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Old 19-04-22, 10:34 AM   #1
johnnyleitrim
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Default Cardo Spirit Review

Myself and my wife have been biking for 2 months, so we decided to get some headset units so that we could talk to each other for routes etc. for longer spins. After doing a fair bit of research, I decided to get the Cardo Spirit headsets. I didn't go for the HD version, because of price and we don't need really high fidelity sound. On paper, the Cardo Spirit seemed like the best value headset that did all the things we wanted. I thought I'd write a review here incase any others find it useful.

Please note that this is my first headset, so I don't have anything to compare it to in the following sections.

Installation
I installed 2 headsets on LS2 Valliant 2 helmets (modular).

The installation was pretty easy. It took me about 20 minutes to install on the first helmet, because I was unfamiliar with how to take out the padding etc. It took about 10 minutes on the second helmet. Routing the cables and placing the 3.5mm jack adapter so that it wouldn't be felt under the padding was the most time consuming part of the installation procedure.

The clip that is provided with the unit was too narrow for our modular helmets, so I used the provided adhesive cradle to stick to the outside of the helmet. We've been out on about 300 miles of riding since I installed the units, and the adhesive cradle seems fine so far - no signs of loosening.

I installed the larger boom mics that are for modular helmets. The one slightly annoying thing is that when I bring the chin bar of the helmet down, the chin cover almost always moves the mic a bit - I have to re-adjust it to be infront of my mouth.

Controls
The buttons are all pretty big and easy to feel through the gloves. they are also pretty far apart so it's unlikely you'd press the wrong button. Most of the common actions are fine (playing music, volume up/down). Some actions require you to hold a button for a certain number of seconds, and those can be a bit awkward. For example, to connect to another unit over intercom, you need to press the call button for 2 seconds. If you don't press it for long enough, it kicks off your phone's voice assistant; if you press it for too long it will go into pairing mode. After a bit of practise, it's not so bad but it's definitely the worst part of the controls.

Sound Quality
Even though we didn't go with the HD version of the headset, I've been pleasantly surprised by the sound quality. I normally ride with earplugs, and the driving directions, music, intercom are all quite clear and loud enough to hear without issues.

The unit has "adaptive volume", so that the more ambient noise there is, the louder it will make the sound. This worked somewhat, but I did find that I needed to increase the volume manually sometimes (especially over 60mph).

The mic works well - I phoned a few people while from the saddle, and most couldn't tell that I was on the bike. Above 50mph is when people had mentioned they could hear a bit of wind noise, but it was still easy to hear me apparently.

Intercom Range
The stated range of the units is 400 meters - and only 2 units can be connected to each other at a time. I would say that we were getting about 400m on dead straight roads with no cars in between. However, on more twisty and hilly roads, it felt like the range was about 100 meters. This has been a little problematic since it's when you're out of sight that you tend to want to talk a little more, especially if coming to a junction and the other person isn't visible.

This is definitely only place where I was thinking the Spirit HD might have been a better purchase - it is supposed to have a bigger intercom range.

Overall Opinion
For solo riding, it is great. The audio quality is good, and being able to activate the phone's voice assistant is handy if you want to throw up directions on the fly or make a quick call. I can definitely recommend this unit for solo riding.

The intercom is a bit of a letdown. The sound quality is great, but the range is disappointing. I don't know if my expectations were unrealistically high because I had never owned a headset before. If your main reason for buying a headset is the intercom feature, it might be better to look at alternatives.
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