Sennheiser vs Shure Wireless Mics

RetiredBum

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I have a couple of wireless mic questions for use in community-theatre musical productions. The location is not "big city" with lots of strong TV stations, but it's not rural either.

First of all, are there any "real world" differences between the Sennheiser EW100 G3 and EW500 G3 systems?

I understand that the 100 series has fewer pre-programmed intermodulation-free frequencies than the 500 series, but that can be overcome by manually programming the frequencies (taking into account intermodulation issues.) Also, the 500 series receiver has a bit better adjacent-channel rejection & intermod attenuation. But is the difference noticable in a real-world setting?

Finally, how does the Shure ULX Pro series stack up against the EW100 & EW500? The Shure is priced in between the two Sennheiser models.

We would be using either system with Countryman E6 mics.

Thanks,

--Alan
 

NickVon

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07003
I have a couple of wireless mic questions for use in community-theatre musical productions. The location is not "big city" with lots of strong TV stations, but it's not rural either.

First of all, are there any "real world" differences between the Sennheiser EW100 G3 and EW500 G3 systems?

I understand that the 100 series has fewer pre-programmed intermodulation-free frequencies than the 500 series, but that can be overcome by manually programming the frequencies (taking into account intermodulation issues.) Also, the 500 series receiver has a bit better adjacent-channel rejection & intermod attenuation. But is the difference noticable in a real-world setting?

Finally, how does the Shure ULX Pro series stack up against the EW100 & EW500? The Shure is priced in between the two Sennheiser models.

We would be using either system with Countryman E6 mics.

Thanks,

--Alan
I'll comment on what I know of from the Ew100 series. (I can't comment on the intermodulation and such :))

The Shure is probably a little more in line with the EW300 series.

That said. the 300's and 500's are great for rental companies that have touring racks as the setup for them is a breeze in the Sennheiser models. As intalled, i have a couple of the Ew100 G3 series and love them. Major features IMO they lack compared to the 300's and 500's the networkable/laptop and frequency control and set up you can run on them in a much more automated fashion. We have the 100's because in our space we do not have that need.

I can't comment much on the ULX, but i MUCH prefer the Senn Ew100's or above over the SHURE "SLX." the body packs are plastic and just feel junky and fragile to me. I also prefer the spring loaded miniplug twist fastener for Sennheiser packs over the little 4 pin shure connectors. (the plastic transmitter cases might be irrelevant in the more pro aimed ULX series.) I still dislike their connectors though :). that said there are just as many that i'm sure dislike the sennheiser connector, so to each his own.

There's my 2 cents.
 

mbenonis

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As said above, the Senny 300/500 series offer network control, which is a big plus compared to the 100 series. I am not a fan of teh SLX series, and ULX is now overpriced for what you get. It was a nice system back in the day when it came out, but Sennheiser's more rugged design blows it out of the water. Unless you're in a bad RF environment, as long as you coordinate your frequencies to avoid IM3 products you'll be OK with any of the systems. Remember to factor in antenna distribution if needed (i.e., more than 6-8 systems). Also, remember that you do not need to match manufacturers for antenna distro/antennas as long as everything is passive.
 

chausman

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Between Sennheiser and Shure, I'd go with the Sennheiser for theater. The Shures have a mute switch on the top that is much to easy to accidentally turn on/off when you don't want it to. And, I agree with NickVon, the Shure cases seem (well, they are) "plasticy" and I don't think they would stand up to a community theater very well. The sennheisers are much more durable.
 

Call911

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IL
I'm going go against the majority, and actually recommend the Shure brand. I've used the SLX series for years and have never had a problem. They get used by community theater for 5 productions a year, and high school musicals 2 times a year. The ones we bought 5 years ago work just as well as the ones we just bought.

We use SLX at two of our campuses, and ULX at the other two campuses. The whole school district has at least 100 wireless Shure mics.

Being less then 20 miles from Chicago, we have no issues running 24 wireless per show (dual band, 12 of each band). Every once in a while one channel won't work, but we change the frequency and it's good again. We have a lot of outside touring groups in throughout the year (about 50 each year) and a lot of the larger ones prefer Shure, and the smaller ones prefer Senneisher. But everytime a Senneisher is used they take forever fighting frequencies to find ones that work. I don't know I'd it's operator error or what, but in our 5 theaters they never seem to work well.

Between the ULX and the SLX, we prefer the SLX. Being able to use AA rechargeables saves a lot of money. They easily last 8 hours using the Sanyo Eneloop. Our ULX using Energizer 9v barely reach 4 hours. We've had new batteries die in the middle of a show before. The ULX just seem to draw more power. The SLX are also smaller, slimmer, and lighter.

I just can't justify the more expensive ULX seres when in my mind they perform worse then the SLX. I also don't like the power switch being a toggle instead of a momentary. Too easy to turn off accidentally, and locking the ULX is so weird and time consuming to do.

