Cardo Scala Rider Multiset Q2 Motorcycle Helmet Headset System – MP3, Radio & Conclusion
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The passenger switched off the microphone and turned on the radio mode. The problem is that the buttons are small, difficult to find with your fingers (especially when wearing gloves) and they are quite stiff so require a strong press. As the passenger was fiddling with the buttons it was becoming clear that it was not going to be easy to initiate this function while on the road and without an instruction manual.
After returning from the short ride, the instruction book needed to make another appearance to figure out the radio. It turns out that the radio can only be initiated if you press and hold the Multi-Connect button for three seconds. Pressing it once and releasing it only turns the buddy intercom on and off. Once in radio mode you can single tap the Multi-Connect button to scroll through saved stations or to scan through and save new stations. If you want to go back to buddy intercom you press and hold the Multi-Connect button again for three seconds.
Having only one button (the Multi-Connect) for so many operations makes it difficult to use and even more difficult to remember how to initiate which functions. We found that whilst being out on the road, both as passenger but especially as primary rider, it is quite difficult to change functions. We also recommend that if you want to use the radio function, make sure to pre-program your favourite stations before going out or they will be difficult to find while on the road.
The radio function is of fair quality since we did find that stations would fade in and out depending on your location. This goes without saying, but if you are going to be riding between towns you will lose the stations as you go. However, the Scala Rider unit is fitted with mp3 capability so you could always use that for music instead.
When we tested the mp3 function we found that, although it was easy to set up the mp3 and easy to use as a stand-alone function, there were some concerns. First is the poor sound quality through the speakers. When using the Scala Rider for conversations the speakers sound fine, but once you try to listen to some mp3 tunes you will find that the speakers are lacking. Unfortunately, it looks as though you cannot change the speakers out either as they are hard-wired to the headset. Also, volume of the music can only be controlled from the mp3 player itself so make sure it is set to your liking before you set off for a ride.
The Scala Rider also comes with the capability to connect to a GPS/Sat Nav unit but we did not have one available to us at the time of testing. The GPS connects to the headset in the same fashion as an mp3 player (using a supplied mp3 cable) so we are confident that it would work very well for the audio transmission of the navigation route. Again, make sure to adjust the volume before setting off.
If you are in “music mode” either with the radio or mp3 the Scala Rider will automatically cut out the music when one of the paired microphones are spoken into. This is a great feature to have so that you can have the best of both worlds – a bit of music and a bit of conversation.
We suspect that most people will be buying the Scala Rider to use as a person-to-person communication device. This is, in our opinion, the best feature of the device but we do not rule out the usefulness of the radio, mp3 and GPS capabilities. These functionalities are cool so make sure to check them out.
The quality of the units is overall quite good, with the exception of the sound quality of the mp3 functionality through the speakers. However, if you’re buying the units to be able to converse while riding this one will do the trick. It’s not too expensive for the extra bit of luxury while out on the road. If you’ve ever talked yourself into taking the car somewhere instead of riding because you want to be able to enjoy some music or conversation while on the road then don’t hesitate to pick one of these up. It will enhance your riding experience whether you are grooving to tunes whilst out on your own or enjoying an evening ride into the sunset with your special someone.
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