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Comtek Range, M216 Vs M216-P7 vs BST75


Patrick Wilcox
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I'm investing in a Comtek system to compliment my (rather extensive and elaborate) ERX2 IFB config.

 

I've read the all the literature I can find. Looking for practical guidance on the difference performance in terms of range and fidelity of the following:

 

M216 (10 mw)

 

M216-P7 (10 mw) (will these either of these two cut if for cart use with the right antenna configuration? I'd like to go this route if realistic. I heard a M216 raised on the mast works quite well for some.)

 

BST75 (100 mw)

 

Thanks in advance. - Patrick

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I've used the M216-P7 on my cart for years - it frequently outperforms my Lectro IFB (I use this for my Boom Op) in terms of range... even punching through 5 floors of concrete in an old department store on one gig - it worked swimmingly... and that's sitting on top of my 10RU box, using the supplied antenna.

Every once in a while, I'll run into a situation where the PR216's get some static, but that's pretty rare, and never enough to justify an upgrade.

Short answer: IMHO, the M216P7 is just fine for most cart-based work.

~tt

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Ive been using the M216P7 for cart work and haven't had many issues with it, although this depends of course on how far you are away from the receivers, and what obstacles are in your way, as well as whats in the air waves at the time.

 

Generally speaking, I have run into very few issues, and in some locations clients are quite happy to be able to receive a feed despite wandering around to different levels, or into the parking lot, or wherever they go. I will also add that with the use of a Mini Mite, I seem to have somewhat improved my signal to where I do not get any fizzing or drop outs to those on set. The likely reason for this is simply because the antenna is up on a mast and not down at my cart level though.

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In my experiences for cart use the m216p7 works fine raised high up with the odd static or hit. Until you get on set with a bad fizz unit or teredek system or wireless video system which can overpower the comteks totally, in which case I found the bst 75-216 with a phase right antenna or mini might to work the best in those situations.

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I've used the M216-P7 on my cart for years - it frequently outperforms my Lectro IFB (I use this for my Boom Op) in terms of range... even punching through 5 floors of concrete in an old department store on one gig - it worked swimmingly... and that's sitting on top of my 10RU box, using the supplied antenna.

Every once in a while, I'll run into a situation where the PR216's get some static, but that's pretty rare, and never enough to justify an upgrade.

Short answer: IMHO, the M216P7 is just fine for most cart-based work.

~tt

My experience too. I was quite surprised that a 10mw unit with a simple whip could attain the kind of range that it does.  I've only ever used the M216-P7 on my cart for director/scripty/client.

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I own three M-216 Option 7 transmitters, sixteen PR-216 receivers, a BST 75-216 transmitter, and a Mini-Mite 216 1/2 wave antenna. Day after day year after year they work flawlessly with a range that can't be beat.

 

The M-216 Option 7 with PR-216 is a solid, reliable, IFB system with exceptional range and clean clear sound (especially when using the wide band frequencies). Keep in mind that the receiver uses the headphone cable as it's antenna so the more straight and higher up in the air the headphone cable is the better the receiver will grab the signal. Coiled up and jammed in a pocket will affect the reception. It's simple and just works. Power and volume for the producer who just wants to hear the sound when they put a pair of headphones on and fine reference sound for a boom op.

 

Go with a M-216 Option 7 using the rubber ducky. One last note, I put a 9v battery eliminator in the two I use in bag work to run off the BDS saving changing 9v's out. That may be something to look at for cart use as well. Definitely get the transmitter higher up on the cart for best range but you'll probably find that there would be very few (to no) times that the signal isn't strong and clean.

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I use the 216 Option 7 TX quite successfully with my Nomad. Considering you have done reading, you may have noted certain threads regarding interference between Comtek TXs and Nomad's Zaxnet signal - I note this because of your mention of ERX usage.

I can tell you from experience that this is not made up, however I can also tell you that if you position your transmitter correctly, on the opposite side of your bag away from your Nomad Zaxnet antenna you should not have any problems most of the time. At least in my current configuration I do not have any issues whatsoever.

Range and battery life is excellent with the Comteks, fidelity is exactly as good as it needs to be for the folks using them in my opinion, and my experience with Comtek service center (Keith Pulley) is EXCELLENT and affordable when things break.

Buy with confidence. Use. Enjoy.

P.S. Financially, Comteks are great earners. Their cost to rental percentage is excellent, and you'll rent them often. I wish I was able to rent 10 of them for every job.

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I differ from others here, in that my Comtek transmitters are not Option 7 units, but are the minijack version instead. On both the cart, and in the bag, I typically use floppy antennas. When on the cart, if I need a bit more range I'll replace the floppy antenna with a vertical whip that extends above the cart.

On the cart, as well as the M216, I also have an M72 transmitter for use with my older Comteks, for when I need to be able to distribute as many as thirty sets.

Even with the floppy antennas, I concur with the other users about the surprisingly good range, suitability for the task, and stellar customer service.

Also worthy of note is Comtek durability. Few devices could take the abuse they receive at the hands of distracted directors, and still function so reliably, often enduring several drops a day, being swung by the headphone cable, and withstanding bodychecks into door frames.

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"Also worthy of note is Comtek durability. Few devices could take the abuse they receive at the hands of distracted directors, and still function so reliably, often enduring several drops a day, being swung by the headphone cable, and withstanding bodychecks into door frames."

 

Also, yes. 

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The main diffs I've found between Comtek base-station type TX and the "pocket" 9v battery types seem to not be overall range so much as consistency within that range, like fewer or no holes etc with the bigger TX.  I add my kudos to the others re Comtek reliability and range: I struggled with a number of half-baked systems back in the day (incl illegal FM transmitters etc) and nothing has come close to the reliability and consistency of Comteks.  

 

philp

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Great. M-216 P7 it is.

 

Funny how this little guy will probably outperform my 1w amp and corner antenna zaxnet set up range wise, (but won't change the gain on my trx's.) Thanks all for input.

Not actually funny, quite predictable. Low band UHF (Comtek) will almost always outperform 2.4 ghz RF transmission. That's why I have the Utility person use a Comtek so they can be off the set (way off the set, maybe even at the truck/trailer) when critical listening is not required. Using ERXs for booming and critical listening (night and day difference in quality compared to Comtek) and for all the other neat things you can do with an ERX receiver.

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