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Old March 13th, 2014, 11:46 PM   #1
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Lectrosonics Wireless system advice?

So after addressing my camera, lighting, grip and tripod deficiencies over the past year, I'm finally ready to jump into the big leagues with my wireless audio system, PRIMARILY for lavaliere mics (likely Countryman E or B series) although the ability to use a pigtail for a wireless feed from a mix console will also come in handy.

For years, I've used and owned Sony wireless systems - WRT/WRR-8xx series at the public broadcaster and owned UWP series.

Good enough but lacking in overall mission critical wireless applications.

I DO run wired mics WHENEVER possible. A $100 wired mic is far less likely to have issues than a $6k wireless.

I get that.

BUT... I'm now ready to spend $3-3.5k USD on a beltpack transmitter and portable (camera mountable) receiver pair. That price doesn't include lavs or cables.

I'm overwhelmed by the options at Lectro's website and frankly find it somewhat lacking in terms of explaining interoperability and the like.

I will of course stop by the Lectro booth at NAB in 3.5 weeks.

But, before I do, I'm looking for guidance.

Most of what I do is corporate video production and conference/convention stuff. Talking heads mostly.

Sometimes I work in healthcare facilities and their medical engineering departments have almost uniformly said "100mw is the absolute upper limit" - so no need for a 250mw transmitter in my application. Being able to switch to 50mw in an operating theatre wouldn't be the worst option to have either.

Hybrid digital is where I'm headed.

So...

UCR, Lma, UM???

What series should I be looking at?

My PREFERENCE, all things being equal is a system that runs on AA batteries IF I get the same RANGE performance as a 9v. I'm not currently set up to provide 12v power from the camera - I own a Sony PMW200 as my main camera.

Sturdy and replaceable transmitter antennas are a serious plus. A digital readout on the receiver would be as well.

Besides that, audio quality and range, although I'll NEVER use the system past the 300 feet that Lectro claims for less-than-perfect Line of Sight.

Help a brother out?
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Old March 14th, 2014, 05:48 AM   #2
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Re: Lectrosonics Wireless system advice?

My understanding is limited, but here's some thoughts.

The current top of the line receiver is the UC411A unless something has changed since I last looked. My understanding is that it will work with most any Lectro transmitter, at least as far back as the 100 series, through a compatibility mode. The difference is that the 400 series is a digital signal, while the 200 and 100 series is analog. The analog radios have to use compandors of course, which degrades the sound quality if slightly. Next down the line from the UC411A is the SRb, then the UCR401, IIRC.

For transmitters, there's the UM400a. I'm thinking that's like 100mw, but IDK. The LMa is like 50mw IIRC, and cheaper. The SMQV is switchable to 50, 100, and 250mw, and is both smaller and more expensive than the UM400a.

I find the Lectro nomenclature difficult to comprehend myself. The naming convention seems nearly random, and doesn't help people new to the system find which parts work best together.

That said, perhaps the "biggest bang for the buck" is an LMa transmitter and a UCR411a receiver:

Lectrosonics 400 Series Wireless Lavalier UCR411ALMA-21 B&H


And the top of the line seems to be an SMQV transmitter with a UCR411a receiver:

Lectrosonics UCR411 Wireless Microphone Kit B&H Photo Video


Given a chance, I'd certainly stop by the Lectrosonic's booth at NAB and get the full scoop. Failing that, I'd talk to the people at your favorite professional sound shop.
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Old March 14th, 2014, 08:52 AM   #3
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Re: Lectrosonics Wireless system advice?

I rented the 400 system a few weeks ago and it was a very nice unit. Really great sound, easy to use and no dropouts. It even has line input if you need it.

Maybe a call to the company would be helpful? I called not too long ago and had a lot of answers given to me. I am thinking of buying but I really do not use wireless that often, but the thought of not running 100ft XLR cable back to mixing board is enticing!
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Old March 14th, 2014, 11:04 AM   #4
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Re: Lectrosonics Wireless system advice?

Which system you choose depends on your anticipated usage.
The SM dual receiver would be good for use with slot-in cameras.
Also important is choosing a less populated (and legal) frequency block for your area of use. As with any wireless system, don't expect trouble free operation, but you can stack the deck in your favor by checking for extraneous RF frequently.
Note: All of the above mentioned eat batteries, so a external battery system is recommended for the receivers and lithium or large capacity rechargeables for the transmitters.
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Old March 14th, 2014, 12:59 PM   #5
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Re: Lectrosonics Wireless system advice?

Hi Shaun,
Take a look at this battery adapter. You plug the adapter into your camera, then put the battery in the adapter.
http://16x9inc.com/shop/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=460

It outputs 12v via hirose connector and D tap, so you could power a Lectro receiver and a small video light with it. I've used the Coco dv with my old Sony Z1 with no problems.
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Old March 14th, 2014, 02:00 PM   #6
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Re: Lectrosonics Wireless system advice?

Warren: I wonder if that works with the PMW200 which has apparently "beefed up" compatibility issues with non-Sony add-ons.
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Old March 14th, 2014, 09:44 PM   #7
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Re: Lectrosonics Wireless system advice?

Shaun, I would think that such an adapter would work since it's passive. The original Sony battery is used with this adapter, not a knock-off. However, I don't know for sure. What you can do is check out the Bebob or 16x9 booth at NAB since you'll be there, and play with what they have, as well as ask them questions. I've seen both of them at NAB in the past.
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Old March 15th, 2014, 10:20 AM   #8
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Re: Lectrosonics Wireless system advice?

If it outputs (min)10 to 18 volts DC; it should work. It draws 1.6 watts. (180 mA at 12V)
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Old March 15th, 2014, 11:59 AM   #9
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Re: Lectrosonics Wireless system advice?

Sometimes the popular booths can make it difficult to get through to talk to a knowledgeable person so this idea seems like a good one:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
Maybe a call to the company would be helpful? I called not too long ago and had a lot of answers given to me.
Lectrosonics Contact Information (Sales):

Email: Sales
Phone: 505-892-4501
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Fax: 505-892-6243
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Old March 15th, 2014, 05:10 PM   #10
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Re: Lectrosonics Wireless system advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren Kawamoto View Post
Shaun, I would think that such an adapter would work since it's passive. The original Sony battery is used with this adapter, not a knock-off.
With the PMW200 and 300 Sony has made it significantly more difficult to use anything but their own batteries attached DIRECTLY to the camera through the pin contacts, hence my question.

Suppose I will need to ask the question in person.

Rick, the above applies to your considered response as well - it's not about being able to power the Lectro but to actually pass power to the PMW200, which has a different setup than the EX1/3 had. sadly.
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Old March 16th, 2014, 02:28 AM   #11
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Re: Lectrosonics Wireless system advice?

Im testing a Switronix battery L96 that has a dtap and works flawlessly with my pmw-300 and you dont have to plug it into the power port.
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