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In my quest for some musical entertainment on those long boring stretches between the fun stuff; I decided that a nice MP3 player and a set of helmet speakers would suit my needs.

MP3 Player
Bantam BA350($179) is smaller than a credit card and about half the thickness of a deck of card. It really does weigh nothing and the picture below is just slightly larger than it's actual size. It will play both MP3 and WMA formats and is able to fit more WMA files than MP3 because of their greater compression. The on board memory is 128mb and is about enough for 3 or 4 entire CD's at 128kbs and more than that depending on your sample rate. You can also expand the memory using the SD or MMC flash memory cards.

Battery life seems to be about 4 full hours of play between charges and has to be charged using a USB hookup at the computer. There is a separate AC adapter that can be purchased separately ($14.95).

It comes with a lot of accessories: backwrap headphones, 7 different colored face plates, a car cassette adapter, a neoprene carrying case, and software.

The software is the worst thing about the whole player, it's very flakey and not fully certified to anything other than Windows 98.

All around, it's a great product and could easily suit anyones needs. I bought the MP3 player last summer and since then there have been huge changes in the technology and new and better players are out now, but this one works just fine for me. IF I were to upgrade to a newer one, it'd have to be the optical drive kind. The iPod is nice, but costs WAY too much. In my research the new Nomad Zen seems to be the way to go. With 20GB of storage, it could hold almost an entire CD collection and if that's not enough, there is a 60GB version coming down the road!

Overall I give it **** out of 5 and it looses one because of the crappy software.



Helmet Speakers
Here's the quick version: SAVE YOUR MONEY
I bought the Mini Blaster Helmet Speakers ($34) from a company in Canada thru AeroStitch/Riderwearhouse a couple of weeks ago. The packaging is amusing as you can see from the picture and looks very much like a box of Snap Pops that you'd pick up around 4th of July time. They do have some really nice features; there is an intermediate cord that can be ran between your music device and the actual headphones that is handy for disconnecting the headphones so that you can remove your helmet with out unplugging the whole thing. Install is a piece of cake on a helmet with a removable liner. Using the supplied Velcro patches, they stuck right in behind the helmet lining and are thin enough to be unobtrusive. BUT the sound quality sucks. Plain and simple, S U C K S. Unless you know the songs by heart, you will not be able to recognize them at speed even with the volume turned up all the way. They (Collett) suggest things like overall helmet quietness could attribute to this and such, but even sitting at my desk, they were too quite. I contacted J&M about their offerings and they were really helpful. They said no matter how much you try, you'll never get enough output from a Walkman type device to power any speakers. They went on to say that even if you could get enough power to them that the Mini Blasters wouldn't be able to handle enough to sound good. So it looks like to get sound you've got to either have in the ear headphones or pony up the money for an amplifier($120 from J&M) and a good set of helmet speakers (another $40 from them).

I give them * out of 5

 
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What a great write up! This is very timely for me because I am in search for a best solution to this annoying problem.

I have a Sony Walkman that I normally use, but recently started using my Motorola cell phone that has a FM stereo set up. I was having a hard time using headphones for several reasons:

1. difficult to hear regardless of full face, open face, or motocross style helmets.

2. very uncomfortable. The "buds" would shift in my ear and after about 40 minutes of ride time, became painfull.

3. The tape solution. While it does make a difference taping your buds in your ears with medical tape, that can be a pain.

I did get a set of the Doc's Earplugs headphone adapters, and they hurt too bad also. They also place the buds outside of your ear, which makes it difficult to properly get your helmet on without moving the plugs, and the pressure applied to your ears from the extension is very painfull.

My commute to work is 1 hour each way, and I need some tunes. I get tired of singing and talking to myself :)

I don't want to rig up a stereo on my V-Strom like a gold wing either.

Does anyone have any input on what they do, within a reasonable expense?

Brendan
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helmet tunes

I've been running with the mini-blasts helmet speakers, hooked up to a $179.00 "Porta-Corda" amp from the Aerostitch Catalog.

I've been trying to wear cheap, disposable earplugs because the Cee-Bailey still lets a lot of wind noise through.

