by Shawn Cochran for webBikeWorld
Comments (Below) | wBW
J&M Corporation of Tucson, Arizona has taken the reliable
design incorporated on most BMW motorbikes and created the Integratr IV
Audio System ... and no, that's not a typo.
The Integratr IV (JMSR-4010) is a relatively new portable "Motorcycle Audio
System" which has been on sale since May of 2006.
It features an FM stereo radio tuner, a driver-to-passenger voice
operated transmit and receive (VOX) intercom, an auxiliary stereo input for
an MP3 or iPod-type music devices or satellite radio units.
It also comes with a belt
mounted leather pouch for easy access while riding.
The Integratr IV incorporates some unique
features, including the ability to integrate devices such as a cell phone, a 40-channel Citizen's Band
(CB), a Family Radio Service or a General Mobile Radio Service FRS/GMRS two-way
GPS devices that use audio commands and other accessory warning
devices can also be incorporated.
The Integratr IV is powered by 8 AAA alkaline batteries,
which provide approximately 16 hours of continuous operation and a rechargeable polymer lithium ion power pack
is also available as an option.
The retail price of the unit by itself is $269.99, but J&M
Corp's authorized resellers usually offer the unit for less than the full
retail prices listed on the J&M website. It is important to note that
some of the retailers have recently
started offering special pricing during the holiday season, lowering the
unit price to $169.99.
As this unit is new, there is a certain amount of learning
curve necessary for all parties involved - including J&M Corp.
to admit, at first I was a little skeptical once I started adding up the
costs associated with changing out my intercom system and headsets.
John Lazzeroni, the company President, said in an email to me that he was
"so confident in the unit and its performance that I'm willing to buy it
back if you're unhappy."
Enough said. I'll give it a try.
First, the Integratr IV requires the use of a "dual mode"
headset, available from J&M. There are two options here - but basically any
of the J&M dual mode headsets that include the "CD" prefix in their
part number will work; i.e., any of the J&M headsets with the letters ECD,
ICD, BCD, CD.
I chose to go with the more moderately priced
Universal 257 series headsets (Part # HS-BCD257-UN). Headset
installation is, without a doubt, the most un-enjoyable activity I've
It pays to read the instructions carefully, perhaps twice,
before attempting to install the headset. My helmet is a "flip front"
style HJC CL-Max. The second paragraph in the installations
instructions state "some three-quarter style helmets, Shoei and HJC, for
example, have ear pockets that are a bit too small for the speaker to be
Wouldn't you know it - the two helmets I'm using for this
report are an HJC and a Shoei! Fantastic... The factory offers
installation services if you don't feel you're up to the task. The
cost is approximately $50 per helmet, but it's best to call and see if your helmet is a
candidate first. Installation into my HJC required an "Exacto" knife
and some patience, as well as a lot of guts being that I was making
permanent modifications to my helmet.
The headsets include an "upper cord" and must be paired with
a "lower cord" for the Integratr. There are some known
anomalies when using certain lowers with certain uppers from the J&M BCD series of headsets.
Basically, if you're planning on using a BCD series headset
on the Integratr IV and a CB Radio, you'll need to get the J&M "HC-PWY" lower
cord section to avoid some severe feedback issues, according to the
manufacturer. Alternatively, the "HC-ZWY" lower and an
"HC-ZAL" upper can be used to end up with the same result, although
the out-of-pocket expense
Almost every item I wanted to test required the purchase of
an additional cord. For instance, I ordered cords for cell phone and
CB integration. My cell phone, a Samsung, is a four pin type so I also
ordered the 3 pin to 4 pin adapter cable.
Ultimately, it didn't work
with my Samsung but a spare Nokia 6010 proved to be 100% functional.
The volume control on the phone didn't keep my ears from bleeding, but that
comes later in the story.
After spending two hours installing the headset into the HJC,
it was time for the Shoei and a similar amount of effort, although the time
was shortened by half thanks to the learning curve. The quality of the
installed product, once complete, is fantastic but be prepared to spend time
redoing your efforts until the earpieces fit comfortably without any slack
around them to ensure the best performance.
That's it with regards to the technical description; how
does it function?
The headsets provide clear audio at almost every level.
Switching between the FM tuner and the auxiliary input requires the manual
switch on a toggle button located below a protective cover. Operation
of the switch is straightforward; the problem is controlling the level.
There are two adjustments for audio levels, one for the
intercom and the other for other devices, such as the FM radio, auxiliary
input, cell phone and external two ways radios. Each of the auxiliary
input devices is reliant upon their own volume level for regulation.
The challenge is presented by trying to gain some
consistency between them. Further, any audio "alert beeps" from
devices tends to be a little hotter than, let's say, the music from an iPod.
Much hotter. Painful in fact.
There's apparently no way to adjust this cleanly, leaving
you susceptible to long term ringing in your ears if you don't carefully
monitor the headset level. I'd suggest bringing the optional accessory inputs on line
at the lowest level first, and then gradually working their volumes up until
they reach your comfort level.
