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I just got my headsets and hooked into the intercom system on my 02 wing. If I turn the intercom volume up past 3 or 4, I get an annoying background noise. This noise is present even when the bike is stationary and is not a whining feedback like from a radio, etc. I can instantly get rid of the noise by either turning off the intercom or cutting the volume back down below 3-4. Is this noise normal? Is there a cure?

Also, I have turned the mute volume for the intercom up as high as possible, but when either I or my passenger talk over the intercom, the volume of the music from the radio does not decrease. I thought that this was the function of the mute volume feature.

My buddy just bought a 03 wing and we tried his headset and mine (different brands) on both bikes with the same results. Therefore, I don't think the problem is with the headsets.

I am new to the wing experience and not familiar with the intercom system or any possible faults. Any ideas or help is greatly appreciated. Everyone on this board is always a wealth of knowledge and information.
 

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Ahh - the dreaded "Honda intercom system" question.

First of all, welcome to the board, and the wing! :D

Let me fill you in on a little bit of news: The audio system on this bike is sub-par, to say the least. (and that's being polite) :shock:

One of the biggest problems, I believe, lies in the poor design of the audio unit itself. For this, we have very little remedy, outside of replacing the intercom functions with a third-party system.

The low-level microphone input signal runs through the wiring harness to the audio unit, where it is amplified and sent through the intercom system, as well as the CB radio.

This harness does not use shielded wire and the input signal picks up a lot of noise from other sources before it hits the audio unit. In addition, the audio unit itself will pick up ambient noise from around the bike and amplify that as well. You can hear this for yourself by turning on the intercom and tapping the shelter near the gas tank, or even inside the fork tunnel. You'll hear the noise in your headset, and Honda won't do anything about fixing it. This is known as "microphonics" and is a function of the design and implementation of the audio components themselves, not the bike.

You can tell it's an intercom input-related problem by putting the radio on AUX input (with nothing plugged into it) and turning up the volume - you'll most likely hear very little noise. Do the same thing on intercom and you've got alot, even if you disconnect the microphones.

Bill Morphy has created a nice little unit that will cut out the wind noise of the microphones (Mic-Mutes) but it does not reduce the noise picked up through the harness or by the audio units' microphonics. If you don't like the noise while the bike is off when you don't have any "outside influences", you really won't like it when you go for a ride on a windy day and you try to comfortably talk to your passenger.

There is a replacement harness assembly that you can buy from Honda ($75?) that will reduce the amount of noise that is induced into the intercom and cb, but it may not remove all of it, and does nothing to address the microphonic issue. Honda recognized that this problem existed and changed the intercom harnesses on the '03 and later production models. Only those of us with "older" bikes have to worry about buying and installing this "fix" on our own.

Fred Harmon has been working on this issue for a long time and recently posted about it at this thread. Honda's statement to Fred was that if enough people complained, they may address the issue, otherwise it'll be just like the ECM and frame issues. (oops - bad words)

Before anyone jumps in and thinks I'm just trying to sell the Autocom audio system, I'm not. In fact, Autocom's dealer agreement forbids mail-order and internet-based selling, so if you're interested in a quiet intercom system that incorporates active noise-cancelling microphones, a working VOX system, cell-phone, GPS and Radar Detector integration and OEM CB or FRS radio use, go to your local dealer or bike show and check them out. (Or ride up here and I'll be able to take care of you :wink: )

Good luck with your problem, I think that most of us have had to just accept the fact that that is the way it is. (I wish I would've listened to the intercom during the test ride/buying process, I would've negotiated a discount to account for having to replace it later with something that works) :?

Sorry for the rant, but can you tell that I feel your pain?
 

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Jon..I sure wish you would tell us how you really feel..come on man...let it out...we wanna know..... :a13:
 
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Good Work, Jon

Jon, thanks for a good, fair, objective analysis of the intercom situation. Every word you wrote was un-biased and necessary for the explanation.

Bill Morphy has a great system for eliminating microphone noise and he has helped me out personally but I just saw his latest ad and it struck me as overstepping his bounds. Mic Mutes does not stop "all...background noise." It does stop all background noise that comes though the microphones but what most new owners don't know is that there is a significant amount of noise that gets in otherwise and that noise is amplified and present whenever the intercom master is on, Mic-Mutes activated or not. Mic-Mutes addresses a big part of the problem but not "all road background noise".

The GoldWing GL1800 Intercom system stinks, pure and simple, and Honda should be ashamed. I know what technology exists - I'm a pilot and fly with good vox intercoms and electronic noise-cancelling headsets and I know what a vox intercom costs. The only way to fix the GL1800 system, I guess, is to bypass it entirely. The AutoCom is the only system that I know of that gets good reviews for doing it.

I wish Bill Morphy would come up with a less expensive unit that would be good competition for AutoCom. Maybe he could leave off the FRS and cellphone and radar detector interface stuff and sell it for $225 (using stock headsets which most people already have when they realize this problem) instead of $450 for the AutoCom (includes one headset?).

