Wired vs. Bluetooth

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by WindSailor, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. WindSailor

    WindSailor Been here awhile

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    The wife and I bought a pair of C3's and I got a Schuberth's SRC unit -bluetooth- to pair up to the Garmin 665. The audio or music from the Garmin unit didn't really come up to par using the bluetooth side of things, so -we- went back to being wired with a couple of good sets of Klipsch ear buds which work great. The fidelity of the music using the simple setup we have now has me wondering if I'll ever go back to the bluetooth side of things.

    A buddy of mine has an Autocom system (I believe) where he ties in his mp3 player (I-pod), phone etc. using a wired system in his tank bag and simply loves it. He says he has no need to go wireless.

    On the Autocom site and on the topic and why go wired has the following quote:
    What are your experiences of going wired or using bluetooth?

    Recommendations of products?
    #1
  2. OkieTom

    OkieTom Been here awhile

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    I have a Zumo 665 and Cardo G4 headset, I have my phone connected to GPS and always listen to music while riding. Sound quality is very good, when I had my Zumo 550 the sound quality was garbage but I am very happy with the 665. No way would I go back to wired.....
    #2
  3. mtrdrms

    mtrdrms Been here awhile

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    I kinda do both. I have Sirius radio wired up to my smh10 which works perfectly but I can also make and take calls wirelessly using my smart phone and voice prompts.
    #3
  4. bobbybob

    bobbybob Long timer

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    That "quote" was ether made a long time ago, or the person is just unaware of the advances in B-T technology. Sena has a B-T equivalent of an Autocom, where you can run a B2B radio and 2 more aux audio inputs into one "box" (like an Autocom) and it all feeds into your helmet speakers wirelessly. Check out Sena SR10 and Sena SMH10.
    #4
  5. objectuser

    objectuser Been here awhile

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    We also use the Sena SMH10. They're primarily intercoms for us, but they work great for music as well. Their customer support is pretty iffy and the software for the Mac is just dangerous. But the products are really nice.

    And, yes, BT has come a long way. That sounds like a BT 1.0 quote ... The Sena modules are BT 3.0.

    They now have the SMH10R, which is a low-profile headset. If I was buying now, I'd probably be looking at those.

    Still, there are always tradeoffs. Use what works for you.
    #5
  6. TuefelHunden

    TuefelHunden Been here awhile

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    I run a Garmin 550 which has MP3 and BT. I also have a radar detector. I did connect everything to a Mix-It 2 and run my Entomotic Er6i plugs bywire from my helmet to the mixer. I do not like the wire except for one little thing, it works extremely well. BT would work fine but I have yet to find any form of speaker or ear device that beats the Er6i's. Unless the BT device on the helmet can accommodate the Er6i's wind noise becomes a factor. The other thing about BT that I don't like is charging the batteries. I also have tried a BT transmitter and receiver to replace the wire. It works good until the transmitter battery dies.
    #6
  7. rdwalker

    rdwalker Long timer Supporter

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    My current setup is quite similar to yours, except that I use a Bluetooth connection.

    I am running a Sirius radio, Zumo 550 and a radar detector. These are hard-plugged into a Mix-It, which in turn feeds a Sena SR10 Bluetooth transmitter. The beauty of that transmitter is that it can operate while charging (many other BT devices cannot), so I wired it into bike's system and never worry about it.

    The receiver is an SMH-10 on my helmet. It lasts me for about 8-10 hours of music and navigation and can also be operated while charging.

    I am using the Sena helmet speakers and they work well, though I'd love more volume (I always ride with foam earplugs). I have used the Etymotic ER-6 in the past, with another brand of wired intercom, but my ears would hurt on long rides. But, I still have a set and may try that again: Sena makes an inexpensive helmet clamp that accepts stereo earplugs.


    The absolutely best system I ever had was the wired BMW/J&M setup. I had both the built-in unit on a K12LT and portable ("Integratr") on other bikes. J&M uses these humongous earspeakers and they are sufficient, even too loud when with foam earplugs at highway speeds. It's an expensive set, but you do get what you pay for.

    However, I did get tired of having to plug myself into the bike. Wireless is certainly more convenient.
    #7
  8. /dev/null

    /dev/null Been here awhile

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    Bluetooth quality can be very good, provided the audio playback source does not have GARMIN or BMW written on it.

