It depends on the application. For lower-budget installations, I am partial to Shure because they make inexpensive, reliable systems. For higher end systems, I would recommend Lectrosonics, Sennheiser, or the Shure UHF-R for their high quality RF components. I would not touch a Nady system with a ten foot pole. As far as EV goes, I have never worked with their systems so I cannot speak to their quality.
I like ShureUHF stuff. I also like Audio Technica's higher end stuff, probably a bit more the the UHF gear, though from my understand AT's computer networking system isn't as good as Shure's. That experience I have with Sennheiser has been good as well. I would avoid lower range AT things however.
I have a "tree" of 9, 4-year old AT 1400 series, 5, 3 year old AT 3000 series and 8 new Telex mt-50 (which came with our new school). While I am always thankful of what the community provides me at school, Telex microphones have all of the high end bells and whistles with low end casing. I broke 4 my last show. Not a single one of my cheap (but not cheaply made) 1400's broke.
I love my AT microphones for three reasons:
1. IMO, AT is a good quality, rugged microphone that doesn't necessarily gouge your budget (I would LOVE to buy some Sennheiser, but... WHEW... even though I see that they are getting better price-wise.). A very good tech friend once told me...
"Donnie... (I HATE that version of my name... especially because I'm 38 and it sounds so childish, but he was such a brilliant man, he could have called me ****head and I would have listened in rapture) if you break one of your cheaper, yet quality 1400's or 3000's, you won't cry buckets because at worst you are out 280 - 400 bucks. You break your 750-1000 dollar high end model and you're going to be a bit upset (his "high end" microphonesystem was a single rack unit comprised of 6 sony receivers with 6 transmitters that look very much like the AT 3000 transmitter that cost $1-k per channel and broke frequently) . Any tech director and artistic director can spend money... the question is, can you spend it wisely with a good future eye? Your worst case scenario... You'll have to pitch a non-repairable broken system and buy another new one for 200 - 500 bucks that will last every bit as long if you care for it."
What a brilliant man... I'm kind of bummed that he passed away in September.
2. AT is headquartered in Stow, Ohio (about 50 minutes from where my school is and 8 minutes from my alma matre, Kent State). I like this because if I don't get satisfaction to issues on the phone, I can go bang a desk or two.
3. Since I started my collection with the 1400's, I have locked myself into that brand. I have been told that it is easier to use similar brands. I wonder if this is really true?
Well, enough of the AT commercial.
Whatever brand you have, I am sure if you care for them and send them in for periodic maintenance (again... that 10% fund I mentioned yesterday on a different post), your microphones should last. Heck... up to the end, my good tech friend was using a VERY old VHFsystem that was an incredible reliable piece of equipment... often times replacing those sony's that broke at my old AD gig. All he did... care for them like his babies.
I'm quite partial to Sennheiser. I've used some of their body packs and handhelds for a few shows. The sound much nicer than the Sures we used alongside them. Dropped out less too.
Just out of curiosity, has anyone here used Comtek's wireless mics? We have a few in our theater and I hate them, always cutting out, making fuzzy noises, but that may be from the idiot who installed the system, but we do have countryman capsules for the lavs.
I'm very partial to Sennheiser. I love my university's Evolution Wireless 500 systems. They sound great and are really reliable. I'm also a fan of the Sennheiser 3000 series. At my job this summer we had old Vega wireless equipment that I'm sure was great in its time, but now just needs to be retired.
Nothing's wrong with EV wireless systems to my knowledge - in fact, being EV products I'd imagine that they're very well-built. They're just not a very popular choice in the theatrical world because of Shure, Sennheiser, and A-T's dominance.