The Hollyland Solidcom C1 is a full-duplex wireless intercom headset system that operates in the 1.9GHz band. It has a claimed operating range of up to 1000′ / 350m.
Below you can watch the official product launch.
- Clear wideband audio with 150Hz to 7KHz frequency response
- 1000ft / 350m intercom connection range
- DECT 6.0 for enhanced stability and security
- Replaceable rechargeable battery for extended working time
- 168g lightweight headset, comfortable to use all day long
- Easy to use out of the box
- Customizable and expandable package scheme for varying team sizes
What are they 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 aren’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 Hollyland for a long time.
Most wireless duplex headsets tend to look fairly similar, the Hollyland C1 has a nice streamlined, modern-looking design. It looks quite different from something like the Eartec UL4S UltraLITE 4-Person System that has been available for a long time.
What do you get?
In the kit I was testing, this is what you get:
- 1x Master headset
- 3x Slave headsets
- 1x Charging case
- 4x Over-ear leather cushion
- 8x battery
- 4x Microphone cushion
- 1x DC adapter
- 4x On-ear foam cushion
- 1x USB-Type A to USB-C cable
- 1x Storage case
- 1x Quick guide
- 1x Warranty card
It is nice that Hollyland gives you everything you need. The included case is quite nice too.
The build quality is pretty good considering how lightweight the headsets are. While some parts do feel a little plasticky I was fairly happy with the overall build quality.
The headphones feel a lot more solidly made and well thought out than the CAME-TV WAERO system that I reviewed last year. Hollyland has paid a lot of attention to small details with the design and it shows with the end product.
Storage-wise they don’t fold up like the CAME-TV WAERO, but I didn’t find that to be an issue as the whole system comes in a nice storage case anyway.
I also like that you can wear the headsets on either your left or right ear.
If you are shooting with a camera on your shoulder you don’t want the headset to interfere with how you operate. I found that the handsets didn’t uncomfortably smash up against the side of the camera, however, the pad is likely to make contact with the side of the camera if you are a left eye operator like me.
The Master headphone is easily identifiable because it uses a red Solidcom C1 label while all of the other headsets are blue.
Comfort is right at the top of the list for me when it comes to purchasing any type of headphone. So is the C1 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 found the headset to be comfortable to wear. 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. Some previous systems I have tried were very uncomfortable to wear and I found myself always wanting to take the headset off.
I personally preferred the smaller foam ear cover rather than the larger over-ear cover, but that’s just because that worked better for me.
Above you can see the difference in the two different sized covers.
The pad on the opposite side of the headphone is reasonably soft and it doesn’t dig into your head.
For my particular head size and shape, I found that the pad was sitting in just the right spot where it didn’t end up pushing on the top of my ear.
The battery slot is also located on the back of the pad, but the battery isn’t very heavy so the headset has a good balance.
I need to be crystal clear that everyone has different shaped and sized heads and ears and not everyone may think that the headsets are comfortable. All I can comment on is my own personal experiences from using the product.
To avoid interference with other devices, the C1 intercom system communicates over the 1.9 GHz spectrum and offers full-duplex conversations. In theory, full duplex lets you talk to other team members as you would over the phone, with each party being able to talk and listen simultaneously.
Hollyland claims that the maximum operating range of the C1 is 1000ft / 350m (line of site). This range is comparable with other similar products.
The Hollyland C1 system comes with 8 batteries which is a nice touch. It is always good to get spare batteries included for products like this.
The battery goes into a compartment on the opposite side of the headphone. The battery latch door and mechanism feel reasonably tactile and solid.
The batteries need to be recharged externally via a dedicated multi-port charger. Each battery takes around 2.5h to fully charge. The batteries support up to 10 hours of runtime in the remote headsets and 5-6 hours of runtime for the master headset.
I like that the system comes with a nicely made charger that can charge up to 8 batteries at once.
What controls do you have?
The controls on the headset are straightforward and easy to use.
There is a small On/Off switch that is located on the edge of the main headphone. This can be a little tricky to reach when you are wearing the headset, but in all honesty, it is not something that you are likely to touch when you have it on.
On the side of the headset there are four buttons. I like that Hollyland has made the volume increase button bigger than the other buttons. This makes it easy to locate even when you are wearing the headset. Directly below that button is the volume decrease button.
