Cardo Motorcycle 45mm Audio Set Review

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If you’ve purchased a motorcycle communication system and you’re disappointed in its performance, in terms of sound clarity, quality, or even volume, then Cardo offers the perfect solution. The biggest complaint most riders have regarding their headset communication systems is the fact that the sound quality is mediocre and the volume just isn’t loud enough, even when a system is cranked up to full volume.

But, as you know, when you’re riding around on your bike, you need a speaker system that can deliver, one that allows you to easily hear GPS navigation, news reports, or your music, over the roar of your bike and the noise produced by the other motorists on the road. This latest speaker system by Cardo will not only boost the volume, but the speakers also offer the best sound quality and clarity on the market.

Our Verdict: This speaker system from Cardo earned top marks for its excellent sound quality, higher than average volume level, and the JBL speakers, which offer a quality audio experience, all the way. Unfortunately, you cannot take advantage of the JBL sound profiles unless you have a Cardo brand headset and download the app to tweak the settings or choose the sound profile. These speakers can be used for your smartphone or MP3 player, which makes them more versatile compared to competing sets, however, the fact that you can only access the sound profiles via the Cardo Connect app is a big drawback for potential buyers.

Overview and Features

This set from Cardo comes equipped with JBL speakers. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because JBL is one of the leading speaker manufacturers in the world, which is why it’s no surprise that this system earned top marks for sound quality. Since Cardo partnered up with this manufacturer, their speaker sets have been crushing the competition. While other speaker sets tend to focus more on volume level, these speakers provide you with the best of both worlds, offering a higher volume and sound quality that will blow you away.

Cardo Motorcycle 45mm Audio Set

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

  • JBL speakers
  • Sound profiles
  • Lightweight design
  • Versatile
  • Easy to install
  • Comes with extra speaker covers

Design

The manufacturer designed an innovative speaker system that allows you to enjoy listening to your favorite music while you ride around on your bike. This is a forty-five millimeter audio set that consists of a couple of JBL speakers and firmware that will allow you to pair the speakers with an existing helmet headset communication system. These are slim fit speakers that feature foam wrapped edges, for ultimate comfort.

This set comes with loop and hook fasteners, two extra speaker covers, and speaker positioning pads. It also comes with a QR code, which you’ll use to unlock the JBL sound profile.

Installation

Installation is fast and easy. All you’ll have to do is remove the stock speakers from your existing headset. You’ll need to pay careful attention in terms of where you mount the speakers inside the helmet. Proper placement will have a big impact on sound quality and clarity. Because of the speaker’s larger diameter, it may take you a few times to place them correctly. Once you have the speakers installed, you’ll need to ensure that your Cardo brand headset has up to date firmware. You can determine this by visiting the company’s website.

Fortunately, the online interface is simple to use. Once you’re connected to your device, you can then tweak the settings, based on your personal preferences. If you don’t already have the Cardo app on your smartphone, you’ll want to download it at this time. Once your phone and speaker system are connected, you can further adjust the settings under the audio profile tab. This is also where you’ll scan the QR code.

Sound Quality

Whether you have an existing headset communication system, or you’re simply using these speakers with your smartphone, you’ll be impressed with the speaker’s bass response. The difference between these speakers and the ones in your headphones will be immediately obvious. The sound is much fuller and offers the type of clarity and quality you need when you’re on the road and competing with the noise of your engine and the sound of other bikes and cars on the road.

Using the speaker’s standard sound profile, you’ll enjoy a rich sound that’s not overly colored. There’s no doubt you’ll enjoy the speaker’s fidelity, especially when compared to speakers produced by this manufacturer in the past. The top of the line sound quality and improved fidelity will allow you to easily hear GPS communication, phone calls, and your music.

Volume

The louder than average volume level is perfect for riders who normally have trouble making out a simple phone conversation using standard headphones or even a basic helmet communication system, which makes these speakers a must-have upgrade. The additional volume of the speakers will produce extra bass and a nice boost in audio quality. Normally, when you crank speakers up to the full volume you’ll run into distortion, or a dip in sound clarity at the very least.

Bass

The speaker’s bass boost profile gives the speaker’s audio a much-needed bass boost, without any distortion. Of course, whether or not this extra bass matters to you will depend on what type of music you listen to, but if you prefer bass-heavy tracks, then you’ll love how these speakers handle bass.

JBL Sound Profiles

Considered the best helmet motorcycle speakers on the market due to their adjustability, these speakers come with three different JBL sound profiles to choose from: vocal, bass boost, and standard. From the names of the profiles, you can easily choose the right profile based on the type of music you listen to. Of course, a big drawback here is the fact that you won’t be able to access or use these profile options unless it’s for a Cardo brand headset. The speakers can be used for your smartphone or MP3 player, but you won’t be able to use the Cardo app to adjust the speaker settings or take advantage of these important audio profiles.

Performance

The manufacturer claims that their partnership with JBL has allowed them to create the highest quality audio experience, and they weren’t wrong. These speakers are a high-quality piece of tech that you won’t want to pass on by if you’re looking for a speaker system you can really rely on when you’re riding your bike. This model will work with smartphones and MP3 players, in addition to Cardo brand headset communication systems. With the purchase, you can take advantage of JBL’s equalizer and sound processing software, if you own an existing Cardo headset system. The sound processing tech allows you to get the best sound quality, even when you’re flying down the freeway or navigating through traffic.

The equalizer profile is where you’ll customize the sound, so you can adjust the sound based on the type of music you listen to. The slim fit speaker design, combined with the thick foam padding promotes user comfort, allowing you to slide the speakers easily into any type and style of helmet. The sticky adhesive tabs make it easy to swap the speakers from helmet to helmet. Of course, this may not be an option for some models of half helmets, so you may need to switch to a new type of helmet style if you’re considering investing in this type of speaker setup. To learn more about your style options, click here to read my extensive guide on what type of helmet you should use.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Pros

  • Slim fit design
  • Thick foam padding
  • Extra speaker covers
  • Fast and easy installation
  • Versatile
  • JBL audio profiles

Cons

  • The price
  • Can only be used with Cardo brand communication systems, smartphones, and MP3 players
  • JBL sound profiles can only be accessed if you have a Cardo brand headset

Cardo Motorcycle Speakers Versus Alta Wireless Bluetooth Helmet Speakers

The competing speakers by Alta offer a much different design in comparison. The fit is similar to that of your standard headphones, so wearing them in a variety of helmet styles isn’t an issue. Additionally, you won’t have to deal with the speakers sliding inside the helmet during use. These competing speakers are also much more versatile compared to the Cardo system. You can also use the speakers to activate Google voice or Siri, which is a feature the Cardo system is lacking. Of course, these speakers aren’t without their limitations.

They cannot be used to upgrade the existing speakers in your helmet communication system. Instead, they’re a much better alternative if you’re a rider who simply wants a pair of helmet approved speakers that will allow you to take or make calls, or choose music, hands-free.

Conclusion and Rating

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This Cardo speaker system is a great upgrade if you have an existing Cardo brand helmet communication system, or you want new helmet speakers you can use with your smartphone. The slim fit design of the speakers will allow you to use them with a variety of helmet styles and sizes. However, this system is not without its limitations. It cannot be used for any other type of communication system, and you will not have access to the JBL sound profiles unless you have a Cardo brand headset and download the app. In terms of sound quality, this system delivers. If you’re looking for speakers that offer better sound quality, excellent bass, and a higher volume, then this isn’t a system you want to pass by. This model earned a rating of four and a half out of five stars.