Our Rugged Radios Intercom Review- 6100R, First Impressions
No more screaming over the engine, no more wind fatigue, no more headaches, just bliss. Having the intercom lets you talk to your passengers calmly while ripping around your favorite trails- it’s an experience like none other that will redefine the way you use your UTV forever.-Team Draco Motorsports
Customer Service, Support
Overall Cost (Accessories + Base Unit)
We depend on our intercom for a TON. Whether we’re testing shocks, deciding which direction to go on a trail, talking with other UTVs in a group, or navigating a treacherous race course, the ability to converse with your passengers is so crucial (and most of all, game changing). The Rugged Radios lineup of intercoms, however, is built to endure more than just basic communication. Each model is designed to endure the elements and facilitate communication even over the loudness of riding offroad- often, you’ll find volume controls, VOX (voice activated transmission) controls, and a 3.5mm port (or rear-mounted AUX input, more on this later) for unmatched music listening during your ride. It’s tough to understand the intrinsic value of having an intercom in your SxS until you’ve had one. Once you install an intercom, you’ll never go back to the way things were before. Its the first upgrade we make on our rigs and will likely be one of the most valuable that you do to yours.
Let’s Talk Features
Independent Volume Controls?
This. is. critical! Regardless of how good (or not) you think your hearing may be, it’s likely much different than that of your passenger. Especially if your using a cheaper helmet speaker, the high-pitched treble tones can be excruciating if your passenger decides that he/she needs the volume to be louder. As you may imagine, certain people prefer to speak loudly while other’s are much softer in volume: it’s not imperative to have separate controls but it’s certainly a comfortable bonus that we won’t ride without. The ability to control both volumes separately (as found on the 5050 and 6100 series) will give you more control over your overall comfort level across the ride. Things to consider, however, is that this feature is not available if you have a 4-seat SxS with four passengers connected to the intercom. One volume control, four people.
This feature used to be more prevalent, such as on the RRP 660, but is harder to find as of late. Essentially, VOX control lets you dictate the volume required to activate transmission to the driver or passenger. A higher VOX level will require a much more concentrated volume to que a transmission to the driver. A lower VOX level will be much more likely to randomly send transmissions to the driver (if set too low, it can be accidentally activated by wind , breathing levels , etc.). If using non-helmet over-the-ear headsets, this feature is a huge help. Anyhow, we believe that the RRP 6100 has more advanced voice processing capabilities than its predecessors and thus, was able to eliminate the manual VOX adjustment. We’ve tried numerous intercoms and often can’t last a single minute without reaching for the VOX control- on the 6100, however, we completely forgot that this feature wasn’t even there. It’s that good!
One of the first things you’ll notice when you talk over an intercom is the slight re-iteration of your voice. It’s a nice way to ensure that your intercom is working and that your passenger is, in fact, hearing what you have to say. When your in a high-noise environment, however, the side-tone can be one extra nuisance that contributes to unnecessary noise. To create a truly serene driving environment, the 6100 lets you eliminate the side-tone as you see fit. Less noise, more focus in our opinion. For reference, this is a pretty high-end feature as none of the other Rugged intercoms have a side-tone delete. If you’re planning on trail riding or general recreation, this is more of a novel feature than anything. For racing, it’s personal preference but well desired nonetheless.
Absolutely imperative! Every Rugged Radios intercom unit comes music-ready. The 5100 has a front-mounted 3.5mm auxiliary port, the RRP 696 has Bluetooth capability, and the RRP 6100 has a rear-mounted AUX connection (this will require CS-MUSIC-6P-XL to convert to a 3.5mm port for your phone). We love this capability and always have a playlist ready for the day ahead with our intercoms. Again, this is only made possible with your game-changing intercom unit. It’s worth it!
Rugged Radios did a phenomenal job with the 6100- it’s sleek, advanced, and highly robust. This intercom is loaded with features that an experienced racer will appreciate combined with the simplicity that a weekend-warrior will immediately be able to operate. Coming from individuals that have had nearly every intercom that Rugged has sold over the last 5 years, we can definitively vouch for the RRP 6100. Plain and simple, it works really well: the RRP 6100 solves many of the issues that the earlier intercoms were plagued with. Without a doubt, the dual volume controls sold us on this unit. When we started with this , we were relatively indifferent on the individual volumes: after a handful of events and trails, it’s actually become pretty difficult to use the other (non-6100) intercom we have!
One last upgrade that we haven’t discussed is the DSP capability. The 6100 is the only intercom that has upgradability for DSP chips (Digital Sound Processing). Essentially, whether immediately or just down the road, you can order/install these chips (~$300 EA) into your intercom in order to assist with noise mitigation. It’s noise-cancelling technology for your race car. When racing a 4400 Unlimited truck or anything with a large engine, this is a very pleasant upgrade. We don’t have any experience with these, at the present, but will update as this changes.
As far as durability goes, dust from the races and water from our pressure washer haven’t seemed to bother it. Obviously care needs to be taken when washing the interior but you can rest easy knowing that these electronics are tough.
What All Do You Need to Get Started?
- A Rugged Radios intercom of your choice.
- (x2) Intercom – Helmet/Headset Cables (PN: CS-OFF)
- (x2) Headsets (PN: H42-ULT) OR (x2) Helmet-Mounted Speakers (PN: HK-OFSP-AA). Mount with a hot glue gun into any helmet- we prefer the road type with the visor.
- Optional- A Rugged Radios 50W Radio to talk with other UTV riders in your group (more on this later).
- Optional- Rugged Radios Intercom and Radio Mount. It’s a sleek addition for your interior that seamlessly integrates your new electronics into the interior of your UTV. Even though we put this as ‘optional’, you really should add this one to the cart. It’s 10000% worth it.
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Driver of the #428 Draco Motorsports Polaris RZR. Co-Driver for the #804 Can-Am X3 during King of the Hammers. Ultra4!!
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