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I need advice on a wireless system as quick as possible

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Sebastian AlvarezI need advice on a wireless system as quick as possible
by on Apr 20, 2010 at 12:48:55 am

I need to buy a wireless system urgent and I would like to know what's the least expensive that I can buy that will do the job for event videography. I don't need some state of the art system such as what they use on TV. I'm currently unemployed and my goal is to go full steam ahead in the event videography business, but being unemployed means that I don't have hundreds of dollars to spend on one of these sets, so I need to get one that may not be the best, but that gets the job done. By this I mean of course, no interference.

Somebody may suggest that it might be a good idea to rent one until I can afford something really good, but that comes at $25 a day and while it may be cheap if it is for an event where I'm paid hundreds, I like to be fully familiarized with my equipment, and I don't see the point of renting the system several days for that, I'd rather have it with me at all times. Not to mention that if something comes up out of the blue and the rental place is not open then I'm screwed.

Also, could somebody please explain to me (or point me to a website where it's explained) in layman's terms, the whole thing about the frequencies that will be banned starting in June, and which ones are safe for years to come? Can I assume safely that no decent electronics retailer sells wireless systems with the frequencies that are supposed to be banned in June?

If I remember correctly, for this purpose UHF is better than VHF, but is there a particular UHF frequency or group of them that will give me a better performance than the rest, especially when it comes to avoiding interference?

Thanks,

Sebastian Alvarez


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Mark SuszkoRe: I need advice on a wireless system as quick as possible
by on Apr 20, 2010 at 1:46:31 pm

The worst system you can rent is probably going to be better than the best you can afford to buy right now. Go ahead and rent for now. The client is paying for it. Find a nice diversity system.

As far as brands, I am a big fan of Lectrosonics, but Zaxcom has some pretty good stuff these days too, I understand there is one unit that has a built-in flash card audio ercorder built intot he transmitter that keeps a safety copy of everything it broadcast.

Shop markertek and Fullcompass to get soem ideas.


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Joel ServetzRe: I need advice on a wireless system as quick as possible
by on Apr 20, 2010 at 7:34:21 pm

Sebastian, you didn't state your budget. At the low end are units from Azden and some others, but I wouldn't advise going there. Even though you need to keep the budget low, you're not saving any money by buying the absolute low end, only to have to spend more soon to replace it. Also, at the very low end is where you'll find the few remaining VHF units and you definitely want to stay away from there as you are most likely to experience the most interference in VHF. Look at the Audio Technica 1800 series on the B&H Photo and Full Compass websites. They have different configurations at many different price points. For $500 - 700.00 you will get a professional quality mid-grade system that will serve you well for many years. Definitely only buy something frequency agile and full diversity. Fequency agile so that you can find an unused channel and avoid interference, and full diversity to minimize dropouts and other nasty problems.
The FCC has re-allocated the so-called 700Mhz. band (698 - 806Mhz.) for public safety and broadcast use, so wireless microphones and other users have been banned. Go to the FCC website for information on which frequency groupings are safe in your area. You can also get that information from the Audio Technica website. You are correct in stating that no reputable dealer would sell gear in that band, but you don't need me to tell you that not everyone is so honest. Do not buy used stuff on E-Bay or any other auction site, you could easily get stuck. Anything below 698 and above 806 is fine.
Good luck.

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


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Sebastian AlvarezRe: I need advice on a wireless system as quick as possible
by on Apr 22, 2010 at 3:47:35 pm

Thanks for all the replies. One more question: of all the available frequency ranges, is it better to get a system in the higher range such as 626-668 Mhz, or the lower range like 516-558 Mhz? Does it make any difference at all?


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Joel ServetzRe: I need advice on a wireless system as quick as possible
by on Apr 23, 2010 at 12:36:07 am

There's no real advantage to the higher or lower band. The choice will be governed by the available frequency groups in your area. Check the FCC website or links to it from whatever manufacturer you choose. I know that both the Audio Technica and Sennheiser websites have excellent links for this info.

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


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Sebastian AlvarezRe: I need advice on a wireless system as quick as possible
by on Apr 28, 2010 at 5:54:46 pm

When I go to this Sennheiser website where it allows you to find available frequencies by area (http://www.sennheiserusa.com/FindFrequency/)one of the things to select is "Att." (attenuation, I guess?) and it has a list from 0 to 60 dB, 0 and 10 with the word Outdoors between parenthesis, 20 and 30 with (mixed) and 40 to 60 (Indoors).

What's the meaning of this? The one that's selected by default is 30 dB, should I do the search with that one? It seems that the higher the number, the more channels are occupied.

Also, I searched for local restrictions on frequencies and I couldn't find anything both in my city's website (Raleigh), and in my state's website (North Carolina). Am I good to go with just buying anything not in the 700 Mhz band, or do some cities have further restrictions?


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Chip ThomeRe: I need advice on a wireless system as quick as possible
by on Apr 21, 2010 at 6:25:44 pm

I know of one man who has the low end Azden and speaks well of it and it's functionality. I have another friend who has an Azden that is a few steps up form the first one, and thinks it is wonderful. Both of those systems I believe are under $500, the lower one below $200.

Bob Hatch at Fullcompass is a friend of mine and he and I had a long discussion about these. Now... Bob will sell me whatever I want... but as a friend and a professional he does try to steer me toward what I should buy.... not want to buy. If I go against his advice, he has no problem with it, he will still sell me.... but I have learned to trust his judgement.

During our wireless discussion, he suggested the Sennheiser G3 as a minimum of professionalism. As has been stated here already, Bob stated how it would give me years of service. Like you, I didn't have the extra $500 laying around to pop for one.

If you just need to "get in the game" for now, I would look to that sub $200 Azden, with plans of an upgrade ASAP and putting the Azden on Ebay when you do go more pro. there seems to be about 3 price points in wireless. the sub $200 range, the $500-ish range and the $1000 and up range. When you get close to the $500-ish range and up, the brand names people toss out are there for a reason. Those are the quality units most have bought and rely on.


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