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Old May 27th, 2003, 10:16 AM   #1
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in terms of sound quality UHF vs VHF

In terms of sound quality only, do UHF wireless mics transmitter/recievers have any advantage over VHF counterparts for delivering good sound? Not talking about interference, or range, just the soundn itself in a perfect setting.
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Old May 27th, 2003, 10:32 AM   #2
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I think that since VHF is more subject to frequency bleeding or interference, that would be the biggest detractor for sound quality. That aside, in a perfect environment, it should be almost as good as UHF. But then, no environment is perfect, unless it is artificially set up.

Example: My outdoor wedding, set in the middle of nowhere on a river. The only BG noise should be the birds, right? In this case, we had an airplane, a few motorboats, and my dog howling in the BG. So much for clean audio.

The same can happen anywhere, anytime, unless you are on a closed set. There, all you'll have to worry about, is someone coughing, sneezing, farting, or talking when they shouldn't be.
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Old May 27th, 2003, 02:06 PM   #3
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If you mean do VHF transmitters have an advantage over UHF in quality of audio transmission, regardless of what it's used for, then no. The RF component means nothing as far as audio is concerned. It is only the method of inserting audio, such as AM vs FM, and the quality of the transmitter, receiver and microphones that make a difference.
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Old May 27th, 2003, 03:12 PM   #4
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Rob, ,that's what I was asking.
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Old May 29th, 2003, 11:03 PM   #5
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Dylan, you've been kind enough to offer input on some of my threads so I want to offer some of my experience on this... if you want the best possible quality of sound then you almost can't spend too much on wireless... it's a bummer, but it's true that with wireless you get what you pay for more so then any other component IMO...

I don't think a "brand name" means everything, but I think you should consider a lot of issues when you buy a wireless...

I bought two different Lectro systems from opposite sides of the country and both systems appear well-used, but they were quite pricey. I could have bought two new Sennheiser 500 systems for the price of these two systems, but after using them several times I can tell you I'll probably be a Lectro man for life now...

Anyway, the thread looked like it was closing so I hope this isn't a "hijack" response... I just wanted to offer my .02 in case you're about to buy a wireless...

And BTW these systems I'm using are VHF single-frequency and so far I've had no problems... (knock on wood)... and I even use these when it's just slightly less convenient to use wires!
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Old May 30th, 2003, 01:08 AM   #6
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Actually, you sort of answered my question in another way.
I was wondering if a middle range UHF setup would be better than a high end VHF setup.
From your experience, the answer is that the higher quality VHF setup is a better choice?
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Old May 30th, 2003, 07:38 AM   #7
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Dylan... if you go to 2-pop.com (in audio production) I have a thread from several months back titled something like "High-end VHF or consumer UHF. What's best?"... just type Lectrosonics or Lectro in the search box and it will lead you to a bunch of my threads...

Anyway here's the deal on this whole subject. Interference is the main concern when using wireless. If the frequency range is totally clear then you shouldn't notice any difference between vhf and uhf... technically uhf has to "bounce" more then vhf (which can go through more objects) so if you have a single frequency selected, "diversity" reception is more important with uhf then vhf... also range would normally be longer with an equal vhf system... BUT uhf systems are allowed by the FCC to use higher power transmitters (by 5x) so it's a common misconception that uhf equals more range when it's actually increased OUTPUT that's giving the improved range. If you check, even the Senn 500 only uses 30mw while the Lectro vhf uses 50mw... the other Lectro UHF systems use 70-100mw... there is actually quite a bit that goes into wireless design... go to Lectrosonics.com and read their wireless info... it's good to know even if you go with any other brand.

A lot depends on your area too... if you have a challenging area (frequency wise) then I'd be a lot less likely to recommend a fixed vhf system... I'm in St. Louis so I don't run into a lot of competition for frequency... also you can check the fcc chart and see how open you are related to dtv and tv stations... if you buy a system in one of those frequencies you'll be sorry...

I was tempted to REALLY elaborate on this whole issue, but if you go to one of the other sites you'll find my info there... I'd be reluctant to get one of the 185 Lectros over the 187 just because with the 187 at least you know the system can't be more then 5 or so years old... more likely to be 3 or less... 185's can be WAY older... but may in fact work just as well.

I wish you lived near me just so I could give you a little demonstration... I LOVE these things. My brother gave me an Azden wireless thinking he was doing me a big favor (it was one of the sub-$200 jobs) and when I told him he could have it back (after a couple lack-luster... ok downright BAD, experiences) he CHEWED ME OUT!... "That thing works GREAT... what do you want to do? Just throw ALL your extra money away?!... you're off on the highway, speeding to the point of diminishing returns for WAY too much money!!!"... Those were HIS words...

Once I got the first Lectro I couldn't BELIEVE how "worth it" it was. I mean it was STAGGERING to hear the difference... I tried to humbly say "yeah, I got the other wireless anyway... yeah, I know I can be stupid with my money... I could always send it back... take a listen"... then I showed him how the Azden always had light hiss (when it wasn't heavy) and sometimes made other sounds and how easily audio was completely DROPPED when we lost line of sight... and THEN I showed him how I can dissappear into a neighborhood or go around big buildings 200 FEET away and you can still hear a PIN DROP!...

