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SENA 30K intercom test


In the connected biker 2.0 family, I choose thebluetooth intercom. Can we say that the latest intercom from SENA, l’sena 30K intercom, with its MESH technology is version 2.1 of the connected biker? I had the chance to try it for 1 month. I sell you the “MESH” on the possibilities of this intercom…

Foreword (or test)…

There are a multitude of small “things” to attach to or in your helmet, in order to communicate with your passenger or another biker. Where it gets complicated is in terms of reach, number of riders and compatibility.

The entire #EnjoyTheRide team has already introduced you to other models such as the DEXTER D-1 tested by Mr iMattheus and Cedric. Loic for its part attacked the other major competing brand, with the CARDO Freecom 2. While Meuhsli presents us with the CELLULAR LINE tower intercom.

Sena makes things simple with thesena 30K intercom. Available alone or in duo. On paper, we are being sold a dream: a range of up to 2000 m and 16 bikers in a conference, without any tedious pairing manipulation.

For the purposes of the test, an intercom was mounted on an HJC RPHA ST helmet. And the second, after quickly switching to the SHARK Skwal 2, I installed it on my favorite helmet at the moment, the SHOEI NXR, tested here.

The packaging of the Sena 30K intercom

If there's one thing we can say, it's that Sena isn't stingy with the accessories provided in the box. In addition to the intercom kit composed of a support with clip, stereo earpieces, boom microphone for jet helmet and bluetooth module, you will find everything necessary for mounting thesena 30K intercom on a wide variety of headsets.

A half-boom microphone for modular helmets, and a wired microphone for full-face helmets. A mounting bracket with a 3M sticker, if your helmet does not allow the clamp to be mounted. Sets of foam and velcro stickers of different sizes to best position earpieces and microphones in all helmets. Foam for headphones and 4 foam tips for microphones. A mini jack to micro jack cable to connect an external source. A micro USB cable for charging as well as a cigarette lighter socket. And all that, multiplied by 2 for the duo packs... And of course, a quick start guide.

All these elements are also available in small packs to make new installations on other helmets or to replace a damaged part. Call the motoblouz customer service to get them for you.

Installation in your helmet

It is not very complicated to assemble the sena 30K Intercom kit in a helmet. Especially if you are used to dismantling your interior foams to wash them. You unclip the cheek pads and the cap. Put on the pliers and tighten it. You have small additional shims to adapt the pliers to the rounding of the helmet. Temporarily position the headphones and microphone. Pull up the foam to hide the wires.

If your headset does not have a fabric surface to place the headphones on, use the 3M Velcro adhesives provided. Do some positioning tests before gluing them. Make sure they are positioned correctly, facing your ears.

On some helmets, slots are provided. Use the foam wedges to bring them as close as possible. I noticed that depending on the helmets and head shapes, the location provided was not the most suitable. So allow around 30 minutes for a clean assembly, taking your time.

The care of

At first glance, it may seem complicated to use all the functions of thesena 30K intercom. What I advise you to do is to start by mastering each feature before moving on to the next one. Within a day, your fingers will be used to the location of the buttons. And in 2 or 3 uses, thesena 30K intercom will have almost no secrets for you… Everything will become intuitive.

I advise you to make your first approach at home, sitting on the sofa, with your helmet on your head (send us your photos!). It will be more secure.

The volume is easily adjusted using the large dial. Then using the 3 buttons, using short, long or double presses, you easily access all the functions. Manipulating the buttons is easy with summer gloves, easy with mid-season gloves and more difficult with large winter gloves, but doable. It exists a wireless remote control to position on your handlebars if you wish.

MESH technology, what exactly is it?

The latest addition to the SENA range is equipped with mESH technology (adaptive mesh network). To put it simply, it is an open intercom conference that allows you to connect with any compatible intercom (for the moment only 30K). This, automatically and without prior pairing. All it takes is for 2 bikers (or more) to pass each other, and presto the intercoms connect on their own and you can chat. This conversation is public. This is the “PUBLIC MESH” function. Be careful what you say, others may hear you.

For confidential conversations, simply activate the “PRIVATE MESH” function. In this case, only authorized members via the application on your smartphone can enter the group, as soon as they are within range.

Any member can enter or leave the conference (public or private), or change place within the group... This technology immediately recomposes the MESH in an optimal way. This system is so practical that we regret that this technology has not become a standard for all intercom manufacturers. It doesn't matter the brand. It is a safe bet that the future models from Sena will be MESH compatible.

A small downside though. In public mode, when you enter the perimeter of another intercom, it is a shame not to have an alert telling you that you are connected with a new participant.
It is true that in large cities where the number of participants who use this sena 30K intercom is more important, it could be tiring to hear an alert every 30 seconds. But adding to this option a disable function, I'm sure it would be great.

Universal intercom function via Bluetooth

You are going to tell me that your traveling companions do not use this model of intercom. Not even this brand. No problem: thesena 30K intercom has the universal intercom function. If this function is available on others, you can pair them.

You can communicate with up to 4 riders at the same time. I tested the universal intercom feature with other devices, from various brands, and even some unbranded. The range is then that of the weakest device, most generally around 200 m.

Keep in mind that in a Bluetooth conference, you must maintain your position in the group. Otherwise, you risk having the connection cut.

The scope

The figures announced for the range are like for all other manufacturers... They are given for optimal conditions which you will almost never encounter. This is due to the buildings, the pollution of the waves that surround us…

With the 2 intercoms from the DUO pack, in the open countryside, I still managed to obtain the distance of 1400 m before communication in MESH mode deteriorated. In bluetooth mode, this happens at 1100 m. Arriving in the city center, the range is significantly reduced and drops to 300 m, depending on the location, in both modes. Keep in mind that when you lose sight of your traveling companion, you also risk losing communication.

