Sena vs Cardo - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 13 Old Dec 29th, 2018, 10:43 am Thread Starter
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Sena vs Cardo

Anyone have preference and/or issues with either brand ? Was looking at the Cardo Slim. Currently have an old Sena 5 (antique). Only use it for phone I/F. Would like to find something that will I/F with radio and GPS, that offers good sound quality..

Jim Lawson 2016 R1200RT
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post #2 of 13 Old Dec 30th, 2018, 9:00 am
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Re: Sena vs Cardo

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Originally Posted by EzyMount View Post
Anyone have preference and/or issues with either brand ? Was looking at the Cardo Slim. Currently have an old Sena 5 (antique). Only use it for phone I/F. Would like to find something that will I/F with radio and GPS, that offers good sound quality..
I had experiences with the Cardo G4. It was such a bad experience, I will not use Cardo again. I switched over to Sena (SMH10), and have been very happy with it.

The only thing I have against it is the battery life. I have had it when the ride was still on going and it quit on me.

With the choice of Sena / Cardo - I would go with Sena.

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post #3 of 13 Old Dec 30th, 2018, 9:17 am
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Re: Sena vs Cardo

Had Cards for probably 8 years or more. When my G9 packed up, was looking at a Senna 20s, but they were having major quality problems, so I bought a Pack talk, had that for 4 years, been brilliant, no issues. Think both are good manufacturers with their own fan clubs
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post #4 of 13 Old Dec 30th, 2018, 12:47 pm
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Re: Sena vs Cardo

I am sure you read this post:


https://www.bmwlt.com/forums/interco...cardo-g9x.html

Mike Trevelino
Williamsburg, VA
2008 RT
2000 LT - Totaled at 99,960 miles


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post #5 of 13 Old Dec 30th, 2018, 3:02 pm
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Re: Sena vs Cardo

My GF and I recently upgraded from Senas to the new-ish Cardo Slims. Not a fair comparison because the Senas we had are a few years old and from further back in the catalog so I can’t write a Cardo Vs. Sena smackdown. I’ve had Cardo units before and find the Cardo interface to be more natural than Sena’s. All the reviews raved about both the Cardo Slim and the Cardo Bold. I picked the slims because the smaller size was attractive to me. The fact that not one review mentioned the serious problem with the Slims tells me a lot about the thoroughness of the reviews being produced today.

The Cardos have great sound playing music, the voices in your head from the intercom is clear and easy to understand, they have more volume than I need on my RT with a quieter than stock aftermarket windshield plus earplugs and an easy, natural feel for the VOX activated intercom. Any voices in your head not from the intercom are outside this review, have you seen a mental health professional? When we stop talking music from the bike comes on to entertain us. They integrate fairly easily with the BMW bluetooth system, the parts manage to look almost like our Neotecs (note not IIs) were designed to have the Slim parts installed.

The bad news is one design choice I can't understand. The Slim’s status LED is now at the center rear of the battery case which mounts to the bottom of your helmet in the rear, facing your passenger. While it is OK in the daytime my passenger reported (loudly) over the intercom she had a light flashing in her eyes when we rode on a dark environment, well after sunset, no artificial lights, no moonlight that I recall. It didn't take much to mitigate the problem, a little acrylic plastic and tape to refract the light to my left, away from Sweetie’s eyes. How did Cardo get to production with this obvious design error? Was there any beta testing?

A minor bad note is the battery makes our XL Shoei Neotecs just slightly too tall to fit in my GTL type back box. They still fit in the saddlebags. This didn’t happen with the Senas.

The GPS directions come through with the Cardos bluetooth linked to just the sound system, very important to me.

Another thing to note is the intercom and music sharing at the same time only works in Bluetooth mode, no Pack Talk mode it you want to use the bike’s audio system (i.e. music sharing) and intercom functions.

