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Old September 27th, 2015, 05:25 PM   #16
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Re: I need a wireless mic system

I guess running a cable would be my safest bet.
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Old September 27th, 2015, 05:49 PM   #17
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Re: I need a wireless mic system

How about one transmitter and two receivers at either end you can then choose which one has the best signal?

We do this a lot in TV to allow us to rig one set on presenters but then zone the pick-up points according to where they are positioned.
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Old September 27th, 2015, 06:07 PM   #18
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Re: I need a wireless mic system

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Originally Posted by Scott Holt View Post
I guess running a cable would be my safest bet.
If running a cable is a possibility, running cable is always the safest bet.

I agree that $600 is the floor for a pro quality wireless system.
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Old September 27th, 2015, 06:28 PM   #19
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Re: I need a wireless mic system

Actually, the Rode wireless kit is rock solid. Here's a review and demo that I'd been looking for to post here. A heap of RF around and it doesn't skip a beat. Head to 6min 33sec for the impressive in-the-field stuff.


On the other hand, in a worst case scenario, the occasional drop-out might be forgiveable if it's just some school/student thing. But I don't think you will get this with the Rode kit.

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Old September 27th, 2015, 07:33 PM   #20
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Re: I need a wireless mic system

Thanks for sharing that RodeLink review video.
It also shows that 2.4GHz digital wireless kits do remarkably well for their low cost and ability to play nicely with other 2.4GHz competitors for the limited (12-13) channels.

Note that the Rode claim a much more realistic 100m (300ft) range. The RodeLink uses virtually identical basic technology with other 2.4GHz units like AT. IMHO, AT could have easily claimed the same 100m range.

The Rode has the additional feature of remote Mute where the receiver can un-mute the transmitter remotely. Of course this is just another firmware feature as the transmitter is also receiving, and the receiver is also transmitting to keep them in sync with each other.
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Old September 27th, 2015, 08:57 PM   #21
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Re: I need a wireless mic system

I suspect that Rode's product is partly courtesy of a chip-set that has become available for equipment manufacturers to use, by which the smarts can therefore be done. Thus, the other products that work on the same spectrum will be using the same base technology that allows them to perform as they do with WiFi signalling.

The difference with Rode will be the firmware and the industrial/product design. Plus, the guys at Rode are awesome. :-P

Given the frequency changes that happen every 6 years or so, it's pure genius to use the WiFi frequencies as they'll never get touched. It's too politically sensitive to have the entire population up in arms over their gear not working any more.

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Old September 27th, 2015, 11:09 PM   #22
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Re: I need a wireless mic system

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I suspect that Rode's product is partly courtesy of a chip-set that has become available for equipment manufacturers to use, by which the smarts can therefore be done. Thus, the other products that work on the same spectrum will be using the same base technology that allows them to perform as they do with WiFi signalling.
Yes, that is exactly why we are seeing many 2.4GHz products appear in the marketplace. WiFi technology as become so ubiquitous and the chipsets so dirt-cheap, it is much easier to make a high-performance digital audio device now than it ever was before. Of course, the downside is that they must share the same 12-13 channels with all the other WiFi and BlueTooth users. But then micro-controllers are well under $1 each, so it is easy to build interference-sensing and automatic frequency-hopping technology into them as well.
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Old September 28th, 2015, 01:35 AM   #23
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Re: I need a wireless mic system

The frequency and mode of transmission is irrelevant when there is no signal because there is a sudden obstacle in the way, or an unexpected reflection that is destructive. Anyone who wishes to use a radio system at the far end of the performance envelope is going to have to cope with sudden, unexpected dropouts. A ten grand radio link is nearly as reliable as a ten dollar cable!

The videos on YouTube of people doing tests are pointless and misleading. Anyone who has spent ten minutes watching signal strength meters on a radio receiver will have spotted that signal strength does not smoothly drop to zero as transmitter to receiver distance gradually increases. The level stays high, then suddenly dives, then goes up again, then down again. Gradually, the downs become more common and then the dropouts start. Mount two aerials many wavelengths above the ground and move them apart. This produces a more gradual reduction in signal strength. Do it near the ground and obstacles, and it behaves differently.

I was on stage on Saturday with an IEM system and a wireless guitar system. The guitar system was solid, on 2.4GHz digital, and the channel 38 IEM unhappy near the drum kit, and in one particular spot less than ten feet from the aerial I could see sticking up! Moving the mic stand one foot to the left cured that one, and the guitar was great until the monitor guy turned on his wireless node to use his ipad. Luckily, he realised straight away, and pulled the plug and normality was restored.

Gary's solution of using multiple local receivers seems a good move too, perhaps easier to manage than multiple aerials.

