HaloCam M1 and Shure 425 In-ear Monitor Review (get a cup of coffee, it's long)...

BMW RT Pilot

Premier Member
#1
I just completed the penultimate ride in the 12 Ides 1000 Insanity series this past Sunday so I was able to put the HaloCam M1 and the Shure 425 In-ear Monitors (IEMs) to the test. Here's what I found:

HaloCam M1
[NOTE: If you want to see how and where I mounted the cameras and DVR, look to this thread. I want to add that after the ride, the DVR was still in the same position, despite not being attached to the bike, and dry.]

I installed this device on my RT and went on an 17-hour ride around the neighborhood (in other words, I went through 4 Southern states). When I got home and looked over the footage, there were two gaps of about 2 hours each in the coverage, and three sets of the A/B files were corrupt and unusable. In addition, despite setting the loop function for 5 minutes, there were several instances where the device only captured from :30 to a minute or two.

As for the footage itself, I suppose it's what you'd expect from these sorts of cameras- it'll give you the big picture but doubtful you'll be able to read license plates; it's barely able to read the smaller road signs. The HaloCam M1 watermark is permanent. The device shows date and time at the bottom but not speed or location data. I didn't seem to have any issues with vibration.

My kit came with a dead 12V to 5V power cable. After several days of waiting for them to contact me, they have finally shipped a new cable. In the meantime, I am using a USB cable to power the system, something that is pretty damn sweet if you ask me. If I keep this device, I may not even bother hardwiring it to the bike and just manually connect the USB cable for power for when I want it to record.

Nowhere is it to be found in the instructions that there is a watch-style battery in the system; I discovered this only by searching for power issues and saw that bit of 4-1-1 in the ADV Forums. The battery is there to allow the system to write files to the SD card when the power is shut-off and that's a good thing, but because I didn't know this, I spent two or three days troubleshooting phantom electrical issues, and anyone who has tried running down electrical gremlins knows that this can be a real bitch. You see, the system wouldn't come on when the bike turned-on, but I was able to manually power the thing up by holding the power button. The splash screen would come on, then the whole thing shut-off. This led me to believe that power from the bike was getting to the system but that power was somehow being interrupted and shut-off. The system always worked on an external battery, so I knew it wasn't the M1 itself. As soon as I read about that battery, I disconnected everything from the M1 and was able to recreate and confirm that issue.

I bought a Samsung EVO 256GB card for this (this is the card they recommend for this size). As I mentioned, I went on a 17-hour ride, recording in 5-minute loops at max resolution. When I put the card into my PC, I had like 288 video files, each about 251MB (with the exception of those mysterious shorter clips), and a total storage used size of about 65GB.

The SD card, post-formatting, has 238GB of storage available, so (238/65) * 17 = ~62 hours of recording time. The files themselves are simple MP4s, so shouldn't be any issues with compatibility. This is based on the highest settings and 5-minute looping.

The biggest gripe I have is that the GPS data is not transferable to your PC. Let me tell you how this whole thing is supposed to work:

First, you create an account with them. You then upload all of the data to their servers, finally, you will be able to view the GPS data, BUT ONLY IN THE PHONE APP! You cannot at this time (and maybe not even in the future), download this data to your PC/Mac.

Allow me to share the most recent email I received from them when I asked them about this:

Oh I understand.
I've forwarded your demand to our dev team to discuss.
Thanks for your feedback to me.

And for the GPS data uploading problem, I quite understand your meaning,
if there is no need to upload it and view it directly when the phone app is connected to the camera,
it will save a lot of effort and time.

But please know that the route tracking needs GPS data, as well as the map data which needs to occupy hundreds of Mb (even several Gb) of space,
if we add the map data into the app, this app may need to occupy that large space in your phone, and also,
whenever the map has update, you need to update the app, or the route tracking will not be accurate.

Then if we store the map information in our server, and only transfer the GPS data between the app and the server,
then no matter how large of the map data, it will not influence you to use the app and the route tracking function.

Just like the Google Map, when your phone has no internet connection, you then can't use it to search places.
That's because Google stores all the map data in their server, and when you need to find a certain place,
Google will transfer the exact data to you, rather than send you all the map data of the whole country.

