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Listen Technologies Tour Group Kits

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Whether you work in a gallery, a factory, or a corporate office, conducting tours for guests can often be challenging. Not only do you have to speak over ambient noise, but you also have to avoid disturbing other patrons and fellow employees. For these reasons and more, headset tours have become more and more popular in museums today. Most of these tours, however, are taped, thereby preventing any form of personalized commentary.

A new product from Listen Technologies allows your guests to don headsets and walk up to 300 feet away while receiving commentary from your own transmitter. Available in 3-person, 7-person, and 15-person sets, these units are great for tours—large or small.

Setting up



There is not much setup to speak of. Just insert the included AA batteries, plug in the headsets to the receivers and transmitter, and then tune the units to the same channel. Initially I ran across some radio interference, but because 57 channels are supported, I didn't have trouble finding a clear frequency. Once the receivers and the transmitter are tuned to the same channel, you're ready to go.

 


Rechargeable units

If you're going to conduct tours with any regularity, I would definitely recommend paying a little extra money for the rechargeable units. Both models are stored in a handsome, durable case, but with the rechargeable units the necessary cords are built into the units' cushioned slots. To recharge, just make sure each unit is plugged in and then connect the case to an outlet with the supplied cord. As such, you can recharge all of the units with the briefcase shut. Plus, if you are in an area without an outlet, the rechargeable units support regular AA batteries, as well. Whichever batteries you use, you should receive about 12 hours of use before recharging or replacement is required.

Design
Designed with tours in mind, features on the units are kept to a minimum and the units can clip comfortably to belts or can fit inside pockets or purses. For the most part, the transmitter and the receivers are identical. Each has a flip-cover that, when opened, exposes the battery compartment and the UP and DOWN channel buttons. These flip-covers can be locked with a screwdriver to keep participants from changing the channel from the transmitting frequency. However, guests can always adjust the volume and can also tell when they've wandered too far by looking at the signal strength indicator on the receiver's LCD. On the transmitter, there is an additional switch that toggles between mute and talk so you can have individual asides with guests or co-workers.

Headsets
The receiver headsets are worn over the ear (there are no headbands or microphones) and they're exceptionally light and comfortable. The transmitter headset also fits over the ear, but includes a microphone. Highly sensitive and positioned at the end of an adjustable boom, the transmitter's microphone lets you talk comfortably and naturally. To test its sensitivity, I placed the transmitter headset next to a stereo speaker and walked a few feet away while wearing a receiving unit. Although I could not hear the radio through the stereo's speakers, I could hear it loud and clear through my receiver's headset.

Reception and range
The units operate in the 72 MHz frequency, so you don't have to worry about interference with newer cordless phones, Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) networks, or Bluetooth products (all of which use the 2.4 GHz frequency). When I tested the units in San Francisco, though, I did run across some radio interference and had to occasionally adjust the headset cord, which also acts as the antenna, to improve reception.

But for the most part, range was about 300 feet in radius—as advertised.

I also tested the units out of the city and experienced something I've never found in 2 years of testing wireless products. I received a range of 500 feet—much higher than advertised! Kudos to Listen Technologies for being honest and even a little conservative in their estimates.

Final thoughts
With exceptional range, clear transmission, and volume control for users, these tour devices allow guests some flexibility when you show them around your workplace. But perhaps the thing I liked best was the packaging. Self-contained and wired for the rechargeable units, the sturdy, attractive briefcase allows you to easily transport everything you need. Starting as low as $1,070, these well-designed products will greatly improve tours—for hosts and guests alike.

 

What I Liked Best   What I Didn't Like
  • Attractive and durable briefcase
  • Rechargeable (optional)
  • Simply designed
  • Excellent range
  • 57 Channels to choose from
  • Flip-covers deter accidental channel switching
  • Adjustable volumes
 
  • The need to occasionally adjust headset cord to improve reception

 



 


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