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Old April 13th, 2007, 10:35 AM   #1
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Interference from priest's wireless mic?

I think I may be getting interference from the priest's wireless mic during the ceremony. I have my Sennheiser G2 100 series UHF (A 518-554 MHz) placed on the groom. I've done 4 weddings so far so I'm a newbie. Here's how they went:

# 1: No interference, not sure if priest had his wireless turned on during vows or not.

# 2: No interference, priest did not have a mic

# 3: Interference, priest did have wireless mic on

# 4: Interference, priest did have wireless mic on

It isn't consistent. It just sounds like very loud static for a brief second every now and then. However, it is really distracting when I have to use that audio during the vows. I was able to minimize it as much as I could in post, but you can still kinda hear it.

Does anyone know what might be going on and what I need to do to fix the problem? Thanks!
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Old April 13th, 2007, 10:46 AM   #2
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Try having a secondary mic placed either on the groom or minister. I run into this sometimes with my Senn G2 as well. One option you have with a secondary mic is to dub that in over the interferance, and with some tweaking it the difference in mics would be acceptable.

Interference is a weird thing.
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Old April 13th, 2007, 10:55 AM   #3
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When you had the interference problem did this happen in the same church both times?
First you want to do a sound check (if possible) with the other wireless systems on to make sure you're not going to get interference-if you do hear anything like static then you need to change your freq. Having said that I can honestly say in all the years and all the weddings I've done I have never had interference from a churches wireless system. MOST not all but most of them seem to run a VHF system which will automatically put their freqs way down below yours. However there is of course the possiblity that they are running a decent UHF on a freq close to yours therefore possibly causing the problem.
However the more like suspect is 1) cell phones which when they hunt for their network which they all do when turned on they can couse a static type noise on your wireless or 2) blackberrys-they are in my opinion the worst. They cause more havoc than cell phones when they hunt for their network.

So the answer is 1) do a sound check with ALL the wireless systems on or at least check the freq of the churches wireless-many times the freq range is labeled on the back of the transmitter and 2) make sure YOUR cell phone is OFF. There's not much you can do about anyone elses.
Not much help but I've got a feeling that you're getting the noise from a source other than the wireless of the officiant.
Oh yeah, one other thing it COULD be is when the priest moves he's getting a clothing rub that your hearing. Most of them just throw the mic on their robe somewhere and don't pay attention to the nois they can make when the cloth rubs against the mic.
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Old April 13th, 2007, 11:09 AM   #4
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Quote:
When you had the interference problem did this happen in the same church both times?
No.

Quote:
First you want to do a sound check (if possible) with the other wireless systems on to make sure you're not going to get interference-if you do hear anything like static then you need to change your freq.
I did a sound check for # 3 but I guess it wasn't good enough. Like I said, the interference is kinda sporadic. For the other jobs I didn't have enough time.

Quote:
Try having a secondary mic placed either on the groom or minister.
This isn't an option for me right now.

Quote:
Not much help but I've got a feeling that you're getting the noise from a source other than the wireless of the officiant.
Well that stinks. I have a wedding tomorrow so we'll see what happens. It's in a catholic church so most likely the priest will have a wireless. I'll make sure I do a good sound check and then hope for the best.

Thanks for your comments!!
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Old April 13th, 2007, 12:59 PM   #5
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It sounds to me like it could be some sort of dropout, or loose connection. Usually when I get interference from another wireless mic, it's immediate and continuous.

Check all your connections. (lav to transmitter, etc.) Be sure to use new batteries. (not re-chargeables)

Also, try putting your wireless on the groom instead of the priest. That way you can place it like you want it, and there'll be no robes to rub against it. You can hear the vows better anyway, but if you don't have another mic, you'll loose the priest when he moves away from the couple. Better yet would be to use 2 or more mics, mixed, and monitored.

I hope I've been helpful. Let us know how tomorrow turns out! BTW, you might also try an iRiver placed near the front as a back-up system.

Good luck!

