Listening to music on the freeway

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by davidji, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. davidji

    davidji bike curious

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,305
    Location:
    california
    How do you listen to music when you ride at freeway/motorway speeds? Do you do this without damaging your hearing?

    I don't listen to music when I ride--though I have tried it a couple of times. But a lot of you do. And I wonder what works for you. Do you blast the music over the wind noise? Have you somehow eliminated the wind noise?

    Bike speakers? Helmet speakers? Ear buds? Do you wear hearing protection? A helmet? what sort? And of course what bike(s)?
    #1
  2. Llamaha

    Llamaha Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    858
    Location:
    Bogota Colombia
    I play language tapes using normal earphones, I've found that the best thing to have is an aerodynamic helmet as it keeps the wind noise down
    #2
  3. rider33

    rider33 Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,442
    Location:
    The Wilds of Western Wisconsin
    sustained wind noise, much less music loud enough to be heard over it will damage your hearing. What you need to do is to bring it down which ear plugs and a good full-face helmet will do. If then you want to listen to music during the boring bits, substitute good noise isolating ear speakers for the ear plugs & run them off an iPod or phone. At the moment I use Weston UM1's, good low profile (so they fit under a helmet), high isolation ear speakers with very neutral sound.
    #3
  4. kirb

    kirb should be out riding

    Joined:
    May 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,050
    Location:
    Musky, MI
    One option, custom audio earplugs. Block out everything and keep the volume down. Has wires. http://www.westoneaudio.com

    I used to use in-helmet speakers (tork x-pro) with custom molded musician earplugs with adjustable db filters.
    http://tinyurl.com/westear
    I needed a boostaroo with an iPod:
    http://boostaroo.com

    I still use the custom earplugs, but just connect via Bluetooth to my iPod now with a cardo G9 wireless helmet system. Proper speaker placement is key, but it is loud enough.

    Another item that is very important...a quiet helmet. Keeping the wind noise down keeps the music volume down.
    #4
  5. Cakeeater

    Cakeeater Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,107
    Location:
    I forget
    I love listening to music or news or talk radio while traveling.

    Never did it before my most recent bike, now I really like it.

    I also have weather frequency on my radio, which is AWESOME when traveling through dicier conditions. One trip back and forth across Wyoming I was able to tell if the passes ahead were raining or snowing by listening to local NWS stations.

    Bike: Harley Road Glide, all stock but aftermarket screen.

    Helmets:

    FF with Harley ear speakers velcro-ed in. This is my "night/desert" helmet. Speakers play as loud as I can take it.

    3/4ish cop helmet. This is my day helmet. Much less buffetting and wind noise, and I use the speakers on the bike. Good to about 85 mph. Any higher and the wind noise becomes too loud to hear speakers very well.

    My wife has a FF with the same HD ear speakers.
    When we ride together she chooses the music, which means I normally turn off my speakers. :rofl Same with the intercom. :D

    Cakeeater
    #5
  6. Chisenhallw

    Chisenhallw Avowed Pussbag

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,320
    Location:
    Conover, Nawth Cackalacky
    I have a shoei GT Air helmet, i use earbuds, and listen to music anytime i'm riding longer than 20 minutes. My hearing is already jacked from growing up listening to metal. :lol3
    #6
  7. gymply

    gymply Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    373
    Location:
    Fort Worth
    I am a big fan of Shure earbuds. Currently using the SE215, but previously used a set of SE310. The SE215's can be found online for ~ $100. I bought mine at Guitar Center for $108 out the door. They fit well in my ear and underneath a fullface helmet. The SE215's come with several different size foam sleeves, but I have found that the silicone triple flange sleeves fit my ear best. Unfortunately, the triple flange sleeves don't come with the SE215's but can be ordered as an accessory. I had to trim the stalk to get the proper length for my ear. Putting them in your ear is awkward at first because the wire comes out the top of the earbud and wraps around the back side of the ear, but once you get familiar with it it is easy.

    Linky.
    #7
  8. Scott of the Sahara

    Scott of the Sahara Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    382
    just bought the Sure SE215's yesterday. I had an older set of Sures that I have given to my wife for her Kindle. I have not tried these with my Shoei Full Face Helmet, but they do stick out less than the other ones.
    #8
  9. danman

    danman tumbling tumbleweed

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    197
    Location:
    DFW / LAX
    I generally use earplugs on any freeway ride over 30 minutes. I have pretty good full face helmets that are reasonably quiet. I use a pair of Sony ExtraBass ear buds with good success. They make a good seal in the ear and are low profile. I use them with and without music. They are comfortable enough to sleep in when camping, when my riding buddies are snoring loudly nearby or if it is real windy. They are inexpensive and durable.

