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Radios for Concerts & Rentals

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iceman977th

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I'm looking at purchasing radios that will be used for two purposes, the primary of which will be work with our live production company at various concerts...the other will be for local radio rental to certain venues and festivals for activity coordination, security, etc. I have a few questions about my ideas..

1. Radio wise, I have been looking into digital radios, mainly for the noise supppresion DSP for live events. I have tested a set of MotoTRBO radios with speaker mics, and the radios DSP rendered the audio useless at concert volume. My next test this week will be with a set of P25 radios, as I'm purchasing one personally to test out. Has anyone used anything besides standard analog radios and can speak about the experience?

2. If not digital, has anyone had any luck with certain radios and mic combos in concert environments? These will range anywhere from small local bands to large indoor and outdoor concerts where volume will easily exceed 100dB+ at front of house, upwards of 120dB+ near the system stacks.

3. I am looking at licensing a couple frequencies for these purposes, as well as building a basic repeater as a side project for it. I have done a bit of research which has pointed me towards looking into the "itinerant" frequencies in the business band. Is this a viable option? Seeing as how the operation will move from location to location.

4. If I do not opt for a digital format that will work, what radios should I look for? I know some places use the HT1250 radios as a standard, but are there other options?

Looking for all positive input. Thanks!
 

KC8ESL

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Http://www.roadieradios.com

Trust me when I say, these radios go out on international tours.

Are you doing local gigs or a national act? Any big production manager in the biz should know these guys. Every radio I've seen come through our shop is either ht1250 or Cp 200 in analog. If it is of that much concern, get some David Clark double muff headsets. Once the music is pumping, there isn't much radio chatter anyways.
 

iceman977th

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Http://www.roadieradios.com

Trust me when I say, these radios go out on international tours.

Are you doing local gigs or a national act? Any big production manager in the biz should know these guys. Every radio I've seen come through our shop is either ht1250 or Cp 200 in analog. If it is of that much concern, get some David Clark double muff headsets. Once the music is pumping, there isn't much radio chatter anyways.
So it sounds like the HT1250's would probably be my best option. I'm just concerned about communication during showtime, with the background noise, that's why I'm looking at digital options.
 

mmckenna

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You would need, at minimum, noise canceling mics. Headset, as suggested, would work best.

Don't expect digital to be much help. Analog, in my own experience, coupled with a good noise canceling mic is what you need.

P25 radios are way to expensive, but it's your money. Other digital radios have good codecs that can help deal with background noise, but they are not going to address the issue on their own.

Rental radios get the snot beat out of them. They'll get abused in ways you can't even imagine. Keep the price down, as you'll be repairing the radios frequently, replacing accessories very frequently, and occasionally having to replace damaged/missing radios. People renting radios -do not care- about them. They will get dropped from heights, rained on, smashed, abused, etc.

Go with durable analog radios. Keep the price reasonable and consider the costs of accessories, replacement batteries, antennas, speaker mics, etc.
Itinerant frequencies would likely be the best option if you plan on renting these out around the country. Pick the frequencies you want (get several), get licensed, and then pick the radios.
 

Matakovich1

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Best Radio

I have used may radios, the best ones I have used are the Motorola xts5000 and the Ht1250. Both where used with noise cancelling lapel mics and a cheep radio shack ear bud. I have used the Trbo series at some nascar events and they do good with the full head sets. I also use a motorola mtx850 in the casino with an otto 2 wire covert mic and it works pretty good in loud setting.
 

iceman977th

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You would need, at minimum, noise canceling mics. Headset, as suggested, would work best.

Don't expect digital to be much help. Analog, in my own experience, coupled with a good noise canceling mic is what you need.

P25 radios are way to expensive, but it's your money. Other digital radios have good codecs that can help deal with background noise, but they are not going to address the issue on their own.

Rental radios get the snot beat out of them. They'll get abused in ways you can't even imagine. Keep the price down, as you'll be repairing the radios frequently, replacing accessories very frequently, and occasionally having to replace damaged/missing radios. People renting radios -do not care- about them. They will get dropped from heights, rained on, smashed, abused, etc.

Go with durable analog radios. Keep the price reasonable and consider the costs of accessories, replacement batteries, antennas, speaker mics, etc.
Itinerant frequencies would likely be the best option if you plan on renting these out around the country. Pick the frequencies you want (get several), get licensed, and then pick the radios.
Thanks I'll definitely keep it that way then. A nice closed back headset that reduces outer noise would be awesome. Just a lot more expensive.
 

