Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Technique › Sound › UHF vs VHF for wireless Lav system – opinions?
- This topic has 14 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 13 years, 6 months ago by Anonymous.
May 31, 2008 at 3:48 AM #41516AnonymousInactive
This is a stupid question, but then again, that’s the only type of questions I know to ask. I am in need of a wireless Lav system. I’ve been window shopping at B&H and I noticed a huge difference in price for the VHF and UHF systems. From this I deduced, the UHF frequencies are more desirable? A little help here, if you all would be so kind and also what would you reccommend for under… say…$450? Cheaper would be better.
Thanks in advance,
June 1, 2008 at 8:05 PM #175903AnonymousGuest
When I was shopping around for wireless I bought two VHF systems: an Azden hand mic and an Audio Technica Lav. Together they cost me about $300. Waste of money! Don’t buy VHF if you’re serious about good audio. Wait until you have about $600 and go for UHF. About six months ago I bought a Sennheiser UHF kit for $600.00 The kit consists of : lav microphone, transmitter, a camera mountable receiver and a transmitter which can plug in to any mic with XLR or into the DJ’s PA equipment.I have never had any problem with the kit, I am entirely satisfied with itand I have stopped using mics with cables. I am also looking for a young shooter to give away my VHF systems to.
June 1, 2008 at 9:28 PM #175904
My advice is make sure you need a wireless mic. If you can’t hook a wired mic onto someone or get a boom op. with a shotgun mic, then go with a wireless as a last resort.I’ve read that the most expensive wireless mic system won’t have as good of quality as a decent priced wired mic. I’ve never tried that test before, but that’s what I’ve read.
Unfortunately I have no suggestions for a wireless system though. I don’t really use them…
June 1, 2008 at 11:42 PM #175905AnonymousInactive
thanks guys. I’m under the wire, so I bought a Sony UHF model that got 8 good reviews @ B&H. Let’s hope it works out. B&h price $450 everyone else $499 – $549
June 2, 2008 at 1:07 AM #175906AnonymousGuest
Glad you went the way of UHF.I guess you’re now on the way to becoming a Rising Star. I hope you start getting some more jobs so that you can get some more equipment.
June 20, 2008 at 3:38 AM #175907
June 29, 2008 at 9:07 PM #175908AnonymousInactive
Ihave beenshopping around for one as well and have decided to go for the Sennheiser system. I have also heard that a wired connection gives you the best quality. I know I will have situations such as events or interviews requiring wireless transmitters. But I will also have waist up interviews that I would prefer to hard wire lav.
My question is can the lav mic from the wireless system plug directly intomy camera or do I need a different kind of lav mic? I figure at very least an adapter may be needed to match the 3 pin xlr connection on my camera, but is there anything else needed to make it work?
June 29, 2008 at 9:29 PM #175909
You can hook any mic up to your camera. All you need to know is what connection is on the mic, what connection is on your camera, and whether or not you need an adapter to match the mic connection to your camcorders connection.
In a nutshell, pro mics use XLR connections. If you have XLR inputs on your camera then all you need is a male to female XLR cable at whatever length suits your needs. If you camcorder doesn’t have XLR inputs, it most likely has 1/8 inch. So you’ll need an adapter that connects the male end of the XLR cable to the female 1/8 inch input of your camcorder. Understand?
June 29, 2008 at 9:33 PM #175910
Like I said above though, use your wireless mic system as a last resort. If your in a situation where you think you’ll use a wireless mic, see if you can get a boom pole with a shotgun mic instead. Having the direct connection into your camera from the mic not only is more reliable like you assume, but it’s just less of a hassle in my opinion.
June 29, 2008 at 11:18 PM #175911AnonymousInactive
Rob,Thanks for the reply. I understood and agree with what you said and I plan to use a shotgun on a boom, but I also want a back up from a lav mic on the lapel. The question I have is, will the mic that comes with Sennheiser kit work without the transmitter? Can I wire straight from the lav to the camera? I need the ability to go wireless for mobile interviews and events but I am unsure if this type of lav can also be used when connected directly. If I can get both situations covered with one system that would be ideal. If not I guess I willhave toget the wired lapel sepreately.Thanks again.Rob
June 29, 2008 at 11:40 PM #175912
If I understand your question correctly, you want a wireless system that also allows the mic andreceiver to be hard wired to the camera directly for times when you can avoid the wireless signal? Meaning it would be a wireless/hard wire system?
