Hey.....I'm sorry if this is posted somewhere else already....I've been having a lot of trouble with our headsets lately (basically they're all broken except 2 at this point - I just discovered this tonight and we have a show next week), and I was wondering if anyone knows of any good kinds? Thanks!

- Lisa
My most recent pair of headphones are sony's MDR-V6000 model. They go for about $100 (high for the cheap end of headphones, low for the good end). They have good over all sound (from my ears), they are not the BEST headphones I have ever heard (but those were THOUSANDS of dolars) but they are certainly not the worst by a long shot. I also like the fact they are very durable. Mine are still in pristine condition even after more then 2 years of heavy use. Talking to a friend from Grove City College (they use the same headphones in their theator), they used to go through at least one pair of headphones a year, but when I talked to him these had been in their third year and were still in decent shape.

I am sure others will have their suggestions too, but that's just my experience.

If you dont mind, can I expand on the question asked here too? What would people suggest for good noise canceling headphones? Is it practical to use them to aid in recording a live concert (to help block out the outside sound and just hear what you are recording)?
Well, Lisa said headsets, not headphones. That still leaves the question, however, whether you're talking about ClearCom headsets, or headset microphones, or announcer style headset microphones (ie, headphones with a mic boom). Which do you need? :eek:)

As for noise-cancelling, I cannot recommend ANY. They all add artifacts to the sound and are not at all accurate. If noise reduction is a must, you want noise BLOCKING in-ear phones, such as the Shure E-series or those from Etymotic Research.

If you're thinking alogn the lines of Clearrcom headsets, Lisa, I personally like the lightweight one that Clearcom sells for something like $40 SRP I think. I've never used one in a very loud environment (e.g. FOH at a concert)

There are the skull crushers too, those will probably block some ambient noise out, but, you're going to have less usable volume in your head when you take the things off after a show. :)
TechnicalRunner said:
Hey.....I'm sorry if this is posted somewhere else already....I've been having a lot of trouble with our headsets lately (basically they're all broken except 2 at this point - I just discovered this tonight and we have a show next week), and I was wondering if anyone knows of any good kinds? Thanks!

- Lisa

There have been posts about buying new headsets but I want to ask is what do you mean by "broken"?

Are they physicaly broken as in someone has snapped off the mike, ear piece etc. or do they just not work. As well as the actual headsets have you tested the beltpacks as also. Sometimes the fault can be in the belt packs eg broken plug etc.

Lisa if you have already done the following please accept my apologies for teaching you to suck eggs. If you haven't it might be worth trying.

If you haven't already I would find a headset that works with a working beltpack. I would then swap that headset for all the other headsets noting the faults on the ones that don't go eg. no sound at all, sound but mike not working etc. This will give you a list that will maybe allow you to swap parts to make up some good ones from the broken bits. I would next confirm using the good headset with all the beltpacks to make sure there is no problem with the beltpacks themselves. Have you checked all the leads that go to the belt packs.

If the headsets look all right you can check the plugs for missing/ damaged pins or disconnected wires. Also check around the earpieces as sometimes those wires can come loose too. If you can solder you could do the repairs else you'll need to find someone else. A multimeter would help to check for open circuits.

Once again my apologies if you have done this already. When you answer posts you don't always know what level that person is at skillwise.
sorry for the confusion - i was thinking more along this lines of a clearcom type headset. we had ones from radio shack before, and they aren't that old (2 years or something), but people don't store them properly and drop them all the time etc. so they've been pretty beat up.

- Lisa
no i haven't check everything about the headsets yet, i didn't really have time the other day (it was a rehearsal and the director decided she wanted a headset with about 5 minutes to go so i was digging around to find some working ones). what i meant by "broken" was some hum when you turn them on, others are just static when someone talks, some don't go on (could be the battery, again i haven't checked all of them yet), and some are apart in hopes of being fixed (someone else took them apart and never finished fixing them). so now we're down to 2 working headsets at them moment. i'm going to try to go in early for our next rehearsal and look at them more closely, but so many of them are apart i think we're going to need some more anyway.

IF you're using RadioShack, I'm guessing you're not actually using ClearCom type wired intercoms, but two-way radios with headsets, yes? If so, are you looking to stay with wireless, and if so, what's your budget and is being able to talk simultaneously a need, or are you cool staying with push-to-talk radios?

If you don't want/need wireless, are you actually looking for a ClearCom or other brand party-line wired system?

