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The Netherlands Opera & Dutch National Ballet Go Digital with Clear-Com FreeSpeak


Muziektheater, home to the Netherlands Opera & Dutch National Ballet, implements major digital wireless intercom solution for a European theatre

The Muziektheater in Amsterdam has chosen Clear-Com® a Vitec Group brand and global leader of trusted intercom solutions, to replace their analogue, wired intercom infrastructure with a fully digital intercom solution from Clear-Com, including wireless beltpacks and matrix frames.

The Netherlands Opera and Dutch National ballet both create and produce their own operas and ballets which involves a large amount of rehearsal time on stage where clear communications are vital. The Clear-Com FreeSpeak® beltpacks provide a reliable, wireless system for Muziektheater stage, lighting, sound, and technical teams.

"Intercoms are the lifeline between the artistic staff and technicians,” said Hans-Willem de Haan, Head of Sound & Video department at Muziektheater. “We have a long-standing relationship with Clear-Com, so when we decided to move to a digital intercom system, we chose the Clear-Com 4000 matrix in combination with the FreeSpeak beltpacks because it was the only system that could meet our demanding criteria, and we were confident of their reliability. We required an intercom system with at least 50 wireless beltpacks that would give us digital audio transmission throughout and be able to operate simultaneously and seamlessly across a complex site,” said Mr. de Haan. “Because all of our performances are live, we needed a system with a high level of redundancy. With Clear-Com, we also had the added confidence of working with a company that we knew to be highly skilled and experienced in producing this type of intercom solution.”

The Clear-Com system chosen by the Muziektheater includes:

- 16 x digital intercom panels

- 50 FreeSpeak wireless, programmable beltpacks

- 40 FreeSpeak antennae

- 8 FreeSpeak antenna splitters.

FreeSpeak® is the world’s first digital wireless intercom system. Flexible and scalable, it can operate in complex or remote locations where line-of-sight communications are not practical. Using a cellular network of advanced antennae directly connected to the Clear-Com matrix, FreeSpeak is able to serve very large wireless systems.

FreeSpeak’s intelligent, programmable belt packs offer a high level of functionality including caller privacy through point to point calls. Stylish and lightweight, the belt pack has a tough, high impact weather-proof casing and up to 12 hours battery life.

"This is one of the first digital intercom installations in a major theatre in the Netherlands,” said Mr. de Haan. “The project has been challenging on both a technical and logistical scale, and it delivered enormous insight into the implementation and maintenance of such a large system with so many daily users.”

In addition to the installation on site, the Dutch National Ballet is a touring company, while the Netherlands Opera also gives some special performances away from the Muziektheater, so an equivalent mobile intercom solution was required that was easily transportable. To meet this requirement, the theatre invested in a Clear-Com matrix and FreeSpeak system, which can be packed into a mobile touring flight case.

"We’re very proud that Muziektheater chose us to address their needs for maximum mobility and the best possible sound quality and reliability,” said Matt Danilowicz, Managing Director of Clear-Com. “Their decision reflects a growing trend amongst live performance venues across Europe to convert to digital, wireless technology in a non-disruptive manner.”

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