Sena 10U Bluetooth headset - anyone got one?

Bumpkin

Formerly VFRChas
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#1
As a long term user of Autocom with a pretty comprehensive set-up that works well, albeit with wires connecting my helmet to the bike, I'm looking with interest at the Sena 10U Bluetooth headset. From what you can see it starts ticking boxes straight away with it being contained within the shell of the helmet rather than as an ugly barnacle on the outside; in a stroke solving issues with robustness, waterproofing and wind noise/aerodynamics. Kits dedicated to a limited range of helmet models limit it's appeal but my recently purchased Shoei GT Air is included and given the dedicated kits the install is neat and unobtrusive.

My biggest concern is that what the manufacturer claims and how the unit performs may, in reality, be poles apart so if you use one of these headsets your opinion would be greatly appreciated.

1/ The claim of Universal Intercom Pairing seems to infer that you can pair with any brand of headset for bike-to-bike comms. If this works then it's the Rosetta Stone of Bluetooth bike-to-bike. Other recent Sena headsets also include this feature. Are there limitations and caveats to this claim?

2/ How well does it handle several inputs? The Autocom has what I call a priority stack, with inputs having a range of priorities over others. This works really well with no rider input other than a handlebar mounted PTT switch for PMR radio. Admittedly I don't ride with a pillion and acknowledge that there are some who say that Autocom doesn't handle this particularly well, find that hard to believe though. I would be using one BT connection from my Garmin Zumo 660 for nav, music and phone. Another for bike-to-bike (subject to 1 above being viable). Finally another for connection to PMR via Sena's SR10. I could potentially employ my existing Autocom kit to achieve this last connection as I have a currently redundant Wire3 module. Might well do this for the time being and get the SR10 when I change bike, possibly later this summer.

Can the 10U handle three inputs this way and how does it switch between them? Does it listen on all inputs and open them on demand or is it a case of manually switching between them?

3/ I believe that A2DP Bluetooth, whilst capable of clear stereo audio to the rider, isn't capable of 2 way full duplex audio. The Bluetooth connection between my Garmin and Autocom with my existing set-up intelligently switches BT profile to suit what you're doing. Assume that the 10U does likewise.

Other high end Sena headsets probably share similar features so input from owners of these would also be greatly appreciated.

The 10U regrettably has inferior speakers compared with the Sena 20S. The Schuberth model, for some reason, has the speakers of the 20S, not the others though!? How comparably inferior I don't know...

Thanks for any advice offered.
 

PAD

Registered User
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#2
I hadn't seen this before, Chas, but looking at the various illustrations on the website I'm not at all sure about the controls being located on the visor recess inside the visor, meaning you'd have to raise the visor to use them! Am I seeing that right? It would be a deal breaker for me if so.

Ah! Handlebar remote!:blush: That's OK... if there's somewhere appropriate to mount it.

I've never used my SMH10 for bike to bike, but from what I read about setting up universal use it seemed like a real faff! I don't understand why this should be difficult to achieve, given that most units share the same Bluetooth protocols but, yes, it seems to be a bit of a 'holy grail' alright.:dunno:
 

Bumpkin

Formerly VFRChas
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#3
I hadn't seen this before, Chas, but looking at the various illustrations on the website I'm not at all sure about the controls being located on the visor recess inside the visor, meaning you'd have to raise the visor to use them! Am I seeing that right? It would be a deal breaker for me if so.

Ah! Handlebar remote!:blush: That's OK... if there's somewhere appropriate to mount it.
Thanks for your response :top:

The handlebar remote does look a bit crap TBH, having that on the left grip is going to irritate me I'm sure. There is an optional wrist remote that can be tank or tank bag mounted though. More money though...

