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post #1 of 19 Old May 23rd, 2009, 9:33 am Thread Starter
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2007 VOICE II problem

Does anyone on the list have an LT with the VOICE II sound system and an intercom that works well with mics mounted on the chin bar of a full face helmet?



I am trying to get a set of 3G EdSets to work on my 2007 and have a strange problem. The speakers work great and Ed's "Thump Pumps" provide excellent fidelity, especially at the lower frequencies. However, I have been unable to get the microphones to work properly. Ed has sent me several different mics to try (probably a dozen thus far), but none have worked well. The latest ones will break the squelch/VOX pretty well, but you barely hear the voice from the other person. I can hear my wife, but it sounds like she is whispering from 10 feet away. She can tell I am talking, but can't make out what I am saying above the wind noise in her helmet.



I am wondering now if my problem is pilot error (some setting is not correct on the VOICE II) or something is wrong in the VOICE II itself.

I'd like to compare settings with someone who is successfully using their intercom with helmet headsets (preferably with someone who has EdSets also) to rule out pilot error and, if anyone is within a half day's ride of Lawrenceville, PA (16929 ZIP), maybe meet with someone to try another helmet headset with my intercom to try to rule out the intercom itself before my warranty expires.

Is there anyone in the northern PA/upstate NY region who is willing to work with me on this problem? Ed has been great to work with and has offered to work on my system in person at his shop, but he is an all-day ride away (9 hours each way) so it would take a 3-day trip to visit him in person.

TIA,
Matt

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
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post #2 of 19 Old May 26th, 2009, 3:14 am
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Re: 2007 VOICE II problem

Most of us have found that the only headsets that work properly with the VoiceII system are the J&M headsets. The mic section for the Voice II must be powered and J&M make one of the only headsets that are. Have you tried those yet?

Scott
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post #3 of 19 Old May 26th, 2009, 10:59 am
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Re: 2007 VOICE II problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottydawg
Most of us have found that the only headsets that work properly with the VoiceII system are the J&M headsets. The mic section for the Voice II must be powered and J&M make one of the only headsets that are. Have you tried those yet?
I agree with Scott. Also, it appears only the "Elite" series with a "Z series" lower cord will work. I have a friend who had J&M headsets that worked fine on his '2003 LTE but wouldn't work with the Voice II on his '2007 LT. He had to buy new headsets and lower cord. He bought them from BMW but the headsets are manufactured by J&M.

Jim S.
'07 SturmGrau K1200LT

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post #4 of 19 Old May 26th, 2009, 11:31 am
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Re: 2007 VOICE II problem

The obvious thing to check, that you did not mention, is the rider and passenger volume controls on the Voice II. There are a couple that will affect the volume to the headsets. Have you adjusted these?

Jim
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post #5 of 19 Old May 28th, 2009, 6:44 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 2007 VOICE II problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by javandyke
The obvious thing to check, that you did not mention, is the rider and passenger volume controls on the Voice II. There are a couple that will affect the volume to the headsets. Have you adjusted these?
Yes, I have had them from 1 to 10 and it affects the volume of both the music and the intercom, but the intercom volume is still far below the intercom voice volume.

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post #6 of 19 Old May 28th, 2009, 6:45 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 2007 VOICE II problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottydawg
Most of us have found that the only headsets that work properly with the VoiceII system are the J&M headsets. The mic section for the Voice II must be powered and J&M make one of the only headsets that are. Have you tried those yet?
No, I bought the EdSets as they looked a little nicer. I would like to find someone who had the BMW/J&M units so I could try them on my 07 to see if they work. That would help me isolate the problem somewhat.

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1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #7 of 19 Old May 28th, 2009, 6:47 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 2007 VOICE II problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhsonderb
I agree with Scott. Also, it appears only the "Elite" series with a "Z series" lower cord will work. I have a friend who had J&M headsets that worked fine on his '2003 LTE but wouldn't work with the Voice II on his '2007 LT. He had to buy new headsets and lower cord. He bought them from BMW but the headsets are manufactured by J&M.
Do you happen to know what the difference is in the lower cord? Does it use a different pin-out from the from 2003 version to the 2007?

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post #8 of 19 Old May 28th, 2009, 8:06 pm
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Re: 2007 VOICE II problem

They do have different part numbers. AND where the headset and lower cord connect the P and the Z cords are shaped different. The P is a circle and the Z is a little more than a half circle.
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Chris Ehlbeck
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2014 BMW R1200RT Quartz Blue Metallic

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post #9 of 19 Old May 28th, 2009, 8:34 pm
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Re: 2007 VOICE II problem

I am using the J&M headsets and cords that were on my 2003 on my 2005 with no issue. I am sure the problem is not having a powered mic.
I can't imagine how all the hassel of trying so many different ways to make this work is worth it when you can just get some J&M headsets from Sierra Electronics or off ebay and have a working system.

