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Old November 27th, 2009, 02:27 PM   #1
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Best Lavalier Wireless set/system?

Good afternoon All,

I am doing research to find out which wireless set (transmitter, receiver and mic) I can get for what I need.

Situation: I am planing on shooting a short movie with a Panasonic HMC-150 (has 2 XLR input connectors) sometime next spring. Also planing on doing interviews with friends. Dialogs between two people. Budged is low yes, but not super low.
For what I researched so far, it seems that the Zaxcoms and Lectrosonics are out my budget for now, therefore out of the equation.

That said, I need 2 wireless lavalier microphones and I came down to 3 options (plus 2 alternatives to two of them):

Sennheiser Evolution G2 100 Series - UHF Lavalier System

Sony UWP-V1 Wireless Lavalier ENG Microphone Package (30/32 - 566 to 590MHz)

Audio-Technica ATW-1813D - 1800 Series Portable Wireless Microphone Combo System - Includes: ATW-R1810 Receiver, ATW-T1802 Plug-In Transmitter, ATW-T1802 Bodypack and Lavalier Microphone

And the alternatives for the Sony and the Audio-Technica are:

Sony UWP-V6 Wireless Plug-in & Lavalier Microphone Package (30/32 - 566 to 590MHz)

Audio-Technica ATW-1821 - 1800 Series Portable Dual Wireless Microphone System - Includes: ATW-R1820 Dual Receiver and (2) ATW-T1801 Bodypack Transmitters


Which ones would your recommend and why?

What is really the difference between the Sony UWP-V1 and the Sony UWP-6? The UWP-V6 seems to be more expensive, but the UWP-V1 seems to have more reviews (in B&H).

The Audio-Technica's has almost 10 times more frequencies than the Sony's. Does that makes a big difference? (I live in rural Vermont BTW).

I have no idea neither experience with lavalier wireless systems, and that is why I will appreciate so much all the information, knowledge and opinions you can share here with me.

I truly thank you very much for your valuable input!!

Kind Regards to all ^_^

Peace,

Ben Tolosa
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Old November 27th, 2009, 02:47 PM   #2
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Ben, take a look at these threads:

Sennheiser G2/G3 or Audio-Technica ATW-182X

Getting Sennheiser G2 or G3 wireless mics

Easy question, Wireless Mics

I still haven't made my mind up. I can get the G2 for a very good price. But I like the ability of the AT to record dual channel and mix on the receiver to one XLR channel. That way, I can use a third cardoid mic for environment sound. 2x the G2 would occupy both XLR channels on my camera so I would have to record sound externally.
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Old November 27th, 2009, 03:22 PM   #3
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Well, here I go touting the AT1821 again;-)

I've been using it almost since it came out and I love it. I can use both bodypaks or 1 bodypak and my plugun transmitter AND if I really want to I can run both wireless AND a hypercaroid or shotgun or handheld wired mic in to 2 XLRs by simply MIXING the 2 wireless at the receiver. I don't do that but I can.
Now having said that I don't use the stock mics. I use 2 Countryman EMW lavs (shelved response) and am thinking about either the Sanken COS11s or Countryman B6s. Don't get me wrong the EMWs are great for the work I do but aren't we always looking to improve what we have?
The AT18XX series is a well constructed set and IMO the sound is as good as the Lectro 100 series. Now some might disagree and that's fine, but to my ears, it sounds everybit as good. Keep in mind I said the 100 series, not the 200 or 400s.

As for powering the unit, the receiver takes 6AAs and each transmitter takes 2. With the transmitters set to RF LOW the batteries last about 6 to 8 hours. On RF HIGH about 2 hours less. Distance is increased.
The receiver also has the ability to adjust the levels on each of the 2 mics- 2 small knobs on the bottom allow adjustments.
For the money, I say again, FOR THE MONEY, I can't think of a better system but I am predjudiced towards it. The receiver with 2 body paks, stock mics and a plugin transmitter will run about $1500.00. Believe me when I say I've gotten my money back so many times over I lost count and I love having 1 receiver to run 2 mics instead of the old systems I used where I needed 2 receivers- Even on a full sized camera it definately added a lot of weight which I don't have with the AT.
Just one mans opinion YMMV.
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Old November 27th, 2009, 05:37 PM   #4
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As Don, I'm also using ATW-1800 systems. And there is a lot of comments on this board about them.

