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Cardo PackTalk Headset
Cardo Pack Talk Bluetooth Headset
The revolutionary Scala Rider PackTalk features dual-core wireless technologies for a stable and active communication network. The Bluetooth mode offers legacy by featuring full backward compatibility with other Scala Rider models. The DMC mode will compliment and expand standard Bluetooth connectivity by offering group communication that is far superior to any other existing alternatives.
DMC technology constantly forms and re-assembles its virtual network, and assures that communication among large groups remains uninterrupted irrespective of the ever-changing environment. Whenever a Cardo PackTalk user cannot directly connect with group members who are beyond the reach of the intercom, it will re-connect to the next most suitable member in the group in order to ‘leapfrog’ the connection to the remote PackTalk user. This system is virtually seamless and adjusts within split seconds to maintain an active network.
Cardo Smartset App for Android and iOS devices enables the use of a smartphone as a remote control. It allows for operation of all main features such as A2DP, intercom, FM radio and mobile calls. The App also features multiple languages - English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
- DMC Intercom mode for multi-party intercom calls over a virtual private network – with up to 15 riders
- BlueTooth 4.0
Bluetooth Intercom modes:
- Conference Mode
- Toggling between 9 riders
Communication range (line of sight)
- Up to 1 mile/1.6 Km unit-to-unit
- Up to 5 miles/8 Km multi-hop
- Unique roller-wheel interface and control panel for intuitive operation (winter gloves tested)
- Interchangeable hybrid and corded microphones
- Superb audio quality with high-definition replaceable 3.5mm speakers
- Up to 13 hours talk-time / 1 week stand-by
- Advanced voice recognition technology for true hands-free operation
- Multilingual operation and spoken status announcements
- High quality A2DP steaming
- FM radio with RDS and six station built-in presets
- Waterproof & dustproof (IP67)
- DMC-Dynamic Meshwork Communication (patent pending) technology for large group intercom (at least 10 riders) over a dynamic, auto-adaptive mesh
- Seamless group communication remains unaffected by members leaving or joining the group
- Voice-controlled speed dial
- Voice-control for mobile and intercom calls
- Automatic call transfer from intercom to mobile phone when intercom range is exceeded
- Mobile phone conference call with outside caller and/or intercom partners
- Customizable Hot-Dial number
- GPS instructions, FM radio, MP3 music continues in background during intercom calls
- Rider and passenger can listen to the same stereo music via A2DP
- Best-in-class noise-cancellation algorithms
- Self-adjusting volume according to riding speed and ambient noise
- Cardo Community platform for social features, device customization and software upgrades (range dependent on riding environment)
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|Product Style Cardo PackTalk Headset||RevZilla Item #1001468||MFR. Product #SRPT0002||AvailabilityIn Stock: Ships within 24 hours|
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Reviews & Questions
Summary: The PackTalk is the best Bluetooth helmet communication device we've ever tried. Not perfect, but really, really, really good
First, as everyone has posted all over the Internet, the manual kind-of stinks. It's about 17 pages (the English Version) but really doesn't help a new user get started. Fortunately, a user with 5 PackTalk units has posted Youtube videos showing the basics. These were very helpful. Go to Youtube and search for MotoGeek Freak. You'll find his instructions. They're extremely helpful.
Mounting is a snap, even onto a Schuberth C3. Instead of using the double-sided tape, I clamped the mount to the helmet using the supplied clamping device. Then, routed the collar-retaining wire around the clamp. It still retains the collar just fine.
By myself, I first tried the FM radio. I could receive any FM station in my area with total clarity. I'm in a suburb of Dallas, not anywhere near the FM station transmitting sites. Happy with the FM radio.
Then, one of my friends brought his new PackTalk over and we got down to the nitty gritty. Didn't even try the normal intercom connecting scheme; but went straight to DMC mode and did the PackTalk connection using the iPhone to do all the controlling. Took a couple of tries, but in about 3 minutes, we had our two devices communicating in DMC mode. A few days later, the 3rd in our planned trip group came over and we connected HIS into the same PackTalk group. Now we had 3 out of the 4 of us connected in DMC mode.
On the first day of our 3,600 mile trip, we met rider #4 on the west side of Ft Worth. Again, it took a couple of tries to invite and join, but when it did, the four of us could communicate. We communicated every day for 12 days of riding throughout the midwest and all the way to Las Vegas, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and home.
