Ear buds for long rides?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Tweakedlogic, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. Tweakedlogic

    Tweakedlogic Adventurer

    Jan 15, 2009
    Memphis TN
    Let's be clear... I don't want to rock out in traffic. I want to be able to listen to music at a comfortable level on long hauls.

    What I'm really looking for is ear plugs with speakers in them. I've tried more than a couple in-ear phones while riding. Most of them are so poor at isolating sound from the outside that I have to crank the volume all the way up. I do not want that.

    Part of the trouble is the windscreen blasts my visor, which is only slightly better than the stock one that hammered my chin bar. At anything over 40 MPH, the wind roar is evident. Full disclosure, my GSX1200 does not like 40 MPH.

    First must have is really good noise isolation, second priority is sound quality, and I would prefer not to spend my next paycheck on them too.

    What do you use?
  2. pdks

    pdks Phil

    May 4, 2008
    Phoenix / Toronto
    Bose's QC20 ear buds are top drawer, but expensive ($2-300).

    At the other end of the scale, Sony's NC13's are only $50 and do a good job of noise isolation.

    The key is to find a set that's comfortable in your helmet - not a small feat.
  3. Ricky Chuck

    Ricky Chuck Red Green Rulz!

    Feb 26, 2010
    Yukon, Oklahoma
    S-Plugs work well for me, they push up into the ear and the line just hangs down in the openings. I got the single driver version, they make a double, and also have a custom mold program if you want even more comfort. I got the 22" length, but wish I had gotten longer for those times when I have lots of layers and a bacalava and neck warmer on, etc. Ride an R1150R with a windshield and Scorpion 900, which is too tight, and and an HJC full-face, which is too loud, but with a bacalava on it is almost dead quiet but for the wind vibration. Making calls is easy, and music is very pleasant.
  4. tlempke

    tlempke Adventurer

    Jan 5, 2014
    Columbus, Ohio
    All of the skull candy ear buds I've had have worked perfectly for the highway. I buy the ones that have the pause/play button on the cord which I can use while riding. It is nice to be able to turn the music off if I hit traffic.

    Sent from my GS3
  5. Woodcock

    Woodcock Been here awhile

    Jul 30, 2013
    Klispch x10. 125$ on eBay. I also use them at the shooting range
  6. Swashbuckler

    Swashbuckler Been here awhile

    Jun 25, 2013
    Fort Collins, CO
    Shure 215's - $99 - link to amazon http://www.amazon.com/Shure-SE215-K-Sound-Monitor-Black/dp/B004PNZFZ8

    I bought a new Bell Star and it vents so much air (the reason I bought it) that I get a headache within 20 minutes of highway speeds. So I did a ton of research and settled on these.

    The 215's are noise canceling. Foam tip that expands in the ear. Amp and speaker on the earbud. The earbud goes into your ear and lays flat against it - there is no protruding from the ear which means that it's easy to put your helmet on without pulling them out, and your helmet, if properly fitted, won't be pushing the earbuds further into your ear. The sound is amazing! I only need to keep it on the lower 25% volume from my iphone to hear the songs with full bass and clarity, while still being able to hear the road around me. Everything is replaceable for less than new price - since the earbuds, cords, and foam tips are all replaceable separately if needed - $15 for a handfull of replacement medium foam tips. The chord is long enough to run through my jacket and into any jacket pocket, or if it starts raining it's long enough to run through my jacket and into my tank bag with some slack to spare.
  7. MotoDaveL

    MotoDaveL Been here awhile

    Dec 30, 2013
    Barrie ONT Canada
    Last year I used JVC Marshmallows which are at the dirt cheap end of the spectrum, they do block noise but I had issues when putting on my helmet they would shift a little and pop out just enough that they would let road and wind noise in.

    I just ordered from http://www.earfuze.com/ reviews that I have seen havent been spectacular but they all seemed to be in regard to the cheap cord. I think they upgraded because of this and now use a stronger braided cord. For just over $40 I figure its worth a shot.

    there are also http://www.decibullz.com/ which look similar but maybe a slightly large profile.
  8. wsmc831

    wsmc831 Been here awhile

    Jan 25, 2006
    Central Oregon
    I thought ER6i's where a great option until I bought customs, retired the Etys and bought a second pair as backup. They're that good, and things like replacing cords, fixing wiring issues, etc is usually about 35 dollars.

  9. GHO100

    GHO100 Crazy George

    Apr 7, 2009
    Meelectronics M6


    Cheap, great sound, blocks out a lot of noise, and comfortable in a helmet.
  10. Cris

    Cris AB+

    Jun 5, 2007
    West Coast of Wisconsin
    I have been using Comply replacement earphone tips for many years.

    They are the equivalent of compressable 'foamie' ear plugs that slip on the end of your exsiting earphones.

    They are offered in different sizes so beware.

    They are not cheap for what they are and they do wear out, however they work well.
  11. anonny

    anonny What could go wrong?

