I have one of the quieter helmets - Shoei Qwest - I always wear ear plugs. "In general" I find the Sena SMH10 to have plenty of volume. For some reason different "sources" have different maximum volumes... I have not figured out why that is the case. Phone calls are PLENTY loud, music is "more than loud enough", some podcasts are fine, while others are too weak to hear... I use an iPhone 3Gs as my only paired device.