I've been using my Sony Clie PDA which has a built in MP3 player, but has very little power in its output

The Amp provides a great deal of high quality boost to the signal, but the sound quality through the speaker sucks and the volume at max lets me hear the tunes even through a 100MPH slipstream, but all music quality is removed. Quiet jams are completely lost.

Who needs to hear quiet jams when blasting that fast?

One of my BMW buddies uses the custom molded earplugs which contain a speaker element, and I'm thinking of trying that avenue next.

The real way to go is to get the IPOD, or one of the IPOD clones, so that you can carry your whole music collection. And Use the Porta Corda amp to give real drive levels.

Use bike power by wiring a fused line to the battery and wire in the AC adpter for the IPOD. The Porta Corda uses a 9V battery which lasts a long time. Shove the whole thing in a pocket of your jacket, or better yet, a tank bag.

For me, the jury is out on how to actually get the music into your ears. Maybe the custom earbud/earplug deal will work better than the mini-blast speakers, or maybe the deal is to just get better mini-speakers.

With the Porta- Corda amp, you get a lot of drive.

That is my $0.02

RP
 
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Sound in the helmet

:cry:
Hi guys I too have tried the whole speaker helmet thing. You guys are right , no MP3 or Disc Player is going to have enough juice to power any headphones or mini speakers to any great volume at all. Just not enough internal power to ever do the job we want done.
Also consider this. Because of the noisy enviroment we are riding in you have to have something go so loud that you may damage your hearing trying to overcome the other noise. The other noise of wind and engine rumble, exhaust noise and other vehicles really adds up to a lot of external noise around you. This external noise must be overcome in order for your music to sound good. If you were to actually design a high decibal system to fit in your helmet you would be directing a lot of volume in your ears. this kind of volume is very damaging to your ear drums. Sure you could overcome the other noise , but at what other cost, maybe your hearing
Compare it to driving your car with the windows down on the highway. You have to turn your car stereo pretty loud before it sounds good because you are fighting all the road and wind noise. Thats when many lesser car stereos wimp out, when it has a lot of racket to sound better than
I personally don't think its possible to acheive good sounding music on a bike. I talking decent sound like those devices provide when in a quiet enviroment. You can get half decent voice comunications but never good music quality
Save your hearing and stick to the plugs :p

Ever get ringing ears after a concert or some really loud continuous noise This is our bodies way of saying " hey you better be careful with our ears or I'll make this ringing permanent "
 
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Helmet Sound

I use Sony's new insertable earphones, model MDR-EX71SL, at $50 for the pair. They come with two sizes of soft silicone plugs to fit most ears. Because they're a fully sealed earphone, they render you completely deaf to outside sounds so be careful! The sound quality, especially the bass response is amazing! These were definitely made for helmet heads. They come with a short cord that plugs into a longer cord which then connects to the player so you don't have to mess with a lot of unplugging when you get off the bike with your helmet still on. If you're serious about good sound these are really the only decent game in town for helmet-friendly headphones under $200.

For a signal source, I'm very pleased with Sony's S2 Sports Net MD MP3 MiniDisc Walkman. Instead of having to purchase expensive flash ram cards for more music, I get up to five hours of music from a $2 re-writable minidisc. The player is designed to be pretty crud resistant which is a must-have when you're on the road and it has a little joystick controller that makes changing tracks pretty easy. Only problem is that you really need to keep the minidiscs away from cheap magnetic tank bags that don't damp the magnetic field from their magnets (also great for erasing the magnetic strip on any credit cards if you get your wallet near the bag as well, I'm sorry to say). The player/recorder comes bundled with pretty decent software allowing you to record direct from your computer as well as from radio and other analog sources. Battery life for a single AA battery is about 40 hours! Cost is approx. $150.

This combination easily offers some of the finest sound on two wheels.
 
