Neckmike first impressions

I ordered a communications package for use with the bikes a few days ago, and it arrived yesterday. The system is the Cobra MT600 + Neckmike combo from Bikeman I mentioned in the Preparing for the Iron Butt post.

The contents of the box

I ordered the double package, which comes with two Cobra MT600 radio units, rechargable NiMH batteries, a charger with a Y cable (to charge both units simultaneously), two Neckmike bundles and one set of small + one set of medium size earbuds each.

Along with that, I also ordered an MP3 player extension – and some extra earbuds, since I’ll be using the system while training a couple of friends for their rider tests.

The Cobra units (manufacturer’s spec sheet) are vanilla two way radios in a retail package. They’ve got the standard features with availability of both CTCSS and DCS “channels”, and a theoretical range of 5 km.

The Neckmike all bundled up

The Neckmike system basically consists of a throat microphone of the kind used by tactical units in noisy environments, in-ear headphones, and a waterproof send button. The pick-up part of the unit is mounted on a springy piece of rubber covered metal, that feels solid enough. Because of how a throat mic works, it’s pretty sensitive to placement, in an almost digital way: It needs to sit right next to the jugular to pick up the vibrations from one’s speech, or you won’t hear a thing. Other units I’ve seen solve this with an elastic or velcro-fastened band around the neck. Further use will have to prove if the Neckmike approach to the problem is good enough, but I can see why one wouldn’t want to have a fastened band around the neck while riding a bike. In case something happens, you really don’t want to be stuck with things wrapped around your neck. This shouldn’t happen with the Neckmike system.

The problem with other communications packages for motorcycle use, is that they tend to depend on speakers mounted inside the helmet. This is alright if you never ever need to ride at highway speeds, or if you’ve got a windscreen like a barn door. Otherwise, riding for long periods without earplugs is a pretty good way to get permanent hearing damage.

The in-ear phones of the Neckmike come with interchangeable heads in three different sizes (the largest one can be specially ordered, but the small and medium ones are included in the package, as I mentioned earlier). They work very well in protecting from outside noise, and from what I could feel, they should be no problem to wear for a while, although I will write something on this when I’ve had time to try them for real.

A real road test review will follow.

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2 thoughts on “Neckmike first impressions”

  1. How did you get on with the neckmikes and biking? I’m thinking about buying some and wanted to know if I can use them motorbiking at any speed.

    1. Oh, yeah, I didn’t write much more about them.
      Thing is, they work pretty well once you’ve become accustomed: They seem to be tuned to a pretty high gain, so if you yell, it’ll just cut out for you, which feels a bit weird: going down a highway at speeds, you think you need to talk loudly, but instead one should simply use a regular conversation level – which of course makes sense, since the mike is situated at your throat, and isn’t picking up vibrations from the air, but from your skin.

      Another problem, which I think might be helmet related, is that I can’t ride with the ear-plugs inserted for more than a couple of hours before getting uncomfortably sore in my ears.

      Basically, the Neckmike system works, but it has it’s quirks and I really can’t say if other systems on the market are better or worse – but I think it’s the only system where you actually have real ear-plugs so you don’t need a barn-door of a windscreen to hear the conversation.

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