.

Finally, I did speak to Adam at RocketMoto about the VOX. He did not have much to offer, and reading between the lines, I interpreted what he said as meaning that it's as good as it gets with the VOX. I have not spoken directly with Sena.
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