I've never used my SMH10 for bike to bike, but from what I read about setting up universal use it seemed like a real faff! I don't understand why this should be difficult to achieve, given that most units share the same Bluetooth protocols but, yes, it seems to be a bit of a 'holy grail' alright.:dunno:
Don't mind if setting it up to start with is a faff so long as it then works properly. I understand, maybe misinformation, that the bike-to-bike aspect isn't Bluetooth anyway, just regular RF with each manufacturer having different wavelengths etc. just dressed up to look like Bluetooth with pairing. I've said it from the early BT headsets that if they had agreed a common standard so interoperability was possible between brands instead of burying their head in the sand expecting everyone to buy just their brand to enable group communication then popularity and sales would have been sufficient to compensate for lost sales :bang:

I have previously downloaded the 10U manual and had a cursory read, maybe I should study it in depth though I will, of course, be taking their word for it... Far prefer to hear from other users.

The other option is to buy Carl an SR10, lead and PTT and lend him a proper radio...
 

Bumpkin

Formerly VFRChas
Site Sponsor
#5
Have a read of this review, it may answer some questions.
Thanks Phil, yes I did see that the other day, they also have a YouTube review. The paring with other brands of intercom is mentioned but they didn't say that they actually tried it rather they are just repeating what the manufacturer has told them or what's in the manual.

Will download the manual again and give it a good read myself but hearing from owners that have successfully used the Universal Pairing for bike-to-bike would provide the reassurance before I drop ?200 on this. Factor in the extra bits to get PMR working and I'm then looking just shy of ?400...
 

JZH

VFR Club Bodger
#6
I've never tried pairing with other brands of BT headset, but I was under the impression that it was possible, which would not be the case if the bike-to-bike was using some other protocol, would it? :dunno:

Interesting, the 10U. I don't mind the helmet protrusions (I have a Drift HD Ghost on the other side!), but I can see why you might prefer a cleaner look. Autocom has a BT device that mounts under the rim of the helmet, IIRC. Is that an option?

After starting with a Pro System eons ago, I finally made the jump from Autocom to BT about a year ago. I wish BT had the flexibility that Autocom does, but I do think wireless is worth the effort.

The "several inputs" question is the big one. The Autocom priorities are complicated, but work flawlessly once you've got them sussed. BT is always a compromise, because companies like SENA are really pushing the envelope in order to get all of the features into the product. My impression is that BT simply wasn't designed to do all of the things SENA (mostly) manages to make it do.

I use an SMH-10 and a Zumo 590 together with my Samsung Galaxy S5 mini (waterproof) smartphone. I stream music from the Zumo, rather than the phone, because I prefer to control the playlist, etc., using the Zumo (despite the infamous Garmin "1,000 songs" limitation). I also usually have my phone in my pocket, but that might change if I can find a good mount.

Intercom, music and phone seem to work well enough together, but there are hiccups, and every once in a while I lose the music and have to re-set everything. :B:

Originally, I had intended to add a radar detector (mainly for riding in the USA, rather than here), and acquired an SR10--once I had worked out that it wasn't possible to get anything other than the main A2DP device (phone) to do the "instant-on" that would be necessary for any kind of warning device. I'm not sure if you could use your Wire3 instead of the SR10--I never used a Wire3, but you're at least aware of the issue...

My motorcycle electronics packages used to be heavily focused on the audio side of things, including dealing with ground loops and all of that fun stuff, but now I don't deal with anything other than power distribution--all of the audio is handled wirelessly by various devices, more-or-less working together. I think I like it! :)

Ciao,
 

PAD

Registered User
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#7
I believe that Sena universal Bluetooth can work with headsets from other manufacturers, provided they support the Hands Free Profile (HFP) protocol, not regular RF.

Like JZH, I don't mind the protrusion of my Sena unit. I do wonder whether this 'stealth' jobbie has, leastways in part, arisen out of the French and Spanish confused fiasco over headset use? I.e. if it can't be seen, you're less likely to be (rightly or wrongly) pulled over? My understanding of the current situation is that these rules apply only to in ear headphones, but I guess the protrusions could invite suspicion and further investigation?
 