    Lately, when not listening to music, I am using the Surefire earplugs (http://www.surefire.com/tactical-equipment/hearing-protection/hearing-protection.html) available at gun stores for $10-15. Don't freak when you look at the website and see prices, they list the by-the-case price next to the single price. They are about the best earplugs I have found for the money, almost totally blocking out the sound, they come in sizes, so it is easy to get a good fit. I am using the EP5, in size medium. They fit in ear, are low profile and work so well that I use them when shooting at the pistol range. Also comfortable enough to sleep in when camping with loud snorers or parties near by.

    But...the absolute best earphones that I am using are the Bose 20i noise canceling earphones (http://www.bose.com/controller?url=/shop_online/headphones/noise_cancelling_headphones/index.jsp) for iPhone, also made for other phones. These can be used to listen to music or make calls. They ain't cheap, but amazing, almost totally eliminating any external noise, allowing you to listen to music at 'normal' volumes. The amount of noise reduction is 'spooky'. When you are at freeway speed and switch them on it is very weird, as everything goes quiet, like the world has almost stopped. The are fairly low profile, fit in your ear, and have different size tips for a good fit, rechargeable 16 hour battery. The take a little effort to get your helmet on without dislodging but I can do it pretty easy. I travel a lot on airplanes and can sit right next to the engines or in front of a screaming baby with no problem. They are pretty cool. Check them out at a Bose store, they have an jet engine simulator in the store and you see for yourself if they will work for you. Plus they have a good return policy if you don't like them. Can't sleep in them for camping, but I always have a pair of the surefire plugs with me for that.

    Tried helmet speakers and couldn't make them work for me, no quality and just more loud noise. I have heard that some of the bluetooth headsets have pretty good quality and you also can gain intercom and other communication possibilities.

    Good luck with search.
    #9
  10. Nophix

    Nophix Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    399
    Location:
    Plover, WI
    Skullcandy Ink'd earplugs, and my iPhone. Turn on Google Music or iTunes Radio, and go.
    #10
  11. JerryH

    JerryH Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    5,972
    Location:
    Chandler, AZ
    While I often listen to music in the car, I NEVER do it on a bike. Not only is it distracting, but for me it ruins the ride. I now wear earplugs for every ride, and have been for some time. I wish now I had been doing it longer. Inever understood why someone would want to mess up a nice ride with music or any other audio.
    #11
  12. BadKarma

    BadKarma Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    Oddometer:
    4,781
    Location:
    Rocky Mountains, USA
    I use Sena SMH10 in a full face helmet with custom ear plugs... Works really well up to about 80mph on my Road King I get some loud buffeting over that speed.
    #12
  13. chippertheripper

    chippertheripper motorcycle junkie

    Joined:
    May 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    4,042
    Location:
    s.e. mass
    Smh10.
    #13
  14. RustyStuff

    RustyStuff Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,546
    Location:
    Crakima,Wa
    I find music to accent a ride. Much more interesting than wind noise.
    #14
  15. waveydavey

    waveydavey happy times!!

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    9,460
    Location:
    Living in a van down by the Chemainus River.

    That's because you are stupid JerryH. That's why you don't understand a lot of things.
    #15
  16. ArmSC

    ArmSC Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    138
    Location:
    The Holy City, SC
    Shure earbuds that are flush so they stay in when putting on my helmet. I have them running through a nice little mp3 player I got for Christmas. It's nice having some background noise while riding through the coastal back roads. Plus they really block out the ambient noise so even with no music they help keep it quiet.
    #16
  17. waveydavey

    waveydavey happy times!!

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    9,460
    Location:
    Living in a van down by the Chemainus River.
    I use ear-buds and an I-Pod. I can pause, change the volume or fast forward the I-Pod with the cord. The ear buds keep the wind noise etc out so I don't need to turn the volume up to 11 to hear the music nice and clear. Just find earbuds that seal off the ear and are small enough that you can don your helmet without dislodging them. If all I am doing is riding to the store I don't bother with music, but it is real nice to have whilst on a 10 hour ride. My current buds cost 20$ and I am satisfied with the sound.
    #17
  18. dddd

    dddd Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    733
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    always wear ear plugs.
    all sounds are lowered.
    thus you can blast over the wind noise.

    (helmet speakers = no fuss)

    #18
  19. doogiepooch

    doogiepooch Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    986
    Location:
    Canton, NC
    I use a pair of $11 Maxell's I got at walmart with various sized rubber ear plugs so they really block out alot of wind noise, I think that's key. That way you don't have to blast the music to be able to hear it. Plus the pair I have, has a mic so I can make quick calls at gas stops by plugging the headset into my phone and not have to remove my helmet. I clip a gen2 ipod shuffle onto my helmet chin strap. Or sometimes I'll put my phone in my gps case on the Ram mount and plug into it for music.
    #19
  20. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    19,772
    Location:
    Begin Op Zoom
    If you want to listen to music on the freeway, Drive a cage. :ricky
    #20