The intercom from rider to pillion is outstanding.
There's little doubt that the bulk of the "brains" in this unit is around
this feature. The adjustment knob is small, but highly effective and
there appears to be a larger adjustment range than some other models I've
demoed. The microphones provide crisp and clear communications,
whether between the rider and pillion or with an outside party when calling
via a cell phone.
Using a separate CB radio is a sketchy proposition at best.
Although I ordered the JMSR-AC17 cable, it doesn't work with all CB radios.
While I would have preferred to test this with the Midland 75-822 handheld
CB radio, they are unfortunately unavailable at every single supplier I
attempted to source one from.
So I was left with trying to use the old Radio Shack TRC-241
used in all the other road tests. Sadly, it is possible to hear
clearly from this unit but there appears to be a transmit issue.
Depressing the PTT button apparently "keys" transmit on the handheld, but
the microphone input doesn't make it through leaving you broadcasting dead
air. It's unclear if this is an issue with the CB cable, or perhaps
the headset upper and lower cords.
Enough negatives. Fact is, the unit has superb build
quality and the headsets and cords are some of the highest quality
manufacturing I have seen in a long time. The audio from my iPod and
satellite radio is clear as a bell, and the helmet to helmet intercom is
superb. The FM tuner is crisp and clean, and pulls in distant stations
far better than I expected, although without an aerial antenna there's only
so much you can expect.
Honestly, those are the most important items to me.
I'm sure that if I were able to acquire the Midland model handheld CB J&M
tested with, the CB would work perfectly too.
The unit is significantly larger than I expected, but it
isn't uncomfortable to wear on a belt. The customer support from J&M
Corporation has been outstanding. They are extremely responsive in
their technical support and the company appears to be taking the best
features of the system previously used on BMW touring class audio system and
placing them into a portable package.
If you are considering a portable motorcycle audio system, this would be my
first choice of what is available on the market today. There's a
considerable amount of flexibility and options for the unit, and
functionally it is considerably better than most of the units I've ridden
J&M has produced a fairly solid unit in the Integratr IV and
once they've produced additional cables for more CB and cell phone choices,
this will quickly become the industry standard for motorcycle
UPDATE: June 2007 - I did purchase and install
the Midland 75-822 handheld CB unit that J&M suggested and it works
flawlessly with the Integratr IV system. A huge plus: the 3 pin cell
phone adapter works with my Blackberry Pearl, which has voice activated
dialing. It will search either my address book or dial the numbers I
tell it to.
This allows me to have hands-free operation of my cell
phone as well as all of the other features the unit delivers. Hands
down, it’s the best portable unit on the market today – and probably better
than some “permanent mount” units!
Review: J&M Integratr IV Motorcycle Intercom System
||Suggested Retail Price: Full
retail price is $269.99, but I've seen it discounted at $169.99.
Cables and accessories are extra.
|Review Date: October 2006
The webBikeWorld intercom evaluators always wear properly
fitted ear plugs while riding during the intercom evaluations and this is reflected
in thee opinions on sound quality and speaker volume. Your experience may
and probably will differ. Always wear high-quality, correctly fitted ear plugs
when riding a motorcycle (more
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From "D.S." (7/09): "I read your review of the Integratr
IV. It sounded like just what I was after. I bought an Integratr
IV, the headset, and all the cables required to make it work with a CB, GPS,
Hand held Radio, cell phone, and MP3 player . Their technical support people
helped me figure out which cables I needed.
When it works, it works pretty well. Usually that is not the case.
You never know when any one or several of the cables will let you down.
The only thing for sure is that you will not have to wait long for one of
them to give you problems.
What a disappointment it has been. I thought they would stand behind
their products after the quote you put in your review.
I have to admit, at first I was a little skeptical once I started adding up
the costs associated with changing out my intercom system and headsets.
(The J&M representative) said in an email to me that he was "so confident in
the unit and its performance that I'm willing to buy it back if you're
I'm not happy and I would like (them) to buy mine back, but (they) won't.
It turns out now that (J&M) does not agree with the cable recommendations
that the technical support people that work for (them) gave me. Now
(they) think I should buy more cables!
I don't think J&M will be able to get this Integratr IV and all the cables
to work reliably before I die of old age. My patience is gone."
From "T.R." (11/08): "I wanted to submit my owner
comments on the J&M Integratr IV Motorcycle Intercom. A good deal of
my purchase decision was based upon your review and I am happy to give back
information where I can.
I purchased the Integratr IV this spring and while I have
not used it as much as I would have liked to due to poor riding conditions
in the Calgary, Alberta area this summer, I do feel I have given it a good
test drive for the season.
Verify your external devices before you decide upon this
device. One of my devices would not work with the standard cables
available and one will never likely work.
The first device is my Magellan CrossOver GPS. It
seems that even after changing the connectors on the cable to fit my
CrossOver, the signal output from the CrossOver is not enough. Since I
have an electronic and professional sound background, the only reason left
for this is the GPS/NAV & AWD inputs on the Integratr IV are designed to
accept speaker level inputs, not headphone level.
