# InstallsHow much does a ClearCom system cost?

#### dvsDave

##### Benevolent Dictator
Senior Team
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Fight Leukemia
A few thoughts on this - I'm not defending the price points, but if there was true money to be made in this space you'd see more competition in the low and mid tier to drive costs down. I'm no capitalist, but that to be makes enough sense. There has to be some reason you don't see more competition here - it's an easy enough standard to produce on your own. I know what a low-budget intercom looks like (Pi) but I don't even know what a mid-tier mid-featured Analog Partyline system would look like.

First - The current lineup of 700 Series products has actually innovated quite a bit over the prior generations. They sound a ton better than other generations, and because they are all micro-controlled you can gang power supplies together to expand your system as opposed to just tossing your old PSU when you hit capacity and getting a larger more robust PSU. They trimmed the product lineup and added features in (most notably all 2 channel belt packs now have program, there is no special model of 2-channel pack with program). Once you start popping them open you'll see they have a lot of features hidden behind DIP switches that do an awful lot if you're an advanced user and need features.

Second - On inflexibility, Analog partyline is inherently inflexible and as productions grow I'm always itching for a 5 channel remote station, once folks have touched IP they don't want to go back to Analog or have the same demands they had of Analog. That being said you can do a lot with a Switchboard Station or by simply using a 1 channel PSU and a number of Pin 3 drops into splitters to create more channels. You can work around some of the limitations.

Finally - On IP Intercom. Once you're working at a large enough scale, IP almost makes sense financially compared to Analog. I understand I work on different scales than most, but once you're looking at signal distribution on a large musical for 12 channels of Intercom across 5 departments on a huge show the amount you're spending in copper for analog distribution almost competes on price with Helixnet. You really only have 2 major players in the IP Space right now - you have Helixnet and you have Riedel Artist. You can get a ton more Helixnet for the price of Riedel, however Riedel is a ton more flexible and robust. If there were other players you'd see downward pressure on pricing, but right now you have 2 and one is the high-end player and one is the budget player (never thought I'd say Clearcom is a budget option ever).
Three players in the IP space. Don't forget GreenGo. Fantastic setup for the money.

#### BenH

##### Member
There is competition, depending upon your needs. If you only need a couple channels and less than 10 units, you can look at

Great for theaters, houses of worship, that need a few people on a two way and a few more people on listen only.

We had someone who was so stuck on clear-com, they were looking at used systems from sporting teams until I got them in touch with a local reseller and they talked them thru the pliant option. Was 1/3 the cost of a similar clear-com system (in terms of # of units we needed).

#### Jay Ashworth

##### Well-Known Member
Two thoughts.

1) Spend the money. Having com go bad on you in mid show will kill you.

2) Get a quote on all-wired, and then get a quote on Free Speak II. The wireless stuff is pricey, but not by comparison to spending $30K on install... Here's my review on FS-II; I dropped a few updates in the comments: Last edited: #### MRW Lights ##### Well-Known Member Wow just catching up on this thread here, but here's my half shilling on the idea from the standpoint of my current system... I've shifted my Com system designs to think less by traditional budget and more by expansion and system capacity... SIZE DOES MATTER! You may feel IP intercom is overpriced.... but when I tell you I have a system currently around 256 ports (and growing) of Intercom, IFB, TIFS, Hybrids and relays spread throughout 4 buildings with a cable distance several miles long it becomes NECESSARY. At the end of the day the budget by port is minuscule in comparison to the production we can accomplish with the system and also the essential need of it consistently operating without question. A tipping point happens when a budget friendly option actually becomes more expensive to operate and maintain or expand than the sticker shock systems that are available on the market. So... having an overall budget as a goal is always necessary, but looking at what you need and how it's best to accomplish it might save you money in the long run even if it means spending more on a better base to get you started... like @Jay Ashworth mentioned quote both wired and wireless... when it's all said and done you might find that a smaller system could be cheaper as a wireless IP one because it takes less "stuff" opposed to a traditional "cheaper" wired system... #### gafftaper ##### Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia Unless you are really lucky with lots of extra existing conduit going exactly where you want wired ClearCom will kill you with install costs. A Freespeak 2 wireless ClearCom system is probably the best solution for retrofit. It's about$10,000 for the base station, one antenna, and 5 beltpacks. Set it up in the middle of the theater and you are done.

Or, better still place the base station in the booth with the antenna in the middle of the theater. Then you can install a very simple wired system in the booth and your booth staff can be on wired gear talking to the rest of the staff on wireless anywhere in the theater.

#### macsound

##### Well-Known Member
I think, overall what I'm getting at with the high price, is, for example, Dante.
Dante is integrated into Yamaha racks that cost $1000s, but they also have a single XLR in for$150.

This type of modern ingenuity is something that I think would take the market by storm and overwhelm us with features we didn't think we could get for less than $1000 per person. We all trust Dante just as much as we trusted our 48x8 enormous copper snakes. I'd love com to go the same way. No apps, still hardware, just simple purpose built hardware that makes viable sense for a youth theatre setup in a cafetorium with 2 people talking, then scaled up to broadcast levels with a dozen channels and a hundred endpoints. Even to the extent that the theatre I grew up hasn't upgraded their com, even though they've replaced the wifi, wired networking, phone system, most of the lighting, CCTV and others because of improved quality and flexibility, but if they were to upgrade com from their existing analog 2 channel system, it would cost a literal fortune to get more than they have now. Sorry, rant over. #### dvsDave ##### Benevolent Dictator Administrator Senior Team CB Mods Fight Leukemia I think, overall what I'm getting at with the high price, is, for example, Dante. Dante is integrated into Yamaha racks that cost$1000s, but they also have a single XLR in for $150. This type of modern ingenuity is something that I think would take the market by storm and overwhelm us with features we didn't think we could get for less than$1000 per person.

We all trust Dante just as much as we trusted our 48x8 enormous copper snakes. I'd love com to go the same way. No apps, still hardware, just simple purpose built hardware that makes viable sense for a youth theatre setup in a cafetorium with 2 people talking, then scaled up to broadcast levels with a dozen channels and a hundred endpoints.

Even to the extent that the theatre I grew up hasn't upgraded their com, even though they've replaced the wifi, wired networking, phone system, most of the lighting, CCTV and others because of improved quality and flexibility, but if they were to upgrade com from their existing analog 2 channel system, it would cost a literal fortune to get more than they have now.

Sorry, rant over.

All of the digital intercom systems have some sort of optional interface to interact with analog 2 channel systems. You can build hybrid systems. I have a client that needs some wired 2 channel stations and some wireless boxes. We are speccing Pro Intercom for the wired system, with a 2ch analog interface to integrate GreenGo's wireless systems. The wireless systems can use 32 channels, but 2 of them will be assigned to the 2ch analog system. It also gives them flexibility to add more stations with either 2ch analog or extend it with IP (wired or wireless) with GreenGo.

ClearCom is having a lot of supply chain issues and can't give us a good ETA on delivery. Both GreenGo and ProIntercom can give us an ETA (some stuff is in stock, some have between 4 to 12 weeks ETA) no one is immune to supply chain problems right now, but having an ETA is better than not. I like ClearCom's HELIX system, and Reidel's system is amazing, but the cost per person is much higher. (also more capable, but that comes with a price)