I used to have two Lectrosonic 185 VHF units.

Both the ATW-1800 and the Lectrosonic VHF systems sound good. Can't tell one from the other. The Lectrosonic 185s were set up with Countryman B3 mics and the ATW-1800 are using AT's 899CW mics.

The VHF mics used to get occasional dropouts and noise. The freqencies were fixed, and while they worked well enough, interference was always a concern.

The ATW1800s can auto-scan for clean frequencies, and the true diversity receiver makes dropouts almost a forgotten thing. It's proven rugged enough and reliable.

The Lectrosonic diversity systems are built like tanks, have a spectrum analyzer display and can also auto-scan for clear frequencies. However it does come at a price of $2,500 per channel of audio. To set up a four-channel system that I built would cost $10,000 just for the wireless units.

By comparison, the ATW-1800 is about $750 per channel of audio.

The four-channel system I built, based on the ATW-1800, was about $3,500 including the recorder and the Pelican case.

What you buy really depends on what you can afford, in relation to your expectations of quality and reliability.

Also, it also depends on the sort of work you're doing. If your specialty is audio and your clients expect to see that kind of gear, then the Lectrosonic price tag might not be a major hurdle. However, if you also have to purchase cameras, lighting, tripod, stands, computers and software for post-production -- and more -- then some other system would be a lot more reasonable. Especially if the performance is almost as good as a premium system costing three to four times more.
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Old November 27th, 2009, 05:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Tolosa View Post
Good afternoon All,

What is really the difference between the Sony UWP-V1 and the Sony UWP-6? The UWP-V6 seems to be more expensive, but the UWP-V1 seems to have more reviews (in B&H).
They are the same. The UWP-V6 has the same:
* UTX-B2 bodypack transmitter / lav
* URX-P2 receiver

The additional component over the UWP-V1 is the UTX-P1 plug-on (or plug-in) transmitter for normal wired mics. This can be seen in the pic on B&H or on Sony's website. There are also two different frequency models you can buy. Each of them can work on a variety of frequencies within their respective ranges.

If you need 2 lavaliers, you'd have to buy either:
2x UWP-V1 to have 2 running at the same time on their own channels. Or simply:
1x UWP-V1 and 1x UWP-V6
or
2x UWP-V6

Either way, you will get two lavs.

I recently bought the UWP-V6 and if I had to do it again, I'd buy Sony again. I am very satisfied.
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Old November 29th, 2009, 02:42 AM   #6
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Thank you all!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floris van Eck View Post
Ben, take a look at these threads:

Sennheiser G2/G3 or Audio-Technica ATW-182X

Getting Sennheiser G2 or G3 wireless mics

Easy question, Wireless Mics

I still haven't made my mind up. I can get the G2 for a very good price. But I like the ability of the AT to record dual channel and mix on the receiver to one XLR channel. That way, I can use a third cardoid mic for environment sound. 2x the G2 would occupy both XLR channels on my camera so I would have to record sound externally.
Hi Floris,

Well, thank you very much; those were really helpful! Let me ask you: Why did you choose the G2 or G3 over the AT18xx?

