SENA 50 series.

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by SaAdvRider99, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer Super Supporter Supporter

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    I've done multiple events now with my pals with 30Ks. In our experience, the mesh works as advertised. We did the Arizona BDR and had no problems connecting/disconnecting as we rode along. Mesh works great. Waterproofing is another issue as two of the guys have had water issues BUT Sena stepped up and replaced them. I had hoped that the minor styling differences with the 50S were tied to an overall waterproofing exercise. I haven't seen any evidence of that yet. I would jump to the upgrade program for 30K>50S if it delivered Cardo-level of waterproofing. I would also like to see ambient mode redesigned to use the main microphone instead of a pin-hole in the USB port. If the rubber cover is in the USB port, ambient mode is useless. I ride with custom earbuds and really appreciate the ambient mode.
    #81
  2. Bigbugberg

    Bigbugberg De oppresso liber Supporter

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    I've had the SMH10 and now the 30K. What I have found as the lowest common denominator is the lack of user knowledge. People don't know how to use their own devices. They think it should connect magically. There is a learning curve to both the Cardo and Sena. Frustration sets in and people want to ride not dick around with some gadgetry. I get frustrated when people don't know how to initiate pairing, don't know which buttons do what, let alone the order of operations. Then they state their unit sucks. I think Sena and Cardo would do well offering multiple products of varying complexities for various users. If you want all the whizz-bang shit, buy the X1000++ ULtra or whatever. If all you want is to connect to your phone, you shouldn't have to scour the interwebs for some 5yr old technology. Do one thing and do it well, "Our unit has automatic connection protocols for the widest range of products." "Our earphones are the loudest."
    I have never owned a motorcycle, car or truck that did EVERYTHING. I have a trail bike, a dual sport, and a tourer. Why? Because none of them do everything. Why should we expect some electronic gizmo to do what nothing else can? If you believe it can do everything, sorry pal, you're probably in for a let-down.
    #82
  3. rcf2

    rcf2 Been here awhile

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    Well said Bigbugberg!
    #83
  4. EvilSteve

    EvilSteve Not so evil, not so Steve. Supporter

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    @Bigbugberg - They already have that, the lower-cost devices that just do simple things. People don't buy them because they're not the latest and greatest. As someone who's had heaps of different devices, the problem I have is the inconsistency in the operation of devices. Pairing with bluetooth that doesn't work all the time, group intercom doesn't always connect with the same exact behaviour.

    IMG_2405.jpeg
    #84
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  5. jb882

    jb882 13HP of fury.

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    lol i was just about to say the same thing. Cardo for instance offers the frecomm 1+ which is about as simple as it gets and Sena makes the SF1 which is really similar if someone desires a simple basic unit.

    What sometimes frustrates me is interoperability between different units. For instance the wife and I have 20s units on one helmet and SRL's built into our Neotech 2's. SRL to SRL works great, 20s to 20s works great but SRL to 20s works terrible. Sena has been no help in getting if working properly. I have also has issues going 20s to 30k and SRL to 30k and stuff like that.
    #85
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  6. Bigbugberg

    Bigbugberg De oppresso liber Supporter

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    I understand there may be issues with devices. Each device is different. I don't start an XR650 the same way I start my 350. They are different beasts. Sena and Cardo might claim they work the same, the XR goes off road like the 350, but they are inherently different. Where I have luck connecting is when I get the units back to spec or baseline. That means clearing all previous pairings, rebooting, and create a new pair. When people keep trying and retrying to connect to the same or different modules, the pairing gets confused. That goes for all devices you wish to pair, not just yours. That has been my experience.
    #86
  7. brianpc

    brianpc Long timer Supporter

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    Every forum always has the "mine works fine" guy. lol.
    #87
  8. jb882

    jb882 13HP of fury.

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    If i had a dollar for every time i have factory reset the 4 of mine to put them back to baseline in vain attempts to get them to talk to different sena models i would have enough money to throw that shit away and get new Packtalks.

