Tech Roundup: Wireless Microphone Systems 2021

Tech Roundup: Wireless Microphone Systems 2021

Few aspects of AV technology have seen more historical developments, technical innovation and political upheaval than systems used to carry sound signals over low power RF carrier transmission. Just as a huge proliferation of RF devices has arisen in the form of microphones, instruments and in-ear monitoring, spectrum allocation conflicts have spread between entertainers, wireless ISPs and broadcast media companies. Miniaturization, diversity reception, encryption and other new technology advances have arisen at the same time, making this one of the most dynamic areas in the entire AV industry. Here are some of the latest examples of available hardware in this continuously evolving landscape.

The AKG DMS300 microphone system is available in two 2.4GHz band versions. One combines the SR300 receiver unit with the HT300 hand-held microphone transmitter while the other pairs the receiver with the bodypack transmitter. This can be used with instruments and AKG headset or clip-on mics. These provide 24-bit/48kHz uncompressed audio coding and AES 256-bit encryption. For larger shows, up to eight of the DMS300 systems can be operated simultaneously. The frequency response is 70 Hz–20 KHz +1/-3 dB with a dynamic range of 116dB at 1KHz. Each transmitter can operate for up to 12 hours on two AA batteries and the hand-held transmitter uses a fixed P5 mic head with a pneumatic shock mount. The SR300 receiver includes a balanced XLR output connector that is switchable between 0 and -30dB signal level along with an unbalanced 1/4in. output jack. The rear panel also provides RJ-45 sync in and sync out connectors for operation within a larger number DMS300 systems.

Top of the line performance can be expected from the Audio-Technica 5000 Series UHF wireless system. Its antenna cascade output allows a single pair of its antennas to feed up to 16 channels and use auto-squelch while enabling a cable check on their functionality. If reception trouble arises, a single button push can switch any transmitter/receiver pair to a second frequency for backup. Each 1RU rack-mounted receiver unit provides two receivers along with antenna power, frequency scan and IR sync functionality, a ground-lift switch, and a front-panel headphone jack. On the ATW-R5220 variant there are two balanced XLR outputs and the ATW-R5220DAN features two balanced XLR outputs and a Dante output. Both can operate in either of two UHF frequency bands. On the body pack transmitter the cH-Style connector assures a solid fit. The handheld transmitter has a high-pass filter and accepts six interchangeable microphone capsules.

The Audix AP62 C210 mic system was developed to use the R62 two-channel true diversity receiver, the H60 OM2 hand held transmitter and the B60 bodypack transmitter with its ADX10 lapel mic. The system may be tuned over a frequency range of 64MHz containing 2560 channels. Setup is quick and easy with one-touch search for an available channel and then one-touch sync to match the receiver’s frequency over an IR link. The H60 OM2 hand held mic is fitted with the OM2 dynamic head and a durable metal housing. It and the lapel mic can run for up to 14 hours on AA batteries. The receiver has 1/4in. and XLR output connections and an output level adjustment control. Included are two antennas, a lapel mic clip, power supply, rack mount hardware, batteries and BNC terminated antenna cables.

A DANTE interface is one of the special features of the beyerdynamic TG 1000 digital 24-bit wireless system. Operating in the UHF range between 470MHz and 789MHz, the system can be seamlessly integrated into Ethernet networks to connect multiple rooms and performance spaces. The TG Wireless Manager software runs on any device to offer control and monitoring through a web browser. Wavetool software enables monitoring of different channels and elements such as RF level and audio level to be displayed visually. The transmitter and receiver can be synched in one second and the hand held transmitter can accept a wide range of different specialized heads including condenser and dynamic models. The TG 1000 belt pack transmitter can connect to four different microphones to carry speech, musical vocals and instrument output. Both bodypack and hand held transmitters feature a battery status indicator.

The ClearOne WS800 digital wireless mic system offers four different types of transmitters, a sp at i a l- d ive r sit y antenna distribution system, eight 32-channel global RF bands and always-on AES 256 encryption. The receiver can provide 4 channels per module and it includes an OLED front panel display. The analog audio outputs are on Phoenix terminal blocks or XLR adapters and there is a separate headphone output. Interfaces include USB, RS232 and Ethernet along with a GPIO with 22 programmable pins. The hand held transmitter can fit heads for cardioid, supercardioid or hyper-cardioid polar patterns. The docking station can charge up to eight microphones simultaneously and the extension antennas can mount on walls, ceiling or mic stands. They are phantom powered from the receiver. The WS800 system works seamlessly with ClearOne audio and video solutions and it is easily integrated with other 3rd party products.

The Clockaudio CW 8000 wireless mic system is designed to be easy to set up and versatile enough to serve in small to large venues. The UHF PLL True Diversity System can scan for free spectrum space and sync the transmitter and receiver among 2400 to 3000 selectable frequencies across 60 to 75MHz with the touch of a single button. There is an adjustable squelch level and antenna boost power is provided for external antenna system installations. The receiver’s audio output level is -12dB at 600 ohms and the front panel LCD shows Channel, Group, Antenna A/B, Mute, AF/RF, Low battery and Device ID. User controls include ON/OFF, Frequency tuning, available frequency scan, volume, jog dial, ID paring, REMOSET and squelch level.

