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In accordance with what Constantin said, Martin seems to be pushing it more than a bit with his wide ranging analogies.  

Many users don't find Zaxcom gear that daunting, although learning how to fully benefit from some of the advanced features does have more of a learning curve.  While it's true that some folks get a bit anxious by the sheer number of settings in the extended menu, basic operation requires mostly the same considerations as other professional wireless.

Lectro systems are top notch and are more sophisticated feature-wise than a cursory glance might lead one to believe.  The few I know who have Wisycoms are pleased with their choice, and Audio Limited are highly regarded and notable for their sonic quality.

Operators who maintain a healthy working relationship with their equipment typically see that gear as "tools," and like a top professional in any field, they learn their tools well under a myriad of conditions. That level of intimacy requires a learning curve, and time spent, with any gear.

If non-thinking simplicity is one's goal, there's Fisher Price. 

 

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1 hour ago, John Blankenship said:

In accordance with what Constantin said, Martin seems to be pushing it more than a bit with his wide ranging analogies.  

Many users don't find Zaxcom gear that daunting, although learning how to fully benefit from some of the advanced features does have more of a learning curve.  While it's true that some folks get a bit anxious by the sheer number of settings in the extended menu, basic operation requires mostly the same considerations as other professional wireless.

Lectro systems are top notch and are more sophisticated feature-wise than a cursory glance might lead one to believe.  The few I know who have Wisycoms are pleased with their choice, and Audio Limited are highly regarded and notable for their sonic quality.

Operators who maintain a healthy working relationship with their equipment typically see that gear as "tools," and like a top professional in any field, they learn their tools well under a myriad of conditions. That level of intimacy requires a learning curve, and time spent, with any gear.

If non-thinking simplicity is one's goal, there's Fisher Price. 

 

John, I don't know about any Fisher-Price mixers or wireless. If you go into any audio store that rents both Zaxcom and Sound Devices/Lectro, and tell them you don't have experience with either one, a great majority will stear you to SD/Lectro. I know this. And it's because you can learn SD and Lectro very quickly. I could sit here and list all the things that you either can or have  to program to operate Zaxcom that you don't with Lectro or SD. But I'm not. And yes, I'm including the mixer in this conversation, because it is a part of wireless operation, at least in the case of Zaxcom. I don't know about "non thinking simplicity", but a lot of people are not manual readers. That's just human nature. 

Sincerely, Martin 

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Anybody that does not read the manual for mixers, recorders, wireless or any other ( Probably best to read the manual items) is in my opinion a fool...  Why not read the manual? Place the F*%$#ng thing by the toilet and read it while you are busy doing other important tasks.. No time wasted here, and, as a bonus... you may actually learn the intricacies of the gear..  Win..Win..  

This friends is a no brainer... anybody who argues against reading manuals for the gear we use is not worth arguing with... whomever that may be... This was a blanket statement not pointed directly at anyone. 

 

I have worked with MANY a boom op that STILL after years of using them, does not understand HOW to set the gain on a Lectrosonic transmitter...  Why?  because they never read the manual!!!!

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I really love the Zaxcom stuff. Before I bought a system I rented all sorts of lectro stuff. Then I decided to try Zaxcom and I just cant say enough good things about it. It's really not that hard to use! Like people have said, if you read the manual its surprisingly easy to use. Ontop of that, they have the OLED displays which spells all parameters out in plain easy to understand text. The new software even makes it simpler by breaking down the different parameters into sub categories which simplifies everything even more. For example, theres a submenu for time code, zaxnet, transmit, etc etc so you can make changes quickly.

I use the QRX235 with my 744t/442 combo and my x3 with no issues. Seriously, dont buy into the online posts that say Zaxcom is too complicated to use. It's really easy and has a great feature set! 

 

All this said, I still rent lectro stuff when I need it, but really miss all the extras like remote gain change, transmitters record feature and all....

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7 hours ago, MartinTheMixer said:

John, I don't know about any Fisher-Price mixers or wireless. If you go into any audio store that rents both Zaxcom and Sound Devices/Lectro, and tell them you don't have experience with either one, a great majority will stear you to SD/Lectro. I know this. And it's because you can learn SD and Lectro very quickly. I could sit here and list all the things that you either can or have  to program to operate Zaxcom that you don't with Lectro or SD. But I'm not. And yes, I'm including the mixer in this conversation, because it is a part of wireless operation, at least in the case of Zaxcom. I don't know about "non thinking simplicity", but a lot of people are not manual readers. That's just human nature. 