Mark
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Old April 13th, 2007, 02:38 PM   #6
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Andrea,

You are likely experienceing interference aka. "hits" imo. I have three pairs of the same system as you along with a couple Lectrosonics diversity systems that are rock solid by the way......night and day difference from the Sennys!

My senny's have experienced the same thing you are describing every now and then. You can go to Sennheisers website to print out the open freq's for your city area, etc. This print out table shows what radio, tv stations, etc. are in the area of a given city along with the freqs they are using. It is a very good idea to know this, and change your freqs accordingly. Let's say I am shooting in LA and using my sennys on Sat, then on Sun I am shooting two hours away in San Diego, chances are....I will need to change the freq, or run a chance of being close to someone who is one my freq.....but you can research this by the freq table at Sennheisers website.

Ever since I got the Lectrosonics UCR-401, I have never experienced a single sound issue.

Also, I know tyou said an "extra" wireless mic is not an option right now, BUT....if you are selling your services to anyone.....a secondary is a MUST and not an option. You really need this back up, and it could also be a device such as an iRiver.

You should never count on one single piece of gear.....back up(redundancy) is a must imo.

Here's my take on your current issue.....do the steps to check the freqs that are in use for your area via sennheiser,
ALWAYS check the freqs that the church is using, or dj, etc. Get a back up system no matter what and use it. WIth one single sound source.....you, me or anyone.....will experience hits, or problems at some point or another.....this is where the back up system will help if not save the day.

Also, call out for a member named "Douglas Spotted Eagle"....he is very very knowledgable about audio stuff....
GL, Joe

Last edited by Joe Allen Rosenberger; April 13th, 2007 at 02:40 PM. Reason: because
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Old April 13th, 2007, 02:52 PM   #7
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Andrea, first thing you should always do when you are setting up in a new venue and using a wireless is do a room sweep (not just a sound check).

What you want to do is make sure all wirelss transmitter are turned on (except yours). Then just turn on your wireless reciver only and look at the frequency light on your reciever.
If it is flashing or on, then chage to a different frequency as that one is being used. Once you find one that isn't in use (shouldn't take too long), you will be good to go.

Also it's good to have a backup audio plan always, as things like this can happen. Trust me it happens to us all.

A small digital recorder or mini disk either with a lav on the groom or officiant (double mic them with wireless and recorder) or tap into the PA sound system for a tapped feed.
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Old April 13th, 2007, 02:58 PM   #8
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Wow, Joe, I looked up that mic online and it looks very nice. The problem? Everywhere I checked it lists for more than $2,000! I think that's a bit out of her price range, lol. I know it's out of mine.

My suggestion is to get a digital voice recorder (like an iRiver, I use Olympus systems). They are going to cost you less than a 2nd UHF system, and although the sound quality won't be as good, you will NEVER have issues with interference because the systems do not have to transmit/receive a signal.

I used to use wireless mics, and I got so sick and tired of random static that I decided to just go with DVR's. I haven't regretted the switch once, but I would like to upgrade at some point to DVR's with better sound quality.
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Old April 13th, 2007, 03:36 PM   #9
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Wow, Joe, I looked up that mic online and it looks very nice. The problem? Everywhere I checked it lists for more than $2,000! I think that's a bit out of her price range, lol. I know it's out of mine.

My suggestion is to get a digital voice recorder (like an iRiver, I use Olympus systems). They are going to cost you less than a 2nd UHF system, and although the sound quality won't be as good, you will NEVER have issues with interference because the systems do not have to transmit/receive a signal.

I used to use wireless mics, and I got so sick and tired of random static that I decided to just go with DVR's. I haven't regretted the switch once, but I would like to upgrade at some point to DVR's with better sound quality.

Hey Trav., yeah....the Lectrosonics are up there in price but they are worth every penny, really. The thing I don't like about dvr's is the lack of monitoring you can do with them. I like monitoring every ounce of audio that is coming in.

