Transforming your helmet into a surround-sound system.
I had the opportunity to use the Domio audio system on my recent motorcycle trip to Vermont. The Domio helmet audio device turns your helmet into a speaker through micro-vibrations directed onto the shell of your helmet. By mounting on the side or top (suggested) of your helmet, the surface area pad of the Domio reverberates through the shell of your helmet to give you a surround-sound-like experience without obstructing your hearing, as earbuds can.
It was easy to pair with my mobile phone and offered exceptional battery life, lasting about 20 hours (two and a half full days of riding). The sound was deep and clear, and allowed most songs to be audible even at higher speeds. I found the sound to be great, although at speeds over 100 km/h, softer sounds did get muffled through wind noise. [Editor’s note: I had trouble hearing some songs at speed but my ears are much older.]
The Domio is made in Canada and is easy to use with only three large buttons on the top of the unit – a power button and plus and minus buttons – all of which are used to power on or off, check battery, pause/play, adjust volume or change tracks – super-simple.
Now, while I very much enjoyed this easy-to-use system, I do believe there are a lot of variables that contribute to how the system will work for you and your ride. For instance, the type of bike you ride: whether it has a full windscreen and whether the exhaust is quiet or has an aftermarket exhaust on it. Also, the style of helmet you wear? Holding it on the side of a half helmet didn’t produce sound because the shell isn’t covering your ears.
During my trip, I rode my naked standard bike (Suzuki Gladius) and wore my Schuberth helmet – my bike offers no wind protection; however, my helmet tends to be quite quiet, although I really like having my visor open when I ride. I found the system to work well even with high wind noise at greater speeds.
One concern I had mounting the system was whether the mount would hold for a long period of time on the helmet. With the mount having such minimal surface area, it’s easy to ride with the fear that your speaker could fly off at any moment, not to mention that when it was lent to me, it was made very clear that losing it wasn’t an option. The mount, however, proved my doubts wrong and held on well. I noticed that the plastic surface of the mount did slightly separate from the 3M sticky surface of the mount, but I waited until after my trip to try to pull them apart from each other. It was solid and there was no way that it was going to come apart while I rode.
The other concern I experienced with the Domio was that after charging, the protective plug for the USB port was almost impossible to correctly set back into place. The system is meant to be weatherproof, but with the chance of having the USB port not completely sealed from the elements would make me think otherwise. I tried for about 10 minutes to properly set the plug in place before settling for its almost-correct placement. I rode in a little wet weather and it was fine, but I would be concerned with the integrity of the charging port cover in heavy rain.
The Domio sound system is a very cool, well-rounded product, and for the price point of US$129 and a one-year warranty, I feel it’s a worthwhile buy. I would recommend the Domio sound system for anyone who wants reliable and great-sounding music on when riding.
The company is planning to release Domio Pro later this year, which will allow users to also take phone calls. You can find yours at domiosports.com.