    There is no reason two products from the same company should have as much trouble working together as mine have. I am not talking big group conversations either. I cannot get my 20s and my Wifes SRL to work properly together without constant static in the ear pieces and shitty comms that cut in and out constantly. Does not work even just sitting at home 5' from each other never mind bike to bike. Same goes for her 20s to my SRL. Every time we ride we literally have to debate which helmets to wear so we can have working comms.
    #88
  9. Bigbugberg

    Bigbugberg De oppresso liber Supporter

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    Haha
    Hahaha! Totally! I just hope I can pass on something helpful that others may have glossed over. It's a bummer to spend a bunch of dough on something and have it not work. That just hasn't been my experience... in this case!
    #89
  10. CoOlSlY

    CoOlSlY Been here awhile

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    Bigbugberg, you are half right on those devices but the companies are dealing with multiple brands, multiple configurations. A bluetooth headset works with every phone, why? Because simply put, it's a bluetooth device that pairs with a bluetooth phone/computer, etc...

    The problem with devices like the 50r (or Scala, whatever), they pair with GPS'es, TFT from multiple companies that acts sometimes as hub, sometimes as a receiver, other riders, etc... And it's there where they lack. If you put most or any of the devices to do only music, you should be good with no problem but that's not what they advertise them for and, whatever the denominator, you will run into problems. When you want to go all the way from what the manufacturer ADVERTISE, even if you are very knowledgeable, as somebody told me, you will get frustrated... I worked 20 years from RS-232 comms to the Bluetooth 3 comms and those units are developped to "promote" the most features but do all of them "just ok" with many bugs. If you pair your headset with your phone, your GPS, use the mesh, the auto-connect, use Google or SIRI, use the voice commands, pair with a non-manufacturer unit, you will see that there are a lot of bugs whatever your knowledge so you are only half right in my opinion.

    Enough said, i've put 700 miles on the 50r and will post my review this week-end, one thing I haven't tested is the ambient sound.
    #90
  11. _Gir_

    _Gir_ Been here awhile

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    Well it's not 700 miles but today I did 70 with the 50S.

    I've used the Sena 10C, SMH10, Cardo Packtalk Bold, and now the 50s.

    Just initial impressions,
    -It's shiny. Why? Slightly bigger than the 10C.
    -I'm not a fan of the L-shaped USB-C wi-fi integrated charging connector. It's almost wedged when plugged while the 50S is still on the helmet.
    -Control wheel is noticeably larger than SMH10 or 10C. Thumbs up! Much easier to control with gloves (esp insulated) than Cardo.
    -Paired with the 2019 1250 GSA TFT pretty well. I did have to tell the bike 2x to connect even though that the TFT saw the 50s the first time but so far so good.
    -Music connection to bike appeared solid, there was one brief stutter mid-ride but might have been environmental/phone's music stream.
    -Bass...a lot! Kind of boomy/slightly muddy with earplugs. I think the sound is tailored to those who ride without earplugs, I can probably EQ it to my taste.
    -vs JBL, see above but otherwise the audio quality is equivalent or even better depending on the user.
    #91
  12. Lee R

    Lee R Man in a Box

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    I can't speak for anything past the 10s for Sena's but I've been using the SMH-10 and the 10S for a very long time now. We did a trip to Alaska for 30 days last year and all of them worked well though plenty of rain. You can drown them if you forget the rubber cover on the back is open after charging. Sena sells just the module which is helpful if you kill one like that. I've only ever had that one fail which I left the port cover open in a downpour in Newfoundland. So water resistance is good enough for my needs. 2.5 years commuting with one in all weather and no issues.

    It seems like more issues with the 20/30 series with all the comments in this thread. I've never used a Cardo. Honestly I don't need anything beyond the SMH-10 for my purposes as group rides are always under 4 people. I hope they continue to sell that model as it's very reliable and you can plug it in and charge on long trips if battery life becomes an issue beyond 8-10 hours.

