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Thread: Sena SMH10 comfort

  1. #1
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    Sena SMH10 comfort

    I sprung for a Sena SMH10 helmet headset to go with my new (to me) 12RT. I got it working OK-I do have some issues with the BT, but I am hoping the tech support people there can get me through those. My biggest worry is comfort. Those ear speakers take up all the available space in the ear pockets of my Shoei full face helmet, causing severe mashing and pain on my poor old ear flaps. I am thinking this problem cannot be resolved, at least with this helmet. Are there thinner ear speakers out there? Are ear buds the answer? I have tried ear buds in the past and it was difficult to put the helmet on without dislodging them and often the pain associated with taking the helmet on and off was more than I could bear. The earphones sticking out would hang up on the helmet padding. Music just isn't worth it. Are there any unobtrusive earphones available?

    Larry

  2. #2
    Registered User PittsDriver's Avatar
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    OK, I've been through this recently so here's my observations. There's a couple of ways I can think of to proceed. I don't have a Shoei but I've installed a both a Cardo G4 and a Sena SMH10B in my Arai Vector and from what I know it's not that different. I pulled out the cheek/side pads and trimmed them to be comfortable with my Cardo G4 speakers and that worked great but I wanted something a bit quieter and better protection for my hearing. So, the next step I took was to trim out most of the soft foam around the ears and install under the helmet liner a set of gel seals commonly available at aviation stores like Oregon Aero. This made the helmet very quiet and made the speakers able to be turned down on the G4 - worked even better.

    Then, I decided that ultimately my hearing wasn't getting the best protection I needed even with all that and decided to have a set of Sensaphonics custom ear monitors/phones made. These are the best of the best of custom molded ear phones and Sensaphonics has tons of experience making them for motorsports applications worn under a helmet. Unfortunately for me (because I dropped a bundle on an Arai w/G4 and a Schuberth C3/SRC) neither of these kits will support a set of ear phones. The only Bluetooth option available that I can find is the Sena SMH10B with the optional earphone kit. This is the ultimate in sound and ear protection combined with the Sensaphonics 2X-S ear monitors.

    I thought I was protecting my ears with a properly fitted helmet and foamy ear plugs - wrong. A little research on the published hearing damage charts will quickly tell you otherwise and I want hearing aids in my old age about as much as I want a walker or a diaper. These Sensaphonics are well in excess of 30 db of passive sound attenuation and because the monitors are so good, even the music/phone/whatever can be played much more softly. It's not a cheap kit - the Sensaphonics 2X-S is $750 - but I've paid way more than that for good quality aviation headsets and these are way better. But, with the SMH10B, you're already on track for the ear bud solution. It's a cheap add-on kit from Sena to swap out the clamp for the one that supports a 3.5mm headphone jack.

    I've glossed over a lot of stuff I considered and options explored so if you have any specific questions I'd be happy to elaborate. I'd start with just trimming out some of the soft foam first and see how they feel. But if you really want to protect your hearing (and you should) look in to custom molded ear monitors (Sensaphonics, Westone, etc).

    Wes

  3. #3
    Nuckin' Futs! tonyfr's Avatar
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    What model Shoei helmet? I have a RF-1000 with the SMH10 speakers installed. The key is speaker placement - you may need to move them around to get them off your ear flaps. I had to make adjustments on mine because I was getting pains on the tips of my ears. I don't use the foam covers over the speakers; just the Velcro on the back to hold them in place.
    SABMWRA MOA #62
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  4. #4
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    It is a TZ-R and is similar to the RF. The ear pockets seem quite small and I have moved the ear speakers around to no avail. I would have to cut away some of the liner to expand the pockets and I hate doing that to a perfectly good helmet. I also wear glasses and the glasses' earpiece gets smashed between my ear and head. I may send the SMH-10 back and get my money back. I went through this years ago with an intercom system before Bluetooth was available and I had the same problems back then. The earbuds mentioned in the previous post look good, but they are expensive!

