Shure v Senny

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
I'm writing an RFQ for a friend for some wireless, and I'm struck by the price difference between Shure and Sennheiser's topline gear.

Shure's ULXD4Q is just under $6k for 4 channels, and $560 for an SM58 handheld or a pack.

Sennheiser's 9046 is $9600 *just for the rack*; 8 receiver cards are extra.

Their handheld mic for that system is similarly ridiculously more expensive, $3k *without an element*.

Anyone got any views on this stark price discrepancy? This is like 2:1, all in, verging on 3:1.
 

JohnD

Well-Known Member
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Remember that Shure has a line above the ULXD, the Shure Axient Digital.
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
You're comparing Senny's very top of the line to Shure's "I wanna be..."

Hint - the 4-digit Sennheiser model numbers tend to approximate the US$ price... /kinda kidding
 

macsound

Well-Known Member
The line has certainly blurred for me over the years on separating "features" from "tech" that differs between different wireless mic models.
In all real life circumstances, the Sennheiser EW500 does what I want it to do.
What's unfortunate is how far Senn is lagging behind Shure on digital tech, but that's only a concern for me with high number of wireless used and requirements of encrypted audio. And I haven't done a big musical or classified corporate event in years.
 

themuzicman

Well-Known Member
I honestly haven't seen anyone using Sennheiser 9000 series since they sent demo units around to the major rental shops a few years ago.

At the top end, most of the major players these days are entirely Shure Axient AD4Q and maybe they'll throw a receiver or two of Sennheiser 6000 Series into their kits just to appease whatever random rider asks for it when a major artist just has to use their own handheld they've had custom finished. Once you spec Axient vs 9000 series the price is roughly in the same ballpark.

You get a few nifty features using Axient instead of ULX-D here is the generic run-down:
  • ShowLink - It's like magic when it works
  • Expanded spectrum efficiency when you're running in high-bandwidth mode
  • Tiny packs!
Sennheiser has fallen way behind the curve when it comes to the cutting edge of what a system can do. They have pretty much lost this round to Shure.

Take a look at Lectrosonics or Zaxcom if you really want to blow the budget. They're more typical in Film/TV, but they average $6k / channel 🤑

There's also a justified reason for their price-points! First, tiny tiny. Second, almost all of those receivers are first a high quality single-channel diversity receiver and secondarily a mono-receive dual-channel receiver. Third, they blast a huge amount of RF that Sennheiser and Shure just don't do - think 100 - 150mW and can just blast away a high noise floor. I think there are times this is useful (Reality TV, where you're in a chase car trying to capture audio of the talent in front of you or a few blocks away) but I also think more often than not the mopic folks really abuse this because they just don't understand RF very well. I routinely run large RF rigs on arena gigs at 1mW transmit, it just takes some planning and diligence to avoid the noise (and usually, Axient...)

If you REALLY want to blow budgets up, go look at Wisycom - their stuff splits the line between Film and Live and is on the bleeding edge of what a wireless system can do. There's really no good analogy - Shure's stuff is also powerful, but their interfaces are clean and polished. Wisycom's stuff isn't as nice to interface with, but the flexibility is even more insane - and it extends beyond their Receivers, their antenna distribution and filtering products are pretty wild.
 

FMEng

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The line has certainly blurred for me over the years on separating "features" from "tech" that differs between different wireless mic models.
In all real life circumstances, the Sennheiser EW500 does what I want it to do.
What's unfortunate is how far Senn is lagging behind Shure on digital tech, but that's only a concern for me with high number of wireless used and requirements of encrypted audio. And I haven't done a big musical or classified corporate event in years.
These days, it all depends on how many systems you have to cram into how little spectrum. In some larger cities, the spectrum is so limited that wideband FM can't cut it anymore. Sennheiser was, until recently, stuck with FM. Shure QLXD and ULXD can squeeze up to 17 systems into a 6 MHz TV channel. Try that with FM.
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
These days, it all depends on how many systems you have to cram into how little spectrum. In some larger cities, the spectrum is so limited that wideband FM can't cut it anymore. Sennheiser was, until recently, stuck with FM. Shure QLXD and ULXD can squeeze up to 17 systems into a 6 MHz TV channel. Try that with FM.
And Axient, they tell me, fits *42*. Wow.

