Cardo Scala Rider G4 vs Sena SMH10 vs Interphone F4

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Dust_, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. Dust_

    Dust_ Adventure Dreamer

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    I know there are seperate threads about these intercoms, but I really wanted was for you to share your experience and to advise me to which was the best FOR ME.

    I want an intercom that wil be used for rider/pillion conversations, I'm not really into group riding. This is the fundamental point! other thing I couldn't get the answer was, will I be able to listen to music AND (whenever I want) talk to the pillion?

    Can the 2 of us listen to the same music from the same Iphone? or does it have to be different mp3 players?

    Finally, of the 3, which is the best? I'm inclined to the scala rider but webbikeworld.com rates sena better than the scala and say it is a little low and has a lot of problems.

    Basically I'll do part of the use in SOLO riding, so a really bit plus is SOUND. The better, the happier I'll be. When 2 up, I'll want to talk to the pillion and, if we get bored, listen to some music.


    Any advice for my particular helmet? (Shoei X-spirit or X-11 in the usa)

    What do you recon?

    Thank you =)
    #1
  2. cognosticator

    cognosticator Long timer

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    I have had both the G4 and now the Sena.

    You cannot both listen to the same music source by bluetooth.

    You can listen to music and the intercom will overide the music.

    I like the Sena better than the G4 because it is more user friendly, has good range and is loud and clear. My wife listens to her own mp3 player and I listen to my mp3 from my Zumo 660 but when we need to talk we can.

    I have no experience with the interphone so I cannot comment on it.

    I have mine mounted to a Shoei Multitec and her helmet is a Scorpion 700.
    #2
  3. Dust_

    Dust_ Adventure Dreamer

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    and how about sound quality? is the sena superior? or are they similar?
    #3
  4. Todd34

    Todd34 Toubab

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    I have a G4 and just switched to the Sena because I wanted to use earbuds without having to do surgery on the G4. I also switched because after not
    riding all winter, I couldn't figure out how to use the G4 the way I wanted without the damn manual! And the buttons are an issue with heavy gloves.

    Todd
    #4
  5. marcing

    marcing Adventurer

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    Hi all,
    This is good topic and I hope someone will help me with my choice.
    I need to buy an intercom. Two of my friends are using Interphone F4, but I personally would go into Scala Rider G4 and now I have a problem. The G4 has good feedbacks but can I pair it with Interphone F4 ?
    Or does all intercoms system work only inside the same brand ?
    If yes, it looks I have no choice and if I want to connect to my friends I must buy Interphone F4, but will it allow me to connect as the 3rd device to two other to chat between three bikers at the same time ?

    Regards, Marcin.
    #5
  6. eddie98

    eddie98 Been here awhile

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    I have the sena dual set and having some issues wit it. The response time to activate the Vox is almost 4 secs and when I want to warn my girlfriend about something on the road that is just to long. Also having some issues with system volume. Not really satisfied 100% with them right now
    #6
  7. Simplyred

    Simplyred Adventure is a State of Mind.

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    Yeah well, VOX response does not operate well with ANY of the current products on the market. I have the Cardo G4 which is also a real pain regarding vox responsiveness.
    #7
  8. eddie98

    eddie98 Been here awhile

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    Our old Q2's had better response, about 1 sec but no more than 2.
    #8
  9. jmanz6

    jmanz6 Been here awhile

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    I have the Sena and I really like it. My wife and I use it for rider to rider intercom and I use it when riding solo for MP3 and phone. It's plenty loud and will about blow me out of the helmet if I turn it up. As far as connecting to other brands, that doesn't work for any of them. The only commonality they all have is they use Bluetooth for the connection, after that it's all proprietary between the brands. You can't pair with a different brand, period.

    The Vox delay is bad on the Sena, but we dont use it and the PTT is about a 1-2 second delay. I did have to send my first set of Sena's back under warranty due to pairing issues. They replaced them with no problem and I was back up and going. Haven't had any issues with this set. Battery life on the Sena is very good. We have been out on a day long ride with the intercom open the entire time and the battery lasted the whole ride, no issue. It was approximately a 6-7 hr ride.
    #9
  10. MCML

    MCML Adventurer

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    #10
  11. Simplyred

    Simplyred Adventure is a State of Mind.

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    Yeah, well they gave the Cardo G4 System (just to name an example) 10 oout of 11 points, which stands for: outstanding to excellent......

    Probably they did not read all the real life users comments here that rate that user friendlyness as rather poor and most of all unsatisfactory!

    Someone here is an idiot. Let us just assume it is me and not WebBikeWorld.

    Then again, I do not have to earn my daily bread in keeping good relationships with manufacturers.

