Comrex History

Innovators in Broadcast Telephony products since 1961

history

Introduction

Comrex has designed and manufactured broadcast equipment since its incorporation in 1961. Our product line has consistently applied the best in current technology to the specific needs of broadcasters.

From the time our founder John Cheney designed his first wireless microphones in the early 1960s, Comrex has had a long tradition of providing a very down-to-earth answer to a universal broadcast need – bringing high quality audio into the studio from virtually anywhere, economically, at a moment's notice.

Comrex has come a long way in four decades. So how did it all start?

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1960 - 1970

Broadcast engineer John Cheney has a dream. As this 1961 press release explains, Comrex "expects to apply advanced state of the art knowledge and techniques to the production of high quality, practical equipment which can be operated by non-technical personnel." This strategy will serve Comrex customers into the next century.

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1960 - 1970

Through the 1960s, Comrex products concentrate on quality audio products for the television market, including a groundbreaking line of wireless microphones. The Models 7035 and 7040 are receivers for wireless mic systems.

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1960 - 1970

This 1968 print ad details the 7036 Communications Receiver, featuring "solid state throughout for reliability."

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1960 - 1970

The Sync Communications System provides a wireless link to synchronize motion picture cameras with a Nagra tape recorder.

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1970 - 1980

1973: The 450 RA/TA wireless microphone system is designed for television news coverage, untethering reporters from the camera, up to 1000 feet.

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1970 - 1980

This marketing mailer, sent to television news directors, promotes the benefits of wireless microphones.

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1970 - 1980

This 1975 print ad promotes the freedom of wireless mics for field reporting.

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1970 - 1980

1975: The wireless cue system, comprised of the CTA cue transmitter and CRA (now LPQRA) receiver, simplifies electronic news gathering. The system allows field reporters and producers to hear program audio and instructions, without a wired connection to the van. The system quickly becomes a fixture in ENG (and later SNG) vans, and after 30 years, these units are still the industry standard for remote news.

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1970 - 1980

This ad from the late '70s says it all:
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1970 - 1980

1978: The frequency extender is born, a fortuitous marriage of single sideband suppressed carrier (SSB-SC) and the very large scale integrated circuits (VLSI) that are newly available. A series of frequency extenders, including the PLX and TLX transmitters, RLX receivers, and 2F transmitter-receiver, allow broadcasters to send improved audio - with bass - over one plain telephone line. Sportscasters, remote broadcasters, and news reporters embrace this new technology. By frequency-shifting program audio 250 Hz, the 2F units take the best advantage of the telephone network's limited bandwidth.

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1980 - 1990

1983: After selling thousands of one-line frequency extenders, Comrex launches a two-line frequency extension system with the PTLX and RTLX. The units transmit 5 kHz over two lines, while utilizing an innovative five-band companding system for noise reduction. In 1984, company president John Cheney will deliver a paper on this subject at the 76th AES Convention in Sydney, Australia.

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1980 - 1990

This 1984 ad promotes the two-line extenders:

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1980 - 1990

1983: Eagerly welcomed by traveling radio sportscasters and producers, Comrex combines a one-line frequency extender with a mixer to create the SLX Sports Console. Now, sportscasters can carry a single unit on the road, lightening suitcases and simplifying setup at each game.

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1980 - 1990

1985: The STLX Sports Console incorporates even more features, including the new two-line extending technology, for 5 kHz audio response.

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1980 - 1990

1987: The PLXMicro brings the power of a Comrex frequency extender into a small portable case, making remote broadcasts easier than ever.

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1980 - 1990

With the advent of cell phones, the PLXMicro enhances wireless connections, adding low-frequency response to calls from anywhere, as promoted in these ads.

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1980 - 1990

1988: Comrex introduces the TH-X, a hybrid that includes an extender.

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1980 - 1990

1989: Comrex ships its first 2XP and 2XR two-line frequency extenders, which reduce the cost more than 33% over earlier systems, while also increasing reliability and simplifying setup.

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1990 - 2000

1990: Team Comrex pushes the frontiers of remote broadcasting again. The 3XP and 3XR (and later 3XP.1/3XR.1) carry 8 kHz audio, split into three parts and shifted onto three lines.

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1990 - 2000

1991: Comrex responds to the increased global availability of digital circuits with the DXP and DXR codecs. Each is used with a terminal adapter to send and receive bidirectional 7.5 kHz audio with virtually no delay. With this capability, the digital codecs are soon found at many radio stations, sports arenas, traffic/weather services, and even the homes of talk show hosts.

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1990 - 2000

1992: Comrex responds to the continuing talk radio boom with the Talk Console, a small unit integrating hybrids and a mixer into one box.

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1990 - 2000

1995: Once again, Comrex combines several valuable functions into a single box, the Codec Buddy Mixer. The Buddy is designed as the perfect companion to the Comrex digital codecs, featuring sophisticated audio routing options, headphone amps, and a mixer featuring premium slide faders.

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1990 - 2000

1996: As ISDN popularity continues to grow, the Nexus simplifies ISDN. The codec and terminal adapter are housed in a case smaller than a shoebox. Easy menus and controls make this unit perfect for non-technical users.

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1990 - 2000

1997: Comrex unveils the Hotline. By combining the latest codec and modem technology in a portable package, the Hotline is able to send bidirectional 10 kHz audio on one phone line. The Hotline becomes the POTS codec standard, and with its versatility and easy-to-use features, it revolutionizes remote broadcasting.

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1990 - 2000

1998: The second generation of POTS codecs arrives, starting with the Vector. While backward-compatible with the thousands of Hotlines in the field, this wave of equipment also increases frequency response to 15 kHz. The Vector’s futuristic design is a hit with non-technical personnel, who appreciate the simple operation.

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2000-2010

2000: The Matrix is introduced. Optional modules allow the Matrix to function on a variety of circuits, included future ones not yet invented.

2000-2010

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2002: Comrex builds new headquarters in Devens, Massachusetts.

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2000-2010

2002: The BlueBox arrives, offering the latest POTS codec technology in a portable, hexagonal package. This no-frills unit comes at a reduced price, making POTS codec technology more affordable than ever.

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2000-2010

2002: Comrex acquires Gentner's digital hybrid line, at last bringing the best in codecs and hybrids under one roof.

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2000-2010

2003: The Matrix GSM module for Matrix incorporates an internal phone, making it easier than ever to send audio from virtually anywhere. Users can now send and receive 7 kHz audio without any wires.

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2000-2010

2004: STAC (Studio Telephone Access Center) is introduced, responding to the needs of 21st Century broadcasters. STAC has innovative new features such as Auto Attendant and STAC IP screening software.

Present day

People ask if we still own ourselves, and we are pleased to answer YES! After 37 years in business, in 1998, Comrex Corporation became an employee-owned company. As such, Comrex can be distinguished from many of its competitors in that it has no outside ownership demands. Because of this, we have the luxury of having to answer only to ourselves and our customers. We take pride in our reputation for doing what's right – both in terms of equipment design and customer support. See for yourself!