    Pairing can be a pain if you don't follow the directions and do them in sequence. That's one area I do wish was seamless.
    #92
  13. dpike

    dpike BeeKeeper Supporter

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    Took the 50s set out today with the wife for a bit. Clarity and volume were better than the 20s and my wife said background noise seemed a little less with visors up. After a day of simple bluetooth comm to comm use these are a nice upgrade over the 20 series. A critical upgrade ? ... Not really but a nice upgrade.
    #93
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  14. dpike

    dpike BeeKeeper Supporter

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    ok.. couch test on a crap day...
    for listening to the same music while having open mic intercom..
    none of the music sharing ways worked how i wanted them to, i dumped the sena app and paired both headsets to my phone. android/google allows for multiple bluetooth connections and this works fine for keeping an open mic bluetooth comm connection while both headsets are also receiving music stream from the connected phone.

    [​IMG]

    minor popcorning was involved here tho, maybe if i dump all the pairings and repair or try this with mesh it will work better
    #94
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  15. Meritlane

    Meritlane Been here awhile

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    keep up the experiments.
    #95
  16. gallowaystx

    gallowaystx Been here awhile

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    I’ve owned a 30K from the beginning and suffered through all of the bullshit. It was definitely rushed to market as cardo was eating their lunch. Initially the experience was terrible.

    My group is fully sena invested from the 20s era and the group made a collaborative decision to stick with Sena because many of us had multiple mounts on various helmets.

    Two years later and several firmware updates it essentially works as advertised.

    I routinely ride with 3-6 mesh connected riders (30K) and periodically with 1 to 3 Bluetooth connected riders in 20s/30K mixed.

    my expectation is that this new product release is essentially a software update to mesh 2.0 which they have also made available to the 30K

    hardware wise the only difference I can spot is that the new ones Have an updated Bluetooth antenna and can handle Bluetooth 5 vs the 4.x on the 30K. It looks to me that the mesh antenna had the same capability and is not upgraded.

    Personally for comms to phone connectivity I have found the 30K to be just fine.

    The updated speakers are available separately for $20 and I’ll be upgrading because the old ones fit poorly in my rf1200.
    I’m not sure I believe that they require the new unit to sound “optimal”.

    my guess is the 30K buyback offer is an effort to a) get the old roundly criticized hardware off the streets while b) disguising the fact that it’s a minor hardware update by getting the 30K users to “upgrade” without testing the firmware on their old devices first.

    If someone will do a proper review of updated 30K (mesh 2) vs the 50s and prove otherwise I’ll eat my words and buy one.

    In short - I hope that they have properly tested the SOFTWARE this time as the hardware is nothing more than a pair of radios in the end. If they have done their QA then this should be a pretty good step to put them back in the game. Their initial effort at mesh was a disgrace, but again, I blame their software.
    #96
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  17. GrumpyOne

    GrumpyOne Been here awhile Supporter

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    #97
  18. gallowaystx

    gallowaystx Been here awhile

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    Hmm - 1 hour longer in mesh and 1 hour longer in Bluetooth is incremental at best. Not enough to get me to jump just yet. Noted however.

    The quick charge feature is great - usually around mid afternoon we stop for a longer lunch break. Putting it on a battery pack for 20-30minutes gets me through the rest of the ride without any problems.

    I’ve also run it while plugged in on rare occasions with no real discomfort or issue. Short cable to a battery in my inside jacket pocket.
    #98
  19. jspringator

    jspringator Long timer

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    I decided to start with a SMH-10-10. It just needs to work with the SR-10. They appear to be of the same generation, so maybe they will work well together. The people I ride with either use CBs or nothing. Since I use earbuds, the speakers don't matter. At $138 it will let me test my CB concept. If the SR-10 will stay paired th the SMH-10-10 I'll be estatic.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0087NAWYQ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    #99
  20. CoOlSlY

    CoOlSlY Been here awhile

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    I have now more than 3000 kilometers with the Sena 50R. I have tried various configurations, various pairing (10S, 20S, 50R)... Paired with BMW TFT, with the phone only, with two different GPS... Ask me any questions... I have about 75,000km with a Sena 20s, about 25,000 with the 30k, about 100,000km with the Scala Packtalk. I also had some experience with the 10R, SMH10, 20S Evo in the past but they were borrowed units and not tested thoroughly.

