In case you somehow haven’t noticed by now, Motorcycle.com has a separate YouTube channel – because sometimes (okay, most of the time) you’d rather see the motorcycles we ride in action rather than just read our words about them. Sometimes it can be even better if you can get our immediate thoughts about a motorcycle directly as we’re riding them. Of course, this means talking and riding at the same time (it’s harder than it sounds if you’re a MOron like us). The challenge is capturing good, clean audio with little to no wind noise. Bonus points if you can do it on the cheap. Say hello to the HelEquip HelMic 3.1. Since this is a microphone review after all, watch the video below to get my thoughts. Otherwise, feel free to read on.
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First, a funny backstory: We discovered the HelMic 3.1 through a commenter on our YouTube page. He left a comment on one of our videos about the poor audio quality. Generally we’d brush aside the haters, but he went on to invite us to look at his page to hear the audio in his videos – and as much as it pains me to say it, the quality wasn’t half bad! And it was all done on the HelMic 3.1.
There’s not much to it – 3D casing, microphone guts, and foam.
Once pride was put aside I got to know the man behind HelEquip. His name is Cody Payte, a motovlogger from Texas who put his love for riding and his skills with 3D printing (both of which are side hobbies he does after his regular 9-to-5) to good use to create the HelMic 3.1. As the name suggests, this is the third iteration of Payte’s design. Simply put, Payte designed a 3D case with a rounded face to conform to the shape of the chin bars on most helmets. Inside the 3D case lies the microphone components, sandwiched in a sea of foam. This third iteration is the result of fine-tuning both the case shape and the amount of foam; the goal is to block out sufficient wind noise while still being able to capture the user’s voice without it sounding muffled or as if you’re talking underwater. The process is still ongoing, but Payte is happy enough with version 3.1 to put it for sale on his site.
So far I’ve been happy with the HelMic 3.1. It attaches easily on the chinbar of my helmets, and the included 8-inch, 3.5mm cable is plenty long enough to reach my GoPro attached to my Dango Gripper mount (Payte actually sells a proprietary action camera chinbar mount, but due to the different helmets I wear, it wasn’t practical for my application). Simply taping a lavalier to your helmet is a recipe for disaster, even with a wind sock, as the wind noise becomes unbearable even at low speeds. The combination of the case and foam block out a substantial amount of wind noise, while the user’s voice is captured in high-definition stereo quality. No, the HelMic 3.1 is not windproof, and you’ll definitely notice the wind at high speeds, but it has successfully recorded my voice while traveling 180-plus mph aboard a Ducati Panigale V4 S. While not something I expected, the HelMic also captures exhaust notes particularly well while still keeping your voice in the foreground.
Of course, the HelMic isn’t perfect. A minor gripe is the case shape working better on helmets with more rounded chinbars, like Arais. Helmets with more acute chinbar angles, like some AGVs, are only able to capture the edges of the mic’s Velcro. But a big area I see for improvement is the fact the microphone uses a wire at all. In a perfect world, the microphone would connect wirelessly to the GoPro (or whatever action cam you use). I know this is an argument I need to take up with GoPro and not HelEquip, but the wish still remains.
It all fits quite neatly on your chinbar with a small strip of Velcro. The 8-inch 3.5mm cable plugs into your action camera.
All things considered, at a price of only $30, the HelMic 3.1 provides a lot of bang for your buck if you’re looking to try motovlogging for yourself. Plus you’re supporting small business. That’s gotta count for something, right? Visit the HelEquip website to see Payte’s full array of motovlogging accessories.
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Source: All Bikes news one