In helmet speakers vs wired ear buds?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Rich-in-GA, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. Rich-in-GA

    Rich-in-GA Adventurer

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    I like riding while listening to music on my Iphoe. I have fitted ear buds that are wired with speakers.....The sound is decent but my ears get a bit numb/sore after hours of riding. I need a new helmet and I'm considering having speakers fitted into the helmet. Any help or suggestions on speakers hard wired into the helmet versus ear buds would be very much appreciated
    #1
  2. Dan Alexander

    Dan Alexander Long timer

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    I tried different ear buds and was never happy with sound attenuation, went to speakers with a boostaroo and foam plugs and I'm happy.
    #2
  3. slowinfastout

    slowinfastout Just Ridin' By....

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    I have BIGEAR custom molded earbuds and they are primo. All-day comfy vs. storebought because they are molded to your individual ears. Not cheap at $ 350 a pair, but worth it to me and most people that own them.

    I also have a Bluetooth Sena Headset that is supposed to be best in class, with helmet speakers.. It sucks hugely for music, and is barely useful for voice. The technology for wireless isn't there yet, at least not in amplified power.

    Earbuds are better than hardwired speakers in the lid because they act as wind/noise blockers as well.
    #3
  4. hatchetdan

    hatchetdan Adventurer

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    I got my helmet speakers off of ebay, 18 bucks and they work great! I also use a boostaroo.:1drink
    #4
  5. the_gr8t_waldo

    the_gr8t_waldo Long timer

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    i installed ear speakers in my helmet a few years ago. the install was easy and looked professional and was really dissapointed. the road noise competed with the mp3 noise. and i ended up going back to the ear buds.
    #5
  6. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

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    Big ears plugged into sena earbud clamp and I couldn't disagree more. If anything the big ears are the weakness considering mine have lasted around 6 mos, and now need repair.
    I find music Bluetooth through the sena, which does amplify, sounds better than wired to the iPhone. The big ears need some amplification.
    #6
  7. leonphelps

    leonphelps TAT/Prudhoe Bay

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    I got my earbuds at Wal-Mart for $19.99, then go deep in the ear canal and I can put my helmet on too. I think they were sony brand....rode all the way to Alaska and back with my SirisXM radio, no problems.....until I got to far up and lost the satellite signal.
    #7
  8. Bajatacoma

    Bajatacoma Why me?

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    Several people on here recommended the JVC marshmallows and I've been happy with them. The foam seals well and they're comfortable for longer periods; they're also cheap enough that I won't cry when I inevitably snatch the cord out one day.
    #8
  9. SnowMule

    SnowMule [angry moth noises]

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    Considered in-helmet speakers... i'd need a few sets though; got a few helmets on the shelf.

    For now I just use Skullcandy earbuds, ~$15 from target/walmart.
    #9
  10. sleak

    sleak TANSTAAFL

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    I don't know about BigEar, but my iPlugz are comfortable for as long as I need to wear them.

    They're not cheap, but when my last set of Bose headphones fell apart (I fly a lot), it was worth it to get the custom set to wear both on the bike and in the air. I got an extra-short tail (18") and an extension; the short one works best under a helmet or with my iPhone in my top pocket on the plane, and the extension in case the in-flight movie's worth a damn. And, you can get any color you like, including mixed. (Mine are maize & blue, of course.)
    #10
  11. TourPros

    TourPros Local wherever I go

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    Well I would recommend soft silicone custom molded in ear monitors. This style moves with your ear and jaw so you dont get that ear fatigue from having a hard monitor or plug style ear bud. The price range is from $300 to $1700 as there are many different styles. Some with single speakers in them and some with up to 14 drivers in them and built in crossovers for the true audiophile. And some have a built in microphone so you can blend the outside noise in a whatever volume you want. If you are interested PM and we can discuss or tell me where you are and I will tell you when one of my tours is coming through your town..
    #11
  12. doctor_big

    doctor_big It hurts when I fall down

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    So the Sena built-in headphone amp is decent? I'm thinking of going this route, but I've been skeptical about the quality of a) bluetooth stereo and b) the headphone amp.