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On my last trip I borrowed an Autocom intercom system from a friend, and as a surprise I brought our run of the mill crappy CD player as well. Firstly being able to talk easily and clearly at high speeds is amazing, but with the CD player we were listening to our favourite CD with no problems in the least, the music was clear and when we did talk to each other the music would die down by half volume and then go back up when we stopped talking...amazing quality. Because the Autocom works as an Amp you don't need a high output device, also it has other inputs so if you have a 'talking' GPS (I'll be getting one soon and I'll give you an update) you can plug it straight in as well as a mobile (cell) phone, in fact I called my friend when he had his connected and I never would have guessed that he was riding it was that clear. oh and it has an option for volume if you wear ear plugs as well.
on the down side, I found the speakers hurt my ears after a couple of hours (I don't have a deep ear pocket on my helmet) and....um....That's the only down side (other than the cost) I can think of. I used an old model and we'll be buying the new one the Pro-7 which has better sound quality. we were impressed with how good it worked. It can be hard wired into the electrical system and all you have to do is plug in your helmet and ride.
Here's the uk website
http://www.autocom.co.uk/

I'm going for a 3 week ride at the end of the month so I'll be buying Woofy's suggestion (thanks) to go with the Autocom.
 

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MP3 Player and helmet speakers

No real good solution. I have a pair of Etymotic er6i's and an Ipod. Decent but not all that good. Probably try the molded plugs next. Looks like someone should come up with something.
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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I wasn't satisfied with anything until I got these. http://earplugstore.stores.yahoo.net/chmisearph.html
They muffle wind noise, are comfortable for successive 16 hour days and provide good sound while not interfering with the helmet. Nothing I tried up until then fulfilled all those criteria.
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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How did you dig up a 7 year old thread?

So, what's your complaint with the Ipaid and er6's
I can tell you mine. After about 10 hours on the first day, my ears started to hurt. After 10 hours the second day, they started to bleed.
 

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How did you dig up a 7 year old thread?

So, what's your complaint with the Ipaid and er6's
We keep telling people to use the search function...I guess they're finally getting the message.

I have the Shure SHH8006's. Pretty comfortable, isolate a good bit of the sound, nice bass on the music, and they have loops that go around the ear and hold them on when donning a helmet. Also have a pause button and volume control on cable, so I can adjust the sound with my gloves and helmet on.

Used them for a six hour ride and had no issues.

That and they don't cost a heck of a lot.
 

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FORUM GODFATHER.....R.I.P. PAT
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My $16 Skull Candy Ink'd ear buds are good for 8 hours. After that, discomfort increases exponentially.
 

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As an audio guy, I like the balanced sound of the Etymotic ER-6i. Over the years, they have become a reference for me, like the Sony 7506 studio headphones.

Most of the time I use them with the small blue Christmas tree tips, but I had my audiologist whip me up some custom molds via Sensaphonics. I use these for those very long days.

http://www.sensaphonics.com/prod_ety_sleeve.html

 

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Not an inexpensive solution, but I have happy streaming from my iPhone to the speakers to my Blueant. The sound quality is nothing special, but enough to keep me entertained. And navigating playlists, etc. by voice command is pretty slick.
 

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I use custom moulded earplugs that have a hollow tube running to my ipod. You can find them here: http://www.earmoldsydney.com.au/ I have no doubt that someone in the US makes something similar.

I can wear them all day, I keep the volume on my ipod at about 1/3rd and still (just) hear traffic noise ie sirens. I also use a remote control so I can pause the music when necessary,

I would never use speakers inside a helmet - a few years ago Performance Bikes in the UK tested a range of helmets and they placed a microphone behind the riders ear and measured the dB level inside the helmet at 60mph. The QUIETEST helmet was 108 dB and the loudest was 118!!! :jawdrop:

You are asking for serious hearing damage to try and overcome that kind of noise level with speakers in your helmet, IMO.
 

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I wasn't satisfied with anything until I got these. http://earplugstore.stores.yahoo.net/chmisearph.html
They muffle wind noise, are comfortable for successive 16 hour days and provide good sound while not interfering with the helmet. Nothing I tried up until then fulfilled all those criteria.
This link doesn't work any more. Could you tell which model of earplug you are referring to? Thanks.
 

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After about 10 hours on the first day, my ears started to hurt. After 10 hours the second day, they started to bleed.
Still listening to Slayer, eh?
 
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