Sincerely, Martin 

I'm not sure why you think every discussion should be approached as an argument, but if you're arguing over who the world's expert on your opinion is, well... you win.

On the other hand, if the crux is based on who is best versed in my opinion, then... I win.

If the contention is over who is most intimately acquainted with the intricacies of Zaxcom gear, you may be well served by not putting any money on the outcome. 
 

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1 minute ago, John Blankenship said:

I'm not sure why you think every discussion should be approached as an argument, but if you're arguing over who the world's expert on your opinion is, well... you win.

On the other hand, if the crux is based on who is best versed in my opinion, then... I win.

If the contention is over who is most intimately acquainted with the intricacies of Zaxcom gear, you may be well served by not putting any money on the outcome. 
 

I'm not sure what any of that means.

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I like to turn my gear on and have it work. I have Lectro 411s on firmware 1.1 that behave as they should and sound great. They've got to be 15 years old, or close to it. 

I don't need fancy features 99% of the time, where Zaxcoms might be useful. I just need my gear to work 99% or more of the time without any fuss. If you need a Zaxcom feature that 1% of the time, there's always another way to get it done. If your system fails or is too fiddly, then you have nothing. 

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Robert, I personally love the word "Fiddly"worked into your comment...  and, couldn't agree more.

 

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1 hour ago, RPSharman said:

They've got to be 15 years old, or close to it. 

Can't bring this topic down further and desperate to post something just coming in from the pub on the night before the night before Christmas ...

My mother still thinks I must be "15 years old, or close to it."

Happy Christmas everybody!

Jez x

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10 minutes ago, afewmoreyears said:

Robert, I personally love the word "Fiddly"worked into your comment...  and, couldn't agree more.

 

Me too Robert. Not into fiddly, having just "a few more years" in the biz LOL

 

Jim Rillie

Production Sound Mixer

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Robert said: "I like to turn my gear on and have it work. I have Lectro 411s on firmware 1.1 that behave as they should and sound great. They've got to be 15 years old, or close to it."

I'm just like you, Robert, I like to turn my gear on and have it work, and my Zaxcom wireless has never let me down...  I turn it on and it works --- if it were anything other than that over the last 10 years that I have been using Zaxcom wireless, why would I still be using it? You know me, I don't have any real constraints as far as getting new gear if I'm not satisfied with something I'm using, I would just buy something new to replace the gear I was unhappy with. 

"I don't need fancy features 99% of the time, where Zaxcoms might be useful."

If by "fancy features" you are referring to the incredible sound quality and dynamic range that Zaxcom users expect and rely on, this is a feature that I need 99% of the time. There has been so much discussion about all the features that Zaxcom offers and how they are not needed most of the time, these statements usually are coming from people with limited experience with Zaxcom wireless. Again, the most important feature, to me, is the sound quality. The quality of dialog recording I have been able to achieve would not have been possible without the Zaxcom wireless.

"I just need my gear to work 99% or more of the time without any fuss"

I haven't had the "fuss" problems you mention --- it is unfortunate if in the past you had some problems that have caused you to distrust Zaxcom wireless. 

"If you need a Zaxcom feature that 1% of the time, there's always another way to get it done."

Again, the most important Zaxcom feature is the SOUND. Many of the rest of the features which you refer to as "fancy" all make this amazing sound possible: pure digital transmission, Neverclip preamp, true remote control over all parameters (including preamp gain trim), change frequencies on the fly --- and then maybe this could be called a "fancy feature" that is not often needed: backup recording in the transmitter (but the one time you need it and it saves the day, who can complain about that?).

"If your system fails or is too fiddly, then you have nothing."

Well, that statement applies to ANY and ALL of the gear we use! I will point out, though, as an example, using Zaxcom wireless if one part of the system fails, let's say the RF transmission (frequency problem, talent goes out of range doing car shots, etc.) you're not left with "nothing" --- you have the backup recording in the transmitter. As for being "too fiddly", even if I felt the gear was too fiddly, explain to me why that leaves you with "nothing". If you mean by "fiddly" that you don't know how to operate it properly, then I can see your point. 

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I know you are looking to purchase a new system, but resale value is also something to consider.

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And....I like "fiddly"!  If the gear was really easy to use then anyone could do our jobs! 

Let's call a Christmas Truce in the Lectro-SD-Zax "war of religon"!

