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Ultra Compact Sound System
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Old 21st July 2008, 11:46 PM   #1
jonkun227 is offline jonkun227  United States
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Default Ultra Compact Sound System

I'm looking to build an ultra-compact sound system, but I don't know where to start. I want the maximum frequency range possible in a very small package. I know this is like the holy grail of notebook computer design, so I don't expect miracles, I just want to know what's possible.

I ride a motorcycle. ('85 Honda Shadow VT700C, fully restored, for the curious.) My helmet has gaps in the foam and padding for communication headsets, but I'd like to set it up for music instead. I have a driving music playlist that is aching to be heard on my bike, but it's a major pain to try to route earbuds.

Any ideas or thoughts are welcome. Obviously I don't want to sacrifice skull safety for the sake of good driving/riding music...

I had a Mac PowerBook that died a while back, and I parted it out on eBay but the "subwoofer" didn't sell. I don't have specs on it (frequency response or anything like that), but I think it could be easily mounted at the base of my neck and speakers next to the ears. Here's a similar unit:


I have a modification I want to make to my bike that would relocate the airbox to the side of the engine. Then I would have enough room in the frame of the bike for a pair of 6" woofers. That might be interesting as well. But for now I'd like to focus on the most I can realistically do for the helmet itself.

Thanks for your help and ideas!

- Jon
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Old 21st July 2008, 11:54 PM   #2
jonkun227 is offline jonkun227  United States
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By the way, I have checked out the retail options and I'm not impressed. For instance, check out the specs on this site:


It's hard to want to pay them even $1 when they post that their 2" speakers have a frequency response from 20-20000 Hz. Can someone please point me to a single speaker anywhere that has a full 20-20000 range? 500-15000 sure.

Anyway, I'd rather just do $5 iPod dock speakers mounted in the helmet. Maybe even skip it altogether rather than pay $50 or more for crappy speakers.

- Jon
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Old 25th July 2008, 03:32 AM   #3
thatotherguy is offline thatotherguy  United States
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why not just buy some headphones and use the drivers?
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Old 27th July 2008, 10:54 AM   #4
OzMikeH is offline OzMikeH  Australia
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buy some Shure E3 canalphones.
the best $200 you'll ever spend. Nothing will come close.
woofers on a bike is not worth the effort. you are out in open space with rushing wind. you probably wont even be able to tell if they are working.
Help some guys with funny hair bang two rocks together really hard.
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Old 28th July 2008, 04:44 PM   #5
jonkun227 is offline jonkun227  United States
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My theory with the woofers was more about feeling the bass than hearing it. And I'm not always going fast. There's plenty of around-town riding to be enhanced. I'll probably try it eventually, but it's not the immediate priority. I'll have about 10"x9"x9" to play with if I move the airbox.

I haven't wanted to invest in decent cans and disassemble them because I don't know how solid the construction is inside. Too solid and I will greatly decrease the safety of the helmet. Metal is quite uncommon in helmet design for a reason.

Obviously I'm facing a compromise regardless of what I choose to do. Better sound or better safety. But I'm convinced that earbuds are not a winning solution. Been there, tried that. They come out too easily when I'm putting the helmet on, and they block sound even when they're not playing music.

Can anyone speak to the actual dimensions and construction inside any given set of headphones?

- Jon
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