My "earbuds keep falling out" solution - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 30 Old 03-04-2010, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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My "earbuds keep falling out" solution

So after having a couple of different types of in ear earphones that I can't seem to keep in my ears once the helmet is on (and it seems that I'm clearly not the only person with this problem) I decided to try to permanently install some actual on-the-ear type of headphones in the helmet. So I went out and looked for the set that looked like it would be the best fit for my helmet. I settled on a set of Sennheiser HD 238s and got busy. I was hoping to get them in there without completely destroying them just in case it didn't work out the way I wanted it to. It seemed easy enough just looking at it since there was 12 little screws in the on the head band part of it but it turned out that it wasn't quite as easy as I was hoping it would be, damn Germans built these too good. I also hid the wire with the plug inside the shell leaving only the plug hanging out and will use a short extension that'll plug in to them and the ipod so that I don't have 6ft of wire hanging out of the helmet at all times and when I'm not using it I can just tuck the plug in to the helmet. The helmet is a Norton N-102. Here's a few pics of what I ended up with.





And here's what was left of the headphones by the time I was done. I ended up having to cut some of the plastic pieces and un-soldering and re-soldering some wires in order to get them to fit like I wanted. I haven't ridden with them yet since I just did it last night but I hope they're loud enough for the road, if not I just ruined a perfectly good pair of $80 headphones.

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post #2 of 30 Old 03-04-2010, 06:53 PM
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Let us know the results.
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post #3 of 30 Old 03-04-2010, 07:48 PM
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i was wondering why no one has tried that yet. waiting for the results too.

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post #4 of 30 Old 03-05-2010, 02:07 AM Thread Starter
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So I went for a quick ride around town while I was running errands and here's what I found. The fit is great, don't even know they're there if the music isn't playing. It took me a while to find an extension cord so I didn't get much riding in with them actually playing but I think I got enough to make a solid judgment so far. I'll start by saying that the music I was playing wasn't exactly the loudest or hardest music on my ipod, I decided to try something at the 'softer' end of the spectrum, acoustic type of stuff. At low to moderate speeds (less than 45mph) it was very much acceptable, not excellent or spectacular, but acceptable. At higher speeds, not so good, (I got up to about 75mph according to the speedo) I could still hear it but it was thin, couldn't hear all the details in the music but still enough to enjoy it. The 'dirty' air coming off the windscreen was a bit of a factor, ducking back behind it made it a lot easier to hear, just engine noise and road noise to deal with. Standing up and getting into cleaner air was better too, still a lot of wind noise but no one ever said the N-102 was a quiet helmet. Turning up the volume at speed definitely makes it louder but the speakers sound like their starting to 'bottom out'. I'm convinced that this has more to do with the fact that the tiny amp in the ipod is being over worked than the speakers reaching their limit. I think I'll try a small in-line headphone amp, something along the lines of this, and see how that works. I am determined to make this work though, in-ear headphones are great because they kind of aid in noise cancellation but after too long my ears get to itching and it drive me crazy, I guess I need my ears to 'breathe', so to speak, and they fall out too much, even when I'm NOT trying to wear them under the helmet. I'll check locally to see if I can find an amp and report back on how it works. I'll also try a different style of music to see how much of a difference that makes and report back with my findings.

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post #5 of 30 Old 03-05-2010, 09:22 AM
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I've already done the same thing you did, but with a much cheaper set of headphones! First, I've only been riding for a little less than a year, and after reading posts from enough people about wishing they had worn ear protection right from the start, I won't ride without something in my ears.

Anyway, my experience with my "homemade" helmet speakers was the same as yours. You can wear earplugs while using helmet speakers; it actually cuts down wind noise, but requires more volume out of the speakers... it just didn't work out for me.

I got a reasonably priced pair of skull candy earbuds, and to my suprise, I was able to get my full face helmet on without them ripping out of my ears. I do have to pull them out before taking the helmet off though. They do not provide as much ear protection as the foam plugs I use, but this was many times better than the helmet speakers for listening to music at any speed. I would bet that if I was willing to spend more money on better earphones, I could find something that would provide adequate ear protection and decent music quality.

I wouldn't give up on the earphones yet unless you've already done alot of research and tried different pairs because I don't think helmet speakers are going to work out for you. Maybe if you get a huge wind screen to hide behind to eliminate all wind noise, helmet speakers would work.
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post #6 of 30 Old 03-05-2010, 09:36 AM
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Nicely done.

Another option I have found to provide great sound with all day comfort is to use these:



They are known as Plantronics VersaTips. Coupled with some earbuds similar to these:



Pop the foam earbud piece off, and slip the VersaTip on in it's place. They can end up being a little "dangly" and perhaps take a bit of getting used to in that regard, but they don't get knocked out of position when you put on your helmet or take it off. I can have my mp3 player at 3/4 volume and hear just fine at highway speeds, and they work reasonably well as earplugs when the music stops. I have the N102 also, by the way.

