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Military PA Comparison: Technomad MilPA4 vs. Whelen WPS280

Whelen manufactures a range of paging audio products that are used in some military applications. For many clients a Technomad Military PA system offers a more complete and effective solution. The table below highlights some of the key differences between the Technomad MilPA4 and the Whelen WPS280.

» Sources: published technical data from Technomad and Whelen.
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Logistics Technomad   Whelen
Total System Weight 495 lbs.   632 lbs.
Is this a complete system? Yes – system is shipped complete and ready to use.   No – Whelen weight does not include telephone pole, stands, or other structure required for mounting loudspeakers. Technomad system includes deployable tripods.
Heaviest Subcomponent in System 95 lbs.   300 lbs.
Can 1 person set up the System? Yes   No
Typical System Setup Time 15 minutes   Unknown
Is system deployable? Yes. All elements of Technomad system are built into Mil-Spec rotationally molded flight cases with handles and protective covers.   No – Whelen horns are fiberglass devices which are not “ready to travel” – they require cases. The Whelen electronics cabinet part of the system is a simple aluminum enclosure not suitable for transport.
Is system palletizable? Yes   No
System Uses Technomad   Whelen
System Primary Function: Multipurpose PA: speech paging, warning tones, music   Siren Playback, passable speech paging.
Speech Quality? Excellent   Very poor – horn distortion and wireless encoding reduces clarity
Music Quality? Excellent   Very poor – playback has obvious harmonic distortion, little bass, little treble.
Warning tone quality Excellent   Excellent
Range / Coverage Technomad   Whelen
Maximum Useful Range (Siren) 5,280 ft. radius circle (57 dB at edge of circle)   6000 ft. radius circle (60 dB at edge of circle – data from Whelen.com
Maximum Useful Range (Voice) 5,280 ft. radius circle (57 dB at edge of circle)   3500 ft. (Technomad estimate)
Important Technical Note: high-efficiency horn-based systems such as the Whelen induce high levels of distortion and phase shift in the output signal. This is acceptable for warning tones, but degrades speech intelligibility by a significant amount.      
Coverage Pattern Adjustable from 120 degrees to full 360 degree circular coverage. Useful for avoiding “spill” onto areas where you don’t want sound.   Fixed, 360 degree circular coverage pattern. This can be a problem when combining multiple PA systems, as there is no way to prevent their output from overlapping.
Wireless Control / Multiple System Use Technomad   Whelen
Can multiple systems be controlled by wireless signal? Yes.   Yes.
Signal Type 2.4 GHz Frequency Hopping Microwave   UHF, VHF, Narrowband
Audio Quality of Wireless Signal CD-quality   Poor. Speech noticeably degraded.
Can warning tones and live speech be output simultaneously from multiple PA systems? Yes, “live” audio (warning tones, speech, and music) can be distributed to multiple PA systems with negligible delay.   No. A significant “encoding” delay occurs when making live voice announcements wirelessly to Whelen systems and warning tones (which are stored in each Whelen cluster and played back) are often played out of sync.
Included Features Technomad   Whelen
Hand-held, switched microphone Yes.   No.
CD-Player Yes.   No.
Schedulable MP3 player/ recorder Optional.   No.
Integrated Mixer Yes.   No.
Integrated 19″ rack-mount case Yes. 8-rackspace design with 1U available slot for warning tone generator or other options.   No.
Expandability Technomad   Whelen
Is the system compatible with off-the-shelf audio technology? Yes.   No. Special interface products required to attach pro-audio or consumer audio products to system.
Can standard audio devices be plugged into the system? (I.e. warning tone generators, computers, mp3 players, CD players, etc.) Yes. Technomad Military PA systems provide standard inputs for consumer and professional audio devices, warning tone generators, and computers generated audio.   No. Whelen is a closed-box, proprietary design. See above.
Price Technomad   Whelen
  $12,518.00   $9,208.00
  COMPLETE   NOT COMPLETE (lacks control system, microphone, speaker mounting structure, flight cases, etc.)