Scott
Sacramento CA
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post #10 of 19 Old May 28th, 2009, 9:22 pm
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Re: 2007 VOICE II problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager
Do you happen to know what the difference is in the lower cord? Does it use a different pin-out from the from 2003 version to the 2007?
I don't know what makes them different other than what Chris pointed out with regard to the upper connection to the headset as a reply below my original response. The lower cord connects to the bike with a six pin configuration. Sorry I can't provide more info.

Jim S.
'07 SturmGrau K1200LT

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post #11 of 19 Old May 28th, 2009, 9:58 pm
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Re: 2007 VOICE II problem

The cords are different in their design, same pinouts, different connectors at the lower/upper connection and they are not interchangeable. You must use the upper and lower cords that match each other. I've used both types on my J&M headsets. The P-series cords are about half the cost compared to the other cords. I've found the P cords to work just as well and actually easier to connect the lower/upper together.

Randal Tebeau
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post #12 of 19 Old May 28th, 2009, 10:40 pm
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Re: 2007 VOICE II problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager
I am trying to get a set of 3G EdSets to work on my 2007 and have a strange problem. The speakers work great and Ed's "Thump Pumps" provide excellent fidelity, especially at the lower frequencies. However, I have been unable to get the microphones to work properly.
As the folks above have noted, the J&M mics are electrically different from a standard mic, and the VOICE II is designed to work with/require such mics (J&M supplied the first intercom unit that actually worked on the LT (the 3rd generation unit, the original "ComSystem"), and BMW has stuck with the J&M mic specs ever since, through the current 5th gen. system).

One thought: If you like Ed's speakers so much, purchase the J&M headset from Sierra Electronics (lower price), cut the J&M speakers off and solder Ed's to the wires -- best of both worlds.

HTH!

Mark Neblett
Fairfax, VA
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post #13 of 19 Old May 28th, 2009, 10:52 pm
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Re: 2007 VOICE II problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottydawg
I am using the J&M headsets and cords that were on my 2003 on my 2005 with no issue. I am sure the problem is not having a powered mic.
I can't imagine how all the hassel of trying so many different ways to make this work is worth it when you can just get some J&M headsets from Sierra Electronics or off ebay and have a working system.
Aren't both J&M's Performance and Elite headsets both powered mics? I do know the Elite has the better speaker system.

My vote would be either direct from J&M or Sierra Electronics. I've used both with great success and customer service. J&M will cost more though.

Chris Ehlbeck
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2014 BMW R1200RT Quartz Blue Metallic

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post #14 of 19 Old May 29th, 2009, 10:10 am
 
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Re: 2007 VOICE II problem

All,

I will stick my neck out and explain what I know about the J&M sets and why the phrase 'powered mic' is a bit of a misnomer, and offer a more exact reason they are made the way they are. This little 'epic novel' might also help those of you that like to tinker around and have fun experimenting.

I think that the Voice II, like many other products, has some significant changes over the years. I have no special access to tech data on all the variations, and have really not been in the BMW arena very much, but we've fitted several 07 LT's that have Voice II with mics that work great, but Matt's system is obviously in need of something else, and bless his motorcycle heart, he's been working hard with me to figure out what that is.

I've been asking on this forum for some time for LT owners with Voice II to stop in for some testing and free goodies, and if anyone is local to Dayton OH, i'll make it worth your while to stop in my shop and let's figure this one out. It's kinda pricey to buy a BMW for 'testing' when I already have a small stable of bikes to support

Ok, to the point:

I wanted to clear up one thing that gets a lot of press, but inaccurately. J&M makes a headset similar to a Harley Davidson headset that actually has a microphone pre-amplifier built into the headset or possibly into one of the cables itself, using very small surface mount technology. I've attached a picture of this little amplifier from a Harley Ultra headset, which is nothing more than a 20x voltage gain single-transistor amplifier. My headsets do not include this preamp, and I'm pretty sure that's what Matt's bike and others like it need.

The interesting thing is that while J&M calls their mic a 'dual mode' mic or a "powered mic", it's only that because of the pre-amp, and not because of the actual mic cartridge itself. Both the Harley Ultra and J&M use almost identical 200-Ohm dynamic microphones (voice coil, magnet, diaphragm kind) similar to the ones we use on most of the Japanese bikes and even on the J&M CB2003 and many other systems like Garmin GPS etc, a 600-Ohm dynamic mic.

J&M and Harley do NOT use smaller the electret-condenser mics. Yes, that is the correct spelling, it's not 'electric' mic because it refers to a permanent static charge on a piece of material inside the capsule. Anyway, condenser/electret-condenser mics are what you find in virtually all other consumer electronics and even many motorcycle systems.