The voice command system is good but not perfect. It can take more than one try to get the action you are requesting with the voice commands. This should be addressed as Cardo gets more time to refine the software and I get the commands down pat. There is definitely a learning curve, you have to say the exact words Cardo programed for each command but when you get it right the Cardo voice command system is that thing I didn’t know I wanted very much until I used it. Now I’d have trouble buying an intercom system that didn’t have voice commands.

My big news, I smile when I come into town with my left hand busy with the clutch and my right hand busy with the throttle and covering the F. brake and I say "Hey Cardo, volume down" and my new, magic third hand reaches up and turns the music volume down.

The bottom line is I like the latest Cardo units and I like a lot about the Slims but, since most of my riding is two-up, I’d pick the Bold if I had it to do over again. If you ride solo I think you’ll be happy with either option.

Well, to be Frank,

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Last edited by Goose11; Dec 30th, 2018 at 7:47 pm.
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post #6 of 13 Old Dec 30th, 2018, 7:01 pm Thread Starter
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Tks for all the info. My dealer said they would configure to my RT whichever unit I decide to buy, so will take all these inputs and ask tech at dealer what issues they have found with each during configurations and go from there. I was thinking about waiting for the new version of the Sena 10C to come out, so I could also get video, but will wait and see ?

Jim Lawson 2016 R1200RT
Retired to NC !


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post #7 of 13 Old Dec 30th, 2018, 8:20 pm
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Re: Sena vs Cardo

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Tks for all the info. My dealer said they would configure to my RT whichever unit I decide to buy, so will take all these inputs and ask tech at dealer what issues they have found with each during configurations and go from there. I was thinking about waiting for the new version of the Sena 10C to come out, so I could also get video, but will wait and see ?
I am ordering the new 10C Pro...probably won't be considered an audio upgrade from my 20S since they probably use the same speakers and codecs. But I wanted to be able to record video without having to add a $400 GoPro and all of the crap that goes along with it.

As for sound, I recently bought a pair of Shure 425s In Ear Monitors that will act as both ear plugs and speakers. I haven't ridden with them yet, but they fit very comfortably under my NeoTec helmet, even with the 20S speakers still installed. The stock speakers, when worn with earplugs, I find I have to have the volume at or very near 100% and there is still some music that is pretty inaudible at speed. Want to listen to an audio book or talk radio? Forget it.

My 20S has been pretty good, though I have discovered that it will flat out shut down when temps get into the low 30s. I used to use a 20,000mAh battery stored in my tank bag to recharge it (lasts about 10 hours or so), but have gone to using the Optimate BMW 12V USB adapter with a 3'-4' cord; works perfectly.

I find the Sena controls cumbersome so I control everything from the phone (in a RAM Mount X-Grip), directly.

In the end, they all have their shortcomings. The Sena is the only one I have used, not because of brand loyalty or such, but because in previous bikes, I ran a hardwired system. YouTube can be your friend here. FortNine is one such resource.

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post #8 of 13 Old Jan 3rd, 2019, 6:13 pm
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Re: Sena vs Cardo

I have used the Cardo Scala Rider for several years and will not be using Cardo again. I can't say that it doesn't work, it does... sometimes. When it works it works well, but it's very glitchy, something I'd expect for an entry level intercom, but certainly not what I'd expect for what I paid. I'd be happy to trade some of the bells and whistles that I never use for a consistent, reliable connection to my rider.
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post #9 of 13 Old Jan 4th, 2019, 1:01 am
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Re: Sena vs Cardo

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I have used the Cardo Scala Rider for several years and will not be using Cardo again. I can't say that it doesn't work, it does... sometimes. When it works it works well, but it's very glitchy, something I'd expect for an entry level intercom, but certainly not what I'd expect for what I paid. I'd be happy to trade some of the bells and whistles that I never use for a consistent, reliable connection to my rider.
I know what you mean. I am surprised that they are still having Bluetooth issues.

I am currently looking at replacing my aging Sena SMH10, The main front runners are old school - wired option Autocom or the Bluetooth option Sena 30K.

