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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => Wireless and Communications => Topic started by: Tim McCulloch on April 17, 2018, 10:37:50 am

Title: Tempest intercom
Post by: Tim McCulloch on April 17, 2018, 10:37:50 am
So does this uniformly suck ass? On a show now where it sounds like R2D2 is under water but the wired coms are flawless.
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Pete Erskine on April 17, 2018, 10:39:28 am
So does this uniformly suck ass? On a show now where it sounds like R2D2 is under water but the wired coms are flawless.

I agree, the audio quality is not good.
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Tim McCulloch on April 17, 2018, 08:28:29 pm
I agree, the audio quality is not good.

The Tempest was hired in by the client in our PAC along with the AV package the client's "national office" contracts.  Not PAC or my gear (thankfully).  We moved the transceiver (WAP?) around as best we could but never got acceptable audio even when a user was only 50 feet away, unobstructed.

Remember the "bubbly" vocal sound effect in the Beatles "Octopuses Garden"?  That was *good* as the rest was choppy and intermittent.

To call this an experience in excrement would be charitable.

Now that I've vented, what actions or measures can someone take?  While the client wasn't blaming the PAC or me (we rolled out as many wired coms as we could) it was embarrassing nonetheless.  I'd like to up my game and suggestions are most welcome.
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Pete Erskine on April 18, 2018, 11:20:27 am

... what actions or measures can someone take? 

is this 2.4 or 900?
look at the 900 spectrum with the system off to be sure it is totally clear
in any case transceiver should be 30' away from any access point.
Turn of as many access points as you can anyway.

is the venue large or high?  if high shield the top of the transceiver from reflections from the ceiling.  place shield about 6" above transceiver.

That's all the recommendations I have but my experience is that it will not work there and you should change to another system.
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Tim McCulloch on April 18, 2018, 12:34:08 pm
I'm guessing it was 2.4, Pete, because I lost remote control of the audio console when the transceiver was between the console AP and my spot in the audience.  After moving the transceiver about 20 feet (the length of the provider's cable) my console connection wasn't as bad... but would still drop out.  I switched to 5gHz for console and killed the 2.4 radio but it didn't' seem to help the Tempest.

Right now I'm glad this event was the only thing in the facility, leaving us with more wired comms than usual...

If I could go back in time I'd tell that Marconi guy that COPPER was the future. ;)
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Dan Currie on April 18, 2018, 01:08:02 pm
I won't say the Tempest sounds 'great' but I have not heard one sound as you have described.  The one thing I will say is that they have pretty much always worked for me right out of the box.

Have you tried using only the antenna on the back of the base station?
Maybe changing the hop pattern via the lockout key would help.... 
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Tim McCulloch on April 18, 2018, 01:51:31 pm
I won't say the Tempest sounds 'great' but I have not heard one sound as you have described.  The one thing I will say is that they have pretty much always worked for me right out of the box.

Have you tried using only the antenna on the back of the base station?
Maybe changing the hop pattern via the lockout key would help....

As a pack user I've always found wireless comm audio to be significantly inferior to the wired comms I'm accustomed to.  Bah, humbug.

The system was provided & hooked up the the client's video contractor and I'm 99% unfamiliar with the base station side of Tempest.  I noticed an antenna on the base unit as well as the PoE transceiver in use.  Is there a possible distance issue between them?  This is a 'standard package' of stuff the contractor provides for all of the client's state/chapter meetings so I don't think it's universally bad everywhere (or the client would insist on changes), but it was nearly unusable.

Hop pattern?  Sounds like a parameter one would need to drill down for and know why/what he/she is doing... and currently that's not me.  What kind of symptoms would lead to this conclusion and how does changing it help out?  Basic analog RF is something I can wrap my head around but this combination of digital audio fun and the always-potential RF compromises are a combination that I'm not able to separate and troubleshoot.  Thanks for any light you can shine on this.

FHSS?  Hedy, we need you!
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Jason Glass on April 18, 2018, 02:00:05 pm
As a pack user I've always found wireless comm audio to be significantly inferior to the wired comms I'm accustomed to.  Bah, humbug.

The system was provided & hooked up the the client's video contractor and I'm 99% unfamiliar with the base station side of Tempest.  I noticed an antenna on the base unit as well as the PoE transceiver in use.  Is there a possible distance issue between them?  This is a 'standard package' of stuff the contractor provides for all of the client's state/chapter meetings so I don't think it's universally bad everywhere (or the client would insist on changes), but it was nearly unusable.