Looks very much like that's Axient's big selling point, and I don't have to care about it, though.
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
So far, though, I'm not seeing anything that suggests to me that I'm falling down in speccing ULXD4Q, which is nice.
 

FMEng

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I haven't explored ULXD thoroughly, like I did QLXD, but I don't see much difference between them, in terms of basic operation and RF performance. They use the same transmitters. As near as I can tell, ULXD has the advantage of a four receiver chassis, which could save some costs in antenna distribution, along with rack space. They also add interference alerts, and Dante. I don't think you'd go wrong with either of them. If you need a crazy number of systems, or are doing network TV broadcasts, then go with Axient.
 

MRW Lights

Well-Known Member
@themuzicman if you know Wisycom then we must have met... do I know you? There are only a "few" wisycom users on this side of the pond... and I was in sales for them when they got their US sales licensing... I typically leave them off the list of suggestions unless someone says "budget isn't a concern" or they ask. If you know you know. Definitely unparalleled, both in functionality and price. Though Zaxcom by way of locality and friends may always have my heart.

This video still gets me every time....
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
@themuzicman if you know Wisycom then we must have met... do I know you? There are only a "few" wisycom users on this side of the pond... and I was in sales for them when they got their US sales licensing... I typically leave them off the list of suggestions unless someone says "budget isn't a concern" or they ask. If you know you know. Definitely unparalleled, both in functionality and price. Though Zaxcom by way of locality and friends may always have my heart.

This video still gets me every time....

Nostalgic for Hoboken? ;)
 

Calc

Well-Known Member
I haven't explored ULXD thoroughly, like I did QLXD, but I don't see much difference between them, in terms of basic operation and RF performance. They use the same transmitters. As near as I can tell, ULXD has the advantage of a four receiver chassis, which could save some costs in antenna distribution, along with rack space. They also add interference alerts, and Dante. I don't think you'd go wrong with either of them. If you need a crazy number of systems, or are doing network TV broadcasts, then go with Axient.
https://www.shure.com/en-US/perform...hure-digital-wireless-system-is-right-for-you

Audio quality- Identical. They use the same encoding, so you can swap transmitters between the systems (if you manually set the frequency).

Networking- ULX will talk to other subnets, while QLX will only talk to the local network. For simple networks you can probably stick with QLX since everything's local, for midsize networks ULX will help, and for complex networks your switches should be smart enough that you can mash whatever you need together with VLANs and go either system.

Dual/Quad ULX offer Dante output, and built-in antennae distros.

If you're budget-strapped and have plenty of spectrum you could consider SLX-D, but I'd stay away from GLX-D for anything above bar-band level.
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
I'm the OP, @Calc, and yes, quad and Dante are important to my end-user use case.
I've put together an RFP for 24 channels that's at about $72k, all-in, before discount.

Thanks for the rundown, though; if it didn't help me, it will certainly help archive-searchers. :)
 
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Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
I've put together my RFP, and, at retail prices, I'm at about $3300/ch for 24 channels, all-in. That's not horrible, I don't think.

If anybody wants to kibitz, PM me for a link.
 

jonliles

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I've put together my RFP, and, at retail prices, I'm at about $3300/ch for 24 channels, all-in. That's not horrible, I don't think.

If anybody wants to kibitz, PM me for a link.
$3300/ch for 24 channels? Tell us more! I'd whole sell replace all of my AT-3100 3Gen stuff for that!
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
$3300/ch for 24 channels? Tell us more! I'd whole sell replace all of my AT-3100 3Gen stuff for that!
<chuckle>

You might want to reread the sentence you quoted.

Retail for 24 channels, all-in, is around $79K

[ Nobody's *paying* retail for a PO that big, of course, at 20% it's about $56K ]

[ Note: Jon had initially said "$3300 for 24 channels". :) ]
 
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jonliles

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@Jay Ashworth Originally, that's exactly how I read it and I got all excited. Then I re-read it and got extremely disappointed. @thomasbailey this thread is exacxtly why I suggested to Ms Marko to rent and not buy.
 

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