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First off, I'm not here to bash Rugged. I sent my 696 intercom to them, called them, made adjustments, met an AZ local vendor and their direction, nothing helped the problem.

Since day one I've been thoroughly disappointed with the speaker quality in the Rugged Radio Alpha helmet kits (not over the ear speakers). Even running a 10-band 20+/- DB equalizer, I was not able to tune down the 2k, 4k & 8k EQ bands enough for the speakers to be tolerable. In all honesty, any Bluetooth volume more than 24% on my phone and these speakers screamed like someone was killing a cat.

The search for replacement speakers ensued. I researched the moto community for their speaker recommendations. I purchased:
UCLEAR HDS10 $40
MotoComm Thumper2 $20
XSound 2.1 $40
XSound 3 $120
Tork X-Pro $70
Foxnovo - discontinued now
*I did not purchase any Sena sets due to the bluetooth integration costs.

I hooked each set to the same iPhone. Each set of speakers were held up to my ears as a baseline of quality. It was really apparent that the XSound 3 $120 and Tork X-pro $70 were the only ones worth pursing any further.
https://www.amazon.com/Tork-X-Pro-M...ateway&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&smid=A34JWT04R7KMFW
https://www.amazon.com/iASUS-XSound...ds=Tork+X-Pro&qid=1554142170&s=gateway&sr=8-3

In the end I chose the Tork X-pro's. The main reason is while the XSound 3's sounded better at lower and mid-volume, the Tork X-pro's would go to full volume without distortion, were slightly thinner and well cheaper.

If you do not have good eye sight, do not attempt this upgrade. These wires are like 100 gauge...
I pulled the Rugged headset from my Bell Pumper helmet. Cut and stripped the rugged radio wires. Removed the foam so that I could verify polarity with a 3V battery. Disassembled the 3.5 jack from the Tork to verify polarity.

Soldered the Red and Gold (Tork) to the White (Rugged). Soldered the Blue and Green (Tork) to the Red (Rugged). Heat shrink each solder joint, then heat shrink the entire splice. I've posted pictures so that you can see how much thinner the Tork speakers are than that of the Rugged ones. The end result is tears of joy. Even though the bass isn't quite as good as the over the ear speakers, I can still listen distortion free clean music up to max volume while pumping in fresh air through my helmet. That is an increase from 24% to 100% volume with this speaker upgrade. Other benefit is that these Tork speakers do not touch my ears, a huge benefit from the rugged Alphas that would smash my ears.

The first helmet took a hour and a half to upgrade, helmet 2 and 3 only took a half hour each.

Side view of Rugged on the left, Tork on the right:
IMG_1730.JPG
Back view of Rugged on the left, Tork on the right:
IMG_1731.JPG
Top view of Rugged (foam removed) on the bottom, Tork on the top:
IMG_1732.JPG
Heat shrink splice about 2-3" from main connection cap, do not try to undo the connection in the cap as it is solid:
IMG_1733.JPG
 

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I am one of Rugged Radios biggest fan and I am with you on the speaker quality whether in Helmet or headset they both are horrible sound compared to what I would expect.

In 1979 or so when the Sony Walkman came out the speakers back then were great, why are the Ruyged speakers so poor?

Great write up.

Tim
 
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COOL! my wife plays music through her standard helmet kit speakers and says they are ok but nothing spectacular. glad you got something figured out for them.

steve
 

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Thanks for posting. This is also my biggest complaint but now I can see this being another future upgrade.
 

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I sent my helmets back and had rugged install the ALpha speakers which were better but not as good as the headsets. Either way I wish there was a volume control on the helmets like the headsets
 

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Great post, like others I cant listen to music with the helmet kit ,its too tinny sounding I can handle talking to people butthe music is a nogo
 

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First off, I'm not here to bash Rugged. I sent my 696 intercom to them, called them, made adjustments, met an AZ local vendor and their direction, nothing helped the problem.

