Sennheiser EW wireless systems are rubbish - true or false? at

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Old June 27th, 2009, 08:20 PM   #1
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Sennheiser EW wireless systems are rubbish - true or false?

Hi all,

Up until October 2008 I was shooting on a Sony DSR570 with Sony's V-mount WRR wireless mic system. I had a lapel mic and hand-held mic (Sony WRR series as well) to go with the receiver. It was a flawless system that worked every time over long distances without fail. I had complete confidence in it. In the 5 years I was using it, I never had a problem with dropouts or spurious signals and interference.

After wrecking that camera (accidentally - I would never have gotten rid of it otherwise) insurance would only cover to a certain amount and all that I could get for the money was the Panasonic 502 P2 format camcorder.

Now, because the 502 does not have a slip-in slot for radio mics, for one reason and another, I opted for the Sennheiser EW100 series wireless mic system. I have a butt-plug for the hand held mic and a lapel transmitter pack. I have two receivers.

Now, ok the system is not a diversity system and is most likely not classed the same as the Sony WRR series, but I have to say the Sennheiser system is utter crap. Dropouts and interference daily, no matter what settings I have or if I do a scan for free channels, with or without new batteries. Quite frankly, this and the fact that it is a "cling-on" system makes it a complete pain in the butt.

Sometimes it performs so poorly that the talent can be standing not 6 feet from the camera and they might suddenly turn that it creates a "phhht" sound.

Anyway I contacted the retailer who gave me the "never heard of the problem before". That made me decide to make comment on the net.

Is anyone else having the same problem? I am curious because I have tried two of the systems and had the very same problems with both. Surely someone else out there must have this problem.

These things are advertised as adequate to use professionally, but I really don't think that is the case.

I understand that there is a new diversity model out and I am hoping I can return the two sets I have and exchange them for something that actually works.


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Old June 27th, 2009, 09:26 PM   #2
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Hi David...............

Well, gotta say, you're experience is diametrically the opposite to mine.

I have both a "butt plug" and "clip on" EW100 G2 transmitters and two receivers and they all work flawlessly.

Best shot with them to date was last summer, when I got my "talent" wired with the "clip on" transmiter and the lav, holding a Senny Me66 with the "butt plug", doing "you've been framed" interviews at Lake Wanaka, whilst I shot from 110 metres away around the lake at max zoom (thus totally invisible to the "framees", till I was pointed out).

{the 110 metres was measured using a Laser Rangefinder, accurate to 1/2 metre}

Admittedly it was over water, but the sound was as clear as a bell with nary a hiss, pop, whistle or drop out at any point.

[I digress: the truly amazing things people will say when a mic is stuffed in their face and they think they're on the telly!]

If you're having problems at 6 feet then something's gotta be wrong and I can't see it being the EW100 G2's.

You got a UHF TV transmitter/ repeater/ translator nearby? I can't think of any other explanation.

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Old June 28th, 2009, 08:11 AM   #3
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Make sure the antennas of the transmitter and receiver are oriented parallel to each other. If one is vertical, so should the other be. Make sure the mic cable doesn't drape across the antenna. Remember if you put that transmitter in the small of the talent's back and they're facing the camera, there's a huge bag filled with RF-absorbing salt-water between the transmitter and the receiver. Try moving one or both of them until there's a clear path between them. If the transmitter's antenna is pressed against the skin of the person wearing it, perhaps flipping it over will giver less absorbtion.
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Old June 28th, 2009, 08:33 AM   #4
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Have to say, David, I too, like others, have never had ANY trouble with a Sennheiser system. I have two butt-plugs, two pocket (on-camera) receivers and one pocket transmitter. In any combination, never, ever had anything but perfect sound.

I suggest you've either got faulty units, or your mode of working is flawed. If you've tried two systems, and they both exhibited the same problems, it rather points to the latter.