RodStrong

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Not sure my comments are more helpful than anyone else's, but a couple things to at least think about......

I have worked hundreds of concerts and used radios during them, and I do not recommend you use an internal earbud, at least for loud concerts. Your staff's ears should have earplugs in them during loud concerts, not earbuds. You can use traditional earbuds for quieter events such as symphonies and such, or for staff at loud concerts that are on the perimeter (ticket takers, backstage, etc.).

I would think you could get certain kinds of "external" earbuds that might fit over earplugs, and if so, that would probably work. I have never tried this though, as back when I was working concerts, we didn't have earbud capability.

Back when I used to work at really loud concerts, although it sounds primitive, we used good old speaker mics in combination with ear plugs. They worked great, and I was always surprised how well the earplugs killed the distortion from the loud concert, but let the radio traffic from the speaker (up near your head, of course) in perfectly. You can turn a radio up full blast and put the speaker right near your ear, and with earplugs, it sounds great. The earplugs themselves are sort of noise cancelling, if that makes sense.

High dollar headphones would certainly work too, but you may not have high dollars to buy them.

Good luck.
 

karldotcom

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In a former life I worked as a Branch Manager for CSC, and worked 100s of concerts. I used both the earplugs and a speaker mike on my shoulder, then later on earplugs and a full David Clark headset. I was really paranoid about my hearing, especially given the era of heavy metal shows, etc.
 
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firecatohio

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I'm a driver for stag call.. we use mobile and handheld radios.. mostly Motorola ht1250 and m1225.. we use speaker mics for set in and outs but during the show we use wrap around racing headsets.. we buy ours but I personally have rented from bearcom and b-c communications.. I've bought off eBay and get them programmed.. we are also licensed through the FCC but I recently got my own freq for my race team..
 

KC8ESL

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Firecat, I bet you and I have been on the same dock and didn't even know it! Stagecall comes through our shop quite often.

I won't say the name of the company I work for on here but a hint is that we're by a small airport here in Cleveland and both docks are a pain to swing into with a tour truck.
 

SCPD

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i would go with the MotoTRBO its your best bet and the CP200D is around 350$ digital so i would lock in to that radio
 

firecatohio

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Digital is good.. but for radio to radio analog is just as good... keep it cheap and durable.. trust me mototrbo are fancy but a ht750 is a nice durable easy to use radio
 

KC8ESL

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Analog really is the way to go. If you need to supplement radios from a vendor, it's probably much cheaper to have them program and rent out analog radios to meet your needs.

This is one of those times that KISS really applies. The end users don't know or care what Mototrbo or dmr or p25 are nor would they appreciate the fact your radios use those modes.

Firecat, PM me next time you know you're coming through this area to our shop.
 

balibago

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KISS

Hey any KISS fans out there? Which KISS line up do you like best? I wonder if Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons used to coordinate with their security guys with 2 way radios so they could pick out the best women in the audience to take back to the party after the show?
 

MTS2000des

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1) With any TRBO/P25 radio, you need to use an accessory optimized for high noise areas. Such an accessory like the INC (Industrial Noise Cancelling) mike is a MUST for such venues otherwise you are feeding the radio's vocoder a bunch of slop. GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out).

Motorola Solutions' INC Remote Speaker Microphone - YouTube

2)-See above. Another great accessory are David Clark headsets. Yeah they are expensive, they are bulky. But if you're facing into a jet turbine engine level of noise, they WORK. Worked many special events doing on scene dispatch in areas you couldn't even THINK about having a face to face conversation with someone. Radios in use at the time were MTS2000 800MHz and VHF HT1000s.

3)-I would recommend contacting a consultant with this part. FCC licensing and coordination will set you back a few hundred bucks, but I APPLAUD you for being LEGIT. The last thing you want to do is just setup shop and bootleg on someone's licensed frequencies and cause them interference.

4)-Depends on what your budget is. Plenty of mid tier analog radios fit the bill for this type of use. CP-200D and XPR3500 for TRBO, Kenwood also makes some entry level NXDN digital radios like the NX-240/340 that are pretty good. NXDN digital uses the same AMBE vocoder of DMR, but FDMA versus TDMA.

