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Choosing the Right Wireless Intercom System: Number of Channels (Part 3 of 9)


When trying to decide what Clear-Com wireless is right for you, the number of channels you need may determine the wireless system right away. Today, we will discuss the number of channels section of the Choosing the Right Wireless Infographic. 

Download the full Infographic here: 

Partyline Intercom: A partyline is classically used when several users, such as beltpacks, are active in a common task and they much communicate with each other all the time in a full-duplex mode. A partyline is intended for use as a conference with a significant amount of back and forth communication between users. Each station must activate the listen key to the desired partyline to listen and talk key to talk. Stations are dynamically added and subtracted from a partyline as users activate talk and listen keys.Let's start at the beginning: Wireless systems are, by design, partyline systems. So, what exactly is a wireless intercom channel? A channel is one individual circuit of communication. A good example would be a partyline channel, like for spotlight operators. It's possible for a user station (wireless beltpack) to select between more than one channel available in a system with a channel selector on their station. This allows for multiple conversations or information flows to occur independently as needed. For example, an assistant stage manager might assign the carpenters to Channel A, and the rest of the production would be on Channel B. Clear-Com offers various wireless intercom systems with single-channel operation and/or multi-channel operations.
If you have technicians whose workflow require them to communicate all together, then a single channel system is all you need. The DX100 is a simple single-channel system that allows users to speak to each other in hands-free mode or have a private conversation on a secured channel - much like a walkie-talkie, but full-duplex. Even our 2-channel wireless systems can be operated as a single-channel systems, with the advantage of using the second channel when you are ready to expand your system. 
Let's say you are a stage manager and you need to have separate conversations with your carpenters and production crew. The carpenters don't need to hear what you're saying to the production crew and the production crew doesn't need to hear what you're saying to the carpenters. This is a perfect situation where a two-channel system will be of use. The DX210, DX300ES and DX410 systems are all 2-channel wireless systems that allow you to configure two different group communications and switch between the two using Channel A and Channel B on the beltpacks.
Taking the two-channel concept a step further, there may be many situations when you need to communicate with more than just two channels. That's where more advanced systems, like our FreeSpeak II systems, come into play. The FreeSpeak II base station is a small audio matrix offering 12 virtual wireless partyline channels and 12 virtual groups. The base also includes freely assignable 2-wire and/or 4-wire ports to any or all virtual partyline channels or groups. Features per beltpack include four programmable pushbuttons, two rotary encoders and a relay button. Because the base is considered a matrix, the wireless beltpack controls cross-points, or groups of cross-points, on the base station's router according to the configuration of the system. The beltpack can be configured to access up to five communication routes by selecting among any of the 12 wireless partyline channels and/or 12 groups using these buttons and encoders. It is also possible to assign beltpack to beltpack (point-to-point) or direct connections. This is truly the top of the line multi-channel wireless production intercom.