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November 17, 2010 at 5:32 PM #44369
I have a question about audio equipment. I am filming several educational videos and although the video quality is great, I want to have good audio also of course. So my question is: Should I go with hardwired or wireless lavalier mics? Most of the time it will either be interview style or me giving out information. What do the pros use?
I am not wanting to make a decision based on money alone when it comes to hardwired versus wireless, I want real and crisp sound and if I have to pay $200-300 more for wireless to get that, its ok. However, if I have to pay extra for wireless and the sound is not as good, then it is not worth it to me.
I will either be sitting, standing or sometimes walking around a little. But 95% of the time I will be in one place.
If possible, what are your suggestions for lavalier mics if you have any that are hardwired AND wireless? I am not wanting to spend thousands either, but I am figuring a good hardwired mic will cost $150-300 each (will need two) and a good wireless system will cost $550-700.
Any thoughts or suggestions on this?
November 17, 2010 at 6:32 PM #185799
IMHO wired systems will always consistently outperform wireless. That’s not to say they’re superior, but due to the solid connection, depending on the quality of the system, it will “consistently” outperform all but the most technologically advanced wireless systems.
You can get excellent quality audio from a wired lapel system even using the Radio Shack brands and save yourself some bucks in the process. For $800 or so you could invest in a Sony wireless system that is hard to beat – UWP-V6 in fact all the UWP series is worth checking out to determine the extent of your interview mic needs.
November 17, 2010 at 6:44 PM #185800
Earl, thank you for your reply. I agree, because you are getting a direct connection on wired the quality will be better. I have been getting input from friends and other sources and I was told to go wireless because of the future possibilities. From what I am being told, the audio quality on the Sennheisers are excellent and not much of a drop-off from a wired mic. I am looking at the Sennheiser model seew112pg3a for $599 at B&H.
Any more input?
November 17, 2010 at 8:12 PM #185801
You cannot go wrong with anything Sennheiser makes in the way of mics, wired or otherwise.
A wireless system is ALWAYS something an independent video services provider wants in his/her war chest. In many cases videographers try to “cheap” out and then complain and wonder why their inexpensive wireless system has so many audio problems, poor range, interference etc.
Good quality systems such as Senn and Letrosonics that cost a bit more than most are willing (or able) to pay make the difference in wireless VS wired.
I referenced the Radio Shack item because surprisingly this little jewel (model No. 33-3003) with its button battery power and extra long cable is outstanding for the price – don’t remember how much I paid but it was totally inexpensive and has been a workhorse for me for more than 10 years.
Good luck with your research and your projects.
November 17, 2010 at 10:40 PM #185802composite1Member
Earl as always gives solid advice. I would add that Sony also makes great wired mic’s but if you’re really on a budget Audio-Technica makes some great mikes particularly ones you can use in the field without worrying about beating up too much. Sony and Sennheiser make great wireless kits as Earl mentioned and they have similar pricing. He’s also right about not ‘cheaping out’. You don’t want to break your budget, but you definitely get what you pay for.
The main thing is go wired when it permits and you have enough mic cable on hand. If going wired is out then wireless is a great solution. Make sure you have both on hand whether in the studio or on location so if one system goes down, you’ve got another to fall back on.
November 17, 2010 at 11:41 PM #185803
Very good advice, thank you!
November 18, 2010 at 2:49 AM #185804AnonymousInactive
As far as wireless, I personally use a Sennheiser system (ew100G2) and have never experienced a problem. Very dependable unit that sounds great. I also have the plug in transmitter for microphones, but only used it once so far. I don’t think my model is available anymore, I think the newer system is a G3 series.
If you go wireless, my vote is for the sennheiser
November 18, 2010 at 3:23 AM #185805GregoryParticipant
Earl; Thanks for the Radio Shack tip. I have been pondering this very question and in the Cookeville TN area there are not any stores that focus on the needs of video. But they do have an excellent Radio Shack. Now I will have to pay them a visit.
