The CAME-TV WAERO Duplex Digital Wireless Headset has just started to ship. It was first shown at NAB early this year and I thought it was a good idea to take a closer look at the WAERO to see how it actually performs.
- Factory paired
- NB-6L rechargeable battery
- Foldable headset
- Comes in a durable hard case
- Move the microphone arm up to mute and down to talk
- 1200ft (366m range)
What is it for?
On film sets, wireless handsets can increase efficiency by allowing team members to easily communicate with each other. They can come in very handy when you are filming live shows with multiple cameras, reality TV or any type of event where a team needs to communicate with each other over large distances.
You could also use them for simple communication between a solo shooter and a director or producer, or even to talk to a sound recordist. There really isn’t any hard fast rules as to what you could use them for.
Wireless headsets are not a new concept by any means. There have been systems in place just like the CAME-TV WAERO for a long time.
The CAME-TV WAERO looks very similar to the Eartec UL4S UltraLITE 4-Person System that has been available for a long time.
The CAME-TV WAERO uses a readily available NB-6L style battery that can power the headset for 12-15 hours.
The battery goes into a compartment on the opposite side of the headphone.
With the CAME-TV WAERO Duplex Digital Wireless Foldable Headset with Hardcase 4 Pack, you get 4x batteries and 2x dual battery chargers.
The headsets are easy to power up and in a nice touch you can’t turn the master off without all of the slaves being turned off first.
The build quality is ok, but it’s not great. The headphones do feel very plasticky and I’m not sure how well they would stand up to the rigors of field use over time.
The headphones feel a lot more consumer than prosumer. Not that there is anything wrong with something being lightweight and made out of plastic, but some potential buyers may have an issue with it.
I do like that the headsets fold up into a small footprint and that you get a nice hard case with the kit to keep them all in.
Comfort is right at the top of the list for me when it comes to purchasing any type of headphone. So is the WAERO comfortable to wear?
With any type of headphone, comfort is going to be different depending on the individual. We all have different head shapes and sizes. Our ears aren’t all the same either.
For me personally, I didn’t find the headset to be that comfortable. If I am going to wear something for a long period of time, which is something you would be doing in most scenarios with a duplex headset, it has to be very comfortable. It’s not that it is uncomfortable to wear, but it’s certainly not what I would classify as comfortable either.
With the single-sided earphone version I was reviewing I found that the headphone cover was a little on the small side. It covered 3/4 of my ear, but not all of it.
The pad on the opposite side of the headphone is quite hard and not very comfortable. For my particular head size and shape, I found that the pad was sitting in a strange place where it was pushing on the top of my ear.
As the battery is also located on the back of the pad, the design of it is very square. For some strange reason, CAME-TV has left quite sharp edges on the same side as the pad. I’m not sure why they didn’t make the pad slightly larger to avoid this problem.
Again, I need to be crystal clear, that someone else may find the headset comfortable to wear. All I can comment on is my own personal experiences with it.
CAME-TV claims that the maximum operating range of the WAERO is 1200ft (366m range). This range is comparable with other similar products.
I wanted to test out the range of the CAME-TV WAERO in a typical operating scenario. As with any type of wireless system, the distance you can actually get will depend on the environment you are in.
I found that even in a busy suburban area of Tokyo the range was fairly impressive. I was able to go around the other side of tall apartment complexes and still be able to hear and talk to someone using one of the headsets.
When you do lose the connection you will hear an audible beep. What was nice is that as soon as the system comes back into range it just reconnects up, you don’t have to restart the headsets.
How do they work?
The headsets automatically pair once they are on which I like. It saves time and there is no set up required. You do need to use the master headset for the system to work, but you can just use 2 of the headsets, you don’t have to use all four.
To have the microphone active it needs to be in the downward position. To mute it you pull the microphone up and once it goes past a certain point you will hear a little click and you get an audible voice that says Mute On.
To talk you then need to pull the microphone back down and again you will hear an audible Mute Off.
While I can understand the reason for having the audible Mute On and Mute Off, it gets annoying pretty quickly. I wish there was a way to turn these audibles off completely. For me personally, the small click sound is enough to know when the microphone is muted or turned on.
As far as the volume adjustment goes there are two buttons on the side of the headphone where you can adjust the volume.
What if you want more than 4 headsets to work together?
CAME-TV has an optional HUB that can you use that allows for up to 10 headsets to be connected to one system.
I wasn’t that impressed by the audio quality of the system. It’s not particularly clear and neither the microphone or the headphone sound that good. In saying that, it’s still clear enough for communication purposes, but you shouldn’t expect it to sound like a normal pair of headphones.
My other concern is that the volume is not that loud. While you can still hear someone in normal environments if you tried to use them in a noisy environment then you are going to struggle.
This could potentially be a problem working on a multi-camera shoot at say a concert.
The headsets are a lot more affordable than most other solutions on the market, so it wasn’t a massive surprise to me that the audio quality isn’t as good as a more expensive system. This product is clearly being targeted as a ‘lower-cost’ alternative to more expensive systems that are on the market.
Real World Use
A product such as a duplex wireless headset can meet all of the requirements on paper, but if it doesn’t work well out in the field on location then no one is going to want to use it.
For me, along with comfort, usability is a big factor. Everyone on your crew who has a headset needs to be able to use it easily without it getting in the way of what they are doing.
Despite my concerns will the build quality and the headsets not having the best audio quality, I still found them very useable in the field.
The signal works over quite large distances when you have line of sight, but it also works well if buildings or other man-made structures are between two of the headsets.
The battery life is good and the headsets work as advertised. They are trouble-free to use and they require no set-up.
|StandardH||DECT technology, GAP compatible|
|Range||1200ft (366 Meters) open space|
|Talk Time||12-15 Hours|
|Transmission Speed||1.152 Mbps|
|Duplex Operation||Time Division Duplex (TDD)|
|Speech Coding||ADPCM transcoder supports up to 8 duplex 32kbs channels, fully compliant with ITU G.726|
Eartec is arguably one of the leading companies when it comes to duplex wireless intercom systems. They have a vast array of options at varying price points. Below are just two of the options:
- Eartec COMSTAR XT-4S 4-User Full Duplex Wireless Intercom System (Single-Ear Headsets) ($2,890 USD)
- Eartec UL541 5-Person Full-Duplex Wireless Intercom with 4 UltraLITE Single-Ear & 1 UltraLITE Dual-Ear Headsets ($940 USD)
Price & Availability
CAME-TV WAERO Duplex Digital Wireless Foldable Headset with Hardcase 4 Pack is now available for $498.00 USD.
There is also a CAME-TV WAERO Duplex Digital Wireless Foldable Headset with Hardcase 3 Pack for $388 USD, and a CAME-TV WAERO Duplex Digital Wireless Foldable Headset with Hardcase 2 Pack for $268 USD.
The CAME-TV WAERO certainly works, but if you are expecting to hear crystal clear sound from it, you are going to be disappointed. There also doesn’t seem to have been that much thought or attention to detail when it comes to the design.
While the range of the system is good, the audio quality could be better, and I personally didn’t find the headphones that comfortable to wear. Although other people I had to use the headsets had mixed opinions as to the comfort.
The positive aspect of the system is that it is certainly very affordable compared to other options on the market, and it’s trouble-free and easy to use, but is that enough to overcome its shortcomings in other areas? I’m not so sure.
If you can’t afford a more expensive option, and you are after a lightweight, affordable and easy to use the duplex system, then the CAME-TV WAERO may just suit your requirements. While it is far from perfect, it still gets the job done.