Clearcom Tempest System

jstroming

Active Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2009
Location
Los Angeles, CA
I am looking to install a Clearcom Tempest 900 system to an already-existing Production Intercom (2-channel) wired system. What is the best way to go about this? Will the tempest accept incoming intercom lines instead of creating it's own?

Also, what is the effective range of these units? I'm looking to get about 200-300ft out of it.
 

themuzicman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2007
Location
On Tour
Honestly, unless you really really have the need for a Tempest system, the Telex BTR-800's are still the better system to go with. The Tempst system looks nice and flashy, and works really well if you need to cover super huge areas because you can use the Tempest Antenna's over Cat5e. The biggest downfall with the Tempest is the system latency (50ms from Beltpack to Base Station (or from Wired Com to Wireless Com), which is 100ms from beltpack to beltpack wireless). They have some fancy magic in the beltpacks to cut down on echo because of the insane amount of latency, but it's still not very good and I wouldn't use it unless you had the need for super huge area coverage and Tempest became the right tool for the job.

Don't think of intercom lines as "accepting" as in one-way communication. It is bi-directional and the system is one giant loop with subsequent loops off of it to beltpacks and any one failure can inject back into the entire system. (Ex: you have a 2 channel system with 10 beltpacks, all wired. It is working just fine today, but you come in and someone complains that the entire B channel is making noise. You find that there is a beltpack submerged under water and is creating the noise. The moment you unplug it your system is back to normal. Everything affects everything in com, there is no one way directionality). Look on the back of the Tempest and it has two XLR ports, simply run your channel A and Channel B lines from your mainstation into the Tempest. Done.

Effective range is right in the manual or found with a quick google search. Again, the benefit to the Tempest is its extreme area coverage. Stock Tempest gets 500-900 feet stock with the half-whip and up to 7,500ft. with the line extenders over Cat5. That's manufacturer straight from the datasheet, not sure what you can expect in your particular application as I'm sure they quoted statistics in a large open room with some good bounce to it and not in a theater with corners and crevices and and basements, etc.
 

MrX

Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2012
Location
Canada
Not sure if it was simply a problem with our package or a bad setup, but our Tempest system sounded terrible and did indeed have horrible latency. The DX210 package that we had previously worked better, sounded better and was much simpler to set up. YMMV.
 

kevlar557

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2014
Location
Kirtland, Ohio
Personally I like the Tempest 900 system I installed/maintain currently. I agree that the latency is not the greatest going from hardwired to wireless, but we've found it at least acceptable. Out of curiosity, why the interest in the tempest, instead of a cheaper/less complex BTR-800 (or whatever the clear-com model is)? If you don't need the expandable antenna, or the tons of configuration (which I love, BTW), there are much cheaper alternatives than the tempest.
 

JCBigler

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2014
Location
Tulsa, Oklahoma
When we replaced our old HME 800 wireless coms system a couple of years ago, we tested both the Clearcom Tempest and CellCom system, as well as the Riedel Acrobat series. Although the Riedel system was the best in pretty much every regard, we went with the CellCom 1.92GHz DECT band system because it was far less expensive, and sounded much, much better than the Tempest system. We had to play with the antenna location and placement after the initial install, but everything seems to work well now, and I don't have to worry about losing UHF audio frequencies for wireless mics and IEMs.

Any of the digital or cellular type stage coms systems will need multiple antenna locations to cover a typical theatre or performance venue. Yes, you could get 300 feet if you have an unobstructed line of sight, but that number goes down dramatically with walls and multiple floors between the antennas. It's not like UHF FM based coms and just doesn't have the propagation that those systems have. But the plus is less interference and fewer coordination issues with the increasingly congested high VHF and UHF bands.

You don't mention what your budget is. We spent about $65,000 on the base station, and 18 belt packs (we only deploy up to 16 at a time, and keep two as spares) and 8 antenna transceivers. Plus the labor to install it, so probably close to $70 grand all told.

One other alternate product to consider is the UV-1G by Radio Active Designs, which is a VHF based system. It is brand new and was not available several years ago when we replaced our system. RAD is run by several well known entertainment RF engineers and is currently conducting product demos around the country.
 
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