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Old May 27th, 2015, 02:30 PM   #1
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Reasonably-priced wireless lav sets?

I would like to purchase a set of lavalier transmitters/receivers. I've used the Sennheiser G3's before, and of course they work great. But I just can't drop that much money on lavs yet. The new Rode system looks nice, but it's not available yet and is untested. Can anyone recommend a reliable set that wouldn't cost $700? Is there anything reliable in the $300 range? I already have a Rode PinMic, so no lav needed.

Thanks.
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Old May 27th, 2015, 03:38 PM   #2
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Re: Reasonably-priced wireless lav sets?

$300 is rather below the "reliable" range.
Some people have luck with Azden, but most people swear at them.
But even Azden's halfway-decent line are more like $400

Several brands have released 2.4GHz digital wireless kits including Shure, Sennheiser and Audio-Technica and, as you say, Rode which is not quite available yet. But they are all in the $400~450 range.

Note that virtually all reputable wireless kits include a lav mic which is wired for it, so, alas, you probably can't expect any benefit there.
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Old May 27th, 2015, 03:44 PM   #3
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Re: Reasonably-priced wireless lav sets?

I strongly recommend spending more than $300 for your wireless system. You buy once and cry once. If you purchase a good one (and plan on being in business for a while), then your wireless will outlast your next 2 or 3 cameras. Maybe more. Audio is the weakness for most amateurs. A video with bad audio will not get watched, period.

That being said, look at the Sony UWP-D11, or the previous UWP-V6 series.They have outperformed my Sennheisers. If there is a local Professional Videographers Association, you might find people selling used gear there. Facebook has an active forum for Videographers Buy/Swap/Sell
https://www.facebook.com/groups/vide...rsbuyswapsell/

You might even find a bargain on Craigslist. But try before you buy. Test for range and audio quality.
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Old May 27th, 2015, 05:15 PM   #4
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Re: Reasonably-priced wireless lav sets?

I second the Sony UWP-D systems. I've had the D16 and D11 kits for a year now so I've used every possible combination of it and they work very well.

If you don't want to buy used then I suggest looking for returned/open box models at B&H, Adorama and Amazon (from amazon warehouse deals, not 3rd parties) to get a new kit for a significant discount. They pop up once in a while. I got my D11 kit from Amazon warehouse deals and the time meter on the transmitter said 32 minutes. Not bad for half price!
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Old May 27th, 2015, 10:15 PM   #5
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Re: Reasonably-priced wireless lav sets?

Has anyone heard any good things about the Audio-Technica System 10?

Also, what makes a wireless lav set unreliable? Is it interference?
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Old May 27th, 2015, 11:08 PM   #6
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Re: Reasonably-priced wireless lav sets?

Watch this video clip and listen to what the script is saying and do you trust this production to low cost radio mics and the problems that go with them?
Then ask are good quality radio mics a good investment?

Maxmotion | Is wedding videography a good investment? - Maxmotion
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Old May 27th, 2015, 11:49 PM   #7
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Re: Reasonably-priced wireless lav sets?

I have two of the AudioTechnica System 10 kits. I haven't used them extensively, but from what I have seen so far they are at least as good as the venerable Sennheiser G3. I have been promising to make a review video, but not got around to it yet. Meanwhile, these seem useful...

by Ty Ford who participates in this (and several other) forums.
By a pro sound guy and professor. With some very distant tests.
The "long hall" test and the "outdoor sidewalk" tests were good out to distances where you could hardly even see the guy wearing the mic. (>> 100 ft)

Alas, most of the other System-10 "reviews" on YouTube range between a useless waste of time and outrageous rubbish.
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Old May 28th, 2015, 01:07 AM   #8
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Re: Reasonably-priced wireless lav sets?

In the radio mic field, the old "you get what you pay for" makes so much sense. I'd venture that many people with good equipment they use to make money, didn't buy this gear when they first did the toe in the water - I know I didn't.

Radio is always a weak link, but a weak link that goes bad very quickly, and always at the worst time.

If there was a cheap system that was as good as the expensive ones, which are never reliable themselves, we'd all be using them.
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Old May 28th, 2015, 01:43 AM   #9
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Re: Reasonably-priced wireless lav sets?

I've been testing my new System 10 and quite like it. No problems so far and I've been getting good reception up to 100 feet through walls and doors. Proof of the pudding will come on 6/6 when I'm going to try to use it for real to send sync track to cameras in the balcony of a church.

I had Markertek make up a custom cable that should let me feed the tape output of my SD 702 to the System 10 transmitter. I'll get the cable this Friday and I'll report back on how it works - could be a brilliant success or a smashing failure or somewhere in between. John Erceg at Markertek connected with the AT folks and confirmed what connector they use and the System 10 specs identify the function of each pin so I think it's all do-able.
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Old May 28th, 2015, 06:20 AM   #10
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Re: Reasonably-priced wireless lav sets?