But I know the GPS data upload process now is too complex,
since when the phone app is connecting with the camera,
the phone can't connect with the internet...

We are planing to develop a new function later,
which allows phone to use the data while connecting with the camera.
Then there will not be so many steps to view the GPS data.

And for the desktop application for computer, I've forward this feedback to our dev team.
Thank you again!

I really know that there are many things we can do on this M1,
and we will also try our best to make it better!
And we may develop a new model within the first half year,
I hope you are willing to be a beta tester then!

I'm sorry again for all the confusion and inconvenience caused for you!
Have a good dream,
Amos
So I don't know if these people know this or not, but many, many, dashcams out there include GPS data and that data can be transferred to a computer for further usage. I am not sure what they are talking about about having to store massive amounts of map data since all they need are the coordinates...simple text...which take up virtually zero storage space.

The bottom line here is that if you want to use DashCam Viewer to make a sweet-ass video of your tearing through the Dragon, with speed and a real-time map, well then, you're gonna be disappointed. Big Time.

You can view the screen through the silicone cover with no real issues. Also, when you connect the app to the device, it's over WiFi which means you will lose all mobile and WiFi data connections. I understand they are going to do something about this glaring issue. Read the above quote again for their response.

Lastly, the time on the device will only sync if it is connected to the phone, but as mentioned earlier, if your phone is connected to the M1, you won't have any internet data connection. So, if you are using a tracking service like BubblerGPS or using your phone for navigation, well, you're out of luck.

The INNOVV K2 costs almost twice as much, but seems way more user-friendly, and has been in the game a lot longer.

Frankly, it's a hard call on whether I will return this system in favor of the (more expensive) INNOVV K2 (whose components, BTW, are all waterproof); I like the lower price and USB power option on the M1 but hate the permanent watermark, the lack of useful GPS data retrieval, and the breaks in coverage I experienced.

Here are some videos the system took while on the ride. They are in order of creation and I've included a mix of day/night, wet/dry conditions. The audio source comes only from the mic/"wonderful video" switch, which was mounted on the front brake reservoir, but was under the Wunderlich bar muffs.


Shure 425 In-ear Monitors (IEM)
Get these.

I mean right. Effin'. Now.

You can stop reading at this point.

These are primarily used by musicians playing live music so that they can hear themselves play without totally destroying their ability to hear others. I got my set at a Guitar Center for about $240 during the Christmas shopping season. You can search for them online to find out what they come with, yadda, yadda, yadda. I am here to tell you how they work for us motorcyclists...

Did I mention that they kick serious ass?

I always wear ear protection when I ride but despite the various earplugs I've used, I've still had that "droning" sound in my head even after I've been off of the bike for a while. Anyone who has ridden LD knows that this can beat you down mentally and physically the longer you go on. I am super happy to report that I had ZERO "droning" at any point! Frankly, everytime I had a stop and took these things off, I felt like I hadn't even been riding at all!

With these in my ears, I was able to hold a conversation with a few peeps at the gas stations I was at, though I had to listen a bit more carefully, which is normal when you have something in your ears. What is really freaky, though, is what I heard when I had them in my ears (not plugged up to anything), while I was putting my gear on. Simply amazing.

The audio quality was a bazillion times better than the Sena 20S speakers, but then, that's really not a fair comparison, is it? Before, while using those speakers and ear plugs, I had to have the 20S at full volume just to barely make-out what was playing and listening to something like talk radio or an audiobook was simply not possible- Stairway to Heaven wasn't recognizable at all until near the end! With the 425s, I had to turn the volume setting to somewhere in the lower third of its range and when I wanted to rock-out, I had lots of wiggle room, volume-wise, to do so. I could also listen to audiobooks as well.

I ended up taking the 20S speakers out of the helmet to make even more room for my ears and the 425s.

So it took me a little while to get the order of operations for getting these things on, as well as my balaclava and helmet, but here's how I did it:

First, connect the plug to the jack in your helmets' communicator and set your helmet within arms reach (we're not wrapping excess wire or anything). Now put the IEMs in your ear with the wires in front of you. Put on your balaclava and carefully get some slack around your ears and make sure the 425s are still in place. You also want to make sure that you have enough slack in the wires to turn your head fully left and right and not have them come out of place. Finally, place the helmet on your noggin, being careful not to knock these things out.

