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UTC quote
Hi all -

How do folks solve for playing music when riding? I have put a small Bluetooth speaker (JBL Clip or small Jambox) into the glove compartment and hooked it up to my phone's bluetooth. It's ok but the engine drowns it out while riding. Thinking of maybe a Velcro patch to keep the speaker on the outside of the glovebox. Wondering if y'all have any suggestions. Thanks! ✌️
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Molto Verboso
2020 GTS 300 HPE
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Molto Verboso
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I've only ever tried a Packtalk Slim, but I'm quite happy with it.

It's all of {a set of helmet speakers (basically slim 80s headphones with velcro to attach to your pads), a bluetooth transmitter, and a proprietary helmet-to-helmet comms system}. I mostly use it to play music, but occasionally will chat with friends on a group ride.

My charge port broke on tour recently. They sent me a replacement, but I was without bluetooth for a few long days. I got an audio extension cable and connected my phone directly to the helmet speakers. I missed being able to change volume/songs while riding, and USB-C jacks are notoriously finnicky to keep an audio cable plugged into - that got really frustrating. Was nice to not have to think about turning the unit on/off separately from my phone though.

If you don't mind spending a few hundreds dollars, the Packtalk Slim is a good option. It's a pain to install (you'll probably have to cut the trim on your helmet), but worth it.

If you're looking for a cheaper option, I believe you can get the speakers themselves for about $80, and wire them directly to your phone.
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Molto Verboso
2018 GTS 300 Touring Rosso Vignola, 2020 BV 350 Matte Green, 1956 VL3
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Molto Verboso
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UTC quote
A Sena will pair to your phone. Works great. Another option that works nice are Bluetooth hearing aids. Don't ask how I know.
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Molto Verboso
2020 GTS 300 HPE
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Molto Verboso
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UTC quote
A pair of Lexin B4FM helmet communicators for my wife and me. In helmet speakers that bluetooth to my phone for music, or helmet to helmet. About half the price of the Sena equivalence.

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I have A Uclear system and can stream music from my iPhone to the speakers, have had it for many years and think it works great. Need to keep it soft enough to hear what is about you , in my opinion.
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UTC quote
I listen to my thoughts (aka The Voices").
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I prefer to have all my senses working when I ride.
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
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Sena system, simple and works. The ability to speak to a pillion or riding partner wearing one is very handy. It's saved me from a number of helmet slaps or dark stares from the sidecar.

Oh and this topic has blown up before. The OP is looking for a recommendation not an opinion on riding with music. Let's keep this civil please.
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UTC quote
just music
Just for music, I use one of those sleep earphones headband. Takes a bit of wiggling to get the earpieces just right but I normally don't have too much trouble with it. I just got the cheap one and it's working fine both for under the helmet and for sleep. Two birds and all that.
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FWIW the negative karma wasn't me but someone may remember the last thread on this. It's almost become the new "what oil to use" topic.

Same deal though if someone wants advice on a good aviator style helmet. Those can also go sideways.
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Molto Verboso
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While I prefer my uclear system I have a few times used AirPods, a bit tricky to get the helmet on but once on they do seem to stay in well, again need to keep the volume low so you can hear the world around you, an ok but not great choice in my opinion.
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Music would be fine - Ear Plugs I do not understand.
For whatever reason, I have not moved up to music on the scooter trail.
Even though I love music, I do enjoy just taking in the adventure on two wheels.

A bunch of the guys in my rider group wear ear plugs. They must have real sensitive hearing. I personally don't get it. Scooters are reasonably quiet and I wear a doo-rag and helmet over my ears.

Sorry to change the post subject, but I do not get the ear plugs.

Bob Copeland
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I wear ear plugs to save what's left of my hearing.
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UTC quote
If I opt for music while riding I use PlugFones

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I don't use a full face helmet,(did I say that out loud)so this is what I use. I turn it off when I enter the slab. Do you have a windshield? That will improve the sound and could create a mounting point.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29fjWsF4axc

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Re: Music would be fine - Ear Plugs I do not understand.
Bob Copeland wrote:
A bunch of the guys in my rider group wear ear plugs. They must have real sensitive hearing. I personally don't get it. Scooters are reasonably quiet and I wear a doo-rag and helmet over my ears.
It's not about engine noise or sensitive hearing, it's about the cumulative damage of wind noise. At highway speeds, the wind buffeting your helmet can be as loud as a nightclub. (You might not feel it without the bass, but it is quite loud.). Listening to loud noises, even just wind, for dozens of minutes a day can damage your hearing.

