ClearCom Freespeak II Wireless PL

Jay Ashworth

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Set up a new install of this for one of my theatres yesterday. (It's not completely installed; their sound contractor is reworking some the 2-wire install in the big theatre, to which it will attach, but it's configured and working.)

Some thoughts.
  • I like it. I can see -- even though they don't have any of the much larger HME digital matrix systems to which it knows how to attach -- how flexible it can be programmed to be. Yet it comes out of the box set up as a 2 channel partyline with call buttons; all you have to do is pair the packs to the base, and you're going.
  • The documentation is weak. I had a problem, right out of the box (good audio/call wired->wireless, no audio wireless<-wired), and I ended up having to call and fight their phone tree to get to the Right Guy (whose name and number I will provide to anyone who needs it. :)
  • The root cause of my problem just above is that all the front panel volume controls have a push-to-mute feature (which is useful, but not in basic installs, probably, and should be lockable to 'off' in the firmware, which it is not) -- and that mute defaults to *on*. On the *main volume knob*. Yeah; that'd do it. :-} Found it, clicked it, working fine after. But it's not documented in the manual, which is just uniformly weak. And the support guy didn't realize it, either.
  • When programming the packs -- which you can do from their CCM web interface on the base station -- you get to set up as many "roles" as you like, each with a specific collection of channel assignments, keymaps and the like. So you'd expect to set up one for standard packs, one for your alternate black-box, and a god-mic capable one, maybe, right? No: they're not "roles" -- each can only be assigned to one pack at powerup; they're "setups", and you need one for each pack you have. And I'm not sure you can lock them to a physical pack address, yet.
  • Audio is good (1.9GHz, presumably DECT, version, in a building with a T-Mobile cell on the room); latency is *impressive*; 5-10ms max.
  • Range is pretty impressive. We put our transceiver on our FOH bridge, about 60ft above grade, and could hit it from all the way in the outside corner of our first-floor blackbox, at least 100ft and 3 walls away. You can have 2 radios, and you can pair multiple bases as well on one system.
  • Packs have 4 buttons; you can actually put 4 separate channels on that if you're willing to give up call buttons. By extension to this, any channel button can control only talk, or also listen, so that you can limit what you hear in complex systems.
So, all in all, for this application, pretty fair. B+

The things I'm not happy about could be fixed in firmware, mostly, if they were inclined to try.

Except the price. They can't fix the price in firmware.

The base is about 5 grand, each pack about $1300, and the transceiver about $1400.

Anyone else using FS-II? What do you think?
 
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cdub260

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I may be upgrading our wireless coms to the Freespeak II if the money is approved. I should find out in the near future whether or not it's happening.

Is your install the 1.9 Ghz. or the 2.4 Ghz. version of the system? Never mind. I see the answer in one of your bullet points.
 
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Jay Ashworth

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St Pete FL USA
Where, exactly, did you look it up? PRI hardware is *really* expensive. (Yes, I know, so is this gear.)

And if you mean *actual* T-1 hardware, thats 130VDC on the lines; that pushes it out of LV wiring, and also probably blows the dielectric strength on the conectors.
 

FMEng

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Where, exactly, did you look it up? PRI hardware is *really* expensive. (Yes, I know, so is this gear.)

And if you mean *actual* T-1 hardware, thats 130VDC on the lines; that pushes it out of LV wiring, and also probably blows the dielectric strength on the conectors.
There is no high voltage involved with T-1 circuits. Besides, I seriously doubt this intercom system uses T-1, ISDN (two different beasts) or any other telco standard for anything. I'd be interested to know exactly what Chris is referencing.
 

Jay Ashworth

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St Pete FL USA

Chris15

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Looking at the backpanel photo, I see that the transceiver PHY connections are separate jacks from the PRI matrix ones, so I would make a different assumption than you are. :)
Hmm... I see a LAN port, a sync in and out and 8 endpoint connectors - what are you seeing that I'm not?
Some more googling suggests T1/E1 connections are to ports 1 & 5, and the card can either be in Freespeak mode or ISDN mode...
 

Jay Ashworth

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St Pete FL USA
On this back-panel image:

[ Well, I can't get an image link cause they're too smart. The right most image on that page you linked ]

I see a LAN, 2 DECT ports, and 8 of what I'm assuming are DSX-1 ports; separate jacks for DECT and DSX-1.
 

Chris15

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They're marked as DECT sync.
With multi cell DECT, sync is critical, and I assume these are so you can link clocking between multiple cards.
As best I can tell, the transceivers connect to the 1-8 ports.

@FMEng, why the surprise at using telco standards?
The telco world's been putting together multi cell DECT systems for more than a decade, and I'd think there's every chance that if the transceiver isn't just OEMed, it's based on a reference design from one of those systems...
 

Jay Ashworth

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St Pete FL USA
Okay, so these got installed and interconnected to our two wire, and I got to do a show with 'em a couple weeks ago.

And I'm pretty impressed. The wireless side picked up a noticeable amount of background hiss from the wired network, and on the wireless side I get a 10 or 20 millisecond slapback echo of my own voice that wasn't there when only the wireless units were connected. But I did get the hang of it. And everybody sounded really good.

And damn it's nice not to have wires. I got most of a 12-hour shift out of one charge, though I was not in talk-lock very much.

If only my Shure wireless mics would last that long.
 

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