Bumpkin

Formerly VFRChas
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#8
Just read the 10U handbook, well bits of it. The Universal Intercom section sounds littered with compromise. Going to have to re-think this :( and probably, for the time being at least, stick with the Autocom.

Thanks for your input chaps :beer:
 

Bob

One screw Bob
Staff member
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#9
I can't help with your query regarding Sena, but I have an Interphone F4 on the helmet I use for Blood Bikes. I got this when I started riding the liveried bike so I could take calls on the move (my own bike is equipped with Autocom, the Blood Bike isn't). More recently I've started carrying out Riding Assessments for my Blood Bike group and I have found, using the Interphone's 'AnyCom' feature I can pair with most makes of Bluetooth headsets including the cheapo, ?25, ones off eBay (well I've not found one that's failed yet). In the main it works fine, in every case the other rider could hear me OK, but there was one occasion hen I could only just hear the other rider. Therefore I should imagine that other makes of Bluetooth headsets should perform in a similar fashion to the Interphone.

Regarding helmet speakers. Recently on of the speakers failed on my Autocom equiped helmet, I replaced them with TORK Xpro Elements. What a difference, far superior to the standard speakers, both in quality of sound and volume. Ridermount have other speaker options here.

Have a look at the reviews on the Xpro elements where I give a bit more detail on fitting them.

Bob
 

Pete/48

Registered User
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#10
Regarding helmet speakers. Recently on of the speakers failed on my Autocom equiped helmet, I replaced them with TORK Xpro Elements. What a difference, far superior to the standard speakers, both in quality of sound and volume. Ridermount have other speaker options here.

Have a look at the reviews on the Xpro elements where I give a bit more detail on fitting them.

Bob
Hi Bob,
Thanks for the above information,----
I also have the Autocom set-up myself, But I do find that I often have problems understanding what my buddies are trying to communicate to me, it's not the volume I seem to have plenty of that, It seems to me that it's more the quality of the sound I am receiving,
I know it could be my ears as I admit my hearing is not as good as it used to be :( but as previously said volume is not a problem, and when talking normally to people I have no big problems distinguishing what is being said,
So as I find that my present set-up gives me plenty of volume yet I still have trouble distinguishing what is being said, I can only assume it's the quality of the sound, so am now thinking I will give these a go, --- It's either that or new ears :rolleyes:,
 

Pete/48

Registered User
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#11
Just read the 10U handbook, well bits of it. The Universal Intercom section sounds littered with compromise. Going to have to re-think this :( and probably, for the time being at least, stick with the Autocom.

Thanks for your input chaps :beer:
Chas,
If you do decide to stick with the Autocom set-up and need stuff to set Carl up with the same for your future tour, then you/Carl are quite welcome to borrow any of my set-up/spares, Just let me know ;),
 

Bumpkin

Formerly VFRChas
Site Sponsor
#12
Many thanks for the offer Pete. It's Carl's reluctance to add a bulky/heavy Autocom to his precious Ducati that's at the root of this TBH. Wish I hadn't so generously given away my previous Autocom Active Plus to someone on the 6ers who's now disappeared as it was smaller and lighter than our Super Pro Avi models and would have fitted the bill if he could be talked round to the idea. I could just buy the same on eBay as I have all the other bits required save a PTT switch. Quite why I'm spending money to resolve this, search me :dunno:
 

Pete/48

Registered User
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#13
OK Chas, fully understand, but the offer is there should you need it ;),

Are you meaning that Carl has to keep his Ducati as light as possible just to make sure that he is able to keep up with you and the Viffa :d:,
 

Pete/48

Registered User
Site Sponsor
#14
Just had a thought,
Am sure that other mate of our's (the Grizzly Adams lookalike :d:) has a "spare" Autocom unit, In fact I don't think he has yet fitted his intended unit to his viffa yet, so that would mean that he probably has (2) units sitting on the shelve at the mo, think he would probably loan you one if asked nicely :),
( but I think they may both be Super Pro unit's,)
 

PAD

Registered User
Site Sponsor
#15
I have a Logic unit which you would also be welcome to borrow if that's any help. I don't think that would slow even a Ducati down!:d:
 

Pete/48

Registered User
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#17
Just bear in mind that these are much larger, diameter wise, than the Autocom offerings.

