Advanced Wireless Technologies
This month, we focus on advanced wireless technologies, encompassing everything from traditional UHF to 2.4 GHz digital systems, brand-new AoIP-ready configurations, app-enhanced functionalities, and ever-dropping price points. The manufacturers below all build superb wireless systems for an ever-broadening range of wireless audio users, whether working in live/touring or TV/film production environments.
AKG’s flagship DMS800 Reference Digital Wireless Microphone System is the successor to the company’s well-received DMS700 V2, adding features such as 512-bit encryption and a 150MHz frequency range for worldwide touring flexibility. It offers both Dante and AES/EBU digital audio outputs, and the DHT800 handheld transmitter has been upgraded so that its microphone heads are now exchangeable. Further, the DMS800’s optional network remote control allows frequency coordination and monitoring of multichannel systems by PC software Audio Architect, Apple iPhone/iPad/iPod or Soundcraft Vi consoles.
Audio Ltd.’s 1010 is a ruggedly built, world-class digital wireless microphone system featuring 100 MHz of switching bandwidth. Up to 20 systems can be operated together in one TV channel, thanks to a proprietary modulation system allowing high channel density. Features include an end-to-end delay of 2 ms, crystal-clear OLED menu on both the transmitter and receiver with select-and-click displays for streamlined operation, and much more. Audio Ltd. offers a free app allowing main functions via smart devices.
Audio-Technica’s System 10 PRO wireless system—a well-received 2.4GHz platform in a half-rack chassis with two receiver unit slots—has continued to grow. The company now offers two more 2.4GHz transmitters: the ATW-T1006 Boundary Microphone Transmitter and ATW-T1007 Microphone Desk Stand Transmitter, both of which are extremely useful tools in house-of-worship, corporate, theater and a wide range of installed audio environments. At NAMM in January, A-T showed these two new transmitters as part of new packaged configurations.
Audix’s Performance Series of wireless products began shipping last summer and has received impressive reports from the field. Divided into two groups—the 40 Series and the 60 Series—both are available in single-and dual-rack models. Common system features include one-touch autoscan searches; one-touch sync, transmitter to receiver; RF and AF indicators; high-contrast LCD displays; simplified menus; soft keys to control output levels, squelch, pilot, and lockout; choice of XLR or ¼-inch outputs; and a wide selection of handheld, instrument, headworn and lavalier microphone options.
German manufacturer beyerdynamic has introduced a new version of its 24-bit TG 1000 Wireless System, featuring its dual receiver equipped with a Dante network interface via RJ45 connector with status LEDs on its rear panel. Features include switching bandwidth of 319 MHz in the UHF range (470-789 MHz); high-contrast OLED UI display; one-button navigation; proprietary Chameleon software; optional proprietary encryption; and an impressive 2.1ms transmitter-to-receiver total latency. Up to six dual receivers can be cascaded without the need for external antenna splitters. Range under optimal conditions can reach up to 984 feet.
CAD Audio’s CADLive WX3000 UHF Wireless Series package features the D90-equipped handheld transmitter (pictured) and bodypack transmitter for Hi-Z guitar and Lo-Z microphone input, all within a handy polypropylene carrying case. The included CADTone body pack includes Equitek E19 earworn and E29 lavalier microphones. In use, I found the WX3000 to be an intuitive and superb-sounding UHF wireless rig, especially considering its relatively low street price. Its metal-clad handheld transmitter feels especially well made to the touch and resembles handheld transmitters from systems costing hundreds more.
Electro-Voice’s RE-2 PRO Wireless System is a blend of pro-grade features and affordability, featuring one-touch Auto-ClearScan and full programmability. Other features include Posi-phase diversity, over 28MHz operation, XLR mic/line level output, backlit LCD, and a unique “guitar-optimized” mode that is optimized for guitar. The WTU-2 is a compact metal bodypack for the RE-2 system, featuring selectable RF output power and rechargeable AA battery operation with optional BH-200 charger.
