Steve's got the right idea with the Mix-It. I paid over $2000 for the Nolan (2 of them), their n-Com stuff and Hi-Fi II series stuff and only got one Bluetooth dongle to work out of the Zumo, a Jabra A120. Nothing else worked with the Nolan helmets, not Sony, not WiRevo - just the Jabra A120 stereo dongle. I got drawers full of damn dongles and battery chargers. Bluetooth can be really be fickle between brands! More volume caused the batteries to die quicker. With two helmets, you need to carry more chargers if you want to wait less than 3 hours to charge one of them alone. BT was/is a pain, imho. None of the dongle stuff is waterproof either.
I've since gotten tired of the Nolan 103 setup and have gone back to wired with some Ultimate Ear UE-11 in-ear phones which are wonderful (very costly too!). They have 4 speakers per ear: two bass, mid, treble including the crossover. That is about as close to audiophile stuff as you can get on a bike, imo, and ambient wind noise is almost gone. Bluetooth had too many issues for me like constant battery charging (for hours) and if they go dead midday, you are pretty much dead for sound unless you have wired backup. Passkeying them if they go dead or drop out was another "Get off the highway to relink them" pita and I had to carry the manuals to get them to relink. My older Shoei Mutli-Tech, although not as nicely finished as the Nolan N-103 nor had their slick dark internal visor, was much quieter and not as heavy so I went back to it. The Nolan n-Com II speakers, although sounding pretty good for helmet speakers, just caused me too much suffering from wind noise from not using in-ear phones - ergo, back to wired to knock down the wind noise.
I'm using an older Autocom Pro AVI that has a slight "amp hiss" which is a bit annoying between quiet portions. Their newer Autocom Pro AVI Automatic supposedly addresses the amp hiss stuff. Dunno yet. I push all my stuff through the Autocom and it works well if you have all their damn external ground-loop isolators on your bike powered stuff: radar, Zumo, MP3 player, radios, whatever. Autocom needs to put all the external ground-loop crap in their box even if it adds a few more dollars to the main box itself. Space is limited under the seat without the need for all their extra cables and ground-loop and BT mini-boxes.
Fwiw, the Zumo isn't the greatest MP3 player (no equalizer at all) and the iPod isn't the best player either for much of the same issues according to the gear-heads in the Hi-Fi Head forums. The Sony X-Series Walkman is the primo now for sound quality MP3 as it has a multitude of equalizers and settings to satisfy the serious audiophile (okay, me!).
The XM Radio recently lowered their bitrate for stereo to something like 64kbps or maybe lower. If you want a better signal, you'll pay more for it and they can nickle and dime their way up to $30+ a month if you let them. I think it was another $3/mo. for 128 kbps which still isn't that good but maybe good enough for speakers on a bike or cheaper in-ear phones. Using my UE-11's, the XM Radio's high frequency music was tinny and bass was distorted and lacking and booming when present. They blamed it on my XM Radio antenna (Garmin XM-30) rather than their newly-lowered bitrate. Their weather stuff was another $3-$4 per month too. It takes sometimes an hour for the weather to update and you can be under a rainstorm getting soaking wet and the XM Radio will show sunny skies! Maybe in another 20 minutes, it will flip to rainy skies. Their traffic is a bit slow too. You can be stuck in rush hour gridlock before they get the update posted.
XM Radio also dropped their free online XM Radio service and wanted another $4 or so a month for that. You can negotiate with the online rep. on the prices though. I dropped them when it got up to around $17 a month as my bike spent a lot of time in some shops (sometimes months plus winter) so it became a waste for me to continue it. They have your credit card and they just work it and you may see a small flier about a rate hike for whatever (they had some RIAA suit they lost last year and they hiked another $2 per month last March. Now I get constant e-mails and mailings to come back for as low as $4 per month. I'm holding out though to see how low they will go.
Last edited by GMack; Nov 4th, 2009 at 8:19 pm.