    The Garmin 660/665/Navigator IV Bluetooth audio output is widely known to be horrible and the company refuses to fix it.

    R1200RT suffers from a similar issue. K1600GT/L are slightly better, but still broken.
    #8
  9. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Let's face it:

    NOTHING BEATS CABLE :deal
    #9
  10. kevin g

    kevin g Been here awhile

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    I designed my own audio amplifier strictly for music. Bluetooth might be more convenient but this system is for long rides and that makes the added task of plugging in no big deal. And it has great audio. I am not going to yak on the phone when I ride. Cell phones are great for "important" calls but none are that important.

    I designed a circuit that goes in this little box:
    [​IMG]

    And mounts here:

    [​IMG]

    In addition to the audio amp there is a USB power supply that connects to the weather proof port. The volume is an up/down switch that lives in a carbon fiber pod I made:

    [​IMG]

    And mounts in the hand guard with industrial velcro:

    [​IMG]

    The amplifier puts out about 0.3W into my TorxPro helmet speakers and has plenty of volume with my earplugs. Earbuds are illegal in Cal. and don't have the wind noise suppression I prefer.

    Being an electronics engineer has its advantages, this was a pretty simple design and it was fun teaching myself to make a mold and lay up carbon fiber.

    The speakers plug in here until I get the right inspiration to make a better mount - probably something involving carbon fiber.

    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. WindSailor

    WindSailor Been here awhile

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    /dev/null-

    Garmin does have a long way to go as far as bluetooth is concerned. I used to get off of the bike to take pictures and I would end up getting far enough away to disconnect and then when I returned it would auto connect; but my Garmin unit would announce it backwards. Support always suggested in doing a hard reset or reboot to fix it; but after doing that I would always loose my XM subscription information and have to call Sirius to go through the validation process again. Pain in the 'arse' especially if you are on a trip. Simply not worth the time.

    Ultimately we went wired. It was kind of awkward at first, forgetting to unplug and stretching the cord to the max etc. But the fidelity is great. No recharging of any batteries (I take very long day rides)... and you have to find either ear buds or speakers that fit inside your helmet and to your liking. That's going to take a while... which is why I am really interested in what you guys have to say.

    Earbuds are nice and some have noise cancelling built in, BUT they do tend to make your ears very tender especially on a long day. I tend to where earplugs if I don't have the earbuds in and I didn't know if there were any helmet speakers that would be loud enough and good enough to do the job out there. Again this where you guys come in. Thanks for the input. Keep them coming.:clap

    kevin g-

    Nice set up. And thanks for posting.

    I didn't know earbuds were illegal in CA...
    #11
  12. mike54

    mike54 You don't get me

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    :clap
    Nice project.
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  13. Robert_W

    Robert_W Blah blah blah. Supporter

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    665 hard wired with a good set if in ear headphones. BT quality sucks in general for decent sounding music and I have no desire to connect my phone while riding . Same with the old 550. Hard wired is the only way to go for good sounding music. Maybe BT will evolve but so far no way it beats a physical connection.
    #13
  14. GSAdict

    GSAdict GSAdict

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    So now I'm confused. I run:
    -Radar and Zumo 550 XM/NAV thru Mixit
    -Mixit direct wire to Sena
    -iPhone BT to sena

    I thought even new Sena only has 1 A2DP profile? I don't want my iPhone BT to the zumo cause I use Suri a lot.

    But I hate the wire.....so who's figured that out and how?
    #14
  15. Spaggy

    Spaggy Long timer

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    How come everything I make looks like it was done by a 1 handed cave man and everything you make looks like it came from Nasa?
    Very nice!
    #15
  16. rgb2cmyk

    rgb2cmyk Been here awhile

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    I run an Sena SMH10 connected to the iPhone for music. Have a Garmin Montana so I didn't bother to wire it for audio.