World-class wireless experts Lectrosonics has introduced version 4.0 firmware for its IFBR1a belt-pack receiver, adding new functionality in two distinct user interface modes: Scan mode, exhibiting the original behavior of the IFBR1a receiver where users can locate and store up to five different IFB carrier frequencies; and Direct Entry mode, which takes away the scan capability and replaces it with the ability to program channels into the memories directly via push-button and hex switches. In Direct Entry mode, five additional channel memories are available for a total of ten.
IFBR1a users can identify the difference between a v4.0 IFBR1a in Scan Mode and a v2.4 IFBR1A by a burst of rapid LED blinks at power-on in the v4.0 version, indicating that the unit has two modes available.
Line 6 has been doing 2.4 GHz digital wireless for quite some time now, finding enthusiastic customers in the DIY musician sector and gaining ground in pro applications, too. The company’s XD-V Wireless Microphone Series is super-intuitive, sounds great, and offers unique features such as built-in microphone modeling based on the industry’s top 10 most popular live handhelds, with nine EQ filters for further flexibility. The XD-V system is configurable as a lavalier, headset or bodypack system.
U.S. distributor Avlex is now shipping Mipro’s new ACT 2400 Series wireless system. The series includes both single-and dual-channel half-rack receivers with various transmitter options, all of which utilize the 2.4GHz ISM band and offer 4-frequency FSK (frequency shift key) modulation circuitry, as well as a Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum technology utilizing four frequencies for each channel in an adaptive tracking algorithm that is said to avoid interference from 2.4GHz products on channels 1, 6 and 11. The systems employ dual-tuner, true digital diversity reception and reportedly provide 12 compatible simultaneous channel operations at receiving distances up to 100 meters.
Sennheiser’s buzzed-about Digital 6000 professional wireless microphone series is now shipping, notably featuring Sennheiser’s Long Range transmission mode and proprietary audio codec from its flagship Digital 9000 series. The Digital 6000 is designed to be a flexible 2-channel wireless solution, allowing the use of existing accessory infrastructures. The series comprises a 2-channel receiver, the EM 6000, available with two different packages featuring a bodypack or a handheld transmitter, each with a 1U rack-mount 19-inch charging unit. The receiver’s switching bandwidth of 244 MHz (470-714 MHz) is covered by three transmitter versions, and up to eight receiver units can be daisy-chained without the need for an additional antenna splitter. System latency is 3 ms.
Meanwhile, Shure continues to expand the reach of its Axient, QLX-D and ULX-D systems with further integration into Yamaha CL and QL series mixing consoles. In Yamaha’s firmware version 4.1, users may monitor and control key features of Shure wireless systems from the mix position: discover connected wireless systems; identify and map each system to a desired input channel; monitor transmitter battery status, RF and audio signal level; and adjust receiver audio output level when Shure AXT400, QLXD4 or ULXD4 digital receivers are connected to the same network as a Yamaha CL or QL series console. Further, with Axient wireless systems, transmitter input gain can be controlled remotely from the mixing console via ShowLink Access Point.
Sony’s 2.4GHz DWZ-G30GB Digital Guitar Wireless System—which includes a small bodypack transmitter and a compact receiver, as well as a belt clip, AC adapter and ¼-inch cable—has proven a great (and affordable) wireless series with a lot of built-in appeal for musicians. Its ZRX-C30 receiver features ¼-inch Main Out and tuner outputs, XLR balanced output, RF Mode selector for narrow or wide operation, and a mini USB port for firmware updates. The ZTX-B01 bodypack features power/mute and channel-select buttons on its front panel, plus a small window displaying the currently running channel.
High-end wireless expert Zaxcom is now shipping its tiny ZMT3 Miniature Transmitter, which is just about as small as you will find in the industry (see photo). According to the company, a single 6MHz U.S. television channel can contain up to 60 channels of Zaxcom ZHD wireless when used with a QRX300 receiver spaced 100 kHz, and, with ZHD’s efficient modulation, it is capable of long transmission distance. The ZMT3 transmitters are available as 3.5 (518-614 MHz) and 3.6 (596-698 MHz).