The headset is only one part of the equation, and literally refers to just the actual headset itself, not the device that allows the user of the headset to actually communicate with anybody else. Without a radio or intercom device of some sort to connect the headset to, it's just a weird fashion accessory! :)
yes i'm sorry - we are using 2-way radios with headsets. i'm just looking around for any suggestions of better kinds - i think we should stay with the push-to-talk ones though, sometimes we say things we don't mean :lol: i'm not to familiar with the clearcoms...i've heard of them though. can you elaborate a little bit please?? thanks!

- Lisa
ClearCom, Telex RTS, and Telex AudioCom are three popular flavors of wired "party line" intercom systems. They use one or more base stations and then beltpacks, with optional wireless beltpacks. You can also add speaker stations, tie into paging systems, etc.

The various stations are interconnected using standard XLR microphone cable, and allow users to push-to-talk or leave the talk latched and talk freely. Either way, multiple users can talk at once, which is a huge plus over two-way radio systems (there are options that can be set to, for example, allow the stage manager to override the talk buttons on all remote stations if needed).

They're definitely more expensive, but well worth it.

ClearCom is the most common in the theatre world, although of the three I've noted, it's not necessarily the best. It's unbalanced, so very susceptible to hum from all sorts of things.

Telex AudioCom is great because it uses a balanced audio signal, so you don't get much interference/hum. The tradeoff is that it uses a theoretically super-audible tone for the call light signal instead of ClearCom's method of shorting out two of the pins, and you can hear it whine softly in the headset when it's pressed. It's also very rare; I've only once seen it at a venue (an arena I played last week, actually).

Telex RTS is very common in TV production, and in some theatres and arenas. It's huge benefit is that it fits two channels down one three-pin XLR cable, where the other methods use one cable per channel. The downside of this is that it by nature needs to use an unbalanced signal, so is not only susceptible to the same hum that ClearCom is, but can get lots of crosstalk from having two channels in the same cable (depending on other factors involved in cabling far too complex to get into here, of course).

If you want to stick with two-way radios, get good headsets that you/your crew like (everybody has their own preferenecs) to go with appropriate Motorola Radius two-way radios or similar. Don't use FRS family radios, as many do, because it is illegal to use them for commercial use.

That help a bit?
yes!! thanks!! :D i'm going in early today to try and see what exactly is wrong with them (beltpack or headset) and see if i can make some work with working parts. hopefully some more work...opening night is friday!
you mentioned "unbalanced signal"...could you explain that please? i sort of have an idea of what it is, but not completely. thanks!

- Lisa
well last night we got 2 more headsets working, so as long as they stay that way until late saturday night we'll be ok for this show. :) i talked to the director and she said we'll probably be getting new ones soon, since we'll definately need them for the musical now that most of them don't work. thanks for your help everyone! :D
yesterday i had a weird experience with our headsets...
during rehearsal, 3 of us had headsets (the 2 co-directors and myself), and one of the directors left for a little while, and turned off her headset (or so we thought). a little while later we started getting all this static on the headsets, and i noticed it was only when the actors were talking really loud/yelling/singing etc. then i thought maybe the person who left switched over to vox instead of turning it off (it's an easy mistake to make in the dark with our headsets...), which would explain why we were only hearing static when the actors were being loud (because the headset was on vox and it was picking up the sound from the house). that turned out to be the case. that wasn't the strange thing though. the other director went backstage at one point, and we heard the static again, except this time it came from her headset, which we knew was on manual...anyone know how this happened? :?:
When you say the other director, who went backstage, was on manual, do you mean that when they talked they had switch to talk. Was this static there all the time or only when she was speaking? If you post the make and model of your comms gear, someone maybe able to tell you if it is normal for this to happen.

Walkie talkies can be affected by interference, the cheaper ones more so. Things like the dimmers can give off interference. You can sometimes spot this by seeing if the interference changes as the light levels are changed. Just the postion of one walkie talkie to another can affect the quality of reception. Buildings can also have an effect . That is why you normaly see manufacturers state usable range described as a line of sight distance.

Look for a knob marked squelch. This controls how much noise you hear when there is no one talking. If squelch is set to low and you have a weaker signal you may hear more noise. The less squelch the more static you will hear and vice versa. On some walkie talkies it is an automatic setting you can't change.
when the other director went backstage we heard static, and somehow she knew it was from her headset (not actually sure how, i was going to ask but got caught up in doing something else). but she wasn't trying to talk when this happened. i'm not sure of the exact model, but our headsets are from radio shack...so kinda cheap.
i don't think it was the lights since there weren't any light changes then (basically none in the whole show...just turn them on in the beginning and off at the end - we're doing improvs). would that interfere even if there aren't any changes?
i think our squelch might be automatic too, we really only have a talk button and one that switches from off - man - vox.
is it possible that a cell phone could have done it? i know they have interfered with them before, and we did have a few people in the house watching last night.
thanks for your help!

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