    I found the helmet speakers lacking so I got the headphone jack baseplate for the SMH10 and just plug my headphones directly into the helmet. Discreet and I don't have to untether myself from the bike.
    http://www.senabluetooth.com/products/acc_SMH-A0303.php


    On a semi related note. If you do use headphones on the bike, I find these foam tips are great: http://www.complyfoam.com/ A lot more comfortable and quieter than any of the standard in-ear tips I've found. Still not as good as earplugs but a happy medium.
    #16
  17. El Gato

    El Gato Been here awhile

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    I had the same experience as you with off the shelf earbuds. Regardless of what tip material I tried, they always started to hurt after a few hours. I finally bit the bullet and ordered a set of custom-molded in-ear monitors and they're simply amazing. Besides having far better sound quality, they have hearing protection equivalent to good foam earplugs so you really have the best of all worlds: Great hearing protection, complete comfort, and fantastic sound quality since you're not trying to crank up helmet speakers to try to hear them over foam earplugs. These are the one I ordered but there are several places that make similar ones:

    http://www.plugup.com/custom_earplug_speakers_single_dual_driver_p/es22-3.5-4.5.htm

    Yes, they're a bit spendy compared to off the shelf earbuds, but it only took me one long ride to realize this is the best farkle $$ I've spent in a very long time.

    Also, yes technically wearing two earbuds is illegal in CA (but one is OK), but I've never heard of anyone getting a ticket for it. I choose to follow common sense over laws written by non-riders, and these earbuds don't block out any more noise than good foam earplugs.
    #17
  18. StickyBill

    StickyBill Been here awhile

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    The key to getting quality sound is using Bluetooth devices that are A2DP compliance.

    http://www.mobileburn.com/definition.jsp?term=A2DP

    A2DP is what allows stereo sound (not just mono) to reach your ear, however both devices need to be A2DP compliant. If your MP3 player or headset aren't A2DP-compliant then you will only get mono output and it will sound like crap.

    I used to run an Autocom system hardwired to the bike, GPS, MP3 player, FRS radio, and my helmet. It worked great but I got tired of having to plug in when I rode.

    Now I have a Garmin Zumo 660 bluetoothed to a Sena SMH-10 headset. Both are A2DP. My iPhone is bluetoothed to the GPS for phone calls (yes, I pull over) and I have an SD card with my music installed into the GPS. I used to have my iPod bluetoothed to the Sena but I find using the GPS more convenient.

    When I installed the headset I took a fair bit of time positioning the speakers to get the best sound. This was more important than it seems. Just a few mm off and the sound volume decreased significantly. They're actually underneath the padding of my helmet and I don't even know they are there. I wear earplugs when I ride and I have no trouble hearing my music.

    I won't go back to wired.
    #18
  19. rdwalker

    rdwalker Long timer Supporter

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    Well, it all depends on what you use the phone for. Or rather, how does the Siri system operate. Can it run as HFP only? If you don't play music from the phone, then you could feed Mix-It into a Bluetooth transmitter (like SM10 or a generic).

    Otherwise, yes, two A2DP profiles would have been handy...

    However, I have sort of resolved the issue, because I do not care about stereo quality. Let's face it, with helmet speakers there is so much background noise that it is not necessary concert-quality experience anyway. And I find in-ear phones uncomfortable on long rides.

    My system is: all music sources (MP3 player, Zumo 550, Sirius receiver and radar) are plugged into a Mix-It box. The output goes through a little arrangement with audio-coupling transformers that sums both channels, creating a mono signal. The transformers are tiny, the whole contraption is about the size of a matchbox (remember those?).

    That is being fed into an SR10, which is a mono HFP transmitter (and adapter for FRS/CB radios or such; I use it with a TalkAbout radio).

    So: all audio sources go over SR10's HFP channel. I can still run a second HFP for the phone and A2DP for the same phone or another device (for a while I have been using a Creative MP3 with Bluetooth as alternate music source, but that was just becoming too complicated).

    The nice thing about my setup is that, once configured, it does not require much attention. The SR10 is wired into the ignition, so it is always charging. When I get on the bike, I only tap the SR10 and the SMH10 to wake them up and off I go.

    Food for thought. I have been also looking at utilizing the SM10 instead, but it does not fit nicely into my scheme.

    Regards, Robert.
    #19
  20. Pongo

    Pongo Been here awhile

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    BMW series 6 helmets with the built in blue tooth headset.
    Works great with my android phone for music and calls if I am alone.
    Or
    Works great with my wife on the back for chatting.

    Have not been able to make it work for both. Not sure the batteries would last for music and talking all day... But for talking all day, it works great. Had a 600 km day this weekend no problem.
    #20