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Old May 8th, 2008, 03:57 PM   #1
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Sennheiser G2 Wireless fatal flaw?

I just received my Sennheiser G2 dual pkg from B & h, and I have a few complaints that are making me question whether to return it or not.

I also bought the metal mounting brackets to mount it on the mounting bracket on my Canon XL2. The receivers slip tightly into the felt lined metal enclosures, (they sound like they're getting scraped all to hell every time but i've checked and found no scratches)

They sound great, i've read great reviews. Everything sounds fine right? Here's the deal breaker! Sennheiser in all their wisdom decided to put the on and off button inside the folding metal lid. This sucks! Because If i'm at a gig and tun the receivers off to save battery power, i have to yank the receivers back out of their cradles, open the flaps, power them on! This is terrible! What if I'm shooting a wedding and i have to turn them on in a hurry. I'm hosed! I had no way of knowing this before I ordered them. How come nobody has complained about this?

Now I'm irritated, and under pressure, (short B&H return policy) to return them and wait 2 weeks to get something else. But what? I've looked at the Audio Technica 1800 series kit. i like that it has a dual receiver. People say its has true diversity. What does this mean? Why would I need that?

Does anyone have any opinion on this situation? I'm going to be shooting a lot of live events. But I will also be shooting commercials and short films. I just don't want to get hosed fiddling with my gear when I can calibrate ahead of time, turn the unit on and off with a flip of the switch. I don't want to be caught fiddling with the housing when i'm supposed to be shooting.

Any help?
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Old May 8th, 2008, 04:28 PM   #2
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Dear Jon,

It is not as bad as it seems.

If you get good batteries, such as Energizer NiMH rechargeables, you can power the Sennheiser G2's for hours. Way longer than you can shoot.

So, if you need to turn them on and leave them on, do so.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 04:42 PM   #3
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Hmm, But I keep eying the Audio Technica 1800 and see that its one housing, with LCD screen on top + on/off switch. AND its true diversity. For the same price!

I just can't find any reviews on the Audio Technica 1800 system
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Old May 8th, 2008, 04:53 PM   #4
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Better to have it on and stay on. I like the fact that talent or client cannot turn them off.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 05:41 PM   #5
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I was extremely pleased when I purchased my Sennheiser G2 unit and found out the on-off button was hidden under a cover. no accidental turning off!!
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Old May 8th, 2008, 05:55 PM   #6
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So you guys just leave them on all the time during a gig? The only way i can check battery is the pull it out of camera mount and look at them. Pretty much impossible during the middle of a shoot.

Granted, theres no accidental turn off. But being able to flip them on while shooting seems like a necessity. Am I just crazy?
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Old May 8th, 2008, 06:54 PM   #7
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Dear Jon,

The batteries last a long time. I have never even came close to running out of battery power. I charge up the rechargeables the night before.

Shoots that last over five hours usually have a break. You can then check the batteries and put in fresh ones, if necessary.

You will learn how long the batteries last, or even run a test yourself.

If you have a break of 30 minutes or more, I would turn them off.

It is far better to have the on-off switch under the cover so that it does not get accidentally turned off.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 07:29 PM   #8
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If it were me, I'd return it and get the AT. The receiver is much bigger and heavier though, if that's an issue. I actually like that the AT receiver is heavy because it helps balance my XL2. Off button is very easy to get to on the AT. For me though, diversity makes it the clear winner, plus, they make a dual receiver version which I can't say enough good things about. It's a battery hog though.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 08:13 PM   #9
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Sounds to me you might have the right system but the wrong mounting bracket. But maybe that`s too easy and you are just looking for a way to justify exchanging the Sennheiser for the AT. I love my G2, btw and I use the hot shoe mount that came with it. Or it goes into my mixer bag, works both for me.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 08:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Furtado View Post
Hmm, But I keep eying the Audio Technica 1800 and see that its one housing, with LCD screen on top + on/off switch. AND its true diversity. For the same price!

