Also: Interphone F5MC Review
The Interphone Pro Sound audio kit is a set of high-performance speakers and a new microphone for Interphone intercom systems.
The kit works with the current Interphone intercom lineup, including the new Interphone F5MC (review), along with the Interphone XT and S series intercom systems.
The Pro Sound kit speakers are surrounded by specially molded inserts that flush-fit into specific motorcycle helmets.
This gives the larger-sized speakers a flush fit with a comfortable feel inside the motorcycle helmet.
The molded inserts fit precisely in the helmet to locate the speakers in the ideal location for best sound reproduction and volume, something difficult to achieve when fitting loose speakers into the helmet ear pockets.
The Pro Sound kits are currently available for the Schuberth C3 (review) and Schuberth C3 Pro (review), along with the Shoei Neotec (review), the Shoei GT-Air (review) and the Shoei J-Cruise (review) helmets.
The sound quality of the Interphone Pro Sound kit is superb, with outstanding bass response, clarity and greatly improved volume over the already-good standard Interphone intercom speakers.
The upgrade is well worth the cost for Interphone intercom system owners and its availability will surely convert owners of other brands.
I could easily make the argument that a speaker system like the new Interphone Pro Sound audio kit should be standard on every motorcycle intercom sold today.
But from Interphone's point of view, I can also understand wanting to sell an "audiophile" speaker system as an optional accessory to help the bottom line.
Either way, I'm glad they did it because the Pro Sound audio kit brings a new level of enjoyment to using a motorcycle intercom system.
When you think about it, a motorcycle helmet is (or should be) a perfect sound chamber for listening to music or other audio streams.
It isolates the wearer from the external environment; it has sound-deadening material like a professional sound booth; and the speakers are more or less forced into the correct placement on the wearer's head.
So why haven't the intercom system manufacturers offered better sound quality, either standard or as an upgrade?
Granted, some of the latest motorcycle intercom systems have good quality speaker systems, but it's all relative. Even a cheap set of headphones will pretty much outperform any intercom speaker pair.
Granted, some motorcyclists will be perfectly happy with the excellent sound quality in the current top-of-the-line Interphone F5MC intercom system. But for that certain percentage who are always searching for more and better speaker response, look no further.
The Interphone Pro Sound audio kit is a $69.99 list/$59.99 street accessory (€59.99 list price in the UK) for Interphone intercom systems and it gives an immediately noticeable improvement in sound quality, volume, bass response and comfort.
I've asked Cellular Italia (dba Interphone) if they can provide some of the technical specifications for the speakers used in the Pro Sound kit, but it's August and those civilized Europeans are all on holiday, so I'll report back if and when I learn anything.
The kit is currently available for the Schuberth C3/C3 Pro and the Shoei helmets listed in the previous section.
I have a kit mounted in the Schuberth C3 Pro and I have a Shoei Pro Sound kit also; the differences are only in the molded ear pieces that fit easily and smoothly into the helmets.
The reason the kit is helmet-specific is to perfectly locate the speakers in the helmet and for the rider.
The mounting plate that holds the speaker is designed with a large, wide and smooth inside to make wearing the Pro Sound kit more comfortable, but it also helps to locate the speakers in the right place to get the best sound reproduction.
In fact, this is one of the biggest problems with basic motorcycle intercom speaker systems.
It's very difficult to ideally locate the speakers inside a helmet, which then results in owner complaints for low volume and poor bass response. I'm guessing that if the kit becomes popular, Interphone will make versions for more premium helmet makes and models.
The speakers used in the Pro Sound kit are completely different from the speakers supplied with the Interphone intercom systems (illustrated in the comparison photo below) and they are also different from most of the other intercom speakers I've seen.
They measure a massive 41 mm across and 6 mm thick.
In fact, these are "real" speakers of the type that can be found in a set of over-the-ear stereo headphones.
The membrane actually moves when the music plays, just like a home stereo speaker set and they have better response than those quarter-sized disks usually included in a motorcycle intercom set.
The combination of the larger speakers and the molded mounting system provides a much better sound experience than any standard intercom system speakers.
The molded plastic inserts that hold the speakers actually make wearing a Pro Sound-equipped helmet more comfortable than with standard intercom speakers, which always seem to press on the ears of my too-wide head, no matter how deeply molded the speaker cavities are in the EPS liner.
The Pro Sound molded sections are smooth and comfortable and make you wonder why all intercom speakers don't have something similar.
First of all, the volume levels that can be reached with the Pro Sound speakers using the Interphone F5MC intercom is amazing. For the first time, I actually have to set the volume on something less than max.
Can there ever be too much volume in a motorcycle intercom speaker? I'm sure some of you will say no, but first try the Pro Sound kit and let me know!
The other thing I noticed right away is the bass response. In most/all motorcycle intercom speakers, bass response goes from non-existent to pathetic.
The Pro Sound kit has excellent bass and I can actually hear the bass tracks for the first time in a motorcycle helmet.
Granted, we're still not talking Bowers & Wilkins P7 levels here, but we're also not talking 400 bucks either.
It's all relative and sound quality is a highly personal thing, but after reviewing motorcycle intercom systems since Bluetooth first became available, I am confident that the Interphone Pro Sound audio kit has the best quality, bass response and volume levels of any stock or accessory speaker system we have tried.
The Interphone Pro Sound kit is pretty simple. It comes with the two speakers mounted in the helmet-specific ear moldings. Also includes is a new style microphone that seems to improve voice sound quality...although that may be due to the speakers.
All of this replaces the speaker and mic system that comes standard with the Interphone intercom kits.
The Pro Sound system attaches with the same type of Interphone connector to the Interphone F5MC or other Interphone intercom modules.
