Using wireless microphones and related RF gear has become one of the more challenging areas for AV people in recent years with an ever-changing RF landscape powered by the fluid regulatory policy surrounding the rapid proliferation of portable Internet devices. Not happy to just wait-and-see, manufacturers have introduced systems that either include the current safe UHF bands or they have gone to other bands such as 2.4GHz. Spread spectrum technology and new encryption techniques have brought a new and much needed dimension to secure transmission while software applications to manage and monitor RF microphone and other equipment have become increasingly capable and feature-packed. The products surveyed here represent the current trends and technology available to AV techs everywhere.
The DMS800 reference digital microphone system from AKG offers interchangeable heads for the handheld transmitter and the ability to use the mute switch as a power switch. The DSR800 receiver has two balanced analog outputs on XLR, two unbalanced 1/4in. outputs, AES/EBU, and a Dante output. Optional network remote control allows the system to be operated and RF coordinated using Harman’s HiQnet Audio Architect software. Channels can be selected within a wide 150MHz spectrum and 512-bit encryption provides transmission security. The DPT800 bodypack transmitter has switchable output power and two-hour quick charging on standard rechargeable NiMH batteries. The DHT800 handheld transmitter features a tough metal housing and quick frequency assignment by IR link with the receiver.
Audio- Technica System 10 Pro
The new System 10 Pro introduced at NAMM by Audio-Technica operates in the 2.4GHz range using a half-rack housing that contains two receivers that may be operated locally or remotely over Ethernet. As many as five chassis units (10 receivers) can be linked with the RJ-12 cable that is included with each system. Faultless operation is assured through frequency, time, and space diversity. The system can be ordered in a wide range of configurations. The ATW-1312/L consists of the ATW-RC13 receiver chassis with two receivers, ATW-T1002 handheld dynamic unidirectional microphone/transmitter and ATW-T1001 UniPak transmitter with MT830cW lavalier microphone.
Audix RAD360 bodypack with ADX20i
Designed for use with the RAD360 wireless system, the ADX20i instrument condenser microphone from Audix exhibits a frequency response of 40Hz to 20kHz and is used primarily for miking saxophones and other brass instruments. In live situations, the unit’s uniformly controlled cardioid polar pattern aids in gain before feedback and provides natural sound reproduction. Supplied with the ADX20i, is the MC-20i Gooseneck clip with integral shock mount, the WS-20 external foam windscreen and the P1 carrying pouch. Optional accessories include the MC-MICRO mic stand adapter, SMT-MICRO mic stand adapter with shock mount, and the APS-911 battery/phantom preamplifier with on/off switch and roll-off.
Azden 2000 Series
Azden has incorporated new circuit design for its 2000 Series wireless microphone system to improve audio quality with lower noise levels, increased dynamic range and transient response, in addition to lowering power consumption. Different receiver configurations are available to match a range of broadcast cameras while the 2000BT bodypack and 2000XT XLR plug-in transmitters are housed in a durable, die-cast case to resist interference. Powered by four AA batteries, the 2000XT plug-on transmitter is equipped with an LCD display and it can apply 48V phantom power to any XLR microphone to which it is connected. The 2000BT bodypack transmitter is housed in a die-cast metal case and is fitted with a steel belt clip.
The TG 1000 digital wireless microphone system from Beyerdynamic operates in the 470-789 MHz band with 24-bit frequency shift keying and digital encryption. The system works well for electronic instruments and even bass guitars, providing a distance of up to 300 meters and a dynamic range of 122dB. Up to 24 channels can be used by cascading the receivers and for this, no additional antenna splitters are needed. Working with the front display, a rotary knob allows settings navigation, and there is an IR sync window for setting the handheld and bodypack transmitter frequencies. Each of the two receivers in the 1RU base unit is push button selectable for headphone monitoring.