The DMC mode worked flawlessly for the four of us. Each night, we charged our devices and the next day they were ready for the ride. Our rides were between 6 and 10 hours per day. My PackTalk lady would alert me to low battery before the others at about 8 hours. The others could get 9 to 10 hours each on theirs. It may be that mine got poorer battery life because I was the group originator. Or it could be that I had FM radio on almost all the time. On three of the days, I charged the unit while riding. On one day in Las Cruces, I snuffed up the charge while we ate lunch at a Subway; on that day my unit stayed charged for the duration.
One note about battery life:
The PackTalk lady alerts of low at about 35% remaining. The unit will continue to work for up to 2 hours after the first alert. About every 15 minutes or so, a two-tone beep reminds that the battery level is low. The other indication is that all audio volume begins to decrease as the unit nears no charge left. But the unit was still useable . . . . just very low volumes. I never ran my all the way to empty.
The audio quality is superb. There was absolutely no noise, static, popcorn, drumbeat or anything else during lulls in our conversations. This is so unlike our previous Bluetooth units from another manufacturer.
They say the all of the microphones are "hot" all the time in DMC mode. WELL, you cannot tell it! There must be some kind of audio squelch built into the receiving ends because you could hear the audio open up when someone spoke; and close back down a second after the last syllable spoken. This was very nice.
A note about the intercom audio:
One of our group has a strong voice. Another a weak voice. The weaker-voice guy was using the mounted-in-the helmet microphone. It was an inch or so away from his lips. The rest of us were using boom mics in our flip-front helmets. Two of us had to turn down the receive audio so much for the booming voice friend that we could hardly make out what the weak voiced rider said. I wish there was something that would normalize all the intercom audio level so that all are about the same.
On our motorcycles, we use little (very inexpensive) FM transmitters that are plugged into the audio output of the factory radios. We select FM frequencies that are not used locally. Then, we tune the PackTalk FM radio to that frequency. What we get is full stereo from our factory radios, wirelessly transmitted to the PackTalk. I also have my Zumo with XM radio plugged into my factory AUX input; so I could listen to XM radio, AM radio, WX radio, and CB radio; all wirelessly transmitted via FM to the Packtalk.
In addition, I had full control of the audio via the Harley factory volume, stereo, and tone control. This worked flawlessly for the entire trip.
One feature that Scala Rider needs to implement is "Sidetone". Not being able to hear ourselves speak, we tended to naturally talk very loudly when speaking. Sidetone, I believe, would alleviate that. It might even get the soft talkers to talk more forcefully and the loud talkers to talk more normally.
There were a few quirks that we ran into. We used voice control to turn the FM radio on/off on the units. But occasionally, the PackTalk lady would misunderstand the word "RADIO" or "BATTERY" and would repeat back, "Leave the Pack". That required us to rejoin the pack and try to turn the radio on/off again. I discovered that if it simply used the voice command "PACK", she would reconnect me to the pack.
When the phone rang, I simply said "HELLO", and the phone answered. We once got separated by about 5 miles and reverted to telephone to coordinate getting back together. Didn't use the Intercom to phone feature, one of the separated group manually called me using voice control.
As we were getting back together from that separation, we could communicate via DMC when the other two riders were just tiny speck of light from their headlights behind us. The range for us was at least a half mile and maybe a mile when we were line-of-sight on different hilltops. Range was never ever a problem for the entire trip, even though two of our users had broken antennae.
The units DO have one serious deficiency. The little pop-up antennae break off. We never consciously popped the antennae up; I think wind/vibration would pop them up. In any case, the antennas are very, very fragile. So they break very easily. We tried to repair with glue, but it didn't hold for long at all. So, the four of us taped our antennae in the down position to hold theirs and keep ours from ever popping up. All of the range experiences were with the antennae in the down position for all four of us (two with broken antennae). The two that suffered broken antennae will be filing a warranty claim this coming week. It should be honored because the design is obviously deficient in that area.
So after 5 or more years of different Bluetooth helmet communicators, the PackTalk actually works and does everything that it's advertised to do. We're extremely happy with them, especially after our 2+ years experience with the other leading brand.
1 year ago
Right out of the box, I was impressed with how many alternatives included for wiring up the components. For example, there are 2 different styles of microphones, extra velcro pads and adhesive strips, and 2 kinds of helmet mounts. It was a bit of work, made easier by a spot of electrical tape here and there to manage the wires, but I'm happy with the result. The speakers are pretty decent and there's a fantastic innovation with the "roll bar" on the unit for controlling the volume. (Tip: max out your phone volume because the unit can only go to the max of the phone setting.)
