Helmet cam setup (w/ audio and Cardo) recommendations?

bernhtp

Wannabie Member
May 22, 2018
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I ride a
BMW K 1300S
I want to upgrade my current helmet cam setup and want recommendations.



I currently have a Hero 7 on a Shoei X-14 via a standard chin mount with no audio adapter. I had a Sony FDR-X3000 with great audio from a helmet mic, but it bounced down the road and over a cliff when a J-hook broke. That was a great camera, but I don’t want to repurchase a discontinued 4-year-old model.

I want good and simple audio in addition to better video. I would rather not have a separate audio recorded (e.g., Tascam) and so I’m considering a Hero 8 or 9 with Media Mod. The benefits/tradeoffs seem to be:
  1. Hero 8 is smaller, lighter and about $100 cheaper (not including cheaper batteries). Smaller and lighter are important on a sport helmet.
  2. Hero 9 has longer battery life, higher resolution capability, horizon leveling, etc.
Am I missing anything? Is there any difference in the audio between the two Media Mods? What would you get under the circumstance?

Another need is to capture audio from my Cardo Packtalk (Slim) intercom (all intercom parties)? I tried the Myk app, but that seems to put you through a complicated/lengthy process of getting all video onto the phone and it isn’t compatible with the newer GoPros anyway. I just want to capture the intercom audio on my phone and mix it in post. It would be a big bonus if it would get my helmet audio to eliminate the need for another mic and feed into the camera.

BTW, I am using a Insta360 One X2 mounted to my triple-clamp on my S1000RR that gives outstanding 360 video of everything important. It also has the benefit of being continuously powered by my dual-USB socket there, so no need to change batteries. I love this setup, but I still want a chin cam and helmet audio.
 

Drakhen99

The Forrest Gump of Motovloggers
Aug 31, 2020
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2019 Harley Street Glide Special, 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Classic (bobber), 1979 Kawasaki KZ650SR
I have both a Hero 8 and 9, and the Media Mod for both, so lemme chime in:

1. If you're chin-mounting the camera, the small difference in size shouldn't be an issue.
2. The Hero 9 gets me about 1.5 hours of recording compared to about 1 hour on the 8, so Hero 9 wins.
3. If you have a GoPro subscription, the battery cost difference is negligible. The 8 may be cheaper, but the 9 is a little better IMO, especially with the front screen for off-bike recording.
4. The Media Mod on the 9 has covers for the ports on the back, so it's "water resistant" according to GoPro, as opposed to the one on the 8, which is NOT water resistant.
5. The mics on the 9's Media Mod are better than the 8 MM, but it is very sensitive to direction [front versus rear].
6. The power/record buttons on the 9's media mod are much easier to use than the one on the 8.
7. Phone apps: I used Parrot.

I would say go with the 9. I had some issues with my first one, but the warranty replacement one has been awesome so far [about 10 hours of recording, also, knock on wood].

-John
 
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bernhtp

Wannabie Member
May 22, 2018
15
13
3
68
I ride a
BMW K 1300S
I have both a Hero 8 and 9, and the Media Mod for both, so lemme chime in:

1. If you're chin-mounting the camera, the small difference in size shouldn't be an issue.
2. The Hero 9 gets me about 1.5 hours of recording compared to about 1 hour on the 8, so Hero 9 wins.
3. If you have a GoPro subscription, the battery cost difference is negligible. The 8 may be cheaper, but the 9 is a little better IMO, especially with the front screen for off-bike recording.
4. The Media Mod on the 9 has covers for the ports on the back, so it's "water resistant" according to GoPro, as opposed to the one on the 8, which is NOT water resistant.
5. The mics on the 9's Media Mod are better than the 8 MM, but it is very sensitive to direction [front versus rear].
6. The power/record buttons on the 9's media mod are much easier to use than the one on the 8.
7. Phone apps: I used Parrot.

I would say go with the 9. I had some issues with my first one, but the warranty replacement one has been awesome so far [about 10 hours of recording, also, knock on wood].

-John
Thanks so much. That's a very comprehensive and useful answer.

I'll get the 9 and try Parrot for the Cardo Packtalk intercom per your recommendation. I have a couple of mics to try like the Purple Panda for this setup.

Have you tried the GoPro Max Lens Mod? Thoughts?

Besides my normal sportbiking and track days, I'm doing a 9-day tour through the Pyrenees in mid-June with buddies chartered through Edelweiss (travel gods notwithstanding). Spain (and France) are supposedly going to open up to vaccinated Americans soon. Anyway, I want to up my video game for the trip. I've toured European mountains before on an XR. It's such an amazing place and experience.
 
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Drakhen99

The Forrest Gump of Motovloggers
Aug 31, 2020
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2019 Harley Street Glide Special, 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Classic (bobber), 1979 Kawasaki KZ650SR
You're welcome!

