††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† Autocom C5 Pro M1 Intercom System

 

A couple years ago I wrote a review of the Autocom Pro 3000 intercom ( you can read it at http://www.concours.org/sc/ACeval.html ).Since then, Autocom has updated the Pro 3000 and renamed it the C5 Pro M1.After using the new C5 Pro M1 for several months I have had a good opportunity to fully test it out.Following are my observations/comments:

 

Several changes were made with the Pro M1.The first thing I noticed is that the case is much more sturdy and rugged.Another nice feature is that the power supply is now built into the unit, so you no longer need to purchase the external power converter for $79.The Pro M1 also retains the ability to be powered off of a singe 9 volt battery.In addition to the cost savings of the built in power converter, Autcom now offers a package deal on the Pro M1 that includes the intercom and two helmet headsets for around $400.

 

Several new features are introduced in the Pro M1, the first of which is a separate input jack for an auxiliary device such as an analog cell phone or a radar detector.Previously you had to purchase a T-isolation adapter for $79 to add a radar detector input.The new input jack acts as a true over-ride, which mutes the music input when it receives a signal.I connected my Valentine One radar detector to this input and when it beeps, the music mutes so I hear the radar alert.Personally I canít see a time where I would want to use a cell phone on the bike so I never tested it with one.The only quirk I found was that the auto-mute/override function would not work unless I had the volume on the Valentine One set to midrange or higher.If I turned the radar detector volume down any lower than about halfway, I could still hear the radar beep, but it didnít mute the music.This was a minor complaint and really did not have a significant impact on the systems operation.

 

Another nice addition to the Pro M1 is the incorporation of a push to talk (PTT) switch and a ďtransmit on speachĒ (VOX) switch in one handlebar housing.This new switch is an additional option you must buy but is well worth the money if you will be using any bike-to-bike communication equipment.The rocker switch has three positions and there is a push button (PTT) mounted next to it.The rocker switch allows you to either:

A.)   Transmit automatically when you speak

B.)   Transmit only when you push the PTT button or

C.)   Sets the system in a constant transmit mode.

 

I have found that the VOX function is real nice when you donít want to remove your concentration from traffic while you are speaking to your buddy on another bike.Although there are also times that the PTT button is better, like when you and your wife want to have a private conversation without transmitting it to the other bikes on your frequency.Incorporating both options into one switch was a real smart move by the folks at Autocom.All of the bike-to-bike communication aspects remained unchanged as I am continuing to use FRS Kenwood radios and am very happy with their performance.


 

The new Pro M1 does not have the auto-volume feature that the old Pro 3000 did and this is the only thing I wish they hadnít changed.I had become accustomed to the music automatically getting quieter when I came to a stop so I never had to adjust it once it was set.In addition to setting the music volume, the wind noise microphone also adjusted the VOX trip point in accordance to the ambient noise level.However, the VOX seemed to work flawlessly on the new Pro M1 even without the wind noise microphone. The folks at Autocom tell me the they are working on bringing the auto-volume feature back to the Pro M1 by using an externally connected wind noise microphone that you will position somewhere on the bike in the airflow.Previously the microphone was built into connector on the riders lead and did not work as well on a fully faired bike like the Concours because it was not in the direct airflow.I had removed the mic on my old Pro 3000 unit and connected a lead to it and put it in the left fairing scoop so it was more in the airflow and it worked real well there. Hopefully Autocom will get this feature back into the C5 Pro M1 real soon.

 

One of the biggest improvements that Autcom did to the ProM1, in my opinion, was to increase the sensitivity of the music amplifier.Previously my minidisk player had to be turned up to almost full volume to get enough volume to even barely hear the music through earplugs.Now I can set the level a bit lower and still get enough volume to hear the music even through earplugs, thus saving on batteries for the minidisk player.

 

Autocom tells me that the Pro M1 uses a new headset design and I could not use my old headsets, although I could not see or hear any differences.I suspect they are just wired differently.This is probably due to the auto-off battery saver option.Oh yea, I forgot to tell you about that.Now when you are powering the system off of a 9-volt battery the unit will turn itself off when you unplug the riders lead.Thus preventing you from inadvertently leaving it on overnight and running down your 9-volt battery.

 

As I had said in my previous review, I have personally tested the Autocom system well into the triple digit range and can still hold a clear conversation with someone on another bike and listen to music.This is the only system I know of that works reliably at all attainable speeds.Previous units I have used from other manufactures washed out at 80mph or so.The Autocom is clerly superior to anything else on the market today.And priced for a little over $400 including headsets, power convertor, music and radar/cell phone inputs, it is also one of the best deals around.

 

AutoCom products can be ordered from the following supplier:

 

TopGear Accessories Limited

P.O. Box 1477

Slingerlands, New York 12159

888-851-4327, 518-449-8677, 518-449-8876 fax

 

http://www.autocom.co.uk/

 

Fred Harmon

Fort Worth, Texas