I just can't find any reviews on the Audio Technica 1800 system
Done.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Audio-Technica 1800 Series Dual Channel Camera-mount UHF Wireless System
Ty Ford
Sticking one wireless receiver on the back of a camera is fairly common for run and gun. If you need two, Audio-Technica’s new 1800 Series Dual Channel Camera mountable UHF wireless system deserves a look. Although single receivers are available in the series, the new ATW-R1820 dual channel receiver is a significant change in wireless receiver technology.

RECEIVER FEATURES
The ATW-R1820 dual channel receiver contains two separate full diversity receivers. That’s a total of four RF front ends in one case, all using the same two BNC-mounted stub antennae. It also has an auto-scanner and onboard audio mixing features. The receiver kit includes a snug cloth holster with a metal clip that can be used to attach the receiver to a belt or to the back of a battery box. The bottom of the holster is open but fitted with straps to allow the short mini-XLR to XLR cables included with the kit to be attached to the receiver audio outputs. BEC group (www.thebecgroup.com) also
makes a receiver box that locks onto various camera battery lugs into which the receiver fits. The receiver weighs one pound six ounces when loaded with six AA batteries. While the receiver case is metal, the battery door is plastic and detaches completely from the body. That makes it one more thing to keep track of. Fortunately, six AA batteries provide nearly six hours in dual receiver mode and almost 10 hours in single receiver mode, so battery changes shouldn’t be required as often. The receiver has a small, four bar battery life display in its LCD window. The receiver also has an external power jack to accept 12 V DC, 500 mA from a camera or other external source. The top of the ATW-R1820 receiver hosts the two BNC antenna connections, power/audio peak LEDs for each receiver, a power switch for internal/external power for one or both receivers, controls for changing frequency and operating the auto-scanner and antenna switching status lights.

The bottom of the two-channel receiver is relatively busy. There are two mini-XLR outputs, A and B and a switching matrix. You can send the output of receiver one to both outputs, so it feeds both A and B mini-XLR outputs. You can route receiver one to output A and receiver 2 to output B so each are on separate tracks for split track or stereo recordings. You can route receiver one and two to MIX which makes a mono mix of both channels available to both outputs. Two small pots on the bottom of the receiver are
used to adjust the levels of the individual outputs or create a two channel mono mix of the two mics.

MIXING RECEIVERS TO OUTPUTS.
The receiver’s mixer allows some interesting possibilities. If receiver one‘s is set to output A and receiver two is set to MIX, receiver one is audible on both outputs and receiver two is audible only on output B. If receiver one is set to Output A mix and receiver two is set to Output B 2, receiver one is only on the left channel and receiver two is on both A and B channels. Depending on how the receiver is mounted, you might want to tape over the mixer controls after setting them to prevent accidental changes.

One of the features I like best about some of the AT receivers is the stereo mini jack right on the receiver that lets you listen to the audio before it gets to the mixer or camera. In this case, it let me sort out which mic was going to which output. There is also a monitor level control which has plenty of gain to feed a set of headphones. There was a difference in the audio between what my Sony MDR7506 heard from the stereo mini jack directly from the receiver and the audio passed from the receiver’s balanced out-
puts to my Sound Devices 442 mixer. The main outs were clearer, making the receiver mini jack output sound dull by comparison.

BODY-PACK TRANSMITTER FEATURES
The ATW-1801 body pack transmitter (and ATW-1802 plug on) each run on two AA bat- teries, a departure from 9 VDC operation. The transmitters, as with the receiver, may be ordered to operate on either of two frequency bands; 541.500 MHz-566.375 MHz or 655.500 MHz-680.375 MHz. There are a total of 996 frequencies per band in 25 kHz increments. The phase lock loop system uses FM modulation with +/- 10 kHz deviation.

Each transmitter can be adjusted for 10 mW or 30 mW output. RF output obviously determines battery life. Both transmitters have LEDs that show green when powered up and red when powered but muted. These LEDs blink to indicate low battery. There is also a small, four bar display in the LCD window of each transmitter that indicates battery life. The mute and
power can be locked either on or off. There is no noise when switching from mute to on. Powering down the transmitters, however, does generate a small click.

