General Questions

Why Autocom?

By design the basic components of a communication system are the microphone, amplifier and speaker(s). The microphone picks up the sound of your voice while the amplifier amplifies it to the speakers. The problem with this type of basic configuration is that the microphone picks up ambient noises and then amplifies them. The result: wind, road and bike noise volumes higher than natural levels, which is far worse than the noise before amplification. Many systems try to overcome this problem by adding a volume control to the configuration. Sounds good to the uninformed, but a volume control alone will simply result in increased overall noise, which is not good if the system has ambient noise within it. A volume control only has real value if the system technology is advanced enough to eliminate the ambient noise from the system, which no other system except Autocom has accomplished. The first thing you’ll notice when you try any of the Autocom systems out on your bike for the first time is; just how amazingly different they really are. There’s so much more to an Autocom system than we could fully explain, but some of the biggest and most important differences are; Autocom’s extraordinary quality at all speeds and the ultra high noise rejection design.

What is side tone and what does it do?

Side tone, simply put, is the ability to hear your own voice when you speak. It is how your brain gets the feedback it requires to adjust the volume of your voice to suit the environment you are in at any given time. They are the reason that you speak at the certain level at a loud party without having to be told to raise your voice. Side-tone also provides you with important audio confirmation of correct VOX set-up and use, which improves rider to passenger communications as well as hands free voice activated bike-to-bike radio use. What you hear, you know, they will be hearing. Without side tone you simply cannot know this. If side tone is so necessary, why would any manufacturer make a system that does not include them? Quite simply, it is a very difficult task that requires an advanced knowledge of communications engineering to create a solution that will allow you to bring not one microphone signal (your passenger’s), but two (yours and your passengers) to each set of headset speakers efficiently.

Which Autocom System best suits my needs?

To compare the differences between the Autocom Systems, click the ‘systems’ button on the home page, then click on ‘need help choosing a system’ followed by either ‘basic system overview’ or ‘detailed system comparison’. These will show you some comparisons that outline some key differences between the Autocom Systems.

How are the systems sold?

Autocom Systems are generally sold as kits that include everything needed for a rider and/or a rider-to-passenger with a portable music device and a mobile phone. You can then expand your system to meet your specific needs by choosing an accessory to interface a GPS, radar detector, alternate music device, bike-to-bike radio transceiver, a passenger and/or power alternatives. To find out what interface lead you require, click on the ‘accessories’ section on the home page then direct yourself to the appropriate section where a range of popular accessories will be shown.

Where do I mount the logical mixing and control unit?

If you choose to hardwire and bike power the unit to your bike the Logic and Super Pro Automatic units have been designed with lead lengths to allow the unit to be mounted at the rear of the bike under the passenger section of the seat. Either of these units also have the option to be remote mounted in a tank bag or other luggage with an optional two part power lead. This give you the flexibility to mount the unit almost anywhere that is convenient for you as long as the location is not directly exposed to the weather.

Are Autocom units waterproof?

Autocom units are water-resistant by design, but they are not waterproof. All electronics create heat and hot air has to exit the unit before condensation forms, which is why it is important that the unit be able to breath and is not watertight. Autocom has taken additional steps to protect each unit including coating the circuit boards, utilising tough injection-molded cases that unlike metal casings will not allow moisture to condense.

Why is microphone placement so important?

Autocom Systems are professional, true noise-cancelling communication systems. Performance is most comparable to aviation and military electronics, and not to other motorsports communication systems. By design a true noise-cancelling microphone will look to reject noise, not pick it up. This is exactly why this type and quality of microphone works so well in the motorcycling environment. Properly positioned the microphone will be located in the LOUD SPOT just in front of the mouth and touching your lips. Not achieving this will result in the feeling that there is not enough intercom volume or that the microphone is cutting out. The reality is that these will only occur if the microphone is not positioned correctly. Once you know how to use the microphone and have set the VOX level you are set for noise-free communications and audio under all conditions and at all times.

Why is speaker alignment so critical?

If you want the best sound and volume out of the speakers, you need to maximise their positioning. Three things to realise when positioning your speakers: 1) a foam filled container (a helmet) is not the best conductor of sound, 2) the side of your head is, also, not a good conductor of sound and 3) the only way to ensure rider safety (no helmet modification) is to provide speakers that fit into a helmet. Yes, larger speakers are easier to align but they also require cutting holes into your helmet … goodbye warranty, goodbye safety. Speaker Installation Tip 1: Your speakers need to be aligned directly over your ear canals. This seemingly minor point is important. Remember ear canals, not ears, there is a big difference. (Note the pattern located on the speaker. This should align with your ear canal.) Verify sound quality by attaching up the speakers to the system before installing them into the helmet and holding them up to your ears. Note the sound quality and volume setting you find comfortable as you hold the speakers in your hands. Installed correctly into your helmet, the speakers will sound exactly the same and require no change in the volume setting of your music source. Follow the installation instructions (also available in the download section of this website) to install the speakers utilising these tips. Speaker Installation Tip 2: Autocom systems have features within the design that require proper installation in order to ensure that you achieve maximum performance from your system. For example, speakers positioned 1/4 inch out of alignment will result in a 50% loss of volume. This includes not only any positions out of alignment with the ear canal(s) but also away from the ear itself. What we have tried to achieve is to eliminate grey areas only leaving black and white. Therefore, the installation is obviously right or obviously wrong. This way it is very clear whether your speakers are positioned correctly or incorrectly.

How do I set up the VOX for use for bike-to-bike?

Step 1: Use your system for rider-to-passenger intercom even if you never plan to use this feature again. This will allow you to acclimatise yourself to the system’s VOX system and operation. A step well worth taking.

Step 2: Set-up the first bike and have the first rider on their bike with his system fully set up to talk to the second rider who is using their transceiver as a handheld unit (not on the bike or helmet). This will give both riders the chance to recognise the delay between transmit and receive modes of the transceiver. This delay varies from transceiver to transceiver and is usually shorter with higher quality transceivers. You generally miss the first word spoken, so a call word is often recommended. As a rule the word ‘OK’ is a good call word to start with.

Step 3: Riders should then switch roles in Step 2. Practice makes perfect and it’s much easier to practice while close together and not riding and worrying about other things going on.

Step 4: Now you are ready for a test ride with both riders on the road. Although this short 4 step process may seem elementary, we have found that it will better prepare you for VOX based bike-to-bike communications and is well worth the effort and time required.

Tip: Consider using the term ‘over’ at the end of each transmission, especially when first getting use to your system, so that you know the system is open for the next communication/person Note: An optional Push to talk/Privacy switch is available for those who prefer or require PTT bike-to-bike communications. This optional accessory also allows the rider and passenger to communicate privately without transmitting over the bike-to bike-transceiver.

Can I use earplugs with an Autocom?

Autocom Systems are designed to accommodate the use of noise-reducing earplugs. We recommend that you use earplugs in the range of 15-20dB attenuation, as this seems to give the best combination of noise-reduction with audio usage. Note that noise-reducing earplug use will require properly aligned speakers to ensure maximum volume at the ear canal. The interesting part of noise-reducing earplug usage is that often you can hear your communications and audio better with them than without. Seems backwards but it is true as they reduce the annoying frequencies associated with ambient noise, while voice signals come through clearly.