  5. #5
    Registered User PittsDriver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by royaltyl View Post
    The earbuds mentioned in the previous post look good, but they are expensive!
    There are cheaper ones available but I'm told hearing aids can cost several thousand dollars and it'll really stink to be at parties and not be able to understand what anyone is saying. It's all a matter of perspective. How much do we spend on protective gear? Are ears not worth protecting from certain damage?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PittsDriver View Post
    OK, I've been through this recently so here's my observations. There's a couple of ways I can think of to proceed. I don't have a Shoei but I've installed a both a Cardo G4 and a Sena SMH10B in my Arai Vector and from what I know it's not that different. I pulled out the cheek/side pads and trimmed them to be comfortable with my Cardo G4 speakers and that worked great but I wanted something a bit quieter and better protection for my hearing. So, the next step I took was to trim out most of the soft foam around the ears and install under the helmet liner a set of gel seals commonly available at aviation stores like Oregon Aero. This made the helmet very quiet and made the speakers able to be turned down on the G4 - worked even better.

    Then, I decided that ultimately my hearing wasn't getting the best protection I needed even with all that and decided to have a set of Sensaphonics custom ear monitors/phones made. These are the best of the best of custom molded ear phones and Sensaphonics has tons of experience making them for motorsports applications worn under a helmet. Unfortunately for me (because I dropped a bundle on an Arai w/G4 and a Schuberth C3/SRC) neither of these kits will support a set of ear phones. The only Bluetooth option available that I can find is the Sena SMH10B with the optional earphone kit. This is the ultimate in sound and ear protection combined with the Sensaphonics 2X-S ear monitors.

    I thought I was protecting my ears with a properly fitted helmet and foamy ear plugs - wrong. A little research on the published hearing damage charts will quickly tell you otherwise and I want hearing aids in my old age about as much as I want a walker or a diaper. These Sensaphonics are well in excess of 30 db of passive sound attenuation and because the monitors are so good, even the music/phone/whatever can be played much more softly. It's not a cheap kit - the Sensaphonics 2X-S is $750 - but I've paid way more than that for good quality aviation headsets and these are way better. But, with the SMH10B, you're already on track for the ear bud solution. It's a cheap add-on kit from Sena to swap out the clamp for the one that supports a 3.5mm headphone jack.

    I've glossed over a lot of stuff I considered and options explored so if you have any specific questions I'd be happy to elaborate. I'd start with just trimming out some of the soft foam first and see how they feel. But if you really want to protect your hearing (and you should) look in to custom molded ear monitors (Sensaphonics, Westone, etc).

    Wes
    Fantastic information Pitts, thanks. I happen to be looking at a set of SMH10's for my wife and I and you've sparked a thought. I think I might go the custom earbud/plug route with the SMH10's. I agree with you completely about custom earplugs as they just fit so much better. I purchased a set of earphones from Marilyn at Plugup.com and they are VERY effective at both blocking wind noise and providing very clear audio at much lower volume levels because the speakers are in the ear. I don't know the brand of earphone speakers they are but the audio quality is very good and, if I remember correctly, they came in at around $200-$250. The downside to Plugup is that she's in Florida and you have to catch her at the shows. I'm almost positive she does the BMWMOA rally's.

  7. #7
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    Are there any helmets that you know that are particularly roomy in the ear area and suitable for ear speakers or are designed to accommodate them? I have several issues with earbuds in general: First, the helmets I have are all snug fitting and rightly so for good head protection. Pulling the helmet over earbuds that stick out is painful and they are often dislodged in the process. Second, those tiny wires are subject to getting pulled loose from their connections in the process of putting the helmet on over them. Some are weaker than others I am sure. I was telling my wife I could see spending $500 on all this stuff and still come up short. I could spend $1000 and come up short.

    Has anyone used a Shoei Qwest helmet with ear speakers?
    Last edited by royaltyl; 07-15-2012 at 05:52 PM.

