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Microphone vs. Receivers/Transmitters... which is more important?

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Richard Greenwood
Microphone vs. Receivers/Transmitters... which is more important?
on Sep 15, 2015 at 2:44:10 pm

Here's my conundrum, I work for my University on a two man video production team where we mainly make promotional videos where audio isn't of much concern. Our go-to microphone recently broke and so I'm stuck with our backup set for the time being. The audio off of this sounds terrible, just incredibly tinny and lacking any sort of realism that our previous (and less expensive) mic set was able to provide. For context, this is a pretty cheap mic set and I understand that you can't rely on inferior technology. It is a ROWA Japan Dual Channel Stereo Microphone Kit on 2.4GHz.

Here's my question: I believe that the reason the audio sucks is most likely the lavalier that came with the kit is of very low quality. I want to buy a nicer lav to use with this set that we already have until we can replace our go-to mic kit. What I want to know from you guys is will purchasing a better lavalier mic and using with this kit improve my audio quality, or is the receiver/transmitter the thing that is holding back my quality just as much if not more than the mic.

TL;DR: Want to buy new microphone, not sure if it will be worth it due to the low quality of our receiver/transmitter. Looking for feedback on whether or not a better lav would produce better audio with this kit or if it is just the kit itself holding back our audio quality.

I am an audio novice so this may seem an incredibly easy to answer question for some of you, but any help would be much appreciated.

-Richard G


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Ty Ford
Re: Microphone vs. Receivers/Transmitters... which is more important?
on Sep 15, 2015 at 7:14:30 pm

Hello Richard and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

The answer to your question is, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

I have improved the audio quality of my Sennheiser G2 wireless by using better lavs than the ME-2 that came with them. The G3 are supposedly better sounding than the G2, even with the ME-2. I understand that Sennheiser now sells the G3 with the MKE-2, for more money, of course.

You could always try a new mic and if that doesn't help, trade up to a new TX/RX as well.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

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


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Bruce Watson
Re: Microphone vs. Receivers/Transmitters... which is more important?
on Sep 15, 2015 at 8:04:35 pm

[Richard Greenwood] "What I want to know from you guys is will purchasing a better lavalier mic and using with this kit improve my audio quality, or is the receiver/transmitter the thing that is holding back my quality just as much if not more than the mic?"

What Mr. Ford said. If the mic is the weak link, using a better mic will help. If the wireless is the weak link, using a better mic may not help.

But the biggest improvement may well be using a wire instead of wireless. I keep telling people (not that they listen) that wireless is the last resort. Last. Not first. Last. That's because there isn't a wireless transmitter/receiver pair made at any price that can equal the sound of a cheap XLR cable. Nor can the wireless equal the reliability of the cable. And it certainly can't equal the price of a cable.

But if you insist on using a better lavalier microphone with your existing wireless set, look at the Oscar SoundTech mics. If you (or OST) can identify and source the connector, they can make one for you that plugs right in to your existing unit. The OST mics are perhaps the biggest bang for the buck in lavalier mics right now. I've got two, both with the phantom power supply converters, and wired so that I can use them either with phantom power, or with a Sennheiser wireless system. These were a big upgrade from the Sennheiser ME2 mics that ship with the G3 wireless systems. But they sound better over XLR. Just sayin'.


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Richard Crowley
Re: Microphone vs. Receivers/Transmitters... which is more important?
on Sep 16, 2015 at 5:37:36 am
Last Edited By Richard Crowley on Sep 16, 2015 at 5:39:55 am

We have no idea what your broken "go-to" microphone was? Wired? Wireless? If it was less expensive than your cheap wireless kit, then why not simply replace it?

As Mr. Watson said, a $3000 wireless kit isn't as good as a $30 cable. What is your motivation for using wireless instead of wired?

And as Mr. Ford said, most wireless mic kits (even expensive ones) come with cheap, inferior microphones. It is unusual to find a case where you can't improve the performance of a wireless kit by replacing the microphone.


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Peter Groom
Re: Microphone vs. Receivers/Transmitters... which is more important?
on Sep 16, 2015 at 3:01:14 pm

If, as you say, youre an audio novice, then how can you deduce that the issue lies with the mic?
Its probably the mic, the transmitter, the reciever AND whatever else you plug it into combined!
As Ty said, any signal chain is only as good as its weakest link - and that includes poor operators IMHO.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Craig Alan
Re: Microphone vs. Receivers/Transmitters... which is more important?
on Oct 15, 2015 at 2:55:40 am

What's ur budget?

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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