Wireless Shopping for a new wireless system

jrbcjim

Member
I see there has been a lot written about spec'ing and shopping for new wireless systems, but I'm going to request yet another opinion on buying a wireless set up.

I'm with a semi-pro community theater company, and we applying for (and will probably get) a grant of $10,000 for 5-7 wireless systems. I have to get quote from at least three suppliers (Canadian, 'cause were based in Canada). I've got one quote already for 5 Shure SLX 14s with WCE6T (Countryman/Shure) mics, antenna systems, rack case, etc. ($6200). I'm wondering about sound quality and durability issues with the SLX system compared to say Sennheiser, AT, or EV. I don't see much here about the SLX system.

The outfit we currently rent from supplies an Electrovoice RE2 system (RE97Tx and BPU-2 packs). It seems decent, but we always have trouble with the mics and the cables. They are rentals, so that explains a lot. So can anyone recommend a fairly robust system for $800-$900 for mic/body pack/receiver? The only thing I'm more or less adamant on is the Countryman E6 mic.

Additionally, since we'll still be renting from the same provider, will a different system conflict with the EV system the rental guy supplies?

I'm not up on all the technical jargon and frequency issues, so I'm not in a position to weigh the merits of one particular system over another on that level. I just want something that's reliable and will deliver very good quality vocals.

I'm also curious about batteries. The EV RE2 system uses 9-volt batteries, which aren't cheap, and we wind up tossing tons of batteries after every run. The SLX system uses two AA rechargables, which appeals to me on an environmental level. Am I giving anything up going from a 9-volt system to a 3-volt system?
 

Parker

Member
I'm also curious about batteries. The EV RE2 system uses 9-volt batteries, which aren't cheap, and we wind up tossing tons of batteries after every run. The SLX system uses two AA rechargables, which appeals to me on an environmental level. Am I giving anything up going from a 9-volt system to a 3-volt system?

check out this link for some awesome professional grade rechargeable 9V.
we use them exclusively for our wireless gear and I could not be more pleased with them. the overall cost is WELL WORTH IT compared to all the batteries that you would be using once and then throwing out.
iPower PRO Rechargeable 9V Lithium Polymer Battery 520mAh
 

mbenonis

Wireless Guy
Administrator
Premium Member
I would go with Sennheiser Evo 100 series or, better yet, 300 series. I've used SLX and it's not up to the job for anything semi-pro and up. It's fancy garage band level. I would steer clear of the MM mics, see the thread on that. If you can afford $1k per channel, you can afford pro mics. Also be sure to budget in at least two spare mics.

Not sure about frequency conflicts in your case, but if your dealer cannot provide exact information on how things will behave, they should not be selling wireless.
 

museav

CBMod
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Departed Member
I think you will find most people here recommending going to the ULX rather than the SLX.

As far as conflicting systems, that all depends. It's not necessarily that System X inherently conflicts with System Y but rather whether you can get the desired number of channels form the two systems given the systems, their operating bands and whatever other RF signals are in the area. If you rent from the same firm that would be selling you the new systems then they should be able to do a frequency coordination study for you and tell you how they at least think the two systems would work together in your venue.
 

Chris15

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Departed Member
It appears the RE2 comes in 2 bandsplits, A and B. Knowing which your supplier send you for rentals will give us a better chance of working out frequency block options.

Has Canada gone through the digital dividend process yet? I know the Olympics used a lot of 700MHz stuff, but not sure where in the whole process they're at...
 

ChrisCBF

Member
A Shure ULX system is far superior, especially at that price point. Depending on what you are looking for, the Audio Technica 5000 system offers a feature set similar to Shure UHF-R at a much lower price point, though I have noticed the audio quality isn't quite comparable. If you are looking for a system that may need to travel around, the network connectivity of the 5000 is great for getting clean RF for the whole system, without shelling out 2,000 a channel.

I always dread reprogramming our system unit by unit before it goes out on a new gig.
 

gafftaper

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My picks: Sennheiser 300 G3, Shure ULX, and Audio Technica 5000s. Sennheiser is best... it's a close call between the Shures and the AT's.

If you don't have a lot of frequency issues in your area I would consider dropping down to a Sennheiser 100 G3 or even a Audio Technica 3000 with high quality mics in order to get more units for your money. The primary difference between these and the step up models listed above is the number of frequencies you have access to.

As for Mics, anything you can afford from Countryman is a good choice. I also have some Audiotechnica Microset mics that are outstanding. Remember that the mic is just as important as the transmitter/receiver. We got stuck using one of my AT 3000s with the basic $40 omni mic for this show and it sounds terrible next to my Microsets or even the middle of the road AT subminiature condenser.
 

