Originally Posted by voxmagna
Mp3's are ok at around 196 kb/s stereo, but once you play them over a wireless link forget quality. Anyway, if you were really after audio quality you'ld be wearing a headset with at least 80dB rejection of extraneous noise. In which case, you'd never hear that warning horn and be so immersed you might as well be riding smashed out on some pills or too many beers.
By the time you hear "a horn" the dance has already ended. Often too late and not much you can do about it anyway.
True about the 196 kb/s stuff and wireless, which I agree with which sucks with chargers and batteries that die mid-trip or deal with re-pairing them back up on the fly. Motorcycle Bluetooth is sheer agony, imho, and needs a whole lot more before I'd go back to dealing with it over hard-wire (which made Bluetooth redundant when I had to carry the wire anyway when the damn thing died or acted up). After you pull off the freeway 2-3 times for wireless issues you begin to wonder if the Bluetooth is really "It." In a car you can - or someone else can - deal with the link-up or battery issues. Not so easy to do on a bike.
I suspect the top of the line audio on a bike is the Ultimate Ears UE-11's along with a Ray Samuel's Mustang P-51 or Tomahawk headphone amp to drive their 4 drivers per ear (two bass, mid, high) for a true flat response. Extraneous wind noise is attenuated to about 30dB and you can listen to the music at a far lower level without your ears ringing at the end of a 5-8 hour ride. A big plus I found, is the volume "KNOB" on the Ray Samuel's amps which allows for faster and more intuitive volume adjustments with gloves than the damn Zumo's "Press multiple buttons for a volume change and bar graph"
concept. Even the Mix-It is a better way to go if on the handlebars. Garmin needs to add a knob on the left side of the Zumo and ditch the button/screen thing as it requires too much eye-off-the-road work to operate.
The Zumo's MP3 audio sort of sucks in audio quality, imo, over almost any
stand-alone MP3 player like a Sony, iRiver, or iPod that has some sort of equalizer, balance, separation, effects, etc. built into them. The Garmin XM Radio addition really shows how poor it is with the XM/Sirus compression when heard with good phones or a musician's in-ear monitors.