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Captain Buddha

Finally - a Quality 2-way Intercom!!

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Reporting back on the Traccom!

 

I have the intercom box, and two student headsets. I used it for a full weekend of instructing, and put it through its paces. My Nady disappeared at the last PDS, so I ordered the Racecom from Winding Road. At $300 shipped it's pretty steep. But I've easily spent that twice over on Chatterbox and Nady units + replacement headsets. Winding Road had it on my doorstep the next day. Excellent!

The good 

Overall, it's the best intercom set I've used. The headsets seem sturdy, the cords are long enough to reach and be out of the way but don't have the tangly curly telephone cord bit that others do. The plugs push in tightly and lock in place. I love the idea of independent volume control, and audio quality is top notch. The large, snappy rocker switch and bright green LED make power on and off obvious and easy - a far cry from the dim red pinhole and tiny switch you get with a NADY or the slider on/off of the Chatterbox. The unit is physically large, which I actually like. Easy to grasp in a hand without worry of inadvertently changing the volume or unplugging a cord. And it runs on a single 9V battery, so you can carry spares and not worry about chargers.

 

The meh

Unfortunately I found that both my student and myself had the volume all the way up to hear properly through the headsets. Fair enough for me, since I was wearing squishy foam ear plugs, but my student was not. I'd like it to get even louder. The volume control adjustment knobs are not even remotely linear - in a quiet room the audio is near silent until the last few degrees of a 360 degree range, where it ramps up exponentially to maximum. The first 180-270 degrees are basically useless, at least with the student headsets. I worry that down the road, the sliders will wear out and spin more freely, making volume adjustment more difficult to keep still. The headsets themselves use a hard rubber surround at the speaker. It's a thick profile to jam in your helmet, but does seem to cup the speaker around your ear to block out external noise. The rubber itself is attached with adhesive, and out of the box both my headsets already had the surround peeling away. Apparently the newer units come with a "comfort foam surround."

 

The rub

Given the sort of high-quality gadgetry you can get for $300 these days, you aren't getting much bang for your technological buck. It's old tech - through hole, hand soldered board. Hand assembled clamshell plastic box. It's rough around the edges - especially headset comfort. But it doesn't feel cheap. The best comparison I can give is that Nady and Chatterbox units feel like toys - thin, light, frail plastic boxes with fragile, delicate power and volume controls. They squeak and creak when you squeeze them. The Trac-com, however, feels like a tool. It's a sturdy, no-nonsense box with big, clunky controls. I'm definitely satisfied so far, and would highly recommend getting one if you're in the market for an intercom!

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Thanks for the review. Have you given this feedback back to Traccom? Hopefully "v2" will address these concerns.

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Reporting back on the Traccom!

 

I have the intercom box, and two student headsets. I used it for a full weekend of instructing, and put it through its paces. My Nady disappeared at the last PDS, so I ordered the Racecom from Winding Road. At $300 shipped it's pretty steep. But I've easily spent that twice over on Chatterbox and Nady units + replacement headsets. Winding Road had it on my doorstep the next day. Excellent!

The good 

Overall, it's the best intercom set I've used. The headsets seem sturdy, the cords are long enough to reach and be out of the way but don't have the tangly curly telephone cord bit that others do. The plugs push in tightly and lock in place. I love the idea of independent volume control, and audio quality is top notch. The large, snappy rocker switch and bright green LED make power on and off obvious and easy - a far cry from the dim red pinhole and tiny switch you get with a NADY or the slider on/off of the Chatterbox. The unit is physically large, which I actually like. Easy to grasp in a hand without worry of inadvertently changing the volume or unplugging a cord. And it runs on a single 9V battery, so you can carry spares and not worry about chargers.

 

The meh

Unfortunately I found that both my student and myself had the volume all the way up to hear properly through the headsets. Fair enough for me, since I was wearing squishy foam ear plugs, but my student was not. I'd like it to get even louder. The volume control adjustment knobs are not even remotely linear - in a quiet room the audio is near silent until the last few degrees of a 360 degree range, where it ramps up exponentially to maximum. The first 180-270 degrees are basically useless, at least with the student headsets. I worry that down the road, the sliders will wear out and spin more freely, making volume adjustment more difficult to keep still. The headsets themselves use a hard rubber surround at the speaker. It's a thick profile to jam in your helmet, but does seem to cup the speaker around your ear to block out external noise. The rubber itself is attached with adhesive, and out of the box both my headsets already had the surround peeling away. Apparently the newer units come with a "comfort foam surround."

 

The rub

Given the sort of high-quality gadgetry you can get for $300 these days, you aren't getting much bang for your technological buck. It's old tech - through hole, hand soldered board. Hand assembled clamshell plastic box. It's rough around the edges - especially headset comfort. But it doesn't feel cheap. The best comparison I can give is that Nady and Chatterbox units feel like toys - thin, light, frail plastic boxes with fragile, delicate power and volume controls. They squeak and creak when you squeeze them. The Trac-com, however, feels like a tool. It's a sturdy, no-nonsense box with big, clunky controls. I'm definitely satisfied so far, and would highly recommend getting one if you're in the market for an intercom!

 

I wonder if it would be louder if it was connected to different earpiece? Get the NASCAR or IMSA connector and different brand earpiece?

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If anyone is interested we could do an engineering shootout.

 

We have an arbitrary waveform generator, spectrum analyzer, various o-scopes, and some other kit to do a full frequency response analysys and dB output test :)

 

 

 

 
 

I wonder if it would be louder if it was connected to different earpiece? Get the NASCAR or IMSA connector and different brand earpiece?

