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JK Audio BlueSet converts intercom to wireless via Bluetooth

Illinois-based JK Audio is now shipping its new BlueSet series of wireless adapters for party-line intercom systems. The adapter is designed to plug directly into the beltpack of any typical system, replacing the wired headset and converting it into a limited-range wireless station with no other changes to the system’s functionality. A range of models enables both four-pin and five-pin (dual-feed) systems to be converted with plug-and-play simplicity.

“BlueSet uses off-the-shelf Bluetooth technology to replace the wired headset on Clear-Com, RTS, Telex and other intercoms into a wireless station,” said JK Audio President Joe Klinger. “The range is about 33ft, enough to get you around a typical control room, OB van or ENG or satellite truck without worrying about tripping over wires. BlueSet allows you to use any standard Bluetooth headset, even the same one you wear with your cell phone. So basically, this is a $249 phone interface that allows full-duplex conversations on any standard beltpack intercom system.”

According to Klinger, BlueSet was developed in response to customer requests. “We actually got the suggestion from a couple program directors that came by our NAB booth last year,” he said. “They wanted to be able to walk around the control room a bit and still hear the intercom. They have Bluetooth headsets glued to their ear all day anyway, so they’re already comfortable with it. In fact, they’d rather use that than a typical intercom headset, which is bulkier. So really, this was a product that we executed to meet a need that was already there.”

Each BlueSet model comes with a master/slave switch. “Typically, the device is the master, and the Bluetooth headset is slave,” Klinger said. “But by flipping the switch and putting it into phone mode, the cell phone becomes the master. So you can actually take a pay-as-you-go cell phone, pair it to the BlueSet device and leave it on your workstation. Now you can take your own phone, call the phone you left behind and still listen to the intercom system, literally, from any location.”

The BlueSet also includes a volume control and is powered by an internal Li-Ion battery, typically getting a full 10 hours per charge. A 3.5mm stereo headset jack contains a mic-level output suitable for recording, with the beltpack headphone signal on the left and the Bluetooth return in the right channel. Audio is full duplex and tuned to the speech range, 300Hz to 3.4kHz. The unit comes with a 12VAC-240VAC power supply, includes a mini-USB jack and weighs just 2.1oz.