Intercoms: What’s on the Market

By pro-audio standards, intercoms make up a small market sector, but it’s a critical one. Here’s a look at the current offerings from the market leaders.

The Tempest2400 operates in the 2.4 GHz band and is available in a two- or four-channel system. It offers multimode operation, with each mode providing a different level of communication flexibility and user capacity. In normal mode, five full-duplex wireless belt stations can operate on one system with no frequency coordination required. Up to 10 Tempest base stations can be linked, for a total of up to 50 full-duplex wireless belt stations. An unlimited number of users communicating in push-to-transmit fashion, along with a selected number of full-duplex users, is possible in split and shared modes. The systems maintain high-quality voice audio with Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) technology and can function in very high ambient-noise environments with extremely high audio-dynamics range (>94 dB). A seamless roaming feature enables Tempest2400 users to move freely from a given coverage area to another, with no manual switching between base stations required. Up to 16 base stations can now be linked together using the ZSync technology.

The Tempest900 has a similar menu structure to the Tempest2400 system but operates in the 902-928 MHz frequency range. The system is available in two- and four-channel versions and comes with the same set of features, functions, and operations as the Tempest2400.

The HME DX210 two-channel intercom operates in the 2.4 GHz band and has a built-in two-wire interface compatible with Clear-Com’s or RTS’s two-wire systems, in addition to four-wire and auxiliary audio connections. A digital auto-nulling circuit prevents audio feedback. In single-channel mode, four base stations can be co-located to support up to 16 full-duplex and 44 half-duplex beltpacks and/or wireless headsets. The DX210 can be paired with the BP210 beltpack and all-in-one WH210 wireless headset communicators. In the two-channel mode, any three communicators can be speaking simultaneously; in the selectable one-channel mode, any four communicators can be speaking simultaneously.

The HelixNet partyline intercom system last year added a new capability allowing multiple systems to link over Ethernet and fiber networks for distributing multiple digital partyline channels, program audio feeds, and auxiliary interfaced audio to digital beltpacks users. Station-to-station networking function is made possible with the new HLI-ET2 Ethernet module. Main stations can connect directly or through a LAN using standard IT switches. A new HLI-FBS fiber module is also available for linking stations over long distances. The fiber module has two fiber ports with small–form-factor pluggable (SFP) modules, for simple exchange of fiber transceivers. The standard SFP for the fiber module is single-mode, with multimode offered as an option.

Riedel Communications
Artist digital matrix intercom provides a platform for intercom applications and the distribution of analog and digital audio and TCP/IP data signals. The system consists of a fiber-based network backbone providing a decentralized infrastructure for live audio and intercom applications. Artist offers matrix sizes from 8×8 up to 1,024×1,024 ports. Multiple matrix frames (nodes) can be interconnected by a dual optical fiber ring to form a single large, full-summing, non-blocking distributed matrix. The maximum distance between two nodes can be up to 1,650 ft. as standard and optionally up to 12 miles. With up to 128 intercom ports per matrix frame, Artist allows a high degree of decentralization of the entire matrix in a very cost-effective way.

The Riedel Performer Series digital partyline intercom system provides two- and four-channel master stations and rack-mount, wall-mount, and desktop speaker stations as well as call-light indicators and two-channel beltpack headset stations. In addition to pure partyline applications, the C44 system interface makes the Performer series the first fully integrated digital solution for combined digital matrix and partyline intercom.

The Riedel Acrobat digital wireless intercom system is a full-duplex communications solution for up to 120 individually addressable wireless control panels/beltpacks and 18 wireless partylines. Acrobat utilizes the benefits of the Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) standard’s base layer. This provides a license-free, cellular architecture with seamless handover between cells, allowing each Acrobat wireless beltpack to continuously monitor and automatically select the best connection to the Acrobat cell controller.

MediorNet’s networked signal-transport solution integrates broadcast-quality processing and conversion features, such as frame store/frame synchronizers and embedders/de-embedders at any input/output. The system is software-based, allowing these features to be easily expanded without hardware changes. The product line includes MediorNet Modular, a completely modular system that can be tailored to customer demands and exact application needs, and MediorNet Compact, a cost-effective all-in-one box solution.

The recently announced CPX-AVB expansion card turns Artist 1100 series control panels into AVB-enabled devices, making the panels’ ports available within the entire AVB network. The expansion card converts two Artist ports to the AVB network and vice versa.

The BTR-240 digital multichannel wireless intercom system offers extremely reliable and secure full-duplex communication with up to eight wireless TR-240 beltpacks and an almost unlimited number of half-duplex beltpacks. Operating in the 2.4 GHz frequency band, it uses the widely adopted IEEE 802.11 technology and is approved for license-free use in most countries. The system also incorporates ClearScan technology, allowing users to select the optimal RF channel for communication at the touch of a button. Features include multi-level security and audio encryption; choice of two independent or simultaneous audio channels; multiple antenna options and accessories; easy-to-read LCD indicating system status; expanded coverage using BTR-24 access points; two-wire and four-wire intercom interface; XLR in/out for interfacing with general audio systems; and auto-select condenser or dynamic microphone; TR-240 beltpacks, which can operate wired or wireless and can operate as an access point; and removable lithium-ion batteries with wide temperature range and up to eight hours’ operation.

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