 

 

Perhaps. I'm sending my helmet off for an intercom installation so will be able to report back. However, due to the exponential increase at the top of the range I'm thinking it's a linear response issue with the amplifier circuit and adjustment potentiometer range.

 


 

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I have a very nice unit designed for rally cars.  independent volume controls for each person.  it was about $350 all in to my door, but beats the crap out of the other junk out there and beats the HMS unit.  I have comms in my helmet, so I just plug in.

 

http://www.rallynuts.com/rosso-racing-intercom-amplifiers.html

 

Rosso IC-200.  IMSA connection for me and regular (but way beefier than Chatterbox) headset for the student.

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I have a very nice unit designed for rally cars.  independent volume controls for each person.  it was about $350 all in to my door, but beats the crap out of the other junk out there and beats the HMS unit.  I have comms in my helmet, so I just plug in.

 

http://www.rallynuts.com/rosso-racing-intercom-amplifiers.html

 

Rosso IC-200.  IMSA connection for me and regular (but way beefier than Chatterbox) headset for the student.

 

What boom did you use?

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I'm using a chatterbox with adapters, so that I can use iphone earbuds. Works flawlessly. So much better than the booms. You don't have to crank the volume up so high to comprehend the speech, because you have audio in both ears. 

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What boom did you use?

They offer one as I recall. Jacy Legault ordered them all. I have no boom. I go straight to my helmet. I'll find out what boom he ordered me for the student side.

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Another weekend in the books using the Racecom.

 

If nothing else the dual volume control is really great. Haven't had an issue with the headsets, and the cords don't ball up and tangle like chatterbox.

 

I will note that it's extremely sensitive to cell phone interference - smart phones these days talk to the network constantly, so if you have it in your pocket and the box near it, you'll hear constant clicks and static sounds, and if you're using the phone you'll get that classic "cell phone next to microphone interference" noise.

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I will note that it's extremely sensitive to cell phone interference - smart phones these days talk to the network constantly, so if you have it in your pocket and the box near it, you'll hear constant clicks and static sounds, and if you're using the phone you'll get that classic "cell phone next to microphone interference" noise.

 

That would be some feedback worth reporting to the maker of the unit.  They may be able to add better filters or shielding in a future version.

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They offer one as I recall. Jacy Legault ordered them all. I have no boom. I go straight to my helmet. I'll find out what boom he ordered me for the student side.

 

Yep -- that's the setup I am after -- I have IMSA helmet kit, but need something for students.

 

m

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He ordered it from rallynuts.com in the U.K. I don't see it on their website and he is up at WGI right now.

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Student headset is from HMS. Rosso was from rallynuts.com

 

More info if you're interested in the IC200. Rosso has an IC-200 wired for IMSA or for Stilo. They are working on a lollypop student headset, but it's not out yet. I've been using the student headsets for Stilo wiring that HMS and Tachterion are selling (which also come in Stilo or IMSA pinout/connectors). They could use a better speaker, but are pretty solid. As Scott mentioned, rallynuts seems to be the main distributor with the best prices, although the GBP has been gaining traction as of late. 

 

The IC-200 is a modern intercom with digital filters and amps. It runs on a 9V battery or can be hardwired into 12V. It has separate volume controls for both users, and an audio out for wiring into your camera. The sound quality is much better than the Chatterbox and the unit HMS is selling. In contrast to the Stilo DG-10 (which is more than 2x the price), the IC-200 much easier to use, plays louder, but gives up a bit of noise filtering quality and car-to-car connectivity features. 

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More info if you're interested in the IC200. Rosso has an IC-200 wired for IMSA or for Stilo. They are working on a lollypop student headset, but it's not out yet. I've been using the student headsets for Stilo wiring that HMS and Tachterion are selling (which also come in Stilo or IMSA pinout/connectors). They could use a better speaker, but are pretty solid. As Scott mentioned, rallynuts seems to be the main distributor with the best prices, although the GBP has been gaining traction as of late. 

 

The IC-200 is a modern intercom with digital filters and amps. It runs on a 9V battery or can be hardwired into 12V. It has separate volume controls for both users, and an audio out for wiring into your camera. The sound quality is much better than the Chatterbox and the unit HMS is selling. In contrast to the Stilo DG-10 (which is more than 2x the price), the IC-200 much easier to use, plays louder, but gives up a bit of noise filtering quality and car-to-car connectivity features. 

 

I've ordered one from RallyNuts and a lolly-pop from HMS -- hope to get both soon -- I have IMSA setup with my Roux helmet.  I'll have my well worn Chatterbox (old style) as a backup.

 

Thanks for all the info everyone.

 

Mike

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Apologies for resurrecting an old thread, but seemed relevant to the subject. 

Has anybody tried the wireless Bluetooth motorcycle intercom systems? Cardo and Sena have numerous Bluetooth intercom systems. I would think they would be perfect for track days as they're voice-activated, wireless, and designed for high ambient noise. 

I have a Traccom v2 that has been sitting brand new in a box unused largely because I don't want to deal with cables all over the place.

These Bluetooth intercoms ideally would solve all of that in one elegant (albeit pricey) solution.

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I tried a Bluetooth setup but didn't like it. I had pairing issues, and the microphone and sending unit was not convenient to attach for the student. When you have multiple students, which I usually did, moving it was just a pain.

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