That being said, it must be admitted that even if the promised distances are not kept, it is still a good distance.

Other sources

If you use your phone as GPS, no problem, the sound will come out on the headphones. Or, simply connect your standalone GPS via Bluetooth… Cédric has just tested the TomTom Rider 450 here. Otherwise the sockets (1 input and 1 output) are available.

Using voice command

As I write this, the voice control built into thesena 30K intercom is only available in English. Given the regular updates of their products and the developments made each time, there is no doubt that it will be available in French sooner or later. However, thesena 30K intercom speaks to you in French to confirm what you are doing.

Personally, I prefer to use the voice assistant on my phone (I have an iPhone with SIRI). My guinea pig for this test has a Samsung S8. The Android voice assistant, although less efficient in his opinion than its iOS counterpart, works correctly.

An ambient mode

What a great idea to have added this mode! This helps amplify outside sounds into the headphones. If its usefulness convinces me without hesitation, there is still progress to be made on this function for it to be effective. For now, it lets us hear a confused sound of what is happening outside. Hopefully future updates will fix this issue.

Call while driving

Putting headphones in your ears is not permitted by the highway code. However, the helmet being considered as the passenger compartment of a vehicle, a Bluetooth device with fixed headphones is therefore authorized. Assume that the conversation you have while riding will distract you and take up a lot of your attention. Prefer to stop.

I still tested this function of thesena 30K intercom weeling. Below 12,000 rpm, my correspondent had no idea for a moment that I was on a motorcycle. For my part, clear and distinct sound quality. Even at unsavory speeds and lots of rpm, I could hear perfectly.

For long journeys, I use motorcycle-specific earplugs. This does not hinder the use of thesena 30K intercom. But remember to lower the volume after use so as not to be surprised the next time you use it without caps.

Follow the rhythm with music

Depending on your miles, no longer be alone with a little music or FM. Before my premier try, I didn't think it could be so nice... You must of course hear everything that is happening around you, for safety reasons.

In addition, the listening quality is particularly good, even at high volume. At first, I found that the bass was not very present and that the sound was too sharp for my taste. A little tweak in the equalizer settings, and presto, it's perfect.

For FM, tune to your top 10 stations and EnjoyTheRide. No problem capturing... Some crackling because thesena 30K intercom is not as powerful as a car antenna, but more than sufficient.

You can listen to music while doing something else, like an intercom conversation, and even share it with your callers. Be careful with the music you listen to while driving, prefer soft and soothing music. The last time I listened to AC/DC while driving, my rev counter flew.

Aerodynamics

You are right to think about it. Because thesena 30K intercom is not the smallest of intercoms... Its presence on the side of your helmet does not hinder your movements in any way. It also does not create wind resistance forcing you to counter the pressure.

In terms of noise generated by this appendage, it is almost zero. You have to listen closely to hear a very faint whistle. But by changing its position on your helmet (further forward or the opposite), or its spacing using the shims provided, I'm sure there is a way to no longer have it. And deploying the antenna does not change these findings. It is only used for MESH mode.

Autonomy

An announced autonomy of 13 hours in intercom mode and 8 hours in MESH intercom mode. I have not been able to measure this data precisely. I spent a full day in MESH mode, and by evening I had 20% left. For the rest: music, telephone...sena 30K intercom lasts the week without problem.

Please note that it takes less than an hour and a half to be fully charged. Indeed, this sena 30K intercom features fast charging allowing 5 hours of battery life with just 20 minutes of charging.

The smartphone application

A smartphone application (Android and iOS) is available. It allows you to manage almost everything. Know the version of firmware installed on your module, connect intercoms, modify parameters, modify groups... All that is missing is the battery level. For the latter, on an iPhone, you can see it in the “Batteries” widget expressed in % as on your phone.

I had the unpleasant surprise, when discovering the first version of the app on iOS, to have it in English… Whereas on Android, it was already translated. An update corrected this. And now, even if it is not yet 100% translated into French (only the menu titles remain in English), the main thing is. Just a little more effort, and it will be perfect.

A little clarification for those who already know the SENA brand and its applications. For this sena 30K intercom, it is a specific application called “SENA30KUTILITY”. The other application compatible with this intercom is “RIDECONNECTED” which allows you to connect several brand intercoms using your mobile's internet connection. This means you are no longer limited by distance, but requires good network coverage and addition to your data plan.

The update on PC

The Bluetooth module detaches from its support attached to the headset, it is very easy to update thesena 30K intercom on your PC, without having to lug around the entire headset.

So you connect the intercom to your PC, launch the program available on the Sena website, follow the instructions... And that's it. Small bonus of this program, as with the mobile app, you can adjust the settings according to your wishes.

The annoying thing… the price

It is clear that thesena 30K intercom is not the cheapest at the moment. Count in the €295.00 in the solo version, and in the €511.33 in the Duo pack. But others are more expensive. Considering the quality of the material and the features provided, the price is justified. Let's not forget that we have here, the current top of the range from Sena .

And there you have it, we've done the tour! Do not hesitate to ask your questions if any doubt persists about the possibilities of this intercom.

Features4.5
Autonomy4.5
Scope4.5
Sound quality4.5
Ease of use4
Contents of the pack5

My opinion: Feature-rich and accessible

Despite a promised distance not achieved, the range is still generous. The sound quality is fabulous in my opinion. Lots of features, and once you get the hang of it, very easy to use. The autonomy is not left out, and it conforms to that announced. The Sena 30K intercom is a high-end device.
4.5

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Thibaud

Lover of big roadsters and curved roads. Motorcycling for me is a leisure activity, I rarely use it as a utility vehicle, I often ride with friends or as a duo with my son.

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