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Old February 15th, 2016, 09:32 AM   #1
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Wireless units recommendation

What would you recommend for a quality wireless unit? I use Canon XA-20 cameras, so I have XLR in. I would like a pair that I could use for lavalier microphones indoors and shotgun mics outdoor for sports. Those may be mutually exclusive.

Also what would you recommend for a quality cavalier microphone?
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Old February 15th, 2016, 10:15 AM   #2
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Re: Wireless units recommendation

What's your budget? Audio is crucial, so don't go cheap here. After years with the Sennheisers's, I've grown to prefer the Sony UWP series. I have the older UVP's but they have been rock-solid performers for 4+ years.
Of course, if you've got deeper pockets, there are the Lectrosonics mics.
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Old February 15th, 2016, 11:02 AM   #3
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Re: Wireless units recommendation

Can you get decent wireless units under $1000?
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Old February 15th, 2016, 11:23 AM   #4
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Re: Wireless units recommendation

Yes, you can get "decent" wireless systems <$1K. At least by my definition of "decent".
To be sure you have priced yourself out of the high-end pro brands like Lectrosonics and Zaxcom, et.al.

You can go to the B&H website and look for "ENG wireless systems" and select your price range.
It would be prudent to avoid systems that sell for <$500 as being fiddly and unreliable.
And there are certain brands that don't enjoy a terribly good reputation.

But the name brands like Audio-Technica, Shure, Sony, and Sennheiser are typically good value/$$$

You can use an XLR output cable with any receiver.
And any transmitter should be usable with either lav or hand or shotgun, etc. mic inputs.

B&H is one of the sponsors of this forum and a reliable vendor, IME.

You might find this valuable to read...
The $500 Wireless Question, or, "What cheap system should I get?"
Along with the FAQ list in the stickies at the top of the forum index page.
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Old February 15th, 2016, 03:05 PM   #5
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Re: Wireless units recommendation

I've been satisfied with the AT1800 series. They do offer a dual channel receiver (works with two transmitters) as well as the standard single channel type. It officers both body pack and plug-on transmitters. I've found that their plug-on transmitters work well with hand-held mic, including some (but not all) that may require phantom power such as the AT's AE5100 and AT2035 and mics like the SM58 and AT825.

The FCC is making a run on a chunk of the 700 mHz spectrum used for wireless systems (as they did a number of years ago on the 600 mHz spectrum), so evaluate this as you chose models.
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Old February 15th, 2016, 08:43 PM   #6
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Re: Wireless units recommendation

So Richard what would I have to spend to get a good system?
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Old February 15th, 2016, 11:01 PM   #7
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Re: Wireless units recommendation

No complaints on my Sennheiser G3's.

edit:

The basement, in my opinion, of "good" wireless systems, is in the $600 price range, which is where the G3 starts. Obviously there is an infinite amount of room to go up from there, and some better stuff in the $1k+ space. Putting that on $50k worth of camera gear, I'd probably go for something better. For a $1500 XA-20, unless you had a particular special audio need, I'd stick with something in the $600 space. Not that there's not a difference between the $600 stuff and the $1000 stuff, but the $400 would be better placed elsewhere (better tripod, another light, slider, etc) than on a mic.
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Old February 15th, 2016, 11:09 PM   #8
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Re: Wireless units recommendation

As a suggestion is the Sony UWP-D or Sennheiser G3.
Both are mid level systems, great for small productions, corporate, and basic broadcast.
ENG Wireless Systems | B&H Photo Video

For top level broadcast and feature film you would need to go to the next level up.
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Old February 15th, 2016, 11:15 PM   #9
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Re: Wireless units recommendation

For many years the Sennheiser G3 series has been considered the lowest-cost decent wireless kit.

However technology changes the landscape whether we like it or not.
And the biggest part of that technology shift has been the proliferation of wireless devices.
As with most things this is Good News and Bad News.

The Bad News is that many of the frequency bands we have used for wireless mics has been sold off to companies to use for their next greatest wireless mass-market consumer gadget. For example, just a couple years ago here in the US, the FCC withdrew the entire 700 MHz band and sold slices of it to the highest bidder for billions of dollars. (It hasn't seemed to have any effect on the National Debt) So millions of $$$ worth of wireless mic gear instantly became obsolete and was either tossed in the bin, or flogged off in other parts of the planet (where they are still legal) at fire-sale prices.

