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Cheap Clearcom

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by anonymous381, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. anonymous381

    anonymous381 Member

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    ok so our school uses radioshack two-ways for our clearcom system. Is this highly used where $$ is low? Is it actually worth it to get a clearcom for a crew and driectors of like 5-6 people or just stick with what we have. Also what are good headsets/ radio brands to use if we continue to use an obscure 2-way channel and is it worth it to get a 2-way that has more than a 2 mile range?
     
  2. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
    Stagehand/ Production Company Owner
    Location:
    Howell, NJ
    Are you using GMRS/FRS or business radios?
     
  3. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Occupation:
    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
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    Depending on what frequencies you are using you may, very well, be breaking the law. Some bands are specifically banned for business. I highly suggest looking into a Production Intercom system. www.beltpack.com
    The other issue with OTC radio setups on public bands is that you have to accept interference, or other people on your channels.
     
  4. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Except for public safety, not really.
    I doubt they have many interference issues due to the location.
     
  5. TheDonkey

    TheDonkey Active Member

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    I don't understand how these things are so expensive...? Is there more inside than I'm seeing or is it just a 'they charge it because they can' type of deal?

    A simple circuit board with some buttons and XLR jacks in a metal casing cannot POSSIBLY cost $200 to produce... are these things made of gold inside!?!
     
  6. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
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    Have you ever taken business or economics in school?
    It's alot more complicated that putting part a and part b together.
     
  7. TheDonkey

    TheDonkey Active Member

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    Actually I'm still going through school and am considering taking business next year(people say the class is a joke and teaches little) and I understand how you have to pay for employees and advertising and this and that, but $200... EACH...?
     
  8. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    And yet you'll pay $400.00 for an Ipod ? or 600.00 for an Iphone?
    :rolleyes:
     
  9. TheDonkey

    TheDonkey Active Member

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    I don't have either, I paid $50 for a Samsung YP-T10.

    :)

    Looks hawt, has bluetooth, 2GB memory, etc.
     
  10. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Theater Manager & T.D.
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    Yes it's expensive. There are some cheaper products out there but they aren't worth it. Van convinced me to go with Production Intercom and so far I'm VERY happy with them. They cost a little less than Telex or Clear-Com products and are built great. You could try to find a used setup and save a few bucks.

    I did the Motorola radios when I was a high school teacher. It sucked because you were always dealing with batteries and then there were the kids down the street harassing us in the middle of a show. Plus it's not full duplex so if you start transmitting you cut off the other person where with a full duplex intercom you can talk at the same time.

    It's definitely better if you can afford it.
     
  11. TheDonkey

    TheDonkey Active Member

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    Yeah, at this point our school's system is a combo of PI and Clear-Com, and they seem to work well together, although the ASM's always seem to be fighting over not getting the PI ones because I (Lighting/tech director) take one of the clearcoms* a second goes to the SM, leaving a CC and PI for the ASM's to figure out.The war goes on.


    *They're skinny and fit PERFECTLY between tehe lighting board and the cover making it kinda like a control panel.
     
  12. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
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    The Production Intercom "BP .15" is the best beltpack I've ever seen. It's tiny yet made out of metal so it's sturdy unlike the plastic ones the competitors sell. A little cheaper than the competition too!
     
  13. dramatech

    dramatech Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
    MASTER ELECTRICIAN
    Location:
    Winter Haven, FL
    When I arrived at the current theatre I volunteer at, I was asked if I could fix some of their I-coms as they need 13 for the next show. I went digging around the theatre in all of the unorganized shelves and found almost 30 beltpacks of various manufactures and models. After two solid days of repair work, I had them all working. Over the last 4 years, they have to be repaired frequently. Being community theatre, and trying to go cheap, many of the units were given from professional theatres looking to upgrade and use as tax write-offs. We have clearcoms of three different models and Telex of two different models and Production intercom 10 units and several R-Columbia. Of all of these, the Production Intercom is the best built with the least repairs. That is refering to the beltpacks. When it comes to the headsets, that is a different question all together. The best headsets hands down, are the Beyers. They are great for a professional crew who will take care of them. They are also the most expensive by far, and can't take the abuse of schools and community theatre. The Production headsets are the most comfortable and the least expensive, but the connector and the cable are absolute crap. You can replace both and make them a great headset, but you will have to have extraordinary soldering and hand skills to do so. Our answer, was to modify the Production beltpacks to accept an electret mic, Put on a miniXLR connector ans use the inexpensive headsets that are meant for computer use. They are very comfortable and we have purchase them for $1 piece in quantities of 10. The connectors for them are $7. We assign one to each crew member for the run of the show and if they break it, they have to come begging to me to get a replacement. It doesn't cost them anything except a lecture from me, a real Harda##.
    I believe that you can get beltpacks from Production Intercom that work with electret mics. If so and you have somebody who can solder and understands enough about i-coms, you could buy the beltpacks and purchase the really cheap computer headset and put on the appropriate connector.
    The even cheaper approach is to build a power supply with a 600 ohm output and use headset telephones. I have done that in the past and it works great. I don't know where my schematic for the power supply is, but some google searching sould turn up something from one of the electronic experimenter sites. JUst look for telephone power supply. WOW! that got to be a little too wordy, SORRY.
     
    avkid and (deleted member) like this.
  14. cprted

    cprted Active Member

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    While personally I prefer the Clear-Com beltpacks (for the momentary on and double click to latch functions), the Production Intercom units are completely bulletproof. We have both CC and PI in our house and I've never seen a PI beltpack land on the work bench.
     
  15. anonymous381

    anonymous381 Member

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    its just simple GMRS/FRS with a rechargable base station. And I agree some duplexing would be really nice but we just dropped 8 big ones on the ETC ION and we're in the middle of a captial renovation during a budget defecit....
     
  16. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Make sure you have some extra battery packs, as they do have a limited useful life.

    If you ever need to rent anything better for a show, just call.
     
    nolhay and (deleted member) like this.
  17. underdark27

    underdark27 Member

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    Just wondering but about how much was the Production Intercom system?
     
  18. seanandkate

    seanandkate Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
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    Another vote for the Production Intercom BP-1 beltpacks. Indestructable. If you take them apart, you can also easily remove the pin that makes the mic latch, thus making it push to talk only -- those are the ones that go backstage!
     
  19. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Occupation:
    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
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    Com systems really are priced on request, as ever system is different. When you factor in the needs of each space, how many belt packs, cable, base stations, headsets, it can vary dramatically. Also, you often get a better deal when you order an entire system or make a large order rather than just looking at the prices for each component.

    You probably don't want to drive up to SLC to pick up gear, but give GTS a call, they are PI dealers, and the last PI gear we bought was through them. If you have never done any business with them before, then tell them I sent you, they will like that. They are nice guys, but their website is lousy. You could go with one of the large national dealers, but staying local is nice.
     

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