 

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It's not a war --- within the context of this topic, looking to buy some new wireless, I don't want the original poster to be mis-informed because of our own personal bias to any of this gear. My appreciation and support for Zaxcom gear is not a religion, my true allegiance and devotion has been to my work, as a production sound mixer always striving to do the best recordings possible, and my use of Zaxcom gear has helped me immensely to achieve that goal.

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"I don't want the original poster to be mis-informed because of our own personal bias to any of this gear. "

 

I actually think all the comments and bias.... good, bad and sideways regarding all the wireless gear and it's manufacturer from the people that have depended on it for years, is exactly want the OP wanted to hear...  I know it's the stuff I like to hear when I buy something of substance..

Like always, one must use all the information available to become  "informed"  what better info is there than this??  and from these fine people...? Golden...

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@MoeSound....    According to JW, you'd be wrong about the Audio Limiteds, (terrible name by the way), and he has way older ears than you. Even I.;~)

@JW....  Zax may have the ability to have greater dynamic range and perhaps a better iso trk recording to work with, but I doubt it is ever heard beyond our masters. We all know than the better the "in", the better the "out"...., but again, is it ever heard?  Really for me Range, reliability, mic choice and placement are more important than the differences in the sound quality of the aforementioned brands. I've heard them all and each is fine for Pro Sound Work IMO. 

Since it's the Capitalistic Holiday of Merry Santa...   I want one of each please. Uh... Make that two.

CrewC

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Having the ability to remotely adjust the gain in the fly has changed my life doing documentary work.

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34 minutes ago, Jack Norflus said:

Having the ability to remotely adjust the gain in the fly has changed my life doing documentary work.

Jack, I agree. Neither I nor the A2, has to worry about what the level is when putting the trans on talent. Just get them miced up, and then set the levels. This can save a good amount of time if you have 5 people to mic. 

Sincerely, Martin 

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Crew said:  "@MoeSound....    According to JW, you'd be wrong about the Audio Limiteds, (terrible name by the way), and he has way older ears than you. Even I.;~)"

Actually, I do agree with Moe, current Audio, Ltd. are probably on par with Zaxcom for the most part...  I hadn't mentioned Audio, Ltd. in this current thread because I haven't actually used or listened to the Audio, Ltd. 2040 series. I did have almost 20 years using Audio, Ltd. 2000 and they did have the best sound.

"@JW....  Zax may have the ability to have greater dynamic range and perhaps a better iso trk recording to work with, but I doubt it is ever heard beyond our masters. We all know than the better the "in", the better the "out"...., but again, is it ever heard?"

Crew, the superiority of the Zaxcom wireless over the others actually IS heard and noticed by our masters if you include in this category of masters those in post production who are the recipients of our production tracks. More on that later.

"Really for me Range, reliability, mic choice and placement are more important than the differences in the sound quality of the aforementioned brands. I've heard them all and each is fine for Pro Sound Work IMO."

Agreed, for the most part, particularly regarding mic choice and placement --- both are far more important than the differences amongst the top tier brands.

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1 hour ago, Jeff Wexler said:

It's not a war --- within the context of this topic, looking to buy some new wireless, I don't want the original poster to be mis-informed because of our own personal bias to any of this gear. My appreciation and support for Zaxcom gear is not a religion, my true allegiance and devotion has been to my work, as a production sound mixer always striving to do the best recordings possible, and my use of Zaxcom gear has helped me immensely to achieve that goal.

Merry Christmas, Jeff.  Let's assume for the sake of discussion that the true allegiance of all present is to doing the best job possible, which results in certain honestly-come-by biases.  I was making a joke, since often these sorts of discussions get some folks very het-up, which is sort of not where one wants to be on Christmas?  The OP needs to do some test-driving, as always.  One last add--it really helps if one knows someone personally who uses a piece of gear one is unfamiliar with, especially one that might steer a soundie into one ecosystem or another.  My advice--seek out someone you trust, buy them lunch and then adjourn to their shop for a good look at the stuff.  Barring that, travel to a city where there are retailers who can do you a good demo. 

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The thing I didn't mention was that when I'm using radio mics, it is almost always due to location, or amount of cameras, shooting style, etc. Personally I was semi serious when I asked Santa for two of each pro unit. Like mic's, they each have values you may want to employ.

