Add Sidetone for Intercom and Phone Conversations

Comments

73 comments

  • RBEmerson
    RBEmerson
    Certainly wind noise varies with speed, but keep in mind that even if you turn the sidetone volume down, whoever you're talking to is going to hear that noise. The only cure is to address the source: move the mic out of the wind. If you can't stand your singing or you want to listen to the silence, disable the sidetone.

    Again, KISS.
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  • RBEmerson
    RBEmerson
    Sorry, for those who don't know the acronym, KISS = Keep It Simple, Stupid. :-)
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  • Marc Woo
    Marc Woo

    Thank you for all your sincere feedbacks. We think we had enough information for the feature required. The sidetone function is not something that is difficult to provide, however, it is a little tricky to make the right way with the performance required since there are some negative side effects as well. Anyway, we appreciate your participation. The function will be included in the SMH10(R) V5 which is expected to release in mid December.  

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  • Roger
    Roger

    I don't understand the comments regarding wind noise, as I stated in a post above I ride 25,000+ miles a year with the intercom active 90% of the time, when I chat with my wife on her own bike I am obviously hearing the wind noise on her mic in addition to her speech. Quite honestly I don't hear any wind noise at all. Maybe that is a function of her helmet / windshield configuration, or perhaps the Sena noise cancellation, or both, either way it is not an issue for me.

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  • RBEmerson
    RBEmerson
    One thing not discussed is the potential for feedback or "howling". People with in-ear phones shouldn't have a problem but people with speakers, if the overall volume is turned up, may encounter problems. I assume Sena is aware of this issue.
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  • Dennis J. Haggerty
    Dennis J. Haggerty

    I got to thinking abut how the side tones worked on my Autocom system. I guess they weren't so much "always on" but rather "always available". Since this was a VOX system the side tones kicked in whenever I spoke. Their intended purpose was to let me hear how I sounded to the party listening on the other end. By hearing my own voice I could tell that the system was working and regulate my vocal volume as I am speaking to the other person. The volume of the side tones in my ears would be the same as the volume of the person speaking back to me. The sensitivity of the headset was adjusted so that the wind noise would not trigger the VOX so the only time there were side tones is when I spoke.

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  • RBEmerson
    RBEmerson

    Dennis, repeating comments above, one of the goals of the sidetone feature is be able to talk with someone, while wearing a helmet, who doesn't have an SMH-10. That is, talk to a toll booth attendant or someone at a gas station. The Autocom system, with its VOX switch, doesn't appear to support the ability described above.

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  • Dennis J. Haggerty
    Dennis J. Haggerty

    Sorry Mr. Emerson but I have to disagree. You should be able to talk to a toll both attendant or someone at a gas station without having their voice amplified through your headset. As long as I turn the music off I can talk to people with my helmet on and ear plugs in. All this external noise is exactly the kind of interference good sound filtering is supposed to eliminate.

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  • Christian Aasland
    Christian Aasland

    Sorry Mr. Haggerty, but there are quite a few of us who use earbuds which are effective enough (>= 34 NRR) to make communication difficult (and of course the music is off). Especially those of us with even mild hearing loss will benefit from this, or who must use high NRR earbuds due to excessive windnoise (i.e. crappy windsheild designs).

    There is no reason this feature can't be used to benefit both camps, i.e. those who want sidetone to hear their own voice when speaking, and those to want to hear the voice of others amplified through the headset (especially useful with isolating earbuds). This isn't an either / or proposition, and I hope Sena understands this when they design it.

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  • RBEmerson
    RBEmerson

    I'm puzzled by the problem with taking advantage of using the SMH-10 as a way to talk with toll takers, etc. The point isn't to talk over music, etc., but to simply get past whatever attenuation is caused by a helmet, whether with speakers or buds. In general, though, please read through the posts on this topic and the other topics related to sidetone (IIRC, four topics altogether). I'd say it's clear posters want to use sidetone to hear the outside world better.

    One related point, some of us are not blessed with good hearing. I qualify for hearing aids and suffer from tinnitus (non-stop buzzing and ringing caused by lack of auditory stimulation - trust me, it's not fun and there's little that can be done to control it), partly due to age, and partly due to just not winning the anatomy lottery. Be that as it may, I'll take the help in hearing, without pulling off my helmet, other folks.

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  • Roger
    Roger

    When I am wearing my earplugs and helmet, the upside is that I have prevented further damage to my hearing, the downside is that unless someone is within 1-2ft and speaking very loudly I have absolutely no idea what they are saying. The MAIN reason for sidetone in my case is to be able to hear what is going around me when I need to.

