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Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?

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D.j. Monopoli
Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Feb 9, 2016 at 12:22:00 pm

I'm looking to get 4 wireless systems (currently between the Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system) which will run into my Zoom H6 and will end up using the lavs that come with each package.

The Rodelink Wireless system is cheaper and newer but is limited to 44.1Khz (48Khz is the standard for most video applications and is the recommended sample rate for audio in YouTube videos). I've seen some test videos on YouTube where the mic that comes with the Rode sounds a bit tinny and distorted (that could totally be the users fault) and I've heard others where it sounds pretty good, plus all of the reviews tend to rave about the quality, I'm just not sure if they're referring to the actual mic that comes with it or the wireless system.

The Audio-Technica System 10 is fairly old but supports 48Khz. In the few videos that tested it out the mic sounded consistently decent although a bit heavy in the low end which may or may not be a good thing. Not sure if it would be a better idea to get the camera mount one or the regular one considering the regular one has an XLR output and the camera mount one doesn't, however I may need to go out in the field with these so the rechargeable battery on the receiver could be nice. Does the XLR converter on the camera mount one introduce any issues? Also, the camera mount one can be powered while being used correct? Or is that just for charging?

I'm just not completely sold on either one but they're the best in that price range from what I see. Any of you guys have experience with these or opinions? Do you think lavs like this would be ideal for a game show type situation where the talent is very active? For instance: YouTube.com/BFGFBattles

I'm also curious what you think about the 2.4Ghz wireless that is used on these. Will I have issues using either of these systems in a studio environment that is near Wifi?

Thanks!


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Richard Crowley
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Feb 9, 2016 at 4:17:16 pm

The sample frequency of the transmitter/receiver system will have no discernible affect on the quality of the audio signal. The choice of 44.1K sampling rate for the Rode is of no significance in deciding between the two systems. Since the audio is delivered out of the receiver as analog, there is no issue with the video recording at 48K. The quality of the microphone is infinitely more important than the sampling rate of the TX/RX system.

Never judge the quality of ANY microphone from a YouTube "review". Almost NONE of them are valid and meaningful IME. Most of them are a waste of time at best, and downright misleading at worst.

The AudioTechnica System 10 is barely a year or two older than the RodeLink product. I would not characterize ANY 2.4GHz system as "fairly old". In fact they are all quite new and we don't have any long-term performance reports from the field how 2.4GHz systems are performing in the Real World.

The microphone that comes with a wireless system is typically NOT a higher-quality model. The most effective upgrade you can do to ANY wireless system is to replace the "starter" default mic with a proper high-quality mic.

The camera-mount receiver is far more flexible as you can use it for both on-camera, portable use, AND for fixed-position. An XLR cable is a few dollars, but that big "fixed" receiver is completely impractical for portable use. There are no "issues" from using an XLR cable for either portable or fixed use-cases.

IME, the camera-mount receiver can be powered from the charger during operation.

The 2.4GHz systems seem to be the wave of the future since all of the traditional frequencies are being taken over by more profitable wireless services. It is still too early to tell how well the 2.4GHz systems will operate, especially in situations where lots of people are using WiFi, Bluetooth, etc. And remember that you shouldn't expect them to operate within 1-2m of a microwave oven (which also uses 2.4GHz)

HOWEVER, buying an older traditional system is also a gamble that the authorities won't take over the frequency band and render your gear obsolete. That is one advantage of 2.4GHz. It is quite safe well into the future and it is usable anywhere on the planet without worrying about local laws, etc.

No, I don't think that ANY kind of clip-on mic and body-pack transmitter is safe for use by amateurs for the kind of physical contact and gymnastic activities shown in the BFGFBattles videos. At least the "Yoga" example. If one of the actors lands on the transmitter, it could do considerable damage to the transmitter AND/or the actor.


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D.j. Monopoli
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Feb 10, 2016 at 12:05:45 am

Thanks for the useful info Richard!
I understand there would be no actual issues with sample rate and the sample rate differences are most definitely not audible, but it's definitely an advantage of the AT System 10 for someone who exports all of their videos in 48khz no matter how you look at it. I figure since I'm buying 4 systems I don't want to cut any corners when I finally make the choice, and if I can record true 48Khz signal with one but everything else about the 2 systems is about the same, then why not choose the one with 48Khz? I'm also well aware that the quality of the microphone is more important than the sample rate that the wireless system supports, I was simply pointing out the differences that I noticed in the systems minor or not.