Hearing damage can interfere with your ability to enjoy life: not just music, but also conversations, crowded places, etc. It can also literally hurt your ears. I don't want to fuck with any of that, so I wear 25dB plugs every time I ride. Plus, cutting out the wind noise makes the music sound better too!

You can get custom molded plugs for around $200 from any audiologist. If you amortize that out over the amount of time you can still hear, they're effectively free. I keep mine in a little aluminum bottle on my keyring. If you search for a "keychain pill holder," you should be able to find one.
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Re: Music would be fine - Ear Plugs I do not understand.
mayorofnow wrote:
Bob Copeland wrote:
A bunch of the guys in my rider group wear ear plugs. They must have real sensitive hearing. I personally don't get it. Scooters are reasonably quiet and I wear a doo-rag and helmet over my ears.
It's not about engine noise or sensitive hearing, it's about the cumulative damage of wind noise. At highway speeds, the wind buffeting your helmet can be as loud as a nightclub. (You might not feel it without the bass, but it is quite loud.). Listening to loud noises, even just wind, for dozens of minutes a day can damage your hearing.

Hearing damage can interfere with your ability to enjoy life: not just music, but also conversations, crowded places, etc. It can also literally hurt your ears. I don't want to fuck with any of that, so I wear 25dB plugs every time I ride. Plus, cutting out the wind noise makes the music sound better too!

You can get custom molded plugs for around $200 from any audiologist. If you amortize that out over the amount of time you can still hear, they're effectively free. I keep mine in a little aluminum bottle on my keyring. If you search for a "keychain pill holder," you should be able to find one.
Especially since wind noise is about the same tone as my Tinnitus.
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Buddy 125, Scarabeo 150, Scarabeo 500ie, Triumphs, Vespa Sprint 150
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I dunno.....but wish I could take this music with me!!!

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UTC quote
I prefer a ipod clone, with actual buttons, there is no way I could go to the next song or pause on a touchscreen phone
I carry the pod in my right shirt pocket, so I can operate with my left hand, while riding

I wear a full face Bell which has pockets for headphones
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UTC quote
Thanks all! I actually bought a Toovren portable speaker mount which attaches to the side view mirror arm with 4 velcro straps. Works well, but would love something that is a bit more efficient. Not looking for something in my helmet. I drive in NYC so need to keep those ears open!!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07WVXXTW8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
2023 Arancia Impulsivo Vespa GTS300 HPE , 2022 BMW R1250GSA 40th Anniversary, 2019 Ural Gear Up
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UTC quote
konadog wrote:
Thanks all! I actually bought a Toovren portable speaker mount which attaches to the side view mirror arm with 4 velcro straps. Works well, but would love something that is a bit more efficient. Not looking for something in my helmet. I drive in NYC so need to keep those ears open!!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07WVXXTW8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I get the keeping th gears open part but you can actually hear what is going on around you with helmet speakers. It really is not wearing headphones with your phone or music player. There is an air gap between you and the speakers in the helmet. I ride in Downtown Toronto which is as bad as NYC and have no problems. My BMW K1600 has speakers built in but I would never use them in the city. TBH I'd feel a little strange riding around town with everyone hearing my music or podcasts.
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UTC quote
I use a single AirPod clone wireless earbud in the left ear. It stays in very well with the modular helmet. I use my iPhone as a speedometer, and have it mounted to a RAM mount above the gauges, so if I need to adjust the volume, I can simply use the volume buttons on the side. I keep the volume low enough that I can hear what's going on around me.

The only drawback I've found is that some songs use the stereo channels to split parts of the song between the two speakers, which means I'll only hear half the song. I would have thought that by only connecting one earbud, the stereo signal would be sent as mono to it. It's not that big of a deal to me, though.
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UTC quote
mayorofnow wrote:
I've only ever tried a Packtalk Slim, but I'm quite happy with it.

It's all of {a set of helmet speakers (basically slim 80s headphones with velcro to attach to your pads), a bluetooth transmitter, and a proprietary helmet-to-helmet comms system}. I mostly use it to play music, but occasionally will chat with friends on a group ride.

My charge port broke on tour recently. They sent me a replacement, but I was without bluetooth for a few long days. I got an audio extension cable and connected my phone directly to the helmet speakers. I missed being able to change volume/songs while riding, and USB-C jacks are notoriously finnicky to keep an audio cable plugged into - that got really frustrating. Was nice to not have to think about turning the unit on/off separately from my phone though.