Hop pattern?  Sounds like a parameter one would need to drill down for and know why/what he/she is doing... and currently that's not me.  What kind of symptoms would lead to this conclusion and how does changing it help out?  Basic analog RF is something I can wrap my head around but this combination of digital audio fun and the always-potential RF compromises are a combination that I'm not able to separate and troubleshoot.  Thanks for any light you can shine on this.

FHSS?  Hedy, we need you!
One thing to watch on these is that the base and transcievers must have the same firmware version AND radio hardware version. But even then it's a gamble if they'll work when an SA shows noise within their band.

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Dan Currie on April 18, 2018, 02:56:40 pm
Tim,
  Symptoms would be a short reception range and dropouts.  If there is co-channel interference causing issues in the event space, changing the lockout key may help.   
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Tim McCulloch on April 20, 2018, 04:29:39 am
Tim,
  Symptoms would be a short reception range and dropouts.  If there is co-channel interference causing issues in the event space, changing the lockout key may help.

Short range and dropouts were indeed a problem.  The AV guys were nice but they were as clueless as I was about the Tempest.  They called the home office and the tech suggested moving the transceiver closer to the stage (which we did, up to the limit of the CAT cable in the package).  There were some corner reflector antennas and what looked like LMR400 but the corner reflectors had Type N connectors and the LMR didn't.  No instructions or manual packed with the gear and I was up against a rehearsal deadline to coordinate the client's SLX H5 system.  I never heard those until the client was on stage with them... so no chance to download and consult a Tempest manual.

It was a long & difficult 2 days and all of the various RF issues got fixed except for the Tempest.

Thanks for your help, Dan & Pete.  Your assistance is appreciated.
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Pete Erskine on April 20, 2018, 01:23:30 pm
I noticed an antenna on the base unit as well as the PoE transceiver in use.  Is there a possible distance issue between them? 

The antennas on the base are turned off when you plug in the transceiver.  The corner reflector antennas are for the base not the transceiver.  If your transceiver had 1 antenna it is 900 meg and 2 if it is 2.4.

The system can easily cover a ballroom and closeness of the antennas in that size space is not necessary.  if you are having range issues the cause is other rf on the same channel.  a little wifi wont affect it and your frequency in the wifi and the Tempest can be adjusted to be in different parts of the band.  Tempest destroys the wifi signal tho.
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Justice C. Bigler on April 20, 2018, 02:32:14 pm
All I can say is that we were not happy with the audio quality of the Tempest system when we demoed it along with Cellcom and Riedel's Acrobat system 6 or 7 years ago.

The Tempest sounded the worst of all of them. Cellcom and Acrobat were huge improvements in audio quality.
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Pete Erskine on April 20, 2018, 03:06:53 pm
All I can say is that we were not happy with the audio quality of the Tempest system when we demoed it along with Cellcom and Riedel's Acrobat system 6 or 7 years ago.

The Tempest sounded the worst of all of them. Cellcom and Acrobat were huge improvements in audio quality.

I agree --- I have had stage managers tell me that they will never use it.
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Keith Broughton on April 20, 2018, 06:41:59 pm
All I can say is that we were not happy with the audio quality of the Tempest system when we demoed it along with Cellcom and Riedel's Acrobat system 6 or 7 years ago.

The Tempest sounded the worst of all of them. Cellcom and Acrobat were huge improvements in audio quality.
We did a show with Tempest, BTR800 and BTR80 in the com rack and by far, the Tempest was the worst sounding.
I had a chance to chat with their Canadian rep and he, basically, agreed siting the compromise of range to audio quality.
Seems to me, as a COMMUNICATION device, audio quality should not take a back seat!
Can't tell if it's a "go" or "no" when it sounds like Charly Browns teacher  :o
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Henry Cohen on April 20, 2018, 09:22:28 pm
Short range and dropouts were indeed a problem.  The AV guys were nice but they were as clueless as I was about the Tempest.  They called the home office and the tech suggested moving the transceiver closer to the stage (which we did, up to the limit of the CAT cable in the package).  There were some corner reflector antennas and what looked like LMR400 but the corner reflectors had Type N connectors and the LMR didn't.  No instructions or manual packed with the gear and I was up against a rehearsal deadline to coordinate the client's SLX H5 system.  I never heard those until the client was on stage with them... so no chance to download and consult a Tempest manual.