AdamC

Member
We've been completely happy with Sennheiser 100 G3, using rechargeable AAs. Lots of available frequencies, great customer service, and 100% reliable. If you have the budget, the Sennheiser 300 G3 is even better.

Countryman mics are the way to go, if you can afford them, and it sounds like you can. :)
 

mbenonis

Wireless Guy
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ULX is definitely a step above EW100. I'd say its more comparable to 300/500 series.
 

mbenonis

Wireless Guy
Administrator
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The primary difference between these and the step up models listed above is the number of frequencies you have access to.

Not necessarily true. What determines the number of available channels is the RF environment, not really the make/model of the system. Yes, some systems cover a wider band than others, but the number of /usable/ channels is dictated by how many interferers are out there.
 

fx120

Active Member
ULX is definitely a step above EW100. I'd say its more comparable to 300/500 series.

Really? The big feature gained when you step up to the 300 and 500 series is ethernet control, which of course the ULX does not have. SQ wise the entire EW x00 series is virtually indistinguishable and I would say on par with the ULX series. I can't think of anything that the ULX series will get you that isn't present on the ew100 G3 line, with the exception of slightly higher xmit power.
 

mbenonis

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Really? The big feature gained when you step up to the 300 and 500 series is ethernet control, which of course the ULX does not have. SQ wise the entire EW x00 series is virtually indistinguishable and I would say on par with the ULX series. I can't think of anything that the ULX series will get you that isn't present on the ew100 G3 line, with the exception of slightly higher xmit power.

It isn't really a huge step, but a small step nonetheless. I haven't looked at feature sets side by side with the newest gear, so I could be off a bit here. It might be more comparable to compare to the Sennheiser G2 or even G1 series than the G3, which is much newer than the ULX (that came out maybe 6-7 years ago).

BTW, transmit power isn't really relevant in wireless mic land; receiver antenna decisions make a much bigger difference in how your system performs.
 

gafftaper

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I'm far from an expert in this world but I would like to make a point that a Senny 100 G3 or an AT 3000 (when paired with a good mic element like a countryman) is going to be an excellent choice for the vast majority of us for under $1000 (including the Countryman). Most of us around here in Schools, churches, and community theaters will never need the added features that come with the higher priced big brothers of these products. If there are half a dozen empty frequencies in your area, and all you want is a mic to make the pastor sound good, to not rent mics for the 6 leads in the spring musical, or a lav for next month's say no to drugs guest speaker... there's a really good chance you'll be perfectly happy with these products from the lower end of the pro product lines.
 

museav

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Really? The big feature gained when you step up to the 300 and 500 series is ethernet control, which of course the ULX does not have.
This seems to be one of those "potential significant benefit if you need it and make use of it and no benefit if you don't" issues. Something is a practical advantage or benefit only if it is actually relevant to the application. So while Ethernet control may be a significant benefit in many applications, that may or may not be true in this particular application. And that is why comparing products on a generic basis rather than in terms of a specific application can often be sort of pointless.
 
We run 14 of the ULX at our place with the E6 omnis and SM58 hand held units and have been pretty happy with them. We've had these for about 5 years now, and they replaced a 1/2 dozen VHF AudioTechnica's. We did buy 3 of the Sony (not sure of the model but they were 6 receivers to a rack) UHF, and was not impressed with the body packs.

I will admit - the E6s have been pretty fragil, they tend to snap in two after a couple of years, or the actual capsul breaks off. We also go through cables a lot, but we're a community theatre, so they're consistently being reshaped for different actors and we do utilize them on the kids for the youth productions. I been thinking lately that our cable issues are because of the talent's insistance on taping the cable on the back of the neck. Overall, I'm happy with them, almost impossible to feedback and require very little EQ. I did order a couple of the E6i flexes to try out, but while the boom flexability is perfect, the ear piece seems too flexable, and I can't seem to get a tight fit on the ear - I usally end up taping them to the actor for my comfort level, the silicone ear piece seems "sticker" but I'm still not that comfortable with them. I also ordered a couple of E2 (shorter E6), but have to really gain up on em which puts me in feedback territory - when I can get a actor that doesn't require as much gain, they do sound good.

I've got wireless upgrade on my radar for next year and have been really intreagued by the Lectrosonic Venue series - the body packs seem built like a mag light, and 6 in 1RU would be nice. I know these are more UHF-R territory than ULXP.
 

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