November 18, 2010 at 4:36 AM #185806RockyParticipant
Regardlessif wire or wireless, the school of hard knocks has taught me to always monitor audio. Low voltage batteries in wireless (high quality batteries after an 8 hour shoot) and connections/connectors in wire can and do both give problems.Monitoringfor external(road traffic) and internalsound (air conditioners) can avoid ruining an otherwisegreatrecording. In educational video shoots I opt for the lapel/wireless on the basis that the talent has the freedom to turn in a 360 degree circle and move anywhere on a set whilst maintainingconsistent audio level and quality. I have found the Sony UWP-C1 wireless both rugged and reliable.
November 18, 2010 at 5:43 PM #185807
Don’t get me wrong, monitoring audio is good, great, even mandatory. BUT, the school of hard knocks I attended also asks me: “What are you going to do during an event run-and-gun production when the planes fly overhead, or there’s AC noise, trucks with generators running, trashtrucks with their backup beepers or road traffic noise? Tell them, HEY STOP! We’re videotaping and audio recording here!”
While monitoring will indicate problems with the system, setup, batteries, interference etc. that doesn’t always mean there’s a whole heck of a lot you can do about other issues, and unless you’ve arranged some kind of redundant backup, discovering a problem in progress is still going to give you some audio acquisition grief while you address and fix the issue.
Arrive early. Test equipment before packing for the gig, AND upon arriving early to setup. Confirm equipment issues, power and battery levels before the gig starts. Monitor so you can get that queasy feeling in your stomach when you hear a problem that there’s not much you can do about.
With Robert’s stated needs your points are valid about mobility and the other issues as he would possibly have the option to yell “cut” address the noise or technical issues, then resume shooting. But monitoring during event shooting on the fly, in progress and run-and-gun simply makes you aware you have “things” you’ll have to deal with in post, but doesn’t always mean you can do anything about it when it occurs – not without loss of audio altogether which IMHO is worse than audio with problems. Just saying.
November 19, 2010 at 12:54 AM #185808vid-e-o-manParticipant
Thanks for all the great information about audio setups in this discussion. I’ve been looking for a lavlier microphone to use hardwired to the H2 recorder or the video camera. I was a little confused about thevariety of connectors, phantom and plug in poweretc. with the differentlavalier microphones.I looked for the microphone (33-3003)that EarlC suggested on the Radio Shack website. It seems that it may have been replaced with another model (33-3013). I found the manual for the old model online (in spanish only).They both seem to have the same specs except that the new model has a shorter cable. I’m planning to order one of these to use.
November 20, 2010 at 2:28 AM #185809XTR-91Participant
Just don’t buy one that takes AA batteries. They suck a ton of power, and won’t (illogically speaking) last 1/6 the time of the 9v battery mics.
You’ll get a lot of decent things about purchasing a hard-wired microphone. With wireless, the price escalates and you’ve got to crack the $100 mark for sure. Those mics won’tlast for long distances (even though they say they do). If you’re buying for indoor use, then absolutely get one with a receiver that plugs into the wall, if you have a convenient outlet. At all costs, avoid wireless, and use the balanced (XLR) connections.
November 23, 2010 at 6:16 PM #185810SteveMannParticipant
Earl – you know that Radio Shack doesn’t “make” anything. They rebrand it. The wired lav mic (33-3003) is physically identical to the Audio Technica ATR35s. Their XLR transformers (274-017) are made by Shure. (I can be sure because if you remove the Radio Shack label, you find the Shure label.)
XTR-91 – AA batteries are bad? Then my Sennheiser shotgun is a battery sucker? Or are you talking about wireless systems? I get about four hours on my wireless systems. I don’t know how long batteries last because my jobs are typically 3- to 4-hours long and I always start with new batteries. Ironically, the only battery failure I’ve had during a project was the 9-V battery in my wireless mic transmitter.
November 23, 2010 at 6:25 PM #185811
Steve, semantics. Nonetheless RS has some decent stuff that some highbrows do not realize are brand name babies.
November 24, 2010 at 12:05 AM #185812composite1Member
I’ve been transitioning my gear over to rechargeables. Those batteries in the 1500 mAh range or better hold a much greater charge for a much longer period. Plus you can recharge them a few hundred times!
I did say Audio-Technica makes good stuff. So good the ‘Shack’ takes the label off and puts theirs on it!
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