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Old 05-12-2020, 04:27 PM   #1
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Headsets, have you owned both?

I have narrowed down the search to two different brands, Eartech and Sena. I'd love to hear from someone that has had both and switched. Most people are pro one brand or the other because that's what they purchased. Eartech seems to have a larger following and I have read some aftermarket/quality issues with Sena but like some of their tech. I'd love to hear about your experience.
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Old 05-12-2020, 04:34 PM   #2
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Passagemaker just sent an email out linking a "review" article comparing the two. I have not tried the new generation Ear-Techs, only an old one which we were very unhappy with, but that's irrelevant because they have since changed the technology. I have tried a friend's Senas and they are very good. Also much harder to inadvertantly float test.

https://www.passagemaker.com/technic...ource=hs_email
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Old 05-12-2020, 04:54 PM   #3
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Just pushed 'buy' on the Eartech Ultralites. Read tons of personal comments on both. It's truly a matter of preference. The four big differences I picked up were
- 1) Headset style - two ear behind the neck (Sena) vice one ear over the top of head (Eartech - though you can get two ear cups also).
-2) Connection frequency. Bluetooth (Sena, so you can connect to other bluetooth devices) verses 'cordless phone' frequency connection (Eartech).
-3) Batteries. Removable batteries (Eartech, so you can always keep some fresh ones in the charger to swap out on long use days) verses non-removable (Sena).
-4) Ease in pairing. Eartech set after first use. Sena, needs pairing each use.

We went with Eartech so we could have a ear 'open' to talk with dock hands/general situational awareness, seems the quality of the 'cordless' frequency is quieter, and I really like the idea of swapping batteries since I've found the rechargeable battery to be the first thing to go on most of my modern electronics.
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Old 05-12-2020, 05:23 PM   #4
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We really like our EarTech. Not perfect but far superior to having nothing.
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Old 05-12-2020, 06:16 PM   #5
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Our boat came with a set of headphones (Tech Link brand). Over the head style with fixed microphone. They run on 9V batteries and are definitely better than yelling, or trying to make up hand signals, or just not knowing. However, we found that they often buzz, sometimes quite loudly, and they pickup wind noise in addition.
This year we bought a set of Eartec (one ear) headset with a spare battery, but due to Covid have only tested them at home. I like the idea of user replaceable batteries, to me that is a biggie.
Our good friends have Eartec (belt pack style) and other than the belt pack, they really like them. Neither them nor us have used Sena.
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Old 05-12-2020, 06:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
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2)
-4) Ease in pairing. Eartech set after first use. Sena, needs pairing each use.
Clarification, once Sena headsets are paired - you don't need to repair each time you turn them on. We have 4 units but mostly use 2 since it's mostly my wife and I but nice to have extra when the kids come along.
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Old 05-12-2020, 07:23 PM   #7
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I do not recommend SENA. We have them and find the pairing each time to be a pain and often takes a bit to get them to pair.

Eartech also has the capability to swing up the boom to mute which is nice if mate is talking to someone on the dock vs. trying to say something to me.
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Old 05-12-2020, 07:50 PM   #8
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We have Eartech and like them. Purchased spare batteries. NOTE: the one ear-cup units can slip off your head! Fortunately we identified this potential before experiencing the unplanned removal and we fashioned and wear lanyards. I bit more hassle, but the sound quality and lack of any background noise is worth the little extra hassle of the lanyard and the cost of a pair of spare batteries.
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Old 05-12-2020, 08:22 PM   #9
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I bought Eartechs about 10 years, an earlier version. They were touted as 'duplex', talk and listen at the same time, and they did that. We just never used them much, and they're still sitting in the boat. The problem was that the volume was weak, and couldn't compete with engine and wind noise. Now we use sign language (not kidding) and speak louder, probably linked to getting older.
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Old 05-12-2020, 09:33 PM   #10
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We've only had Sena. I like the behind the head style which keeps them on your head while looking down (handy when docking and locking). Once they are paired the fist time, they pair each time quickly. Range is good (bow to stern on a 54).

The one thing I wish they borrowed from EarTech is a mute feature. It can get confusing in the locks when you're talking to someone else and your mates think you're talking to them.
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:17 PM   #11
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Clarification, once Sena headsets are paired - you don't need to repair each time you turn them on. .
Thanks! You beat me to it!
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Old 05-12-2020, 11:26 PM   #12
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We had Sena, and sent them back. They were touted as good for listening to music, taking calls, and good for 1/4 mile reception for duplex speech.

We found they had scratchy reception, and reception was poor when I was on the flybridge and the wife was 30' away on the dock.