It was a long & difficult 2 days and all of the various RF issues got fixed except for the Tempest.

Thanks for your help, Dan & Pete.  Your assistance is appreciated.

One more item to keep in mind to help the Tempest system suck less, is to null it on all directly connected 2-wire PL circuits. This will mitigate the doubling/echoing sound on the Tempest packs.
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: brian maddox on April 23, 2018, 03:02:06 pm
Much has already been covered in this thread, but since i've had the [dis]pleasure of using the Tempest system quite a bit, i thought i'd share a few things.

First, it is my understanding that the Tempest was originally designed for Athletic Sideline use by a company called "CoachComm".  [I may be wrong about the details, but i do know that when our system needed service recently, we were referred to the OEM [CoachComm] by Clearcom as they were no longer providing support for it.]  As such, the primary criteria were range [football fields are big] and ruggedness [football coaches are not super kind to gear].  Audio quality probably didn't even make the top ten.  It was also designed when every fan didn't necessarily bring a 2.4gHz radio with them in their pocket.

I guess this doesn't really matter, but it does help explain the big rubbery packs and the odd placement of channels [you can talk to A OR B, but certainly not both at once!].  It also explains why the beltpacks are the only device in my life that required me to read the manual to figure out how to turn them OFF.

At any rate, when they are deployed correctly, they do work reasonably well and can cover a fairly good range.  So if that was not your experience, that was probably more of a deployment issue than anything else.  You do have to pay close attention to nulling as well as the echo cancellation settings to get the best results.  And admittedly, even then they don't sound great.  But they do work.

One of the interesting little gotchas is that if you plug the little extender antenna box in, you MUST power cycle the base station AFTERWARDS for it to work.  It will light up as if it were working, but the base station will not see it.  I do wonder if that is not what happened in your case, and the whole time it was still trying to use the [lack of] antennas on the base station to function.

Last silly Tempest thing i know about.  It can be really difficult to get the rechargeable L-Ion packs out of the beltpacks and i was resorting to slamming the beltpack against my hand to get the infernal things out.  I was like "certainly there is a better method" so i consulted the manual.  This is what the manual says...

"To remove batteries from the battery compartment, turn the BeltStation battery side down and tap the bottom of the BeltStation on the palm of your other hand."

"tap"....  Whatever.  More like smack until you have a bruise.  But it still cracks me up that that is the actual approved "method" of battery removal...
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Elliot Carroll on April 23, 2018, 03:23:19 pm
One more item to keep in mind to help the Tempest system suck less, is to null it on all directly connected 2-wire PL circuits. This will mitigate the doubling/echoing sound on the Tempest packs.

Definitely that.

And, while it doesn't sound amazing.  It sounds like there was definitely a deployment issue on this setup.  I had a client who owned a 900mhz Tempest and we would tie 3 base stations together, use a remote transceiver up in a trussing somewhere in the middle of the room, and have no issues doing a large ballroom. Range and dropouts were never an issue...
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Tim McCulloch on April 24, 2018, 06:28:06 pm
Much has already been covered in this thread, but since i've had the [dis]pleasure of using the Tempest system quite a bit, i thought i'd share a few things.

First, it is my understanding that the Tempest was originally designed for Athletic Sideline use by a company called "CoachComm".  [I may be wrong about the details, but i do know that when our system needed service recently, we were referred to the OEM [CoachComm] by Clearcom as they were no longer providing support for it.]  As such, the primary criteria were range [football fields are big] and ruggedness [football coaches are not super kind to gear].  Audio quality probably didn't even make the top ten.  It was also designed when every fan didn't necessarily bring a 2.4gHz radio with them in their pocket.

I guess this doesn't really matter, but it does help explain the big rubbery packs and the odd placement of channels [you can talk to A OR B, but certainly not both at once!].  It also explains why the beltpacks are the only device in my life that required me to read the manual to figure out how to turn them OFF.

At any rate, when they are deployed correctly, they do work reasonably well and can cover a fairly good range.  So if that was not your experience, that was probably more of a deployment issue than anything else.  You do have to pay close attention to nulling as well as the echo cancellation settings to get the best results.  And admittedly, even then they don't sound great.  But they do work.

