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Old February 10th, 2011, 08:26 AM   #1
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Wireless mic for XLR camcorders

Hello forum. I've been doing a lot of searching and haven't really found specific answers to my questions.

What i am looking for: A wireless mic that will work well in a trade show environment that is easy enough for the average person to use.

Price range: under: $800

Equipment: This mic will be working with a Canon XHA1 and/or the new canon XA10

These are two kits i've been looking at.
Sennheiser EW 100 ENG G3 Wireless System - DVeStore
or
Azden 105ULX - 105 Series UHF Wireless Microphone Combo 105ULX


So a simply question, do most wireless mic set-ups use a basic 3.5mm to XLR cable to go from the receiver to the camcorder? is there a reason for this? Do some receivers have a direct XLR output cable?

Since ease of use is an issue, I was considering bluetooth. Anyone know of a bluetooth mic that would work with the camcorders stated above? advantages/ disadvantage?

Thanks in advance,
-Paul
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Old February 10th, 2011, 09:54 AM   #2
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there are other wireless kits you could also look at. For instance the Audio Technica 1800 series. That uses a mini XLR to the receiver and a standard XLR to the camera. The Azden 500U series uses standard XLR to both receiver and camera.

I had 2 of the Azden 500s and had good results after I changed the mics out. Currently I use the AT1821 receiver which is a dual channel receiver because much of the work I do requires 2 wireless. However if you only need the one transmitter and the budget is the $800 you specified I would look at the Sennheiser or the Audia Technica.
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Old February 10th, 2011, 11:39 AM   #3
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The Sennheiser G2/3 seems to be the most popular for an entry level system, along w/ Sony and AT. I have not heard of many using the Azden, though it.... FWIW, 'looks impressive' and is advertised in broadcast publications. For any system 'approaching' pro quality, avoid systems selling for under $500 (new, street price). The included mic with most of these systems works OK, but many upgrade to a better mic when a budget permits. Another $200-$500, but there are high quality, lower cost alternatives if one knows where to look. As with any wireless system, due diligence in placement, gain staging and frequency selection are very important to obtain pro results.

"Do most wireless mic set-ups use a basic 3.5mm to XLR cable to go from the receiver to the camcorder?"
It varies by manufacturer, though the 3.5mm and XLR connectors seem to be more popular.

"is there a reason for this?"
Size, parts availability & compatibility and manufacturing costs I would assume.

Do some receivers have a direct XLR output cable?"
Most 'professional' receivers have a 'balanced' output via a XLR-m connector..
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Old February 10th, 2011, 11:58 AM   #4
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I think you'll be better off with the G3 - it has a huge switching window and you are more likely to find a vacant frequency at a busy trade show.
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Old February 10th, 2011, 12:57 PM   #5
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I think it depends a little based on what you mean by "for the average person to use". The Sennheiser units would also be my recommendation as the starting point for quality worth spending your money on. And for a video and audio pro, they are fairly easy to use. But for the "average person" who has no knowledge of audio or video, there is still a LOT that can go wrong.

Let's say you've set the mic and camera up beforehand, so they don't need to know how to hook the receiver up to the camcorder, set levels, etc. But now what if somebody has been pushing buttons on the transmitter or receiver and has changed the frequency setting on one of them? Or the Sensitivity setting? Or changed the input level on the camcorder (you wouldn't EVER set it on Automatic Gain would you?) Would the average person have any clue about what to do? And if the camera has not been set up beforehand, then I think the average person would have a better chance of winning the lottery than figuring out how to plug in the receiver and go through menus to set up the mic properly! How about placing the mic and transmitter on somebody? Even if this is a handheld, they would have to understand how to set it up properly. Can they change batteries?

As resident audio guru Ty Ford often says, audio for video is not plug and play. And I'll add that part of what we get paid for, is that when things don't go perfectly (which with electronic gear is not at all uncommon), that we have the experience and knowledge to make it right or adapt and still get the shot, the audio, whatever.

Have fun!

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Old February 10th, 2011, 02:30 PM   #6
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Thank for the information everyone.

I'm in a tough spot really. I'm suppose to find something that will deliver good audio quality that will be used by non-techy savy people 75% of the time. Now if they just had me (or at least just one specific person) designated to use this equipment it wouldn't be so bad.
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Old February 10th, 2011, 04:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Elertson View Post

So a simply question, do most wireless mic set-ups use a basic 3.5mm to XLR cable to go from the receiver to the camcorder? is there a reason for this? Do some receivers have a direct XLR output cable?

