Looking to replace our comms

Hi all,

I work at a small theatre company and we're looking to upgrade our comms system. At the minute, we're using the HME DX100 but the headsets are falling apart, the base station isn't super reliable, and we need more than 4 belt packs. Any system we get needs to be fully wireless, have at least 6 belt packs, and I'm hoping to find something less than $8k. If it has more than one channel, that's awesome, but not a requirement.

The two systems I've found that I think might work are the Hollyland Syscom 1000T or two of the IKAN Livecom. I love that the Hollyland is all-in-one but I love the IKAN price (despite having two base stations :rolleyes:)

Does anyone have any experience with either of these? Or a different recommendation altogether?

Thanks in advance!
 

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
I spent $4,000 on a wireless system from Eartec with a Clear-Com interface a few years ago and it was completely worthless. Had to return it. I purchased another one from a different brand a few years before that (Also several thousand bucks) and it was equally worthless. These things work great out in an empty field but not so good inside a building with lots of sources of interference. I broke down and bought a Clear-Com Freespeak 2 system. It's rock solid and the base station alone is about $8,000... then the belt packs are close to $2k each. Plus the charger, the transceivers (you would need two to use more than 5 beltpacks). I put my kit together over two years to be able to afford it all. That said I have never had an issue with it and never regretted spending the extra. But the price to get into it was not pleasant.

My most important advice. Whatever you choose either get a demo in your theater or buy your gear from a dealer with a good return policy. Because you do not want to get stuck with gear that doesn't work.



@dvsDave Pro Intercom used to sell a wireless system that I think was made by another company but they put their branding on it. It's not on the Pro Intercom site anymore. However, I think I saw it in the P.A. booth at USITT. But I don't see it on the P.A. website. Was that the same gear? Do you sell it? How do you like it? I remember it being a very interesting product and I tried it out on the tradeshow floor and it worked pretty good but that was all after I got my Freespeak 2 gear.
 

Benjamin Fink

Active Member
Before I started here, my theatre had purchased an Eartec system, and I will heartily agree with gafftaper's complaints. It is a budget system and you can tell. The components are all built from plastic, the headsets are uncomfortable, and while it worked most of the time for our small auditorium, it took some fiddling to get the headsets to connect to each other and I never felt like I could fully trust the system.

I had gotten a quote for the Clear-Com Freespeak II system, and for a base station and five beltpacks, it was going to cost us around $20k. If you've got the resources to save up for a couple years or find funding to purchase a professional system like that, I think that's the way to go.

When I started looking a few years ago, I had a tough time finding something between those two price points but I learned about Pliant Technologies' MicroCom XR system this spring at USITT and just found out that I received funding to purchase a set of 5 packs, but haven't bought them yet. Unlike some of the cheaper product lines, they're put out by a company that also does pro-grade gear, and the packs I got my hands on on the show floor seemed to look and feel like they were built well. The system runs without a base station and can support up to 10 full-duplex users, plus additional listen-only users. A full set of 5 packs with headsets, extra batteries, a charger, and case is around $6500 on BMI's site.

Again, I haven't purchased or used these yet, but they seem promising. They're right around the same price point as your Hollyland and IKAN systems and are probably pretty comparable. If anyone on the forums has used the MicroCom packs, I'd be curious to hear what their thoughts are on the system.
 

josh88

Remarkably Tired.
Fight Leukemia
I just got done testing a Hollyland C1 system which are their wireless headsets (a direct rip off of eartec's design). I agree with everybody that the budget systems are just that, cheap. BUT the C1's at least were built and felt better than the equivalent earth system so theres that improvement. I have a hard time supporting a chinese company clearly ripping off work that other systems, but the price isn't bad.

The freespeak systems do blow everything else out of the water and if theres any way you can swing it, you won't regret it and won't need to buy another system for a long time. Buy once, cry once.
 

jayvee

Well-Known Member
Here's another vote against the Eartec. I do love their wired headsets and so I tried the Eartec with the interface unit and it was not for me for many of the same reasons already listed. I then tried the Pliant Crewcom 900 system and it is THE BUSINESS. It integrated seamlessly with my Telex hardwired system and we have yet to find anywhere on or backstage the packs don't sound clear as a bell with the base station up in the booth. Bonus: you can buy the charger bay and just put the pack right in it to charge instead of pulling the batteries in and out. I currently have 4 packs and plan to purchase another 2 when my budget rolls over. Kirk, Picard, Sisko, and Janeway are keeping my deckhands connected and trouble-free!

Double bonus: one pack (Picard) wouldn't charge in the bay so I called tech support and they sent me a replacement right away! Great customer service!
 
I spent $4,000 on a wireless system from Eartec with a Clear-Com interface a few years ago and it was completely worthless. Had to return it. I purchased another one from a different brand a few years before that (Also several thousand bucks) and it was equally worthless. These things work great out in an empty field but not so good inside a building with lots of sources of interference. I broke down and bought a Clear-Com Freespeak 2 system. It's rock solid and the base station alone is about $8,000... then the belt packs are close to $2k each. Plus the charger, the transceivers (you would need two to use more than 5 beltpacks). I put my kit together over two years to be able to afford it all. That said I have never had an issue with it and never regretted spending the extra. But the price to get into it was not pleasant.

My most important advice. Whatever you choose either get a demo in your theater or buy your gear from a dealer with a good return policy. Because you do not want to get stuck with gear that doesn't work.



@dvsDave Pro Intercom used to sell a wireless system that I think was made by another company but they put their branding on it. It's not on the Pro Intercom site anymore. However, I think I saw it in the P.A. booth at USITT. But I don't see it on the P.A. website. Was that the same gear? Do you sell it? How do you like it? I remember it being a very interesting product and I tried it out on the tradeshow floor and it worked pretty good but that was all after I got my Freespeak 2 gear.
I didn't even think about interference, thanks for mentioning it! We unfortunately don't have the money to be buying a Freespeak system (as much as I want one) and I have a feeling what we have now might not see it through next season.