The #1 issue with wireless mics is what other signals are bouncing around the venue. In a relatively isolated environment at short distances most will work to give intelligible voice, even the $200 sets. However, in areas with congested airwaves, all bets are off. I recall doing a wedding reception in DC with a friend, the DJ was using a wireless system, and picking up passing police cars. We came to his rescue by loaning him our Samson system for the evening (and made a new friend in the process).

When you look at reviews, consider the environment where it is being demonstrated. (Any SUV can reach 60 mph on a straight downhill stretch, but pulling a bass boat and trailer up a 6% grade is another matter.)

I would say the ATW-1800 series, at about $550 is a good stating point, and is a traditional analog (FM) channel. It offers diversity receivers which may help at times. I currently use them with both body pack and plug on transmitters.

The AT system 10 at around $400 might give better sound thanks to digital transmission, but have shorter reliable range. The jury is still out on it.

The Sony UWP-D series starting at $600 is likely good as well. It appears to be a mix analog and digital inner works and should provide a higher quality audio path than the ATW series (think for music), for a bit more money.
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Old May 28th, 2015, 08:18 AM   #11
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Re: Reasonably-priced wireless lav sets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
$300 is rather below the "reliable" range.
Some people have luck with Azden, but most people swear at them.
But even Azden's halfway-decent line are more like $400
What Mr. Crowley says. The Sennheiser G3 systems are the lower limit that most professional dialog recordists are willing to use. Any less reliability and/or shorter range are seen as not worth using. And it's not like these people love spending the money on the better systems. They do it because the job requires the level of reliability and range that the better equipment provides.

But I want to also point this out: wireless is a last resort. You should only use wireless when there's no other way to get the job done.

Why? Because the laws of physics being what they are, we know that no wireless radio set can sound as good as a $20 USD XLR cable. It's not possible; it can't be done. We also know that no wireless radio set can be anywhere near as reliable as that $20 USD XLR cable. Not even close.

I'm just sayin' if you have to use a lavalier, go wired. It'll save your budget, improve your sound, and improve your reliability. And if you're located in an RF hell like Manhattan or LA, it might save your sanity.

Last edited by Bruce Watson; May 28th, 2015 at 08:25 AM. Reason: addition
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Old May 28th, 2015, 08:32 AM   #12
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Re: Reasonably-priced wireless lav sets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
wireless is a last resort. You should only use wireless when there's no other way to get the job done.
A $30 cable is infinitely superior to a $3000 wireless kit.
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Old May 28th, 2015, 09:05 AM   #13
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Re: Reasonably-priced wireless lav sets?

I got a Samson unit that does OK and wasn't expensive. I bought it early on, then replaced it with a better unit, and then moved it to my backup.

Cheaper units usually have 2 main potential failings: 1) quality of build is poorer. Most often the cords but not always. Solder joints, and internals, too. 2) Signal quality. Part of this goes back to build quality, of course.

If you want to go cheaper, the better option might be refurbed DJ style mics. For instance, I have a dual receiver unit, selectable channel on each. I can use handheld, headset, or lav mics. Its not portable, but allows me to use 2 lav units coming back to one location, separate XLR outputs. Mine is Shure brand. Next I'll buy some antennae extenders to improve distance/quality (like these, but they have to be the same frequency as the mic/receiver http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...f_rd_i=desktop)

And here is a newer version of my mic rig: Shure BLX188 DUAL Lavalier System with CVL Lavalier microphone | Musician's Friend

Works for us since we stick to weddings, so needing a plug in isn't a problem.
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Old May 28th, 2015, 08:00 PM   #14
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Re: Reasonably-priced wireless lav sets?

Can you guys still use VHF units in the USA ..If so a temporary solution would be the VHF Azden units which typically sell for around $150 and work very well ....the band, of course, might not be legal in the USA or here of course but I still have one set here that I use for communication between myself and a 2nd shooter and it still works well.

I personally would spring for the AT System 10 for the extra $100 ...it seems to be very good so far and Jim has done some excellent tests on the other thread too... as long as you keep within 100' or so you won't have any issues ... at weddings that is highly unlikely anyway!
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Old May 28th, 2015, 11:38 PM   #15
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Re: Reasonably-priced wireless lav sets?

Thanks for the kind words. I'm not sure the tests were quite as excellent as all that, but they were good enough to make me think I have a reasonable solution - remembering of course that all I'm looking for is a sync track for three cameras that are 80 feet from the action.
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