Right now I am favouring the Autocom system. The main disadvantage is the not being able to communicate when the pillion is away from the bike.

Best regards
Sleuth

Best regards
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1988 K100RT (For Sale)
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post #10 of 13 Old Jan 4th, 2019, 6:58 pm
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Re: Sena vs Cardo

The wife and I have always had a wired intercom in most of the motorcycles Iíve owned. First was the intercom system by Baehr for the K1200LT I purchased back in 2006 and then Chatterbox, in one model or another, for the other rides Iíve had since then. Each has performed flawlessly and the Baehr is still installed and working well in my KLT trike. So, I figured Iíd step up to the future by buying a Sena 10S Dual, without spending a fortune, when I got my 2009 R1200RT. It is nice to be able to eliminate the constant tangle of wires always present with wired systems but thatís about where it ends. The Sena has been less than an ideal system since ownership. It occasionally drops the link with either of our phones which is what I also use as a GPS. Sometimes the voice intercom sounds as if there is an echo between me and my pillion or it fails to communicate at all. Iím always wary if they will have enough charge to carry us through the days travel although it has never failed to do so. There are many positive features that I absolutely enjoy if only it were a bit more reliable with my negative aspects. I havenít had it connected with any other bike to bike link so the jury is still out on that. This is just my personal opinion of the Sena 10S as others have not had any of the aforementioned ticks Iíve experiencedÖÖ.

Rob Sprague
Vineland, NJ
2009 BMW R1200RT Metallic Black
2006 BMW K1200LT/2012 Hannigan Trike Magnesium Black
2004 BMW K1200GT Orient Blue

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post #11 of 13 Old Jan 4th, 2019, 7:19 pm
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Re: Sena vs Cardo

I have the Cardo Freedom 1, it does everything I need, I don't have passengers and ride alone, I have it paired to the Nav vi, bike radio and phone, works fine, I can hear it great in my Neotec and the battery seems to last forever, I've only charged it once in the last month and have ridden about 1700 miles. It doesn't have the intercom because I don't need it. I have never tried the Sena, the Freecom was $85 but yep, it's all I need.
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post #12 of 13 Old Apr 12th, 2019, 5:28 pm Thread Starter
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I ended up going with Sena 20S EVO. All pairings are working and I paired iPhone directly to Sena after other pairings thru NAV were completed, so I still have direct verbal access to iPhone maps and ph calls.
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Jim Lawson 2016 R1200RT
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post #13 of 13 Old Apr 13th, 2019, 4:04 pm
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Re: Sena vs Cardo

I've owned several Sena models (SMH-10, SMH-10R, 20S Evo) and now own a Packtalk Slim. My wife uses the SMH-10 and has had no issues other than an overly sensitive mic. I've used the SMH-10Rs on a Shoei Cruise and a Scorpion dirt helmet. These have performed very well in all sorts of weather, and their low profile has a lesser amount of wind noise. The 3-button configuration works well enough, though I sometimes forget how to get into specific modes. The 20S Evo was mounted onto my GT-Air, and has never performed as well as the lesser Sena units. I've had issues with it locking up in heavy rain, and with volume levels that get much louder in certain situations. The sound quality wasn't the best, but I used a pair of uClear speakers through the earbud port and that made things much better. The Cardo Packtalk Slim was an experiment, driven mainly by the rain and volume issues on my 20S. It is very similar in design to my 10R units, except that its 5 button design mean its a little easier to get to a particular function. I've read a lot of negative press on the older Cardo units, but I was not happy with my 20S. I have yet to use it in intercom mode, or with my GPS, but it's working great with my iPhone and my RT... it connects well, music sounds great, and battery life has been decent. As someone mentioned in an earlier post, I too have had trouble with one voice comment (music on), but found that saying "next track" turns on music and goes to the next track... .

Hope this information helps.

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'12 F650GS Twin
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