A quick and cheap way to improve the quality of your helmet’s Bluetooth sound system is to buy some aftermarket plug-in speakers like the XSound 2.1 from iASUS.
The problem with many helmet Bluetooth intercom units – even top-quality models – is that they seem to skimp on the sound quality of their speakers.
They are sometimes distorted, low volume and small, so there is little bass response.
You wouldn’t put up with that in your home sound system, so why put up with it when riding and listening to music or receiving phone calls?
Maybe manufacturers consider the helmet environment noisy and unable to conduct reasonable sound quality. That is true and wind noise easily diminishes bass response.
However, we’ve tried several aftermarket speakers systems in the past and all have improved sound quality over the supplied speakers.
The exception is Sena’s latest units which have upgraded sound.
However, the best of the aftermarket speakers we have tried so far are the iASUS XSound 2.1 helmet speakers at just US$49.
Until the end of February, they are offering Motorbike Writer readers three pairs of the speakers for just $99 with free shipping to Australia. Just enter the coupon code AUSXS21 when buying.
These are their entry level speakers.
If you want even better sound, the CNC aluminium chassis Xsound 3 helmet speakers (US$99) are ideal.
The bass is even bigger and the volume levels higher with crisper, cleaner sound.
If you have a Bluetooth unit that allows you to plug in ancillary speakers, that’s great. If not, you may have to get the soldering iron out, buy a connector and do your own handiwork. It will be worth the effort.
The XSound speakers have a bigger circumference than any other aftermarket speakers we’ve tried which means the bass response is better. The bigger the speaker, the more bass.
They have a claimed 20Hz to 22kHz frequency range and are efficient for high volume and low distortion.
The XSound speakers are also the most comfortable we’ve tried.
No sharp edges or hard plastic against your ears. They are quite wide at 1.3cm, but have a deep and comfortable foam cushion.
Comfort will depend on whether your helmet has ear recesses or not and where you can locate the speakers. Every helmet is different.
The sound quality will improve dramatically the closer you can get them to sitting right over your ear cavities.
They come with 3M velcro attachments so you can position them exactly where you want them.
There is also an extension cord in case you just want to plug straight into your smartphone or music player and the cords have “gold”-plated 3.5mm connectors for high conductivity.
You can also get accessories such as a mobile EAR3 amp ($75) to increase sound, a cord with volume control and a throat microphone.
iASUS XSound 2.1 speakers
- Price: US$49
- Maximum power: 30mW
- Sensititvity: 125dB
- Frequency range: 20Hz to 22kHz
- Weight: 34g (1.2oz)
- Impedence: 32Ohm
- Cable: 1m x 3.5mm extension cable
- Dimensions: 4.6cm diameter, 1.3cm wide
- Warranty: 1 year limited