I also found some situations in which there was enough RF in the air to allow some unpleasant noise to escape the receiver even after the transmitters were turned off. A small but readable LCD screen and can be toggled to show the status of the features of each transmitter. When the transmitters’ SET buttons are pushed, the LCD becomes backlit; enough to see in the dark. When in MUTE, “mute” in very small letters appears on the transmitter’s LCD display. Both transmitters have sliding panels that cover the adjustment controls to prevent accidental status changes. The panel on the plug-on
transmitter has a hole that allows you to turn the transmitter on and off, even when the panel is closed.

The ATW-T1801 body-pack transmitter is slightly smaller than a box of Marlboros and chews up a pair of AA alkaline cells in eight hours at low power and six hours at high power. That specs out to 160 mA and 180 mA current consumption, respectively. The body-pack has a switchable input with low-Z input for mic or high-Z musical instrument pickups and also makes available a small bias voltage, but not enough for Phantom Power. Input sensitivity is adjustable in four steps from -6 dB, 0 dB, + 6dB and +12 dB, with a default of + 6 dB.

The antenna on the body-pack transmitter unscrews. The microphone connector is spring loaded, locking, four-pin Hirose-type connector. Pulling the sliding outer shell of the connector releases the lock. The spring clip for hooking the transmitter on a waistband or pocket is designed so that it can be reversed; allowing the mic to be mounted in either of two vertical orientations. The transmitter case is made out of high impact plastic. The battery hinged door is a little hard to get open if there are no batteries to pop the lid.

PLUG-ON TRANSMITTER FEATURES
The ATW-T1802 plug-on transmitter duplicates the features of the body-pack transmitter with a few exceptions. It provides 12 V DC Phantom Power, but doesn’t have a high impedance instrument input option. The Audio-Technica AT 4073a worked very nicely with the plug on. It’s high sensitivity may not be what you want in extremely high SPL environments, but it feeds the plug on an impressive signal. A Sennheiser 421 dynamic mic, while less sensitive, also worked well.

IN USE
The auto-scan feature on the receiver needs some work. Its first scan ended up in the middle of a used NTSC channel in town with a transmitter about six miles away. At that frequency, range was limited to about thirty feet. After checking a chart and choosing a more open frequency, I walk tested both transmitters running high power (30 mW) with the receiver in dual mode and got about 50 yards before taking soft hits on the plug-on and 70 yards with the body mic. I did have some unusual range reduction problems on
a rainy day.

On subsequent days, I got more than 50 yards with the body mic and 30 yards with the plug on with my body between the mics and the receiver with both transmitters and receivers working; about ten more yards when the antennae were in the clear. The plug on, one day, went a good seventy yards when held vertically and in the clear.

Using two antennae for two full diversity receivers in the same box can be expected to reduce range to some degree. It’s a simple trade off; some range for operational flexibility. So while you may not break any long distance reception records with the Audio-Technica 1800 Series, partnering two diversity receivers and a mixer in one box does give you a lot of operational power.

SUMMARY
Navigating the menus to make changes was easy after I had used the system a day or so. For the ENG/EFP market, where having two channels of wireless strapped to the camera is increasingly useful, the Audio-Technica 1800 Series brings a lot to the table, especially at its price point of $1795. You may or may not want to use the mixer features on the receiver, but having them does provide options. Audio-Technica sells the 1800 Series in three different sets; a receiver and two body mics, two plug-ons or a body mic and a plug-on. The only things on my wish list would be a strapped pouch to hold everything and, of course, 48 V Phantom Power for the plug-on.

Ty Ford is on special assignment from Radio World and Pro Audio Review. He may be reached at www.tyford.com.

The receivers and components are also available for sale separately.
Contact: Audio-Technica U.S., Inc., 1221 Commerce Drive, Stow, OH 44224. Tel: (330) 686-2600; Fax: (330) 688-3752; Web: www.audio-technica.com
©*Copyright 2007 Technique, Inc. 8/07
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Old May 8th, 2008, 08:16 PM   #11
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Oh, just want to add that I'm not bashing the G2. It's lovely. Having used both, I just like the AT better for a number of reasons.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 08:21 PM   #12
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I like the idea of redundancy.

