I should add here, since I'm recommending the Sena/earphones solution that I've never listened to the Sena speakers. I have no idea if they're any good or not. I have the Cardo G4 and the SRC installed in a couple of helmets and the sound on those is pretty good considering environment. I bought the Sena expressly for using with ear phones and haven't looked back.
I took my '11 1200RT out this evening for a ride. Rode about 50 miles listening to the Cincinnati Reds game the entire time. The RT is quiet enough I can understand speech on the radio over the bike's speakers at 75 mph. I think I am going to send the Sena's back and get a refund. I don't want to mess with earbuds; I also think they can attenuate the surroundings enough to be a safety issue-I believe they use in vehicles is against the law in some states, like cell phone use is. Even the radio playing through the speakers probably diverts some attention from the road. Thanks, all, for the valuable input.
I have the SMH-10 speakers installed in a Shoei Neotec, without any problem whatsoever. Before that, I had them in an Arai XD-3, again with no problem or discomfort. So, here are at least two helmets that worked for me. Of course, like butts ans seats, ears and speakers are a very personal matter.
Originally Posted by royaltyl
Earbuds and speakers with Sena
I have a Sema SMH10 and have used both the helmet speakers and the earbud route. I found that on the highway even behind a windshield that the only way to hear the speakers was to not use any ear plugs. That is not acceptable, so I also bought the optional clamp and use it with Etymotic ER6 earbuds. They have good noise isolation in the mid 30's and great sound. However, like all earbuds they are a PITA so I only use on long trips for music and hesitate to remove my helmet and go through the whole process of putting them in, having the helmet pull them out etc. i may try custom fitted buds with a lower profile although the wires will always be in the way.
The biggest issue is that I often want to use the intercom or phone when at slow speeds, recognizing that it is without ear protection. I therefore installed two Sena clamps, one on each side of the helmet. One uses speakers and the other the buds, and there are two mics. Riders have been all over Sena to make a combo unit but they will not.
On my new Neotec I may just install the earbud setup and not use Sena when I just want to use regular non speaker earplugs.
I was very interested in the gel earcups as that is something that I was considering. Too bad it is not enough.
BTW I have almost always used earplugs and have also lost hearing at the higher frequencies anyway.
I want to add to my message that the motorcycle magazines always test speakers while riders have earplugs in. It makes no sense to me to block the ambient noise to protect your ears and then crank up the volume on speakers to override the plugs. I have a friend with a Sena and he does this for intercom and phone and says it works fine. He does not listen to music with it. Maybe my molded earplugs are much better than the foam types but I cannot hear the speakers unless at low speeds.
We have a total of three, and looking to get a fourth, Sena SMH10B. Two of the helmets are Schuberth, and one is a Scorpion. They do take up a little room, but we enjoy them a lot. I have had mine in continuously for close to a year, and make four hour plus rides with no complaints. When talking on the phone via the SMH10B, people think I'm in the house.