The dynamic mics (all of them) produce about 5-10mV when you speak into them, and in the J&M/Ultra scheme, that signal is boosted by the external headset pre-amp (operating on 3-5Vdc from the bike's mic lines) up to around 100mV, or about 20x gain, making it more of a 'line level input' than a 'mic input'. Remember how you had to use a special input on your stereo for the turntable vs a tape deck? Same idea, the turntable cartridge preamp is INSIDE the stereo, not hanging off the side of the cartridge. If you plugged a tape deck into the 'phono' input it distorted because the signal was 100x what it needed to be, and the phone was faint if heard at all when plugged into a 'tape' input.

Condenser mics of the kind that Matt has been testing produce similar signal levels on their own, using the 3-5Vdc for their own internal FET pre-amp. On all but Matt's system, which if I recall is an '07 model also, we've had good results with a standard condenser mic and the Voice II. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I assume you can use various models of the Voice II on the '07? Its all about the Voice II, and not the bike itself, I think.

I"m not sure what the logic is in building a system that requires external amplification, but I'm sure smart engineers have their reasons, tho I can't think of one other than market protection or forced loyalty. From a cost, performance and elegance standpoint, that kind of design makes no sense to this engineer.

I have plans to make a headset for the Ultra owners that have been asking for it, and I'm going to test it with Matt's bike when he visits here in June if characterization of his bike and system warrant it. I'll keep you all posted. I'm almost certain I'll just make the preamp as an inline plugin so that you can use a single headset is more than one application, because if I've learned anything in the last 10 years is that flexibility is golden in this arena! That way, I can include a variable mic 'boost' and switchable wind noise filter. If anyone has ideas, now is the time get your thoughts possibly into the final device!

Contact me 937-271-4077 or via "ed at edsets dot com" if you can come by Dayton soon.
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post #15 of 19 Old May 29th, 2009, 6:46 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 2007 VOICE II problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by edsetsdude
Contact me 937-271-4077 or via "ed at edsets dot com" if you can come by Dayton soon.
I'll see you on the 13th if all goes according to plan!

My fear is that the issue is with my intercom given that mine had almost twice the voltage (4.5 V) as compared to the other LT that you worked with (2.5V as I recall). So, it definitely appears that something in my system is different, I just don't know if it is different due to a change by BMW/J&M or different due to a malfunction in the intercom itself.

I simply can't believe that BMW would change the sound system mid-model year, but I'm sure stranger things have happened.

Matt

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #16 of 19 Old May 29th, 2009, 7:29 pm
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Re: 2007 VOICE II problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager
I'll see you on the 13th if all goes according to plan!

My fear is that the issue is with my intercom given that mine had almost twice the voltage (4.5 V) as compared to the other LT that you worked with (2.5V as I recall). So, it definitely appears that something in my system is different, I just don't know if it is different due to a change by BMW/J&M or different due to a malfunction in the intercom itself.

I simply can't believe that BMW would change the sound system mid-model year, but I'm sure stranger things have happened.

Matt
Why? Manufactures have the right to change anything anytime they want. It has happened mid years on cars and trucks, why not motorcycles?

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post #17 of 19 Old May 30th, 2009, 12:07 am Thread Starter
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Re: 2007 VOICE II problem

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Why? Manufactures have the right to change anything anytime they want. It has happened mid years on cars and trucks, why not motorcycles?
Sure, they have the right, but that doesn't make it smart. Yes, I know that International used to use 4 different carburetors and 3 different distributors on their pickups in one model year (you literally had to take the VIN number to NAPA to buy parts!), but again that doesn't make it smart.

I'll have to ask the dealer if their are two different headsets required for the 2007 model year.

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post #18 of 19 Old May 30th, 2009, 11:51 am
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Re: 2007 VOICE II problem

The J&M headsets work on ALL models of VoiceII. For the record I think it's great that Ed is offering / working on an alternative.

Scott
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post #19 of 19 Old May 30th, 2009, 12:54 pm
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Re: 2007 VOICE II problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager
Sure, they have the right, but that doesn't make it smart. Yes, I know that International used to use 4 different carburetors and 3 different distributors on their pickups in one model year (you literally had to take the VIN number to NAPA to buy parts!), but again that doesn't make it smart.

I'll have to ask the dealer if their are two different headsets required for the 2007 model year.
I agree it isn't smart but it is done.

I went out for a ride this morning and found that I couldn't get any sound into my headset. So while I sat on the bike and left the headset plugged into the Baehr, I know not a Voice II, I checked all my connections found the mike to be unplugged from the main cable. When I plugged it in I heard sound magically appear from the speakers. So I know that the mike has to be in the circuit for it to work correctly.

That leads me to believe that Scott is right about having to have a powered mike in the circuit. If the EdSet mikes aren't powered, then that could be the reason that you can bearly hear your wife. You might want to try a helmet mounted mike from J&M connected to the EdSets.

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