    The intercom gets also 10 out of 11. What a truckload of crap. I have never ever read so many complaints about the VOX initialization.

    These kind of "reviews" are not in the best interest of us customers. We need something objective. A reviewer who can be trusted to base his opinions on clearly proven facts and standards and not just any man's opinion. Any reviewer you can take seriously should not have ANY relationship with the manufacturer he is reviewing from. NONE at all.

    These reviews are interesting reading for times where there is nothing else to do. That's it.
    #11
  12. jmanz6

    jmanz6 Been here awhile

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    As with anything, you have to do as much research as you can. I read the reviews, read the user comments, actually talk to people that have the item, even ask the dealer that sells them - if you trust them. My local dealer sells the Scala system and he says they do work pretty well. He has only had a few complaints and a few warranty returns. Another dealer sells the Sena system and said the same thing - they work pretty well for most people and they too have only had a few warranty returns. I mainly went with the Sena system because it was easier to operate, had stereo signal for my MP3 player (Scala didn't offer it at the time), an I found a good deal on a dual set thru the group buy here on ADVrider.
    #12
  13. Simplyred

    Simplyred Adventure is a State of Mind.

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    I hear you. But that sort of makes my point: "they do work pretty well". If you have to base your purchase decision on such statements you are buying in the blind..... aren't you?
    I always ask myself: How would he know? Does he use them himself? Or does he simply not care WHAT you buy if only you buy WHATEVER you buy with HIM? "Pretty well" says nothing. You may expect ANY product that you buy does work "pretty well". When you look closer at it, "pretty well" is not good enough. It should work flawlessly. Which of course no product does. So the point is to get to understand WHICH claims of the product are TRUE (verifiable) and which are NOT.
    I find forums like this one the best option to hear from inmates here how they think the product is holding up in real life. Although sometimes that is colored info as well since it is difficult to say you made the wrong decision in purchasing a product that does not function well.
    Most of the time however you get good feedback from fellow forum members who own and use the product.

    What strikes me is that several people who owned the G4 got rid of them and instead bought the Sena device. Such behavior tells us something. It tells, that those users are beyond "complaining" (which does not help anyway, so the fact that dealers have only little complaints also absolutely says nothing: who complains with their dealer that the vox does not work as advertised? Still it doesn't.) and decided for themselves that they see no future in holding to the G4 and tried the competitive product instead.
    That is objective feedback that nobody of the dealers is going to tell you, simply because they do not know, and they are not interested in it as well. As long as you buy it, nobody gives a crap about what you do with the product and whether you are satisfied with it or not. A big mistake which is going to cost you customers in the end. In my opinion, ANY manufacturer should have close contact with his customers from time to time to check whether the product is holding up to expectations, in order to understand what needs to change. Cardo has NEVER EVER contacted me to hear from me what my experiences with the system is. Stupid. They have my info since I registered as a customer. How stupid can you be to not stay in touch with your customers? Pretty arrogant and plain stupid if you ask me?
    This also goes for the dealership. They too have something to learn from my personal (or any customers personal) experience with almost any expensive product they have sold them. But no dealer gives a crap either whether you use the product with pleasure, or have thrown it in the bin 5 minutes after unpacking. They are completely busy counting your dollars then....

    If dealers are participating in threads, you often see them backing out of it as soon as the conversation gets heated up with arguments and facts that are hard to impossible to refute. You should expect someone to say: "That is a good question, and you could be right. I will take this to the manufacturer for an answer and get back to you shortly". Instead, they just leave the thread and never return. Weak.
    #13
  14. bsquarewi

    bsquarewi wee-nie

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    Based on your order of requirements, you may want to take a look at the Chatterbox XBI. I believe it has the ability to have both rider/pillion stream from the same MP3 source. Less expensive than the other brands you listed here as well. Great mic.

    The XBI's weak point (IMHO) is that it does not auto reconnect to a bluetooth phone. You have to manually initiate the connection each time you turn it on by hitting the redial button on the headset. On some phones this litterally redials the last number. The other headsets on the market (the ones you listed) all search out and connect to their paired phones when they are turned on. Other than this flaw, the XBI is a very good headset. I thought it has a great mic and was clear, but that flaw was enough for me to return it because it did not work well with my phone at the time.

    It did, however, auto connect to my mp3 player when turned on, just not the phone. Not sure how it would work with an iPhone being both MP3 and phone. It may work.
    #14
  15. twinrider

    twinrider pass the catnip

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    Err yes, I understand...:uhoh

    I went for the SMH10 based on the very positive reviews and the killer price in the vendor forum.
    #15
  16. ShimrMoon

    ShimrMoon Been here awhile

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    Rider magazines' newest issue has a comparo of 5 different systems. Of all of them the only 2 that stand out as possibilities are the Sena and the over priced J&M system. BTW, the Sena dual set can be had for about $260.00 from www.mrhit.com (actually, they must have discontinued the dual set cause one single set is listed at 164.00)

    I have used the Sena for about 8 months now and although not perfect, it's pretty good for what I want it to do. Which is go completely wireless...