Plug in to a USB port (I used a Mac) and there's a personalized web page Cardo gives you where you can designate how many helmets you have, their brand, etc. and your favorites and settings. For example, the local FM stations in your area, your buddy list, etc....and flash the latest firmware. Then you can plug in your Cardo and Synch all the settings from your web page to the devices. Works fast and no problem.
To recharge the device, three's an intuitive way to click/unclick the unit from it's mount and go recharge it, but the battery seems quite good. I streamed Pandora music and did Waze directions from my phone for a Saturday ride, and I found that my phone (new iPhone 6) battery was draining faster than the Cardo! The bluetooth disconnected a couple times but self-corrected within a few seconds. It's a brand new unit so I expect future firmware updates will tweak the reliability.
Overall I'm very pleased with how easy it is to switch from FM to Intercom to streaming music from the phone or taking calls. There is a powerful innovation supposedly where in a group ride each person with a Cardo Packtalk can act as a repeater to extend the coverage further back. I haven't been able to try that yet but I like that it will also operate as a normal bluetooth connected intercom also (for any brand.)
I do have what Anthony might call 'nitpicks': :)
* both of the mic options have beefy foam coverings, so if you have a full face helmet without a ton of room in front of your mouth, you might have to get creative and hand trim that fabric so you don't have this constant irritation on your lips.
* a few skips (silent pauses) in the bluetooth connectivity over a couple hours of use --nice that it auto-reconnected however after 10-20 seconds.
* I think the speakers are solid and good quality but a little heavy on treble. The connector is standard so I'm going to keep an eye out for a high quality set to swap in.
Overall I'd recommend this unit, easy to setup and manage, strong battery life, easy to use with gloves while riding. The dream scenario is if you'd show up for a group ride and there are a few other Cardo Packtalk users --you could spread out and act as hubs to keep the signal strong even if the others don't have Cardo.
over 2 years ago
When i first installed the Cardo Packtalk I felt like it was a high quality product that was reasonably easy to use and it worked flawlessly. I did however hate the sound, the volume was low and tinny and almost inaudible at 80 mph on my naked bike. While replacing the liner in my Shoei RF1200 helmet i decided to reevaluate my install. The first thing i discovered is unless your ears are on your jawbone just below your sideburns the speaker cutouts on shoei helmets are in the wrong position. This can be overcome because Cardo included 2 round disc with velcro on one side and fuzz on the other they are about 1/4" thick and you can use these to fill up the speaker cutouts. This lets you place the speakers where your ears are. The process of getting each speaker in the right place was actually very time consuming for me. AS I MOVED THE SPEAKERS AROUND I FOUND THAT A SMALL MOVE CAN MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN THE SOUND QUALITY AND VOLUME. Where I have the speakers now they are very close to my ears, they do not touch unless i move my helmet with my hands. So if your not happy with your sound before you go looking for different speakers you might want to take a close look at your install. As for the rest of the Cardo functions I have only used the Bluetooth music and phone and FM Radio and Voice Commands. Everything works fine for me I am using the boom mic with the wind guard and for people to hear me clearly at speed on the freeway I have to have the mic very close to my mouth. After reading hundreds of reviews I am happy I decided to go with the Cardo Packtalk. Now if i can find a water proof air conditioned jacket for the Texas heat I wont have any reason to drive my truck.
We no longer sit around before a ride setting stuff up -- we just go ride. Turn it on and it works. Absolutely awesome.
1. The headsets that come with it are garbage. You would think for the price they would have better speakers. I ended up purchasing a set of iASUS - XSound 2.1 Helmet Speakers and now this system sounds awesome. But that brought the total price up...
2. Although you can pair and intercom with non-Cardo headsets, you cannot share music with them. Seems like a marketing limitation more than a technical one.
But aside from that they are a great choice and I would highly recommend them.
The main reason I got these is because they are waterproof and seem to have a good build quality. I had the Sena 20s previously. The 20s is great (with good speakers), the build quality was not there. Returned 4 times for repair and now switched to Packtalk.
7 months ago
7 months ago
As for the rest of my impressions the whole things feels mildly disappointing. Bear in mind that I have not owned a bluetooth communicator before so I don't have any reference point from which to judge them against their competition. Compared to other expensive, smart devices coming out of the tech industry the performance is pretty lackluster though. The bluetooth connection is spotty. The controls are clumsy, especially in a gloved hand. Regularly skipping to the next track when you try to stop playback, or activating pairing mode when you're trying to power down the device. The vox activation feels under-sensitive when you're trying to use it, but still activates every time you use your horn or curse at the oblivious caged masses. Max volume is a bit low for use in a loud city.
