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Old August 27th, 2004, 07:59 PM   #1
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Which wireless system?

I'm contemplating adding a wireless mic system to my wedding shoot setup.

I'm currently looking at the Sony UWPC1 or the Sennheiser EW122-PG2. They are within roughly $200(Oz dollars) of each other.

I don't want to skimp for the sake of $200 but don't have a pot of gold either.

Any observations from the field would be appreciated. Is there anything to choose between these two units or should I be considering something totally different?
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Old August 28th, 2004, 12:54 AM   #2
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For the sake of money... Buy a minidisc recorder, it sure works great for me. Great sound, no risk of interference from the churches system, cheaper, and easy to sync in post. That leaves your camera to capture the other ambient sounds. Even if you decide to upgrade to wireless in the future, you can still use the recorder for backup or to mic the podium. The only real negative I have found with that setup is there is no way to monitor the sound live, so you have to trust your setup, and activate the 'hold' feature that most recorders have so the player cannot be turned off with an accidental button press. I have not had any problems with this type of setup in the past, and it was MUCH cheaper that a Senn wireless.
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Old August 28th, 2004, 07:31 AM   #3
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If you're going to go that route then I'd suggest one of Creative's Nomad type units... it's a digital recorder... but it will allow digital transfers and the recording time is much longer. The approximate 1 hour per minidisc may cause a problem in a wedding situation... I know a lot of weddings may go beyond an hour from the time you have to set the device... then abandone it. 2 or more hours should be PLENTY of time for the audio to be recorded from before the music until the cerimony is over.

If you go with a wireless then you may also want to consider Audio Technica's ATW series... they're about $450-$500 USD. I'd put them in the class of the Sennheisers and Sonys... maybe even the top of that class. You get true diversity, XLR outs, and ta5f connection of the lav... same as Lectrosonics. Also the units are all metal and very solid construction.

It would be an interesting debate as to which is the better route. Having both a minidisc recorder and decent wireless I could see it as a tough call. If you were hiding a mic somewhere near the bride, groom, and Justice of the Peace... kidding... anyway if the mic is up there it's not like you can do anything about a lav problem once the cerimony starts anyway. For all practical purposes it's just like abandoning a recorder. The other thing is that the odds of getting the absolute best quality favor the recorder over the wireless... but the odds of the end buyer noticing the difference aren't that good either.
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Old August 28th, 2004, 09:09 AM   #4
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Hm,

Tough call - I did use a Sony Minisdisc for a short time but it started to 'act up' despite several 'under warranty' trips back to the local service centre, so I don't trust it any more.

The Creative Nomad route is an interesting option - I was looking at the iRiver series a while ago but, same as the minidisc, its basically on it's own once it's set to RECORD and slipped into a pocket.

My first ever time I used the Minidisc I forgot to set the HOLD function - luckily the sound from my shotgun saved the day! I guess that, plus the ability to monitor, is the reason I was starting to consider the wireless option.
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Old August 28th, 2004, 09:25 AM   #5
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Mine is a Sony MZ-NF810 and it has a mono record option that extends a standard 80 minute disc to 160 minutes without compression which will be more than enough for any wedding. You do not need to record stereo with a mono input.

If you add compression to the mix, you can get over 500 minutes of record time and still maintain better sound than MP3 recorders which rely on very heavy compression.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 12:15 AM   #6
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Woah, if you feel comfortable enough to TRUST a cheap consumer recorder to actually record the entire event without any monitoring of levels or record status or battery level, then go for it. But the first time you get burned will be you're last because you'll never do it again.

"Excuse me, can you redo your vows for audio?" I don't think so...

As for wireless, as I just posted in another thread:

If you compare the specs of the Sony against the Senny, you'll see that the Senny's are much better.

The value of diversity anytennas on a unit as small as the Sony is dubious at best. At 650 MHz, a 1/4 wavelength is approx 9 inches. The distance between the antennas is only a about 2". Even then, Sony is not employing a "true" diversity system. The optimum distance is a minimum of 1 wvelength, but less than a 1/8 wavelength is pretty useless.

The G2 is very advanced for it's price and size, with frequency scanning and other high end features.

The AT, on the other hand, is the only low cost system to use an actual XLR output connector as well as a standardized transmitter input connector (the TA5f), it is a "true" diversity system, and uses metal construction.

If the pro connecotrs, construction materials and diversity is important to you, go with the AT. If you don't need a balanced output (DV cams) and want a smaller, lighter system, go with the G2.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 12:19 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone for the collective brain dump. I sure appreciate the expertise (and helpfulness) of people on this forum.

I have decided to go the Sennheiser route.

Again, many thanks.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 12:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Woah, if you feel comfortable enough to TRUST a cheap consumer recorder to actually record the entire event without any monitoring of levels or record status or battery level, then go for it. But the first time you get burned will be you're last because you'll never do it again.

"Excuse me, can you redo your vows for audio?" I don't think so...
Monitoring although nice, as noted above is not very usefull in many circumstances. Once you have experimented with your equipment, you can pre set recording levels to suit the 'average' requirements. I have never had to adjust my shotgun level in the middle of a shot. If you clip on MD, it would still be a clip on wireless, and adjusting the level down after the fact does not save anything, the key is anticipation. And with the MD, you always have the cameras 2 channels available for backup, and fill. I guess I will be an advocate of MD untill a catastrophe occurs, and even then, can I be certain one won't occur if I spend another few hundred bucks on a wireless setup? Marching up to the front of the church with an "Excuse me, can I change your batteries, or switch your transmitter on" does not go over to well either. I am sure wireless horror stories are out there as well. $500 on a wireless system does not buy professional quality either, simply different problems.

