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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a new helmet audio system that uses very thin (about the thickness of a credit card), flexible speakers that easily fit behind the liner of your helmet. They connect with a wire to a small battery pack, a little smaller than a pack of cigs. The battery pack connects via bluetooth to your phone or ipod.

I'd tried some other helmet speakers, various earbuds and never really liked any of them. The earbuds hurt after a while of bring crammed in by the helmet and other speakers weren't loud enough to hear on the highway and had terrible sound quality.

The syphon really is far, far better than anything else I've tried. I can't feel the speakers in the helmet at all, they are extremely loud (about 50% volume on my phone is plenty loud to hear at any speed), and the quality is very passable. There's not much bass- in a quiet room it sounds kind of tinny, though they claim this is on purpose, so it "cuts through" low frequency engine and wind noise better. At speed, I don't notice the lack of bass. I'm fairly sure it adjusts the volume to compensate for ambient noise (though Syphon doesn't advertise this function, so maybe it's just me)
They claim a 12 hour life from the battery pack, which for once, seems about right. Standby time (not playing music) is a couple days so if you forget to switch it off it's not a big deal. Charges off a standard micro USB, same as anything except Apple stuff.

So far they are only sold through the Syphon website- google didn't find anyone else retailing them. $200, so it's not cheap, though IMO it's worth it. Paired with your phone you can listen to music, and if you have a destination in mind, listen to spoken directions from Maps as well.

The real kicker is their customer service. About a month after I got it, one of the speakers started cutting out unless the cord was bent a certain way. I emailed them and got a response within minutes. They said they had heard of this problem on a few other early production units and had updated the cord, and would send me a new one, no problem. They also sent me a new set of speakers "just to be sure we take care of the problem". Both showed up priority mail 2 days later. I only asked for the cord and they sent me a whole new headset as well, which is supposedly the most expensive part of the whole rig, no questions asked.

So, thumbs up to Syphon. Good product, and great service.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just an update on this-

The replacement headset also failed. Same problem as the first, poor wiring connection leading to one side cutting in and out as you move the cable. Looking online, this seems to be very, very common and reports of it are everywhere. I emailed their support and explained the problem. Again, they replied quickly and apologized for the continued problem. They explained that the current model was essentially pulled from sale due to all the problems with it (listed as backordered on their website), and they were redesigning it with different cables. They said they would send me an entirely new system once the updated one came out, which now is listed as coming out in September.

I will add in that one of my buddies recently got a Bilt (cycle gear's house brand) bluetooth adventure style helmet- same price, $200. Built in speakers and mic, with controls on the side of the helmet for volume, play/pause, and forward/reverse tracks. Works great. Audio is just as loud as the Syphon, and IMO sounds better. I mean you won't mistake it for a good pair of over-ear headphones, but it's not bad. Tried a phone call at 70 and it was loud and clear on both sides, couldn't even tell I was on a bike. Might just go that way instead.
 

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If anybody is interested in DIY experimentation, here's a kit that might be useful - speaker plus (3-5v powered) amp for under $30, grab two and you could do stereo (not sure how it would fit in helmet though) - https://www.sparkfun.com/products/12723

EDIT - hmm, looks like exactly the same speakers used by Syphon. Not saying Syphons price is bad, you'd be hard pressed to build that up into something equivalent for less cash, but a DIY build could maybe be constructed a bit tougher, more road-use specific, etc. IE, fighterized!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's called the Bilt Techno Adventure.
http://www.cyclegear.com/BILT-Techno-Bluetooth-Adventure-Motorcycle-Helmet

The helmet itself seemed like a decent if not exceptional lid. The liner material isn't the softest I've ever experienced but again not horrible. The visor doesn't have multiple detents like my Icon and many others do, it's either full open or closed so you can't just "crack" it to let a little air in. Not a huge deal. The drop down sun shield is pretty lightly tinted, I'd prefer something darker. I didn't see any replacement options for the sun shield listed (you can get a light or dark smoke main shield instead of the clear it comes with).

I'm also looking into some other options as far as earbuds go. I've seen some good reviews for the Decibullz, that custom mold to your ear and provide a good amount of noise cancelling (I almost always wear earplugs for any longer trips).


Those speakers look virtually identical to what the Syphon came with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Another update-

They missed the September deadline- their website updated to say "mid-December". That came and went, then it changed to January. I hadn't checked for a while, a couple weeks ago they were "available" to purchase. I shot customer service another email, kind of politely saying "where's my new one?" Again, fast response, they detailed the changes (better cables, updated bluetooth software) and I got an email with a tracking # a couple hours later.

Got the new version. The main cable between the battery/bluetooth box and the headset is much better than before, seems quite substantial and durable. It uses a multi-pin connector- remember those "S VIDEO" cables that were briefly popular before HDTV came out? The connector looks like one of those, where the old version used a three-pole headphone jack. The speakers now come in two individual sleeves instead of one big one, they said these fit in helmets better (there's no way that big single sleeve before would fit comfortably in a helmet, unless you helmet was waaay too big). The individual sleeves slip behind the liner easily.

They didn't mention anything about the amplifier, but to me it's much louder and much clearer than the old version also. There's no volume adjustment on the box, you adjust it on your phone. Before I'd have it most of the way up to hear on the highway, and by then it was getting scratchy and distorted. Now, 50% is the most I ever use and less in town, and the music sounds a lot clearer and less tinny.

Time will tell about durability, but so far it seems like a big improvement, and they came through with sending me a new one.
 
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