High-end Helmet Audio

Noodler

Back in the game! :)
Skier
Joined
Oct 4, 2017
Posts
1,863
Location
Denver, CO
I recently purchased a new Sweet Protection Switcher helmet along with their Clockwork goggles. I must have helmet audio to maintain my sanity ;) ... so I decided to do some research into where helmet audio is at now (remember that I was out of the "game" for a few years). I'm a bit of an audio snob (aka audiophile) so I was interested in whether there was some higher end audio options now available for helmets. What I found was exciting and surprising.

First, here are some decent helmet audio reviews that are worth perusing:
Of course there's the obvious choice; the Outdoor Tech Chips models (Bluetooth or Wired). Outdoor Tech has also recently come out with their new Chips Ultra model that is completely wireless. However, I already have a really good Bluetooth stereo bridge with controls that I can operate easily with my glove and a screen that shows me track names and caller ID. It clips conveniently onto my jacket. So I didn't need another Bluetooth device and I really didn't want to have to remember to "charge my helmet". ;)

The review sites clued me into some new options. The one that really piqued my curiosity was the XSound 3. Luckily there were some good written and video reviews.


So I decided to go ahead and pull the trigger on the XSound 3 and see how well they work for ski helmet audio. They're supposed to arrive tomorrow along with my new helmet and googles.

Here are the links to the XSound 3 helmet speakers:
Also, this thing is really crazy: Domio Ripper Snow Helmet Audio System
 

neonorchid

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Nov 21, 2015
Posts
3,584
Personally, I like to hear what's going on around me and don't do Head-Fi, plus I find it much too easy to listen at SPL's damaging to hearing but my snowboarder cousin just got the following Head HI-Fi set-up. While not a helmet deal per se, no reason why it couldn't be used under one -


 
Thread Starter
TS
Noodler

Noodler

Back in the game! :)
Skier
Joined
Oct 4, 2017
Posts
1,863
Location
Denver, CO
Personally, I like to hear what's going on around me and don't do Head-Fi, plus I find it much too easy to listen at SPL's damaging to hearing but my snowboarder cousin just got the following Head HI-Fi set-up. While not a helmet deal per se, no reason why it couldn't be used under one -
It only took the first reply to start down this road... please don't turn this thread into a battle about why you shouldn't listen to music while skiing. Don't assume everyone who listens to music has it cranked to the point of not hearing anything else. This thread is for the discussion of helmet audio options. And here is some food for thought:

Does listening to music with an audio ski helmet impair reaction time to peripheral stimuli?
Ruedl G1, Pocecco E, Wolf M, Schöpf S, Burtscher M, Kopp M.

Author information
1Sport Science, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria. [email protected]

Abstract
With the recent worldwide increase in ski helmet use, new market trends are developing, including audio helmets for listening to music while skiing or snowboarding. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether listening to music with an audio ski helmet impairs reaction time to peripheral stimuli. A within-subjects design study using the Compensatory-Tracking-Test was performed on 65 subjects (36 males and 29 females) who had a mean age of 23.3 ± 3.9 years. Using repeated measures analysis of variance, we found significant differences in reaction times between the 4 test conditions (p=0.039). The lowest mean reaction time (± SE) was measured for helmet use while listening to music (507.9 ± 13.2 ms), which was not different from helmet use alone (514.6 ± 12.5 ms) (p=0.528). However, compared to helmet use while listening to music, reaction time was significantly longer for helmet and ski goggles used together (535.8 ± 14.2 ms, p=0.005), with a similar trend for helmet and ski goggles used together while listening to music (526.9 ± 13.8 ms) (p=0.094). In conclusion, listening to music with an audio ski helmet did not increase mean reaction time to peripheral stimuli in a laboratory setting.
 

neonorchid

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Nov 21, 2015
Posts
3,584
It only took the first reply to start down this road... please don't turn this thread into a battle about why you shouldn't listen to music while skiing. Don't assume everyone who listens to music has it cranked to the point of not hearing anything else.
-
You mentioned being an audiophile and I presented you with audiophile quality Head-Fi products that can be used under a helmet while skiing.