On the bright side the volume wheel is easy to use, and the call clarity is apparently great. My girlfriend can't tell when I'm on the bike or off.
1 year ago
sound will get a 3.5 out or 5. it's a bluetooth communicator, not high end audio equipment. is it enough to satisfy me? mostly.
i feel i should mention that i ride a harley bagger with loud exhaust and i can still hear the speakers clearly (without distortion) at -and above- highway speeds.
i really like that the speakers aren't permanently attached. maybe in the future scala will offer a higher end plug in set.
functions will get a 9 out of 5. this thing is loaded with functions, features, bells and whistles. if you're new to communicators you may want to choose a simpler model. i have the basic functions down, but there's a lot still that i can't remember while riding. it's a very powerful headset.
connections will get a 2.5 out of 5. connects to my phone easily. when i'm listening to music, about every 10-20 minutes there will be a 1-2 second silence for no reason. haven't figured this one out.
as far as other headsets, i have yet to connect with anyone. the last group i went on a ride with were all using senas and i couldn't get them to connect no matter how hard i tried. i'm willing to mark this up to user error at this point.
-fun side note, the sena users tried for several minutes to connect to everyone and couldn't get 5 people paired at the same time in a parking lot. when we hit the mountains it was even worse. they all ask why i didn't go sena, but their difficulty made me feel better about my decision. i'm really hoping more people will switch to cardo soon.
this is a great unit and i'm glad i bought it.
things i'd like to see are better interaction with android and the scalas voice commands. easier connectivity with senas. speaker upgrade kit.
With a 3/4 helmet you'd use the included boom mic and the provided speakers. With a 1/2 helmet you have no helmet covering your ears, correct? In this case you'd probably want to use some earbud headphones, which will plug directly into the Cardo unit, or use a standard audio jumper cable to go from the Cardo to your bike's sound system input jack if you have one. Mounting the mic could be difficult because you don't have anywhere to mount it...maybe pin it to your collar? It'd be messy with a 1/2 helmet, but that's a fact for any and all communication systems. Time to get a real helmet, perhaps!
I use mine with my GT-Air (size M) and the speakers do fit into the factory recesses in the helmet, no problem. I dunno if my ears are abnormal or the designer just didn't have any better option, but the speaker locations in the helmet are nowhere close to being correct for where my ears are. The result is that with the volume turned all the way up I couldn't hear anything...nothing at all...above 40mph. Except wind noise, of course. I was pretty freaking disappointed to say the least. However, after reading other reviewers' comments about speaker placement being very important I pulled the speakers out of the holes and used the Velcro on the back of the speaker to stick them straight on the cheek pads so they sit right up next to my ears. This took half a dozen tries to get everything placed where it's both comfortable and useful, but it made all the difference. The speakers stay put pretty well, though you do have to be more careful when putting the helmet on and not just jam your head in, and I can now ENJOY the music & conversation, not simply hear it. At 80mph on my CBR1000RR (very minimal wind protection) the volume is less than maximum and I hear it well. I always wear standard foam earplugs, by the way. Just ordered a pair of the NoNoise noise filtering earplugs and am hoping to hear everything but the wind and exhaust even more clearly, but that's somewhat irrelevant here.
So, moral of the story: speakers physically fit in the GT-Air spaces but that puts them behind my ears.
As for the PackTalk itself, I LOVE THESE THINGS. Five of us purchased them for a ride from England to Sweden last summer because we wanted to all be able to talk & hear everyone else simultaneously, not just any two at a time. These work really well, have very decent range, and made a good trip into an utter blast of a trip. So much better when you can communicate with everybody at once, clearly and consistently.
1. Is it waterproof and what do they mean by waterproof (Sena states inclement weather which can mean anything).
2. How does voice activation work? Pressing a button they saying what you want does not "cut the mustard" as you have to take your hand off the bar to press the button. I'd gladly loose battery life to enable true voice activation and control.
3. A demo of the device talking to other vendors com units and that promise the universal intercom feature but I've never seen it working and thus am hesitant abut the actual value of the feature.
Waterproof: I rode from England to Sweden with daily rain including downpours and all 5 of our units continue to work perfectly. My experience is that they truly are waterproof.
I haven't tried the voice command or connecting to other manufacturers' units so can't comment there.