One of the interesting little gotchas is that if you plug the little extender antenna box in, you MUST power cycle the base station AFTERWARDS for it to work.  It will light up as if it were working, but the base station will not see it.  I do wonder if that is not what happened in your case, and the whole time it was still trying to use the [lack of] antennas on the base station to function.

Last silly Tempest thing i know about.  It can be really difficult to get the rechargeable L-Ion packs out of the beltpacks and i was resorting to slamming the beltpack against my hand to get the infernal things out.  I was like "certainly there is a better method" so i consulted the manual.  This is what the manual says...

"To remove batteries from the battery compartment, turn the BeltStation battery side down and tap the bottom of the BeltStation on the palm of your other hand."

"tap"....  Whatever.  More like smack until you have a bruise.  But it still cracks me up that that is the actual approved "method" of battery removal...

My circus but not my monkey...  the video guys set it up but I'd bet they plugged the transceiver in after the base unit was powered up; I kind of recall seeing lights on the transceiver soon after it was plugged in.  Thanks for this gem o' wisdom.  That nothing changed after moving the transceiver 50' lends great credence to the base station antenna theory.

This would have been so much better if the AV guys knew the gear or if Instructions for Vidiots had been included in the case.

Thank you all for your contributions.  I feel I can now ask better questions and/or can poke random buttons until it works or fails 100%.  Either is better than partially failing...
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: brian maddox on April 24, 2018, 06:39:53 pm
My circus but not my monkey...  the video guys set it up but I'd bet they plugged the transceiver in after the base unit was powered up; I kind of recall seeing lights on the transceiver soon after it was plugged in.  Thanks for this gem o' wisdom.  That nothing changed after moving the transceiver 50' lends great credence to the base station antenna theory.

This would have been so much better if the AV guys knew the gear or if Instructions for Vidiots had been included in the case.

Thank you all for your contributions.  I feel I can now ask better questions and/or can poke random buttons until it works or fails 100%.  Either is better than partially failing...

Yeah, everything i know about the Tempest is from traveling WITH the vidiots for the last several years.  Long Story....

Before i got there, they had all the comms gear they needed, but most of the time ended up texting or calling each other because no one could get it to work.  :)
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Tim McCulloch on April 09, 2019, 02:46:29 pm
Another year, more insight, somewhat better results.  Still sounds like Octopuses Garden but not from every unit.

This year I moved the transceiver behind the American flag on stage and ran 100' CAT back to the base station.  The change wasn't significant but improved enough that only the director was moved to a wired station.

Again no manual or instructions.  I'm the venue A1, not the coms or RF person and making outside vendor gear work is not my priority - presumably the vendor knows their gear and my job is to help them set it up and take care of venue equipment and mix the event.

Not sure I'll take this assignment next year.
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Pete Erskine on April 10, 2019, 12:12:27 am
Again no manual or instructions. 

Manuals are in support menu here

http://www.coachcomm.com/product/tempest-ng/features/
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Tim McCulloch on April 10, 2019, 10:38:18 am
Manuals are in support menu here

http://www.coachcomm.com/product/tempest-ng/features/

Thanks for the link, Pete.  Not my job to make their shit work, but I'll read it in case my boss gets some demented idea to purchase a used Tempest...

Oh, no corner reflector antennae this year...
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Brian Hancock on April 10, 2019, 01:29:48 pm
http://www.l-com.com/wireless-antenna-900-mhz-patch-antennas_mobi

Had better luck with l com patch antennas on this system or their metal yagi

Straight from base to lmr400 to n connector. Half coupler on the antenna

We have used these in the motorsports realm a lot and although they don't sound wonderful are very usable rugged and I think have been well worth the investment.

Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Nathan Salt on April 16, 2019, 12:08:40 am
Yep tempest is pretty bad. We had that before getting freespeak2.
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Henry Cohen on April 16, 2019, 05:32:57 am

Straight from base to lmr400 to n connector. Half coupler on the antenna

What is a “half coupler”?
Title: Re: Tempest intercom
Post by: Brian Hancock on April 16, 2019, 01:43:09 pm
What is a “half coupler”?

Should have been specific ... just a clamp cheseborough etc. https://www.thelightsource.com/products/mega-coupler-10

The light source I think called some of them half instead of full ... ironicly they have the 2 in square version of this listed as half coupler and the 2 in round version listed as mega ... anyway just a clamp to a pipe or truss etc.

The plastic patch antennas have 1/2 or may e 3/8 thread holes in them for mounting