Each method seems to have their own positives and negatives.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 06:47 AM   #9
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I got a chance to play with the G2 quite a bit last night. I was impressed to say the least. Enough that this may very well be my next wireless purchase. Soon.

I found it to be a well-engineered, ergonomic little techno-toy that actually works. It's the kind of purchase that will make you smile every time you get it out of the bag.*

*As long as you don't encounter frequency issues, drop-outs, or static/pops... but of course this applys to ANY wireless anyway.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 06:58 AM   #10
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I'm no wedding guy, but with something that important I'd use both. Go wireless and MD and use two lav mics. That way if one buggers up you've got a safety.

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Old September 1st, 2004, 11:45 PM   #11
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Greetings,

I'm new to prosumer DV, and particularly to pro audio, and need some help selecting a wireless mic system to use with a GL2 for wedding/event videography.

I have an opportunity to buy the following system used for $225:

Samson UHF Series One - Camera Mountable UHF Diversity Micro Lavalier System with

1. UM1 Receiver,
2. UT1L Transmitter and
3. Sony ECM-44 Lavalier Microphone (Channel U1/801.375 MHz)
4. Custom cable to connect Band/DJ amp to UT1L Transmitter

It's available for $370 at B&H Photo.

So is this a good price and selection for my application (wedding/events)?

TIA.
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Old September 2nd, 2004, 12:51 AM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Aaron Koolen : I'm no wedding guy, but with something that important I'd use both. Go wireless and MD and use two lav mics. That way if one buggers up you've got a safety.

Aaron -->>>

That is exactly what I do. Sennheiser wireless on the Groom, Sony MD on the preacher.
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Old September 3rd, 2004, 11:17 PM   #13
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There are so many ways to record an event. The way that works best for the situation that also works for you is probably the best route to take.
One post I briefly scanned comes from an audio engineer of 30 years. It contains both knowledge and bias. I have worked with audio equipment for almost 30 years as well. My perspective is that of an audio visual professional in the meeting and conventions industry, where I worked with just about everything imaginable under conditions that were usually way less than perfect.

Make no mistake, the price one pays for equipment is a very good indication of quality, and a real life saver when there is little time to set up and test the sound system before the event actually happens. Lectrosonics makes the best systems by far. Shure systems with Marcad circuitry are rock solid. Nonetheless, inexpensive equipment, if chosen carefully, will work quite well. for example:

I use Nady wireless systems (I own seven wireless diversity systems). For the most part, their receivers are well made. Their transmitters require TLC. The price is excepionally good. They are very reliable systtems, so long as I stay within limitations (which I had to learn by experience). I carefully examined television station broadcast frequencies in my local area before choosing frequencies for my wireless systems. Audio Technica's website offers the most user friendly information regarding wireless mic system frequency use and television broadcast overlap.

Most of my summer weddings are held outside with a PA system, which adds additional challenges. I'll use five to seven mics for the ceremony, all run through a mixer. If the wedding is in a church, the first thing I will do is try to tap into the house sound system. If the audio feed is clean, my mic use is significantly reduced. Maybe a wireless for groom and bride (if she is willing), one for musicians, and a mic just for ambient room sounds.

Others prefer to use as few mics as possible. Some rely on Mini Discs. I've tried many methods, with varying degrees of success. Set ups which worked at one facility failed in another. So much depends on the variables.

So, I travel with the following: Road case with four wireless combo systems. Two VHF, Two UHF. Lapel or hand mic available for each system. 8 channel audio mixer with a four channel back up audio mixer. Four Shure SM 58 dynamic mics, with floor stands, and about 600' of XLR mic cable. Add to that a shotgun mic of dubius origin, and two 40 year old AKG lavalier mics (the ancestors of lapel mics) which are great for hanging in arches or chupas.

Most of this stuff stays in the truck, which is the way it is supposed to be. but, if I really need it, it is not far away.
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Old September 3rd, 2004, 11:36 PM   #14
 
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Great post, but that's a HELL of a lotta gear for lil' ole Durango! (one of my favorite getaways in the summer)
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Old September 4th, 2004, 12:18 AM   #15
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I have a pair of Sony UWP C1's and they are great. One on the groom and one on the official. They are true diversity UHF. The only thing I don't like is the mount to the cam, but I've worked around it. The price is right at B&H. I got them for $499 with a $100 gift card = net cost $399.

I personally do not use a minidisk etc. I prefer to monitor the sound through my PD 170s. That way I am sure that I am monitoring the end of the chain.

I suggest using fresh batteries for each wedding. That way I don't have to worry about them dying. Give the partially used ones to your teen for use in walkman's etc. Or, better yet, use rechargeables.

I narrowed my choices down to the Sennheiser's and Sony and opted for the Sony, but I think both are good systems. (Do you prefer Honda or Toyota.) I disagree with the assessment of the "dubious value" of diversity on the Sony, but I don't have time to go into it now. Suffice it to say that we have used these units in a wide variety of situations (including those with multiple rfs flying around) and have been nothing but pleased with the performance.
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