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Not sure if this should be here or under accessories but anyway, what headphones/earbuds work best for full face helmets. Right now, I use wired apple earpods and an Icon Alliance and its decent. After 1 or 2 attempts, I can usually get one bud to stay in. Anyone else have good success with a certain brand or style?
 

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Well here in California it's apparently illegal to have earbuds in both ears, in case you weren't aware. Having said that, over the ear speakers are fine in both ears, and Uclear makes some that you can leave installed on your helmet with the use of velcro. They have pretty good sound quality based on the last time I heard music through them. I advise you to use ear plugs along with these over the ear speakers, you will find that they improve the sound quality quite a bit by filtering out all the "white noise" from the wind and surrounding traffic. Actually, just wear ear plugs in general lol, your ears will appreciate it further down the road.
 

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I like using my Klipsch X10i earbuds, but they are discontinued. They are super comfortable, and block a lot of wind noise if you use the proper rubber tips. They were replaced by the X11 that I do not have experience with.
 

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Thankfully, I found this post I had written elsewhere (here) so I don't have to write it up again. It was regarding upgraded speakers on a Sena intercom for better audio quality, so I'll modify it to fit.

The biggest issue with audio in helmet speakers isn't so much the quality of the speakers themself as the issue with the extremely high noise floor due to wind and engine noise. That makes compressing the dynamic range necessary to compensate, which destroys a quality producers work. The alternative is not hearing the softer sounds.

...The two main benefits to earphones over speakers is this: a night and day difference in audio quality using quality isolated earphones; and protecting your hearing from the 100+dB's present during motorcycle riding. Particularly because both the wind noise and Continuous TTS exposure will result in permanent hearing damage. Your really can't go wrong, and it's plug and play this way.

My choice are either the Sol Republic Relays (20$) or the Shure SE215 (100$). Either model fit's perfectly flush against the ears in order to not bother with a helmet on. Using Comply replacement foam eartips you can improve the sound isolation to the point where you're satisfied with the balance between isolation and environment awareness.

As far as my update as of today, the Sol Republic Relays are the way to go. They used to be a top pick in the Wirecutter reviews (Ctrl+f the model). And if you use your phone in a Ram mount, a Bluetooth receiver like this is a god send.

Typically, 1 earbud is legal, with pretext as communication, but two is illegal. It depends on the state though. While I'm not fond of doing it for being illegal, I do tend to use earphones to protect my hearing and hear music, the news, interviews (any fans of Dave Rubin around here? lol) or whatever at the same time.
 

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Don't you think it's dangerous to drive while wearing headphone in both ears? It will distract your attention while driving.
 

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Don't you think it's dangerous to drive while wearing headphone in both ears? It will distract your attention while driving.
Nope. Not at all. Cars with their windows up can hear way less than a motorcycle rider with earphones. Plus, earphones aren't going to keep you from hearing any audible cues you could have relied on anyway. If you're going to not bother to move your head to look before changing lanes because you "don't hear" a vehicle, you're not gonna last very long on the roads. And for things like emergency sirens, you'll hear them anyway. Actually the main problem is that they don't block enough sound out. I'd still happily pay for an even quieter helmet. All in all wearing earphones protects my hearing and keeps me alert and not day dreaming.

To me for someone to say that riding with earphones is (inherently) dangerous feels like when people used to say that riding with a helmet was more dangerous because it limited your field of vision and made it much harder to hear around you. If someone doesn't feel comfortable riding with headphones, that's fine and I respect that, but it's not for me. To be honest, as much as I love motorcycles, if I could only choose one I'd choose music over riding in a heartbeat.
 

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Nope. Not at all. Cars with their windows up can hear way less than a motorcycle rider with earphones. Plus, earphones aren't going to keep you from hearing any audible cues you could have relied on anyway. If you're going to not bother to move your head to look before changing lanes because you "don't hear" a vehicle, you're not gonna last very long on the roads. And for things like emergency sirens, you'll hear them anyway. Actually the main problem is that they don't block enough sound out. I'd still happily pay for an even quieter helmet. All in all wearing earphones protects my hearing and keeps me alert and not day dreaming.

