Two years later, on April 18, 1968, Cohen formed a company to market the new intercom. Perhaps owing to the technical problem they were trying to solve, they called their new company Clear-Com and the first product was Butten’s RS-100 portable remote intercom station. The unit contained a headset amplifier that provided sufficient output to drive one head set to a level greater than 110 dB SPL with no distortion (at the time this was not practical). It could drive two headsets if connected with a suitable “Y”-cord.
[In 2011 the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences awarded the company and product inventor, Charlie Butten, each a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award, for the creation of the Belt Pack: Distributed Amplifier Systems in Live Production.]
That product, like the company that it spawned, is still relevant today, some five decades years later. In fact, if you have one of the original units and bought a brand new beltpack from Clear-Com today, they would work together seamlessly on the same network or party line.
“What product or technology can you name today that is 50 years backwards compatible,” said Bob Boster, Clear-Com’s current president. “The RS-100 is using amplified line-level audio. It’s carrying voltage on the same wire and then being amplified at each belt pack. It’s really a pioneering analog audio transmission system.”