Again, audio performance in extreme noise environments is more critical to select accessories such as RSM's and headsets that are purpose specific. If you go out and buy APX7000s and connect them to some turdy Ebay made in China $20 headsets, you will get what you pay for.
 

rapidcharger

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1. Radio wise, I have been looking into digital radios, mainly for the noise supppresion DSP for live events. I have tested a set of MotoTRBO radios with speaker mics, and the radios DSP rendered the audio useless at concert volume. My next test this week will be with a set of P25 radios, as I'm purchasing one personally to test out. Has anyone used anything besides standard analog radios and can speak about the experience?)))
Accessories accessories accessories.
As others have mentioned, even a $7000 radio will be useless in a high noise environment without the right accessories and YES, they will cost more than the radio more than likely.

((((2. If not digital, has anyone had any luck with certain radios and mic combos in concert environments? These will range anywhere from small local bands to large indoor and outdoor concerts where volume will easily exceed 100dB+ at front of house, upwards of 120dB+ near the system stacks.)))
I use radios in an industrial environment near machines that are very loud. But not concerts. The bottom line is headsets make a huge difference. Even when it is so loud you cannot even hear yourself talk.

(((3. I am looking at licensing a couple frequencies for these purposes, as well as building a basic repeater as a side project for it. I have done a bit of research which has pointed me towards looking into the "itinerant" frequencies in the business band. Is this a viable option? Seeing as how the operation will move from location to location.)))
Not only a viable option, probably the only option if the radios will be used in multiple locations that are unknown at the time of licensing. There are more than enough itin frequencies that you should not have a problem. You can actually get licensed for every single one of them and it does not cost any more and best of all you do not need coordination. You do, however have to share the channel should there be another user on it. (kind of unlikely unless you're in some place like maybe Vegas or Miami and even then...) There are are at least three itinerant repeater pairs that I am aware of in UHF.

(((4. If I do not opt for a digital format that will work, what radios should I look for? I know some places use the HT1250 radios as a standard, but are there other options?

Looking for all positive input. Thanks!
I would look at Kenwoods and Icoms and not just Motorola. I am partial to those brands because they make a good radio and sell it for less than Motorola. The prior poster mentioned NXDN. Both kenwood and icom make entry level analog and NXDN capable and compatible radios.
 

wkredick

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For concerts I have used a old HT750 with a RMN4048A temple transducer ( can still use hearing protection gel earplugs!) , the audio bypassed earcanal and enters straight into inner ear. Old HT750 was $74,temple transducers new were $169.Had previously tried dual muff NC headsets, heavy duty headsets and a few other things.The boom mic foam covers come off easilty,corrected by throwing a tiny ziptie around it.
 

14torre

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Florid
I'm looking at purchasing radios that will be used for two purposes, the primary of which will be work with our live production company at various concerts...the other will be for local radio rental to certain venues and festivals for activity coordination, security, etc. I have a few questions about my ideas..

1. Radio wise, I have been looking into digital radios, mainly for the noise supppresion DSP for live events. I have tested a set of MotoTRBO radios with speaker mics, and the radios DSP rendered the audio useless at concert volume. My next test this week will be with a set of P25 radios, as I'm purchasing one personally to test out. Has anyone used anything besides standard analog radios and can speak about the experience?

2. If not digital, has anyone had any luck with certain radios and mic combos in concert environments? These will range anywhere from small local bands to large indoor and outdoor concerts where volume will easily exceed 100dB+ at front of house, upwards of 120dB+ near the system stacks.

3. I am looking at licensing a couple frequencies for these purposes, as well as building a basic repeater as a side project for it. I have done a bit of research which has pointed me towards looking into the "itinerant" frequencies in the business band. Is this a viable option? Seeing as how the operation will move from location to location.

4. If I do not opt for a digital format that will work, what radios should I look for? I know some places use the HT1250 radios as a standard, but are there other options?

Looking for all positive input. Thanks!
The thing I suggest, and I have seen this done multiple times at any large event, is to use tactical surveillance accessories for your radios. The in ear earpiece lets the person hear the transmission over the surrounding noise and the mics can be pinned close to the mouth or even handheld so you can put it close to your mouth when you transmit. I don't recommend speaker mics because they are open can be hard to hear from when pinned. As for radios I would say CP200 and even the HT1250 is good. If you still want to go digital Motorola now has the CP200d which is the digital version of the CP200.
 
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