To me for someone to say that riding with earphones is (inherently) dangerous feels like when people used to say that riding with a helmet was more dangerous because it limited your field of vision and made it much harder to hear around you. If someone doesn't feel comfortable riding with headphones, that's fine and I respect that, but it's not for me. To be honest, as much as I love motorcycles, if I could only choose one I'd choose music over riding in a heartbeat.
The earphones without music playing wouldn't prevent you from hearing audio cues, but with music playing you aren't going to hear any audio cues until whatever is emitting that sound is practically on top of you. I've tried different ear buds over the years when I go on my longer rides requiring ear buds and with music playing, you generally don't hear anything much of what's going on outside. If you lower the music to hear outside sounds, the wind noise and buffeting noises then tend to muddy up the music. Ear plugs without music for me is fine since they just block out most of the wind noise and allow me to hear my engine and surrounding engine sounds as well at a little lower distance. The one major audio cue though at higher speeds that I like to have but are totally gone when listening to music on ear buds are other vehicle's tire sounds. Car tires when going faster than 55 mph make a very distinct sound and I have a very complete situational awareness picture just be hearing the tire noise of all of the vehicles around me. With earbuds playing music or to a smaller extent with ear plugs, I can't hear the tire noise until they're right next to me so I have to spend a lot more time looking over my shoulder, around. I tend to appear paranoid as I'm constantly spinning my head around trying to visually check where all of the vehicles around me are. Being able to hear this wheel noise has saved me a couple times as I've had people behind me and to the side try to change lanes behind me and stuff themselves into a gap they had no chance to fill and nearly sweep my rear wheel out from under me. Hearing that tire noise all of a sudden start shifting alerted me to what was going on and a quick glance to confirm and some extra throttle saved me by millimeters.
 

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It kinda depends on how you make the question. Is riding without earphones potentially safer? Sure. Is riding without earplugs potentially safer? Sure. Is riding with earphones/earplugs unsafe? I think that's way too arguable and subjective a point to be worth debating. Given that the only people who would wear earphones while riding are those that want to wear earphones and feel like they'd benefit from it, I'd say that desire or benefit far outweighs the potential risks. The added risk, if any, would mostly would depend on how you ride. I've transitioned from Sena to earplugs to earphones and haven't ever had a close call that better hearing would have prevented, but then again I drive defensively. What for me is a "close call" is what for other people is their normal following distance.

Now I'd agree that if someone is a sloppy, inattentive rider, then wearing headphones (or doing anything that might distract them in general) might not be the best idea. Come to think of it, I even have someone in mind. But that would be someone I'd feel nervous group riding with regardless of what they were or weren't doing.
 

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Interesting thread. . .

I have always worn earplugs to protect my hearing. With or without earplugs, over ~50 MPH or so, the only thing I hear is wind. I have blindspot mirrors on my bike, ride with my head on a swivel and rely almost exclusively on visual cues for safety - not my hearing.

About two months ago on a bike trip my little brother connected me to his Sena intercom system and I discovered having GooglePlay music libraries play over headphones while riding. OMG, I am hooked!!! It SO enhances the riding experience for me. I also discovered (strangely) that having music clears everything but riding out of my brain. Instead of sometimes getting distracted by thinking of other things that pop into my head, I find my mental focus is 100% on riding - and that's a good thing!
 

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Interesting thread. . .

I have always worn earplugs to protect my hearing. With or without earplugs, over ~50 MPH or so, the only thing I hear is wind. I have blindspot mirrors on my bike, ride with my head on a swivel and rely almost exclusively on visual cues for safety - not my hearing.

About two months ago on a bike trip my little brother connected me to his Sena intercom system and I discovered having GooglePlay music libraries play over headphones while riding. OMG, I am hooked!!! It SO enhances the riding experience for me. I also discovered (strangely) that having music clears everything but riding out of my brain. Instead of sometimes getting distracted by thinking of other things that pop into my head, I find my mental focus is 100% on riding - and that's a good thing!

