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Tech Roundup: Wireless Microphones 2022

Currently, one of the most dynamic areas of audio and video production is that of RF devices. At a crossroads of new encryption technology, shrinking bandwidth allocation and accelerated demand from performers, wireless microphone systems and their manufacturers face a multifaceted challenge. System designers have stepped up to meet the latest tests with a blend of modern automation and versatility. The products shown here ride the crest of this speeding wave.

The AKG DMS300 professional digital 2.4 GHz wireless system is available in two versions. One includes a hand held mic with internal transmitter while the other is a bodypack/lav configuration. The bodypack system can operate with a wide range of microphones for presenters and performers as well as an instrument setup. All variants use AES 256-bit encryption for security and the receiver front panel has an LCD display that allows setup, monitoring and control. Channel pairing between transmitter and receiver is push-button quick and easy with channel IDs for simple identification. The hand held transmitter features 24-bit/48kHz resolution and linear frequency response between 70Hz and 20 kHz with latency under 2.9 milliseconds. Each system can reliably transmit about 100ft. and operate for up to 12 hours on two AA batteries. Up to eight systems can be used simultaneously while adaptive channel selection takes the guesswork out of locating available wireless channels.

Operating in the DE2 (470–530 MHz) and EE1 (530–590 MHz) bands, the AudioTechnica 3000 Series RF mics have a range of up to 300ft. Quickly scanned and selected on each receiver, channels are synched with the transmitter via IR link. If trouble is encountered there, a backup frequency can be switched in with a single push on the transmitter’s multifunction button. Working with the hand held and bodypack transmitters, the receiver can be either the ATW-R3210 or the network enabled ATW-R3210N model. The ATW-T3201 body pack transmitter has a screw secured 4-pin connector to keep the mic cable firmly connected. The ATW-T3202 hand held transmitter is available with either an ATW-C510 dynamic or ATW-C710 condenser interchangeable cardioid capsule that can be fitted with four additional A-T capsules. Both transmitter types are powered on two AA batteries. The receiver’s front panel shows the RF level on each of the unit’s diversity system antennas.

For performers and vocalists there is a solid RF mic solution in the Audix AP62 VX5 system that includes the R62 two-channel diversity receiver and two H60/VX5 hand held transmitters with sturdy metal housing. These work in the 522 MHz–586 MHz band among 2560 tunable frequencies and they can operate up to 14 hours on AA batteries. To zero-in on a clear channel only one button press is needed. Once that clear channel is found, one more button push performs the sync with the transmitter via IR link. A single space rackmount kit with BNC cables for front mounting antennas is included along with a receiver power supply and BNC cables for antenna connection. Among optional accessories there are active directional antennas and an antenna distribution system for up to four systems (8 channels). Each receiver in the dual unit has its own LCD display for channel selection and condition monitoring.

There are five different sets in the beyerdynamic TG 500 family offering a wide variety of solutions for stage performers. These include the TG 556 Vocal Set that combines the TG 500SR single receiver with the TG V50 dynamic hand held transmitter, the vocal set with the TG 56 condenser hand held transmitter, and the presenter set with single receiver and TG L48 lavalier. For theater productions and presentations in more reverberant environments, there is the TG H34 head worn mic and for wireless instrument use the WA-CGI cable is ready for use with the TG 500B belt pack transmitter. The TG 500B has a 120 meter transmitting range and 10-hour operation on AA batteries. The receivers include two detachable antennas and a rack mount kit. For rack mounting multiple units, the optional WA-CKF (rear-to-front mounting kit) is also available. The TG H34 head worn mic has a flexible gooseneck section for adjustable positioning.

The CAD Audio GXLD2QM Digital Frequency Agile Dual Channel Wireless Microphone System is a dual channel hand held mic systems featuring the CADLive Style Neodymium capsules equipped with on/off, mute function and low battery indicators. One set of AA batteries will run each mic for over ten continuous hours. The system’s tiny receiver interfaces directly to a mixer input on its QuickMic connection integrated 1/4in. connector. The mic and receiver have a 20Hz-20kHz frequency response and convey the signal on High Definition Digital QPSK using transmitting power of 10mW in the 500Mhz-599 MHz AK band. Each receiver has a red/green LED to indicate charging or fully charged condition. Next to the low battery indicator there is an RF signal indicator for each channel. In addition to the on/ off, mute button the microphones have a frequency selection button and display.