    I wear earplugs when I ride and the volume is pretty good. Good enough to get past the plugs. The charge does last a full day of riding. Good bike to bike comm. All I use it for is bluetooth MP3 music, talking to my passenger/wife and bike to bike with a riding buddy. I don't give a rats ass for talking on the phone when I'm riding. In fact, I don't have it paired with my phone, period. Overall, I'm happy with it.
    #16
  17. Joker_-_

    Joker_-_ 2002 BMW R1150GSA

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    I sold my Cardo ScalaRiders last fall in order to buy Senas. I didn't swapped because I hated the product or was "unsatisfied" to the point of loosing that much money. There was options that weren't working as advertised or at least, as I would have expected, but the main reason is because Sena let's group-chat (since last month) with 2 other riders, and they're supposed to release a new firmware by next month wich will give the possibility of adding an other member to the conference. I was looking exactly for that, as I am mostly riding in group. I havent received the Senas nor have I tried theses features they promise, but first things first, here's what I tought about the Scala Rider Q2 Multiset I had with my girlfriend (we tested it during 2 years, for somewhere around 50 000km):

    Problems / Things I hated

    1 - Volume is too low.
    It's not THAT low, but it's too low for me. My girlfriend was absolutely fine with it, she wasn't even putting the volume all the way up. I might have placed the speakers a bit too far from my ears aswell, I don't think so but we could argue on this. IMO, it's not that hard to add some more power so this shouldn't have a been a big issue to begin with. Music was working fine, but again, way too low. I bought a small amp to boost the sound, still too low, it just added distortion. The speakers are probably (too) cheap.

    2 - Pairing with stuff is overly complicated.
    It ends up working, most of the time, but it's a hell of a trick to pair things with theses. Plus, you've got a different procedure to pair with your other scalarider. If it was simply: push the button here and wait 5 seconds" or something like that, I wouldn't complain, but it's way more complicated that this, it works once in a while so you never know if you did the thing correctly or not. Once it's paired, it sometimes loose it's connection (with other bluetooth stuff, not between the two scala-riders tho). I could pair mine with my tomtom rider GPS ONCE. It lost connection and couldn't ever get that connexion to work again, even if I have reset both the GPS and my Scala Rider. Worked flawlessly with my phone tho, people could ear me fine. Voice recognition was a pain in the neck tho, but that's probably my phone's fault (Nexus One). Anyway, that's an other story/point. Finally, you donT' always have your manual (wich is useless since the pairing sequence isn't right in there. I had to follow a procedure suggested on a forum for pairing to work!) to pair with someone else who has the same stuff you have. I sometimes work as a security patrol for bicycle races and an other member of our team had a Scala Rider. We tought we'd pair them so we could talk easyly together. Took us over 15 minutes, resetting our devices and trying again. We finally gave up. This just plainly sucks! I think this probblem has been corrected in the G4 version, but I can't tell as I haven't tryed them.

    3 - Fm Radio and MP3 jack are jokes.
    The FM readio works. But it's just unable to pick a signal properly. Yes, my speakers cable was installed correctly (I even went to the shop to have them check if there was a problem with it. They plainly admitted the FM radio was weak and that many customers complained about that. G4s must have corrected that aswell with their antenna? As for changin channels, again with the overly complicated sequence of using the same button for a thousand things. It's not "THAT" complicated, you can program it and all, but seriously, there's an engegeering flaw there IMO. The MP3 jack is borderline a fraud. The sound is very, very low. Besides, it's not even stereo. Never been able to use it, mainly because of the low volume mentionned before.

    What I liked / Worked

    1 - They do work!

    For their main usage, under "normal" condition (riding with my girlfriend in "always on" mode), they work flawlessly, for hours. The range is good, sound quality is good (voice is crisp, you don't have to repeat often), the whole experience is very nice. I tryed the other "wired" options before (with CB radio) and it was hell of a pain. This solution just works. It's the "pluses" that don't!