I’ve never heard of that, but that would sure be an awesome invention. If you do find something like that please let us all know, but as far as I know you’ll have to buy aseparatehardwired lav. Luckily they don’t put too much a a dent into your bank account.
Hope that answered your question, if not, sorry if I’m frustrating you.
June 30, 2008 at 12:28 AM #175913AnonymousInactive
Thanks again for the info. That is what I figured but I wanted to be sure. If I come across anyting different I will post it.
July 29, 2008 at 4:15 AM #175914AaronMurphyParticipant
Lavalier mics that terminate with a “TA” style connector (mini 3 pin XLR) do have adapters that allow them to be converted into an XLR connector for using the lavalier hard-wired into the XLR camera inputs. The converters, I know in the case of the TRAM, can be powered by button batteries (watch batts) or powered from the camera or field mixer by using 48 volt phantom power.
I believe you can even get a cable dongle to adapt a Sennheisser wireless lavalier(with 1/8 inch connector) to a TA-5(mini XLR 5 pin). This would offer you a very affordable way to connect your Senneheisser lavs to XLR for hard-wiring to camera inputs.
To be clear, you would need:
- the TA-5 to XLR adapter in the link above
- a home-made or ordered: female 1/8 inch connector(where your Senn mic plugs in) on one end AND a 5-pin “TA” female connector on the other (to plug into the above mentioned adapter).
Email me if your interested in a diagram of this. This is sort of thing I would just solder for myself if I were in your situation.
July 29, 2008 at 4:53 PM #175915jeff92k7Participant
To clear up some confusion. There is no inherent sound quality increase in a UHF wireless system versus a VHF wireless system. Any perceived quality increase would be the result of better electronics as most manufacturers tend to make the UHF systems their better quality products.
That said, you can still get very good results with VHF systems. However, due to what I stated above, it is likely that a VHF system will be more susceptible to unwanted interference.
I agree that the best option for quaility is always with a wired mic but might argue that a boom mic may not be preferable over a wireless lavalier in some situations. If you have a controlled environment, then a boom mounted shotgun may be much better, or maybe not. It depends a lot on the quality of the equipment, the situation, and what you are trying to accomplish.
Northside Baptist Church
July 29, 2008 at 6:23 PM #175916AnonymousInactive
I’ve used both UHF & VHF wireless mics. I have used two Azden VHF wireless mics for the past couple of years and encountered no problems. But I live in Des Moines IA and I know it’s an area with fewer signals to cause interference. So my inexpensive wireless mics are able to work just fine with only two radio channels available. I used to do a lot of production work in the Minneapolis MN area and I’m pretty sure two VHF channels would be inadequate. Up there, we sometimes encountered problems even with our ten channel UHF systems.
So the moral of my story is that you need to assess your area. In low population areas, there is likely to be plenty of space in the VHF or UHF bands. But in populated areas, you’ll want to have as many channels available as possible. The main reason UHF systems are preferred by pros is the simple fact that UHF has a great many more channels available to begin with, so the likelyhood of finding a vacant channel is also much greater. (And if I recall the physics correctly, it takes less power to increase the strength of UHF signals. But I could have it switched around.) So you’ll generally find better electronics in the UHF systems, although they generally cost more.
And as a quick note, my Adzen wireless mics’ transmitters have a 1/4″ mono input. They came with both a corded handheld & lav mic so I could select what I wanted to use. So incidentally, I could use a mic cable to connect them directly to my camcorder.
And while I hear a lot about how the XLR connection is more professional, I’ve found that for the vast majority of prosumer uses, the advantages of the vastly more expensive XLR audio connections are totally irrelevant (i.e. a waste of money.) Since that’s not the topic here, I won’t bore you with the facts. I’ll just close by saying that the choice of UHF or VHF depends upon how many channels you can use (and to a lesser extent the local population density.) I would choose the cheaper 10 channel VHF system over a 5 channel UHF system. (Although it’s been years since I’ve seen such a low channel UHF system.)
Good luck with you choices! Just try to avoid making an uniformed decision.
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