Has anybody used the Radio Labs intercom setup ? It's a newer digital sound unit that has all modular plugs and is smaller than the PCI unit. How is the sound quality and does it stand up to the abuse of our sport?
The Radio labs unit is the same intercom as the PCI 4 link accept with unshielded cables. This unit does not have separate volume controls and has full side tone. Side tone means you here yourself as loud as your co-driver this amplifies noise and makes your ears buzz over a long race. Avcomm the builder of this intercom is designing a new no side tone dual volume intercom with some great new features that will be available exclusively through PCI. We are testing the prototype at this time and will be producing the finished product after some more race testing. We will then have two intercoms available for race cars. This new intercom will more easily interface different radios.
We had to run one of these units in a pinch at the 1000. I did not care for it at all. It seemed to pick up the sound of the motor and wind noise. The only way I could talk to my co-driver was to back off the throttle. We didn't talk much. The shame of it was you need to communicate at that type of race. I was thinking that maybe the way our helmets are wired(PCI) that maybe they didn't match the Radio Labs unit? We had no noise problems with your box but we lost a connection we could not trace the day before we were loading up and had to throw that one in there which was not easy. Do you have any other thoughts on why the motor and wind noise was so terrible with that unit? All other functions seemed to work well except the noise. It seemed like our mics all of a sudden became too sensitive and there was no way to tune it out.
This intercom has a squelch control to set sensitivity the problem is the mikes need a big windsock and have to be put write on your lips (touching anything less and you have to turn the squelch up which makes the intercom stay active 100% of the time with the side tone I mentioned before this creates way to much noise). This is a aircraft intercom that has been modified to work in racing. In an aircraft the intercom has real low gain or volume because the headsets block out most of the ambient noise. The problem helmets don't knock out enough background noise so they turn up the gain to compensate. This makes the intercom way to sensetive picking up all kinds of noise. Wind socks help but only are a band-aid to the problem. With headsets you can lower the volume and tighten the squelch and the unit works the way it is supposed to. If you are going to try to use this intercom in a racing atmosphere my advise is to go to molded ear pieces in your ears this allows you to turn the volume down and use the vox this intercom was designed to have. Another tip with this system you need to have the mike touching your lips or you will never get it to work right. The way this intercom works it puts everyone from 2 to 4 people in series this allows 3 0r 4 people to communicate in a prerunner or play buggy. This unit has one volume control for everyone which is a problem in race cars. Drivers tend to have worse hearing than Co-drivers because of prolonged motor noise (My wife thinks I don't listen to her this is only half true I've lost alot of my hearing racing for the past 10 years). The PCI intercom has two seperate volume controls with two seperate audio amps, the drivers chip talks to the co-drivers chip but not to himself this manifest itself in an extremely quiet system. When installed properly so water can not get through the cable connections there is no system that compares at this time. When installing radio equipment in your race car try to keep it protected from water as best you can. In buggies this means under the protection of the hood as high up as possible for H2o protection. Another good tip when you know there will be water at a race tape up all the gaps in your side panels this keeps water and dirt out and really helps. We tape up all the Protruck inner panels as part of our prep. Any other questions or challenges pick up the phone and call 800-869-5636 we are there to help.
Good luck and be safe!
Scott, I've been experiencing the exact problems you outlined. I have a couple of questions: 1) What is a "windsock" for microphones, and where can I get them? 2) What suggestions do you have for mounting the mic next to your lips? It is currently mounted 2" away on the inside of the mouth guard, which picks up all the pumper noise. Is there a secret, or do I just fab a little gismo for it?
The earpieces is something I've already planned to do. Thanks for you input.