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Old November 20th, 2005, 09:22 PM   #1
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Sennheiser G2... best channels for weddings?

Hello everyone!

I recently made the purchase of two G2 systems to compliment my video business. I was using Samson Micro 32 units for close to three years with relatively no problems. The last couple of months I has some drop-outs with the 32's and figured I'd move onto something better... in comes the Sennheiser G2's.

I've shot three weddings with them so far, and on one wedding I experienced some interference...or at least what seemed to be interference... with a couple of drop-outs. Could it be that the house system was interfereing?

I bought my units from B&H and they're in the 500 range. Is there a particular channel that it might be good to set them on? Should I have considered a higher channel range when purchasing (600-800?)? Any pros and/or cons to the different ranges and why they come in either the 500, 600, or 800 ranges?

Any feedback would be appreciated! BTW- thanks to posts on this site I was able to figure out the right volume/squelch levels to get good sound right off the bat. Saved me a lot of headache I'm sure... thanks to the guys/gals that worked that out on here previously:)

Matt
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Old November 21st, 2005, 09:09 AM   #2
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The various channel ranges are offered so you can select a band where there are no interfereing TV broadcasters, etc, operating on the same frequency bands in the geographic area where you're shooting. So the "best frequency" to select boils down to whatever frequency is not already in use by other potentially interfereing sources in your geographic area. Shure has some frequency selection tables for the USA posted for download from their website - that would be a good place to start. If you suspect something in the venue is causing the interference, you can get a radio spectrum analyzer and snoop around the place before-hand to sniff out other sources. Something like this might help ... http://www.optoelectronics.com/scout.htm
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Old November 21st, 2005, 03:04 PM   #3
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First perform an AutoScan before you use the system. Try turning the Squelch up if you're getting any interference. This will lessen your range, but keep out unwanted hits.

If you have QuickTime I have a free 8 minute Sennheiser Wireless tutorial on our site in the "Theatre"
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 02:46 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info guys... it's all very helpful. Guy, your information and tutorial specifically was very informative. It seems you have a nice business going on as well! I do have a question for you... I will only be using these units for weddings. At most, I'll be 150 feet from my subject matter or transmitter. Rarely ever more than that. To weed out any unwanted transmissions even further, what do you think would be a safe squelch level given what I use them for? Do you think going to mid would be safe? Let me know your thoughts!

Thanks,

Matt
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 02:54 PM   #5
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I think the Squeltch MID setting at 150' might be pushing it. The best I could say is to give it a few trial runs indoors - line of sight. I would do it here, but ours is out on a shoot.
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Old November 24th, 2005, 01:06 AM   #6
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hi matt,

first off, let me give you the best advice. always monitor your wireless receiver BEFORE you turn on the transmitter. this way you can see if there are any stray signals on the meter, your mic will have to compete with these. only choose frequencies that show NOTHING on the RF meter when the transmitter is turned off.

you said your mic set is in the 500 range. assuming that is the "A" frequecy set and the fact you are near the baltimore area i would avoid any frequencies between 518-524 and 530-536 Mhz due to TV stations broadcasting in those ranges. (find that info at http://www.sennheiserusa.com/newsite...qfinder-ew.asp - select appropriate state and city...) there may still be other traffic outside of those ranges, please see advice above. :-)

as for your squelch setting, understand that squelch does NOTHING to prevent interference at all. squelch only prevents the receiver from outputting static/noise/etc in the ABSENCE of a strong enough signal. if you squelch out low level signals with the mic off- THEY ARE STILL THERE and your receiver will have to pick which one is the right one (how could it know which if it's the same frequency?) if your signal gets too weak from being too far away, the squelch may actually kick in and silence your own microphone. i usually turn the squelch off and use only pilot (a signal from the transmitter that tells the reciever to start outputting)

good luck!
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Old November 25th, 2005, 10:22 AM   #7
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Hi Greg,

Thanks for that advice... very helpful stuff. The chart online elluded me when searching for it myself so I'm glad you posted that link. Turns out I was on the same frequency as the public TV station in the area and those studios were only a few miles from where I was. Maybe that was the root of the interference, maybe not.

At any rate, all of you have opened a lot of doors for me trying to figure out these new G2's and I'm hopeful I won't run into any problems anymore. By staying off of the same frequencies as local TV stations and using what I learned from Guy's tutorials using these things next wedding season should be hassle free.

Thanks so much. Happy holidays to all of you!

Matt
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Old December 7th, 2005, 12:19 PM   #8
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Hey Guys,

Now that I'm getting around to editing a few more weddings that I used these G2's on, I'm starting to notice a strange trend. In three different videos, there always seems to be some sort of interference more-so in the beginning of each ceremony. Sounds like low-level squelch that fluctuates with a drop out here and there, before going into 'better' audio for the rest of each ceremony after 5 minutes of 'problem' audio (ranging from 20 minutes to one hour in length). In each video, the occasional drop out will happen periodically throughout the rest of the footage after the initial bombardment of imperfections.

I've been so busy I have not gotten around to playing with the settings as Guy has recommended in his very informative video on these units, so I'm going to post the current settings and see if this sheds some light on anything:

RECEIVER
-Freq: 519.750 mhz (I plan on finding a new channel suitable for the Baltimore/DC area given Greg's chart)

-Bank?: 1 (Anything special I should do here?)