CAD Audio WX1620
CAD Audio has designed the StagePass 1600 Series UHF wireless system to provide 100-channel frequency agile UHF operation for maximum operating range with proprietary CAD ScanLink technology to precisely scan, select and link to the optimum channel in any RF environment. True diversity reception and CADLock automatic tone encoded squelch avoid pickup of any unauthorized signals while 1/4in. and XLR output connections enhance installation flexibility. The TX1600 handheld and TX1610 bodypack transmitters have SoftTouch multi-function on-off/mute/low battery/ScanLink status switches with multi-color LED indicators. Both can run for up to 15 hours on two AA batteries.
ClearOne has put Dante technology into the WS800 wireless microphone system so that it interoperates with Dante devices such as the new CONVERGE Matrix and the CONNECT Dante bridge for CONVERGE. The base station can have either four or eight channels using multiple band RF technology, 24-bit digital audio, and strong encryption. There are four new models of microphone/transmitters available including the wireless tabletop, wireless gooseneck, wireless handheld, and wireless belt-pack lavalier and single-ear headset. To scale up, the system has the capacity to daisy-chain up to 32 channels. Through configuration software, a number of functions are possible involving scanning, alerts, channel setup, and remote troubleshooting.
The CW200 from Clockaudio consists of the CW200R receiver and two CW200T transmitters using an RF output of 10mW on four AA batteries, which keeps them running for about 10 hours. The receiver, which can be set to any of 32 channels, can be used to scan and lock onto an interference-free channel, and “noise lock” squelch effectively blocks stray RF noises. The front-panel LED display shows RF/AF, diversity strengths, and transmitter battery level, as well as setup of selected channel, frequency, and mute. It also houses an IR window to send frequency settings to the microphone transmitters.
Fitted with a 31.3mm/pitch 1.0mm threading, the Earthworks WL40Vwireless vocal microphone capsule can attach to transmitters from Lectrosonics, Line 6, Shure, and Sony. Its hypercardioid polar pattern, 30Hz-40kHz extended flat-frequency response and ultrafast impulse response feed rich sound into the attached transmitter for vocalists. The clean audio response is protected from interference in 500MHz and 2.4GHz. The capsule’s high SPL performance makes it a natural for live performance, broadcast, and corporate applications. Running on 3V to 12V, it can take a maximum acoustic input of 135dB at 5V. It also balances very well on most transmitters since it weighs a mere 90 grams.
Electro-Voice RE2 Pro
The RE-2 Pro wireless microphone system from Electro-Voice combines the features of the REV and RE-2 systems with one-touch Auto-ClearScan and all the needed signal condition indicators on the receiver. The RE-2 Pro bodypack transmitter has a ¼ wave detachable antenna while the handheld transmitter with its cast magnesium case uses an internal ½ wave type, and both can operate for up to eight hours on a single 9V battery. The system’s audio response is 50Hz to 15kHz ±2dB and the reception is Digital Posi-Phase True Diversity. There are 112 possible channels spaced in 25kHz steps using tone code plus amplitude squelch.
Gemini Sound UHF 4200M
The UHF-4000 Series from Gemini Sound can be configured for dual handheld or headset microphones, and it offers 100 operating frequencies. The UHF-4100HL Headset/ Lavalier system has a range of about 250ft., and the receiver includes a power button, rotary volume control, group, and channel adjustments, RF and AF LED indicators, and both XLR and 1/4in. output connections. The transmitters run on two AA batteries for up to eight hours. The UHF- 4000M is a single handheld system, while the UHF-4200HL provides two channels for dual headset/lavalier applications, and the UHF-4200M includes two handheld unidirectional dynamic microphones.
Lectrosonics DSW Series
Featuring AES-256-CTR (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption technology, the Lectrosonics Digital Secure Wireless Systemmaintains a low 2.5ms latency. Key management is user selectable in one of two modes: “persistent,” where the key is kept from session to session, and “one-time,” where the key must be generated for each session (most secure). Consisting of the DR digital wireless receiver frame, the individual DRM digital receiver modules, and the DB digital wireless beltpack transmitter, the system can operate up to six channels in a single rack space unit. Up to three additional receivers can be cascaded for a total of up to 24 channels on one set of diversity antennas.
