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tessaract xma3 v.2 report (long)


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I had been looking for a way to integrate my Kenwood FRS, iPod, and GPS (and perhaps a V-1 at some point in the future.)


'My' requirements were:


I wanted it all in the tank bag and with without requiring the interface device to be powered by the bike. (In my case this is something I'll not use all the time, for various reasons. I'll explain that later.)


I wanted to be able to use it w/ my ArizonaAl ear plug speakers.


I wanted to be able to use it with the throat mic I have for my Kenwood FRS radio. (I own multiple helmets and putting mics into them all is not desired.)


I wanted "amplification" of the input signals in order to minimize the battery drain on my iPod and FRS radio. (Both used merely "battery operated" since I don't use them at all in most of my normal riding.)


I wanted good audio quality for the music.


I wanted something that would mute the music automatically when the GPS, or FRS radio "talked to me."


I didn't need or want an intercom.


I specifically didn't want to integrate a cell phone.


After looking around at what's available, I bought a tesseract xma3 v.2 and one of their isolating patch cords for my Garmin 2720.






This little gizmo met most of my needs and is small enough to fit in my tank bag w/ my FRS and iPod and still leave room for my eye drops, Tums, and all the other little "must haves" that I carry in my tank bag.


It can be powered from the bike, but also takes a 9v battery to power it, which is what I'm using. So no power required in the tank bag from the bike.


The audio quality from the iPod into my ear plug speakers is outstanding and I can run the iPod's, and Kenwood's output volume "way low" and still have plenty of volume in my ears... nice.


The way it mutes (lowers not eliminates the volume) of the stereo music input, when the GPS "talks" (or FRS if I plug it into the proper input) is way cool. I like that feature a lot. One of the two mono inputs is "auto muting" and the other one is "noise gated." Noise gating keeps low level inputs from getting through at all and is supposed to be a good thing when using radar detectors. I'd have preferred that both inputs be "auto muting" but that's just me.


Anyway, I now have the three things I care about using "together" from time to time, all tied together and it all sounds really good.


The only "problem" encountered was that the audio input volume level from the Garmin was very loud, even w/ the Garmin's volume setting at its lowest point. This problem was solved by putting a small "in line" volume adjuster on the output of the xma3. This is a nice to have thing anyway.


The reason I wanted a "not powered from the bike" solution is that the vast majority of the time I don't use the iPod, or the "audio" part of the GPS. On long trips where the GPS is merely a "reference tool" for ETA, Dist to Dest, etc. and the number of turns are few and obvious, I don't need or want an audio prompt. Glancing at the GPS is fine in those situations. I also sometimes use the FRS as a "wearable" thing so that none of it is on the bike, but is in my jacket. I wanted to be able to retain this feature when I wanted to. And then, as on this last Torrey trip, I wanted to be able to have my music / books on tape, FRS, and GPS all tied together since I was "Mr. Directions" for my buddy and me, and since we like having FRS when we travel together. All this to say that on long tours I'd like this capability, whereas on most of my day rides, or overnighter's etc., I could care less about FRS, GPS "talk," and even music or whatever. This solution allows me to use any "one" of my devices as "wearable" in my jacket, or to tie them all together for long trips, with none of it being integrated "into the bike" per se.


As a side note, and a prompter to finally "do something" about integration, I found that when using the GPS in any built up area as a true "address finder" not having the audio can make the GPS dangerous to use, trying to look at it "enough" to get real directions. I discovered this going to Jamie's place a couple of weeks ago... holy cow, I dang near ran into things, and missed several turns in trying to rely on the visual "pop ups" on the GPS for 'turn by turn' directions in unfamiliar territory. So, the ability to pipe the audio into my ear plugs on those occasions is something I really need, now that I'm down here in LA LA land again.


I created a "drop in" mount for the little box out of corrugated polyethylene sheeting, it has Velcro hold downs for the xma3, iPod, and FRS on it. I just stick them on, drop it in my tank bag, connect up and I'm ready to go for either city "address finding" or for music and FRS on long trips.


A good solution for me.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I put a Shure "in line" volume control on the output of the unit itself. It is nice to have a volume control in easy reach. Such short in line units are also easily available at Radio Shack etc., also.

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