I'm also fully aware that YouTube reviews are misleading, but that's why I try to find multiple videos of the same product. The way I see it, I can read specs all day but that means nothing when I'm looking for a specific sound and the only way to gauge any sort of opinion short of using it myself is to hear tests. I feel like my concern is justified when multiple review videos have similar characteristics from what looks to be people who know their stuff. Obviously I took the reviews with a grain of salt otherwise I wouldn't be asking for opinions of others who have experience with these systems.

From what I see the Audio-Technica system has been around since early 2013. I'm not saying that's a problem, just figured I would point it out since it is digital so I figured there may be some minor advancements in this type of wireless tech since then.

Obviously replacing the mic that it comes with would be ideal, but considering I'm buying 4 of these things and they all come with a lav mic I figured the cost effective approach would be to use the mics that come with the system at least temporarily. I was hoping to get some opinions on how the mics compare sound quality wise that come with each system so it could maybe make my choice a little easier. For instance, if someone confirmed my suspicions that the Rode mic was a bit tinny and distorted then I would go for the Audio-Technica System 10 package in a heartbeat.

As far as the XLR "issues" thing. I read in a few reviews that the XLR adapter that they offer separately for the Rodelink system introduces a hiss or noise of some sort, so I was thinking the same might apply for the Audio-Technica system.

I'll definitely have to keep that microwave oven thing in mind, had no idea!

Yep, the main reason I'm going with 2.4Ghz is not having to deal with local laws and such. I've talked to a guy that swears by UHF wireless and seems to be a little weird about 2.4Ghz wireless systems because of issues with interference when you're near a router. Not sure if I trust the guy fully, was hoping someone would elaborate their experience with this.

I agree that there are situations where the transmitter could definitely be dangerous and not ideal, I was planning to use these on a situation basis and switch to using my shotgun mic in some cases. My question was more along the lines of wondering if someone who is moving around a lot with the mic clipped to them would introduce rubbing sounds into the mic that would render the audio useless. If so, are there any workarounds to keeping the sound to a minimum or is it simply a bad a idea all around?

Thanks again for your quick response, I really appreciate it!
-DJ

-DJ Monopoli
TeraBrite: http://YouTube.com/TeraBrite


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Ty Ford
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Feb 9, 2016 at 10:21:31 pm

Hello D. J.

Richard makes some good points. Especially the damage due to high activity of your talent.

The Rode is a bigger emitter than the AT, but neither are small. Mounting them and keeping them mounted is going to be difficult.

Although the audio may suffer, your best bet may be boom mics and a properly treated acoustic environment.

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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D.j. Monopoli
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Feb 10, 2016 at 12:20:49 am

Thanks Ty!
The high activity won't necessarily be as crazy as what is on the channel now, and when there is something that will be high activity we will definitely have to switch to shotgun mics. We currently are using the shotgun mic capsule for the Zoom H6 and I own a Rode shotgun mic which performs similarly. The only thing is, given how wide our shot is and how small our area is, it's nearly impossible to get the shotgun close enough to have decent audio without it being in the shot. Also, considering there's 4 people spread out throughout the shot sometimes talking at the same time, using a shotgun mic tends to seriously favor the person it's aiming at while the others sound much quieter and I would like everyone to have equal volumes that I can control in post. The room will eventually be treated better, but not for a while and it won't all be shot inside a studio environment. These are the main reasons that I decided to look into wireless lav systems.

I'll have to keep the transmitter size in mind though! Didn't think too much about the mounting of that so thanks for pointing that out.

Thanks!
-DJ

-DJ Monopoli
TeraBrite: http://YouTube.com/TeraBrite


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D.j. Monopoli
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Feb 10, 2016 at 12:57:05 am

Looking into it a bit more I discovered the Shure PGXD Digital Series Wireless Microphone System. Anyone have experience with this wireless system? It comes with a Shure WL185 Cardioid Lavalier Microphone which sounds very good in the tests I've heard.

