Update #1 January 27, 2011: Please scroll halfway down to red portion of the text
The project of rating two new digital FM systems, the Bellman & Symfon Audio Domino (PDF w/specs) ($495 street) and the Etymotic Research Companion (specs; how it works) system ($699 street w/three transmitters and ER-6i isolator earphones) is turning out to be a three-part series of articles, taking much more time than I expected… And I am soliciting comments on any FM system about your user, parent, teacher or hearing healthcare professional experiences — Good .AND. Bad. Please post your experiences in either the Comment section below, or email them to me at Dan@Snip.Net
The first of the three will be how and why FM — When it’s done properly — is a tremendous help to the hearing impaired and others, from infants & toddlers receiving auditory therapy, to children (including those with cognitive impairments), to high school & college students in large classrooms & lectures, to adults on the job, and in noisy social situations, to the elderly watching TV.
Most of the first article in this series will center upon the discussion on these 4 pages in Jamie Berke’s About.Com Deafness Forum. [And Yes, the story about the beer is true!]
The second article in the series will deal with the situation when FM is .NOT. done properly, and interference or other issues result. Phonak’s FM system appears to be a serial offender, but there are other culprits. This article will go into the techno-details on things like multipath distortion vs dropouts, transmitter power, and other things a computer geek or Ham Radio operator would understand… So the challenge is to make it readable for the average parent.
The third article in the series will be test results from these three systems:
§ The Bellman & Symfon Audio Domino (PDF w/specs) ($495 as tested with earphones) is a flexible single transmitter system, with excellent audio quality, decent range, and highly directional microphones on both the transmitter & receiver;
§ The Etymotic Research Companion (specs; how it works) system ($699 as tested with three transmitters and ER-6i isolator earphones) ships with either one or three transmitters, and is the only system (besides the Phonak DynaMic extension to the troublesome Inspiro) that provides many-to-one capability;