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Old November 7th, 2003, 06:45 PM   #1
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Anybody know anything about Sony WCS999 wireless mic?

I have seen the Sony WCS-999 wireless lavalier mic kit advertised, and am very curious.

It seems to have a lot going for it...first of all, it is UHF, which would be a big improvement in terms of RFI noise pickup versus my VHF units, plus usable working distance.

It is also 3 frequencies, and it is SMALL! Seems Ideal for packing in one's camera bag.

Plus it is CHEAP!!! About $100. Which means it is almost too good to be true. Has anyone tried one of these? If it works at all, it could be just what the doctor ordered, but not if it isn't good quality.

I'm looking for a field report.

Thanks.
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Old November 8th, 2003, 03:45 PM   #2
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See this thread: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...light=sony+900

I wouldn't use wireless mics at around 900 Mhz, unless they use a TV-broadcast frequency like professional UHF wireless mics use. It seems to me that these Sony mics share the same band as cordless phones and all kinds of other wireless consumer devices. If you are on a really tight budget, consider VHF mics.

Let me know if I'm wrong, though.
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Old November 10th, 2003, 01:42 PM   #3
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Oh yikes, sharing the band with 900 MHz phones is pretty scary.
Actually I do use VHF mics now: Shure, Azden, Samson and A/T. They all seem more susceptible to RF interference and noise pickup than comparable UHF models.
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Old November 10th, 2003, 05:00 PM   #4
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Unless Sony has improved that 900 MHz $150 system I wouldn't buy one. The crazy little unit I had (I paid $115 + $10 to send it back) dropouts at 10 feet let alone the rated 50 feet.

There are a number of excellent UHF systems available. My personal favorite is the Sennheiser Evolution 100 system with omni lav (EW112p). Its a great system that despite its list price of $800 can be had for about $450 or less. I have had mine for over a year and it works great.

The best advice to give you about wireless systems is to go check with a musicians' supply store. They can show you some inexpensive brands that may work well. Some people will use VHF systems and get very good results. The downside is that there is the potential for interference.
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Old November 10th, 2003, 06:02 PM   #5
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Yeah, Nathan, at that price it just had to be too good to be true. Not everything Sony makes is top-shelf, I guess.

But the Senn brand is one I have never had trouble with (except for coming up with the money for some of their prices). $450 really isn't bad if it does what it's supposed to.

I have had it with VHF systems, and have used just about every brand. They are fine for DJing, where you're usually talking over loud music which camouflages most RFI hits. But digital video tape picks up every little snap, crackle and pop. And even the Shure Marcad is not immune. So it's UHF for me going forward--there's a Sam Ash near me, plus a Guitar Center, I'll have to see if they have that one.

Thanks.
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Old November 11th, 2003, 06:27 AM   #6
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Does anyone have any thoughts on the Audio Technica ATW-601/L? I saw it on ebay for $180.
Link to the 1st store I googled:
http://www.zzounds.com/item--AUTATW601
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Old November 11th, 2003, 02:40 PM   #7
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That's a really good price for UHF...too bad its receiver is not camera-mountable or battery-operated. That may not be an issue for you if most of what you do is not in the field.

Right now I am using a couple of Shure SC4's, which are basically half-rack size (8.5" x 8" x 1.75") and require external power, to say nothing of the cumbersome non-telescoping rod antennae. Which means I have to switch to something else when I leave the 120Volt AC domain. Which is sad, because I really like the quality of these, which are paired with some real nice transmitters--the handheld uses an SM58 head, the lav is great-sounding and very inconspicuous, and the whole kit is frequency-agile.

Very good for a VHF unit.

Now I want to go get a UHF.

Camera-mountable preferably, maybe that Sennheiser.

Crikey, mate, if I just had back all the money I've spent on VHF mics and second-rate mics, I'd have the price of that Senn in hand right now.
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Old November 12th, 2003, 08:20 AM   #8
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After the fiasco with the WCS I bought the Sennheiser. On the VHF end you might look at the Nady.

Another thing is to shop around around for the Sennheiser. If you hunt long enough you might find EW112 for around $400.
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Old November 12th, 2003, 06:26 PM   #9
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Yeah, I've worked with Nady units, pretty decent for VHF if I were looking for VHF, although my Shure VHFs are more pro quality IMHO.

There's a dealer on eBay selling the 112 for $379 (Buy-It-Now pricing), but if that's not good enough he has the 100ENG kit which includes not just the lav/bodypack transmitter but also the plug-on transmitter to attach to your favorite handheld dynamic mic (like one of my Shure SM58s) for $399. This would be handy for those run-and-gun interviews.

That's for B-stock units w/2 year warranty.
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Old November 13th, 2003, 08:38 AM   #10
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I needed a cheap wireless solution, so I tried the WCS-999. At $99, it seemed a worthwhile gamble.

From a wireless standpoint, I had no problems. I got clear signals within the stated range, had no breakup, and experienced no interference despite working in a residential neighborhood loaded with cordless phones.