-DJ Monopoli
TeraBrite: http://YouTube.com/TeraBrite


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Richard Crowley
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Feb 10, 2016 at 1:37:50 am

All of the modern digital systems use VERY similar technology. Because of the wide proliferation of Cellular, WiFi and Bluetooth devices by the 100s of millions, the 900MHz and 2.4GHz technology is well established and dirt-cheap. All of the microphone makers are jumping onto this next-generation digital bandwagon

IMHO, you are putting FAR more stock in the 48 vs 44 sample rate than it warrants. I would bet you $100 that you absolutely could not tell the difference between the same signal at 44.1K vs 48K sample rate. None of the microphones that come with ANY wireless mic produce frequencies high enough for you to detect any difference even with sophisticated test equipment. It is absolutely a non-issue.

Directional microphones like the Shure WL185 are very handy for rejecting noise like reinforcement system feedback, etc. But the downside is that they are much more critical for orientation. Since it sounds like reinforcement isn't an issue, the directional pickup pattern is more of a liability than an advantage. If the actor turns their head too far, they are out of the sensitivity pattern and will give you level-shifting problems in editing. That is why people typically prefer to use omni-directional lav microphones unless they are fighting reinforcement feedback, etc.


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D.j. Monopoli
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Feb 10, 2016 at 2:32:40 am

As far as the 44.1 vs 48 thing goes, it's not that having 48Khz is a huge selling point to me, but it's a plus to me regardless of how pointless it is. If someone were to say "The Rodelink system does the best with reducing interference and comes with the best sounding stock mic hands down" I would get it for sure. I realize I most definitely could never tell the difference between the sample rates, It just feels like cutting corners to me no matter how small the difference may be. Considering I will likely be processing these quite a bit at 48Khz to bring them up in the mix and may need to switch back and forth to the backup shotgun mic (which will be true 48Khz) in cases where the lav audio isn't quite usable for whatever reason, it would just make me feel better that all of the files I'm working with are on par sample rate wise. My main thing is music production and little pointless things like this tend to bug me for some reason. At the end of the day it's not a big deal and in my work I admittedly make a lot of irrational decisions based on concepts that simply make me feel as though I'm cutting less corners haha.

That makes sense that minute movements could affect the signal of the cardioid, I was wondering if that would be an issue. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong but I was thinking it might be a good idea to go cardioid since I would assume it's easier to compress and bring up the signal in post than if I were using an omni-direcitonal lav. I would think there would be a lot of cross talk if I had 4 omni-directional mics recording at once so close to each other and it may end up sounding garbled especially if I wanted to put processing on each signal separately. What do you think?

Thanks again, you're making some good points!

-DJ Monopoli
TeraBrite: http://YouTube.com/TeraBrite


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Rob Neidig
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Feb 10, 2016 at 4:15:27 pm

Where are you seeing anything about only supporting 44.1kHz vs. 48kHz on these systems? The only time the sample rate would come into play AT ALL is when you RECORD it. So either system sends audio from the transmitter to the receiver. You then take the output of the receiver and run a cable to your recording device. At the RECORDING DEVICE is where you set what sample rate you record at.

Am I missing something?

Rob Neidig
R&R Media Productions
Eugene, Oregon


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D.j. Monopoli
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Feb 10, 2016 at 4:24:00 pm

Yeah, you might be confusing this with a UHF system. The 2.4 GHz wireless systems are relatively newer technology and use a digital transmission which is 44.1Khz for the Rodelink and 48Khz for the AT System 10. The digital signal obviously converted to analog for output from the receiver so there isn't technically any issues and you can record at any sample rate you want, but regardless the signal is (technically) better on the System 10 since it is a true 48Khz transmission.

-DJ Monopoli
TeraBrite: http://YouTube.com/TeraBrite


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Richard Crowley
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Feb 11, 2016 at 6:00:50 am

" the signal is (technically) better on the System 10 since it is a true 48Khz transmission."

There is no basis of fact in that statement. In fact the original decision between 48K and 44.1K was partly technical (because of the capabilities of consumer-grade low-pass filters back 40 years ago), and partly political. But clearly a 48K sample rate sounds more impressive if you are simply looking at numbers. Bigger is always better, isn't it?