  8. #8
    Registered User PittsDriver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by royaltyl View Post
    Are there any helmets that you know that are particularly roomy in the ear area and suitable for ear speakers or are designed to accommodate them? I have several issues with earbuds in general: First, the helmets I have are all snug fitting and rightly so for good head protection. Pulling the helmet over earbuds that stick out is painful and they are often dislodged in the process. Second, those tiny wires are subject to getting pulled loose from their connections in the process of putting the helmet on over them. Some are weaker than others I am sure. I was telling my wife I could see spending $500 on all this stuff and still come up short. I could spend $1000 and come up short.

    Has anyone used a Shoei Qwest helmet with ear speakers?
    My Schuberth C3 has plenty of room in the ears. But, I'll note that the protection offered by your lid is affected very little if at all by the foam around your ear holes. My Arai and Schuberth hats both fit me perfectly and yet I've ample space in the ears for speakers or ear phones. The Sensaphonics that I wrote about are very low profile with drop cords that you will not have a problem with inside a helmet. These guys have been making ear phones for F1, NASCAR, CART, etc for many years and have considerable experience in making a set of devices that are all-day comfortable with soft, pliable material, and that fits seamlessly in this helmet motorsports application. They make a different version for the Idol wannabes that sing for Paula Abdul, etc.

    Price is all relative. My C3 with the SRC collar was north of $1,100. It's a great helmet - very quiet, very robust design, and very well made. But it's not remotely as quiet at my Arai with the ear monitors in my ears plugged in to the Sena. It's truly a night/day experience in sound quality and noise and that helmet is every bit as qualified to protect my head as any other. All in on that package is a little north of the Schuberth system but not by a reach that makes cost the deciding factor considering the amazing performance.

  9. #9
    Moondog
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    Quote Originally Posted by PittsDriver View Post
    OK, I've been through this recently so here's my observations. There's a couple of ways I can think of to proceed. I don't have a Shoei but I've installed a both a Cardo G4 and a Sena SMH10B in my Arai Vector and from what I know it's not that different. I pulled out the cheek/side pads and trimmed them to be comfortable with my Cardo G4 speakers and that worked great but I wanted something a bit quieter and better protection for my hearing. So, the next step I took was to trim out most of the soft foam around the ears and install under the helmet liner a set of gel seals commonly available at aviation stores like Oregon Aero. This made the helmet very quiet and made the speakers able to be turned down on the G4 - worked even better.

    Then, I decided that ultimately my hearing wasn't getting the best protection I needed even with all that and decided to have a set of Sensaphonics custom ear monitors/phones made. These are the best of the best of custom molded ear phones and Sensaphonics has tons of experience making them for motorsports applications worn under a helmet. Unfortunately for me (because I dropped a bundle on an Arai w/G4 and a Schuberth C3/SRC) neither of these kits will support a set of ear phones. The only Bluetooth option available that I can find is the Sena SMH10B with the optional earphone kit. This is the ultimate in sound and ear protection combined with the Sensaphonics 2X-S ear monitors.

    I thought I was protecting my ears with a properly fitted helmet and foamy ear plugs - wrong. A little research on the published hearing damage charts will quickly tell you otherwise and I want hearing aids in my old age about as much as I want a walker or a diaper. These Sensaphonics are well in excess of 30 db of passive sound attenuation and because the monitors are so good, even the music/phone/whatever can be played much more softly. It's not a cheap kit - the Sensaphonics 2X-S is $750 - but I've paid way more than that for good quality aviation headsets and these are way better. But, with the SMH10B, you're already on track for the ear bud solution. It's a cheap add-on kit from Sena to swap out the clamp for the one that supports a 3.5mm headphone jack.

    I've glossed over a lot of stuff I considered and options explored so if you have any specific questions I'd be happy to elaborate. I'd start with just trimming out some of the soft foam first and see how they feel. But if you really want to protect your hearing (and you should) look in to custom molded ear monitors (Sensaphonics, Westone, etc).

    Wes
    There are less expensive custom ears buds out there. I had the same issue with my helmet and wanting to protect my hearing so I had some made up. Forgive me but I don't have the guys name but he was in Greenville, NC when I had them made up. Most of my belongings are packed away. They work well, sound good and have no problems putting my helmet on

  10. #10
    Moondog
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    Your info doesn't say where you live but I bought mine from Tim McCarty out of Marietta, Georgia, Ear-ific Molds, $250 tops. Fit well and work well. His website doesn't seem to work so not sure if he is in business still or not. Try emailing him at tmmcarty@bellsouth.net or 770-992-0048.

