When I started motorcycling, I started using earplugs almost immediately. (Credit due to some of the writers/editors of Motorcyclist Magazine in the early 90's - actually, they're the ones that I learned about Aerostich from as well.) Last year, I started commuting a little over a hundred miles each way on my ST1100 and began looking for reasonable ways to listen to music during the trip. Regular earbuds had to be cranked all the way up to try to drown out the wind noise. I value my hearing so that was a ridiculous option. Reviews on many helmet speakers seemed poor, so I started looking into Etymōtic. The biggest thing I was worried about was pressure on my ears from the drivers possibly sticking out too much for the padding in my helmet. The pictures I could find of people wearing them seemed to show them protruding a bit. I was prepared to return them when I placed my order. As it turns out, those pictures were probably more to display them than show functionality .There are no clearance problems in my helmet and they isolate sounds well. A lot of the annoying sounds are blocked out (even at 100MPH), but I can still hear elements of traffic so I still have an awareness of my surroundings. Best of all, I can keep the volume on my iPod/iPhone below the halfway point and still hear my playlists easily. I'm also in airplanes a lot and these are lifesavers when a family with little kids are on board. If you read other reviews of people complaining of sound quality, you might want to question if they had them installed in their ears properly. Depth does make a difference. I'm no audiophile, but I think these sound great! I've had crappy sounding earphones/earbuds before. These are not crappy. If you're expecting them to equal the sound of AKG, Sennheiser, or Beyerdynamic headphones; sure, you'll likely be disappointed. If you have realistic expectations, these are great.
Unfortunately, I have been using a custom pair of earphones from BigEar that were made at one of the MOA rallies. They were expensive and have stopped working two times. The first time I did send them back and the charge to repair them was almost $200. They have stopped working again. I refuse to send them back; therefore, I thought that I would give Etymotic a try. They are a fraction of the cost and are designed so much better. One huge problem with BigEar, is that wax tends to clog the earphone. It only takes a very small amount to prevent them from working. Etymotic has a filter to keep the wax away. The noise reduction is also superior and they are not custom made. There are so many options for the stock ear inserts, everyone will be able to find a suitable insert to fit their ears. The only drawback that I have found with these phones, is that the replacement filters are expensive. Conclusion, I wish that I knew about Etymotic much sooner. (Posted on 10/14/12)
I use these occasionally on rides to listen to my mp3. Follow directions...install like earplugs and they work very well. My 650 strom has little wind protection and earplugs are needed to keep the noise level down. These have the same effect, regular ear buds are useless. (Posted on 9/22/11)