Clear-Com Communication Systems is introducing FreeSpeak Version 2.0, offering enhanced beltpack capacity, Interrupted Foldback (IFB) functionality and improved group operations between beltpacks, party-lines and other external inputs. It will be on display at the upcoming Prolight + Sound 2009 (Hall 8, Booth K54) in Frankfurt.
FreeSpeak is a digital wireless intercom system based on a cellular architecture that offers license-free communication and can allow up to 20 beltpacks to roam seamlessly between remote active antennas.
“In today’s live performance environments, production staff are expected to support multiple job functions, prompting an increased need for wireless audio connectivity,” says Stephen Sandford, Clear-Com FreeSpeak Product Manager. “In Version 2.0, we have doubled the number of beltpacks that a base station can support, giving more users the freedom to communicate while on the move and improving the overall production crew’s flexibility and efficiency.”
Among the new features available in FreeSpeak Version 2.0 are three configurable IFBs, allowing the user to assign IFB keys to any number of beltpacks. The beltpacks can then be programmed to act as IFB talent receivers or as the originator of the interrupts.
“This integrated IFB capability gives the user the ability to listen to audio feeds while allowing other users to interrupt that audio feed at any point,” Sandford says. “This provides true standalone IFB system functionality with program source feeds and beltpack interrupts that are mixed and routed to beltpacks, which act as wireless IFB receivers.
“The user also has the option of working in conjunction with other IFB systems where the program feed is routed through the base station and the interrupts are generated from the FreeSpeak beltpack keys.”
Other new components include Wireless Party-Line Groups, allowing for the seamless mixing of party-line users, external inputs and beltpack users in the same group
The FreeSpeak 2.0 system is centered on a highly programmable 1RU base station from which an operator can manage and oversee all communications for up to 20 digital wireless beltpacks. The system can be controlled from both the bright front-panel display on the base station or remotely via an Ethernet-connected PC that runs the configuration software.
The beltpacks are linked wirelessly to the base station by the remote active antenna that enables users to roam freely throughout a facility while maintaining consistent communication without loss of signal.
All transmission takes place in the license-free 1.8 – 1.9 GHz frequency band, which helps eliminate interference with other wireless products such as PCs, talent microphones, IFB and in-ear monitors.
Another key benefit of the system is that each wireless beltpack and wired intercom connection on the rear of the base station has its own full-duplex port. The voice communication from each port is sampled, mixed and re-routed throughout the system as desired. As each wireless beltpack has its own timeslot, it can be individually addressed by the base station, allowing multiple combinations of beltpack-to-beltpack and small-group conversations to be held simultaneously.