  11. #11
    Registered User PittsDriver's Avatar
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    You can go to any audiologist to get custom ear phones. I'm 53 years old and have spent my whole life turning gas into grins. This past spring I noticed that the ringing in my ears was getting louder and much more persistent. I went in and had my hearing tested and it's showing signs of higher frequency drop off and resulted in a diagnosis of tinnitus - a permanent condition resulting from ear abuse. And, let me just say that for 40 years, I've used the best full face helmets money could buy. I fly the noisiest cockpit of any airplane in the air and I've always used the absolutely best active noise canceling headsets money can buy. I never felt like my hearing was being assaulted but hearing damage is like radiation, it accumulates over a lifetime and it caught up with me here in my 50's.

    As I said in my original post, I want hearing aids about as much as I'm looking forward to wearing a diaper or using a walker. Being in a room full of people someday and not being able to understand what anyone is saying will absolutely suck. So, if the price of these Sensaphonics were $7,500, I'd have still bought them. I think it's amazing that I can get something that only costs $750 that will protect the hearing that I have left.

    I started out thinking the same thing many of you are - generic ear plugs or ear phones will protect me pretty good for just a few bucks. Well, any old beat up helmet will protect your head "pretty good" or a pair of jeans will protect you "pretty good." If you're the kind of rider most of us BMW guys are - ATGATT, then why in the world would you not include hearing protection in your "gear." You'll drop 1,000's of dollars on BMW jackets, pants, and boots but then not protect your ears?

    Once your hearing is compromised, there's no getting it back. Visit an audiologist and evaluate the different options and pick one. I'm not affiliated with any brand, I'm not an ear doc, I'm just a guy who wanted a little too long to take this as seriously as I should have. That's my public service message for the day.

    Wes

  12. #12
    Bluegrass Rider Kentuckyblue's Avatar
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    Thank you for the information. I looked at the Sena SMH10B units. Could you be more specific as to the optional earphone kit you recommended? Thank you.

    Ray
    2007 K1200LT/Hannigan - Blue
    2012 R1200GS Rallye Edition
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  13. #13
    Registered User PittsDriver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kentuckyblue View Post
    Thank you for the information. I looked at the Sena SMH10B units. Could you be more specific as to the optional earphone kit you recommended? Thank you.

    Ray
    http://senabluetooth.com/products/acc_SMH-A0304.php

    There ya go. They also have a slightly cheaper version of the kit if you don't want/need the wired mic. It's on the Sena Accessories page of their web site.

  14. #14
    Registered User marcopolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by royaltyl View Post

    Has anyone used a Shoei Qwest helmet with ear speakers?
    I have a Shoei Qwest and a Sena intercom. I tried the helmet speakers for a day and couldn't stand them (I always wear earplugs and the speakers were making contact with the earplugs and that hurt). I immediately bought the optional Sena helmet clamp for earbuds and that works just fine. I had been wearing custom-made earbuds for several years with my Autocom system, and I have always found earbuds to be comfortable and provide the noise reduction I'm looking for. Mine do not have little wires running to them. The audio drivers are at a Y-junction at mid-chest level. From there, two hollow, plastic sound tubes run up to each ear bud. I have no problem whatsoever taking a helmet on and off.
    Mark
    2006 R1200RT

  15. #15
    Nuckin' Futs! tonyfr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by royaltyl View Post
    Are there any helmets that you know that are particularly roomy in the ear area and suitable for ear speakers or are designed to accommodate them?
    As far as room for helmet speakers, I have a Shoei Multitech with speakers in them that are thicker than the Sena speakers. On my Shoei RF1000, I wear a Cool Max helmet liner, so my ears do not stick out when I put on the helmet. I guess that helps because it is a tight helmet.
    SABMWRA MOA #62
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