I never wore Earplugs on a bike, one they are uncomfortable, but two I thought it was a safety issue too. I realized that you can hear better with them in sometime as it drowns out the static sound. "kind of like going to a concert, you can actually hear the music better, albeit muffled, but when the roar of the people screaming is drowned out you can hear the lyrics lol"
I have the Scala Q-solo so i can hear GPS, music and phone if I want. TBH I like the sound of my engine and the rush of the wind. I always wear a helmet so I cannot imagine this bike on the highway with just earplugs and no helmet eeeeek. "they do make motorcycle specific ear plugs that are a bit pricey i have heard.
 

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I never wore Earplugs on a bike, one they are uncomfortable, but two I thought it was a safety issue too. I realized that you can hear better with them in sometime as it drowns out the static sound. "kind of like going to a concert, you can actually hear the music better, albeit muffled, but when the roar of the people screaming is drowned out you can hear the lyrics lol"
I have the Scala Q-solo so i can hear GPS, music and phone if I want. TBH I like the sound of my engine and the rush of the wind. I always wear a helmet so I cannot imagine this bike on the highway with just earplugs and no helmet eeeeek. "they do make motorcycle specific ear plugs that are a bit pricey i have heard.
I struggled with ear plugs hurting in the beginning. Then I realized they were just too big for my ears, and my helmet was pushing on them, causing pressure and pain. I ended up cutting a standard, compressible foam earplug in half, and that worked. I always liked listening to the engine and the wind, until my little brother corrupted me with music while riding. I repeated the "figuring out" process recently trying to find ear buds that fit for music and communication. I finally found some really tiny ones that work.
 

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It kinda depends on how you make the question. Is riding without earphones potentially safer? Sure. Is riding without earplugs potentially safer? Sure. Is riding with earphones/earplugs unsafe? I think that's way too arguable and subjective a point to be worth debating.
This is what we need to focus on when anyone makes claims that riding with music is unsafe. Everyone has a personal acceptable risk level.
Does listening to music increase the risk? YES.
Does it increase the risk beyond your own personal acceptable risk level? DEPENDS.
Does not ever riding a motorcycle ever at all reduce the risk? ABSOLUTELY (but that is not a life that I would find worth living).
If you want to argue that listening to music while riding carries a higher risk, I'll simply point out that riding carries risk, driving a car carries risk, climbing a ladder carries risk, walking up and down stairs carries risk... (need I go on?)
 

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This is what we need to focus on when anyone makes claims that riding with music is unsafe. Everyone has a personal acceptable risk level.
Does listening to music increase the risk? YES.
Does it increase the risk beyond your own personal acceptable risk level? DEPENDS.
I wonder if anyone has actually studied this. Let's be honest, we're simply speculating that listening to music increases risk. It would seem reasonable enough, but it wouldn't be the first time that there's some correlation we simply aren't thinking about. One of the things I found most curious about the Hurt Report was that (if I remember correctly), helmet aside, boots we're one of the most important pieces of motorcycle gear you can wear to statistically translate into less disabling injuries. Furthermore, work boots had less injuries than motorcycle boots. I wouldn't have really guessed that.

Me and others feel way more alert when listening to music, rather than just daydreaming with the monotonous hum of engine. And to what degree riders actually hear less with music in a way that it deprives them of actionable signals is also debatable. You're going to hear a siren either way, while still being unlikely to hear a Prius creeping up on you with or without music.

All in all, I think we could all rationalize either conclusion. It's not like cars aren't way more quiet and have way more music. I'd just be curious to know which is it. Though regardless I'm not giving up my headphones.
 

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"Let's be honest, we're simply speculating that listening to music increases risk. It would seem reasonable enough, but it wouldn't be the first time that there's some correlation we simply aren't thinking about."