    Thanks,
    Jason
    #12
  13. SpaceManSpiff

    SpaceManSpiff Man of Mystery

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    The Sena amp isn't bad and the speakers are bigger/thicker than average. (i have only used it for communication, but my riding buddy uses his for phone and music often.

    But for me (I have dumbo ears), the helmet speakers rub on my ears and drive me crazy. So I got a pair of S-plugs (sort of like the Etymotic plugs but they sit deep in your ear) and like them alot for listening to music (on and off the bike). I did not go the route of molded earplugs as I had a set of Big Ears made have been disappointed with the fit.

    Eventually, I am going to get the base unit replaced on the Sena and that should solve my communcation problems.

    I have an Arai Profile helmet, btw.
    #13
  14. TourPros

    TourPros Local wherever I go

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    I looked into Big Ears since I had never heard of them before. And what I am not seeing is soft silicone being used for the molds. That is key !! That way they are nice and soft and give with your movements which allows for many hours of comfortable use.
    #14
  15. Soberman001

    Soberman001 Been here awhile

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    Personally, I think in-helmet speaks are more convenient. I have the autocomm system and their speakers rest comfortably in the ear pockets and are always there. The cord is routed well since it only comes out of one side of the helmet. If you can find good soudning speakers then I would do that. Even when I don't listen to music, they speakers are always with me.

    When I tried 4-5 different types of generic or molded ear plugs, they always seemed to dis-lodge when my helmet was put on. Then I would occasionally lose them.

    Now, i never tried the really expensive molded units but for $200, I thought the cheaper ones were a rip off.
    #15
  16. Dan Alexander

    Dan Alexander Long timer

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    I'll agree on the SOFT being key.

    I compare it to a glass stopper in a glass bottle in chemistry class. Works great when sealed but move it just a bit off and it's gone.

    I had custom ones done 20 years ago and they were pretty hard and would break the seal if I moved the helmet or even my jaw. Can't count how many times was I riding long distances and trying to stick my finger up in the helmet to try and get it back into position :huh

    Finally tossed them. Since then I tried the do it yourself molds but again, too hard.

    Went to in helmet speakers with foam earplugs, works for me.

    Have you got any more info on yours :ear
    #16
  17. Alaska Gal

    Alaska Gal n00b

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    I really like my JVC marshmallows. They're comfortable, give decent sound and cheap enough I won't cry if I need to replace. :bmwrider
    #17
  18. MCP

    MCP Been here awhile

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    want to be going "huh" when your my age:wink:, get some of these http://www.etymotic.com/ephp/er6i.aspx With these you block out the ambient noise and you can keep the music volume where you like.

    I have tinnitus 24 hrs a day because I never wore hearing protection. I had the custom molds but found that my ears or canals changed in a couple years of use and they are useless now.
    #18
  19. Dan Alexander

    Dan Alexander Long timer

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    Yeah, I know some old racers who can't hear worth shit because of racing with no plugs.

    I hear that if you loose or gain a fair amount of weight the inner ear changesa the custom won't fit. Maybe the super soft ones are more forgiving?
    #19
  20. TourPros

    TourPros Local wherever I go

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    Well if it has been 20 years I have to say that you would be shocked at how they are now. I have only seen them pop out when moving jaw when they were not made right. When we do impressions we have you open and close your mouth as well as yawn and talk. This way while it sets it has worked into every aspect. Anyways yes you can now have them in a soft silicone type gel with up to 4 drivers in them. Just to be clear these are not $100 ear buds but rather a very serious custom fit set of in ear monitors. Price ranges from $350 to $1700. $350 being he average for what a rider wants and needs. They also give you 25db of noise suppression as a plug
    #20