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Old April 19th, 2008, 02:23 AM   #1
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Radio mic advice

I currently have a couple of Sony radio mics which are beginning to get unreliable - they're about 7 years old - and have been looking for replacements. The Sennheiser G2 looks likely but I've heard some reports that they're more consumer level than pro - not diversity and the connectors are delicate.

There is also the Audio-Technica 1800 series (http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/wl...5f2/index.html) which looks good, but a sound chap I use said they had a design fault which caused odd audio artifacts.

I know true pro radio mics are 2k+ per channel which is a little pricey for me - I hire sound guys on bigger shoots anyhow, so need a reliable system for lower budget stuff that work well and relatively close distance.

So, my question, what radios are people using and what are the pros/cons of each?

Many thanks in advance
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Old April 19th, 2008, 03:09 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Graham Risdon View Post
There is also the Audio-Technica 1800 series (http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/wl...5f2/index.html) which looks good, but a sound chap I use said they had a design fault which caused odd audio artifacts.
I don't have details, but I was told last week by a dealer that the AT1800 did have some problems, but they were/are being taken care of.

It may be worth investigating a bit.
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Old April 19th, 2008, 03:16 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Graham Risdon View Post
I currently have a couple of Sony radio mics which are beginning to get unreliable - they're about 7 years old - and have been looking for replacements. The Sennheiser G2 looks likely but I've heard some reports that they're more consumer level than pro - not diversity and the connectors are delicate.
The Sennheiser G2 has screwed 3.5 mm jacks on the TX and RX which don't look particularly fragile, but I'm not in the field every day. The cases are metal but with a plastic lid, and they have a great range of channels. JFMG don't like us using the search facility. I always get away with using frequencies which don't require a licence anyway.

As for not not being diversity, it worried me at first after being used to other systems in PA work, but I've had far fewer RF issues than with Sennheiser Freeports for example, which are not in the same league admittedly but are diversity.

I've used TOA sytems quite a bit for PA work and they've been very reliable, but the model I used is no longer marketed in the UK.

Just check anything you buy is going to fit in with the channel reallocation. I've seen stuff advertised in the UK which would not be legal here and would get probably get interference from tv or broadcast your audio to nearby viewers.
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Old April 19th, 2008, 04:23 AM   #4
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Take a look at Sony's new UWP V Serie they launched at NAB. It's now made in metal instead of plastic. They are true diversity units and cost not that much.

http://bssc.sel.sony.com/Broadcastan...Products.shtml

Scroll down to the pro audio section.

http://bssc.sel.sony.com/Broadcastan...ghlights.shtml

Last edited by Ivan Snoeckx; April 19th, 2008 at 04:24 AM. Reason: another link added
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Old April 19th, 2008, 06:24 AM   #5
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I would be curious to know more about a design problem since I have an AT-1800 setup.

I've not discovered any problems in actual use other than it has a bit of background hiss when things are quiet. Not a lot of noise but noticeable depending on how you have it setup. It can be easily pushed down using the right combination of gain on the transmitter and camera to make it undetectable.

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Old April 19th, 2008, 02:31 PM   #6
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Many thanks for all the replies so far...

Chris - I've been told the problem is with the receiver and possibly how it switcjes signals with the 2 antennae. Apparently, there are audible artifacts and the end of certain words like "sausages" - there is a fainit echo of the last syllable. I haven't heard this, but the dealer (also a pro sound recordist)that I get all my sound kit from is trying to get me a demo unit so I can hear for myself. he did say you only notice it in a quiet "studio" environment,, so I thought I'd try them for myself. They do look more rugged than the G2 and I have some other AT kit which I'm pleased with - I guess you've had no problems.

Colin - I guess the channel reallocation is to do with the digital switchover? Are there any good websites which give info on exactly what's going on - you're right, I certainly don't want to buy something that is obsolete/illegal in the near future!!

Onec again, great response - many thanks chaps!
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Old April 19th, 2008, 05:07 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Graham Risdon View Post
Many thanks for all the replies so far...

Colin - I guess the channel reallocation is to do with the digital switchover? Are there any good websites which give info on exactly what's going on - you're right, I certainly don't want to buy something that is obsolete/illegal in the near future!!
The JFMG (Joint Frequencies Management Group - I think)

http://www.jfmg.co.uk

is the company who have the franchise to "manage the spectrum" in the UK. They publish newsletters and commentaries on some of the more arcane documents which the government produce in their efforts to sell off the air.

Recently there was a huge stooshie over the frequencies that are going to be available for radiomics etc in theatre/film/video - collectively known as "Programme Making and Special Events" (PMSE). That's the bit to keep your eye on. Here's a summary of the current position for radiomics:

http://www.jfmg.co.uk/pages/equip/Ra...s/micintro.htm

If you are working on your own, away from other users, you may well be able to use the Licence Exempt frequencies (I do) which will cost you nowt.

Quote:
Licence Exempt

VHF
Available frequencies:

173.800, 174.000
174.200, 174.400
174.600, 174.800
175.000 MHz


UHF
Range 863 - 865 MHz
lowest channel 863.100 MHz
highest channel 864.900 MHz
Typically four frequencies 863.1, 863.7, 864.1 and 864.9MHz can be used together


Specifications
RF bandwidth is limited to 200 kHz. Transmitter power is limited to 10mW if handheld, 50mW if body-worn

If you are working where there are other radiomics etc within range you will have to check it out, in advance if possible. It is not done just to use any old frequency that appears to be free if you scan. One would not be popular jumping in frequencies that other pros have booked and paid for.

Reputable dealers should tell you about all this when you are about to buy but many don't - especially online. Caveat emptor.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 07:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Chris Medico View Post
I would be curious to know more about a design problem since I have an AT-1800 setup.
Hi Chris

I have a demo unit coming on Friday so I'll give it a test and let you know..
Glad you haven't had any problems with yours...

Graham
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