Intercom is a useful thing. We decided to make our contribution and maybe help someone in choosing the right equipment. Hence the review of the set that we have had for over a year – Cardo Packtalk Bold. We use them with our Nexx helmets, previously the X.WED2 and X.WST2 versions, now in the X.WED2 Carbon.
In the box, we can find the intercom itself and also two microphones (boom and stick-on) and 40mm JBL speakers. The assembly is very simple, although of course, we have to remove the sponges. The microphones are mounted on velcro, and the speakers easily fit into the cutouts in the helmet. The most work is to arrange the cables so that they do not break, and do not press on the head. However, the whole thing can be done very quickly.
The JBL speakers and the driver used in the Packtalk Bold do an amazing job for a motorcycle intercom. The low tones are surprisingly noticeable and clear. Listening to music on this intercom will satisfy even the most demanding listeners. Of course, there is no comparison with in-ear headphones, but for real motorcycle audiophiles, there is the possibility of connecting them.
DMC Is a Must
The biggest advantage of Packtalk Bold, which probably everyone writes about, is how easy it is to connect with other cardo-ers using DMC. We can create a group of up to 15 members. The biggest one we created was probably eight people and everything worked fine. It’s also great that a once formed “gang” exists all the time and its members connect automatically with each other whenever they are within range. Sometimes, we don’t even see our companions yet, and we already hear them.
With people who don’t have Cardo, we can connect via Bluetooth as standard, but this solution usually ends in frustration and a return to the old way of communication: screaming out loud through the helmet.
Pairing with the phone is instant and intuitive thanks to the Cardo application. In the app, we have the option of choosing the volume level, sound priority, or microphone sensitivity.
Private Rooms and Muting
Cardo also allows us to create private rooms via the app, so if we want, we can talk only to a part of the group or to a single person. We also have the opportunity to completely mute ourselves and others if we want to be alone with our thoughts for a while.
We can “control” the intercom in two ways – by voice or buttons. Four buttons (three small ones and one roller) give a plethora of combinations. Of course, they are all described in the manual, just like the voice commands, so we won’t list them all here.
Both the roller and buttons are easy to find and feel even with thick motorcycle gloves.
Voice control works great, but only during stops and preferably in a quiet space.
Noise Reduction and Automatic Volume Adjustment
Packtalk Bold generally has good noise reduction. Although it can sometimes work too well and cut off the beginning of the first spoken word. This especially happens in the Packtalk Bold – Packtalk Slim relationship.
Problems with noise reduction, or rather the lack of it, usually occur on the passenger side. The microphone can pick up the wind and motorcycle exhaust noise quite intensively. As it turns out – after talking to many motorcycle couples – they have the same observations: noise reduction only works well for the rider. Cardo makes it possible to reduce the sensitivity of the microphone, but it doesn’t change much. During our 5-week trip, strong Norwegian winds meant that we were disconnected most of the time.
What should also be mentioned is the automatic volume adjustment depending on the surrounding noise. On stops, the Cardo intercom reduces the volume. This is one of its greatest advantages.
Up to 70km/h
Speeds above 70km/h significantly deteriorate the sound quality. This is largely influenced by the motorcycle and helmet. For most riders, the limit of unobstructed intercom communication will probably be around 70-90km/h.
Norway, specifically the Norwegian rains, was also a good opportunity to test the water resistance of the intercom and here we can certify that even in a downpour everything worked perfectly.
All-Day Long Talking and Listening to Music
Packtalk Bold is equipped with a battery that easily lasts a whole day of driving. The manufacturer declares 13 hours. Our routes are usually a bit shorter, but with music and navigation, Cardos work morning to evening. But! we’d like to point out that during the stops, we try to remember to turn them off so we don’t waste the battery. Another advantage is the ability to charge the device while using it. This is definitely handy when you forget to charge your equipment overnight.
Indispensable when Photoshooting
In our case, we use Cardo not only for communication on a motorcycle but also when we take photos or make videos. We call each other and thanks to the intercom, we do not have to shout to determine what shots we are taking at the moment. We communicate calmly – the driver has a Packtalk Bold and the photographer, a telephone with an ordinary headset. The sound quality remains flawless.
For what’s most important – music and navigation – Packtalk Bold works perfectly. The speakers give a good sound, and the navigation instructions are very clear because the device mutes the music early enough with the right settings.
The possibility of constant contact with riding companions becomes an indispensable part of trips after the first day of testing.