And thank you very much for the info!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
Well, here I go touting the AT1821 again;-)

I've been using it almost since it came out and I love it. I can use both bodypaks or 1 bodypak and my plugun transmitter AND if I really want to I can run both wireless AND a hypercaroid or shotgun or handheld wired mic in to 2 XLRs by simply MIXING the 2 wireless at the receiver. I don't do that but I can.
Now having said that I don't use the stock mics. I use 2 Countryman EMW lavs (shelved response) and am thinking about either the Sanken COS11s or Countryman B6s. Don't get me wrong the EMWs are great for the work I do but aren't we always looking to improve what we have?
The AT18XX series is a well constructed set and IMO the sound is as good as the Lectro 100 series. Now some might disagree and that's fine, but to my ears, it sounds everybit as good. Keep in mind I said the 100 series, not the 200 or 400s.

As for powering the unit, the receiver takes 6AAs and each transmitter takes 2. With the transmitters set to RF LOW the batteries last about 6 to 8 hours. On RF HIGH about 2 hours less. Distance is increased.
The receiver also has the ability to adjust the levels on each of the 2 mics- 2 small knobs on the bottom allow adjustments.
For the money, I say again, FOR THE MONEY, I can't think of a better system but I am predjudiced towards it. The receiver with 2 body paks, stock mics and a plugin transmitter will run about $1500.00. Believe me when I say I've gotten my money back so many times over I lost count and I love having 1 receiver to run 2 mics instead of the old systems I used where I needed 2 receivers- Even on a full sized camera it definately added a lot of weight which I don't have with the AT.
Just one mans opinion YMMV.
Hey Don,
Thanks very much for your opinion. About the AT1821...

Two things I am not very sure about. The built is plastic... and the type of batteries are neither AA nor AAA... What do you think about these two factors?

I was looking at the Countryman B3 lavaliers, and B&H has one specific for Audio-Technica that says 'Hirose 4-pin f/ Audio-Technica'... Perhaps a stupid question, but that means that the other one called 'Switchcraft TA5 female f/ Audio-Technica' will not work with a 1821 right?

Thanks very much again ^_^

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Sensui View Post
As Don, I'm also using ATW-1800 systems. And there is a lot of comments on this board about them.

I used to have two Lectrosonic 185 VHF units.

Both the ATW-1800 and the Lectrosonic VHF systems sound good. Can't tell one from the other. The Lectrosonic 185s were set up with Countryman B3 mics and the ATW-1800 are using AT's 899CW mics.

The VHF mics used to get occasional dropouts and noise. The freqencies were fixed, and while they worked well enough, interference was always a concern.

The ATW1800s can auto-scan for clean frequencies, and the true diversity receiver makes dropouts almost a forgotten thing. It's proven rugged enough and reliable.

The Lectrosonic diversity systems are built like tanks, have a spectrum analyzer display and can also auto-scan for clear frequencies. However it does come at a price of $2,500 per channel of audio. To set up a four-channel system that I built would cost $10,000 just for the wireless units.

By comparison, the ATW-1800 is about $750 per channel of audio.

The four-channel system I built, based on the ATW-1800, was about $3,500 including the recorder and the Pelican case.

What you buy really depends on what you can afford, in relation to your expectations of quality and reliability.

Also, it also depends on the sort of work you're doing. If your specialty is audio and your clients expect to see that kind of gear, then the Lectrosonic price tag might not be a major hurdle. However, if you also have to purchase cameras, lighting, tripod, stands, computers and software for post-production -- and more -- then some other system would be a lot more reasonable. Especially if the performance is almost as good as a premium system costing three to four times more.
Hi Dean,

Thank you very much for the info too!!
My questions to you are: Which microphone is better (in your opinion), the B3 or the 899? And why?

Any disadvantage on the plastic built on the 18xx?
Any disadvantage on not being able to use AA or AAA as battery source?

Thank you much ^_^

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Taylor View Post
They are the same. The UWP-V6 has the same:
* UTX-B2 bodypack transmitter / lav
* URX-P2 receiver

The additional component over the UWP-V1 is the UTX-P1 plug-on (or plug-in) transmitter for normal wired mics. This can be seen in the pic on B&H or on Sony's website. There are also two different frequency models you can buy. Each of them can work on a variety of frequencies within their respective ranges.

