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This is a copy of a blog post I just made at http://www.virtualomni.com

I just got back from my first ride using the SMH10 Bluetooth Headset/Intercom and well… color me impressed.

I’ve used only one other motorcycle intercom system, and that was a good 18 years ago. It was only designed for rider to passenger communication and the quality of both the in-helmet speakers and microphone were seriously lacking. Apparently that experience left a bad taste in my mouth for intercom systems because in all the years since I’ve never had even an interest in getting one. Between the articles I’ve read and my experience, there just wasn’t a system out there that I was willing to take a chance on… Until the SMH10.


I’ve been doing two weeklong 3000-4000 mile trips per year for the last several years with between 1 and 3 other friends and I had come to realize that it might be nice to have a better way of communicating than hand signals that may or may not be interpreted correctly. One buddy of mine had a decent experience with the Q2 radios from scala, but at highway speeds the output of the speakers were just not loud enough to provide a good experience. I knew I didn’t want to go down that road so I hit the net and started searching and, as with most things surrounding motorcycles, I ended up at webbikeworld.com where I read the reviews on the current generation of Bluetooth headsets including the Scala G4, Interphone BlueAnt F4, and finally the Sena SMH10.


I’ll let you go out and read all the differences in detail but I’ve got to say that initially there was one feature that I really liked in the G4 that the other two lacked. The ability to communicate with up to 3 other units simultaneously. What I mean by simultaneously is that they perform like walkie-talkies with everyone on the same channel can talk and be heard by everyone else, up to a total of 4 units. With the SMH10, you can pair up to 4 units together but only 2 can talk to each other at any one time, meaning you have to relay messages several times to make sure everyone in your group gets them. A bit of a nusiance I guess, but since I haven’t really tried that part out on the road yet, I’ll reserve final judgement.
The bigger dear for me was the quality and volume of the audio that the units could put out. When covering 500 miles a day on a bike, it’s a must to have your favorite tunes to keep you company. For me this meant a set of in-ear canal phones from Sony or Sure connected to my iPhone or iPod either via a hard-wired 1/8″ jack or, more recently, a bluetooth connection that also allowed me to control volume, skip tracks, and pause dthe music when i wanted to without having to touch the phone. The sound quality was great and the convenience of contols sticking out below my jacket was a definite plus. The downside was no microphone for the phone to make or receive calls nor the ability to talk with a riding buddy over an intercom. That was the main thing that convinced me to give the SMH10′s a try. All of the reviews raved about the quality of the audio that the units can put out. Both volume and clarity are excellent with music streamed over bluetooth from my iPhone 4 on my test ride today.


The SMH10 paired with my iPhone quickly, mounted to my Scoripon EXO-1000 via the supplied clamp, and I routed the microphone and speakers under the lining of the helmet to their proper positions, all within about 15 minutes. I tested some music in my office after the installation and was really impressed with the volume that the Sena could deliver, even if it was missing a bit off the low end frequencies. When I took the unit on my bike today, a Honda VTX 1800 with HK Sidburner (LOUD) piipes, the sound was still loud and clear, I didn’t even have to run it at full volume. I used the large knob on the SMH10 to adjust the volume and change tracks, all with my thick cold-weather leather gloves on. No problemo. I tested the voice control by placing several phone calls, having the unit play particular playlists, songs by artist, and individual song names without difficulty. Only in 1 out of 7 times did the voice control system not recognize the correct command at 70 miles per hour on the Interstate. This is about the same ratio that I get with my regular Jawbone ERA bluetooth headset in the car. Very impressive.
I used the voice control to dial the phone to test the audio quality and was equally impressed. The other side came through loud and clear and they said they couldn’t even tell that I was on a motorcycle. WOW!! The only glitch with this was when I had an incoming call to my phone that was dialed through my Google Voice number. The incoming call announces the callers name and requires you to press a number on the numberpad if you want to take or reject the call. Obviously I couldn’t press a button through the BT interface so I had to let it go to voicemail. The nice thing was that I knew who the caller was since it read me the name through the speakers so I just called them back via a voice dial from my end… again, No Probemo.


When I purchased the SHM10 I bought the SMH-A0304 helmet cradle. This cradle/clamp kit mounts to the helmet just like the standard clamp kit, but doesn’t contain the hard-wired microphone or speakers of the stock unit. Instead, it allows you to use your own headset/canal buds and plug them into the cradle via the 1/8? stereo jack. It also has a separate microphone that isn’t connected to the cradle via a semi-rigid arm like the stock unit. Instead the mic is connected via a removable plug and can be adhesive/velcro mounted to the chin-bar of the helmet. I bought this A0304 kit anticipating that the hype about the sound output of the stock unit wouldn’t live up to my expectations, but in the limited testing I’ve done so far I’ve not felt the need to go to them. I’ll hold onto the kit and bring it on my next trip in a couple weeks but may end up returning it if I decide that the built-in units will be good enough.