-Sensitivity: -10

-Pilot: ON (Can anybody explain this function?)

-Lock: OFF

TRANSMITTER:
-Freq: 519.750 mhz

-Bank?: 1

-AF Out: -18

-SQ (Squelch): LO

-Pilot: ON

-Loc: OFF

I mount the receiver on a tripod handle via velcro. From that I run the XLR cable to a SignVideo XLRPRO splitter which also receives a signal from a shotgun camera mounted mic, which runs a mini to my Canon GL2's for recording directly to tape. The transmitter I've been dropping in the groom's left sport coat pocket. Should I be hooking these things onto their pants at the back or on a particular side? Does that matter?

Anyway, if anyone wants to add their two cents my ears are wide open. I'm just trying to achieve problem free audio for my clients, and I've heard nothing but great things about these units. So far though, they've been less reliable than my old Micro32's. I'm particularly interested in what you think, Guy. If there are any wedding videographers out there, I'd love to hear how you achieve perfect audio and what settings you use with these units. I just want to pull them out of my case, turn them on and go to work.

Thanks in advance!
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Old December 7th, 2005, 02:43 PM   #9
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There is a few things you can do to improve your chances of getting a clean track when using wireless.

Greg is right - Turn off the bodypack transmitter (important!) and with the Receiver, start AutoScan. Do this *every* time. Once you have scanned and found an open frequency look at your RF meter on the Receiver. There should be nothing, perfectly clean. This is your job as an "audio engineer." And it is an important one. It takes less than 30 seconds to Autoscan and even in a downtown NY or LA you can find a free signal in less than 1 minute using the Sennheiser G2 series.

When you say line of sight, in a coat pocket is not line of site. The transmission in now being blocked by fabric thus reducing your range. If you want the best signal make sure the antennas can "see" each other. This may mean micing the Minister instead. When you're close, this may not matter as much, but get 150' away and now it does start to matter. Front pocket with the antenna sticking out would be nice. Clipped to the front of the belt is another option. Under clothing is the last option if you're going for sheer distance.

Another tip to increase your chances of a good track is to position the antenna VERTICAL. Not horizontal. Yes, the included shoe mount is cool, but if you need all the range you can get, consider a way to get the antenna vertical. Get creative with velcro if you have to.

Also, if mounting on a belt, I usually spin my bodypack transmitters upside down so they do not come in contact with sweaty skin thus creating a giant antenna. Yes, the antenna now points down. On the G2's, it's as simple as unhooking the metal clipping an inversing it.

Next is to cover your arse with a second mic. Get a condenser mic a few feet away, 6 feet is fine. Or use your old wireless, or a giant squid mic and an iRiver. TV shows like "The Tonight Show w/ Jay Leno" use two high end Sennheiser wireless units - one is a backup.

Leave Pilot tone on - this is an a inaudible tone that lets the receiver listen to only the transmitter. If the Receiver does not hear a pilot tone, squelch kicks in and the gate closes, or mutes.

According to page 82 of the instruction manual "If the squelch threshold is adjusted too high, the transmission range will be reduced"
The squelch threshold is factory preset to "LO"
Leave it there.

Hope this helps,
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Last edited by Guy Cochran; December 7th, 2005 at 06:40 PM.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 07:00 PM   #10
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Thanks again for the response, Guy. This stuff is going to help me troubleshoot things and hopefully find a right combination of doing things to get these thing to work well. I wonder though, how come I never had similar problems with the simpler Micro 32's? In coat pockets, belt clips, pant pockets, anywhere for that matter I never had signal problems. Also, my 150' is a TOPS distance estimate. On average I'm only 60 or so feet away from the bride and groom. Any recommendations at that distance as opposed to 150'?

Finally, I'm going to take this thread over to weddings too as I'd really like to hear some experiences with wedding videographers using these units and if they're really the way to go.

Fortunately, tis the slow season so I have plenty of time to get all of this sorted out:)
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Old December 7th, 2005, 09:10 PM   #11
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Hey Guy,

Tell me more about these iRiver mics. They seem like a great way to backup sound. What kind of MP3's do they produce? Is the quality good if used in conjunction with a good mic?

Let me know!
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Old December 8th, 2005, 05:05 PM   #12
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Hey Guy,

I was just thinking... if I've been dumping the transmitters in the sport coat pockets of these grooms, could crossing the mic wire and transmitter antenna be a cause of these 'sssssss....pft' interference and/or low level squelch problems? I've noticed that when the groom is usually perfectly still, I have no problems. Once he moves around the issue rears its ugly head. Could friction between the mic wire and antenna be the problem? I stuff the slack from the cord into the pocket as well.

Let me know.

Matt
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Old December 9th, 2005, 05:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Buerhaus
Hey Guy,

I was just thinking... if I've been dumping the transmitters in the sport coat pockets of these grooms, could crossing the mic wire and transmitter antenna be a cause of these 'sssssss....pft' interference and/or low level squelch problems? I've noticed that when the groom is usually perfectly still, I have no problems. Once he moves around the issue rears its ugly head. Could friction between the mic wire and antenna be the problem? I stuff the slack from the cord into the pocket as well.

Let me know.

Matt
Friction wouldn't be the culprit but having the antenna in close proximity to any other conductors such as the mic cable (or pocket change or knives, etc) could easily interfere. As an extreme xample, try using your cell phone while you're in an elevator <grin>.
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