The one thing I would fault is the included microphone; to be generous, I'll just call it cheap. I bought an Azden lavalier mic for about $25, which made a big difference but obviously raises the price.

Eventually, I needed two mics and bodypacks. My brother bought my Sony and I bought the Nady Encore Duet, a better solution than the Sony but equally economical. The Duet was $200 and included satisfatory mics.

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Old November 13th, 2003, 09:04 AM   #11
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I use another Sony kit, the UTX-B1/URX-B1 combo, UHF, works great. Never had a problems with it. Omni capsule, no proximity effect, user selectable freqs., reasonable price, similar to the Senheisser Evolution.
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Old November 13th, 2003, 09:03 PM   #12
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Ignacio, thanks! I tried looking for it under that model number and found only dealers in the UK and Europe. But then I looked at a spec sheet for the UWP-C1 (printed in Japanese!!) and the photos of the receiver and transmitter showed them as being marked URX-B1 and UTX-B1 respectively. So I found the UWP-C1 kit at B&H Photo, who are selling it for $450, just like the Sennheiser. I would love to be able to demo the Sony and Senn side by side, they both seem like such good choices.

"Third World"... hahaha! Definitely First World in the wine department!

Will, unfortunately, the Nady is VHF not UHF, plus the receiver is half-rack, not camera-mount. Both of these features exclude this system in my current shopping parameters. although this system may be right for other people. Actually I already have a half-rack VHF system, that Shure rig I mentioned earlier and it's really high-quality...for a VHF.
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Old November 13th, 2003, 10:43 PM   #13
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> I would love to be able to demo the Sony and Senn side by side,
> they both seem like such good choices.

Have not tried the Sennheiser kit... however if they are in the same price range my wild guess would be that the Sennheiser capsule should probably be better while Sony's is probably more mediocre, but I trust the Sony radio more than I would trust Sennheiser's, so without being able to compare them I would go for the Sony if environment will be uncontrolled and with the Sennheiser if I think I will usually be nearby and in places with little interference.

An interesting thing I like about the Sony kit is that you can vary the transmitter's power level to save battery and take better care of the speaker's DNA. Whichever the power level, for some strange reason the reciever seems more power hungry than the transmitter. Go figure.

I would really like it if the receiver could be phantom powered from the camera. Does the Sennheiser do that? That would be a big advantage
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Old November 17th, 2003, 07:14 PM   #14
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This month's issue of AVVMMP (AV Video Multimedia Producer magazine--I just usually call it "Producer" becuz that's the one word they print big on the cover) just reviewed the Senn Evo 100 ENG kit.

www.avvideo.com

They gave it a four star rating out of five. That's usually worth trying and buying.

What didn't they like about it? First, they recommended replacing the standard mic capsule with a cardioid. That's one piece of advice I'll ignore--I find it less tricky to place a lav if it's omni rather than cardioid--I'll save cardioid for stand-and-hand-held applications, where I can really aim it.

They also found the plug-on transmitter "far from streamlined" and its weight "a bit of a chore to work with," although they didn't list its weight or dimensions. I agree that it is chunkier than the Azden "tin can" I am using, but to me a little extra heft is worth it for more rugged, quality construction.

They complained that the receiver output is unbalanced. That's not a big issue if I am using this as a single mic and just plugging it into the mini jack where the onboard mic usually plugs in on my XL1; I am certainly no worse off than with my Azden or A/T receivers. But if I want to use it with other receivers and plug it into the XLRs on the back of the MA100, we are looking at extra hassle.

They wisely suggest getting rechargeable 9-volt batteries, since this type of device is known for eating batteries. I know, I keep a few packs of 9-volters in my Porta Brace, and no, phantom power does not seem to be an option here. (so your condenser mic if you use one will need its own battery too)

The key phrases are "Impressive Transmission" and "A Solid Performer" and the magazine goes on to suggest that if you don't have the money to buy one of these you should go rent one.

Full Compass (whom Sennheiser suggested I call) stocks this kit for $485. B&H (a prestigious sponsor of this forum) has it in stock for $499 and is offering a mfr's mail-in rebate coupon for $20. Anyone thinking they might want to use a plug-on xmttr as well as the body pack would be well-advised to get it all at once by opting for the ENG package. The total will be significantly more expensive if you buy the extra xmttr separately later.

I'll be back soon with a real-life user's report once I have this baby up and running on my camera.
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Old November 18th, 2003, 10:06 PM   #15
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> What didn't they like about it? First, they recommended replacing
> the standard mic capsule with a cardioid. That's one piece of advice
> I'll ignore--I find it less tricky to place a lav if it's omni rather
> than cardioid--I'll save cardioid for stand-and-hand-held
> applications, where I can really aim it.

I would agree, omni is good not only becasue it gives you more worry-free setup, but also becasue you get a nice natural sound since there is less proximity effect.
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