If the AT 1800 receiver fails, you could lose all of your receive capability.

If one the Sennheiser G2 units fail, you lose just one of two receivers.

This is not a big issue as I think both of the units are of high quality.

In rare cases, when I have two transmitters far apart in a scene, I will set one receiver nearest the appropriate transmitter, then set the other receiver nearest the other transmitter. Then I run XLR cables to the mixer.

The idea is to keep the transmitters and receivers close enough together to receive a good signal. If both receivers are in the same unit, then you lose this option. (But remember, the need for this option is fairly rare.)
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Old May 8th, 2008, 09:14 PM   #13
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You don't say if you have some kind of external, additional, hard drive-based recorder. If not, then the longest you're recording with your camera is slightly over an hour, so you're having to stop at that point anyway. But as the chaps above say, your transmitters and receivers will run much longer than that on fresh batteries, quite probably the whole day, even on rechargables. Just make sure they're freshly charged before heading out the door. Keeping a full set of non-rechargables at hand is a good idea for emergencies, as many brands will last easily 5 years before corroding.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 09:47 PM   #14
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Real world use of the AT1800.

I've been using it all year long. 1 body pak (just got a 2nd) and 1 plugin with a hardwired lav mic. I've used it with my SM58 and SM63 (love my 63). Both lavs are Countryman EMW shelved response mics.

For typical weddings I run 1 mic with body pak on groom and 1 with the phantom box and plugin on the lectern for the readers and to help pick up the music. Just a side note, my on camera mic is a AKG SE300/CK93 hypercaroid which IMO is pretty much the best thing I've ever used in a church. Anyway, I have the receiver set to channel 1 and channel 2 and run the 2 seperate channels of the receiver thru a Y cable to channel 2 on my 170 (the oncamera hyper goes to channel 1 of the camera). I have the channel 1 of the receiver set to the mic that's on the lectern therefore I can leave it on to help capture 2 tracks of the music and once the bride is passed off to the groom I can switch on the grooms mic (on the receiver of course the xmitter is already on) by simply sliding the switch to BOTH.
Seems complicated but it's not. Let me take it one more step in my setup and then my opinion of the sound quality.
For the reception I use channel 1 only as I have a Sennheiser E604 drum mic set up in front of the DJs speaker to capture the music and I use the hyper for room ambience and get the high side of the music. The E604 gets the lower end very cleanly and without naughty nasty stuff that's not supposed to be there.

Now that's the set up, here's my opinion of the sound quality.
AWESOME!

Yes, I have noticed a little bit of noise during quite times of the ceremony, nothing that a quick application of noise reduction can't clean up 100% in post. Maybe I have the levels set too high on the receiver which is something I forgot to mention before. You have level adjustment capability for both channels right on the very busy bottom of the receiver.

Perhaps it's the mics but frankly I tried the stock AT839 (I believe that's it) that came with the body pak. I tried it just to have a comparasion and while the difference was fairly noticable compared to the Countryman it wasn't a GROSS difference but the Cman mics are fantastic none the less. I love being able to monitor ALL of my audio unlike before using 2 seperate units. I have run the unit on coppertop batteries for well over 8 hours without changing batteries and frankly only once did the plugin xmitter die on me after 5 hours and it was my fault. I THOUGHT I had changed batteries but got distracted (my wife started talking to me about some silly thing - probably money :-))
and I realized when it died I hadn't changed the batteries as I mark the date with a sharpie marker on 1 battery in each unit so I know for sure.
Anyway I love the unit and like I said I just got another body pak and Cman mic for the kit. I couldn't be happier.

Anyway that's my $.04 worth (gotta keep doing like the gas prices)
OO
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Old May 8th, 2008, 10:57 PM   #15
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well i'm up to twelve units of g2 and bet i use them in the most extreme of conditions and circumstances. the battery life of 2 regular alkaline AA is 8-10 hours. just leave them turned on, they will be fine. batteries are cheap anyway. i have nothing but good things to say about the g2's. for the money you can't do better.
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