I do have an iRiver as part of my audio gear too, but rarely use it yet. I have heard good things about the iRivers though.

Cheers- Joe
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Old April 13th, 2007, 03:47 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone for the tips and advice!! It's disconcerting that other Senny owners have this same issue. I do have an iRiver that I was planning on placing inconspicuously somewhere on the altar, probably the lectern so I make sure I get good audio of the ceremony music and readers. Should I make better use of this 2nd audio source and place it on the priest? Priests always seem to have their own agenda so I never planned on having to mic them and deal with them. Do you find that they are generally accommodating to your request to mic them?

Using your tips and tricks, I plan on getting to the church super early tomorrow to try and work out these issues with the Senny. Hopefully I won't have any problems. Thanks again everyone! I'll let you know how it goes.
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Old April 13th, 2007, 03:58 PM   #11
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Joe, I agree that it's nice to be able to monitor your audio, but I haven't had a single issue with my unmonitored DVR's in the past 2 years and so far this year. Well, I had an issue ONCE. I forgot to replace the batteries in one of them with new batteries, so it stopped recording mid-ceremony. I could have done the same thing with a wireless system, though. Can't stop the ceremony to change batteries, lol.

The other thing I like about DVR's is that it actually frees up my cameras to record their own audio, so with a 3 camera shooot and 2 DVR's I get 5 sound sources from every ceremony. Good stuff.


Andrea, as far as mic'ing officiants, I don't really ask. I just nicely tell the officiant (at the rehearsal) that the following day I will be placing a mic on them and the groom so I can get good audio. The only times I've gotten resistance is when they are worried about my system interferring with the church system. That's where DVR's come in so handy, because I can then assure them that it's impossible for my system to interfere because it doesn't transmit.

Good luck with your next shoot!
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Old April 13th, 2007, 05:31 PM   #12
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Joe, I agree that it's nice to be able to monitor your audio, but I haven't had a single issue with my unmonitored DVR's in the past 2 years and so far this year. Well, I had an issue ONCE. I forgot to replace the batteries in one of them with new batteries, so it stopped recording mid-ceremony. I could have done the same thing with a wireless system, though. Can't stop the ceremony to change batteries, lol.

The other thing I like about DVR's is that it actually frees up my cameras to record their own audio, so with a 3 camera shooot and 2 DVR's I get 5 sound sources from every ceremony. Good stuff.


Andrea, as far as mic'ing officiants, I don't really ask. I just nicely tell the officiant (at the rehearsal) that the following day I will be placing a mic on them and the groom so I can get good audio. The only times I've gotten resistance is when they are worried about my system interferring with the church system. That's where DVR's come in so handy, because I can then assure them that it's impossible for my system to interfere because it doesn't transmit.

Good luck with your next shoot!

Trav, thats good to hear about the iRivers....I like the devices....just yet to use them. One of the cool things about the Lectrosonics unit I have is that is dispalys the battery levels for both transmitter and receiver on the digital receiver unit, this is sweet.

I think the DVR's are an great low cost way of having back up audio gear.....True Diversity wireless systems are the only way I want to go from now on.

Audio in my opinion is the most challenging part of shooting live "unstaged" events such as weddings....atleast to get really good stuff. No matter how well it has went in the past, I treat everyone with great care and attention....it's easy to lax about it when it has worked well for so long, but when you least expect it......audio problems can occur, and this is where the back ups save the day.
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Old April 13th, 2007, 06:08 PM   #13
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Joe, just to clarify, I use Olympus DVR's. I've never used an iRiver.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 08:10 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Andrea Lair View Post
I think I may be getting interference from the priest's wireless mic during the ceremony. I have my Sennheiser G2 100 series UHF (A 518-554 MHz) placed on the groom. I've done 4 weddings so far so I'm a newbie. Here's how they went:

# 1: No interference, not sure if priest had his wireless turned on during vows or not.

# 2: No interference, priest did not have a mic

# 3: Interference, priest did have wireless mic on

# 4: Interference, priest did have wireless mic on

It isn't consistent. It just sounds like very loud static for a brief second every now and then. However, it is really distracting when I have to use that audio during the vows. I was able to minimize it as much as I could in post, but you can still kinda hear it.