(No offence, only trying to indicate that there are units that do NOT exhibit the faults that make you describe the system as "rubbish".)
Martin at HeadSpin HD on Blu-ray
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Old June 28th, 2009, 10:01 AM   #5
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David, did the systems come from an authorized dealer. There has been reports of counterfeits about.
If this is not the case I would surmise unusually strong interference or defective system(s). Have you tried them away from the camera, monitors, ect.? ( RF spray?)
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Old June 28th, 2009, 04:37 PM   #6
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Does it say "made in China" :-) Seriously though, there are a lot of reports of counterfeit Sennheisers out there. Maybe you want to rent one and test it against yours? My G2 works pretty well for years now, even it crowded settings like NYC...
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Old June 29th, 2009, 06:56 AM   #7
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None of those problems here.

I think the included mic is kinda muffly, but I've only had interference when i've actively tried to find it.

Like Chris, I'm in the south island of New Zealand, so our results aren't typical for you RF lovin city-folk, but still. I've never heard so much as a crackle, even with the transmitter hundreds of meters away (line of sight).

If you are positive you don't have counterfeits (which exhibit exactly the symptoms you describe), is it possible you got a block that is being used for some strong digital transmission?
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Old June 29th, 2009, 07:04 AM   #8
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After I raised (on this forum) a similar complaint as David, I sent my Senn EW100 units back to the factory for service. As it turned out, I had a bad board in the receiver. Not sure when the board went south, the units never worked, from purchase at B&H.

At any rate, after Senn returned them to me, they've worked like a champ ever since.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 07:37 AM   #9
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Just to say - the new G3 camera receivers *are* diversity.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 06:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Just to say - the new G3 camera receivers *are* diversity.
I wonder how reliable Adaptive-Diversity is in comparison to the antenna diversity with a lectro or zaxcom.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 09:01 PM   #11
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Without knowing which of the three bands you ended up with and what part of what country you're working in, it's impossible to rule out that there isn't any open spectrum where you are. Is it NSW?

Wearers of cellphones, iphones and other beltworn communication devices can drop your reception to almost nothing.

My G2 are fairly new but are are getting at least 30 feet around the house.


Ty Ford
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Old June 29th, 2009, 11:08 PM   #12
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the problem might well be the camera & receivers together. I had a lectro 185 receiver velcro'd onto my HD100 for news type shooting. well it was always getting hits and being unreliable, but I'd used the lectro's for over 10 years and they had always been pretty reliable on just about any other camera. with some experimenting, I found that the HD100 just puts out RF that messes up the 185. if I put the receiver even 2-3 ft away, the problems went away. eventually I sold the 185 and replaced it with a pair of 195's that work fine. the 195's are midband while the 185 was 181mhz.

so I'd recommend trying to move the receivers off camera for a test and see if the problem goes away. .... that can call Senn for a possible service on the units.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 06:01 PM   #13
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Wow, I hope they aren't really rubbish or I've wasted money on two dozen channels of G2. But seriously, I think for the money they cannot be beat. Six of my units were working golf tournament coverage in Hartford just last week. Distance between transmitters and receivers were all over 100 feet and all sounded great-no interference whatsoever.

The key to making ANY wireless work well is finding a clear frequency to do business on. I'm thinking you are either not on a clear frequency, or something is wrong with your units. If you turn on just the receiver ONLY, your RF meter should show ZERO bars and the green RF led should not be turned on. If not, try another frequency until both of those conditions are met. Then power up the transmitter, set frequency to match what you found on the receiver and see what it sounds like. If this doesn't help maybe something is broken or defective. I have broken my antennas a few times (very easy to...)-not visible but it sure does limit range between units.
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Old July 1st, 2009, 04:28 AM   #14
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Hi soundguys,

As a cameraman operating mostly without sound engineer i am most satisfied with our EW100 G2. It's not as good as my wired TRAM but that's not wireless.
Only one thing that irritates me about the G2 and that's the clip that attaches the mic to your talent. Pointing the mic properly in the right direction can make a big difference in sound quality but the original clips make the mic turnaway all the time.

Has anyone found a better way to attach the ME4 or ME2, please advise me.

Greeting from the Netherlands,

XDcamHD F330, 2" VF, Fujinon 13x3,3. 550D, MagicLantern, CS5.5
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Old July 1st, 2009, 09:46 AM   #15
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I never had any problem mounting the awful sounding ME2. Never used the cardioid ME4, but I do not use a sound system with this set-up.
Replacing the mic makes a difference.
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