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Old November 7th, 2010, 08:53 PM   #1
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Low cost alternative to the Sony Wireless Lav Kit

I need a second wireless mic kit for use as second mic for weddings and can't afford the Sony, which is around $450 at b and h right now.

Anyone recommend a less expensive but effective alternative?
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Old November 8th, 2010, 04:00 AM   #2
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Not sure which Sony you're looking at but the general consensis is that the cheapest wireless one should consider for serious work is the Sennheiser G3 at about $650. Since the price you quoted for the Sony is already less than that, that would imply the answer to your question is there aren't any. Not that there aren't cheaper mics, just that with anything under about $500 all you're doing is throwing your money away on a plasticy toy not worth owning. Don't waste money buying inferior tools, rent until you can afford to buy proper kit.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 09:00 AM   #3
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Thanks Steve. I have a cheap plastic wireless set that worked quited well for several years until it was dropped. The sound was not as rich as my Sony UWP-V1 (I"ve had the G2 and had only issues with it) but was more than adequate as a second/backup wireless.

I know the Sennsheiser is popular, but my G2 had a very tinny sounding mic and gots lots of interference. My cheap plastic Samson actually has been more reliable than the Sennheiser. I had a custom mic made for the Sennheiser, but the intererence issue couldn't be overcome.

I'll peruse B and H and come up with something. Thanks anyway.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 09:16 AM   #4
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Well, it's certainly true the G2 kits came standard with less than stellar mics out of the box. But replacing the stock mic capsule with a Tram or Countryman or Sanken or even higher-level Sennheisers usually took care of that issue. As for the interference issues, especially when comparing it to a Samson, that's a puzzle. Depending on what kind of interference, RF interference from other radio sources or multipath interference from reflections and antenna issues, it may have been the luck of the draw caused by the specific situation and surroundings you work in.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 01:24 PM   #5
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You can buy the super cheap Sony VHF wireless mics on eBay for usually under a hundred bucks. I think that the retail from Sony is something like $150 but those things have been manufactured like flies for well over a decade.

They will give you good results as long as you never stray more than maybe fifteen feet from your subject and you don't operated them in an electronic jungle. Even so you will still get a little static on rare occasions but considering the price they work quite well. I still have one that I haven't used in years. If I didn't have all of the wireless microphones that I do I would use it if I had to.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 02:01 PM   #6
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Wesley, thanks for the tip, the cheap sony's sound pretty good.

Unfortunately, I need to be able to be the full length of a church and still get sound, so I don't think the cheap Sony would work too well for me based on what you say.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 02:16 PM   #7
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You might consider buying a stand alone recorder of some type that you could use instead of wireless. For the same money, you could perhaps get better sound. It's been discussed a lot, and a quick search on DVINFO will turn up lots of recommendations.

You'd have to sync in post, but that's pretty easy. I find wireless kind of useless in a wedding ceremony anyway. I mean, if there's a problem, are you going to stop the ceremony? "Ah, can we back up a bit, I'm having interference on my wireless..."
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Old November 8th, 2010, 06:00 PM   #8
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In just the last 10 years I've shot about 600 weddings. Number of times I've had interference ZERO!
That using Azden UHF, Lectro VHF and most recently Audio Technica dual channel. I did have a shotgun die due to a bad cable but it was no big deal since I use that mic only for the music.

I run a clear scan at every event while the churches units are on, (even at churches I've been at dozens of times) and if I get hit by the ever present Blackberry (far worse than traditional cell phones) it's generally minor and can be cut around.

Maybe I'm too old school but I have to be able to monitor my audio but that's just me. I know a few folks in my area that use stand alone recorders and every one of them have had a problem at one time or another.

I'm sure they work fine but with the wireless, if there is a problem at least I know about it before I load up the footage.

I'm just sayin'

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Old November 8th, 2010, 06:54 PM   #9
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I can't argue with you Don, but my experience has not been the same. I personally shot one wedding where my test of the wireless at the podium produced an awful interference with the church house system. With no time left to figure out why, I quickly put a recorder in its place and was OK. I've had dropouts at other venues as well, fortunately not at crucial spots in the ceremony. I use a Telex ENG100 UHF system, which at the time was sold at the price level of the Lectros. I was monitoring at the time, and let me tell you a cold sweat started up on my brow! Maybe my wireless just sucks, I dunno, but I don't use it enough to justify buying another.

I also just finished editing a wedding (not shot by me) in which their wireless dropped out during the vows! What timing...

Also, you have been using quality equipment at a price the OP can't afford. If you're using the ATW1821, it's $1400. He can't afford a $400 Sony, which is his reality, I guess. He's asking for wireless equipment at cut rate prices, which doesn't add up to security.