Jon and Fred Harmon, - thanks for all your work on this.
 

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Jon & Robert,

Thanks for the information. Not exactly what I was hopng to hear, but at least I know where things stand now and that it is not just something on my bike.
 

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Batbiker,

You bring up a good point - a "less-dressed" unit would be nice alternative: maybe Bill or Jon @ Kennedy could come up with something to be competitive and still functional.

The issue with the headsets is probably the biggest stumbling block - to be real effective, they'll probably need to have active noise reduction circuitry in the microphones themselves, which would require at least a retrofit of that portion of an existing system.

Maybe we could get Autocom to break out just the intercom portion of their unit, offering us a version without the other inputs (phone/GPS/FRS/CB and Radar detector) if we don't need them.

At $125/headset, those prices are not too far out of line, it's just the controller cost that gets us.

Oh well, I'm done - thanks for listening. :)
 

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Batbiker,

I think you're very much on the right path. The portable aviation intercom systems are numerous with many no-name labels hitting the market regularly. Also, the noise cancelling headset technology is getting less and less expensive by the year. Do it yourself retrofits for aviation headset are also available. With as large of a Gold Wing community as there is, there certainly must be the talent to either design or reverse engineer, adapt, and/or repackage such products to be more suitable for our two wheeled application. I have been heavily involved for many years in the Ultralight and Rotorcraft community. These are very high wind and ambiant noise environments no different from a bike at highway speeds. As a matter of fact, my Wing is a heck of alot quieter in all respects. Yet the microphonics makes it sound as if I'm riding without a helmet or headsets.

Food for thought for the spark chasers in the crowd:

www.lynx-avionics.com/English_Site/E_Si ... e_set.html

(Funny...this unit is from the UK also, similar in function and quality reputation as Autocom for quiet operation, only packaged with propriatery connectors. You didn't expect it to be cheap did you?)

www.headsetsinc.com

(And this is a surprisingly cheap DIY retrofit kit for aviation headsets...that's unusual for aviation.)
 

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Would you microphonics sufferers like to try a fix ? (dumb question).

Really, I 'm kicking around something that I have mixed feelings about. The simple theory is to amplify the microphone auido of both headsets before it gets into the audio unit, therby allowing you to reduce the gain of the au controls resulting in reduced effects from microphonics .

The porblems:
1) how to do this and to make it easy to install.
2) it would need to be duplicated for the second headset because each now inputs seperately to the au
3) designing not to introduce any new noises. Adding circuit compnents and wiring can cause new noises from most anywhere; brakelights, CB transmitter, heated clothing controllers, headlight modulators, whatever
4) powering these new external preamps, 12V bike system WILL cause alternator whine unless the circuitry is desinged with enough filtering. This in itself makes each black box larger
OR a small seperate battery that would of course need changed and who wants to do that !
5) will it make any improvement ?

Like I said, I'm think'n about it !
 

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Bill,

I think the weak point is still the audio unit itself - the unit will pick up and amplify ambient sounds without any microphones connected at all. Granted, I haven't tried to duplicate it with the input harness disconnected from the audio unit.

Also to test would be whether or not the increased input signal will over-saturate the intercom input, regardless of the "intercom volume" setting.

Is there a separate adjustable gain input for the microphones? (Asking, not doubting)

I think you're on the right track, but everything for me points to a better-designed audio unit and the replacement of the headset harnesses (on the '01 and '02 models).

From Fred's thread about "horn in headsets, etc.":

According to him (Wayne from Sierra Electronics), Honda has a new radio unit that is supposed to fix this problem, though he has not yet received one for testing.
Is this a case of another fix that Honda has for a problem they won't acknowledge, or a rumor? I think we all need to call Honda (310-532-9811) and tell them we're not happy with the issue (even if it doesn't bother you), or they won't fix it. The NHTSA isn't going to get involved for us on this one.

I'm all for a fix for the problem - get crackin!
 

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I don't have my new Wing yet, so take this with a grain of salt.

If the audio amp in the intercom is easy to get to, try sheilding it. One simple method is to simply wrap it 3 or 4 times with aluminum foil around all 6 sides. Be careful of grounding issues at the connectors.

Might it also be that all the wiring is completely unshelded, too? How hard would that be to remove and replace with shielded wire? Wire is pretty cheap.

Rant:
I simply cannot believe the astronomical prices being charged for aftermarket stuff, especially electronics. Gotta be some humongous markups! Honda headsets for example, at $178 for ONE, with quality that just about equal the $15 equivalents in other mass market fields. Chromed metal does cost quite a bit to manufacture, ship, and etc, so that is almost understandable.

AI Nut
 

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Hi Nut,

I'm not sure, but I don't think it'd be very practical to try to shield the whole unit, but it's probably very possible that loose or poor ground connections could be contributing to the problem.

The headset harness wiring is not shielded (at least on the '01 & '02 models) and that is available in a replacement harness assy. from Honda.

Still looking for huge markups, myself... :D
 
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