Clear-com Production Intercom Interfacing.

Van

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Jul 27, 2006
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Portland, Or.
Hey Folks!
I'm jazzed, really jazzed. As many of you may know we are opening House and Garden this weekend. If you aren't familiar with the shows.... it's two seperate shows. They take place in two seperate theatres.... with the same cast. Yes the cast runs back and forth between the two theatres as they leave one set, they run upstairs just in time to make their entrance in the other show. We, luckily have two theatres of comparable size, both in the same building which takes up one entire city block of Portland.
Ok as to why I'm jazzed. Part of the difficulty with doing this show is coordination, down to the second, literally, between the two theatres. Which means it's vital that the SMs be able to communicate with each other. Well today I finally solved the problem. Downstairs we have a very nice Clear-com system, upstair a very nice Production Intercom system. I bought the PI system becuase I had heard about it being compatible with clear-com, and it is ! I ran 300 feet of 8 wire twisted pair 22awg wire from the upstairs booth through the belly of the beast down to the mainstage booth. I made sure everyone downstairs was patched into the "A" channel of the clear com, and did the same upstairs on the PI system. I soldered on an XLR on each end of the wires, plugged it into the "B" channel, turned off the linking, and Viola!. the stage managers can "turn off" the B channel but still recieve a page from it. Turning off the linking means that the SMs can talk to each other without the other members of their respective crews hearing what their saying. I think it would have been much better if I had run a high quality Mic cable with a shield but there is only a very small hum, which went away with sidetone adjustments. Besides all I had was the 4 pair wire, so I made do.
Anyway, I just wanted y'al to know it can be done, and well. And i wanted to crow a bit.
 

cutlunch

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Jan 12, 2005
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Auckland, New Zealand
Good job Van. So the cable just has to be wired as a straight through? So does this mean the beltpacks are interchangable as well? I have stored away this little bit of info for use on a rainy day.
 

Van

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Yes, Production Intercom beltpacks and Headsets, are completely interchangable with Clear-Com. My biggest question in this project was whether or not the base stations themeselves would patch into each other and still function with the call buttons operational etc.
Yes, it was just a straight through three pin xlr
 

Footer

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Nov 24, 2005
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Saratoga Springs, NY
They will also work with Telex systems, but the call-light will be stuck on. Production intercom I beleieve will start locking up the market in the next ten years. Telex makes great wireless and great headsets, their boxes and base stations don't take to the road well. Clearcom stuff is pretty bulletproof, but their cost is huge. PI is bulletproof and inexpensive. I've never tied to separate systems together like that with two separate base stations. Interesting thing to do. Hows that show working out for you? Also, I would be interested to know how the audiences take it.
 

Van

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They will also work with Telex systems, but the call-light will be stuck on. Production intercom I beleieve will start locking up the market in the next ten years. Telex makes great wireless and great headsets, their boxes and base stations don't take to the road well. Clearcom stuff is pretty bulletproof, but their cost is huge. PI is bulletproof and inexpensive. I've never tied to separate systems together like that with two separate base stations. Interesting thing to do. Hows that show working out for you? Also, I would be interested to know how the audiences take it.
It's perfect ! I just now, literally as I was reading this, got a report that the SM's are Ecstatic! They absolutely love it. I'm happy as a clam.
 

Van

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Keeping the SM's happy is way over-rated. Its not like they can make your life hell or anything.
My wife is an SM........ it's all about keeping the SM happy, need I say more ?
 

SHARYNF

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Sep 3, 2006
be aware that if I remember correctly you need to open up the telex packs and change to jumbers to work with Clearcom/Production.

If I remember correctly you also need to be careful if you have 501 packs or 502 or if you have the Ts packs that allow you to run the two channels over a single 3 wire cable.

I have had similar experience as Van, running over unshielded, the hum is minimal and can be removed. It is possible to run these over UTP. I had several conversations with Clearcom re this, and while they have not have not officially supported it, it does work. You need to be a bit concerned about voltage drop, so you probably cannot run a large number of belt packs since the awg is not that big.

Another trick is that if you want to impliment the mic turn off remotely like some of the base stations have, you simply need to remove power for about 30 ms
it then resets the talk switch on the belt packs.

other trick is that you can have the cable loop back on its self so that power is being supplied on either end (this is why Van's system works ) this allows for a break in the cable to not cause a failure in the system
Most installs dont use this. I do a lot of outside video production and having the ability to have the system continue if a cable fails is useful.

Sharyn
 
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dabeatles08

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Jan 12, 2010
Location
Milwaukee, WI
Clearcom and Production Intercom Compatibility

At our theater, we have an old Clear-com Partyline Intercom system. Most users are on beltpacks from the 80's that are plugged into 3pin xlr ports daisy chained together. Other users are plugged into old wall plates (old version of HB-702) which are also in the chain. They all run back to a master station in our light booth. Recently, we bought some Production Intercom beltpacks. They work fine except they force the call light to be on for both the users and the master station. What can I do to fix this?
 

dabeatles08

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Jan 12, 2010
Location
Milwaukee, WI
They will also work with Telex systems, but the call-light will be stuck on. Production intercom I beleieve will start locking up the market in the next ten years. Telex makes great wireless and great headsets, their boxes and base stations don't take to the road well. Clearcom stuff is pretty bulletproof, but their cost is huge. PI is bulletproof and inexpensive. I've never tied to separate systems together like that with two separate base stations. Interesting thing to do. Hows that show working out for you? Also, I would be interested to know how the audiences take it.
How can you fix the call-light from being stuck on? I have that problem too.
 

Les

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Feb 24, 2004
Location
DFW, Tx.
This thread wins the award for longest follow-up latency! Better late than never though, and we like it when things work out. Congrats!
 

rochem

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May 20, 2008
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New York, NY
This thread wins the award for longest follow-up latency! Better late than never though, and we like it when things work out. Congrats!
I suddenly have this fantastic mental image of dabeatles08 sitting in a small windowless office for the better part of a year and a half, working feverishly to solve this problem, never eating or sleeping, until he finally found the solution in the wee hours of the morning.

Probably not quite how it went down, but it'd be pretty cool. :lol:
 

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