Wireless lavs


I'm more of a light guy than a sound guy, however I'm the only tech that our school has, and I was looking a buy some wireless lav type mics for our spring musical. I found a good price on them at this site:


I had a couple of questions:
1. Has anyone ever ordered from this company? If so, are they reliable?
2. The mic I was looking at is the W5-VH-110H because it was cheap, and had diversity receivers. Is this a good choice? Why or why not?
3. Is there someplace else that you would recommend that I look for inexpensive wireless lavs?

Thanks for the help

I would personally stay away from these mics (and also, that website - I dislike anything that sells "DJ" equipment as it implies cheap to me).

I don't know what application you're planning to use these mics for, but I would recommend looking at mics by Shure, Audio-Technica, or Sennheiser. All of these brands are highly reputable, and are likely to last a long time. You might be interested in the following series:

Good: Shure LX Wireless
Better: Shure SLX Wireless

The LX series is a great introduction to wireless systems, but the disadvantage to it is that its frequency is fixed, and you can't change it if something is causing interference. That said, we don't have many problems with the six systems we have in our auditorium. If you're going to use the wireless systems regularly, though, I would suggest getting the SLX because of the numerous advantages it has - including the ability to select from something like 1,000 channels and the ability to tell from the receiver how the battery is in the transmitter.

Good: Evolution G2 100 Series
Better: Evolution G2 300 Series

Both of these systems are frequency-agile wireless systems, with not much difference between them. THe main differences between the 100 and 300 series' is that the 300 series has more preset channels spaces, a rack mount kit, and a 3 step battery indicator on the receiver. YOu can compare them on the Sennheiser website.

Good: 1400 Series
Better: 3000 Series

I'm not too familiar with Audio-Technica's product line, but the two above systems seem to be similar to the Shure and Sennheiser systems I recommended above.

As far as where to buy, I highly recommend Full Compass. I have purchased from them in the past for our school, and have nothing but praise for their excellent customer service and pricing (the price in their catalog and on their website isn't the price they charge - you have to ask for a quote to get the lower price). Give them a call, ask them to quote you some prices - and if the price is too high, they'll work with you to get the price down to something you can work with.

Hope this helps, and if you have any more questions don't hesitate to ask.
The mic. you're looking at is handheld, not lavalier. Originally, lavalier mics hung from a cord looped around the neck. More recently the term has sort-of expanded to include "tie-clip" style mics as well, but lavalier is the French name for "a cord or strap around the neck to hang something from."

Be that as it may, I was really hesitant about my Samson wireless handhelds - figured they couldn't build a good wireless system that cheap ($149.95 over-the-counter at Sam Ash.. and, by the way, the same one CheapLights will sell you, mail-order for $159 plus shipping). But I had a show coming up where I really needed a wireless, and it was all I could afford at the time.

Well, they fooled me. The first one I bought worked well, sounded good, and survived a fall from the stage to the concrete floor of the pit with only minor damage to the windscreen... so I went back and bought a couple more. I've had them all a little over a year now and I'm still pretty happy, even though they don't have the snob appeal of a Sennheiser or Shure.

I'm not all that familiar with the Gemini line. As a matter of fact, until you pointed it out, I didn't know they'd gotten into wireless mics. But Gemini's bread-and-butter is DJ gear, and the price looks really too low for anything but junk. Just remember - that's what I said when I bought my first Samson. Gemini may surprise you, the way Samson surprised me. Just do the same thing I did: buy ONE and check it out thoroughly (not just plug it in and try it once, but real show situations) before you decide to buy more.

I'm with Brian. My old high school had a cheap old wireless system, couldn't even figure out what brand, we had nothing but problems with it.
i would go with with Shure , i work with their LX series, they have given me very few problems
Thank you for all of the suggestions!

I was hoping someone might say, "Oh yah, I have those, they work great." But I would rather have no wireless, than crappy wireless. My first choice would always be to go with the Shure LX, because I have used them before, and know that they will work problem free. I was just hoping to find something less expensive, because our budget to buy anything for our musical is very low (The story of every high school), and our singers are VERY bad at projecting their voices.

DMXtools - Thank you for the history of lavs, and the mic suggestion.

mbenonis1 - Thank you for the websites I'll give that company a call.