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  • Kevin Green
    Kevin Green
    I am a pilot and I agree it would be much easier to talk with side tone. Also my friends think that screaming in the mic makes their voice clearer on the other end. However the sena is much clearer talking in normal tone. Side tone would solve this. Thanks Sena, Great Product!
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  • RBEmerson
    RBEmerson

    You bet your David Clarks sidetone counts! [/laugh] Seriously, you're right - SHOUTING DOESN'T HELP, PEOPLE!!!

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  • Dennis J. Haggerty
    Dennis J. Haggerty

    I have read through the comments. I understand the feature you are requesting and why you want it. Technically speaking it is not side tones. By definition side tones are audio feedback to the person who is speaking.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidetone , http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sidetone) Side tones are used in telephone handsets so that a speaker hears his own voice at the same level and position as that of the listener. True sidetones in the Sena should be fairly easy to include in the feature set. The microphone is already capturing the speaker's voice and transmitting it to the phone or the intercom. That signal just needs to be added to the channel going to the speaker's earpiece.  I can see where adding a feature to capture sound from the outside environment and  piping it into the helmet could be difficult to implement. Can you imagine being in a group of 4 riders where everyone's microphone is picking up the surrounding sounds and broadcasting them to everyone else? This would definitely have to be a feature that could be turned off.

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  • RBEmerson
    RBEmerson

    I often ride with two other SMH-10 users (that is, a three rider group or three node intercom net). The scenario of "everyone's microphone is picking up the surrounding sounds and broadcasting them to everyone else" is what happens all the time in this setting. There is no problem here. Of course we all hear engine noises, etc. in the background, but it's not a problem. Occasionally there's a "Jack, I can still hear your turn signal beeper" call as a courtesy,  but that's about it.  Side tone gives any user a better appreciation of how they sound to others. Air noise from a poorly positioned mic, distortion from shouting, it's all now audible to the source. Suggesting that side tone will somehow make an SMH-10 intercom net unusable is simply without basis in fact.

     

    Using side tone for conversation with a non-user (e.g., toll booth attendant) simply hinges on the SMH-10 user listening to the side tone signal, but without making a phone call or intercom connection. In short, there is no complication involved. The user listens and hears the "outside world", the user talks and is heard by whoever is near the speaker, that's it. We do this all day long, every day.

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  • Kevin Green
    Kevin Green

    Dennis is correct about the side tone.  It is for personal intelligibility of the users voice.  Increasing the gain level of the mic to capture ambient noise or someone that is standing next to you talking is not a solution. Side tone is exclusively for the users voice.  Using the mic for anything but to capture the users voice would greatly reduce the quality & intelligibility of intercom operations.  The only solution I see would be an additional omnidirectional mic built into new units or an external one on existing units that potentially plug into the MP3 jack.  I'm sure Dennis would agree that this mic has to be isolated to user only & on/off switchable. This would be a great feature and definately take an engineer to figure it out!  I will say this...Sena has made the only comm producing the kind of quality we need on snowmobiles at 70-100mph so if anyone can add these 2 features (sidetone & ambient sound) Sena's people are it!

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  • Dennis J. Haggerty
    Dennis J. Haggerty

    "Side tone gives any user a better appreciation of how they sound to others." That's my point. Side tones are feed back to the person speaking. You want to hear Jack's voice not his turn signal beeper. Side tones let Jack know how he sounds to you and and let you know what you sound like to him. You seem to want side tones to do two things, a) Let you hear your own voice (audio feedback) b) be an open mike capturing all the sounds in the environment. I want the A part so I know how I'm sounding to others. I don't want to have the wind and engine noise and turn signal beepers everyone is experiencing amplified and sent to my ears. If I can have A and turn off B I'm happy. That's pretty much how it works with the VOX  system I'm used to on the Autocom. I've only had one short ride with my wife as pillion to test the intercom on the Sena. Both of us however did immediately miss the audio feed back when speaking.

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  • RBEmerson
    RBEmerson

    If you haven't  used the SMH-10 in 3-4 rider settings for an extended ride, try it before commenting.

    One three group I ride with often covers 150-250 miles with a pit stop or two along the way. Noise issues are rarely a problem, save for one rider who persists in moving her mic, despite our complaints, where it catches some of the wind stream. You can bet side tone will cure that problem!

    When I ride without that person, for those same distances, extraneous noise is simply not a problem. There's no other way to put it. We don't use VOX mode, we stay in "hot mic" mode for the whole ride. it works, we can talk or not, make traffic calls, whatever. What engine or air noise leaks through is not worth worrying about. All side tone adds is a better sense of how any one rider (yourself) sounds to the rest of the group. Why make an easy thing, hearing yourself, seem like a problem when it's just not?

