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Wireless Lavalier Mics

rockydm92's picture
Last seen: 4 years 8 months ago
Joined: 11/11/2009 - 9:30pm

Hello all, I am new to this forum and new to video production, kinda... Anyway I am starting a wedding videography business and I have a Sony HVR A1u, and a Sony HD1000u shoulder mount. I was wondering if you guysand gals could help me? What are the best types ofwireless lavalier mics to buy. My budget is in the $300.00 range? Do I need oneto fit in the XLR input in my camera?or is mini stereo okay?I bought the A1U because of the XLR.Any pointer you can give me would be greatly appreciated!!!


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 3 months 6 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
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You will likely need to up your budget in order to get something that will benefit you to any great degree AND take advantage of your XLR balanced audio inputs - Azden, Samson and Shure are your best midrange brands.


rockydm92's picture
Last seen: 4 years 8 months ago
Joined: 11/11/2009 - 9:30pm

thanks so much! How much of a drop off is it if I use mini stereo input? Or what if I uses a mini stero lavalier system and used an XLR adapter to fit in my XLR? Wuld that defeat the purpose of having XLR?


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 3 months 6 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
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When it comes to audio "workarounds" there are always trade offs, but some are not necessarily THAT detrimental to the final input quality. The mantra is that the more adapters you implement, the more you stand a chance of inputting additional noise, interference, etc. While this is certainly true, it doesn't HAVE to be.

Quality adapters and solid connections, good stress restraints (that bit of extra protection/support just behind the connector and onto the wire/cable) can make a difference. I often additionally support heavy adapter applications by using some gaffer's tape to ad further stress relief at weak junctions when I am "adapting" in the field.

You lose the "balanced" audio if you go with the mini-stereo plug, but that doesn't always guarantee BAD quality audio. In fact most of the time the audio quality is fine. Where the problem lies is in the quality of your wireless mic system. Some are more prone to interference, even having their signals blocked by the passing of a human body between your receiver and the source, overhead metal in roof structures, metal reinforced concrete pillars, etc.

So, your best bet is to first test your connections at the location(s) where you intend to operate and determine the situation there. Times also have an effect because traffic over the waves is greater at certain peak times than say, late evening (on average) or VERY early in the morning. Location in regards to heavy wave traffic - radio towers, broadcast station paths, emergency vehicle operations, airports, etc. - can be an issue.

That is why you need a stronger wireless mic system with a broader range of channels from which to work - a "true diversity" system that constantly scans for the best reception and can change signals from one to another in progress. The cheaper systems do not really provide for this level of reception, interference resistance or quality of signal feed.

When possible I actually PREFER to use a wired lapel mic system, running from the talent to my camcorder's mini jack. This also has its trade offs, but not as many IMHO as an inexpensive wireless system. Mobility, of course, is an issue with a tethered mic-to-cam approach.


rockydm92's picture
Last seen: 4 years 8 months ago
Joined: 11/11/2009 - 9:30pm

Thank you so much for your time, you have been a big help... So basically it would benefit me more to buy a really good mini stereo mic system than a cheaper XLR mic system?


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 3 months 6 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

At this point in time, and given your budget, yes. You are welcome. It means a lot to me when there IS an opportunity here to help someone out with whatever limited knowledge I possess. :-)

If you are REALLY curious about marketing and production you might be curious enough to check out my video marketing & production blog at E.C. Come, E.C. Go in your spare time, of course. :-)



XTR-91's picture
Last seen: 1 year 2 days ago
Joined: 12/06/2008 - 8:57pm

I haven't experienced any bad luck with the $50 DKW-Duo (entry-level pro) NADY handheldwireless system. It has adjustable signal levels with no drifting or interference, at least that I haven't heard of. The output is a single 1/4" port with cable.


EarlC's picture
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Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
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NADY is a low-priced, entry-level system that can do the job, but believe me you WILL experience heart break sooner rather than later, and it WILL crap out on you More than less, compared to the better quality instruments available. It is seriously SUB "entry level" and certainly far from "pro."


rockydm92's picture
Last seen: 4 years 8 months ago
Joined: 11/11/2009 - 9:30pm

Hey, what do you know about the Fender passport uhf-exec-sys passport wireless executive system. the only reason I ask about this specific mic is becasue it is offered at newgg.com which I have an account and I'm having trouble getting financing anywhere else. This seem to be the best mic system newegg offered. I can't find many reviews on it, or anything so I thought I ask here?


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 3 months 6 days ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
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Sorry Rocky...I am totally NOT familiar with that unit, but I have to say that over the years the Fender name meant and still does QUALITY as far as I know. Though guitars are the company's specialty and their mic systems are likely either focused on instrument/vocal performance - and probably built by another company, then branded Fender - I would not be averse to taking a chance on a Fender product. You might find a Guitar Center or other BIG ROOF music center near you where it could be possible to get a demo of this unit. Or check NewEgg's return policy and if it don't work as you'd like...


XTR-91's picture
Last seen: 1 year 2 days ago
Joined: 12/06/2008 - 8:57pm

"NADY is a low-priced, entry-level system that can do the job, but believe me you WILL experience heart break sooner rather than later, and it WILL crap out on you More than less, compared to the better quality instruments available. It is seriously SUB 'entry level' and certainly far from 'pro.'"

The sound produced by the NADY DKW-Duo set performed fairly well and works great for the price. One complaint I've heard from a musician practicing is the receiver unit getting fried on extended use after multiple practices. It was literally pouring out smoke, though I don't know how long and how well he used it.


rockydm92's picture
Last seen: 4 years 8 months ago
Joined: 11/11/2009 - 9:30pm

Does anyone have any info regarding the Sony UWPX 7/3032 wireless lavaliersystem... There is a great deal on a used one, and I was wondering if anyone had any advice pertaining to this Mic system.

