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Old October 11th, 2012, 09:59 AM   #1
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High end wireless microphone?

The Sennheiser G3, Sony UWP-V1, and ATW-1821 wireless mic systems have been great for prosumer/professional work. But what do the big boys use for critical recordings, such as one that requires a wireless microphone system with a low noise floor?

Zaxcom? Lectrosonics?
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Old October 11th, 2012, 10:13 AM   #2
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Re: High end wireless microphone?

The tongue in cheek answer to the question what do the big boys use for critical recordings, such as one that requires a wireless microphone system with a low noise floor? - is simple, a cable!

Zaxcom and Lectrosonic haven't been as big a leader in the UK for TV work, as Microns and Audio Ltd and of course the Sonys seem very popular. Mind you Sennheiser seems by far the most popular brand now - their slightly upmarket range has always been popular over here. Digits are just coming on stream here, but lots of us took the Government's cash to surrender our old channel 69 units, and I bought exactly the same brands again - Sennheiser still cutting it for me. The very expensive systems just don't offer enough difference from something like G3 - now the battery receivers are diversity types.
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Old October 11th, 2012, 11:24 AM   #3
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Re: High end wireless microphone?

From what I've seen and in my experience, Lectros are probably #1 with Zaxcom coming in a close 2nd. I hve seen mor and more Sennheisers creeping into the arena but everywhere I look I see Lectros!
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Old October 11th, 2012, 07:44 PM   #4
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Re: High end wireless microphone?

Yes, Lectrosonic, Zaxcom for properly-budgeted productions, and Sennheiser, et.al. for the budget customers. And Azden for the clueless.

But for "critical recordings, such as one that requires a wireless microphone system with a low noise floor" is required, you would have to be in dire straits to be forced to use ANY wireless system OF ANY COST vs. an ordinary cable. Practically ANY mic cable on the planet sounds better and is FAR MORE RELIABLE than the most expensive and fancy wireless system ever made.
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Old October 11th, 2012, 10:09 PM   #5
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Re: High end wireless microphone?

While I agree that a cabled mic is the best option, live TV shows and newscasts seem to do just fine with wireless. I've seen movie productions done here that have used wireless booms when it just wasn't feasible to use a cabled mic.
Wireless isn't as bad as we sometimes make it out to be but again, I agree about using a cabled mic and when I can I do. Unfortunately for me, it just isn't an option as often as I would like.
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Old October 11th, 2012, 10:21 PM   #6
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Re: High end wireless microphone?

There is no question that wireless microphones are the ONLY choice for some applications, and excellent options for many others. But an application that requires "a low noise floor" is NEVER a candidate for a wireless microphone. TV news studios and even feature film sets are rarely in need of "a low noise floor". At least from my perspective in location recording classical music.

To be sure, I have various wireless microphones of modest capability (Sennheiser, Sony, etc.) which I use in video production and live sound applications. But I would never use ANY wireless microphone recording a chorus or an orchestra or a piano or a string quartet, etc.

Mr. Kawamoto was not entirely clear exactly what he was asking about, so we are all speculating on what he meant.
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Old October 12th, 2012, 01:02 AM   #7
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Re: High end wireless microphone?

Having been out of the broadcast circuit for so long, I was wondering how technology has evolved. Back in the day, we used something similar to the Sony WRR systems and they performed wonderfully, even for musicals. Later, I used Lectrosonics and was happy with it.

Today, however, with the flood of cheaper wireless systems on the market, it's easier to hear artifacts, compander noise, and hiss. Some systems perform better than others.

Sony broadcast now makes 24 bit/48k digital broadcast systems which I heard is as good as cable, but I've never tried one in person.

VideON | Andy Munitz, Sony Training Manager - UWP Series | Pro Audio
Watch the thumbnail "DWX Digital Wireless Microphone System."

I was just curious to know how the upper end wireless systems have progressed since the lower end seemed to have improved quite a bit over the last 3 years or so.
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Old October 12th, 2012, 10:02 AM   #8
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Re: High end wireless microphone?

Even if a wireless system had PERFECT (!) performance, it would still be inferior to a cable in terms of reliability.
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Old October 12th, 2012, 12:02 PM   #9
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Re: High end wireless microphone?

I agree with Richard. A cables' the best sound/interference-free solution
Lectros be the norm in my neck of the woods., more and more and Zaxcoms are around. Sennheiser G2/3 as well. I have Lectro 211 and 411 systems as well as some G2/3s. When all are set properly (and with an equally good mic) it's hard to tell the difference between them.. at least for dialog. The jingling key test and other HF content audio is a dead give-a-way though. None are fool-proof and subject to occasional hits on the streets of Manhattan (aka, RF hell.)
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Old October 12th, 2012, 09:40 PM   #10
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"Play to the Audience"

Hi Warren,

From your last post I really understand where you're coming from. I've been looking around at wireless too, but for some particular applications where cable is just way too inconvenient, unrealistic, or for all intensive purposes, impossible.