Since ease of use is an issue, I was considering bluetooth. Anyone know of a bluetooth mic that would work with the camcorders stated above? advantages/ disadvantage?

-Paul
For bluetooth mics, you might try messaging Dave Blackhurst whom (I believe) use a bluettoth setup with some Sony camcorders. Also, I recall reading somewhere that Canon will be shipping a bluetooth mic for camcorders next month.

For kits with or without XLR, some have it and some do not.

I've got the Sennheiser kit you cited. Mine came with two cables from the receiver, one with a 3.5mm mini stereo plug and one with what you called a "direct XLR output." I bought my kit from Tapeworks Texas. You might need to order it as an extra from the source you referenced.

I'm not clear what you will be doing at the tradeshow.

From the description, it seems that this video will not be for broadcast or commercial distribution where you need pristine audio. That makes things somewhat simpler but does not necessarily solve your problems with inexperienced folks using the camera and mic system.

Is this going to be something where the mic will be for recording the person who is handling the camera? That can be tough because --- even apart from having to learn how to set levels --- there are many possibilities for screwing things up by dragging mic cords, whacking the camera into the mic, putting the lavalier on where the camera gets held between it and the mouth, etc. Earphones help some, but basically, it will require some training to get this work.

Or, maybe this will be a situation where the camera handler is going to hand a mic to get commentary from vendors and attendees while they are being videoed? If the later, I'll point out that it might be simpler to use the Sennheiser kit's plug-n transmitter with a decent unidirectional or shotgun mike. I've had very good luck doing this when getting commentary from guests at wedding receptions using an AT877 shotgun (which I've also run corded). I tell the speaker to hold the mike low like "news at ten not rock-n-roll." The narrow pick-up pattern excludes a lot of the ambient noise and gives good, usable audio even when I've left the XHA1 mic levels on auto. You don't have to worry about setting up the lavalier or somebody walking off with it still attached. If there are earphones, the shooter will know whether sound was recorded or not. There will still be some ambient noise, but the audio will be very usable without much technical knowledge. Somebody knoweldgable is sitll going to have to be available to do the basic set-up and select a transmission frequency that avoids interference from other wireless systems.

Or is this going mic going to be used in some other way than the above?
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Old February 10th, 2011, 06:59 PM   #8
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Thanks for the reply Jay.

It will mainly be used in two different ways.

1) Interviews with regular people on a trade room floor.

2) Attached to speakers during formal presentations.

And this is by no means broadcast quality, just web content.

I think I will recommend getting a lav mic for #2 and a plug in transmitter with a hand-held mic for #1.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 10:28 AM   #9
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So here is my plan.

1) Sennheiser Evolution G3 100 Series
*lav mic
*body pack transmitter
*plug in transmitter
*receiver
*shoe mount

2) Shure SM58-LC microphone + stand
*to work with plug in transmitter from kit above

3) Canon WM-V1 Bluetooth Mic
* For simple use.

I think this covers all my bases.
1) could be used for single presenters with a "trained" audio/video operator
2) could be used in a multiple presenter setting (or other things) with a "trained" audio/video operator
3) could be used for anyone that does not know how to use 1 appropriately.

Anyone foreseen problems with this?
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Old February 16th, 2011, 12:36 PM   #10
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"(2) could be used in a multiple presenter setting"

I don't know your level of expertise, so forgive me for stating the basic. The plug-in and body-pack transmitters cannot be used at the same time with a single receiver on the same frequency. Another receiver would be necessary to form a second system, which would be on another frequency. However two or more receivers on the same frequency can be used with a single transmitter, for instance, sending audio to a PA and a camera.

Omni directional lavs 'can be' subject to feedback when used with a PA system. The pro and cons of using a cardioid lav with an integrated PA/recording system should be considered.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 02:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Reineke View Post
"(2) could be used in a multiple presenter setting"

I don't know your level of expertise, so forgive me for stating the basic. The plug-in and body-pack transmitters cannot be used at the same time with a single receiver on the same frequency. Another receiver would be necessary to form a second system, which would be on another frequency. However two or more receivers on the same frequency can be used with a single transmitter, for instance, sending audio to a PA and a camera.
Thanks for the info. Although I am new to the audio area, I did know each transmitter would need its corresponding receiver. What I meant was a regular handled mic could be set up on a presenter table where there is more than one speaker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Reineke View Post
Omni directional lavs 'can be' subject to feedback when used with a PA system. The pro and cons of using a cardioid lav with an integrated PA/recording system should be considered.
Thanks for the info, I hadn't thought about this.