Also it doesn't seem to be camera mountable, is that something a wedding Vid must have, or is it okay to attach it via a belt clip??? Thanks guys!!!!






walloffire's picture
Last seen: 2 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: 07/06/2012 - 11:22pm

I have tryed to attach my wireless mic with adapters to the xlr so i can use two mics at once. however i get no input from the wireless, it works fine when useing the 1/8 mic input but that shuts off the xlr. i have a sony hdv-a1u. any ideas?


paulears's picture
Last seen: 2 days 16 hours ago
Joined: 11/05/2006 - 8:36am

The fact nowadays is that good quality UHF radio systems can be made very very cheaply, and the Fender and many others are budget priced systems that don't let the side down - UNTIL you start working in places where other radio systems are in operation. The cheap systems have good signal to noise ratio, a wide audio frequency response and are ok. The snag is that to cut costs, receiver design has little or sometimes no in-built provision to filter out rf on nearby channels. Every transmitter has a deviation either side of the operating frequency, some designs a bit more than others - and having another transmitter 'next door' means that without good quality filtering, it will interfere. Here in the UK we have a license free band that most semi-pro and amateur level equipment works in without the bother of getting a license. Most brands let you have 4 systems that work together happily - but the cheaper brands often generate complaints of interference. I read a post recently on an audio forum from a guy who bought 4 identical systems and discovered that at best he got two working together - no hope with three or four - even though the units had switches stating clearly ch 1,2,3,4. Poor filtering makes them unusable together - and that is what the spec never makes clear. So the cheap ones work very well - on their own. However, a DJ in the Karaoke room next door, or another camera crew with their own radio gear on nearly the same channel could wipe them out.

So don't dismiss or accept kit as being rubbish because it's cheap and probably made in China - just consider how you will use it, and the need for reliability. I have Shure, Sennheiser, Trantec and AKG radio kit here - and the AKG, despite being a well known quality brand is a cheaper product, and has little filtering. The others are better, being designed and sold to be used in multi-channel systems, so far more immune to interference. If you never work with any other radio kit nearby, the cheap ones are fine - but add a few other users and you may be very annoyed with the performance!

As for using two mics, the usual snag is if one is using the transmitter to get it's power - so you end up splitting the audio feed and the power - with variable results. I've a colleague who has two small lavs wired in parallel, and they share the power and the audio is fine. However - it took him some experimentation to find mic elements that worked this way properly - some he tried took too much power, and the DC voltage dropped below what was needed, producing very hissy results, a pair of Audio Technica's he tried seems to oscillate oddly. He ended up using two very cheap electret element mics and it works - but the real solution is a cheap mixer, and the added complication of powering the mics. Generally the usual advice is one mic - one transmitter pack and one receiver. Want more mics? Buy more systems!


D0n
D0n's picture
Last seen: 1 month 2 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

I know the others answered your questions well, but I am going to try to steer you away from wireless mics...

One rode video mic, two inexpensive lav mics and two zoom h1's will get the job done and done well....

I get excellent results just mic'ing the groom and using the rode on camera and synching in post.


paulears's picture
Last seen: 2 days 16 hours ago
Joined: 11/05/2006 - 8:36am

My favourite phrase is "this expensive radio system is nearly as reliable as a $10 XLR cable!"


D0n
D0n's picture
Last seen: 1 month 2 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

btw, I use these wired lav mics, a rode video mic and zoom h1's for all my audio work:

http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/wired_mics/9c6eca17168eef6f/index.html


gjbid's picture
Last seen: 2 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: 07/09/2012 - 3:53pm

If any of you are looking for a reasonably priced wireless transmitter / lav you should check out one of the Jangus systems. I use them for live instrument and vocal recordings. They have a decent range and are digital so the sound is nice and clear.


vid-e-o-man's picture
Last seen: 4 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 02/06/2010 - 4:20am
Plus Member

My .02 worth is agreeing with Don's advice about using a wired lav with a zoom type recorder. With my limited experience I have obtained pretty good results with this setup. The lav I use is a Radio Shack model which retails for about the same as the lav suggested, in factit looks very similar. I have found thatthis lav mic on the groom usually picks up bride and celebrant very well. Keep shooting.


D0n
D0n's picture
Last seen: 1 month 2 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

@ videoman... is in fact same mic, re-branded as house brand at radio shack and The Source. I bought mine on clearance sale for $7.99 each....


paulears's picture
Last seen: 2 days 16 hours ago
Joined: 11/05/2006 - 8:36am

Don's mic is an example of how good a chinese electret element can actually be! That particular housing is available in two distinct varieties - both of which look the same. One is plastic, the element sits inside, two wires soldered to the pads, often cable security is a simple knot, and then it's glued together with solvent where the cap fits. wind protection is a small piece of mesh, with an equally tiny piece of thin fabric. That is it. The alternate type is fractionally bigger - made from what looks like brass from the colour - but probably a similar alloy, and has a screw on end cap. Everything else is the same. They're used on wired versions, and radio versions. The cable is often a bit stiffer - but the sound quality is pretty good. I always suggest if you want to hear one, look at the end section of this clip I knocked up 3 or 4 years ago and listen on good headphones or speakers. Lots of different mics in a quiet and a noisy room.

https://vimeo.com/4598866


D0n
D0n's picture
Last seen: 1 month 2 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

good clip..fwiw, I have the metal versions of my mic, did not know there was a plastic knock off.

here is an unedited sample straight out of the camera on mine.. no audio clean up at all, just ran the mic straight into a sony sr12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynEniD7DF6c&feature=plcp