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Ski Earphones / Helmet Audio? Airpods are Awful! Outdoor Tech Chips?

 Poster: A snowHead
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I bought some apple airpods for skiing as I figured they'd fit really well under helmet ear pads and they sounded decent enough - not like my studio headphones but I wouldn't expect that. They're also comfy - I don't like the kind you need to jam in your ear canals and they constantly fall out anyway. The problem is the constant dropouts, breaking up and loosing signal for extended periods. They're off way more than they're on. Completely unusable. The did the same at the snow dome too - and when I go outside my gym (they work perfectly great in most areas of my gym). They don't seem to get on with corrugated metal buildings or the cold apparently. Maybe it's because my phone is android. I don't know.

Are there any earphones similar in design to airpods (not corks you have to stuff down your ear canal) that have great bluetooth and work well with android?

I was thinking about Outdoor Tech Chips 2.0 but read lots of reviews saying similar things about audio drop outs, pairing issues etc. However there are also very positive reviews. I've seen Outdoor tech also have a new pair on kickstarter that are truly wireless but don't know if I want to trust them. At least the Chips 2.0 can be plugged in if the Bluetooth really does turn out to be awful.

Should I just go back to wired and get something like cheap traditional airpods or bose soundsport wired? Is bluetooth too much bother?

Any suggestions?
Thanks
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Depends on your phone in my experience. I'd never wear headphones for skiing, but I do use them for running. A phone that supports Bluetooth 4 or 5, and headphones that also support that standard, will be fine. If you have an old phone, you'll struggle regardless of which headphones you choose.
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Anker Soundcore Liberty Air?

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/may/01/best-true-wireless-earbuds-airpods-samsung-jabra-sennheiser-anker-compared-and-ranked
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telford_mike wrote:
Depends on your phone in my experience. I'd never wear headphones for skiing, but I do use them for running. A phone that supports Bluetooth 4 or 5, and headphones that also support that standard, will be fine. If you have an old phone, you'll struggle regardless of which headphones you choose.


I have the Oneplus 3T which apparently has Bluetooth 4.2 and the airpods are supposed to support 4.0 or higher. Now sure why they're so unreliable then.
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I have the original CHIPS. Just like your earbuds they kept dropping out at Xscape, get it’s all the interference in there. However, out in the open in the alps they work absolutely fine. They are good for telephone as well, microphone picks up even when skiing quite quickly.
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Powder Pete wrote:
telford_mike wrote:
Depends on your phone in my experience. I'd never wear headphones for skiing, but I do use them for running. A phone that supports Bluetooth 4 or 5, and headphones that also support that standard, will be fine. If you have an old phone, you'll struggle regardless of which headphones you choose.


I have the Oneplus 3T which apparently has Bluetooth 4.2 and the airpods are supposed to support 4.0 or higher. Now sure why they're so unreliable then.


My money's on the phone being to blame. AirPods are pretty good.
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Have 4 sets of chips in the family, and have had for a couple of years - got them real cheap on clearance - $50 a pair, reduced from $160

They work well, but do drop out a bit if the phone is buried under too many layers.

Sound pretty good for what they are, no issues with reliability. They don't work in my oakley mod 5 helmet, but fit in the rest of the family's lids (Smith, Giro, DC)

Phone and music work pretty well, siri is a bit hit and miss.

I really hate having headphones stuck inside my ears. On the odd day that I wear a helmet and want music, I've been using some cheap skull candy ear buds with sport hooks that go over the ears, wired into an outdoor tech bluetooth adapter, just clipped to my cuff. Actually prefer it to the Chips and it's a much cheaper solution.

It was quite hard finding headphones with over the ear clips that didn't go inside the ear canal


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Wed 9-10-19 0:47; edited 1 time in total
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Well I'd probably be happy enough if they worked perfectly well in the alps like yours do. My airpods were unusable there which was so disappointing as I like the design. Is the sound any good? I'm considering giving up on bluetooth - can't be doing with throwing £100s away on headphones that turn out to be awful.

