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Audio Technica 1800 series wireless systems

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Ed Denton
Audio Technica 1800 series wireless systems
on Mar 31, 2010 at 3:28:30 am

I'm a freelance sound recordist looking at getting a wireless mic system for ENG style recording. I would LOVE to get Lectrosonics but - you guessed it - I can't afford them. So until that time comes I need something on the next budget step down. From scanning across various blogs and forums it seems that Sennheiser G2/G3 are a pretty good option (with some countryman mics, of course). But what does anyone know about Audio Technica 1800 series wireless systems? It has been very difficult to find any good information/reviews of this gear.

I like the sound of the dual receiver: It is a UHF diversity receiver, has 996 selectable channels and an automatic frequency scanner. Plus you can get the ATW-1821 set which includes an ATW-R1820 receiver, two ATW-T1801 body-pack transmitters and two lavalier microphones for less than $1500. See link:
http://www.armatosvideo.com/audiotechnicaatw-1821atw-r1820receivertwoatw-t1...

So what is the catch? Why are they not flying off the shelves to amateur/budget restricted sound guys around the world? Are they really that inferior to the sennheiser G3s?

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Ty Ford
Re: Audio Technica 1800 series wireless systems
on Mar 31, 2010 at 1:25:26 pm

Hello again, Ed.

What information are you privy to that indicates the Audio-Technica 1800 are not flying off the shelves?

Inquiring minds want to know?

Regards,

Ty Ford


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Joel Servetz
Re: Audio Technica 1800 series wireless systems
on Mar 31, 2010 at 6:14:43 pm

Ed,while I can't comment on sales figures for the AT 1800 series, I can attest to it's quality. I have colleagues who use several in a very challenging rf and building environment directly across from Manhattan and they couldn't be happier with the system's performance. As for myself, aside from the more mundane and non-challenging uses for interviews, I recently videotaped a live performance at a festival in the approximately 7000 square foot main sanctuary of a synagogue, with performers roving all over the room using my 1800's fed to both the sound system and my camcorder. Not only was the sound quality excellent, but there was never a hint of a dropout or any other issue. I'll definitely be buying more soon.

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


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Ed Denton
Re: Audio Technica 1800 series wireless systems
on Apr 1, 2010 at 4:51:46 am

Sorry to confuse, I don't have any info to suggest that they not selling. What I meant was that in comparison to the Sennheiser G3, which as far as I can tell seem to be their equivalent in price and function, there is very little info and discussions on various forums about the AT 1800s. All the lower budget sound kits that I've used recently are equipped with G2/G3 or Sony systems. And to top it off I can hardly find any retailers in my area (Melbourne, Australia) that stock or sell Audio Technica. But from what Joel was saying they seem to be great (thanks Joel!). Anyone else please add your experiences with the 1800s to this forum, particularly about the dual receiver. I've got a chance to get to clearance items but I didn't want to buy them not knowing what I was getting. Apparently Audio Technica are bringing out an updated version some time in the next 6 months. Anyone know about them?

So compared to compared to the Sennheiser G3s, the AT 1800s are not as good, equivalent or better?

Thanks all

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Ty Ford
Re: Audio Technica 1800 series wireless systems
on Apr 1, 2010 at 11:51:22 am

"Apparently Audio Technica are bringing out an updated version some time in the next 6 months. Anyone know about them?"

Ed, what's your source for this info?

Thanks,

Ty Ford



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Ty Ford
Re: Audio Technica 1800 series wireless systems
on Apr 1, 2010 at 3:49:47 pm

In checking with AT US, they will be offering AT 1800 on the C band frequencies. No other changes.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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Joel Servetz
Re: Audio Technica 1800 series wireless systems
on Apr 1, 2010 at 4:00:24 pm

Good info, thanks Ty.

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


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Ed Denton
Re: Audio Technica 1800 series wireless systems
on Jul 8, 2010 at 5:11:22 am

I'm writing this approximately 3 months after my last post where I was enquiring about the Audio Technica 1800 series wireless systems. In this time I have bought them and can now comment on my experience. I bought 2 ATW-1801 beltpack transmitters and an ATW-1820 dual receiver. I found the range to be great, far better than the Sennheiser evolution kits and very little dropouts. Occasionally you could hear a flutter in the diversity system as the receiver switched between antenna 1 and 2 but that was only noticeable in really quiet areas and when you were really stretching the distance range of the gear. Battery life was reasonably ok on the transmitters running off two AA batteries. The dual receiver runs of six AA and will struggle to get you through a full day unless you switch it off at every opportunity that it's not being used.

Now for the bad news, these units have a serious fault. I have just returned all my AT 1800 transmitters and receivers to the retailer for a full refund. There is a fault in the gear that causes the audio to distort, become saturated in static, compress and sound generally horrible. At times I would get these issues happening in my sound but I thought it was due to some external interference. Changing frequencies would sometimes help but not always. Then I worked out that whenever u used it in cold weather it would happen. Then about 2 weeks ago I used this gear on a shoot in the arctic which cause permanent problems. The output on one transmitter became permanently hot and I couldn't stop it from distorting. The other had a fuzz in the audio which nothing could fix. The retailer told me that since I'd bought it they'd been notified of this fault being brought on by certain environmental conditions and therefore offered me a full refund when I came to them with this problem.

My conclusion, if it weren't for this fault they'd be a great buy. But at it is, they are unreliable and if you get a faulty one that cracks up during an unmissable moment of filming you'll never forgive yourself. My advice: Don't buy Audio Technica 1800 series. Save a little more and buy Lectrosonics. Well worth the extra investment.

Hope this info helps!

Ed Denton


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