Does anyone know what might be going on and what I need to do to fix the problem? Thanks!
Intermittent static on a wireless mic system is a momentary loss of signal from transmitter to receiver. The result is static. Work backwards. Physical cable connections are the weak link in any system. They are, first and foremost, potential failure points.

Based upon your examples, I would first examine the priest's mic.

With the system on, stress all of the cables. Start with the mic to transmitter. Then move to the receiver to what? ...camera? Sound System? While stressing the cables, i.e., bending and twisting, you get static, replace the cables.

Next, play with the squelch/mute adjustment on the wireless system. Squelch/mute is essentially narrowing the broadcast bandwidth a transmitter or receiver will tolerate. Most wireless systems place this control on the receiver, but some systems allow transmitter strength as an adjustable option. Caution! Narrowing reception bandwidth reduces physical distance between transmitter and receiver.

Third, do an internet search to see if there are any high power transmissions in the local area that could overwhelm the extremely limited transmission power of the wireless mic system your were using. Visit the website of the manufacturer of the system you are examining. There is usually a table in the support section of that website that will identify the high power transmitters in your local area that could overwhelm your systems's weak signal. Most of the time these high power transmitters will be TV stations. It used to be only VHF systems were affected. HD TV transmissions will have significantly greater impacts upon UHF systems as HD broadcasts become more common.

These are the most important issues to troubleshoot. There are others, ranging from the start-up whine of heating/air-conditioning electric motors to cell phone communications that COULD be causing the problem. The farther one gets down the troubleshooting line the more variable the issues become because wireless means without wires, which also means being vulnerable to a host of sometimes bizarre reasoning to arrive at a logical conclusion. Hard wired is always best, and almost always impractical.

Audio has smaller file sizes compared to video, and thus appears to be easier. Nothing could be further from reality.

As convoluted as all of my comments may appear, trust that once you have gone through the trouble shooting process, subsequent issues will be so, so simple to resolve.

I sincerely hope my comments have been of help.
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Old April 14th, 2007, 11:50 PM   #15
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"It just sounds like very loud static for a brief second every now and then."

"It sounds to me like it could be some sort of dropout,"

Sounds like a dropout to me. You could be moving through dead spots. I think they are created by radio waves phase cancelling after bouncing off something. I am not a radio engineer, but that is the gist of the explanation I read. Move the receiver a bit. Of course, it could also be little burst transmissions from things like cell phones. Always make sure your cell phone is off during an event; maybe leave it in the car.

"Does anyone know what might be going on and what I need to do to fix the problem?"

Change channels, get a backup DVR, start saving for a Lectrosonics system.

"Ever since I got the Lectrosonics UCR-401, I have never experienced a single sound issue."

I have a Lectrosonics 100 series multi-channel that is in the $1200 range. It has been flawless. I was bitten bad by an audio problem and have never regretted spending the money on the Lectrosonics. Half of video production is audio. If you spent $3000 on a camera it is not crazy to spend $1200 on a microphone. Audio is important. If this is a persistent problem, start saving your pennies. The Sennheiser are considered decent systems, but they aren't the very best. At least a backup iRiver in the groom's pocket would help and only cost about $100. Backup systems are a great idea and you will probably be very happy with a great Lectrosonics system. They retain value and are practically bulletproof in their operation and physical construction.

"HD TV transmissions will have significantly greater impacts upon UHF systems as HD broadcasts become more common."

I doubt there will be many more HD channels over broadcast introduced. The big networks have put up transmitters, but I doubt it is cost effective for every single channel to put up their own tower all across the country. At Lectrosonics site there is a freq. table for transmissions relating to their frequency "blocks".

http://www.lectrosonics.com/cgi-bin/tv_form.pl
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