I'm half considering buying some more Sennheiser HD25 headphones - taking them apart and fitting them in my helmet. They have great sound quality and go ridiculously loud and have a reliable wired connection. Last a decade or more these things. I've taken them apart before. Just depends if they'll fit


http://youtube.com/v/__xDQWTonks
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I have an older model of these helmet communicators / Bluetooth headphones from uClear - I think mine were the HBC 220, outdated model now. In the winter I use them while skiing with the family for both music and intercom, and in the summer I use them in my motorcycle helmet for GPS guidance. They're fantastic, they never drop out and the sound is great without blocking out environmental sounds. Best skiing gadgets I've ever bought.
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I don't have any issues with Blue Tooth these days, with aptX, but then I use up to date Android hardware which probably helps.
I have a couple of headsets (Optima, Sony) for different uses and both are flawless, albeit with about a 2 second start-up time from cold sometimes.

I'm not sure that Apple headsets use aptX, which may be causing you issues.
Apple hardware tends to be proprietary and doesn't usually provide the best cost/performance balance for none-Apple users.
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I use these for gym/running:

https://www.bose.co.uk/en_gb/products/headphones/earphones/soundsport-wireless.html#v=soundsport_wireless_citron

I like them - very comfortable, reliable, sound decent (usual Bose - bit warm and woolly, not exactly hifi but very pleasant).

I don't listen to music when skiing so haven't tried helmet compatibility but I think that the bluetooth receiver is in the control unit which sits on a cable at your throat or on the back of your neck which should help.
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@hang11, The outdoor chip 2 don't fit in your Oakley mod 5? I'm a bit surprised as mine do?
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https://www.amazon.co.uk/Upgraded-Bluetooth-Headphones-Wireless-Christmas/dp/B07RRW9XC4/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1HLIQAGFKB561&dchild=1&keywords=bluetooth+beanie+hat&psc=1&qid=1570641661&sprefix=bluetooth+BE%2Caps%2C184&sr=8-3&tag=amz07b-21

I got something similar to these on Wish.com. The speakers parts are easily removed and installed into the earpads of my Smith helmet. Works surprisingly well with my iPhone and only downside is the battery life of 4 hours.
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I've got some of these
https://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Bluetooth-Headphones-Compatible-Snowboard/dp/B07H7X814B?tag=amz07b-21

Bluetooth is a bit woolly and drops in and out, but they were cheap and are functional.
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I have a pair of the Outdoor Tech Chips 2.0 Bluetooth in-helmet speakers, and they have always worked fine whilst skiing, with my iPhone. The sound is good, and I don't have any drop-outs or such like.

But I have a friend who had issues with the same speakers when trying to use Siri on their iPhone. And note that the "Walkie Talkie" app they have is terrible, and nobody seems to be able to get it work. Use Zello instead, that is much better.

I don't see much point in going for the new Outdoor Tech Chips Ultra Bluetooth in-helmet speakers. They don't have a wire connecting both speakers — but who cares? Once you have put them in your helmet, it makes no difference. And they are a lot more expensive, and already the Chips 2.0 are coming down in price.

I also have the latest Apple Airpods, and have zero issues with them. I might try them whilst skiing to see how I get on.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Outdoor Tech Chips 2.0 do the job for me. No issues ever with Bluetooth connection (to Samsung S7), sound quality is decent enough and battery life fine.
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wills_h wrote:
@hang11, The outdoor chip 2 don't fit in your Oakley mod 5? I'm a bit surprised as mine do?


They kind of fit in the ear pads, but sit right at the top, so are really uncomfortable, and can't really use the buttons.

I read somewhere that Oakley were going to sort it out, so I may have an early version of the helmet.
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hang11 wrote:
wills_h wrote:
@hang11, The outdoor chip 2 don't fit in your Oakley mod 5? I'm a bit surprised as mine do?


They kind of fit in the ear pads, but sit right at the top, so are really uncomfortable, and can't really use the buttons.

I read somewhere that Oakley were going to sort it out, so I may have an early version of the helmet.