If you need 2 lavaliers, you'd have to buy either:
2x UWP-V1 to have 2 running at the same time on their own channels. Or simply:
1x UWP-V1 and 1x UWP-V6
or
2x UWP-V6

Either way, you will get two lavs.

I recently bought the UWP-V6 and if I had to do it again, I'd buy Sony again. I am very satisfied.
Good morning Bruce,

Well, thank you very much for the answer. I appreciate the information very much!!

Does your UWP-V6 comes with a frequency/channel scan feature?

Thanks again,
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Old November 29th, 2009, 04:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Tolosa View Post
Does your UWP-V6 comes with a frequency/channel scan feature?
Yes.

It's a shame Sony don't seem to put the PDF online because they aid in pre-purchase decisions but I can send it to you if you like. It's 3.78 MB.

While I like the idea of buying the Audio-Technica model (and am a big fan of their mics), their receiver is pretty large and takes 4xAA (or 6x AA for their dual channel) versus 2xAA on the Sony, which is much smaller and lighter (if that matters to you, since the receiver doesn't have to be tiny, I guess).

That said, one complaint against the Sony is the antennas cannot be removed, and if you want two mics per receiver, the more expensive Audio Technica models seem like the best bang-for-buck (or at least the most convenient not having to have two receivers) and most people seem pleased with them.

I wasn't prepared to fork out that much money just yet so I am sticking to the single mic/ channel Sony system (though, the thought of expanding means two receivers, one hanging off the camera and only one fitting on the camera's shoe mount, which is a bit messy compared to just one).

I am unsure of the advantages or disadvantages of their mic connections. The Audio-Technica uses Mini-XLR while the Sony uses standard 3.5mm mini-plug connections (just like most portable headphones) - except with a screw mount for fastening it down so it can't be unplugged.

I'm not sure how limiting (or otherwise) this is if you want to get another lavalier mic plugged in the Sony (to be honest, I haven't looked into it but probably should have).
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Old November 29th, 2009, 07:10 AM   #8
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While the bodypaks are plastic it is not a flimsy type of thin plastic. Mine have taken a beating and work just fine. The receiver is also a very strong plastic and again it has been knocked around and is just fine.

The batteries are in fact AA size. Not quite sure where you got the idea it wasn't AAs but it is.

6 in the receiver and 2 per transmitter.
The receiver uses a TA3F connection (the supplied cables are 18" long-TA3F to XLRM) the mic connection is Hirose 4 pin-very secure and very strong.
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Old November 29th, 2009, 09:08 AM   #9
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The batteries are in fact AA size. Not quite sure where you got the idea it wasn't AAs but it is.
I made comment about it in a previous thread. I use an Audio Technica system that is 5 years old and it used 9v batteries for both the transmitter and receiver, which pissed me off. I didn't realize that the newer models had changed to AA (probably because of the complaints they received). Square batteries are a more economical use of space than round but unfortunately 9v cost significantly more than AA. You can spend $7-8 for a single 9v in a store. An all day wedding I've used 8 batteries x $8 = $64 Or do many short shoots where you throw out the batteries even if they were not used much, you can see how that gets expensive with 9v.
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Old November 29th, 2009, 09:19 AM   #10
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yeah a lot of the older systems did that. I had Azden 500Us which actually were quite decent and the receivers used AAs but all the transmitters use 9V. Talk about a mess. Gotta make sure you have both sitting on the shelf, then what else uses 9V beside smaoke detectors? My g-kids toys sure didn't. Ah well, all is good now with nothing but used AAs laying around. Maybe I should buy into Duracell.

As for cost, I bought and still buy batteries at a well known big box discount store. Duracells that's all I ever use. 12 9V were $14.00 and 36AAs were/are the same so while the 9Vs were more per battery $64 seems like a lot. Using 12 AAs for the 2 receivers and 3 9V for 2 body paks and 1 plugin don't add up to $64.00 but then I wasn't paying $7.00 for a 9V.
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Old November 29th, 2009, 02:06 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ben Tolosa View Post

Hi Dean,

Thank you very much for the info too!!
My questions to you are: Which microphone is better (in your opinion), the B3 or the 899? And why?