How often is this a problem? does it usually related to distance of the mics? Directional mics usually don't have this problem?

The PA system will be set up by a different company.

But, now that I'm thinking about what you stated above. If the PA system at conference or whatever is setup to be wireless. Could I just use a receiver and set to the right channel to record the audio to the camcorder? basically utilizing there audio equipment.


Thanks again to everyone for there replies. DVinfo has been a very useful learning tool for me.

Last edited by Paul Elertson; February 17th, 2011 at 02:01 PM.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 03:10 PM   #12
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If they are using a PA system then chances are about 101% that they're using some sort of mixer (audio board) in which case you might be able to pull a feed from the board back to your camera.
For example, last month I did a seminar and was doing IMAG but also recording at the same time. I pulled a hard feed back to the camera simple and done. I did another seminar in Novemeber where I wasn't doing IMAG but run and gun style coverage of the seminar. I simply used my wireless with a plugin transmitter hooked up to the board and again, done deal. No mics, no fuss.
I think you need to talk some to the show producer or contact to find out exactly what they are using for audio and exactly what you are to be shooting and set the audio up from that.
Hell I've done seminars where all I used was either a shotgun or hypercaroid on the camera to use as a scratch track and the show producer gave me CDs of the audio since they were recording in audio world.
If it were me, I'd ask some more questions. But that's just me.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 08:26 PM   #13
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Great suggestion about the plugin transmitter Don. At the last convention I did, I plugged my H4N recorder directly into the soundboard. Then in the NLE matched the track from the H4N to the shotgun mic track using waveform.I also have a transmitter for my handheld mic, and never thought about plugging that transmitter into the board. I could plug both in.

If random RF interference occurs, I have the backup audio on the H4N to fall back on. A shotgun mic on the camera can give me one track, the plugged in transmitter on another track. Then the H4N just in case RF issues occur. Then just delete the track with the audio from the transmitter, and replace it with audio from the H4N. It's not hard to match up with the waveforms-it's what I'm doing already. The wireless transmitter hooked into the board will make my life so much easier.

Thanks a ton!!! Sometimes I'm a little slow to catch on. Must have burned out too many brain cells working in the lab all those years.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 08:47 AM   #14
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Many good suggestions have been made here. I just wanted to mention a couple of other points: A low-sensitivity vocal mic like an SM-58 will have very short effective pickup if it's attempted to use it with a plug-on transmitter as a fixed mic to cover several people.
You can however buy more sensitive condenser mics that can either be powered by internal battery or by the appropriated plug-on transmitter, that will do a much better job at picking up multiple people as long as you aren't also trying to send that mic to a PA system.
If you are dependant on pulling a feed from the house mixer, make sure you also have your own ambient mic source. It's also important to have a way to isolate and control their feed and also remember not to send phantom power back to their mixer if you're connecting to your equipment on a mic input.
PA and recording at the same event can require very different methods of operation and level control.
As mentioned earlier, work with the people doing PA or other recording for the meeting, but also have your own means of getting or controlling a good signal since you can't entirely depend on others and what they'll do once the meeting begins.
Lastly, using directional lav elements in a PA environment can be a double-edged sword. If placed properly, they can be beneficial. On the other hand, if placed improperly they can be a severe disadvantage. Let's say a quest presenter you didn't know about suddenly is called to the stage and the lav mic is quickly swapped from someone in a business suit with the lav perfectly placed, to this new presenter wearing a dress that can't support the lav element to point straight up at their mouth. With the lav element now facing "southeast" instead of "north" it may be impossible to get enough gain before feedback with a soft-spoken presenter.
With an omni lav the problem will not be as bad.
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Old April 5th, 2011, 01:46 PM   #15
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Re: Wireless mic for XLR camcorders

Thanks again to everyone for there replies.

Just for reference, I went with the Sony UWP-V1. (Cheaper than the G3)

Used it for a couple projects so far and its worked great!

Also, for filming conferences, I was able to pull a feed (XLR) from the sound board directly to my camcorder. Worked great too!
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