For versatility and secure transmission the ClearOne WS800 digital wireless mic system offers scalability from four to eight channels on each receiver unit. These RUs can be rack mounted and operate on eight 32-channel global RF bands, with multiple bands per region. Each channel’s transmission is secure using always-on AES256 encryption. To support any production scenario, the transmitters have flexible pick-up pattern and capsule options. Working seamlessly with ClearOne products and easily integrated with 3rd party gear, one WS800 system can cover up to six rooms. Any combination of body pack lavalier, desk conferencing, boundary, and hand held mics can be used. Each receiver module has an OLED display to show signal status, transmitter battery condition, and other parameters. With the antenna distribution system up to 32 units can run on one pair of antennas and each receiver unit has a headphone output.

Comprised of one CW 7000T hand held transmitter and one CW 7000R receiver, the Clockaudio CW 7000 RF mic system can operate on 1441 selectable frequencies in the 502-960MHz range. These are arranged in six groups with a maximum of 23 channels in each group. The CW 7000 uses dual antenna diversity reception and its adjustable pilot tone squelch control combats noise. The receiver is equipped with LED indicators and an LCD front panel screen for selecting functions and status monitoring. There are outputs on XLR and 1/4in. connections at -12dB level. The transmitter has a cardioid pickup pattern and its output is selectable between 10mW and 50mW. The unit can run for 12 hours at 10mW and up to 7 hours at 50mW power. The side mounted LCD shows frequency, battery level and sensitivity. The microphone produces full-bodied sound with a 50Hz-16.5kHz frequency response.

The ability to use a lapel microphone in a reverberant environment gets tricky but the Electro-Voice R300-L with its ULM18 directional lapel mic gives users a handle on that task. Using EZsync one button channel setup to link the BP-300 body pack transmitter with the R300 receiver, the system has 32 preset channels, with compatible groups of eight channels for simultaneous use. The ULM18’s directional pickup pattern enhances gain before feedback when used with high output sound reinforcement. The receiver’s all metal case can be rack mounted with optional hardware when multiple units are needed. Its dual antenna diversity operation reduces RF signal dropouts. The hand held HT-300 mic can also be used with the same receiver, different versions of which can operate in various frequency bands. Accessories for antenna sharing are also available. The receiver has balanced and unbalanced audio outputs and 80Hz18 kHz ±2dB frequency response.

The Lectrosonics DBSM-A1B1 digital transcorder can be used for the most exacting wireless mic applications. For these, it has a number of special features including an audio limiter ahead of the first mic preamp with a range of more than 30dB, three selectable RF output levels, servo bias input circuitry, timecode jam-sync capability, high density mode for ultra-tight channel spacing, and internal recording on a microSDHC memory card at 48 kHz, 24 bits. It also features input gain adjustment in 1dB increments over a 44dB range and adjustable low frequency audio roll-off for 3dB down points. A special high-density (HDM) transmit mode at 2mW allows for ultra-tight channel spacing without concern for frequency coordination. Input gain adjustments are made on the water resistant OLED control panel. In addition, there are membrane switches and multi-color LEDs. The unit is powered by AA batteries.

The Line 6 XD-V mic system can function as a lavalier, head-worn or in hand held configuration and it provides up to nine EQ filters for a customized response to any sound environment. Functioning in the 2.4GHz ISM band, the XD-V mics are license-free worldwide and the transmitters and receivers lock together automatically. Users can run up to 14 systems simultaneously. Hand held transmitters include the XD-V75 directional model, the super-cardioid V75-SC and the hypercardioid V75-40V among others. Each has a mute button, frequency selection button and LED display. The receiver has adjustable gain control, RF and audio signal strength LED meters. There are also dual 50-ohm antennas along with a sturdy metal case. The TBP12 belt pack transmitter can operate on AA alkaline or rechargeable batteries and approximate battery life is shown on the LED display. The transmitters can be given a six-character name to readily identify them on both the transmitter and its associated receiver.