Bob
Thanks Bob, point taken, think I will be alright as I seem to remember having plenty of room when I fitted the Autocom ones into my Nolan helmet in the first place, but just to be on the safe side I will give it all a check over before ordering,

As an aside,--Seeing that you have actually got a set of these and you also changed from the Autocom ones, You actually say the quality of sound is much better, would this be just with music, or would you go so far as to say there also a noticeable improvement in normal speech quality,:dunno:

P.S. Apologies to you Chas for the part hi-jacking your thread ;),

If you do want to tell me off about it you will have to shout up, as I'm
having trouble hearing these days ;):d:
 

Bob

One screw Bob
Staff member
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#18
You actually say the quality of sound is much better, would this be just with music, or would you go so far as to say there also a noticeable improvement in normal speech quality,:dunno:
I would say I've noticed it more on music, to me it was a remarkable improvement. I'm not as sure about speech as before it was too quiet, whereas now it is fine. However, if the music sounds sharper and clearer I should think the tonal quality of the speech has benefited too.

Bob
 

Pete/48

Registered User
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#19
I would say I've noticed it more on music, to me it was a remarkable improvement. I'm not as sure about speech as before it was too quiet, whereas now it is fine. However, if the music sounds sharper and clearer I should think the tonal quality of the speech has benefited too.

Bob
OK Thanks Bob, With that bit of added info I will probably give them a try ;)
 

Bumpkin

Formerly VFRChas
Site Sponsor
#20
Going to have to re-think this :( and probably, for the time being at least, stick with the Autocom.
Did some re-thunking... :d:

Decided to give it a try after all, it's only money and I needed cheering up with a new gadget :rolleyes:

I now have all the components; 10U with handlebar remote as well as a SR10 hub with Kenwood cable. I'll make my own PPT switch* as I already have the components in stock and the bracket I made for my adapted Autocom PTT will work in unison with the Sena remote control unit whereas the Sena PPT switch would be fighting it for the same spot on the grip.

(* to wire this in I bought the Sena PPT extension lead as that has the special male plug that maintains the water resistance of the SR10 and it was only ?5)

The install of the 10U into my Shoei GT Air was a little fiddly, the ear pieces clip into existing slots in the hard liner of the helmet, but with persistence it all went in OK. Looks very neat and is, to all intents and purposes, OEM like. Everything is contained within the shell of the helmet with no ugly wart on the side causing additional wind noise or being exposed to damage and the weather. A serious plus in my book.

The one concern is that the position of the speakers are fixed within the helmet. My experience with Autocom showed that the position of the speakers in relation to ones ear canal as well as the proximity to the ear is critical for good performance. Especially the case as speed increases along with wind noise. Static testing shows, that in my case, position isn't too bad, proximity maybe a little further than my optimal Autocom set-up. Will have to test and possibly adapt the way that the speakers mount to adjust this, real world experimentation will tell.

Fiddling around with it yesterday the headset locked up/seemed dead. Thought that maybe I'd left it on and flattened the battery despite it's claimed long standby time. Worryingly a few hours on charge didn't change things. In the end I found the reset button and it came back to life. Looked further into this and found that I needed to upgrade the firmware which was done via downloading and installing the 'Sena Bluetooth Device Manager' application, connecting via USB and running the update. Also checked the SR10 in the same way but that's on the current version.

As to pairing, in theory and subject to testing and confirmation, I'll be connecting my Zumo 660 to the primary headset channel and the SR10 hub to the secondary channel. I'll pair my phone with the SR10 and have the PMR plugged into the same.

Will add to this thread once I'm up and running.
 
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