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SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/1/18 11:05 a.m.

I drive a 7.3L diesel as a daily, and it’s loud. It has an older after-market radio, and I find I turn the volume up pretty high when cruising down the highway to hear it. Doesn’t help that the speakers are low in the doors. 

I also use the phone a lot when driving. Some of my driving is in GA, and it is now illegal to use a phone without a hands-free device. 

I cant stand earbuds. 

I am exploring my options. 

I am thinking a visor mount speaker/ microphone that connects to a newer head unit via Bluetooth might be my best option. It would put the speaker and mic close enough that it might have a chance of success.  Extra points if a noise cancelling device exists.

That, of course, would force me to replace the head unit AND buy a Bluetooth speaker. 

Any other suggestions?  Any recommended devices?

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/1/18 11:20 a.m.

I probably don’t need it to connect to the head unit. 

Pairing with an iPhone would be sufficient. (But I’d have to turn down the radio for a call)

Run_Away
Run_Away Dork
12/1/18 12:16 p.m.

Why not just an aftermarket head unit with Bluetooth? No need for two things.

All the ones I've installed have a wired microphone that you can place wherever. I usually run it up the a pillar trim and clip it to the sunvisor. 

$100 will get you everything you need from a name brand. Not sure about noise cancelling performance, you'll have to read reviews for that.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/1/18 12:25 p.m.

In reply to Run_Away :

Because the existing stereo speakers are too far from the driver to hear clearly. 

Its one thing to sort of hear random background music over the noise. It’s another to have to listen to a business conversation with any clarity. 

TJL
TJL New Reader
12/1/18 12:38 p.m.

I have 2 knivio bluetooth dongle things that work great. Hooks to your phones bluetooth and streams audio into your radios aux input.  Very easy to use. Pretty cheap. 

If swapping the radio is a option, ive been very content with this CHEAP boss head unit from amazon. No cd player, just radio, aux plug, usb for thumb drives,  bluetooth and it works great. Does not drop, acquires fast. Main reason i liked it is its factory stile equal, just bass, treble, front/back, left/right.  It was less than 30$ new. Im going to buy another to replace the pioneer cd player in my e36 project. 

 

Or they have these visor mount bluetooth speakers. Just plays audio from your phone, not tied to the vehicle. Old co-worker had one, seemed to work fine. That was years ago so can probably get one now very cheap. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
12/1/18 1:13 p.m.

Something like this with a real wire. 

Leave it hanging on your rear view mirror. If the call is important and you want to hear/sound better just reach for it and plug it in to your handset. 

Unlike BT headsets, the wired version is always "charged" and ready to work. 

Cheap, simple, portable, reliable. 

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/1/18 1:16 p.m.

In reply to John Welsh :

“Reach for it and plug it into your handset” is not hands free. That’s illegal in GA. 

vwcorvette
vwcorvette SuperDork
12/1/18 1:28 p.m.

My suggestion. Drive and forget about using the phone at all. There,  problem solved. 

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
12/1/18 1:40 p.m.

All the aftermarket head units I’ve tried - sample size of 4 - have had terrible Bluetooth performance. I hope someone has suggestions for the one amazing one out there but don’t have much hope. 

A 7.3 isn’t a great vehicle to try to hold in person conversion in. Over the phone is even worse; I don’t know if you’ll find a great solution honestly. 

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/1/18 1:51 p.m.
vwcorvette said:

My suggestion. Drive and forget about using the phone at all. There,  problem solved. 

Yeah. Thanks for the help. sad

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo SuperDork
12/2/18 7:48 a.m.

Sound deadening will help.  The 7.3 is loud, but some Dynamat on the doors, floor, and firewall will help out a ton.   Then get a nice Bluetooth radio, ie not a Dual or similar cheap one, but a nice Alpine or Kenwood.  Replace the front coaxials with separate components and put the tweeters up in the door mirror trim covers.  Run an external amp if your in-dash does not have decent power.  Mount the microphone in the overhead console by the sunglasses storage.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/2/18 8:25 a.m.

In reply to 93gsxturbo :

Have you had success quieting the cabin of a 7.3L?

ClemSparks
ClemSparks UltimaDork
12/2/18 9:02 a.m.

I drive around the town and countryside for work as well.  I know you said you hate earbuds, but I'm going to tell you about what I have anyway.

My wife got me one of these 2 years ago (so mine is an earlier version, no doubt) from a truckstop:  https://www.plantronics.com/us/en/product/voyager-5200

It works great.  Pairs easily and quickly with my iPhone (or the PC in the house)  I've never had a complaint from people at the other end about undue road noise (even when driving with the windows down).  Sound is good.  I can't listen to it while using the push mower (well, I do, but it's not the intended use so the volume level isn't quite loud enough for that)...but with the brush hog on the 8n there is no problem for listening to music.

After a year and a half the silicone (or whatever) part of the body is starting to physically fall apart.  Electronic/sound function is still good as new though.  

  • It's not cheap. 
  • It has a proprietary charge cord that is fussy. 
  • It is starting to disintegrate (but it lives a rough life in my hands.  On and off 10 times, falling between the seats, sitting in the sun, etc.  I'll try to take better care of the next one and would expect a 3-4 year service life out of it). 