CrewC

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@Philip: I totally agree with you --- the person trying to make the decision needs to get with someone who really knows their stuff, get his own hands on the items he is thinking about, develop his own conclusions what would be best. I believe that some of the discussion here can be valuable (hey, it's JWSOUND after all) but it's certainly not the whole deal or the final process.

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Since I was in maybe a somewhat similar situation as the OP I want to explain my reasons for shying away from a very intriguing integrated concept called Zaxcom. I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything but instead explain why there are more than one possible answers to the Zax vs Lectro debate. I was looking for a complete ENG package (1 mixer/recorder and 2 wireless) for out of the bag EFP work, to be issued to one operator in our unit. After lots of research and discussions with knowledgeable people regarding Zaxcom I felt certain that it would be the perfect solution for us, the integration and feature set is amazing and the sound quality is rated as topnotch but then I went back and actually made a list of things that we need our mixers and wireless to do, not the 'that would be cool" features that for someone working in a different environment might be game changers. Then I watched videos showing how to actually do these cool things on a Zaxcom setup and that's when I came back to earth, so to speak. I don't doubt that it's intuitive to many users but to me it felt like a risk to go into battle with such a changed "user interface". Call me stupid and ignorant but I am not seeing the upside to go there at this time, YMMV.

What I found was that much of what Zaxcom offers is very cool, revolutionary in fact, but not essential to what we do at my place of employment. I watched Glenns and Thomas'videos and while very informative I found myself thinking "that's not a problem for us" or "we don't have any use for that"

I don't really need a built in recorder inside my transmitter since I have never been in a situation where range was an issue with our Lectros. They've been bulletproof. I don't need Neverclip because I have never had a single instance of running out of headroom with my 442/552/664 mixers and Lectros digital Hybrid wireless and neither have any of the operators in our unit. I don't need 5 different modulations, in fact I don't want them, I want 1 mode of transmission that works every time. I don't need wideband, I don't need narrow channel spacing, I don't need remote mic gain, never had a problem getting clean, high quality audio without it, I don't need 137 dB of dynamic range, I don't need Zaxnet synching and controlling my gear, in short, I don't need anything other than a mixer and wireless combination where the mics act as close to wired mics as possible w/o the cable. It's got to be fast and sound good and free of distortion, including the unexpected level changes, screams, laughter, metal gates closing nearby during an interview and whatnot, never had a problem with distortion, clipping, limiter artifacts, etc. With our current gear, in the type of scenarios we find ourselves in, it's nearly impossible to get unwanted distortion if your gain staging is appropriate. You can doubt that and maybe your experience is different but "never clip" seems like a solution in search of a problem to me and by that I mean just me, it may be great for everybody else on the planet but I never felt it necessary.

I need a system where the operator (or a producer borrowing the gear) calls me from the field and I can troubleshoot his problem in minutes w/o walking him/ her through a set of menus. Our experience with our current gear tells me that we don't need to expand our capabilities that way, we just need more of what we already have and know.

I hope my comments are seen for what they are, opinions based in internet research vs decades of experience with certain gear,  I struggled with the decision and really wanted to go to the next level but could justify it in the end. Next time around I might go the other way but for now it felt like the right choice to stick with simple and bulletproof based in personal experience.

I'm sure there's plenty to disagree with and outright dismiss as ramblings of obscure origins  but maybe it gives a useful perspective regarding the most important question when purchasing gear "What does it actually need to do?"

 

Merry Christmas.

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To Werner Althaus: you did the right thing. The most important statement in your rather lengthy dismissal of Zaxcom (the huge list of all the things you DON'T need and do not want your "operators" to have to be bothered with) is this: 

"Our experience with our current gear tells me that we don't need to expand our capabilities that way, we just need more of what we already have and know."

I do wonder why you "struggled with the decision" and why you state that the move to Zaxcom would have been "to the next level" since you so clearly state in great detail that you have no need for that level: "much of what Zaxcom offers is very cool, revolutionary in fact, but not essential to what we do at my place of employment".

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Here is a question for Lectro users working on Series or Movies, assuming booms and lavs are wireless.

 

What do you do when an actor suddenly changes their performance during a take, on a rolling reset or on take 2, as in they either raise or lower their performance, perhaps they shout one or just do a read that is 10db louder. Maybe the Director runs them through a series of line reads with wildly different performance levels.

Relating to the debate above, I can see why Mixers like the comfort of what they know and trust and what they deem necessary, but having used and still use a combo of both Zax and lectro I have never had an answer to the question above with Lectro.

 

Tony

 

 

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