Review: Hollyland Solidcom M1 Comms System

Review: Hollyland Solidcom M1 Intercom System

A few months back I reviewed the Hollyland MARS T1000 Communications System and found it to be a rugged, reliable and very cost effective option for those involved in a small group of collaborators on set or on location.

Well, if the MARS T1000 were a Mini, the Hollyland Solidcom M1would be a Lamborghini. Or even perhaps a Mack truck. This is the granddaddy of comms systems at an incredibly affordable price.

For your money (Videoguys in Melbourne has the system we have for review at $11,500), you get a base station, 8 belt packs plus spare batteries and headsets all in a very, very robust wheeled and lockable case complete with custom foam inserts. The 4 belt pack system Videocraft has for a smidgeon under $7K by way of comparison.

Broadcasting on the 1.9GHz band to avoid interference with other devices, the M1 system gives you full duplex communication, which means that just like using say a mobile phone, all people can converse at once (unlike walkie talkies where only one person can send while the other receives). In order test functionality, a sidetone function lets you hear yourself through the headset thus ensuring the mic is picking up your voice and the volume levels are correct.

You can set up “groups” inside the system too so for example, you may have a group for lighting, one for audio and so on.

Hollyland claim a transmission distance of around 400 metres from the front of the main panel and a lesser 50 metres behind.

One neat party trick though is that you can daisy chain base stations together via ethernet thus technically giving unlimited range.

Setting up the system is a snap; after turning on the base station, connectivity via the belt pack systems is automatic.

Speaking of the belt packs, they are light and small – any sort of bulk in the environments where these will be used would be a major impediment. The connectors are high quality Lemo type (unlike other systems which generally use XLR) and there is also an additional 3.5mm stereo socket.

A battery life of 5-6 hours is claimed for the belt packs, and as mentioned, there are spare units for each supplied so a total time of say 10 – 12 hours should more than cover the average need.

The base station is powered by SONY NP-F batteries, but you can also utilise PoE (Power over Ethernet) giving even further flexibility.

I tried a headset for an hour or so just to see how comfortable it was, and I have to say it gets a thumbs up from me. The antenna on the belt pack occasionally caught on clothing as unlike the MARS T1000 it is not the ‘stubby” type so perhaps Hollyland might look at this as an option. Thankfully, the antennas are replaceable.

The other minor irritation is that the ear cups are not replaceable apparently. In a normal working environment I have found over the years, these can tend to perish due to moisture (an expensive pair of Sony headphones disintegrated over a two year period of constant use), so yeah. Hollyland look at this too as whilst, yes, you can buy spare headsets, being able to just buy spare parts like earcups will earn you serious kudos.

But all-in-all, for the price, in a professional environment, whether you purchase or rent, the Hollyland Solidcom M1 Intercom System will be a sound investment.

I said in the review of the MARS system “it does just what it says on the tin” and this applies equally here.

For a tool – and that is what it is – in the environment it is aimed at, this system is superb for the price.

If you have a constant need for comms like this, perhaps do a rental first as a try-before-you-buy, but I suspect after that, you will buy, as for the price, in the overall scheme of things, it is a bargain.

We have confirmed with Hollyland you can rent a unit from:

1.https://www.thefront.com.au/production-accessories/hollyland-solidcom-m1-full-duplex-wireless-intercom-solution-8-beltpacks-hire

or

2.https://www.broadcastbruce.com/product/hollyland-solidcom-m1/

See https://www.hollyland.com.au/  for more details.

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