Now for the excess wire, what you are going to do is to have the excess wire hanging in front of your chest, put your jacket on and make sure the wire is coming out of the collar area with enough slack to turn your head but not so much that it's flapping in the wind. This happened to me on the first leg, at night, and when I went to do something with my 20S, my arm caught the wire and pulled it out of the headphone jack.

These are so good that I am going to be looking into getting custom ear molds for a more secure fit.

I didn't have any pain or discomfort with these things after nearly 17 hours (well, 16 hours and 28 minutes to be more exact, lol). I can't say the same about the various foam earplugs I've used.


Conclusions:

HaloCam M1: 6.875/10
Pros:
Decent picture quality, inexpensive, easy installation, good customer support, cable lengths are very good, ability to power through 5V USB
Cons: GPS data not really useful, cameras are not GoPro-level readable for license plates, phone app requires you to sever your data connection in order to use it, mine came with a dead power cable


Shure 425 IEMs: 11/10
Pros:
Excellent audio quality, excellent noise deadening, excellent audio situational-awareness, multiple tips to fit your ears
Cons: Doesn't gas up the bike, you'll love these so much that you'll want to take even more frequent and longer trips which will result in higher maintenance and fuel costs as well as less family time. :)
 
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kwthom

Rider
Premier Member
IBA Member
#2
After reading your story - and doing some other digging around, I wanted to try something as a starting point. It was my wife more than me complaining about inadequate audio while on the bike. We both went with MEE audio M6 PRO noise isolating IEM's...no, not quite in the same league as Shure SE215's, but -damn!- wish I had these 10,000 miles ago!

My wife was a bit skeptical...until we jumped on the bike for a 45 minute ride this afternoon. She was sold on them!

We both appreciate the insight into IEM's - no matter what the price, once your hearing is gone, it's gone!
 

BMW RT Pilot

Premier Member
#3
After reading your story - and doing some other digging around, I wanted to try something as a starting point. It was my wife more than me complaining about inadequate audio while on the bike. We both went with MEE audio M6 PRO noise isolating IEM's...no, not quite in the same league as Shure SE215's, but -damn!- wish I had these 10,000 miles ago!

My wife was a bit skeptical...until we jumped on the bike for a 45 minute ride this afternoon. She was sold on them!

We both appreciate the insight into IEM's - no matter what the price, once your hearing is gone, it's gone!
I'd like to make an update to my original post...

After three or four rides, I couldn't keep any of the ear pieces that came with the 425s to stay in place or last the ride without being deformed. I found an audiologist who made custom impressions of my ears for $70 and sent the order in to make custom sleeves for the 425s. They cost about $200.

The end result is very impressive.

Now it does take a bit getting used to when putting them in because each ear canal is very different (mine certainly were!) and they have to go in a certain way, but once in, there are in. And when I am on the road, I swear I am not able to tell I was moving through the air at 85 MPH.

Bottom line- again- is that a quality set of earphones paired with custom sleeves, cannot be beat.

Now you do have to make sure that whatever earphones you buy can be fitted with custom sleeves. Mine came with an insert telling me about how to get them made. (I overlooked it when I first opened the package)
 
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#4
Earbuds: I have been using "LEOPHILE Zero Active Noise Cancelling Neckband Bluetooth Headphones" for a few years now. The "active noise cancelling" means that they pick up ambient noise, and produce the inverse sound wave cancelling it. They really were intended for air travel (steady drone), and aren't very effective dealing with wind noise, but I have a good windshield! When I turn on the noise cancelling function, my engine and road noise go away. My hearing is a third gone already and I'm no audiophile, so I can only say that I personally am happy with the music produced. What I do really like is the fact that I can listen to music at low volume levels since they are much more effective than any "noise isolating" earbuds I tried. I've had good luck with other active noise cancelling earbuds also, but favored these since they were my first ones that had bluetooth. And they were $170 less than the Shure 425's ($70 including shipping). Just my 2 cents...