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D.j. Monopoli
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Feb 11, 2016 at 11:11:56 am

It's very unlikely anyone would hear a difference and I won't argue that, but it seems like a bit of a stretch to say that "there is no basis of fact" in a statement saying a 44.1k transmission is (technically) better than a 48k transmission, when 48k is in fact transmitting more samples per second. I mean I guess it really depends on what you're referring to when you say "better" but I was clearly referring to the technical aspect. I guess you can argue having more samples per second doesn't make something better, but then you're bringing opinion into it when my statement was clearly based off of factual technical specifications, not personal opinions.

-DJ Monopoli
TeraBrite: http://YouTube.com/TeraBrite


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Ty Ford
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Feb 10, 2016 at 5:57:16 am

Hi D.J.,

I always liked the 185 lav, but don't know anything about they particular wireless. Shure makes some good gear though.

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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D.j. Monopoli
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Feb 10, 2016 at 12:38:51 pm

In your experience with the 185 do you run into problems with orientation of the lav as Richard said and/or do you think it would be a problem in my particular case? It makes total sense, but I feel like the noise rejection of using a cardioid mic will give me extra headroom to really process each signal in post and I get the feeling having 4 omni mics so close to each other may introduce problems as well. What do you think?

Yeah there's surprisingly not a lot out there about their 2.4Ghz wireless system. I know that Shure makes great wireless stuff so they must not have pushed it much.

Thanks again for the response!

-DJ Monopoli
TeraBrite: http://YouTube.com/TeraBrite


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Brian Reynolds
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Feb 10, 2016 at 10:02:02 pm

A friend bought a set of the Rodelink and sold them shortly after due to the size of the TX unit.... He often referred to it 'the brick' due to its size.
He then went to a Sony UWPD series setup.

In regard to 'Omni' v 'Cardiod' lav mics, in my more than 35+ years of broadcasting experience I have NEVER had success with the cardioid pattern on a lav mic...... NEVER


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D.j. Monopoli
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Feb 11, 2016 at 10:45:21 am

That's good to know about the size of the unit. Doesn't look to bad in the pictures but I guess the pictures can be deceiving.

Have you ever had more than one person with an omni mic close to each other and tried to compress and bring them up in post? I get the feeling that would introduce some sort of issues, possibly phasing or something? I would think it might even cause issues without compression and bringing the signal up. I obviously have little experience with lavs but it seems like there might be an issue there.

Thanks!

-DJ Monopoli
TeraBrite: http://YouTube.com/TeraBrite


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Ty Ford
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Feb 10, 2016 at 11:41:31 pm

Directional lavs are a tool, a specialized tool that require more attention, but can be helpful.

Here's a piece I did on the Countryman B2D.

http://tyfordaudiovideo.blogspot.com/2014/02/countryman-b2d-cardioid-lav-an...

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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D.j. Monopoli
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Feb 11, 2016 at 10:57:36 am

Just read your piece on Countryman B2D and watched the video. I thought you looked familiar in your icon! I've actually seen some of your videos looking up reviews of these lavs and wireless systems the past few days haha. Anyway, it was very informative and you did some interesting tests there. Thanks for that!

-DJ

-DJ Monopoli
TeraBrite: http://YouTube.com/TeraBrite


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Ty Ford
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Feb 11, 2016 at 3:50:43 pm

D. J.

No Problem.

Any more questions?

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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Jonathan Lee
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Mar 14, 2016 at 9:03:40 pm

DJ, Richard, and Ty, great discussion so far! I've learned a lot reading through the thread.

But I've actually got a question about the compatibility of a Countryman mic (specifically the Countryman e6i) with 3.5mm connector and the Rodelink Filmmaker Kit.

Has anyone tried a Countryman mic with the Rodelink? Does the Rodelink provide sufficient plug-in power? I assume so, since I'm told the Rodelink provides 4v while Countryman needs only 1-2v. And are the locking connectors on the mic and transmitter compatible with each other?

Thanks!
Jonathan


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Ty Ford
Re: Audio-Technica System 10 or Rodelink Wireless system?
on Mar 14, 2016 at 10:11:07 pm

Hi Jonathan,

According to Countryman, the AT and Rode Hirose connectors are wire differently.

I have both System 10 and Rodelink here. I have put in a request for e6 and b6 mics to find out if they will work with the System 10 and/or Rodelink without problems.

The System 10 will not work with the AT micropoint at this time due to rf interference. The System 10 will work with their east mic and 830 side address wav.

The Rodelink as it came to me with the Rode mic was picking ups 2.4 GHz interference.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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


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