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Author Topic: 2-way Radio options?  (Read 3230 times)

Mike Stahly

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2-way Radio options?
« on: October 13, 2009, 01:29:47 PM »

Hey guys,

We just started a second service location for Sunday mornings where we need to coordinate the audio/visual between 2 parts of my team. We have to synchronize the worship and sermon between the locales and it looks like it's time to start using 2-way radios. (I'm getting tired of running back and forth between the 2 rooms.) Razz

We've tried the Motorola Talkabout and the Uniden GMR radios in the past and haven't been happy with the headsets or the transmit functions on either brands.

Has anyone got a suggestion for what works well in the way of headset selection and transmitter distance? I see I can get a Motorola CP220 for $140. Is that about the price range I'm looking at for something that'll work? Has anyone tried that one?

Thanks in advance.
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Michael Stahly

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Brad Weber

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Re: 2-way Radio options?
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2009, 01:55:25 PM »

Mike Stahly wrote on Tue, 13 October 2009 13:29

We've tried the Motorola Talkabout and the Uniden GMR radios in the past and haven't been happy with the headsets or the transmit functions on either brands.

Do you mean GMRS?  Were they possibly dual FRS/GMRS band units and you were operating on the FRS bands?  FRS usually offers less range but does not require a license while GMRS operation typically provides greater range but requires licensing, possibly for all users if they are not direct family members.

The usable distances advertised for radios are usually for ideal, line-of-sight conditions and real world transmission distances are typically significantly less.  However, what that distance is will depend greatly upon the actual conditions such as intervening structural elements, something that can be difficult for anyone unfamiliar with the situation to judge.  
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Brad Weber
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Mike Stahly

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Re: 2-way Radio options?
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2009, 06:07:43 PM »

Thanks Brad. We always had pretty good reception with the radios but the headsets were never easy to use. The difference in background noise between sermon levels and worship levels made it hard to use the headsets provided by the manufacturer.

I'd like to get something that has great audio quality in maybe an over-the-ear headset style.
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Michael Stahly

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John Fiorello

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Re: 2-way Radio options?
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2009, 06:52:34 PM »

This may be unwanted input, but... I'll share anyway Smile


Have you looked into non-radio based communication?  I'm only asking because it sounds like you're just trying to call cues.  I know you'd need radio for mobile hands that need to go between foh and stage, loft, etc.  But if you're trying to sync video with live music (remote pastor) or when to call people over from 1 building to another, you could run wi-fi/network to a computer.

Planning Center Online uses basically a chat room between as many computers as you have running to co-ordinate producer cues with whoever needs them.  Foldback screen for the stage, media room, foh, wherever...


You could even run wireless with a few cheap netbooks.  They have an 8 hour battery life, are portable, and cheap Smile  

I don't know all the details of what you have going on, obviously, so all I'm really doing is throwing a question into the mix to ponder... but radio communication might just be on it's way out anyway  Laughing



My 2 cents...


JF
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Mike Stahly

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Re: 2-way Radio options?
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2009, 01:18:10 PM »

John Fiorello wrote on Wed, 14 October 2009 15:52

This may be unwanted input, but... I'll share anyway Smile


Have you looked into non-radio based communication?  I'm only asking because it sounds like you're just trying to call cues.  I know you'd need radio for mobile hands that need to go between foh and stage, loft, etc.  But if you're trying to sync video with live music (remote pastor) or when to call people over from 1 building to another, you could run wi-fi/network to a computer.

Planning Center Online uses basically a chat room between as many computers as you have running to co-ordinate producer cues with whoever needs them.  Foldback screen for the stage, media room, foh, wherever...


You could even run wireless with a few cheap netbooks.  They have an 8 hour battery life, are portable, and cheap Smile  

I don't know all the details of what you have going on, obviously, so all I'm really doing is throwing a question into the mix to ponder... but radio communication might just be on it's way out anyway  Laughing



My 2 cents...


JF


Thanks for the input John. I'd like to set up a wi-fi but not all the locations have a computer. Whatever we set up will need to be expandable to additional team members. Also, I like to be able to walk around the sanctuary and give ques to the sound engineer while I'm listening to the changes we're making.

Sounds like I'm stuck with 2-way radio for now.
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Michael Stahly

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John Fiorello

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Re: 2-way Radio options?
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2009, 04:44:55 PM »

Mike Stahly wrote on Fri, 16 October 2009 13:18


Sounds like I'm stuck with 2-way radio for now.





I hear ya.  I haven't used the moto's before, but I've used some cobra's that I've been happy with.  But AFAIK, they don't come with headsets, so you'll need to get them separately (but they're cheaper than the moto's to start with).


I've used some headsets with another brand I can't think of off the top of my head and I know what you mean about not getting good audio.  We eventually stopped using the headsets because they were too cumbersome and couldn't get a good vocal pickup.