Rob

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post #7 of 30 Old 03-05-2010, 11:25 AM
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I tried several small earbuds, skull candy type etc. And if I did manage to keep them in my ears while putting on my modular helmet they all would wiggle loose after a 1/2 hr riding. The sound was good from all.

I then scrapped (similar to what you did) a 12 dollar headphone set and attached the speakers in the helmet. This worked great fitting wise, and decent sound wise. I didn't expect much from 12 buck speakers but I wanted to make sure it would work first.
Next try was a set of Clark aircraft helmet speakers (borrowed from work):biggrinjester: The sound was much improved but the speaker casing was a little thicker than I liked. Did a great job keeping out ambient noise but was pushing against my ears.

My last step and what I'm currently using is an Autocom Active Plus. The MP3 player is wired to the autocom, the sound is great and my MP3 is mounted on a bracket near the left switch housing.
I have about a 6in autocom cable hanging from my helmet and I plug in to the autocom lead once on the bike them turn on the MP3 player.


Ken

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post #8 of 30 Old 03-05-2010, 11:51 AM
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I have spent...too much money on "in helmet speakers". All guaranteed to be the best thing since sliced bread. Great at a stop light, not so much after that.

I have spent...too much money on "ear buds". But, I finally found what worked and am completely satisfied with. You need to find a brand/style with the angled design that allows the ear bud to fit more or less in the ear so that it barely touches your helmet. Helmet touching = pain after a while. Also, most of the good quality ear buds have several shapes/sizes of the removable foam/rubber piece that goes in the ear canal. This is important as finding the one that fits securely yet comfortable is the one that blocks outside noise and transmit the good sound best.

I currently use the Shure SE210's. Sound quality is excellent and the shape keeps the body of the earbud tucked nicely into the ear area. About $150 but the best money I have spent so far for speakers. I like the two piece cord. It allows a short piece to hang out of the helmet. I plug that into an adaptor on the side of the helmet. I have a main pigtail (EdSets) that covers wiring for microphone and speakers that then goes to the Zumo.

As for the ear bud coming loose, I have found that putting the helmet on can move them and that means they are not fully seated and can work loose. Using a "helmet slik" or similar product will help that out a lot. It allows the helmet to slide over the ear area without catching the edge of the ear bud.

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Last edited by realshelby; 03-05-2010 at 11:53 AM.
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post #9 of 30 Old 03-05-2010, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by realshelby View Post
I have spent...too much money on "in helmet speakers". All guaranteed to be the best thing since sliced bread. Great at a stop light, not so much after that.

I have spent...too much money on "ear buds". But, I finally found what worked and am completely satisfied with. You need to find a brand/style with the angled design that allows the ear bud to fit more or less in the ear so that it barely touches your helmet. Helmet touching = pain after a while. Also, most of the good quality ear buds have several shapes/sizes of the removable foam/rubber piece that goes in the ear canal. This is important as finding the one that fits securely yet comfortable is the one that blocks outside noise and transmit the good sound best.

I currently use the Shure SE210's. Sound quality is excellent and the shape keeps the body of the earbud tucked nicely into the ear area. About $150 but the best money I have spent so far for speakers. I like the two piece cord. It allows a short piece to hang out of the helmet. I plug that into an adaptor on the side of the helmet. I have a main pigtail (EdSets) that covers wiring for microphone and speakers that then goes to the Zumo.

As for the ear bud coming loose, I have found that putting the helmet on can move them and that means they are not fully seated and can work loose. Using a "helmet slik" or similar product will help that out a lot. It allows the helmet to slide over the ear area without catching the edge of the ear bud.
I agree with realshelby above. Best solution is a good fitting "in ear" earplug type speakers. I like the Etymotic ER6i ones, which can often be found for $75-$80 on Amazon. They are really small.

I have heard of some Skullcandy models that are small enough for motorcycle use giving decent performance at an even lower price. Thread about them here: http://www.vstrom.info/Smf/index.php/topic,6429.0.html

Here is a tip I learned for helping to prevent the earplugs from falling out: Use your ears as a buit-in strain relief. You can do this by routing the wires from the earplugs up towards your temples and then back over the top of your ears. Its takes some practice to do this easily, especially in windy conditions, but it reduces the number of time those accidental minor tugs on the wires disrupt the seating of the earplugs.

--Joe

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post #10 of 30 Old 03-05-2010, 03:47 PM
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I bought a set of Panasonic "over thear" type clip-on speakers. $20.00 .I pulled the clips off and velcroed them in place in my helmet. In spite of the fact that the manufacturer( Suomy) says there is no room for speakers, they fit perfect after a bit of adjusting. I then tucked the wire under the liner so there is about 12" of cord hanging off the helmet.
I installed this over a year ago, and have never had an issue. It's also a very quiet helmet too, so that helps.

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