I'll agree, the Shures are sweet. A couple singers I work with on a fairly regular basis bring their own. I also used to have a Nady with a Shure 58 capsule that was really clean... but it had an antenna that screwed onto the butt. During one particularly exciting punk show, it got dropped... antenna first. Shattered the circuit board - bye-bye mic.

But good mics like these these are $250 and up. I get the feeling that budget may be an overriding consideration for nickpl. If $79 is all he can afford, and he really needs to get a wireless, the Gemini may be the only way he can go. If he can live with it for a couple shows, they may bring in enough money that he'll be able to step up to something better.

I too agree that Shure is a good brand, I have worked with Sennheiser Lavs and they are ok, had alot of problems with cables shorting out. I ussual go with shure's LX or their newer SLX series, which has a frequency scanner to find the best frequency, this is helpful when using alot of wireless equipment on stage. A good company that is use is http://www.bhphotovideo.com . They have excellent prices for most gear. Anyone you order with be sure to ask for the educational/government rates, they sometimes can save you a few bucks. Another tip is to check with your purchasing staff, (IE the ones who order furniture, supplies etc.) Most public schools are apart of purchasing orgs such as KCDA or ACUI. (depending on your school and state location) With this all said, you can get good quality products for lower prices because you are in an educational setting, use it to your advantage. Another helpful tip may to get additional funds from your assoicated student body (ASB) or administration, because this equipment can be used for more then just theatre events. Best of luck in your search.

Josh - Central Washington University
Wireless lav

You might also consider renting a wireless system for your show, until you have enough money to purchase them. I would go with the Shure SLX, They have given me very few if any problems.
Re: Wireless lav

great_beyond said:
You might also consider renting a wireless system for your show, until you have enough money to purchase them. I would go with the Shure SLX, They have given me very few if any problems.

That’s an excellent idea, however it’s something that my school has been hesitant to do, because I live smack dap in the middle of nowhere in northern WI. The nearest rental place is Milwaukee, which is that’s about 5 hours away. I will have to push it a little bit harder this year.

I was looking at this Shure microphone, because it is nicely priced, seems pretty nice, and I think that I might just be able to buy enough of them, without obliterating the buget.


What do you guys think?

Thank you for all the help and suggestions.

great_beyond said:
I would try to go UHF, It has a wider frequncey, and an overall better audio quallity.

Is there really a noticeable difference in quality between UHF and VHF? The frequency is not a problem up here, as we have only one VHF TV station. Also, how important is it to have diversity receivers?


Major difference, you won't run nearly as many problems with UHF than you would run into with VHF. I've used guitar wireless systems priced between $100-$300 which were VHF diversity and non diversity, I've suddenly heard radio stations going thru my amp. I once picked up a cordless phone. There is just so much crap in that frequency range, it's a waste of money. You'll want to get rid of it once you realize how bad the performance is. Go with UHF.

A non diversity (single antenna) receiver works quite similar to the way an FM radio does. One antenna, one tuner, etc. Single antenna receivers are subject to more interruptions (drop-outs), particularly when the wireless transmitter (body pack, mic, etc) is being moved around.

Diversity takes advantage of dual antennas. True (most) diversity receivers have two seperate independant tuners (each with their own antenna). When you dial the receiver to say 740.100 on a divesity receiver, both tuners will be tuned to this frequency accepting all transmissions on the frequency. Since the two antennas/tuners operate independently, usually one antenna will obtain a better signal than the other. The diversity receiver will always automatically pick the best signal of the two antennas and deliever it to the receivers output. Sometimes it may even blend the two signals together. For example if you watch an active receiver you'll see a I or II flickering or lit up, you may see them switching between the two like crazy when there is a bad pick up, and sometimes you'll see both on at the same time. I and II represent which antennas are being selected by the receiver to pass thru the output. Interruptions and drop outs are significantly reduced with diversity systems because there is an extra antenna to provide optimal rf performance.

Here is a link with information about all the different wireless systems...
My Nady and my Samsons have all been VHF. I've used them all over the suburbs of Chicago and never had a problem. That said, technically UHF is better - the wireless clip-ons I have for horns are UHF. They're really easy on batteries, while the VHF handhelds seem a lot hungrier. I've gotten good sound quality and had no interference problems with either.

However, I insist on diversity receivers. I had a non-diversity receiver once, and had serious problems with drop-outs. The Shure package would be ideal except for the non-diversity receiver.


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