I have a similar issue with my Oakley Mod 3 helmet. The OutdoorTech Chips 2.0 do seem to sit high, not exactly over my ears. But they are not uncomfortable, and you just get used to their position when using the buttons on them.
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Powder Pete wrote:
I'm half considering buying some more Sennheiser HD25 headphones - taking them apart and fitting them in my helmet. They have great sound quality and go ridiculously loud and have a reliable wired connection. Last a decade or more these things. I've taken them apart before. Just depends if they'll fit


This is what I did, or close enough... And it works a treat. I easily fitted 75mm (EDIT: durrrr, no... 45mm actually) Koss KSC75 drivers in mine.

Get some headphones designed as open backed, as that's how they'll be operating in your helmet ear pads. Might as well get something designed to operate as you'll be using them eh. Larger the driver the better. Open backed phones also allow more sound in from the outside, ok, so any headphone you take apart will be open by the time you've put them in your helmet... But I figured it helped.

The final key for me was to chuck £25 at a tiny disposable (it'll get broke the way I use it eventually, and I won't mind) Sandisk Clip Jam MP3 player which I just clip to the side of my ear pad strap. This means the whole setup is contained in/on the helmet and there's no wires hanging about, and I can take the whole thing off, chuck it somewhere, and don't have to unplug anything. A piece of self adhesive foam on the play/pause button means one whack at the side of the helmet to start/stop music. I've used it three seasons so far and have yet to notice it in a negative way. Battery lasts ages, even in ski temps. Only thing it does when it's really cold is slow down changing tracks a bit. If you do go this route, set your region to America to avoid the "are you reaaaaaaaly sure you want to listen to loud music? it might be a bad idea" warning EVERY time you turn it up enough to hear.

My total setup cost me under £40, and sounds decent. Allows me to hear well when not in use, weighs nothing, and at reasonable volumes lets in plenty of sound for situational awareness. Crank it up when alone on lifts, in safe spots, or whatever.
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I don't understand why anyone would buy a helmet for protection while skiing - and then start adding small pieces of metal / plastic that could lead to significantly increased localised pressure on the head in the event of an accident. rolling eyes Particularly around the ears which are a softer part of the skull so already more susceptible to damage. Remember Schumacher. Sad
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@Powder Pete, v1 airpods or v2?

I've got some Powerbeats Pro, the range has been quite impressive. I can leave my phone in one room and move a fair distance away inc upstairs before sound drops/
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Powder Pete wrote:
I bought some apple airpods for skiing as I figured they'd fit really well under helmet ear pads and they sounded decent enough - not like my studio headphones but I wouldn't expect that. They're also comfy - I don't like the kind you need to jam in your ear canals and they constantly fall out anyway. The problem is the constant dropouts, breaking up and loosing signal for extended periods. They're off way more than they're on. Completely unusable. The did the same at the snow dome too - and when I go outside my gym (they work perfectly great in most areas of my gym). They don't seem to get on with corrugated metal buildings or the cold apparently. Maybe it's because my phone is android. I don't know.

Are there any earphones similar in design to airpods (not corks you have to stuff down your ear canal) that have great bluetooth and work well with android?

I was thinking about Outdoor Tech Chips 2.0 but read lots of reviews saying similar things about audio drop outs, pairing issues etc. However there are also very positive reviews. I've seen Outdoor tech also have a new pair on kickstarter that are truly wireless but don't know if I want to trust them. At least the Chips 2.0 can be plugged in if the Bluetooth really does turn out to be awful.

Should I just go back to wired and get something like cheap traditional airpods or bose soundsport wired? Is bluetooth too much bother?

Any suggestions?
Thanks


I would only get a helmet/headphones combo which was designed to be used together for safety purposes.

Gotta say, I thought I would love music on the slopes so did buy some once but absolutely hated it. Ruined the feeling for me. Obviously that's only a personal opinion though!

Re Airpods, they're bloody brilliant. Absolutely love them as does everyone in my family. We all have iPhones though. Never experienced a single second of dropout except when I go out of range as I have left my phone somewhere and walked off elsewhere.
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@ecureuil, they fit in the earpiece so really dont increase those chances by much, and certainly are safer than no helmet at all.