@HippoDrone has the Max Lens mod ... I haven't gotten one yet [but it's on my list].

Sounds like you have a lot of scenic trips coming up - I can't wait for the video from that!

-John
 
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bernhtp

Wannabie Member
May 22, 2018
15
13
3
68
I ride a
BMW K 1300S
I really like the Max Lens mod on my Hero 9, it works great for what I want to be doing with it! :)
I assume it's the wider FOV that you like while still preserving stabilization? Do you use it for normal riding video or is it more specific to other situations? Has it become you standard lens that you don't normally swap out?
 

HippoDrone

Admin
Jan 2, 2017
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It is the Horizon Lock that I use, it makes the bike movement more engaging and active. I only use the camera as a secondary currently, I'd not use the Max Lens Mod on a helmetcam :)
 

bernhtp

Wannabie Member
May 22, 2018
15
13
3
68
I ride a
BMW K 1300S
It is the Horizon Lock that I use, it makes the bike movement more engaging and active. I only use the camera as a secondary currently, I'd not use the Max Lens Mod on a helmetcam :)
Thanks. I'll probably skip this initially as I will be only/mostly be using it as a helmet cam. I really like horizon leveling in my Insta360 One X2.

I probably don't want horizon leveling on the helmet since the main purpose here is to show the rider POV/FOV.
 
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R-Rated

Remember to Have Fun! - Solar Bear 2020 Champion
Aug 4, 2016
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www.R-RatedCustoms.com
I ride a
2014 Harley Davidson (FLHTK) Ultra Limited
About the grabbing audio from a headset, I have great luck tucking a Sony ECM stereo mic right where the chinstrap connect inside a full face.

I capture me, the speaker from the headset, and outside sounds very well.

I have used this on all my cameras when riding with a passenger or talking on the CB in a pack of bikes.
 

bernhtp

Wannabie Member
May 22, 2018
15
13
3
68
I ride a
BMW K 1300S
About the grabbing audio from a headset, I have great luck tucking a Sony ECM stereo mic right where the chinstrap connect inside a full face.

I capture me, the speaker from the headset, and outside sounds very well.

I have used this on all my cameras when riding with a passenger or talking on the CB in a pack of bikes.
Thanks. I will try that position for the microphone, but I need to get the Bluetooth/intercom feed digitally. I will be wearing molded earphones for my trip through the Pyrenees, and these don't let any sound out.

Per the recommendation here, I subscribed to the Parrot app to pick up the Cardo Bluetooth feed from the phone. Unfortunately, despite configuring it for Bluetooth priority, it seems to only be picking up sound from the mobile phone built-in mic. I lobbed a support request into searingmedia.com a couple of days ago on this, but haven't heard back from them yet. Any suggestions on Parrot are greatly appreciated.
 
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Moto Mengy

Motovlogger from PA, USA
Mar 23, 2020
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Has anyone tested the Hero 9's internal mic wind noise reduction vs the Hero 8's internal mic? I wonder if that got improved at all for the 9.
 
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Drakhen99

The Forrest Gump of Motovloggers
Aug 31, 2020
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I ride a
2019 Harley Street Glide Special, 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Classic (bobber), 1979 Kawasaki KZ650SR
Has anyone tested the Hero 9's internal mic wind noise reduction vs the Hero 8's internal mic? I wonder if that got improved at all for the 9.
I bet it did... and I've got some reasons for suspecting it:

Related, but twice-removed: The Hero 8 in a Media Mod doesn't sound as good as a Hero 9 in a Media Mod, but the directionality on the 9's MM mics is far more pronounced, so you have to be careful which direction the camera is facing when you're trying to talk to it.

Related, but loosely: The Hero 9 MM comes with a foam windshield, and in the breezes I've recorded off-bike stuff, its output is much cleaner than the Hero 8 in MM.

-John
 

bernhtp

Wannabie Member
May 22, 2018
15
13
3
68
I ride a
BMW K 1300S
I bet it did... and I've got some reasons for suspecting it:

Related, but twice-removed: The Hero 8 in a Media Mod doesn't sound as good as a Hero 9 in a Media Mod, but the directionality on the 9's MM mics is far more pronounced, so you have to be careful which direction the camera is facing when you're trying to talk to it.

Related, but loosely: The Hero 9 MM comes with a foam windshield, and in the breezes I've recorded off-bike stuff, its output is much cleaner than the Hero 8 in MM.

-John
The built-in mic, either in the camera or on the MM, is rarely used in motovlogging. Has there been a comparison on the performance of external, in helmet mics between the 8 and 9, e.g., AGC, wind noise filtering, etc.?
 