Mipro ACT-2400 Series
New from Mipro is the ACT- 2400 Series 2.4GHz-ISM band wireless mic system with a range of up to 300ft. on its tuner true diversity reception. Using the FHSS frequency-hopping technique, each channel has four preset hopping frequencies to effectively avoid interference from Wi-Fi and other 2.4Ghz communication products. The system can consist of any of four metallic chassis receivers offering from one to eight simultaneous channels. The transmitters operate on an ICR 18500 lithium rechargeable battery and include bodypack and handheld models. The intelligent battery charger maintains a high charge capacity for up to 600 charge cycles and each receiver includes both XLR balanced and unbalanced 1/4in. connectors.
Revolabs Executive Elite
Configurable as a four or eight channel system, the Executive Elite wireless mic system from Revolabs uses a distributed architecture that connects the remote antenna receiver and the base unit on a Cat-6 cable. The rechargeable microphones can provide up to 12 hours of continuous operation and the PoE feature can simplify installation. The receiver can be linked to many others expanding the system’s total channel capability to 80. Microphone transmitters can be kept on the charging unit until the moment they are needed and the Executive Elite Cross-Over Adapter allows a tabletop microphone to be charged at all times, providing a wired option for wireless microphones.
Sennheiser ew D1 Vocal Set
Introduced by Sennheiser at NAMM, the evolution wireless D1 line of digital wireless microphone transmitters and receivers can automatically pair and select suitable transmission frequencies, while multiple D1 systems can automatically and quickly set themselves up. The D1 wireless operates in the 2.4GHz range with the receiver continually scanning the RF environment and it will inaudibly and seamlessly hop to a paired backup frequency if it detects any interference. The D1 menu control includes a 7-band graphic equalizer, low-cut filter, automatic gain control and de-esser. The vocal transmitters can use a range of interchangeable heads available in Sennheiser’s evolution series.
The QLX-D digital wireless system from Shure can operate in 17 compatible systems per 6 MHz TV channel and 22 systems per 8 MHz channel while powered on a Shure SB900 Lithium- Ion rechargeable battery or AA batteries. Automatic channel scan finds clear frequencies and networked operation allows this to be done over multiple receivers using Shure’s Wireless Workbench software. AES-256 encryption assures secure transmission and the units are AMX/Crestron control system ready. They’re made rugged with all metal construction and the high-contrast LCD display takes the user through all of the setup options. This includes battery metering that shows the power level in the Shure SB900 lithium-ion battery.
Successor to Sony’s popular UWP-V Series, the new UWP-D is the digital line with DSP to maximize transient response and more precisely reproduce the frequency response at the transmitter input. The system uses true space diversity reception to maintain solid reception even in environments where multipath interference can be a problem. Each running on two AA batteries, the transmitter and receiver can operate for up to eight hours. The frequency range has been widened to 72MHz and using the auto-set mode, the user can have the receiver scan for a clear channel and set this by IR link into the transmitter. The Active Channel Scan feature seeks channels already in use by Sony transmitters within a selected channel group.
Trantec S5.3 Handheld
The Trantec S5.3 Series from TOA can run in 12 channels simultaneously with a choice of headworn, handheld, and lavalier combinations. The receiver features a graphic LCD, display jog wheel, IR data link, headphone monitor, USBbased computer monitoring, and true diversity reception. Users can select between balanced and unbalanced mic and line level outputs along with a front-panel 1/4in. headphone connection. Transmitters can operate up to 12 hours on two AA batteries. The all-metal beltpack transmitter is about the size of a credit card and has a detachable antenna while the handheld transmitter can be fitted with either a dynamic or a condenser capsule to suit the need.
Trantec S5.3 Receiver