A couple thing might help with the inquiry and those are specifications and purpose.

Specifications: Personally, in my limited research, limited because I've got so much higher priority things to work on that selecting a wireless system is really back-burner at the moment, I haven't got around to the specs department. Looking at the Sennheiser web page with regard to lavalier system (Sennheiser EW 100 systems Sennheiser USA - ew 100 G3 Series – Lavalier / Lapel Receiver Transmitter Systems) I haven't yet figured out what system to get but I'm leaning toward the ENG one.

Once I figure out what I need, the next step will be to compare it with the competition, price and specifications. It's very likely that I'll buy used because I'm a hobbyist and, ahem, married (need to watch spending).

The other thing that I'll be considering is my audience. One thing a musician is told is to "Play to the Audience." What this means is, even though the sheet music says one thing, as a musician with an audience, you play what they want to hear. If it is a recital, say, and you're being graded, most likely you're going to play exactly what the sheet music says. If you're playing for dancing you want to keep the beat the same. If you're playing to a audience who just want a good time, you play to make them feel good. This may mean changing the tempo, holding some notes longer, etc.

So, with regard to a wireless setup, I'd think one should look at what the audience is. In the case of buying equipment instead of renting it, the "audience" might be the worst-case scenario, or, if one want's to compromise (we all compromise once in a while, right?), maybe it's the almost-worst-case scenario because you don't want to rent and just use what you have.

Anyway, it really shouldn't make any difference based on your original question, but.... out of curiosity, what kind of things do you want to use a wireless system for?

For me, I want to make videos of individuals playing instruments or, maybe a small group like a duet or so, maybe a vocalist, but for the most part a soloist, and this in a room seating a hundred or so people. The other goal is to make some sailing videos (35ft boat) and cables are not an option.
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Old October 13th, 2012, 03:59 AM   #11
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Re: High end wireless microphone?

'Whenever you're able, run a cable'.

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Old October 14th, 2012, 12:28 AM   #12
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Re: High end wireless microphone?

Allan - I like it, that has a nice ring to it.
"When you're able, run a cable."

With my instrumentalist project I actually have two plans - one that will use something like a shotgun ME-66 from not too far away, maybe 15 to 20 feet, the other using (and you'll like this) a cable. Yup, good ol' copper wire! However,.....

I've also been thinking about something like the Tascam DR-40 and wondering how that would work when placed on a light stand in front of the instrumentalist.

The other thing I'd like to look into is the whole pathway from the sound source (instrumentalist or vocalist) to the video file and figure out what would provide the best "resolution" and quietest background. I don't have time right now to go into this but it's on my "to-do" list (obviously not on the "honey-do" one!).

"Play to the audience": One plan is for a video here on Vimeo suitable for laptop speakers, another would be for higher quality audio for someone who want's to really hear the nuances of the instrument. I have been looking for other mics that will have audio characteristics more suitable for reed instruments and certain vocals. Obviously I've got a lot of time-consuming research to do. More on this for later.
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Old October 14th, 2012, 06:38 AM   #13
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Re: High end wireless microphone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren Kawamoto View Post
The Sennheiser G3, Sony UWP-V1, and ATW-1821 wireless mic systems have been great for prosumer/professional work. But what do the big boys use for critical recordings, such as one that requires a wireless microphone system with a low noise floor?

Zaxcom? Lectrosonics?
The main one used in the UK seems to be Audio Ltd..

Others are: Micron, Sennheiser 3000 series and now there is also Audio Wireless started by an ex-Micron guy.

But the best is the new uncompressed digital Sennheiser 9000 series, launched at IBC last month.
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Old October 14th, 2012, 07:37 AM   #14
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Re: High end wireless microphone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Nantz View Post
..
With my instrumentalist project I actually have two plans - one that will use something like a shotgun ME-66 from not too far away, maybe 15 to 20 feet, the other using (and you'll like this) a cable. Yup, good ol' copper wire!....
I think you'll find 15 to 20 feet from the subject with a ME-66 is going to sound distant and echo'y, like you're recording from inside a metal culvert.
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Old October 14th, 2012, 09:27 AM   #15
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Re: High end wireless microphone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
The main one used in the UK seems to be Audio Ltd..

Others are: Micron, Sennheiser 3000 series and now there is also Audio Wireless started by an ex-Micron guy.

But the best is the new uncompressed digital Sennheiser 9000 series, launched at IBC last month.
The best wireless I have heard is the Audio Ltd. 2040, period. It sounds like a wire to me. Here's a link to my audio archive, in which you'll find a folder with 2040 examples.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/71oss4evdwt4omq/fsNv7zIeD9

Audio Ltd has some new relationships in the US. Look for a new Audio Ltd system after the first of the year. Probably around NAB time, that I'm told will be in the $3500 range for a set. Servicing will not require sending the unit to the UK home office, but will be done in the US.

I did hear the Sony digital wireless on the floor at NAB a few years, but I haven't heard too much about them.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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