My friend who has a Garmin Quest GPS and an Integratr should
experience perfect operation as the Quest can output both headphone and
speaker level output.
The second is my Nokia E90 Communicator cell phone. The
standard 2.5 mm 3 conductor cable is not compatible at all, nor is the
available 2.5 mm 4 conductor 'Nokia' adapter. Initially I wound up
using an older compatible cell phone with my SIM card until I uncovered the
pin-out for the newer Nokia AV jack and manually wired up a working cable.
To increase my frustration, technical support at J&M was of no help.
From what I understand, if you have a Zumo 550 and a
Bluetooth cell phone, the available cable works well and provides you with
everything on one simple connection - music, cell phone, and navigation
instructions. All that and a nice touch screen interface for your cell
phone as well. For me, the Zumo is a bit too expensive and not
off-road oriented enough.
Without those hurdles, the experience would have been much
more positive. I opted for the J&M for my KLR650 as permanent installation
options are somewhat limited on my bike, plus the price was reasonable and
the performance on par with more expensive solutions. I use the Integratr IV
in a Lowe Pro Utility case that I can easily fit into my tank bag and remove
quickly for security. I have the 12v accessory adapter wired in to eliminate
the need for a set of AAA batteries every day. My iPod and cell phone
fit conveniently in my tank bag window pocket allowing easy operation as
I have a HJC CL-Max flip face helmet and went with the
'Universal' headset kit. The only difference in Spring 2008 in the
headset kits are the helmet speakers.
My friend purchased the full face 'Performance' headset for
his Arai which had better speakers and a non-boom style mic. I noticed very
little difference while testing the speakers in a quiet room, perhaps the
'Elite' series would have better base at highway speeds.
Regardless, I am not even using the speakers as I have a set
of Shure noise blocking headphones that I use instead. The concept of
using ear plugs, as I always do, and blasting sound above the wind and bike
noise is counter-intuitive to me. The Shure ear buds block over 20 dB
of sound like standard ear plugs and provide me with great sound quality.
To facilitate the Shure headphones, I cut off the speaker
connectors on the headset and spliced in a volume control headphone jack.
This had the added benefit of allowing me easy master volume control without
digging into my tank bag. Yes, you would have to be an electronics
technician to feel comfortable with my modifications.
Now that everything has been adapted to my equipment
choices, the unit operates as desired. My music comes through well
with good quality. The microphone works well, conversations on the
cell phone with friends have worked well with the other party hearing me
The driver/passenger intercom VOX level requires me to
shout, even when it is set to maximum. I need to be able to adjust the
VOX to '11' or even '12', but cannot. I have only been able to test the bike
to bike intercom with GMRS radios in the comfort of my house. My
experience with cell phone communication indicates that this will operate as
expected especially with my use of the external PTT/Mute switches.
My Integratr IV experience has cost me over 500 CAD and I am
mostly happy with the result. Part of my motivation was to have gear
that I could move easily to any other bike. This solution provides
that. Just provide an appropriately sized tank bag and 12V Acc. or
No matter what solution I went with, I was in need of
customization. It would have been nice if J&M had provided me with
some technical information, but as with any technology these days, once the
product is out the door, the brains behind the product usually have moved on
to other projects."
From "J.B.": "As a recording engineer, and as someone
who deals specifically with High Definition audio strictly for broadcast, I
understand what a toll listening can be on any set of ears. With lots
of wind noise and with other audible distractions, it is first and foremost
nothing less than distracting to have to deal with complicated or convoluted
entertainment systems on a motorcycle for fear of missing something
important like someone cutting you off in traffic or an EMS vehicle
approaching on your six at a high rate of speed, all the while trying to
update riders in your group about those occurrences.
This is where the ease of use of the Integrator IV comes in
handy. Once you have it connected, its fool proof, water proof, and
damn near indestructible. My system after all went thru a 70 mph
collision with an embankment and still functions flawlessly to this day.
I’ll save that story for a later day.
The cell phone connection on this unit is so clear. I
had the opportunity to have a conversation with John Lazzeroni while riding
at interstate speed. He did not even realize that I was talking to him
on his own system until I told him. He was blown away.
I felt good that I had installed this system on my bike,
with pretty much every jack on the thing full. Instead of wearing it
on my belt, or putting it in a tank bag, I opted to mount it on a RAM bar,
using the leather case and a few cable ties. This makes for a much
more friendly riding experience, and certainly allows for all hook-ups to be
safely secured in place.
PS…If you use the Midland Radio as mentioned in the article,
a good license plate antenna is suggested. The short antenna included
with the CB is not effective for more than about 1/8 of a mile. A 3
foot antenna will give you drastically more range; just make sure you only
use the radio in “Low” mode. You don’t want to burn up your buddy’s
radio when you comment about the babe in the convertible you just left at