And there are increasingly clear signs that the same will happen to the 600 MHz band within a few years, so be careful selecting gear for frequencies that won't disappear soon in your country.

OTOH, the Good News is that same proliferation in wireless digital devices has made the technology of high-bandwidth digital wireless communication nearly dirt-cheap. The chips have become "jelly-bean" commodity parts, and the development resources are much more widely available and much easier to use. This means that there is a whole new generation of digital wireless microphone products at much lower cost than the traditional analog gear (Sennheiser G3, etc.).

However, because the application of the technology to wireless microphones is still new, it remains to be seen whether the new generation (particularly the 2.4GHz gear) is ready to completely replace the analog products we have used for decades. Particularly the question about the 2.4GHz gear is that it shares the same ISM band with WiFi, Bluetooth, and even microwave ovens.
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Old February 16th, 2016, 08:50 AM   #10
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Re: Wireless units recommendation

I've been using the Rode digital wireless kit (including lapel mic) and it's been awesome. The hardest thing was getting used to not having to do a routine light hiss removal (per the Sony UWP kit) as it's all beautiful pristine digital quality. See http://www.rode.com/wireless/filmmaker

I'd never change over to anything else, and it's a mere $400ish AUD.

I've heard that Sony and Sennheiser are quite concerned as they have nothing in its price range that can compete with it. Those Rode guys are insanely awesome.

Andrew
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Old February 16th, 2016, 09:08 AM   #11
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Re: Wireless units recommendation

The RodeLink is essentially the same technology as the Audio Technica System 10. Sharing the 2.4 GHz band with WiFi and BlueTooth. The RodeLink came out a couple years after the Audio Technica. They are essentially the same price as well (USD 400), but they do not appear to be interoperable. Industry whipping-boy Azden also makes essentially the same kit at half the price (USD 200)

IMHO, the new 2.4 GHz products are the wave of the future as all the old analog bands are taken away from us. 2.4 GHz has the added advantage of having the same legal status anywhere on the planet, so people who travel to foreign jurisdictions don't need to worry about whether their channels are legal in another country.
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Old February 16th, 2016, 09:49 AM   #12
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Re: Wireless units recommendation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
The RodeLink is essentially the same technology as the Audio Technica System 10. Sharing the 2.4 GHz band with WiFi and BlueTooth. The RodeLink came out a couple years after the Audio Technica. They are essentially the same price as well (USD 400), but they do not appear to be interoperable. Industry whipping-boy Azden also makes essentially the same kit at half the price (USD 200)

IMHO, the new 2.4 GHz products are the wave of the future as all the old analog bands are taken away from us. 2.4 GHz has the added advantage of having the same legal status anywhere on the planet, so people who travel to foreign jurisdictions don't need to worry about whether their channels are legal in another country.
Have you used one? How would you compare it to the G3, or any of the $600 range wireless units (in the 600Mhz band)? Range better/worse? Sound quality? Battery life? They look flimsier.
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Old February 16th, 2016, 09:57 AM   #13
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Re: Wireless units recommendation

I have a couple of sets of Sennheiser G2s but increasingly grab my Rode Filmmaker kit first for basic wireless lavalier setups. The audio is quieter, the battery life is excellent, and it has proven very reliable for me. It is a great bargain at $400 or so, considering that the included lavalier mic usually sells for about $250 by itself.

The main weakness is that they haven't yet released their plug-on transmitter for handheld and shotgun mics, which I often use with my Sennheiser systems. It is due out shortly, however.

- Greg
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Old February 16th, 2016, 10:09 AM   #14
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Re: Wireless units recommendation

I have two of the AT System 10 and two if the Azden kits also. But I haven't done any extensive testing yet.

I really like to have control over the batteries. If a set of batteries runs low, I want to be able to physically replace them immediately. I dislike products with internal rechargeable batteries because spending a few hours to recharge is not always possible.
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Old February 18th, 2016, 10:53 AM   #15
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Re: Wireless units recommendation

So what are the downsides of the Sennheiser G2 and G3 systems from the experience of the people who have actually used them?

I really appreciate the input this is such a great forum.
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