There is also an A and a B button. The A button is the pairing button if you need to pair headsets. You do this by long-pressing for 5 seconds. The B button only works if you are using the HUB station.
- 1 Power/Connector indicator
- 2 Microphone- Mute/unmute microphone by moving the microphone up/down
- 3 USB Type C interface for firmware updates
- 4 Power Button
- 5 Volume + Button
- 6 Volume – Button
- 7 A Button- Long press for 5 seconds to pair
- 8 B Button- Only functions when using the HUB station
- 9 Battery Compartment
- 10 Speaker
How do they work?
The headsets automatically pair once they are on which I like. It saves time and there is no setup required. When the headsets are first turned on you will hear a little audible message saying that they have connected. 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 them.
I like that Hollyland has clearly labeled the headsets so you can identify them easily. They also give you extra stickers in different colors so you can relabel them yourself if need be.
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.
To talk you then need to pull the microphone back down.
Holyland has placed a little indicator light down near the microphone so you can quickly identify any issues. Here is what the indicators mean:
- FLASHING GREEN– Disconnected
- SOLID GREEN– Successful connection
- FLASHING RED– Low battery level
Along with comfort, audio quality is very important with any type of duplex wireless system. You need to be able to hear and communicate with your team effectively. If the audio quality isn’t good then a system becomes useless. I found the quality of the C1 system to be pretty good. It is easy to hear and the quality of the audio is reasonably clear.
The volume is reasonably loud. While you can still hear someone in normal environments if you tried to use them in a very noisy environment like a concert you could struggle. In saying that, that is going to be the case for just about any duplex system that only features a single headphone.
Optional HUB Base
If you need to use lots of C1 headsets you can buy the optional HUB Base.
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 and audio quality, 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.
The easiest way to actually test this out is to get feedback from a crew after they have used them so that is exactly what I did. I used the system on a couple of shoots and everyone in the crew was generally happy with how they performed and how comfortable they were to wear.
The signal works over quite large distances when you have line of sight, but it will struggle if there are buildings or other man-made structures between the headsets.
In a very congested and busy RF environment in the middle of Tokyo, I found that I was able to get around 450′ / 137m before I started having issues with the signal. This was far below the max claimed range of 1000′ / 350m although that is only going to be achievable in open areas without a lot of RF interference.
I also found that if I went around a corner with a large building in the way I could walk for about 20m / 66′ before I lost the signal.
The other thing you need to be mindful of is that the microphones are pretty susceptible to wind noise which is something you need to keep in mind.
The overall quality of the audio and what you can hear is really good and I was happy with how they performed.
The battery life is good and the headsets work as advertised. They are trouble-free to use and they require no set-up.
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)
- CAME-TV WAERO Duplex Digital Wireless Foldable Headset with Hardcase 4 Pack $548 USD
Price & Availability
The Hollyland C1 four headset version that I was testing retails for $999 USD. This does make it quite a lot more money than something like the CAME-TV WAERO Duplex Digital Wireless Foldable Headset with Hardcase 4 Pack ($548 USD), however, I do think that the Hollyland is a vastly superior product in just about all areas.
The Solidcom C1 is also available in sets of 2,3,6, and 8. Here are the prices for those:
- Hollyland Solidcom C1-2S Full-Duplex Wireless DECT Intercom System with 2 Headsets (1.9 GHz) $499 USD
- Hollyland Solidcom C1-3S Full-Duplex Wireless DECT Intercom System with 3 Headsets (1.9 GHz) $749 USD
- Hollyland Solidcom C1-6S Full-Duplex Wireless DECT Intercom System with 6 Headsets (1.9 GHz) $1,479 USD
- Hollyland Solidcom C1-8S Full-Duplex Wireless DECT Intercom System with 8 Headsets and HUB Base (1.9 GHz) $3,799 USD
If you are going to be using duplex headsets a lot then it doesn’t make sense to go with the cheapest option. You need something that is comfortable, easy to use, reliable, and well made.
The Hollyland C1 system is a good option if you are looking for a decent duplex wireless headset system. The audio quality is good, they are easy to operate and use, and most importantly, they are comfortable to wear. Hollyland has certainly put some thought and attention to detail into this product.
The C1 System is one of the better wireless duplex systems I have used and I think most people will be happy with how they perform.