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Nick Cronk
wireless microphone systems for film
on Dec 29, 2009 at 1:10:40 am

Can anyone recommend a good wireless mic system for use in film and video? I'm not rich and I definitely don't want to spend over a thousand on the whole package. I don't even know the right company to look to. Any thoughts appreciated.


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Ty Ford
Re: wireless microphone systems for film
on Dec 29, 2009 at 2:48:31 am

Hello Nick and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

At that price, the Sennheiser G3 and Audio-Technica AT1800 (as singles, not doubles) fit the bill.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Danny Grizzle
Re: wireless microphone systems for film
on Jan 1, 2010 at 6:06:12 pm

I really like Sennheiser G3. I've got half a dozen.

Actually, mine are half older generation, half newer G3. The infrared configuration feature of the new G3 series is extremely cool.

One pointer: I'm happy with my Evolution 100 Series wireless mics, but I will note that the lavalier mics that Sennheiser supplies in the kits are cheap and inferior. You will double the sound quality with the addition of a high quality lavalier. Unfortunately, good mics are not cheap, but in comparison to your reputation, they are a great value.

I use Tram, Sennheiser MKE2, and Sanken COS-11. Sony has a new lavalier that looks interesting, but suspiciously like a Sanken knock-off.

Second point:

Sennheiser product packaging is junk. Don't expect to find a carry case in the box. So budget in a nice padded (not foam) Pelican case from the get go. A model 1450 is a good starter case, or get a 1550 for room to grow into a multi-mic package.

It burns me up that Sennheiser doesn't do more. Their $600 lavalier ships in a plastic zip-lock bag. I bought a small clear top Pelican case for mine to keep it from getting crushed inside my Pelican 1550 case!

Tram includes a cheap snap close plastic box. It won't shatter or break, but case quality is on par with something from the fishing tackle department at Walmart.

Sanken wins the quality competition. If I remember right, it is a true condenser, not an electret. I'm told this lavalier is the favorite among Hollywood sound guys. It also comes in a great case. If anything, my complaint here is the Sanken case is too big and takes up too much space inside my Pelican 1550 wireless kit location case.

Final point: On Day 1 when you buy wireless mics, spend a few extra dollars on Rycote Undercover lavalier supplies. This stuff does not cost much, and it will save your bacon.


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Ty Ford
Re: wireless microphone systems for film
on Jan 1, 2010 at 7:24:18 pm

Re: wireless microphone systems for film
by Danny Grizzle on Jan 1, 2010 at 1:06:12 pm

I really like Sennheiser G3. I've got half a dozen. Actually, mine are half older generation, half newer G3. The infrared configuration feature of the new G3 series is extremely cool.

One pointer: I'm happy with my Evolution 100 Series wireless mics, but I will note that the lavalier mics that Sennheiser supplies in the kits are cheap and inferior. You will double the sound quality with the addition of a high quality lavalier. Unfortunately, good mics are not cheap, but in comparison to your reputation, they are a great value.

I use Tram, Sennheiser MKE2, and Sanken COS-11. Sony has a new lavalier that looks interesting, but suspiciously like a Sanken knock-off.

>>Good points, Danny. Sennheiser did step up to make the G3 lav batter than the G2. I wouldn't dis them for form factor similarities.

Second point:

Sennheiser product packaging is junk. Don't expect to find a carry case in the box. So budget in a nice padded (not foam) Pelican case from the get go. A model 1450 is a good starter case, or get a 1550 for room to grow into a multi-mic package.

It burns me up that Sennheiser doesn't do more. Their $600 lavalier ships in a plastic zip-lock bag. I bought a small clear top Pelican case for mine to keep it from getting crushed inside my Pelican 1550 case!

>>Not knowing how individual users keep their kit, it's better not to spend a lot of money on something not many people actually want. e.g. Audio Technica went out of their way some years back to make headphones with replaceable cords. After all the work to figure which plugs/sockets to use and all the extra work in making them, they got ZERO orders for the cords.

Tram includes a cheap snap close plastic box. It won't shatter or break, but case quality is on par with something from the fishing tackle department at Walmart.

>>So no box is a drag and one too big is also a drag. Hmm. For me, the box doesn't do much. I normally leave a mic plugged into the wireless and keep it in my Portabrace canvas pouches

Sanken wins the quality competition. If I remember right, it is a true condenser, not an electret. I'm told this lavalier is the favorite among Hollywood sound guys. It also comes in a great case. If anything, my complaint here is the Sanken case is too big and takes up too much space inside my Pelican 1550 wireless kit location case.

>>The Sanken COS 11 is an electret mic as the others are, and does not have an externally polarized capsule. After talking to mic designers years ago about the matter, the may be absolutely no functional difference between an electret condenser and an externally polarized condenser mic.

>>While there are less expensive electret mics, there are also equally or less expensive externally polarized condensers. When you read about "true condensers" in ad copy, it's marketing hype. Given what I've learned, I always chuckle when I encounter "true condenser." I think, "true versus false?"

Final point: On Day 1 when you buy wireless mics, spend a few extra dollars on Rycote Undercover lavalier supplies. This stuff does not cost much, and it will save your bacon.