What is very clear is that if the manufacturer says 100 ft, then this is on a good day, on a hill so the RF runs downhill, with the wind behind you. It has nothing to do with real world performance.
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Old September 28th, 2015, 06:00 AM   #24
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Re: I need a wireless mic system

Wise comments Paul

I have had situations on my UHF kits where the groom as been 300' away in the toilet and his signal is crisp and clear and I can hear every word and sound and not a single dropout. I then have the same groom and same system a mere 50' away from me and the dropouts are there with monotonous regularity despite the fact I can see him, the camera can see him and technically the receiver can see him!!

The biggest issue is that the human body (being mostly water) attenuates signals like crazy so the guy in the OP's case might have the transmitter clipped to his belt and he can see the camera BUT there is around 150lbs of body soaking up the signal before it has even gone a few feet.

I wonder if you can daisy chain the 2.4GHz systems so have a transmitter on the guy ...a receiver on a tripod/stand about 50' away and it's output coupled to a second transmitter which would go back to the camera???
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Old September 28th, 2015, 07:20 AM   #25
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Re: I need a wireless mic system

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I have had situations on my UHF kits where the groom as been 300' away in the toilet and his signal is crisp and clear and I can hear every word and sound and not a single dropout. I then have the same groom and same system a mere 50' away from me and the dropouts are there with monotonous regularity despite the fact I can see him, the camera can see him and technically the receiver can see him!!
This phenomenon is similar to that in which when he is in the bathroom the sunlight is perfect, and when he emerges for the event the clouds clear casting a harsh shadow across his nose and a terrible, unavoidable lens flare.

Or that you can stand outside the capitol waiting for the governor for 5 hours, cautiously and methodically checking batteries, but the moment the Gov approaches the podium "LOW BATT" will start flashing in the viewfinder and you will loose all power three sentences in.

It's what I thought when watching the video shared above where the guy walks 100 yards down the road and the sound is crystal clear and perfect. Immediately, I wanted to sell my G3s and buy these new gizmos. And then reality set in... wait... what happens when somebody presses the "popcorn" button on the office microwave?
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Old September 28th, 2015, 07:30 AM   #26
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Re: I need a wireless mic system

So, in all actuality, a wireless mic is great but not necessarily reliable. If you are under 20' I am sure most will work more reliable but once you start getting over those distances the farther you get you are playing Russian Roulette on it working without dropouts. If wired would work then that is the best way to go is what I am hearing. I guess that is the way it is for anything.
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Old September 28th, 2015, 07:56 AM   #27
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Re: I need a wireless mic system

There are a wide variety of wireless on the market. UHF FM and the new 2.4 GHz digital dominate.
Most include lav mics, a few offer a plug-on transmitter option for a handheld and some offer phantom power as well. But the $400 price point is very limiting, but the used market might have something usable.

All moderate no-license-required systems are limited in transmitter power output, which translates to limiting the reliable distance you can get.

Max range will be with unobstructed line of sight. Something as simple as having the transmitter on the other side of a human body will hurt range significantly.

I've been using an AT1800 system of late with satisfactory results. The application is mics on the sideline at the 40s, receivers on top of the press box. I have not run tests to determine the max usable range however.
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Old September 28th, 2015, 08:01 AM   #28
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Re: I need a wireless mic system

That's it Scott - if you can use cable, it's the most reliable connection. As for daisy chaining systems, it does actually work quite well. Modern comms systems use links all the time.

A few years ago, I had to provide music and announcements on a local field for a schools sports day, combining many local schools - so they picked a big park. The Elf of Safety decreed that no cables could be on the surface of the grass, and slicing the turf to lay in a 100v line cables was not going to happen. The distances were pretty tough tool All the jumps between loudspeakers were at least 50m (150ft). No poles were allowed to be put in the ground either. They let us park vehicles on the grass at the loudspeaker locations (near each event). Caravan aerial poles clamped to the bumpers, each one with a speaker. Each pole also had a VHF or UHF radio mic transmitter at the top, and the receiver in the car - so it started out on UHF with an IEM transmitter, at the next pole, a UHF receiver with dipole on the pole, and the receiver going to a VHF transmitter taped to the top of the pole. Same thing at the next pole, but reversed UHF and VHF. The car kit running off 12V with the speakers using 12V boy racer car amplifiers. The pole mounted transmitters we inside a sandwich bag for waterproofing! Quality wise it worked pretty well, and with the aerials above head height by at least 3 or 4 feet, the paths were solid. A real bodge, but it worked fine!
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Old September 28th, 2015, 08:24 AM   #29
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Re: I need a wireless mic system

Does anyone have any ideas what system would work well in a daisy chain? How could I do that? The cost would mount up though I suppose because of transmitters etc.
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Old September 28th, 2015, 10:01 AM   #30
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Re: I need a wireless mic system

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Does anyone have any ideas what system would work well in a daisy chain? How could I do that? The cost would mount up though I suppose because of transmitters etc.
Are you kidding? With everyone here warning of the unreliability of wireless and the infinitely better performance from ordinary wire, you want to use MULTIPLE wireless systems. Nobody does that. It is categorically impractical. Even if you had unlimited budget.
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