Also, the gain knob on the ULX is a little knob you an only adjust with a screw driver. The SLX adjustments for mic, 0, or -10 is much better.

So needless to say, I'd recommend the Shure SLX. For about $650 each system (bodypack, receiver, and Countyman B3) you can't go wrong.

Keep in mind the only difference in the ULX and the ULX Pro is the receiver. It's a little nicer receiver, the led signal meter is nice, and the LCD is easier to read.
 

avkid

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If you're only getting 4 hours on a 9 volt, something is wrong.
I have an install with over 40 ULXP units and have found 6 hours to be average.
The battery meters are not to be believed until they start flashing about 1/2 hour before they die.
 

fx120

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Portland
I can't stand any of the Shure wireless models aside from UHF-R, and wouldn't recommend PGX, SLX or ULX to anyone unless they absolutely need a Shure capsule on top.

But here are the big items on why I would go with the EW300 G3 series any day of the week over SLX/ULX-S/P:

- Programming the transmitters actually makes sense. Shure is still suck in the 90's with awkward button press combinations to do things like lock out the power switch, while Sennheiser has moved to a very logical and easy to use menu system in addition to the IR sync.

- Ethernet port on the receiver. Shure only offers this with UHF-R and above, the main benifit being that you can locate your recievers close to the action, and remotely monitor critical statistics such as battery level.

- Much improved scanning functions on the receiver. My ULX-P systems will often suggest a channel that has quite a bit of background noise, and show quite a bit of background noise, but still suggest it. Our EW300/500 systems do a much better job of showing you the RF landscape, and if you're running WSM you can coordinate multiple receivers very quickly.

- Better construction across the board. We haven't broken a ULX transmitter, but there is something much more confidence inspiring about the build quality on the Sennheisers.

Those four things make the difference between a wireless system that is a pain in the ass to use, and one which is simple, fast and a heck of a lot easier to deploy in numbers.
 

bishopthomas

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New Jersey
I will echo others' comments in that I prefer the Sennheisers for the reasons mentioned, especially the network capability of the 300/500 series. You only mentioned the 100 and 500 series, but I want to make sure you know that there is a 300 series as well. We use the 300's because they integrate with Sennheiser wireless manager software, something the 100's don't do. You connect a receiver to a computer, open the software, scan frequencies, and it shows you a graph of exactly what frequencies are (and aren't) available. It's an amazing tool and the reason why I'll never buy 100 series. Of course, I'm running a rental shop so mics are constantly going into cities (I'm halfway between Philadelphia and NYC) where RF coordination is crucial.

I will say that I'm a little biased, being a Sennheiser dealer, but having said that the Shure UHF-R is a really nice system as well. We have 4 that go out quite a bit, as most people are happier with an SM58 (we also have Beta87 and KSM9 capsules for them as well) than a Sennheiser 835. But anything under the UHF-R's and I'd rather go with the Sennheiser 300's. I've demo'd the 500 series but really found the 300's to have the best value/quality ratio.
 

RetiredBum

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You only mentioned the 100 and 500 series, but I want to make sure you know that there is a 300 series as well. We use the 300's because they integrate with Sennheiser wireless manager software, something the 100's don't do. You connect a receiver to a computer, open the software, scan frequencies, and it shows you a graph of exactly what frequencies are (and aren't) available. It's an amazing tool and the reason why I'll never buy 100 series. Of course, I'm running a rental shop so mics are constantly going into cities (I'm halfway between Philadelphia and NYC) where RF coordination is crucial.

I will say that I'm a little biased, being a Sennheiser dealer, but having said that the Shure UHF-R is a really nice system as well. We have 4 that go out quite a bit, as most people are happier with an SM58 (we also have Beta87 and KSM9 capsules for them as well) than a Sennheiser 835. But anything under the UHF-R's and I'd rather go with the Sennheiser 300's. I've demo'd the 500 series but really found the 300's to have the best value/quality ratio.
Thanks to everyone for their replies. Yes, I know about the 300 series, & that there is very little difference between the 300 & 500 -- the 500 has a few more pre-programmed frequencies. The reason I didn't list the 300 is related to the Sennheiser bundles. If you get the lav presentation bundle, the EW300 ships with the ME2 or ME4 mic, while the EW500 ships with the MKE2 which is much better & accounts for the price difference.

If I'll be using other mics, such as the Countryman E6 & don't need the included bundled mics, I'm better off getting the guitar instrument bundle which only includes the transmitter, receiver, & guitar cable. Unfortunately I only saw this bundle available with the 100 & 500 series, not the 300 series. The 500 series bundle costs the same as buying separate 300 series transmitter & receiver.

The points made about the 300 & 500 capabilities for frequency management are compelling. I'm still interested, however, in the real-world differences between the 100 series & 300/500 series due to the improved receiver performance of the 300/500.