The company’s most advanced professional mic system, the Mipro ACT-5800 Series includes the ACT-5802 ISM 5GHz 1/2U dual channel digital receiver, the ACT-5814A ISM 5GHz 1U quad channel receiver, the ACT580H 5GHz digital hand held transmitter, and the ACT-580T 5GHz digital bodypack transmitter. The user can choose between the receivers to save rack space and avoid the interference in UHF, Bluetooth, WiFi and 2.4GHz bands. The large graphic OLED display on the receivers’ front panel is easy to see and operate and the durable metal case is tough enough for road use. The metal encased ACT580H hand held transmitter provides a large LED to set and check tuning and show battery level. It can run on AA or rechargeable batteries and it includes a USB Type-C charging socket. The ACT-580T bodypack transmitter is small but powerful with its remote-control mute jack and rapid frequency sync to the receiver. Also available are ISM antennas, a rear-to-front antenna kit and rack mounting hardware.

The Panasonic WX Series microphone system has a varied array of components including two and four-channel receivers, antennas, hand held and bodypack transmitters, chargers and support software. The WX-SR204 digital wireless receiver is a four-channel unit operating in the 1.9 GHz band that can connect up to eight external antennas and use Ethernet to integrate with Extron, Crestron and other third party control systems. Front panel LEDs show system and antenna conditions, microphone pairing, and remote control status. Four additional channels can be added with the WX-SE200 Expansion Receiver. QSC has recently partnered with Panasonic, introducing its new plug-in module from Q-SYS Designer Asset Manager. The module provides the ability to control the volume of each Panasonic wireless microphone, mute the mics and get visual confirmation of battery and signal status. Control is extended across 2-channel, 4-channel or 8-channel configurations and simplifies the integration of WX Series microphones into the Q-SYS ecosystem.

For those who are taking wireless mic systems on the road again and finding a more crowded spectrum with frequency coordination challenges, there’s a solution in the new firmware upgrade for the Sennheiser Digital 6000 system. This enables the new Link Density mode that allows operators to get potentially twice the number of channels into the same spectrum space as before. Whether using the bodypack SK 6000, the mini-bodypack SK 6212 or the handheld transmitter SKM 6000, getting more RF channels into a crowded spectrum has never been easier. The SK 6212 bodypack is so small that it can fit almost anywhere on a presenter or performer and remain invisible. The Sennheiser Digital Audio Codec (SeDAC) provides the highest audio quality and frequency response. The EM 6000 receiver fits two reception channel units into a single rack space with each having analog and digital outputs (XLR, jack, AES-3, redundant Dante), and a high-contrast OLED display with LQI indicator

A versatile performer with AES encryption, channel quality metering, Dante/AES67 plus AES3 digital outputs, along with Dante Browse/ Dante Cue monitoring, the Shure Axient Digital system can operate in the most challenging modern RF environment. It does this with a 184MHz tuning bandwidth across all devices and up to 46 active transmitters per 6MHz TV channel. Specialty transmitters offer additional features such as ShowLink remote control and frequency diversity. A new micro transmitter provides an internal self-tuning antenna. The AD4Q receiver has four channels in a single rack space while the ADX5D features a slotin design with portability. Accessories include the AD610 Diversity ShowLink Access Point, AXT600 Axient Spectrum Manager, SBC-AX charging module, SBRC Shure Battery Rack Charger, and the AXT630 Axient Antenna Distribution System in addition to a whole range of other handy devices. Native monitoring and control of Shure’s ULX-D, QLX-D and Axient Digital wireless systems has recently been added to the Allen & Heath Avantis digital mixer through a firmware update.

The new Yamaha Unified Communication Adecia RM Series wireless microphones, available in boundary and gooseneck models, have been added to work seamlessly with the ADECIA Dante-enabled conferencing sound system. Powered by Li-Ion batteries for up to 20-hour operating time, the mics recharge in 3.5 hours and they can be used with Yamaha’s Easy Set Up wizards to greatly simplify installation. There are long and short gooseneck versions and the boundary mics have either omnidirectional or directional pickup patterns. Wireless Access Point Wizard allows users to control up to 8 microphones at a time, pair microphones to chargers, and mute sync if needed. All of the various models can be used together in the same system.

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