Didn't realise Schumacher was injured by listening to music, I thought it was from skiing in a sketchy rock field. Thanks for putting me right Smile
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I think they mean the rumour that the problem was caused by a go pro mount on his helmet, not sure if that was ever confirmed or not.
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@wills_h, I don't use a GoPro mount with my headphones Puzzled wink
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SnoodlesMcFlude wrote:


Didn't realise Schumacher was injured by listening to music, I thought it was from skiing in a sketchy rock field. Thanks for putting me right Smile


I believe he was listening to Megaherz by Kraftwerk





....too soon?
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@SnoodlesMcFlude, you don't, why not?? Puzzled
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@Dave of the Marmottes, I think that's ok, now if you'd said, Zombie by the Cranberries, that might have been different.
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[quote="Legend."]
Powder Pete wrote:
Gotta say, I thought I would love music on the slopes so did buy some once but absolutely hated it. Ruined the feeling for me. Obviously that's only a personal opinion though.


A personal opinion shared by many others, I would imagine.

I love music - and can't imagine life without it. But in my opinion it's incompatible with a mountain experience, whatever form that takes - whether skiing, hiking, mountain biking or enjoying via ferrata.
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@Bergmeister, I'm the opposite, I feel that music enhances the experience. Especially as I then associate some tunes with being in the mountains, even when I'm not.
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I like music in lift queues and on the lift - nice way to ignore annoying people having annoying conversations.

Also useful to have a hands free phone for the days when I'm pretending to be working Very Happy
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I was sceptical about Airpods, especially at around £160. OMG the sound is brilliant and they are worth every penny.

If they aren't great for you, it must be the Android phone you have.

I don't listen to music while skiing but have been tempted when skiing alone.
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kitenski wrote:
@Powder Pete, v1 airpods or v2?

I've got some Powerbeats Pro, the range has been quite impressive. I can leave my phone in one room and move a fair distance away inc upstairs before sound drops/


I've got the v1 airpods. They're great in the gym (but not certain areas outside the gym or in the gym toilets), in the car or at home etc but as soon as I get them near snow or certain areas they become unusable. Not sure what's going on really. They don't seem to like big corrugated metal buildings or mountains.
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philwig wrote:
I don't have any issues with Blue Tooth these days, with aptX, but then I use up to date Android hardware which probably helps.
I have a couple of headsets (Optima, Sony) for different uses and both are flawless, albeit with about a 2 second start-up time from cold sometimes.

I'm not sure that Apple headsets use aptX, which may be causing you issues.
Apple hardware tends to be proprietary and doesn't usually provide the best cost/performance balance for none-Apple users.


I'm looking at my android developer bluetooth options:

Bluetooth AVRCP version - I was on 1.4 but can select up to 1.6
Bluetooth Audio Codec - I can select aptx or or aptx hd - it always seems to go back to SBC though
Bluetooth Sample Rate / Bit Rate
Bluetooth audio LDAC codec quality
Maximum devices connected

Perhaps I should go back to wired like Shure SE425 or Bose Soundsport wired. I do l love wireless though (when they work)
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Poogle wrote:
I have a pair of the Outdoor Tech Chips 2.0 Bluetooth in-helmet speakers, and they have always worked fine whilst skiing, with my iPhone. The sound is good, and I don't have any drop-outs or such like.

But I have a friend who had issues with the same speakers when trying to use Siri on their iPhone. And note that the "Walkie Talkie" app they have is terrible, and nobody seems to be able to get it work. Use Zello instead, that is much better.

I don't see much point in going for the new Outdoor Tech Chips Ultra Bluetooth in-helmet speakers. They don't have a wire connecting both speakers — but who cares? Once you have put them in your helmet, it makes no difference. And they are a lot more expensive, and already the Chips 2.0 are coming down in price.

I also have the latest Apple Airpods, and have zero issues with them. I might try them whilst skiing to see how I get on.