Thanks again to all for your comments,

--Alan
 

NickVon

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Thanks to everyone for their replies. Yes, I know about the 300 series, & that there is very little difference between the 300 & 500 -- the 500 has a few more pre-programmed frequencies. The reason I didn't list the 300 is related to the Sennheiser bundles. If you get the lav presentation bundle, the EW300 ships with the ME2 or ME4 mic, while the EW500 ships with the MKE2 which is much better & accounts for the price difference.

If I'll be using other mics, such as the Countryman E6 & don't need the included bundled mics, I'm better off getting the guitar instrument bundle which only includes the transmitter, receiver, & guitar cable. Unfortunately I only saw this bundle available with the 100 & 500 series, not the 300 series. The 500 series bundle costs the same as buying separate 300 series transmitter & receiver.

The points made about the 300 & 500 capabilities for frequency management are compelling. I'm still interested, however, in the real-world differences between the 100 series & 300/500 series due to the improved receiver performance of the 300/500.

Thanks again to all for your comments,

--Alan
Keep in mind if you speak to a Sennheiser deal, i'm shure you can a custom bundle for a fair price using the EW300's I'm sure you could spec out your Country mics instead of the Default bundled ME2/4 that you mention you don't need. If you are stuck having to go through sweetwater/fullcompass etc, then you have a point of consideration there wit the 500's.
 

mbenonis

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The points made about the 300 & 500 capabilities for frequency management are compelling. I'm still interested, however, in the real-world differences between the 100 series & 300/500 series due to the improved receiver performance of the 300/500.

Thanks again to all for your comments,

--Alan
Alan,
My gut tells me there won't be much of a difference (except maybe in bad situations), but it's hard to say without seeing a receiver schematic. I've not worked with these units enough myself to give you a hard answer though. It'd be nice to demo them in the lab.

Mike
 

bishopthomas

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Thanks to everyone for their replies. Yes, I know about the 300 series, & that there is very little difference between the 300 & 500 -- the 500 has a few more pre-programmed frequencies. The reason I didn't list the 300 is related to the Sennheiser bundles. If you get the lav presentation bundle, the EW300 ships with the ME2 or ME4 mic, while the EW500 ships with the MKE2 which is much better & accounts for the price difference.

If I'll be using other mics, such as the Countryman E6 & don't need the included bundled mics, I'm better off getting the guitar instrument bundle which only includes the transmitter, receiver, & guitar cable. Unfortunately I only saw this bundle available with the 100 & 500 series, not the 300 series. The 500 series bundle costs the same as buying separate 300 series transmitter & receiver.
That's interesting and you are right. My price list doesn't show a guitar kit for the 300 series. I'll check with my rep and see what the deal is with that. I will say that buying the separate components (without a microphone) is the same price as buying the kit with an ME2/ME4 mic.
 

chausman

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One option, would be to buy the one with the supplied lav mic, then you have a backup if something happens to the Countryman. The included mics not be ideal, but they will work for a short period of time.
 

Tex

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One option, would be to buy the one with the supplied lav mic, then you have a backup if something happens to the Countryman. The included mics not be ideal, but they will work for a short period of time.
My stock Sennheiser elements work fine and are much more sturdy than my Countryman elements. They just don't sound anywhere close to as good as the Countryman...
 

FACTplayers

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Between Sennheiser and Shure, I'd go with the Sennheiser for theater. The Shures have a mute switch on the top that is much to easy to accidentally turn on/off when you don't want it to. And, I agree with NickVon, the Shure cases seem (well, they are) "plasticy" and I don't think they would stand up to a community theater very well. The sennheisers are much more durable.
I have to agree with Chausman on this. I use Sennheiser lavalieres and Shure handhelds. I like Shure better, but the Shute lavalieres (I use 2 or 3 of them) put mute switches in the WORST places. They get bumped all the time, unlike the Sennheiser lavalieres.

I haven't had a problem with my Sennheiser mics at all and i feel like i'm in the same "location" as you: not city, but not rural. Sennhesier is a great company. Trust them.
 

RetiredBum

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bump...

I'm still hoping someone has real-world experience with both the 100 & 300/500 series & can comment on their experiences with differences between them in term of interference rejection.

Thanks, Alan
 

bishopthomas

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Basically, you get what you pay for. If you need the extra features of the 300 series then go for it. If not then the 100's will do just fine. First find out what frequencies are available in your area and make a decision based on that.
 

mbenonis

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Basically, you get what you pay for. If you need the extra features of the 300 series then go for it. If not then the 100's will do just fine. First find out what frequencies are available in your area and make a decision based on that.
It's not the frequencies Alan is worried about...in fact, in wireless more "frequencies" is a bad thing... Alan is concerned with the receiver performance, which is something that manufacturers do not document at all.
 

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