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Drakhen99

The Forrest Gump of Motovloggers
Aug 31, 2020
849
773
93
road-reality.com
I ride a
2019 Harley Street Glide Special, 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Classic (bobber), 1979 Kawasaki KZ650SR
The built-in mic, either in the camera or on the MM, is rarely used in motovlogging. Has there been a comparison on the performance of external, in helmet mics between the 8 and 9, e.g., AGC, wind noise filtering, etc.?
With the 9 at least, you can't use the GoPro's wind filtering with an external mic - at least I haven't found a way [the option is greyed out when an ext. mic is plugged in].

I've done plenty of off-bike recording with the 8 and 9 in their respective Media Mods... the 9 clearly has better audio in the MM.

-John
 
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bernhtp

Wannabie Member
May 22, 2018
15
13
3
68
I ride a
BMW K 1300S
With the 9 at least, you can't use the GoPro's wind filtering with an external mic - at least I haven't found a way [the option is greyed out when an ext. mic is plugged in].

I've done plenty of off-bike recording with the 8 and 9 in their respective Media Mods... the 9 clearly has better audio in the MM.

-John
Does the 9 MM do any audio processing with an external mic other than compression/AGC?

I have a problem I haven't had before: fairly severe audio crackling when speeds start getting over 60 mph. I first figured it was the microphone, especially the cabling, in the wind, but then I tried a completely different mic/cabling with a very similar result. I need to do more experimentation and problem isolation, but am hoping someone has some knowledge/thoughts here.
 

bernhtp

Wannabie Member
May 22, 2018
15
13
3
68
I ride a
BMW K 1300S
I have both a Hero 8 and 9, and the Media Mod for both, so lemme chime in:

1. If you're chin-mounting the camera, the small difference in size shouldn't be an issue.
2. The Hero 9 gets me about 1.5 hours of recording compared to about 1 hour on the 8, so Hero 9 wins.
3. If you have a GoPro subscription, the battery cost difference is negligible. The 8 may be cheaper, but the 9 is a little better IMO, especially with the front screen for off-bike recording.
4. The Media Mod on the 9 has covers for the ports on the back, so it's "water resistant" according to GoPro, as opposed to the one on the 8, which is NOT water resistant.
5. The mics on the 9's Media Mod are better than the 8 MM, but it is very sensitive to direction [front versus rear].
6. The power/record buttons on the 9's media mod are much easier to use than the one on the 8.
7. Phone apps: I used Parrot.

I would say go with the 9. I had some issues with my first one, but the warranty replacement one has been awesome so far [about 10 hours of recording, also, knock on wood].

-John
John:

Please tell me more about your use of the Parrot app to capture Cardo Packtalk audio. It's only picking up my phone mic and not the Bluetooth feed from the Packtalk. I verified that the audio is going to the Packtalk with voice commands such as "OK Google, what is the temperature?" Whereupon it correctly responds via voice through the helmet.

I have it configured:

Settings->recording->source-> Recording Source (System Default), Bluetooth Preferred (on).
I have quality set to MP3, but apparently that is ignored for Bluetooth.

Config: Parrot Pro on Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra (all updates), and BT-connected to a Cardo Packtalk Slim (motorcycle helmet Bluetooth and intercom) as a headset.
 

Drakhen99

The Forrest Gump of Motovloggers
Aug 31, 2020
849
773
93
road-reality.com
I ride a
2019 Harley Street Glide Special, 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Classic (bobber), 1979 Kawasaki KZ650SR
I don't know what all the MM does on the 9 with the external mic, except that the option for wind mitigation is greyed out when the ext. mic is plugged in.

As for Parrot, I used it with my SENA unit, and IIRC, I had to have the mic connected via bluetooth before starting the Parrot app, then it worked... but it picked up a bunch of noise, as if the SENA was sending raw audio to my phone instead of its processed audio. I surmised that this was the SENA 10FM [I forget the exact model #] and has seen been fixed in newer units.

-John
 

bernhtp

Wannabie Member
May 22, 2018
15
13
3
68
I ride a
BMW K 1300S
I don't know what all the MM does on the 9 with the external mic, except that the option for wind mitigation is greyed out when the ext. mic is plugged in.

As for Parrot, I used it with my SENA unit, and IIRC, I had to have the mic connected via bluetooth before starting the Parrot app, then it worked... but it picked up a bunch of noise, as if the SENA was sending raw audio to my phone instead of its processed audio. I surmised that this was the SENA 10FM [I forget the exact model #] and has seen been fixed in newer units.

-John
Thanks. Searing Media Support eventually got back to me, but just to say they logged a problem report on the issue and will get to it.

I guess I can just use a free standard recorder app like Samsung Recorder, but was hoping for something higher end with configurable AGC, wind noise filtering, etc.
 
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