Any disadvantage on the plastic built on the 18xx?
Any disadvantage on not being able to use AA or AAA as battery source?

Thank you much ^_^
Ben...

Both mics perform about the same. The B3 is just slightly smaller than the 899CW but either one is concealed easily. I've read that the EMW is better if used beneath clothing but I've never tested it.

As mentioned earlier, the plastic is tough. There is a huge variety of plastics available, and the notion that plastic isn't as tough as metal is becoming an outdated notion. Depending on the application, plastics can be preferred to metal as they can spring back from a level of deformation which would permanently dent metal.

They can also resist corrosion far better than any metal.

I remember when Canon and Nikon SLRs went from brass bodies to plastic. And news photographers wondered if they'd be able to tolerate hard daily use. But they fared as well as any of the older brass-bodied cameras.

The receiver on the ATW-1800 is aluminum. But the bodypacks are a tough plastic that are very durable. The only damage ever done was when a fisherman unintentionally leaned against a railing and put a small crack in the clear window over the LCD readout. But even that didn't take the unit out of action.

When I sent the unit in for routine servicing, AT replaced the window without me even asking.

Another advantage of the ATW-1800 is the BNC antenna connectors on the receiver. It allows me to have a separate antenna mast, with coaxial cable to position the antennas out in the clear while keeping the receivers themselves in a protected case. Some wireless units can't do this since their antennas are permanently connected to the receivers.

The batteries used by both the transmitters and receivers are AA. I'm using rechargeables NiMH batteries from Thomas Distributors. These batteries have much better storage life than older NiMH batteries, with a lot less self-discharge over time.
MAHA IMEDION AA 2100 mAh Ultra Low Discharge 4 Battery Pack

The charger is a "smart" charger that monitors individual batteries so that none are overcharged:

MAHA MH-C801D AA - AAA Battery ChargerDELUXE 8 Cell Professi..
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Old November 29th, 2009, 06:43 PM   #12
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Im in the same boat as you and either the Sennheiser or Lectrosonics will be your best bet. I'm going for the Lectrosonics.

The LMa and URC100 is worth checking out.

If Sennheiser check out the G3 version.


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Old November 30th, 2009, 11:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Tolosa View Post
Hi Floris,

Well, thank you very much; those were really helpful! Let me ask you: Why did you choose the G2 or G3 over the AT18xx?
Ben, I haven't made my mind up just yet.

It will be either a G2 or a AT182X system. The G3 is improved but I have spoken with so many people that are using the G2 and none of them have real problems with frequencies. So I don't want to spend another EURO 150 / 200 DOLLAR on the G3 over the G2.

For me it comes down to having one or two receivers. At this moment, I only need one transmitter so Sennheiser would be cheaper. I could easily add a second unit later. With AT, I will have to buy the set from the beginning which makes it more expensive as an initial investment. But in the long term, I think having one receiver is more practical. I also read very good things about the AT system here. And they are diversity.

How does the 899 mic compare with the MKE-2 (Sennheiser G2/G3 stock mic)?

Last edited by Floris van Eck; November 30th, 2009 at 03:24 PM.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 12:16 PM   #14
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There's pros and cons on both systems. Read all the posts on them. Only you can decide what's best for your particular applications.

The AT899 is a much better mic than the MK2... Used on either system. I assume your referring to the MK-2 and not the MKE-2 which is better than the 899 IMO. (About twice the price too)
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Old November 30th, 2009, 04:01 PM   #15
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@Ben Tolosa-I recommend if possible to rent the gear or find a place or someone who owns the wireless mics you are interested in to get the feel for yourself. I have been going to the rental house lately to test out equipment I'm interested in. Its nothing worser than buying something and its not what you where looking for. Might want to consider that.


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