And finally, Interphone throws in an extra intercom module helmet mount with the Pro Sound kit.
The extra helmet mount is included so owners can add the Pro Sound system to their Schuberth or Shoei helmet and simply sway the intercom module back and forth from another helmet using the stock Interphone speakers.
The extra helmet mounts alone cost $19.99 but they're included in the Pro Sound kit, making it more of a bargain and giving you the two helmet choice.
The Pro Sound system is easy to install. The back of the speaker molding has a thin strip of 3M double-sided sticky tape and you remove the helmet cheek pads, locate the Pro Sound speakers and wiring, stick 'em in and that's it. Since the speakers and the molding surround is specifically designed for the Schuberth C3/Pro and Shoei helmets, it's a perfect match.
[NOTE: Regarding Schuberth fitment, the Pro Sound kit fits both the Schuberth C3 and C3 Pro. We used a C3 Pro and Cellularline in Italy (the manufacturer) confirmed that the Schuberth kit fits both helmets.]
The standard new-style type of Interphone intercom connector is attached, so you can pop it on your F5MC or other Interphone intercom and away you go.
The new boom microphone included in the Pro Sound kit is mounted on a high-tech-look thin plastic arm that slides in behind the cheek pad and attaches via sticky or hook-and-loop, depending on the helmet and the helmet-specific Pro Sound kit.
There's not much to the installation and the Pro Sound kit for Shoei helmets even includes the nice Shoei-style mesh liner over the inside of the speaker molding so that everything looks original.
If you own an Interphone F5MC (review) or one of the Interphone XT or S series intercoms and you want what the highest quality, loudest volume and best bass response motorcycle intercom speakers currently available, get one of the new Interphone Pro Sound audio kits.
If you don't own an Interphone intercom, the availability of the Pro Sound kit is a very good reason to become a convert!
From "M.B." (March 2015): "Having borrowed a F5MC kit and fitted it to my Shoei XR1100, and recently found your online review of the Pro Sound Kit, it looks as though the Pro sound speakers would fit this helmet, possibly with a trim to the side pieces if necessary.
Additional, there is some information on the web suggesting a universal Pro Sound Kit has been released, an upgrade to the standard speakers. Any thoughts or information on the above would be appreciated, as I plan to purchase a F5MC set in the near future.
Follow-up from "M.B." (March 2015): "The Interphone Shoei-specific speakers fit in the XR1100 cut outs and cheek popper locations perfectly. No modifications required. Took the gamble and it paid off.
From "S.T." (January 2015): "I have just purchased a Schuberth C3 Pro and I am thinking about supplementing it with a Interphone F5MC and Interphone Pro Sound.
The reason for the Pro Sound kit is volume of the speakers and the microphone which takes less space. Priority number 1 is for me flawless intercom and music sound quality have very low priority.
Referring to your review there is no doubt that the speakers will improve the F5MC. But what about the Pro microphone compared to the standard boom mic with the huge "sponge"/foam around it? It is not placed directly in front of the mouth; how is able to pick up the sound correctly? It is not protected by a huge "sponge", so how is it with wind noise with closed helmet. How bad is wind noise with the helmet flipped up -- standard vs. pro mic?
Editor's Reply: To be honest, we didn't notice much difference in the Pro Sound microphone vs. the standard F5MC microphone, although we focused on the quality of the speakers and not so much on the mic.
The Pro Sound microphone has a barrier in front to block the wind and the foam is inside, you can see it in the photos in our review. Most of the complaints about mic quality are because the air comes through the chin vent and hits the mic, causing background noise or VOX issues. So it's important to keep the mic away from incoming air.
But in the case of the C3 Pro helmet, it's pretty quiet inside so there isn't much difference that we notice between the Pro Sound mic and the standar mic when talking on the phone.
From "T.P." (October 2014): "...On the interphone site there is no mention of a speaker for the C3 Pro...since I have the C3 Pro I would like to know if the same speaker will fit my helmet also. Looking at the pictures I don't see why it wouldn't be compatible, but I didn't want to purchase a set and not be able to return it. Thanks for your reviews and help!"
Rick's Reply: The Pro Sound kit absolutely fits both the C3 and C3 Pro, as is stated in the webBikeWorld review. This was confirmed with the manufacturer. The reason the Pro Sound kit box doesn't specifically state the C3 Pro is because the box itself was printed before Schuberth released the C3 Pro.
From "D.F." (August 2014): "As an owner of both a Shoei Neotec and a Sena SMH10B, I would be very interested to know if the Interphone Pro Sound kit could be used with a Sena headphone mount. One of the pictures in the review appears to show a standard 2.5 or 3.5 mm plug. What an easy upgrade it could be!! Of course, speaker impedance and other compatibility issues could render it not feasible, but on the surface it looks possible."
Rick's Reply: Good question, it might work with a cut and splice but the connector that's on it is specific to the Interphone intercoms. Also not sure if the mic would work and also I think the system is optimized to work with Interphone intercoms.
From "N" (August 2014): "You mentioned that these were the best speakers out of any motorcycle intercom you had tested. I was curious how they stacked up against something like the Tork XPro X2 speaker (review) you reviewed a while back."
Rick's Reply: Since the Torx speakers aren't matched to the intercoms and are dependent on the output of the intercom sound system, it can vary but the Interphone speakers have better sound quality and are louder. The sound quality at full volume is better with the Interphone Pro Sound speakers over the Torx speakers and the Interphone speakers are larger and have what appears to be larger and heavier magnets.
Also, the special backing system for the Interphone speakers makes them more comfortable and also helps with the sound, acting as sort of a sound board, like a speaker cabinet.