    Mar 20, 2007
    Beautiful Revelstoke BC
    Custom molded earplugs with the speaker kit is the best and probably the most expensive. I love mine, can wear them all day with no discomfort and they don't pop out mid ride or while you are putting your helmet on.
  12. b1pig

    b1pig Long timer

    Jan 16, 2013
    Ray City, Ga
    most earbuds that use an expandable foam or "marshmallow" style insert will have excellent sound dampening. the rubber diaphram style is often easier to insert and stay inserted, but has less sound dampening. i've tried several. skull candy often has very good sound quality... but i've had both good and bad sounding sets from them.

    i could not afford the bose earbuds... and they do have a set closer to the $100 mark. Polk audio had a sale going on, and i scored a set of UltraFit 3000's. the sound quality is phenomenal.... once seated properly. getting them set is the trick... but once in place, they fit me really good. i've worn them several times and love them.

    the "headset" actually is detachable from the main cord with the mic/controls which leaves less to snag on when putting on and removing the helmet. if you like to keep your device mounted on the bike, that leaves a clean break-away at the helmet end. the set came with 3 different cords and an adapter for the smallest plug like you see on the casios, early motorolas and such. using my ipod, the volume is usually hovering around 2/3 volume, and thats with the EQ set to "loudness". I only recently got an iphone and finally tested the mic. i chose to run the cord (flat by the way) through the front of my helmet face shield. i keep the mic tucked inside... and i've been able to carry on a conversation on the phone just fine at anything resembling a reasonable speed on a KLR.

    i wanted to get a Sena headset... and now i'm not sure i want to bother with it.
  13. Falconpunch01

    Falconpunch01 BraAaAppp

    Jan 28, 2014
    I ride a dualsport and listen to music everywhere I go even on shortest of rides. I use a Sena SMH5 and love it. Don't have to fuss with earbuds coming out or in while on rides. It can be super loud or quiet. Even when doing 85mph I can listen just fine.
  14. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

    Nov 16, 2006
    Bowling Green, Ky

    I had some custom ear plugs made and they did a terrible job. I'm probably one of the very few that hate those things. Money wasted for me. Etymotic ER6 work great for me, but may no longer be available.

    I think my ear canal is shaped funny as even with foam ear plugs it takes some work to get a good seal.
  15. KoolBreeze

    KoolBreeze Been here awhile

    Jan 21, 2007
    lower west side USofA
    freaking edit function is going crazy.

    so while I don't currently use these... (I use speakers in helmet)

    there are some features you seem to be looking for. (under $50 on amazon)


    85%+ accuracy score

    • Tight, accurate bass with crystal clear high‑frequency detail at all listening levels

    noise isolation

    • 35 dB - 42 dB of noise isolation
    • Documented highest noise isolation of any earphones or headphones on the market today <!--
    • Programmable Noise-isolation Feature using our AWARENESS!&reg; HD for Etymotic App made for Android Google Nexus 7-->

    <!--[​IMG]AWARENESS!&reg; for Etymotic

    The programmable noise isolation app that lets you listen to music and the outside world at the same time!
    -->plugging them into your smart phone?


    Listen to your music AND the outside world
    with AWARENESS!® for Etymotic mobile APP

    AWARENESS!® for Etymotic is a mobile app that takes the in-ear listening experience to the next level. Listeners can change sound level settings to hear not only their music, but the world around them. Perfect for exercising at the gym, jogging outside, awaiting a boarding call at the airport, or even listening to a podcast while watching kids at the playground.
    You control how much outside sound is heard and when. No need to remove or re-adjust your earphones. To use AWARENESS! for Etymotic follow the easy instructions to get you started.

    1. 1. Download AWARENESS! for Etymotic from the iTunes App Store&#8480;*.
    2. 2. The Awareness App requires a username (email address) and a password to activate the noise isolation features. Start activation process here.
    3. 3. An email verification will be sent to you. Please click on the link provided to activate your account.
    4. 4. Open the App on your mobile device and enter your username (email address) and password you provided to unlock all the noise isolation features.
    Why Programmable Noise Isolation?

    Etymotic earphones offer the highest noise isolation available blocking up to 98% of ambient noise. There will be times when you want or need to be aware of your surroundings.

    • Maximizes awareness for any situation (commuting, outdoor sports, work/office communication)
    • Never miss an important announcement or communication&#8212;Stay aware.
    • Get the most of your ETYMOTIC noise-isolating headset + earphones.
    Informative, easy-to-use mobile interface so users get the most out of their ETYMOTIC noise-isolating earphones.

    seems to fit the bill
  16. sonoran

    sonoran bigly

    Sep 28, 2009
    on the wing
    Find a set of earbuds that you like then get these tips:


    I've used them with Klipsch and Etymotic buds... work great to isolate noise, won't fall out of your ears and are all day comfortable.
  17. Toolferone

    Toolferone Been here awhile

    May 29, 2013
  18. Tweakedlogic

    Tweakedlogic Adventurer

    Jan 15, 2009
    Memphis TN
    Wow! thanks guys. I didn't expect such a response. I've used a Skull Candy and the JVC and a couple other sets of "isolation" buds with mixed results. All of them required the the volume to be up too high. Seemed fine on the bike, then I'd get off and realize just how loud the music was. So I'm trying to avoid that as much as possible.

    It seems I have a lot of research to do on your suggestions. I like those Comply foam things. I hadn't seen those before. For the price I'm going to get a set to try out.

    I don't like the idea of software noise isolation. If I have the phone on it's mount behind the windscreen, or in my pocket, it likely will be killing the wrong sounds. Smart idea though for things like train stations and such.

    It's safe to say that if I had the cash to blow on a set of $300 head phones I probably wouldn't be riding a 13 year old Bandit. :)

    Cheers fellas. Your reviews and suggestions will be very helpful. I'll dig through the internet to research your recommendations.

    I'll see ya out in the wind.
  19. frogy

    frogy Been here awhile

    Dec 12, 2010
    +1 on these.
  20. Tweakedlogic

    Tweakedlogic Adventurer

    Jan 15, 2009
    Memphis TN
    I ordered these yesterday. From the reviews they seem to fit the bill. Thanks.