    Since many are asking for a 50r/50s review, it's a bit ahead of my full review but here's some informations, I mean, a lot...:

    It's a "no BS" review of the Sena 50R and customer service I had from SENA during the last week. The review has been made and recorded but I need to do some editing on it. I was planning to put it online last week but it will be delayed by a few weeks for sure... I am not affiliated with any companies that I review gear for and usually pay for my products.

    Note: Some of the issues may be that I got early production units (official though) and there's quite a lot of bugs in the product. Also, SENA customer service was way below par when asked for a replacement unit to do testings. I gave them the opportunity to make it right but they decided to pass on getting it right twice. It's sad because I tested out the 10R which I gave very good review. I than reviewed the 20S, the 30K, the 20S Evo, than the Packtalk (not bold) and now the 50R. I will update my review once the replacements are in or an updated firmware is provided if they solve the problems that occured. If I can have both units at the same time (current 50R and 50R replacement I should receive), I will compare both units but so far, they are asking for a video of the voice commands that I'm having problem with when there's A LOT more issues than just the voice commands.

    This review is not an "how to" but pairing was easy with phone, BMW TFT, GPS or other intercoms, tested every configuration except the Vox Intercom.

    SENA 50R, they were fully paid and not provided by SENA.
    The goods:
    - Installation was easy on modular (Shoei Neotec II) and full face helmet (Shoei GT Air) and Arai Quantum X
    - The buttons are easy to use and I suspect (and hope) the 50R will be more waterproof than the 20/30, 50S because there is no "connecting" bracket but I have yet to test it in the rain
    - The buttons feel is good and is a nice improvement over the 20s, 30k, 50s in my opinion and a good thing to give the option to the customer. Skipping songs is made easy with the 50R compared to previous units, volume up/down is a bit more work than the previous units but the buttons are responsive and easy to access
    - The mesh intercom is currently the best on the market in my opinion. We had a problem though that we managed to solve. If you are in an active bluetooth intercom conversation and you switch to Mesh with the same person, every 10 seconds or when you speak, it will say "Mesh intercom disabled", "Mesh intercom enabled". I suspect this will be corrected in a further firmware upgrade but you need to end your conversation first than switch to the mesh intercom than re-establish the communicaton. The Mesh intercome is way better than the Packtalk and every other Mesh I tried (Uclear Motion Infinity), the audio overlay worked flawlessly but as said, you need to end your Bluetooth intercom conversation before switching to Mesh intercom or you'll run into several disconnections/reconnections
    - Charging is fast, the specs says 20 minutes charging gives you 3 hours of talktime, I can say within an hour it's fully charged but to get 3 hours, you will need to just listen to music and do nothing else in my opinion (see below, battery life)

    The bads:
    - The units are still only water resistant (confirmed by SENA but not tested in the rain yet)
    - The voice commands were not working properly in both french and english. The only command that worked was "baterry level" which is kind of ackward, the Sena 20S and 30K were flawless on that (?)
    - I asked for a replacement but SENA failed to provide one. I'm running every once in a while, in a loop where nothing can be done. You press any buttons, you hear beeps but it's doing nothing and just a power-off power-on solves it.
    - The app doesn't show you "what phone is paired where" which would be good to be able to switch from one primary phone to another for example
    - The app grabs the first Bluetooth device that is connected to your phone so if you have for example a BMW TFT, a smartwatch, a GPS and the SENA, when you open the SENA app, it could show your smartwatch or you IC6.5 (BMW TFT) or even "BMW Navigator #3218912" and make the app unusable until you disconnect every device you have

    The VERY bads:
    - I entered a few times in situations where the SENA became "unresponsive". There were "beeps" but nothing was able to get you out of the "loop" other than a power off/on. On my 3000km tests, it happened at least 25 times so far, mainly when establishing an intercom communication, than starting your music than trying to change the volume up a few times, the units would start beeping but not like when you increase the volume but like if you were trying to establish an intercom communication (and no, it was not the volume reaching maximum, this doesn't cause the SENA 50R to become unresponsive). Happened a lot when hanging up from a call and then re-starting music or trying to establish an intercom connection. As said, to gets you out of it you need to cycle the unit OFF/ON.
    - MANY times like many already reported, with 2 Sena 50R, you try to call each other and you often get a "Intercom failed, try again later", this shouldn't happen...
    - If you establish a 3-way intercom with 2 50R's and 1 20S or 1 10S, the Sena are disconnecting from the GPS. This was also happening with the Sena 20S and 30K though. Happened on Sena 50R BMW Navigator VI and another Sena 50R with a Zumo 660LM
    - Battery life for me is not adequate but it's subjective
    - When you get GPS directions during an intercom, no improvment over the 20S and 30K, the quality is crappy

