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Mark Partain


RATED 4 of 5 | December 5, 2012 at 03:02 PM Great product. Works as advertised

Pros: works well, safety not compromised

Cons: could be a bit louder

Recommended? Yes

By Mark Partain, For Two Spoke Bike Forum, WWW.TWOSPOKE.COMhttp://www.twospoke.com/reviews/near-ear-speakers.html

Mark has been an avid skateboarder (when he was younger), a bike rider and works as an engineer.

O-Tus Safe Sounds Helmet Speakers

After seeing these on the internet some time ago I thought to myself, "Now I'd like to try those out!" As luck would have it, I was selected to review a pair of them for the forums. I got the speakers in the mail one evening and before noon the next day they were installed on my Giro
Ionos helmet and ready to go.

In the package are the speakers, a free sticker, installation instructions, and the adhesive-backed snap locks that will hold the speakers and whatever you decide to mount on your helmet (MP3 player or Bluetooth device). Installation videos are provided on their website even though installation could hardly be simpler. There are a couple good tips on the videos and they are worth watching though. There is also a helpful video that shows you how to get more volume out of your iPod. If you will be using an iPod, be sure and watch this video. I also found I got more volume by turning Sound Check off and setting the EQ to off or flat.

Installation took only a couple minutes. I made two clean areas on the bottom edge of the helmet near the ears and stuck on the snap locks which are a funky type of Velcro. Pop the speakers onto the snap locks and run the wires through holes in the helmet to finish installation. An extension is offered for sale on the O-Tus website, but I already had one they came with some earbuds that I purchased a couple years ago. The
extension wire worked fine for me, but O-Tus also offers a Bluetooth adaptor for using the speakers with a smart phone or other Bluetooth-enabled player for the totally techies.

I suited up and hit the road. I was a bit nervous with the possibility of blocking out the sounds of cars and others around me, but that was totally unwarranted. The music was clear and I had no problem hearing it. The best way to describe using the O-Tus speakers is like this: You are at the pool. Somebody across the pool is playing music on a boom box and you can hear the music just fine. The sound doesn't block anything though. The music is there and unobtrusive. Now you
are not going to get the bowel shaking bass of earbuds, but I think the main point of the O-Tus speakers is SAFELY enjoying your tunes on the ride. Mission accomplished there.

On the first ride, I had not used the iPod trick and wanted more volume. On day two, I had done all of the tricks to boost volume and got more out of the iPod but I chose to sync some music onto my Samsung Galaxy smartphone and use that instead. I got about the same sound level out of the phone as with the iPod after tweaking.

So would I like the music while riding? Would I miss the silence and aloneness of being on the bike? Nope. From the wailing harmonica on Middle of the Road by the Pretenders, to the funky guitar on Ain't No Rest for the Wicked by Cage the Elephant, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride and the music.

I noticed no extra weight on the helmet and the wires never bothered me. The music doesn't project far and will not bother others. I fiddled around with the speakers just holding them and found that the volume is really sensitive to how far the speakers are from your ear, so get them mounted as closely as possible.

I give the O-Tus speakers two thumbs up. I enjoyed the music on the ride and tended to focus on the tunes rather than the burning in my legs and rode harder, I think. Installation is a breeze. They are un-obtrusive to wear and won't bother fellow riders. Sound from the environment around you is not blocked. At speeds of 30 to 35 MPH on the downhill, the wind noise is enough to block out the music, but in my opinion, at those speeds you had better be paying attention to riding the bike rather than humming the tunes. I find myself looking for the MP3 player before hopping on the bike now. http://www.o-tus.com