    2 - They are waterproof

    I took many, many showers on my bike. I can recall last summer, somewhere in the middle of august, I had to get to an even early in the morning so I went the night before after lunch. They announced high risks of big storms and all, but I tought it'd be your common every month's big storm. Boy was I in for a ride! I can say all I had on board has been tested for "water-resistance". I have a BMW jacket/pants with gore-tex supposendly 100% waterprooof, a GiantLoop supposedly entirely waterproof (they even throw one in a lake in some review I saw), BMW Boots that ARE actually waterproof and well, other stuff but my ScalaRider worked all the way, providing me with some low volume music all the ride, even when I stopped under some brige to empty my sleeves and take a deep breath! So yeah, they are waterproof. Not the nearly 2k$ BMW suit tho :p

    3 - They are built to last
    Not much to say other that that. They're sturdy and they hold well on the helmet. My helmet fell much more than once, and much more than once it fell straight on the Scala Rider. After two years, it had a few marks of use, but nothing more. I sold em to an other couple and they're very satisfied with them as well.


    Conclusion: I liked my Cardo Scala Rider Multiset.
    In the end, I liked my Scala Rider Q2 Mutiset because it worked for what I wanted the most, being in communication with my girfriend wich was new to motorcycling. It helped a lot, be it in New York when changing 6 lanes to take an exit, or simply to talk about how something is nice over there. I think the other options were "nice to have", but sadly, they became: "Wouldn't it be nice to have". They created needs with theses options, but failed to deliver and in the end, we juge them more on theses flaws than the main purpose of the thing: They work, they're built like a tank, they're waterproof and the battery lasts forever*(YMMV!)

    Ill let you know what's up with the Sena once I get em, in a week or so, thanks to RocketMoto's group buy over here!
    #17
  18. Simplyred

    Simplyred Adventure is a State of Mind.

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    Products innovate quicly. Cardo Systems already has the G4 and will even soon be launching the G9 for that matter.
    Comparing the Q2 with equally old other systems does not seem very helpful.

    However, the FM Radio in the G4 still sucks. I and guess when there will be an FM Radio in the G9 it will also suck, just because those small devices lack a proper antenna. A bluetooth connection to a frame mounted antenna could solve this but I do not see that coming soon.

    The G9 is said to have many new group bluetooth capabilities and would have been just the device for you me thinks.
    #18
  19. OkieTom

    OkieTom Been here awhile

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    I have a Zumo 665, HTC Evo 4G and Caro G4. I had problems at first but Cardo replaced the headset and now everything works great. The sound quality is excellent and when the speakers are positioned correctly the volume is plenty loud. The phone function also works very well and is one of the features that I really like. really can't say anything about the FM radio because I always either listen to my mp3 or XM radio. All in all I am quite satisfied, hope that helped....
    #19
  20. greybeard146

    greybeard146 Been here awhile

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    Recently, me and a good buddy did a quick spin around the UK (if interested, see link below)...and one of the things we most wanted was to have good on-the-bike comms, preferably, wireless, i.e., bluetooth operated. Given that, we opted for the Interphone F4 dual set which we purchased from a reputable source. They were pricey - GBP400+ but as time was short, we opted to buy them anyway...Safety First being the rule.

    Long story short: they worked fabulously for about the first day of usage...and were as clear as can be up to 1 km or more apart, when an audible warning alarm sounded, and as soon as the distance was decreased, comms was re-established. They proved their worth for the on-bike chats, the see-ahead warnings - which in one case, a sure tragedy was averted due to a boy racer on a dark country lane who would have t-boned my buddy for sure. And the bas*ard never even stopped to apologise. We didn't chase him 'cause gas was an issue...it probably saved that driver from getting a good spanking.

    Anyway, right there and then, that pricey F4 paid for itself and more! Until the next day when one of the mics conked out...what a pain in the a$$ that was; it spoiled things really...and for the price we paid and the place from which we obtained them, a refund was due...and it was...in full too.:deal

    On our travels, we found a local dealer who swapped out the duff mic for a new one, plus a drink or two for his troubles. He would simply return the duff unit to the manufacturer and claim a rebate...good for him. We were just happy to be back in comms again. But it was not to last...in fact the very next morning, the whole unit or both of them were u/s (not working)...this was another real spoiler...and we missed the comms - from every angle, not the least the safety aspect.

    Conclusion: when they worked they were brilliant...when they didn't, it was a pain. I thought the materials used, i.e., the wiring loops were very flimsy/thin, and perhaps the mic suffers from the same...but, on the other hand, they - the external control unit and the external mic - affixed to a Schubert C3, were deluged with constant rain/wind...and on my Shoei X-eleven, the internal mic was fine; it was the external mic that failed...followed by the same external unit or was it both of them?!

    This is a good thread because I am a firm believer in on-bike and bike-to-bike comms...and if these manufacturers get busy, there's many more like me who are prepared to buy good, solidly built kit that works and works well - even if it does cost a few bob more! Bring on the F5!
    #20