Your scheduling also seems to allow time to arrive and do freq scans and tests, which mine never does. I don't know Jeff's schedules, but I'm usually pressed just to beat the bride to the church. I have no time to mess with wireless mics and always use recorders, which have never failed me.
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Old November 8th, 2010, 08:48 PM   #10
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Hey Vito, I forgot Jeff mentioned the dollar limit. Oops. Yes, I get to the venue about an hour prior, that's part of the deal. I need to get in set up, scan, get B footage, et al... All the stuff that makes an old man like me sweat and I hate to sweat.
I remembered I did have one problem with the tower at O'Hare airport once, luckily before the wedding and I was able to change freqs but it really threw me. All of a sudden I heard O'Hare tower in my headphones. Of course I was 4 miles away and in a clear line of sight to the tower but when I heard "O'hare this is United XXXX heavy..." I knew I had a challenge. Some crossover. Just the right freq at the right place. If I moved 10 feet it went away but that's not something you take a chance with, for me or them.
Anyway, like I said, old school, gotta hear it but at less than $400.00 maybe 2 or 3 stand alones would be a good way for next year.
Damn you Vito, now you got me thinking of ways to spend money next year!!!! ;-0
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Old November 8th, 2010, 09:04 PM   #11
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Damn you Vito, now you got me thinking of ways to spend money next year!!!! ;-0
Hehe. Glad to be of service.

Don't get me wrong, I'd rather use a wireless if I had the setup time. It's comforting to be able to monitor what's being recorded, even though with weddings there's nothing you can do if something goes wrong.

But I quickly found out that wireless mics and a guy in a hurry don't mix well.

Always a pleasure, Don!
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Old November 9th, 2010, 04:16 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Vito DeFilippo View Post
I...
Your scheduling also seems to allow time to arrive and do freq scans and tests, which mine never does. I don't know Jeff's schedules, but I'm usually pressed just to beat the bride to the church. I have no time to mess with wireless mics and always use recorders, which have never failed me.
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Originally Posted by Vito DeFilippo View Post
...Don't get me wrong, I'd rather use a wireless if I had the setup time. It's comforting to be able to monitor what's being recorded, even though with weddings there's nothing you can do if something goes wrong.

But I quickly found out that wireless mics and a guy in a hurry don't mix well.
So, rearrange your schedule so you can get there early enough to do a proper setup and aren't a "guy in a hurry." If you have to leave where ever you're coming from an hour or two hours earlier to accomplish it, so be it. No personal offense intended here, but that just comes with the territory of being a working professional - you just do whatever it takes to do the job right and plan everything else around it. I'm writing this at 5am, getting ready to head out and catch the train to an early call ... not because I want to but because that's just what one does.
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Old November 9th, 2010, 10:46 AM   #13
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Actually, if I'm doing a getting ready bit, which I do frequently, at the house, etc and photos before, say at the park, on occasion I'm lucky to get set up in time for the ceremony. Not much I can do about that.

On the other hand, I've been part of the debate on whether to use wireless or recorder, and I fall down squarely on the side of wireless, but that is just me. I know it's "easy" to sync the audio, but I strongly dislike doing it.

Now if I could afford a recorder that was as light as wireless unit and didn't have to be synced, I'd be more inclined to go that route.
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Old November 9th, 2010, 03:30 PM   #14
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So, rearrange your schedule so you can get there early enough to do a proper setup and aren't a "guy in a hurry." If you have to leave where ever you're coming from an hour or two hours earlier to accomplish it, so be it. No personal offense intended here, but that just comes with the territory of being a working professional - you just do whatever it takes to do the job right and plan everything else around it. I'm writing this at 5am, getting ready to head out and catch the train to an early call ... not because I want to but because that's just what one does.
Steve, why so harsh when you have no idea how I work?

I don't make my schedule. I shoot weddings freelance for a studio that does full day coverage. The reason I can't get to the church sooner is that I've just left the bride's house after shooting her prep and getting into the limo to go to church.

I consider myself to be a working professional, and don't need you to tell me different, no personal offense intended either.
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Old November 9th, 2010, 03:38 PM   #15
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While we're getting a bit off topic here I will say that when I book the job I always talk timeline with the bride regardless of whether or not I'm doing prep. Once I know the ceremony time and the place as well as the place of the prep I'll back out the time I need to travel and work it from there with her. In most (most) cases they are pretty understanding and will give me the time I need to do my job, travel and arrive at the church an hour before the ceremony. In reality it might only be 30 minutes but I work fast so it gives me enough time to get B footage, do an audio check , set up 2nd cam, etc etc. I might be out of breath but (hopefully) I'm not sweating.

Now having said all of that I'm finding a lot of girls are skipping the prep to save money. Good and bad points to that.

Anyway guys, lets keep it nice and try to stay on point. (I'd hate to see Chris close the thread is all)
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