I'm not assuming anything about Head-Fi users only stated why I am not into Head-Fi at any time for any use be it running in the park or skiing on the hill.

I never said anything specific about skiing with Head-Fi or about others who do, you jumped to these conclusions, I was speaking for myself.

Admittedly, skiing is a quieter environment than urban running so less likely to crank up the volume to fight ambient noise, plus the helmet itself helps some there (blocking ambient noise) but it is easy to get into the music and turn up the volume without realizing the SPL's being reached, I find myself doing it all the time in the car. Again that's just me.
 
Thread Starter
TS
Noodler

Noodler

Back in the game! :)
Skier
Joined
Oct 4, 2017
Posts
1,863
Location
Denver, CO
You mentioned being an audiophile and I presented you with audiophile quality Head-Fi products that can be used under a helmet while skiing.

I'm not assuming anything about Head-Fi users only stated why I am not into Head-Fi at any time for any use be it running in the park or skiing on the hill.

I never said anything specific about skiing with Head-Fi or about others who do, you jumped to these conclusions, I was speaking for myself.

Admittedly, skiing is a quieter environment than urban running so less likely to crank up the volume to fight ambient noise, plus the helmet itself helps some there (blocking ambient noise) but it is easy to get into the music and turn up the volume without realizing the SPL's being reached, I find myself doing it all the time in the car. Again that's just me.
OK - sorry I read "too much" from your first response. My bad. :)

And more to your point. I prefer not to have buds directly in my ear canals when exercising or doing sports. I do have a few sets of high end units, but I like my Aftershokz Trekz Air (bone induction) for bike and golf.
 

princo

Putting on skis
Skier
Joined
Oct 30, 2017
Posts
82
Location
Denver
Earlier this year I got the bone-conducting Aftershokz Air for use when riding my road/MTB bike and when running outside. While not a Hi-Fi set, I like them quite a bit for outdoor use since they don't block your ears and let me hear all the sounds around me, including cars approaching from behind, "on your left" warnings, etc. I tried them the other day for skiing, and while they performed as intended, accessing the controls with ski gloves is a bit cumbersome, so you have to take out your gloves to pause the music.
 
Last edited:

bbinder

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
1,204
Location
Massachusetts
Noodles, I’ll be interested to hear your review. I also consider myself an audio snob, but I haven’t felt the need to extend this over to my ski audio. I have the wireless Chips, and the sound is “good enough” for my purposes. I do like the easy Bluetooth connection to my phone and that I can call or text with other people on the mountain. The charging is a little bit of a pain, but usually I can go 3 days in between charging (and I can always switch to using the wired connection that came with the set).
 

Decreed_It

I'd rather be skiing
Skier
Joined
Jan 9, 2019
Posts
446
Location
Charlotte, NC
I got some cheap ones off Amazon and they work great for me. Fancying myself an audiophile as well, at least in the HeadFi realm (still using and loving my trusty Practical Devices XM5 and some "budget" level Grado SR80i's at the desk), I rather wish I hadn't run across this thread! Might need an upgrade. Isn't that always the case? :ogbiggrin:
 

SSSdave

life is short precious ...don't waste it
Skier
Joined
Sep 12, 2017
Posts
937
Location
Silicon Valley
Thanks for the useful thread with info Noodler. Indeed quite a few more choices versus a few years ago.

Timely as it reminded me to repair speaker wires in my helmet. I have a Smith Variant Brim helmet with a zipper along the insulation allowing insertion of such speakers. A few years ago when ski helmet options were few, I bought Sennheiser PX100 II headphones that I disassembled the speakers from the head clamps and installed that into the helmet though had to cut then splice a section of 2 conductor wire due to the disassembly. One of the wire solderer joints went open last winter. Totally rebuilt it this morning over a couple tedious hours and rocking again ready to dance.

Because I dislike carrying my moto g6 smartphone while skiing as already have too much stuff in pockets, instead use a tiny Sandisk Sansa CLIP MP3 player in my Salomon upper breast coat pocket to drive it directly via a 3.5mm stereo audio cable. Thus don't have to deal with Bluetooth dropouts and battery issues though don't have controls which for me isn't an issue as am not receiving phone calls and tend to use playlists. Speaker is nicely loud as I like my music. In the past just played music occasionally while on solo lift rides or skiing groomers. In the last couple years I've learned to ski rec moguls too well with music blasting that used to be too distracting and do so maybe 10% of the time.
 