Since day one I've been thoroughly disappointed with the speaker quality in the Rugged Radio Alpha helmet kits (not over the ear speakers). Even running a 10-band 20+/- DB equalizer, I was not able to tune down the 2k, 4k & 8k EQ bands enough for the speakers to be tolerable. In all honesty, any Bluetooth volume more than 24% on my phone and these speakers screamed like someone was killing a cat.

The search for replacement speakers ensued. I researched the moto community for their speaker recommendations. I purchased:
UCLEAR HDS10 $40
MotoComm Thumper2 $20
XSound 2.1 $40
XSound 3 $120
Tork X-Pro $70
Foxnovo - discontinued now
*I did not purchase any Sena sets due to the bluetooth integration costs.

I hooked each set to the same iPhone. Each set of speakers were held up to my ears as a baseline of quality. It was really apparent that the XSound 3 $120 and Tork X-pro $70 were the only ones worth pursing any further.
https://www.amazon.com/Tork-X-Pro-M...ateway&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&smid=A34JWT04R7KMFW
Amazon.com: IASUS XSound 3 High Definition Helmet Speaker with a 3.5mm Plug for IASUS Throat Mics, Most Helmet Comms, Smartphones and Portable MP3 Players for Motorcycle, Snowboard and Ski Helmets: Gateway

In the end I chose the Tork X-pro's. The main reason is while the XSound 3's sounded better at lower and mid-volume, the Tork X-pro's would go to full volume without distortion, were slightly thinner and well cheaper.

If you do not have good eye sight, do not attempt this upgrade. These wires are like 100 gauge...
I pulled the Rugged headset from my Bell Pumper helmet. Cut and stripped the rugged radio wires. Removed the foam so that I could verify polarity with a 3V battery. Disassembled the 3.5 jack from the Tork to verify polarity.

Soldered the Red and Gold (Tork) to the White (Rugged). Soldered the Blue and Green (Tork) to the Red (Rugged). Heat shrink each solder joint, then heat shrink the entire splice. I've posted pictures so that you can see how much thinner the Tork speakers are than that of the Rugged ones. The end result is tears of joy. Even though the bass isn't quite as good as the over the ear speakers, I can still listen distortion free clean music up to max volume while pumping in fresh air through my helmet. That is an increase from 24% to 100% volume with this speaker upgrade. Other benefit is that these Tork speakers do not touch my ears, a huge benefit from the rugged Alphas that would smash my ears.

The first helmet took a hour and a half to upgrade, helmet 2 and 3 only took a half hour each.

Side view of Rugged on the left, Tork on the right:
View attachment 233745
Back view of Rugged on the left, Tork on the right:
View attachment 233747
Top view of Rugged (foam removed) on the bottom, Tork on the top:
View attachment 233749
Heat shrink splice about 2-3" from main connection cap, do not try to undo the connection in the cap as it is solid:
View attachment 233751
First off, I'm not here to bash Rugged. I sent my 696 intercom to them, called them, made adjustments, met an AZ local vendor and their direction, nothing helped the problem.

Since day one I've been thoroughly disappointed with the speaker quality in the Rugged Radio Alpha helmet kits (not over the ear speakers). Even running a 10-band 20+/- DB equalizer, I was not able to tune down the 2k, 4k & 8k EQ bands enough for the speakers to be tolerable. In all honesty, any Bluetooth volume more than 24% on my phone and these speakers screamed like someone was killing a cat.

The search for replacement speakers ensued. I researched the moto community for their speaker recommendations. I purchased:
UCLEAR HDS10 $40
MotoComm Thumper2 $20
XSound 2.1 $40
XSound 3 $120
Tork X-Pro $70
Foxnovo - discontinued now
*I did not purchase any Sena sets due to the bluetooth integration costs.