Those are the negatives for me.  But it's definitely very useful for me.  I use it daily.  

They appear to have an over-the-ear option or two as well:  https://www.plantronics.com/us/en/product/voyager-104 .  I haven't used it but if the earbudness of mine bothered me (and it would if I had to wear it continuously throughout the day) I'd look in this direction.

 

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/2/18 9:11 a.m.

In reply to ClemSparks :

That’s a good suggestion. 

I don’t like sticking stuff in my ear, but the headphone version may work. 

So, you use yours as a headset to listen to music from your phone?

rslifkin
rslifkin UltraDork
12/2/18 9:44 a.m.

Honestly, the Kenwood head unit in my Jeep has pretty good bluetooth.  The Jeep is loud on the highway, but people can hear me just fine on the phone.  I mounted the mic to the steering column so it's pretty much in front of where I'm talking and the dash helps channel the sound. 

In your case, the stereo might need some improvement for you to be able to hear the other person well enough, but some dynamat to quiet things down a little, some minor stereo improvements and a head unit with bluetooth should get you a workable solution (and better music in the process). 

Run_Away
Run_Away Dork
12/2/18 9:57 a.m.
SVreX said:

In reply to Run_Away :

Because the existing stereo speakers are too far from the driver to hear clearly. 

Its one thing to sort of hear random background music over the noise. It’s another to have to listen to a business conversation with any clarity. 

I highly doubt a small compact battery powered Bluetooth speaker is going to be louder/clearer than a ~200 watt head unit and matching speakers, regardless of placement.

 

I have pioneer Bluetooth head units in both my v6 swapped Sentra with loud exhaust and my street mod class autox Civic, I sometimes have issues picking up a call but once the connection is made sound quality is decent enough. I'm pretty sure the unit has two separate volumes for music and calls so you can have phone calls cranked and music at a normal level.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
12/2/18 10:21 a.m.

 This is going to sound really old. But maybe skip Bluetooth all together. In both my Volvo and Boxster they were pre Bluetooth. I just plug my phone in through an aux. port with the phone on my lap. Even at 90 miles an hour with the top down people can hear me through the iPhone microphone and I can hear them fine through the speakers. You may need to change/upgrade/move the speakers as people have said but I am stunned How well the built in mic can pick up my voice and people can hear me at speed with the top down.

No Time
No Time Dork
12/2/18 10:22 a.m.
SVreX said:

In reply to ClemSparks :

That’s a good suggestion. 

I don’t like sticking stuff in my ear, but the headphone version may work. 

So, you use yours as a headset to listen to music from your phone?

My father used a similar setup in the car hauler (Volvo VNL760 with Cummins N14). Probably as loud or louder that your power stroke.

It worked well for him with good audio for both sides of the conversation. 

I think his is also Plantronics and Bluetooth, but went over the ear. 

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
12/2/18 10:47 a.m.
John Welsh said:

Something like this with a real wire. 

Leave it hanging on your rear view mirror. If the call is important and you want to hear/sound better just reach for it and plug it in to your handset. 

Unlike BT headsets, the wired version is always "charged" and ready to work. 

Cheap, simple, portable, reliable. 

There are BT versions as well if that suits you better. 

Like Clem mentions, shop at the BIG truck stops and see what they are promoting to long haul truckers. 

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/2/18 11:15 a.m.
Run_Away said:
SVreX said:

In reply to Run_Away :

Because the existing stereo speakers are too far from the driver to hear clearly. 

Its one thing to sort of hear random background music over the noise. It’s another to have to listen to a business conversation with any clarity. 

I highly doubt a small compact battery powered Bluetooth speaker is going to be louder/clearer than a ~200 watt head unit and matching speakers, regardless of placement.

 

I have pioneer Bluetooth head units in both my v6 swapped Sentra with loud exhaust and my street mod class autox Civic, I sometimes have issues picking up a call but once the connection is made sound quality is decent enough. I'm pretty sure the unit has two separate volumes for music and calls so you can have phone calls cranked and music at a normal level.

The closest door mounted speaker is 4 1/2 feet from my head, and plays directly into the oversized seat and cushion. A visor mount unit would be about 8” from my head. 

Sure I can out-power the noise. But ultimately, that’s just more noise (and related hearing loss). 

I cant see how even a low powered unit mounted close wouldn’t be better. 

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/2/18 11:17 a.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson :

I’ve tried it. People can’t hear me if the phone is on my lap/ seat. 

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/2/18 11:18 a.m.

Thanks for the truck stop suggestions, guys

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/2/18 11:20 a.m.

I am not opposed to changing the head unit/ speakers. 

One reason I’d like to is I think it would lower the overall volume with music too. 

If the speakers were closer/ clearer, I wouldn’t crank the stereo volume as much. 

It would also be good if the radio volume would cut off automatically when there is a phone call. Again, just overall volume reduction. 

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/2/18 11:21 a.m.

I drive 1000 miles a week, and switching vehicles is not an option. 

I spend a lot of time in this beast. 

No Time
No Time Dork
12/2/18 12:08 p.m.

Any chance they offered Bluetooth from factory in a later year of the body style you have?

 

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