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White Noise Issue with Sennheiser ew 100 G3 Wireless

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Jason Schoenfeld
White Noise Issue with Sennheiser ew 100 G3 Wireless
on Apr 29, 2015 at 5:00:36 pm

So, we bought a Sennheiser 100 G3 system a couple years back and use it from time to time with our Sony FS100. I've mainly steered away from it (opting, instead, to use a Sony system that connects via XLR directly to the camera) because of a constant soft white noise (among other problems - RF interference). No matter where I am or what I do, I can always hear soft noise in the background (which we don't get with the Sony microphone).

Steps I take when setting up:

- Scan for a new frequency
- With transmitter off, check to see that there is no outside RF hitting the receiver
- Turn on and Sync to transmitter
- Adjust sensitivity and, sometimes, AF Out

Other than the white noise (and, at times, outside interference), the audio sounds great. Is this just something that comes with a wireless mic system? Is there a way to connect directly to the camera via XLR?

Thanks


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Bruce Watson
Re: White Noise Issue with Sennheiser ew 100 G3 Wireless
on Apr 29, 2015 at 7:34:07 pm

[Jason Schoenfeld] "No matter where I am or what I do, I can always hear soft noise in the background (which we don't get with the Sony microphone)."

Interesting. How does the gain setting on the camera differ between the two?

I'm asking because if you have to use more gain in the camera for the Sennheiser G3, the noise might well be coming from the camera mic preamps. The "cure" for this is to turn up the receiver gain level (I think Sennheiser has some jargon for that, but I forget what they call it) so that the receiver is giving the camera a higher level. Now you can turn down the gain in the camera. Try that and see if it fixes your problem.


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Jason Schoenfeld
Re: White Noise Issue with Sennheiser ew 100 G3 Wireless
on Apr 29, 2015 at 8:51:41 pm

Thanks for the help.

Ok, so I did turn the levels down on the camera and that did help it a little. I had to increase the sensitivity to again bring it back up, but it does sound a little cleaner. I hooked up the shotgun mic that comes with the camera (to rule out the XLR cable) and I turn the camera levels down and there is less noise than with the sennheiser - but I don't think it's the cable

Maybe I'm just expecting too much. I got some footage out that we shot with the Sony mic and, even though I remember it being considerably less "noisy" it still has noise. I guess my question is how much white noise should I expect from a $500 system? Should there be zero? Should there be a small amount that can be fixed in post?

Thanks


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Bruce Watson
Re: White Noise Issue with Sennheiser ew 100 G3 Wireless
on Apr 29, 2015 at 9:54:12 pm

[Jason Schoenfeld] "I had to increase the sensitivity to again bring it back up, but it does sound a little cleaner."

Are you talking about adjusting sensitivity on the transmitter belt pack, or about the gain on the receiver? They aren't interchangeable. They each have to be set properly, and they each can contribute to noise.

[Jason Schoenfeld] "Maybe I'm just expecting too much."

I don't think you are. My G3 set is nearly noiseless. The Sennheiser mic preamps are considerably better (including less noisy) than the mic preamps in most any camera you can find. Turning up the gain at the receiver and turning down (way down) the gain at the camera really helped me when I was working this way (wireless directly into camera). Gave me nearly noiseless interview dialog. And I never needed any software noise reduction in post.

You're headed in the right direction. Keep at it, listening to every change you make. You'll get there, it just takes some time, effort, and thought.


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Jason Schoenfeld
Re: White Noise Issue with Sennheiser ew 100 G3 Wireless
on Apr 30, 2015 at 2:14:02 am

Thanks Bruce and Richard for the replies. I've taken your suggestions and ran a test that you can view/listen to here:

https://vimeo.com/126445912

I turned the camera gain all the way down and then just manipulated the sensitivity and AF Out on the transmitter and receiver and I think it sounds a lot better. But let me know what areas I'm missing (if any).

Thanks,
Jason


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Richard Crowley
Re: White Noise Issue with Sennheiser ew 100 G3 Wireless
on Apr 29, 2015 at 11:43:08 pm

I don't get any strong impression that the system ever got configured properly to begin with. For example the "gain staging" is a critical part of any wireless kit setup, and is a major contributor to higher noise floor.

Have you adjusted the transmitter gain properly for the microphone you are using, and for the typical sound levels you encounter? Have you adjusted the receiver gain for optimal levels (not too low "down in the mud", and not too high (clipping). These are critical adjustments for ANY wireless kit. You cannot take these for granted and still expect optimal performance.


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Lyle Aspinall
Re: White Noise Issue with Sennheiser ew 100 G3 Wireless
on May 19, 2017 at 7:31:10 pm

I'm having a similar issue with a Sennheiser EW112P G3 kit. Just like Jason, I first scan for a new frequency with the receiver, then I ensure the frequency I select is clean of any other RF, and then I sync my transmitter to the receiver. I've re-done these steps about five times, choosing frequencies from all over the B spectrum, but no matter which one I try out, I always get a background static that sounds similar to mild wind noise.

I've plugged the receiver into two different types of Canon cameras: an EOS 5D Mark III DSLR and an XA10 (on both XLR and 1/8 inputs). The audio problem is no different between the two. Setting the DSLR on auto-gain audio makes the issue very easy to hear. Cranking the XA10's XLR level also makes it really easy to hear.

I can reduce the problem by dropping the receiver's AF Out to -30, but then I really have to boost the transmitter's sensitivity to compensate. And when I set the DSLR's audio manually, I have to really crank it up to help compensate for the -30 AF Out. The resulting sound isn't great.

Even at -30 on the receiver's AF Out, you can still hear the static problem if you really listen.

I can't think of anything I might be doing wrong, but I'm certainly not yet ruling out user error.


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Bob Mark
Re: White Noise Issue with Sennheiser ew 100 G3 Wireless
on May 31, 2017 at 3:37:56 pm

Is the receiver squelch set properly?

Bob


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