I hooked each set to the same iPhone. Each set of speakers were held up to my ears as a baseline of quality. It was really apparent that the XSound 3 $120 and Tork X-pro $70 were the only ones worth pursing any further.
Amazon.com: Tork X-Pro Motorcycle Helmet Speakers (with Volume Control): Gateway
Amazon.com: IASUS XSound 3 High Definition Helmet Speaker with a 3.5mm Plug for IASUS Throat Mics, Most Helmet Comms, Smartphones and Portable MP3 Players for Motorcycle, Snowboard and Ski Helmets: Gateway

In the end I chose the Tork X-pro's. The main reason is while the XSound 3's sounded better at lower and mid-volume, the Tork X-pro's would go to full volume without distortion, were slightly thinner and well cheaper.

If you do not have good eye sight, do not attempt this upgrade. These wires are like 100 gauge...
I pulled the Rugged headset from my Bell Pumper helmet. Cut and stripped the rugged radio wires. Removed the foam so that I could verify polarity with a 3V battery. Disassembled the 3.5 jack from the Tork to verify polarity.

Soldered the Red and Gold (Tork) to the White (Rugged). Soldered the Blue and Green (Tork) to the Red (Rugged). Heat shrink each solder joint, then heat shrink the entire splice. I've posted pictures so that you can see how much thinner the Tork speakers are than that of the Rugged ones. The end result is tears of joy. Even though the bass isn't quite as good as the over the ear speakers, I can still listen distortion free clean music up to max volume while pumping in fresh air through my helmet. That is an increase from 24% to 100% volume with this speaker upgrade. Other benefit is that these Tork speakers do not touch my ears, a huge benefit from the rugged Alphas that would smash my ears.

The first helmet took a hour and a half to upgrade, helmet 2 and 3 only took a half hour each.

Side view of Rugged on the left, Tork on the right:
View attachment 233745
Back view of Rugged on the left, Tork on the right:
View attachment 233747
Top view of Rugged (foam removed) on the bottom, Tork on the top:
View attachment 233749
Heat shrink splice about 2-3" from main connection cap, do not try to undo the connection in the cap as it is solid:
View attachment 233751
I have tried the same thing but have not really had any luck. took apart a set of beats headphones that sounded decent, spliced the speakers into the helmet kit and still had subpar performance, Im thinking the best bet is to go in ear. Did these end up sounding rad?

got to be some way to get good audio here.
 

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Just picked up a set of xsound 3 helmet speakers for my Klim R1 Helmet, currently they are temporary installed, but the sound is fantastic.

I had also ordered some beats and bose drivers to test with, but after hearing these there is no reason to look any further.

Thanks for doing the footwork on this one. BTW, the Tork drivers were no longer available, and the X Sound 3s are now $89.

Badger
 

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Another clue for better sound when using rugged intercoms. If your music source has the ability, switch it to mono.

On my Iphone I go to settings, general, accessibility, audio/visual, then select mono.

I have read in other posts that rugged down mixes both channels for a mono sound, however in testing I have found not only are their headsets mono, they are left channel input mono only. This is easy to test, simply play music on your source and move the left - right channel slider to the right, you will hear no sound at all.

By switching to mono, you have approx 3db additional gain, increased bass and have far better clarity.

Please don't take any of this as a Rugged Radios Bash, it's not. I have all rugged gear and am very pleased with it, but better sound is better sound..... Just Saying!

Badger
 

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Another clue for better sound when using rugged intercoms. If your music source has the ability, switch it to mono.

On my Iphone I go to settings, general, accessibility, audio/visual, then select mono.

I have read in other posts that rugged down mixes both channels for a mono sound, however in testing I have found not only are their headsets mono, they are left channel input mono only. This is easy to test, simply play music on your source and move the left - right channel slider to the right, you will hear no sound at all.

By switching to mono, you have approx 3db additional gain, increased bass and have far better clarity.

Please don't take any of this as a Rugged Radios Bash, it's not. I have all rugged gear and am very pleased with it, but better sound is better sound..... Just Saying!

Badger
Great info.

I doubt anyone takes it as a Rugged Bash. Like I and other Rugged fans have pointed out, Rugged needs to up their game on sound quality.

I need to do an upgrade like this soon for just the sound quality of hearing other drivers.
Tim
 
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