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eartec, anyone? (intercom advice wanted)+

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by Josie, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. Josie

    Josie Member

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    (New here... I wasn't sure if I should tack this onto the pre-existing wireless comm thread, or start a new one since that's one's a few months old. Mods, feel free to move this accordingly!)

    I've been given the task of purchasing a new intercom system for our 260 seat theatre. Our existing system is a wired ClearCom so old, it's steam-powered.

    I'm looking at the Eartec Digicom. Has anyone had any experience (good or bad) with Eartec?
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2008
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    I haven't used it personally, but all reports that I've heard about it are positive. very nice 1/4 mile or so range, and goes through walls well. However, don't downgrade to either of Eartec's lower price wireless com systems (the 900mHz or the 2.4gHz one), because I've yet to hear a good thing about them.

    However, as with almost all of the main wireless com systems, you can only operate 4 beltpacks at once.
     
  3. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Occupation:
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    Do you have a budget?

    If you have the money, you are probably better off going with Clearcom or Telex or one of the other major players. Eartec makes a good product, but I would be worried about the longevity of their equipment. A Clearcom system will last a very long time, just like the system you have, plus it is a lot easier to connect the clearcom wireless system to a hardwire system as it won't require adapters.

    I suppose the other question that needs asking is, do you need the wireless functionality? If you don't really need wireless, it probably isn't so hard to clean up the system you have, replace some beltpacks and headsets and come in a lot cheaper than wireless. As I sad, most Clearcom equipment is like tanks, it lasts. You may need to replace cable and such, but it should keep on working if you take care of it.
     
  4. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    We demoed one a while back. Although we did not decide to buy one, we had a great expirence with it. The quality of sound and range was great. If you are looking to have it as your only com system, I would be a bit concerned with only having 4 possible units per system, but I can see many scenarios where that would be all you would need.

    I do second many of Alex's concerns about the longevity of the brand and necessity of wireless. I too would recomend a Clearcom or Telex system instead.
     
  5. Josie

    Josie Member

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    Thanks for the replies, folks. A little more detail on what my situation's like...

    At most, we've had three functioning ClearComs running. (We have four headsets, but one's always on the bench getting re-soldered!) We don't have catwalks, don't run flys or anything like that, so four --- two for the booth, one for each wing --- would probably be plenty.

    I also questioned whether wireless is necessary. I'm the sort of person who buys cars with hand-rolling windows and manual locks because I figure the more complicated something is, the more there is to go wrong with it. But the other techs here have brought up several situations where the ability to roam, headset and all, would have eased some hectic situations.

    We don't use intercoms daily (or even weekly); my venue is primarily used for lectures and concerts, with a few plays that require communication between booth and backstage. I just looked over our calendar, and right now we're looking at about a dozen events for this year that will require intercoms. They wouldn't see use comparable to that a fulltime playhouse/concert venue.

    The money issue is a complicated one, as my venue is part of a county organization, funded by local government money. We've got our hunk of money for the year, about which my boss is all "spend it! spend it now before another department dips into it!"

    I'm thinking: take Icewolf's suggestion and clean up the old CC as a back-up, but buy something new while we can. Even if we don't need something new now, lord knows when we'll have the money again. My predecessor worked out a budget of $7000 for a new intercom (I think he was looking at ClearCom brand). If I can come in under budget, that's more stuff we can buy this year. We already know that the next fiscal year will be tight, so I'm thinking I should blow more money on things we use more regularly, like monitors, lights, etc.

    Whew, sorry to bore you with all that. Thanks again for the input and points to ponder!
     
  6. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

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    If you've got a dozen events which require intercom, don't go cheap. Spend the money and get something good quality. My school has a wired Telex system which work[ed] amazingly. Unfortunately, someone from the county came in and started messing with things (there's a thread about it in the Punching Bag) and now the system won't work. We had to contact some people in the local parks and rec to borrow some of their wireless radios. I think they were more trouble than they were worth. Moral of the story. Buy something that won't fail you, and make sure its handled by people who know what they're doing.
     
  7. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I have had eartec used on a clearcom system I have been apart of... It drove me crazy. Every time one of the packs started going dead they induced a huge hiss on the system. Made programming so much more fun....
     

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