Thread Starter
TS
Noodler

Noodler

Back in the game! :)
Skier
Joined
Oct 4, 2017
Posts
1,863
Location
Denver, CO
Thanks for the useful thread with info Noodler. Indeed quite a few more choices versus a few years ago.

Timely as it reminded me to repair speaker wires in my helmet. I have a Smith Variant Brim helmet with a zipper along the insulation allowing insertion of such speakers. A few years ago when ski helmet options were few, I bought Sennheiser PX100 II headphones that I disassembled the speakers from the head clamps and installed that into the helmet though had to cut then splice a section of 2 conductor wire due to the disassembly. One of the wire solderer joints went open last winter. Totally rebuilt it this morning over a couple tedious hours and rocking again ready to dance.

Because I dislike carrying my moto g6 smartphone while skiing as already have too much stuff in pockets, instead use a tiny Sandisk Sansa CLIP MP3 player in my Salomon upper breast coat pocket to drive it directly via a 3.5mm stereo audio cable. Thus don't have to deal with Bluetooth dropouts and battery issues though don't have controls which for me isn't an issue as am not receiving phone calls and tend to use playlists. Speaker is nicely loud as I like my music. In the past just played music occasionally while on solo lift rides or skiing groomers. In the last couple years I've learned to ski rec moguls too well with music blasting that used to be too distracting and do so maybe 10% of the time.
This is a very interesting idea. I hadn't even considered taking an old set of cans and performing surgery to remove the drivers. Some serious ingenuity there. I wonder how big of a driver can fit in a typical helmet earpad. Most of the drop-in replacements are 40mm or 45mm.
 

SSSdave

life is short precious ...don't waste it
Skier
Joined
Sep 12, 2017
Posts
937
Location
Silicon Valley
The pricy PX100 II were targetted as "mini compact foldable" headphones with high audio quality pre-dating the rise of earbuds. I still own a couple other umutilated pairs. The diameter of the speaker is 50mm and depth just 16mm, so easily fit in the insulation. Note my 4 decade Silicon Valley career was in electronic hardware engineering debug.
 

neonorchid

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Nov 21, 2015
Posts
3,584
OK - sorry I read "too much" from your first response. My bad. :)

And more to your point. I prefer not to have buds directly in my ear canals when exercising or doing sports. I do have a few sets of high end units, but I like my Aftershokz Trekz Air (bone induction) for bike and golf.
No problem it happens, I don't even want to tell you the trouble I get myself into with post and txt msgs when the dyslexia kicks into high gear:\

More to the point of "audiophilia", the gear I referred to in my initial post, 64Audio U18t in-ears begin at $3000 the source $3500 but hey, my cousin is a snowboarder without a quiver of premium skis to support;)
 

jmills115

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Posts
544
Location
Salt Lake City, Utah
OK - sorry I read "too much" from your first response. My bad. :)

And more to your point. I prefer not to have buds directly in my ear canals when exercising or doing sports. I do have a few sets of high end units, but I like my Aftershokz Trekz Air (bone induction) for bike and golf.
I came across my Etymotic ER-6i which are in pretty good shape still but won’t be seeing time under a ski helmet.
I’ve kept it simple under my helmet mostly to hear my phone ring while working :) and just added Jabra Elite 75t
 
Thread Starter
TS
Noodler

Noodler

Back in the game! :)
Skier
Joined
Oct 4, 2017
Posts
1,863
Location
Denver, CO
Well my XSound 3 audio is under the tree (along with my Sweet Protection helmet and goggles). Can't wait for Santa! ;)
 
Thread Starter
TS
Noodler

Noodler

Back in the game! :)
Skier
Joined
Oct 4, 2017
Posts
1,863
Location
Denver, CO
Any of these work with 2 way radios?
I did not include any of the more motorcycle specific units, but those all have 2-way radio capability. I have no idea what kind of range they have, but if you check some of the links I posted above you will find reviews of those units.
 
Top