    Neutral:
    - The sound quality during a call is similar to the 20s and 30k but is DEFINITELY not as good as the Scala Packtalk's. I find sound quality to be subjective so I've put it in neutral. The person hearing you will be able to say easilly you are not in your car... Having tested it a lot I would say Mobile > Car > Packtalk > Sena 50R/S. It was tested with both boom mic and muff mic.
    - The overall sound quality is good, the bass is VERY good. I haven't done a full review of the Packtalk bold with the JBL unfortunatly because lack of time but it's better sounding than the Pakctalk and the Bold in my opinion but not as powerful as the Packtalk Bold JBL speakers. I haven't done a db test though
    - The parallel audio works fine but there's a lot of stuttering and background noise for an unknown reason. We tried about 10 different configurations, trying every settings: If you leave parallel audio OFF and HD Audio "ON", sound is crystal clear between the two intercoms in Bluetooth mode

    Update: BATTERY, subjective
    Mesh intercom + music: 5h40 before complete shutdown, Scala Pakctalk in similar use: 8h59
    Bluetooth Intercom + music (parallel audio): 7h07 before complete shutdown, Scala Packtalk in similar use: 10h35

    Update: Intercom testing:
    Like some other users with the 50R/50S, you try to call the other 50R and you get "intercom failed", this is unacceptable
    Sena 50R + Sena 50R + Sena 20s: After 10 minutes, the voice of the Sena 20s became distorted to a point we all needed to turn off than on all intercoms and after another 10 minutes, became distorted again, happened the whole ride. We tried 1 Sena 20S and 1 Sena 20S Evo, EXACT same problem
    Sena 50R + Sena 50R + Sena 10s: The config was SENA1 paired with SENA2 and SENA3. If SENA1 established a communication with SENA2, SENA3 was unable to call SENA1 which made group intercom a pain and I guess it will be corrected in a later firmware...

    Would I recommend the unit? Functionnality wise, the Sena 50R/S are easy to use but unless a firmware update solves the bugs, you are still better with "another" intercom system (like the Scala Packtalk Bold) *unless* you are either just listening to music (but what's the point to get a 50R/S just to listen to music) *OR* the Mesh intercom mode which was flawless to us and the best Mesh intercom I tested to date. The SENA is easier to operate than the Packtalk though but for now, the bluetooth intercom of the Scala worked better and was clearer than the 50R and with the unit not responding, with the intercom "failed" when trying to communicate with another 50R, with the problems with 2 50R's + Sena 20S/Evo, with the bugs when you start the app, I would either wait or buy the Packtalk bold's if you are going to buy "tomorrow".

    Don't hesitate to ask any questions. I don't mind people saying "Hey, you're trying to do too many things" but for me, the top of the line unit should be able to sustain and intercom call with multiple riders + parallel audio properly.

    Update: I didn't talked in my review is the use of "OK Google" and "Hey Siri". It works fine when it's working and you can ask everything you want but the Packtalk for example, if you would just tap the "phone" button, it would trigger the Google assistant (I don't remember but I think the 20S and 30K does the same, correct me if i'm wrong) so nothing new here IMO. Most of the time, my "no mans land" was using either of them... I was even able to reproduce it. If you are listening to music and say "OK Google" and then stop talking and immediately try to stop or resume your music, the phones have closed the "Google" assistant or "Siri" but the SENA seem to just wait for something that will never happen and I ended up in the "no mans land" I was talking about (every button you would touch would make a sound but you would be stuck with a non-responding unit). I was able to reproduce the problem on an iPhone 8, a Google Pixel 4XL and an Huwaeii P20Pro.
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