We now have Eartecs and love them.
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Old 05-13-2020, 07:39 AM   #13
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Sena SP10's pair automatically once set up. They work great for us but: non replaceable battery -just replaced one of mine after 2 1/2 years. (We actually replaced the other 2 years ago - but only because it couldn't swim)
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Old 05-13-2020, 10:14 AM   #14
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As Beaverlake (Gordon) said, a lanyard is a must have. Easy to make your own.
Unless of course you find using one "too confining" and have lots of money
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Old 05-13-2020, 10:25 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airstream345 View Post
We've only had Sena. I like the behind the head style which keeps them on your head while looking down (handy when docking and locking). ......The one thing I wish they borrowed from EarTech is a mute feature. It can get confusing in the locks when you're talking to someone else and your mates think you're talking to them.
I have never tried the "EarTech") and like the on top of the head design. (I find the behind your neck to be uncomfortable) The tying & untying of lines, however, sold me on the Sena as they don't fall off your head when bending over & looking down as Airstream noted above.
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Old 05-22-2020, 01:06 PM   #16
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We call each other, wearing an Air pod ear bud. Assuming you have a good cell reception.
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Old 05-22-2020, 01:51 PM   #17
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When our old Eartec Simultalks became unreliable after many years of excellent service we figured we'd try something different with newer tech and purchased the Senas. They were not right for us for a couple of reasons (we document why here and Sena is the unnamed brand of bluetooth headset we refer to). We moved on to the Eartec UltraLITEs and have had only a positive experience in the nearly two years they have been in service.
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Old 05-22-2020, 01:55 PM   #18
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One thing you probably already own that will work great. Blutooth earbuds/headsets on your phones. Leave phones in the cabin and call each other. Then just talk using your handsfree earbuds. Works very well.

Thanks
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Old 05-22-2020, 02:36 PM   #19
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I have both the Sena and the over the head, earcup Eartech. Being a techy guy, I don't mind the pairing process for the Sena, but it is very inconvenient to have to do that every time, and reverse engineer things when it goes wrong. Not what you want to spend time doing when you're getting ready to depart/arrive.

The Eartech is just a more easily usable product in my opinion. Turn it on, a few seconds later, you're ready to go. Flip up the boom if you're talking to someone on the dock, and you're muted so you don't blast the captain's ears. Simple buttons for volume control, and clear blue lights on the side that let you know you're paired and working. I've never had to re-pair or mess with that on my Eartechs, although sometimes I have had to restart them because one didn't pair - usually because the master one wasn't on first.

The Sena product is a bit more work to get working, but it is a heck of a lot lighter and less intrusive. It's nice to be able to use them with Bluetooth devices as well, if you need to make a phone call, but I have a Plantronics headset for that which works better. I've also found the audio quality both from the Bluetooth connection and the lack of the earcup less on the Senas than the Eartech.
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Old 05-22-2020, 02:46 PM   #20
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A few more notes on Eartech.

Some folks have had issues with batteries discharging when not using the headsets. Fair observation but many potential root causes.

1. Forget to turn off one or both headsets. Easy to do since the usual situation is to take them off, put them down, and then go about adjusting dock lines. The master has an on off switch and the slave has a push button. The LED indicators are blue behind a frosty silicon button. Really easy to forget. Hey Eartech - make the LED bright red!
2. Faulty batteries. It can happen. More on that later.
3. Not keeping the batteries fully charged. We put the batteries in the charger after each use. Usually. Right after we turn off both headsets. Usually.

Customer service
I’ve seen a few complaints about support/service. Maybe folks call and yell or send emails in all caps. Dunno - I learned a long time ago to sell my suppliers. Besides most companies that have been in business a while don’t go out of their way to alienate their customers (yes, it can happen, but not by design. Usually.). We had battery issues after our warranty expired. I emailed and got a response a couple days later. We had a phone call. Support guy gave me a process to check the batteries. One had failed. Out of warranty. They sent us a new pair of batteries for the shipping cost (actual, not “as seen on tv”). They were prepared to replace a faulty headset - out of warranty no less.

Other than the need to fashion lanyards out of some nylon “hammock line” I couldn’t be more satisfied. The voice quality is excellent. No shouting. The admiral has hearing aids (sadly) and uses these headsets with no problem. Perhaps the dual earcup version would be less likely to slip off, but a) the cost; and, b) potential loss of ambient sounds like a dock hand asking for information.

So we now have four batteries. I keep one set in the units with the battery compartment unlatched and one pair in the charger. We use the headsets when docking, adjusting lines, launching the dinghy, when fishing (one person in the cockpit, the other driving - hey, it’s a pilothouse), etc. Battery life is excellent.

I’m clearly a raving fan and no, I’m not affiliated with Eartech. Two last things - they are comfortable to wear and easy to put on and take off (lanyard excepted).
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