>>Rycote undercovers (and overcovers and fuzzies) are great gear. When I'm hiding a lav, my first mounting trick is gaffers tape.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Joel Servetz
Re: wireless microphone systems for film
on Jan 1, 2010 at 8:38:42 pm

I completely agree with all the mic recommendations. One point, if you're strapped for cash, you can save money on small equipment cases, such as for mics and wireless mic systems, by going to your friendly neighborhood Sports Authority or Dick's sporting goods or similar store and buying pistol cases in the sizes you need for the particular equipment. I've got a bunch of them housing microphones, meters, and similar fragile equipment. They're sturdy, foam-filled cases that take a real beating (I have some more than 20 years) and protect what's inside. And best of all, they're less expensive than the specialist photo/audio gear cases on the market. I have never had a latch or hinge break or a case crack, and the contents have always been supremely well protected. My cases and their contents have been to Amazon rainforests, construction sites, at sea on Coast Guard ships, etc. and to look at them you'd never know it.

Joel Servetz
RGB Media Services, LLC
Sarasota, Fl
videobyjoel@aol.com


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Danny Grizzle
Re: wireless microphone systems for film
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:03:16 pm

I also use rifle cases for my boom poles. But I worry about this more than anything else because a rifle is thief bait -- I can have $50K worth of gear in a $35K Suburban -- someday I figure a $12 rifle case is going to draw attention from the wrong guy and cause a big loss.

Does keeping your gear in firearms cases draw special attention from airport security?


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Brian Reynolds
Re: wireless microphone systems for film
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:25:01 pm

A friend of mine (News paper photographer) on many occasions had his car boken into and gear stolen.
He then removed all the "Nikon,Cannon,etc stickers" from the cases and had some professionally labels made up "Soil Samples" "Soil Test Kit" etc, And NEVER had his car broken into again.

The difference between Knowledge and Wisdom is... Knowledge is the knowing of facts.... Wisdom is the sensible application of good quality knowledge...


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Joel Servetz
Re: wireless microphone systems for film
on Jan 2, 2010 at 3:15:38 am

Danny, nahhh, but for air travel those cases were always inside larger cases, then they came out on the job. Locally they were tossed into my van and lugged around. Other than a rifle case, which I don't use, these cases aren't so obviously firearms cases, at least to most people. But they certainly are durable and do the job. My big tripod, complete with handles and manual focus and zoom controls goes in a wheeled golf bag case, extremely durable,nearly indestructible.

Joel Servetz
RGB Media Services, LLC
Sarasota, Fl
videobyjoel@aol.com


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Danny Grizzle
Re: wireless microphone systems for film
on Jan 1, 2010 at 9:16:11 pm

> Audio Technica went out of their way some years back to make headphones with replaceable cords. After all the work to figure which plugs/sockets to use and all the extra work in making them, they got ZERO orders for the cords.

I love this story. Reminds me of my former client, Lucchese Boot Company, makers of the pinnacle Texas cowboy boot, a frequent gift by American Presidents to other Heads of State (present administration excepted, I expect).

Lucchese slavishly makes handmade boots from custom lasts for discerning customers. No last is ever thrown away. They have huge bins full of custom lasts for the rich and famous, including Lyndon Johnson, John Wayne, Bing Crosby, Bud Abbot and Lou Costello... a mountain of Who's Who of America for over 100 years.

But nobody ever reorders. Even the ones who are not dead.

Real boot guys will tell you a normal "made to order" production boot is better than a custom last every time. Because we age. Our weight changes, and because we can find finished goods that fit right instead of taking a blind leap into custom made that may or may not be perfect, allowing for variables of manufacture.

About my obsession with cases. I confess. Everybody who knows me knows this is true. On the other hand, my stuff lasts forever. I know every set screw and cable in my kit. I still have field equipment in daily use that is 20 and 30 years old. P.S. - no, I don't rent or loan gear.




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Carlo Zoratti
Re: wireless microphone systems for film
on Jan 8, 2010 at 12:38:25 pm

Hi Ty, i've read more or less all the post about lavalier mics you have written. Just one question: what makes you prefer sennheiser over something cheaper like Samson?
I'm starting a small production of documentary series on the web and about to buy a second mic (we now have Sennheiser EW112 G2- we have used it with joy for two years)
Now we need to upgrade to an extra mic but not quite have the budget for another wireless set.
So why not samson? What's the difference I'm going to hear, or the problem I'm going to deal with?

Thank you very much

carlo


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Ty Ford
Re: wireless microphone systems for film
on Jan 8, 2010 at 1:32:24 pm

Hello Carlo,

Accumulated anecdotal experience would steer me away from Samson and to Sennheiser. And we're talking entry level. For better performance you need to step up even higher. Want to amaze yourself? Compare Samson to Audio Ltd. :)

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Joel Servetz
Re: wireless microphone systems for film
on Jan 16, 2010 at 1:32:26 am

I used Samson wireless mics 20 years ago. They were always just ok, never great, and I moved away from them a long time ago in favor of Shure and AT. They make some very good powered and unpowered speakers, but their wireless microphone product development seems to have stalled at the low end.

Joel Servetz
RGB Media Services, LLC
Sarasota, Fl
videobyjoel@aol.com


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