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  • Roger
    Roger

    I have ridden 25,000+ miles per year with my wife, the intercom is open almost 100% of the time. We are able to have normal conversations and I can hear her very clearly, the background noise from her bike is inconsequential. When we do not speak for a while we don't even turn the intercom off.

    The idea that hearing background noise is a problem makes no sense to me whatsoever.

    However, the fact that I could hear what was going on around me through HER mic has saved my life at least once. The problem is when someone is trying to talk to me and she is too far away for me to hear through her mic.

     

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  • RBEmerson
    RBEmerson

    Thanks, Roger, for making my point much better than I could. Good on ya!

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  • Dennis J. Haggerty
    Dennis J. Haggerty

    OK. I get it now. Apparently no one is using VOX so you already have the open mike picking up everyone's ambient noise but your own. In this case, barring a feedback loop, there isn't much of a downside to adding side tones unless Sena reduces the noise filtering to pick up even more ambient noise. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I'm coming from a VOX/PTT world where the only sound you want going into the mike is your own voice and the only time sound comes from the earpiece is when music is playing or someone speaks. I am beginning to see some of the limitations in the Sena product.

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  • RBEmerson
    RBEmerson

    Huh??? VOX or not, it's all the same sound.

    Really, you need to spend more time with the SMH-10. "[O]nly had one short ride with [your] wife as pillion to test the intercom on the Sena" is a rather limited sample of using the SMH-10. Try a few hundred miles with the SMH-10 system. If it still isn't what you want, sobeit. But until you you've really been there, done that... [/shrug] I won't comment on something if I haven't used it much.

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  • Dennis J. Haggerty
    Dennis J. Haggerty

    No, it's not all the same sound. If people are using VOX hopefully the noise filtering is good enough you won't be hearing everyone's wind blast and engine drone 24/7. When someone speaks you will be able to hear their voice clearly and not a lot of background clutter. That's the whole point of communication, to understand what one another is saying. No, I have not had much time to spend with the SMH10. But I have spent years and thousands of miles with other audio systems. And I know enough to know that side tones are to help the speaker modulate his voice and not be a supplemental hearing aid.

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  • Dmitriy
    Dmitriy

    If I knew that this feature is not present, would have refused to buy this device (SMH-5).

    Learned this only after the purchase and I am sorry about the spent money.

    This is very bad not hear yourself - you can not control the voice volume. Like you're deaf.

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  • Dmitriy
    Dmitriy

    If I knew that this feature is not present, would have refused to buy this device (SMH-5). Learned this only after the purchase and I am sorry about the spent money. This is very bad not hear yourself - you can not control the voice volume. Like you're deaf.

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  • Gene Lee
    Gene Lee

    I use my SMH10 with my wife on another motorcycle using earbuds. 

    I never need to hear my own voice. The only use case is when talking to someone else with my earbuds on, since they isolate noise too well. So for example, when stopped at a toll booth, or talking to someone at the side of the road. I cannot hear a thing they are saying, but my wife can over the intercom and has to relay back to me what the third person said.

     

    It would be nice to have a triple-tap option to tun side-tones on. Also would be nice to have it toggle on/off independent of whether the intercom is on/off, so I can either have a conversation with the toll booth operator without involving the wife, or have her be able to listen in and provide input to me if the intercom is already on.

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  • Scolebc
    Scolebc

    I hope that this will be available for the SMH10 and not just the SMH10R as stated above by the Sena representative.

    Because my wife can't hear herself, she tends to speak loudly.

    This get picked up on through my microphone which gives a deep reverb/echo effect, a problem we didn't have on our Harley communications system.

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  • Ken
    Ken

    Only need sidetone when actually talking.  I'm finding myself yelling when riding at 70 mph and don't need to; but I can't hear myself so I yell (even when I try not to).  Don't need sidetone all the time.  It should have something like squelch that only activates when talking.  People tell me that my transmitted voice is easily heard over microphone background noise anyway.  

    An added benefit:  There are places in my Schuberth flip front helmet that capture and transmit less wind noise than others.  Sidetone would allow me to place my microphone in the quietest location without out asking, "How's this?  O.K., How's this?  How about this?"  All in my group tend to do that if we are alerted that transmitted wind noise is objectionable.  

    Ken

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  • Dmitriy
    Dmitriy

    For SMH10 Sidetone function is added (Firmware v.5.0).

    And what about for SMH5??? Ple-e-e-ase!

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  • Wouter Hermans
    Wouter Hermans

    I have enjoyed the side tone in normal use, but I ride along with bicycle races and have noticed the sidetone is not wanted when I am using a Fox 40 whisle :) Any way to turn sidetone on or off on the road would be helpful :).

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