Yeah, well, after all the chewing out guess who is getting his OWN Lectro system? He'll have gone from saying I'd be an idiot to replace the Azden with a used Lectro to buying his own brand new Lectro pushing $1500 to $2K... hmmph.
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Old May 30th, 2003, 08:16 AM   #8
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I appreciate seeing this information, as I didn't know about Lectrosonics.

After a quick check, I learned that B&H only sells Lectro's UHF systems. It looks like Lectro is also discontinuing the 175 VHF system, leaving just the 187 in the line.

In other words, it looks like Lectro is going UHF.
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Old May 31st, 2003, 01:25 AM   #9
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We have a phrase in the r1-forum.com site... too much posting for numbers is called "post whoring" and I don't want to do that here, but I can't resist after reading W.F.'s observations...

All things being equal Will, yes, I'd definitely call UHF the way of the future... I was reluctant to get an older tech wireless and go with the vhf over the uhf... here's the "rub", if you will.

Again, interference is the main problem... MOST uhf systems allow you to choose one of a plethora of stations... that's GREAT if you encounter OTHER wireless systems at a location 'cause any good wireless uses a NARROW band when it's tuned in to a particular frequency... also of note is that SELECTIVITY is what makes a particular wireless excellent vs. adequate... for instance, if you tune in 508.008 and your particular receiver is GREAT at picking up ONLY 508.008 it won't matter if another system is in the area at 508.900... THAT is where Lectrosonics really shines. They are HYPER-selective and that's a hard feat to accomplish... hence the high price.

That same situation applies to vhf too of course, and the Lectro vhf systems are narrow band designs that are extremely selective and also work as described above.

If I were to go with a uhf system I'd be leaning towards the AT101 for several reasons (if I couldn't afford the Lectro ONLY)... and those reasons are 1) xlr output = professional. This doesn't mean that non-xlr is bad, but ask ANY pro... he will want to see xlr incorporated into the design... it just says pro and sets standards expected in pro gear... 2) frequency selectable in TWO DIFFERENT ranges... that part is super important 'cause with a uhf system you may be able to choose 1K frequencies which ALL happen to be consumed by ONE dtv station!... The AT uses TWO ranges rather then one like the others use... 3) HIGHER transmitter output (more then 50% more then Senn)... 4) PRICE... on paper the AT looks to be the best bargain for a new uhf wireless set out there... you get xlr and ta5f connectors in a nice, diversity design...

Of course at this point the AT doesn't have the reputation of the Sennheiser's 300-500 so who knows? Just my .02 on that...

This brings me back to the point I wanted to make about the vhf Lectro's... I bought the vhf Lectro's 'cause I couldn't afford the uhf Lectro's... that's the ONLY reason... I could have bought an AT uhf or a Senn 500 uhf though... the reason I STILL went with the Lectro 187 is because I have a little theory about vhf which I'll share with you now...

All emergency services (cops, fire, ambulance) are pushing the fcc to get into the uhf band... then you also have dtv channels pushing into the uhf band... meanwhile, here's quiet lil' 'ole vhf... only used by LOCAL channels from LOCAL transmitters... the emergency services don't want ANY part of vhf... it's lower power allowance vs. uhf makes uhf look better to them... also any NEW tv stations will be on dtv NOT a local tower... so my point is, let's say you have a WIDE-OPEN block of vhf in your area? Doesn't that SEEM like an island in a stormy sea that everybody keeps ignoring?... like a guaranteed clear channel? Hey, maybe I'm nuts, but that's the way I saw it and so far, so good!... just something for you to chew on...
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Old May 31st, 2003, 07:04 AM   #10
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I own two different Lectrosonics series UHF wireless kits. Their introductory model, 100 Series, has 256 frequencies at a 100 kHz spread. I would think you could find a clear frequency within that range somewhere.

Lectrosonics was the brand I used in broadcast and I've stuck with them. I own two different series, 100 and 200. They are both great, but very pricey for most peoples needs. The quality, however is astonishing if all you've ever used or heard are lower end wireless units. I don't mean to say others are bad, but the noise creeps in. But, as Matt said, you get what you pay for.
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Old May 31st, 2003, 07:47 AM   #11
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Jeff- When you say "Pricey", what are we talking about for the 100 & 200 series? What kind of range do you get?
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Old May 31st, 2003, 01:00 PM   #12
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Matt, again your post is extremely informative and very helpful.

I see the rush to "UHF" and, in general, higher frequencies. Taking a page from the consumer playbook, consider cordless telephone systems. The original lot was pretty flaky, prone to lots of interference, short range, and crosstalk. My house now has nothing but 900MHz phones, which are dramatically better in every respect. Friends who have gone with 2.4GHz systems report performance as good as hard lines.

So this consumer lesson is that the higher frequencies are better. I don't know why, I just know that my experience bears out the sales hype.

Your argument for the less crowded VHF environment is compelling.
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Old May 31st, 2003, 02:49 PM   #13
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Keith,

The 100 series kit (trans. belt/camera mount, rec. and lav) was around $1,000 several years ago. B & H will email you a quote. They can't advertise lower than list price. The 200 series was around $1,800. I got it for the smaller size. I don't notice quality difference between the two. Also the 200 series is higher wattage if I remember correctly.
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