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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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