I'd be interested to know what kind you go with headset wise, I'd like to pick up some good ones too Smile





JF
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Allen Farr

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Re: 2-way Radio options?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2009, 11:35:53 AM »

I have a question about the 2 way radio option but it is a little different than Mike's issue.

Every year for our Christmas performance we always rent a small wireless clear-com system for about 8 to 10 people and we spend about $2k on it. I know what clear-com does and what it is used for but I have to say I am on the novice side of how to actually put a clear-com system together. I called a company and started pricing out what we might need. For a new system like we use every year it would cost us in the ballpark of about $10k and that is WAY out of our budget.

I could see us using something like a clear-com system throughout the year but not all 8 wireless units. We have 2 venues that we use each morning, one uses a digital console at FOH and the other a analog, however neither system has a separate monitor console. We run all of the monitors, IEM, wedges, video feed off of the FOH console.

My problem is, during sound check it's sometimes hard to communicate QUICKLY with a musician or a vocalist on stage. I have seen it done with a clear-com system where you have one person on stage and then one person at the FOH position and the person on stage is telling the person at FOH what needs to be done to fix the mix.

If I were using nice $150 to $200 UHF motorola radios with a nice headset, could the do the same job as the clear-com in this situation.

I know the draw backs are things like the system can't be added but it is the same for the most part right? Has anyone done this that you know of and could I talk to them to see how happy they are with the system?

Thanks for your input guys!
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Allen Farr

First Redeemer Church
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Dick Rees

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Re: 2-way Radio options?
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2009, 12:01:30 PM »

Allen Farr wrote on Mon, 19 October 2009 11:35


My problem is, during sound check it's sometimes hard to communicate QUICKLY with a musician or a vocalist on stage.  

Thanks for your input guys!


Talk back mic from the FOH to the monitors.  Quick, easy and SOP.
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Allen Farr

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Re: 2-way Radio options?
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2009, 01:26:24 PM »

Quote:

Talk back mic from the FOH to the monitors. Quick, easy and SOP.


Talk back is in place in both locations.

Here is an example of where I would use the 2 way radio idea. For sound check and run through on a sunday morning we have everyone in place besides the choir so no one is in the choir position to hear if everything is mixed well, or to hear what the pastors monitor sounds like. In other enstances the people just simply don't know how to tell me what they need or don't need.

For example, a person that is in the orchestra that sits close to the drums might say that there is too much drum in the monitor when really it's fine. You know how orchestra people are.  Very Happy Or even the praise team might now know how to tell me what they need or they might use words like muddy or say they can't hear them self when really they mean they can't hear their part.

It's things like that where I can train an audio volunteer to listen to the mix in a whole, more than I can an orchestra player or praise team member. Now granted if they need something then they can simply tell the person that I have on stage and then can relay that info back to the person I have at FOH.

Yes, I can solo out those mixes but it still could sound different. different amp, speaker, ohm load, location All of these things could effect what it actually sounds like on stage so having a trained person in that position could really help, not to mention giving a place for a person to serve and the ministry potential that is there.

I really more looking at whether or not I can get that kind of a job done as well as run a christmas show with 2 way radios.

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Allen Farr

First Redeemer Church
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Mike Stahly

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Re: 2-way Radio options?
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2009, 01:30:22 PM »

Allen Farr wrote on Mon, 19 October 2009 10:26


For example, a person that is in the orchestra that sits close to the drums might say that there is too much drum in the monitor when really it's fine. You know how orchestra people are.  Very Happy Or even the praise team might now know how to tell me what they need or they might use words like muddy or say they can't hear them self when really they mean they can't hear their part.

It's things like that where I can train an audio volunteer to listen to the mix in a whole, more than I can an orchestra player or praise team member. Now granted if they need something then they can simply tell the person that I have on stage and then can relay that info back to the person I have at FOH.

Yes, I can solo out those mixes but it still could sound different. different amp, speaker, ohm load, location All of these things could effect what it actually sounds like on stage so having a trained person in that position could really help, not to mention giving a place for a person to serve and the ministry potential that is there.




We used to have the sound board in the crow's nest before moving it down to a portable cart. (Not my decision.) Back then we had 2 people on sound every Sunday, one at FOH upstairs and another down in the sanctuary checking levels everywhere from on-stage to back of the room. We had those old Motorola "brick" radios to talk back and forth.

That was a nice setup since one person was mobile and could respond to issues and take readings everywhere then relay them back to the board for changes during both rehearsals and during the services.

I'd go with the UHF radios. You could start with 2 for about $300 plus headsets then add on as you need or budget allows. As many radios as you need. No base station required.
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Michael Stahly

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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: 2-way Radio options?
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2009, 01:30:22 PM »


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