Mitigation of risk is what you would be doing. Every time you hop on your two wheels you are assuming a risk, then again every time you hop in your car you are as well.
Mitigation comes in the form of wearing your proper riding gear, and abstaining from music / dampening your senses (another topic for another time as some people speculate certain gear dampens their riding ability, then you are dealing with a risk to reward ratio)

I have to say on the aspects of safety I agree everyone knows their own boundaries on what is safe vs what is risky. Being on the Ninja I am more concerned with my well being around other vehicles because, lets all be honest the little 300 sounds like a 5 HP Briggs and Stratton mower. My old v-star had loud rumbling pipes, so you know there was more situational awareness to that bike. With the ninja being so quite I'm worried about other cars. However I have to agree this has made me a more aware biker. I double / triple check my blind spots and i'm more "Offensive" of a driver planning my escapes and paths. I don't think music / ear buds would make an impact on how i ride now vs then. I try to stay off the interstate for that reason and stick to back roads and twisties. For me listening to music is an escape / therapy. I will admit the wind is a bit more on the ninja, but I also blame that on my helmet type. And there are also days, I just enjoy the sound of the bike and the road, maybe next weekend I'll try a pair of earplugs cut as suggested and see if it takes me to ZEN state :).

So know your limits, have fun and enjoy the ride.
 

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I always use earplugs instead of earphones with music playing.

From my point of view, the reason they make wear 2 earphones together illegal is not "block or lower the environment sound", earplugs block sound too, why it's safer than earphones?

I believe the real reason is the content we play through the earphones may distract us. Our brain is not a cold and precise machine which process all incoming information equally, it will focus more on those info we interested in. That's why drivers are not allowed to text even not recommended to make long phone calls while driving. As motorcycle riders we need far more focus than an average driver, playing your favorite contents in earphones of course will bring tons of joy to the ride but may also may draw your brain's focus away from the road. It's like when I'm so into the games on TV I may ignore my wife saying "dinner is ready", it may cause severe issue or even injury...

In a word, focus and safe is the first rule. Choose your hear protection wisely and ride safe
 

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From my point of view, the reason they make wear 2 earphones together illegal is not "block or lower the environment sound", earplugs block sound too, why it's safer than earphones?
Ohhh, you put far too much trust in the government! :roll2smilie: Do you really think legislators actually did more than just have a chat like we're doing now and reach that conclusion? In some places wearing earplugs is illegal - and in many places where it is legal cops will hassle you for them all the same. Likewise, is lane-splitting safe in California, but not safe in Florida? Or I'll do you one better, why is it legal≈safe when a moto-police officer wears headphones (which I understand they can do), whereas it is illegal≈unsafe for a civilian to do the same?

It's simply illegal because it seemed reasonable enough, seemed like it was solving a perceived problem without creating excessive harm, and no one cared enough to protest. Hanlon's razor is probably a factor. There are plenty of things more risky than wearing headphones. And along the same lines of what was said before, if what we cared about was risk above all else, why don't we ban sportbikes or cruisers and be done with it? God knows that would have a huge impact on driver mortality statistics.

Conclusion? Do what makes you happy, and ride within your own limits.
 

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Don't you think it's dangerous to drive while wearing headphone in both ears? It will distract your attention while driving.
It's actually better for you because it helps prevent hearing loss from constant wind noise. That's why so many of us encourage the use of foam earplugs even if you're wearing a full face helmet.
 

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I struggled with ear plugs hurting in the beginning. Then I realized they were just too big for my ears, and my helmet was pushing on them, causing pressure and pain. I ended up cutting a standard, compressible foam earplug in half, and that worked. I always liked listening to the engine and the wind, until my little brother corrupted me with music while riding. I repeated the "figuring out" process recently trying to find ear buds that fit for music and communication. I finally found some really tiny ones that work.
I have small ears and finding ear plugs or buds that are comfortable for me have always been a challenge. I never thought to cut the foam plugs in half.

I did use and still sometimes use these ear buds by JLab. They are designed for smaller ears and came with a set of adapters to personalize the fit. I like the speakers that came with my Sena SMH 10 but by the time I put in ear plugs to block out highway/road noise I have to turn the volume all of the way up to even hear the music.

I try to stick to roads that are below highway speed and it's fine. I am still able to hear sirens, horns, other vehicles around me and of course I always look before making a move.
 
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