I might get them from amazon - at least they have a decent returns policy. Since the wired version is only about £20 I guess you're getting a £20 sound quality and paying the rest for the wireless feature. I suppose if the bluetooth does turn out to be dodgy at least I can wire then up - unlike the new version which is purely wireless. But then again I may as well have got the cheap wired version then. Yes I don't see the cable making any difference with helmet use either. They might have redesigned the shape to be a bit more comforable - did you notice any comfort issues?
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Powder Pete wrote:
Poogle wrote:
I have a pair of the Outdoor Tech Chips 2.0 Bluetooth in-helmet speakers, and they have always worked fine whilst skiing, with my iPhone. The sound is good, and I don't have any drop-outs or such like.

But I have a friend who had issues with the same speakers when trying to use Siri on their iPhone. And note that the "Walkie Talkie" app they have is terrible, and nobody seems to be able to get it work. Use Zello instead, that is much better.

I don't see much point in going for the new Outdoor Tech Chips Ultra Bluetooth in-helmet speakers. They don't have a wire connecting both speakers — but who cares? Once you have put them in your helmet, it makes no difference. And they are a lot more expensive, and already the Chips 2.0 are coming down in price.

I also have the latest Apple Airpods, and have zero issues with them. I might try them whilst skiing to see how I get on.



I might get them from amazon - at least they have a decent returns policy. Since the wired version is only about £20 I guess you're getting a £20 sound quality and paying the rest for the wireless feature. I suppose if the bluetooth does turn out to be dodgy at least I can wire then up - unlike the new version which is purely wireless. But then again I may as well have got the cheap wired version then. Yes I don't see the cable making any difference with helmet use either. They might have redesigned the shape to be a bit more comforable - did you notice any comfort issues?


I think if you are already having Bluetooth issues with your phone, then you might consider the all Wired Chips. But cables are a hassle. If Bluetooth works, it's fab.

I'm not sure what you mean by "redesigned the shape". The Chips have not be redesigned as far as I know. I did make a comment on this thread about the Chips sitting high in my Oakley Mod 3 helmet; and I don't think that that has be redesigned, although you could drop them an email. I think they work fine with many types of helmet.

Have fun whatever you decide! snowHead snowHead
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Poogle wrote:
Powder Pete wrote:
Poogle wrote:
I have a pair of the Outdoor Tech Chips 2.0 Bluetooth in-helmet speakers, and they have always worked fine whilst skiing, with my iPhone. The sound is good, and I don't have any drop-outs or such like.

But I have a friend who had issues with the same speakers when trying to use Siri on their iPhone. And note that the "Walkie Talkie" app they have is terrible, and nobody seems to be able to get it work. Use Zello instead, that is much better.

I don't see much point in going for the new Outdoor Tech Chips Ultra Bluetooth in-helmet speakers. They don't have a wire connecting both speakers — but who cares? Once you have put them in your helmet, it makes no difference. And they are a lot more expensive, and already the Chips 2.0 are coming down in price.

I also have the latest Apple Airpods, and have zero issues with them. I might try them whilst skiing to see how I get on.



I might get them from amazon - at least they have a decent returns policy. Since the wired version is only about £20 I guess you're getting a £20 sound quality and paying the rest for the wireless feature. I suppose if the bluetooth does turn out to be dodgy at least I can wire then up - unlike the new version which is purely wireless. But then again I may as well have got the cheap wired version then. Yes I don't see the cable making any difference with helmet use either. They might have redesigned the shape to be a bit more comforable - did you notice any comfort issues?


I think if you are already having Bluetooth issues with your phone, then you might consider the all Wired Chips. But cables are a hassle. If Bluetooth works, it's fab.

I'm not sure what you mean by "redesigned the shape". The Chips have not be redesigned as far as I know. I did make a comment on this thread about the Chips sitting high in my Oakley Mod 3 helmet; and I don't think that that has be redesigned, although you could drop them an email. I think they work fine with many types of helmet.

Have fun whatever you decide! snowHead snowHead


They made them a bit thinner and more ergonomic apparently


http://youtube.com/v/4Qu4b_5pEdY
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