I'll try to find a local dealer, thanks for the advice!
 
Before I started here, my theatre had purchased an Eartec system, and I will heartily agree with gafftaper's complaints. It is a budget system and you can tell. The components are all built from plastic, the headsets are uncomfortable, and while it worked most of the time for our small auditorium, it took some fiddling to get the headsets to connect to each other and I never felt like I could fully trust the system.

I had gotten a quote for the Clear-Com Freespeak II system, and for a base station and five beltpacks, it was going to cost us around $20k. If you've got the resources to save up for a couple years or find funding to purchase a professional system like that, I think that's the way to go.

When I started looking a few years ago, I had a tough time finding something between those two price points but I learned about Pliant Technologies' MicroCom XR system this spring at USITT and just found out that I received funding to purchase a set of 5 packs, but haven't bought them yet. Unlike some of the cheaper product lines, they're put out by a company that also does pro-grade gear, and the packs I got my hands on on the show floor seemed to look and feel like they were built well. The system runs without a base station and can support up to 10 full-duplex users, plus additional listen-only users. A full set of 5 packs with headsets, extra batteries, a charger, and case is around $6500 on BMI's site.

Again, I haven't purchased or used these yet, but they seem promising. They're right around the same price point as your Hollyland and IKAN systems and are probably pretty comparable. If anyone on the forums has used the MicroCom packs, I'd be curious to hear what their thoughts are on the system.
Interesting, I'll look into the MicroCom XR. Thanks for the tip!
 

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
I'll try to find a local dealer, thanks for the advice!
When I went through the Eartec trial. I tried to get a demo through a local dealer but they couldn't provide it. So, I purchased my Eartec gear through one of the major national online dealers (I don't remember which one, but it was one of the big online dealers like B&H, Sweetwater, Markertek, or Full Compass. I picked the company with the best return policy. I made sure that it arrived a couple of days before an event where I could have the whole team put it through its paces. I think I had 30 days to try it out. We determined it was worthless by the end of the first rehearsal. And I sent it back. It cost me a couple of hundred bucks in shipping and restocking fees to send it back and then I saved up a couple of years to get a Freespeak system.
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
What you *want* is ClearCom FreeSpeak II, but you can't fit it in your budget. See my long-term review elsewhere in the booth.

With the exception of a little more base noise than clean analog 2W, it's pretty much perfect; we've had 5 seats of it for almost 5 years now, and except for batteries, the only problem we've seen is that the talk button switches aren't quite as long-lived as you'd like them to be. Everything else, though, is fantastic. Uses standard A4F headsets, standard XLR interface to your wired system, stage announce, program-in, etc, etc, etc.

It's real professional gear.
 

teqniqal

Well-Known Member
Consider the Green Go system that is wireless over your existing wifi system. It also allows for wired stations and two-wire / four-wire interface to other systems. www.greengodigital.com
 

NickVon

Well-Known Member
Here's another vote against the Eartec. I do love their wired headsets and so I tried the Eartec with the interface unit and it was not for me for many of the same reasons already listed. I then tried the Pliant Crewcom 900 system and it is THE BUSINESS. It integrated seamlessly with my Telex hardwired system and we have yet to find anywhere on or backstage the packs don't sound clear as a bell with the base station up in the booth. Bonus: you can buy the charger bay and just put the pack right in it to charge instead of pulling the batteries in and out. I currently have 4 packs and plan to purchase another 2 when my budget rolls over. Kirk, Picard, Sisko, and Janeway are keeping my deckhands connected and trouble-free!

Double bonus: one pack (Picard) wouldn't charge in the bay so I called tech support and they sent me a replacement right away! Great customer service!
What was the rough out of pocket cost for your 4 user Crewcom 900 system?
 

Dionysus

Well-Known Member
I am so happy my PM got me a Freespeak II in our latest renovations. I have to admit, you do get what you pay for, it's amazing.
I've been involved in a few venues that used HME, with the clearcom adapter box quite happily. Unfortunately I don't have much experience with much inbetween. Tend to be using Production Intercom wired systems or straight to the Clearcom for the last number of years.
Really great to hear about some of the diversity (pun not intended) of wireless com out there these days!
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
I am so happy my PM got me a Freespeak II in our latest renovations. I have to admit, you do get what you pay for, it's amazing.
I've been involved in a few venues that used HME, with the clearcom adapter box quite happily. Unfortunately I don't have much experience with much inbetween. Tend to be using Production Intercom wired systems or straight to the Clearcom for the last number of years.
Really great to hear about some of the diversity (pun not intended) of wireless com out there these days!
You might find some useful tips in my FSII review, elsewhere in the Booth.
 

MRW Lights

Well-Known Member
You might find some useful tips in my FSII review, elsewhere in the Booth.

I'll have to append your FSII with our addition of the Arcadia. It is certainly not within the realm of the budget of an FSII, but boy howdy am I excited to be upgrading our campus with it. Combining 2wire and 4 wire ClearCom, FreeSpeak, RTS and Dante. It's not often that I spec a system where I can't see beyond future expansion, but this unit for wireless comms might do it...
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
I'll have to append your FSII with our addition of the Arcadia. It is certainly not within the realm of the budget of an FSII, but boy howdy am I excited to be upgrading our campus with it. Combining 2wire and 4 wire ClearCom, FreeSpeak, RTS and Dante. It's not often that I spec a system where I can't see beyond future expansion, but this unit for wireless comms might do it...
[ Looks ]

Yeah, I assume it's about half another zero...
 

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