Electro-Voice wanted easy setup and reliable operation when they developed the Electro-Voice RE3-RE520 wireless system so the frequency scan and sync was built into the RE3-RX receiver within a maximum 36MHz tuning bandwidth. The receiver unit also features two selectable RF output levels. For larger venues and permanent installations it can be used with the RE-ACC-AASP 2-in x 8-out antenna splitter. The RE3-HHT hand held transmitter has a metal body and it supports the frequency sync function. Its threaded coupling allows interchangeable heads to be used such as the RE520 capsule with a premium condenser element. The super cardioid condenser pattern rejects background noise for better mixing of vocals. It also features a selectable high pass filter and multi-stage pop filter. Other system components include two antennas, mic stand adapter, batteries, universal power supply, user manual and receiver rack mounting hardware.

The Lectrosonics D Squared (D2) digital wireless mic system includes the DSQD 4-channel digital receiver, DBu digital belt pack transmitter and DHu digital handheld transmitter. Carrying 24 bit, 48kHz digital audio, the system features 2-way IR sync, three encryption key policies and a 470-608 MHz tuning range. The system has an audio frequency response of 25Hz-20kHz +/- 1 dB, with dynamic range of 110dB. The transmitter units can tune over the whole UHF band with selectable RF power output. In the machined aluminum DBu belt pack transmitter, two AA batteries provide power and firmware updates can be made by using the USB port. The hand held DHu transmitter, also in an aluminum case, can attach thread-on interchangeable capsules. An IR port on the control panel allows settings to be transferred between receiver and transmitter. The receiver is a 4-channel half rack unit with a built-in wideband antenna multi-coupler and loop-through to connect additional receivers.

Line 6 features digital transmission to avoid signal compression in its Line 6 XD-V wireless systems and the 24-bit signal allows audio frequency response of 10Hz-20kHz. The hand held model provides a choice among ten different microphone selections based on some of the best vocal mics on the market. The body pack system features up to nine EQ filter settings and the transmitter is very quick and simple to set up for operation using its LED display along with the value and select buttons. There are also audio and battery status indicators. TV channel interference is avoided by operating in the license-free 2.4 GHz ISM band. Up to 14 systems can be simultaneously used in the same venue. The receivers and transmitters are made of strong aluminum or polycarbonate. Encoded DCLTM (Digital Channel Lock) technology distinguishes XD-V digital audio from any other third party signal, including Wi-Fi. The system also features channel scanning for advanced RF management.

The Mipro ACT-800 Series from includes the ACT-818 single-channel, ACT-828 dualchannel, ACT-848 quad-channel receivers along with two new transmitters, the ACT800H handheld and ACT-800T bodypack. The new receivers are upgraded to 72 MHz wideband, new circuitry and a built-in Dante interface. The patented battery compartment can be inserted with two AA type batteries or one rechargeable battery which uses charging via USB Type-C connection. All systems share the EIA standard metal chassis, a newly designed VFD screen, monitor headphone jack, rotary control knob and buttons. All are included on the control panel which is consistent with the same operations and display modes of other Mipro series. AES/EBU digital output, built-in Dante or optional AVB network interface is on the rear panel. The Mipro Auto Scan and ACT function provides precise and rapid sync between the transmitter and receiver frequencies. Secure communication is provided by proprietary 256-bit encryption.

The Shure ULX-D digital wireless mic system can handle a wide range of installation and touring environments with its capability to operate up to 47 systems simultaneously within a 6MHz range. Delivering 24-bit digital audio with AES 256 encryption, the ULX-D system is networkable. The transmitters can run up to 9 hours on a charge. Shure offers tools such as Wireless Workbench, SystemOn and Axient Spectrum Manager to assist in finding clear channels and managing RF. AMX and Crestron control is easily integrated. Among the American spectrum options are VHF, UHF and 900MHz ISM bands. Transmitters include hand held, body pack, boundary and gooseneck models while receivers can be single, dual or quad channel variants.

The TOA 5000 Series wireless microphone systems are designed for houses of worship, schools, fitness clubs and many other applications. The 5000 Series operates in the 506-606MHz bands (on bands H01 & M1) with up to sixteen simultaneous systems possible within each group and even more with combined groups. Transmitter options include the WM-5225 condenser handheld, WM-5265 dynamic handheld, WM-5270 dynamic handheld & WM-5325 body-pack (which accepts any of several lapel & headset mic options). All transmitters can be set to any of 64 UHF frequencies and are powered by a single AA battery for ten hours of continuous operation. Most (except for WM-5270) can also work with rechargeable NiMH AA batteries, which can be charged directly inside the mic with optional charging stations. Receiver models include the rack-mountable WT-5800 true diversity 64-channel wireless tuner & WT-5805 space diversity 64-channel wireless tuners, as well as the portable WT-5810 space diversity 16-channel wireless tuner.

Yamaha Unified Communications Executive Elite digital wireless system is a time-tested performer. Users can mix and match wearable, tabletop and gooseneck mics that can run up to 20 hours after a 6-hour recharge of the nickel-metal hybrid batteries. The separate remote antenna and DSP unit allow plenty of versatility in installation with a distance of up to 300ft. between the two. AES 256 encryption assures privacy with automatic key updates every few minutes. In the U.S. up to 44 systems can be active at the same time. The receiver can be remotely controlled via RS-232, USB or Ethernet and it provides AVB as well as analog audio outputs.