When I return from that trip I’ll post a more thorough review of how it performed on a 3000+ mile trip.
 

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That is my next accessory to get for my Kawi Concours. My Autocom ProM1 system finally bit the dust, and I have been looking for a "wireless" helmet solution for about two years. The SMH10 seems to be the winner.
 

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I've got it too...

I bought a pair on Amazon and been impressed with it from the start.

Used it ever since and really had no "significant" problems.

Phone use on the road is remarkable. The caller didn't even know I was on the bike @ 65 MPH:shock:

Switching from MP3/cell phone/intercom is with simple push of a button. "Big wheel" to toggle between MP3 & intercom and smaller button on the side for cell phone.

Phone call has priority one over other functions, so that you know.

Two problems we encountered so far is a "wood fire crackling" noise while sitting idle(bike running or not) occasionally. It's not constant but, still annoying when it does happen.

At first, I thought it was some type of interference from the bike's ignition but, when I noticed it happening when the bike was off eliminated that guess.

Our old cell phones we use as MP3 players would stutter when we initially start playing music.

Have no solution for the first but, the MP3 player problem go away after re-booting and re-initiating the pairing but, it reoccur once in a while.

Be sure to keep the voice activated intercom to "off-default". It's an annoying feature that need some work.

Initially, I tried to use it as a power saver feature instead of keeping the intercom active all the time.

Well, I learned my lesson. When the voice activation is "on", it kept cutting us off even in the middle of conversation after 20 seconds no matter how loud we spoke.

To initiate conversation, the activation have to be pretty loud, can't just say hey or are you there...I needed to clear my throat loudly for it to recognize "speech".

All in all, I'm very impressed with my choice.

For more info on why I chose this unit, here is a link for comparison of the top bluetooth out there.

http://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcycle-intercoms/2010-motorcycle-intercom-comparison.htm

I've also written an article there for those of you who might want to replace the stock speakers these bluetooth come with, found here: http://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcycle-intercoms/motorcycle-intercom-speakers/

They cost more than some but, for your money ease of operation and functionality, they can't be beat in my opinion.:doorag:
 

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So, how are they?

What about Pandora internet radio? Can that be played through the bluetooth? And GPS through Android on smartphone....google maps...does that work too?
 

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So, how are they?

What about Pandora internet radio? Can that be played through the bluetooth? And GPS through Android on smartphone....google maps...does that work too?
All that should work fine if you can hear it on your phone it should stream to the sena fine. But one thing I found on a resent trip is Pandora and Google navigation don't really like not having 3g. Most of I35 in your area I didn't have 3g service but that could have just been my carrier.
 

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All that should work fine if you can hear it on your phone it should stream to the sena fine. But one thing I found on a resent trip is Pandora and Google navigation don't really like not having 3g. Most of I35 in your area I didn't have 3g service but that could have just been my carrier.
Ok, cool! Yeah, I went out to the Rockies last year for the Coloradical and experienced the same thing with the Google Navigation in some areas. I have Verizon...who are you with? Verizon is very good actually. I almost never have any problems.

I suspect that I won't be able to forward to the next song in Pandora though. Can you try it?

LOL, another question...I would like to have my girlfriend and I each pair up to our own smartphones so she can listen to and control her own music separate from me. Can the Sena do that? I want us to pair to each other and independantly to our own cell phones. I want o pair with other stuff too like a Garmin maybe later...
 

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Sure...

I suspect that I won't be able to forward to the next song in Pandora though. Can you try it?
I know my Verizon Razzle can not be controlled by the dial as it's supposed to be able to. May be just the phone I got, in fact I was unable to control the sony Ericsson phone with the dial either.

LOL, another question...I would like to have my girlfriend and I each pair up to our own smartphones so she can listen to and control her own music separate from me. Can the Sena do that? I want us to pair to each other and independantly to our own cell phones. I want o pair with other stuff too like a Garmin maybe later...
Yes, you can pair-up the units to each other for comm purpose and have each unit pair to it's own phone as a MP3 player...that's how we use ours any way

As for pairing with a Garmin, not all units will pair and be bluetooth usable. Most will buy motorcycle specific GPS to be used for that purpose. You may be able to do some mods to the GPS if it don't have an output jack(add your own) and using a bluetooth dongle, you may be able to hear the voice instructions over the bluetooth.
 

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I can forward to the next song in Pandora on my iPhone using the Sena setup.
 

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:agree: I tried out pandora and it will forward for me too. (samsung vibrant)
 
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