If you don't mind spending a few hundreds dollars, the Packtalk Slim is a good option. It's a pain to install (you'll probably have to cut the trim on your helmet), but worth it.

If you're looking for a cheaper option, I believe you can get the speakers themselves for about $80, and wire them directly to your phone.
I'm with mayorofnow in regard to in-the-saddle "listening": I have a Cardo Packtalk Slim, and while not the cheapest setup (in fact, hardly the cheapest), it's actually the least-intrusive (unlike earbuds), and most-versatile: besides music, which it also excels at, I use it primarily for GPS, not because I always need to know where I'm going, but because it gives me near-real-time info of potential delays on account of accidents/construction/Et Cetera. I can also place or take calls or texts, and do some 95% of all this hands-free, by the sound of my voice.

As far as getting music to your ears without going whole-hog, you can get something like Cardo's Freedom 1, which, besides being way-cheaper, gives you what you need in a system designed for helmet use, , which to me is a big deal in terms of something that otherwise stays out of the way when doing the business of piloting something with two wheels and an engine. Regular earbuds usually involve wires; I never recommend anything with wires while rolling on two wheels, with or without an engine. (I did this as a cyclist in NYC in the 1980s and 90s.)

And, of course, there's the option of just going without: just you, the bike and its sounds, your passing surroundings and their sounds. You could do worse...
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Molto Verboso
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Cheap and cheerful:

UClear wired in-helmet headphones -- $40 or so.
Cycle Gear (for reference only, not necessarily recommending the vendor)

Bluetooth headphone adapter with microphone -- about $14.
Amazon (reference only, no idea about this vendor)

I've used this setup (different bluetooth adapter but functionally identical) for years. Wear earplugs and run the adapters (and phone bluetooth setting) at full volume. Battery life at full volume is a little over two hours. This is fine, since they charge in one hour. Get two, and alternate between them at fuel stops -- charge one from the bike while you're listening with the other.

If you plan to use the microphone, the bluetooth adapter will need to be mounted inside your helmet somehow. Also, the microphone sound quality will be "almost unusable" unless you're stationary.

It's not weatherproof at all, unless it's inside the helmet and nothing drips onto it.

You almost certainly won't be able to use the control buttons while riding, so your phone will need to be accessible for volume adjustments.

If installed inside your helmet, the blinking blue light might appear in or reflect into your field of vision and be quite distracting. Electrical tape can be your friend here.

On the other hand, it's cheap -- $70 for one set of headphones and two bluetooth adapters.
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Worst case
Just out of consideration for your fellow humans, kindly consider one of the ear-plug or helmet-speaker systems. Most vehicle mounted speakers sound awful (hi-fi, it's not), and need to be played pretty loud to overcome vehicle, traffic, and wind noise. Perhaps your fellow motorists do not share your taste in music.

As a worst-case scenario, a local knothead on an unmuffled Harley rides around with the sound/noise system turned up loud enough so it overcomes the vehicle noise, and perhaps his incipient deafness. Very pleasant as he drives by.

But then I'm picky. Recently bought a fairly decent Bluetooth speaker, to go along with my hi-def music player. Only to find that Bluetooth significantly degrades the music quality, even using the higher-quality Bluetooth codec. So it mostly gets used hard-wired. I rarely listen to music in the car or truck, as the background noise level intrudes sufficicently to spoil the experience.

And yes, I wear earplugs when I rode. Tall enough so that my head is out in the windstream, no matter what I'm riding, and the noise is loud enough to damage hearing, over time. I enjoy music too much to voluntarily give up that pleasure. Listening to people, on the other hand, not so much.
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UTC quote
i run an oontz angle 3 ultra by cambridge soundworks in my buddy front pocket...sounds pretty good at speed...the sena systems are probably the best option but i like my setup cause i can use it anywhere and it's a lot cheaper

https://www.amazon.com/OontZ-Angle-Ultra-Hi-Quality-Splashproof/dp/B073BVWRSP/ref=sr_1_3?crid=2MI8A1DEVSTTR&dchild=1&keywords=oontz+angle+3+ultra&qid=1605818122&sprefix=oontz+an%2Caps%2C158&sr=8-3
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Molto Verboso
Xevo 250 ie
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Xevo 250 ie
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UTC quote
This sony bluetooth dongle is pretty good for riding.
SONY BLUETOOTH HEADSET WITH SPEAKER SBH56
https://www.sony-asia.com/electronics/accessories/bluetooth-headset-with-speaker-sbh56

Good battery and physical buttons for volume and track. Pair it with some good ear plug style headphones and you're sorted.
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