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Vincent Gates

Comparing the range of Nomad's built in Zaxnet?

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Hi Members-

 

Before jumping into the Zaxcom family, I wanted to hear your thoughts on the range of Zaxnet on a Nomad without any additional amplification or antennae.

 

Here's the question:

 

Will Zaxnet (without any additional amplification or antennae) have a better range than my old

Comtek M-72 to PR-72's?

 

Will it rival my Lectrosonics 50 mw LMa beltpack transmitter in IFB mode running to Lectro R1a's???

 

Thanks in advance for anyone able to give me a rough comparison....

 

-Vincent

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It is definitely better than the M-72's.... it could rival the 50mw LMa on good conditions... maybe, but I would put my money on the LMa. What you need to keep in mind is for max range (no additional amp or antenna) is to stay LOS of the Rx to Tx, good frequency selection, and use the stock (large) antenna Nomad comes with.  I have 3 different antenna I use with the Nomad for different purposes.  I like using my stubby for when I'm close to the Rx and indoors.  I have a 2nd (medium QRX) antenna I use for most other gigs that has much better range for 80% of outdoor gigs, and then the stock (large) antenna which allows for further range if it's really necessary.  I don't use the stock antenna much due to it's annoying size.

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Welcome Listen. Personally i think the range using the nomad and erxs out of the bag is sufficient for bag work where the director / producers are running around with you. For cart based work where you often end up father from set, or have to go between many rooms, the amp is needed. I have never owned comteks so I can't comment there, but the lectro ifb seems to be more robust out of the bag. I prefer the sound of the Zaxcoms, and the features.

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Do the range test!

 

I went to my favorite dealer and did the test there. I then sold all my ERX's and bought R1a's. However, I ended up buying the ERX's again so that I can feed 3 cameras audio/timecode since no other setup is sufficient enough for this (in my opinion of course). I still use the R1a's for IFB's though. 

 

The bottom line is that the ERX's don't put out as much wattage as a Lectro IFB system, hence the better range on the Lectro end. Although, range has a lot to do with RF noise/traffic in your area so to answer your question as to which has better range......

 

....it depends.

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A buddy of mine and I are actually going to do a range test soon, on all the above listed. Comtek/Lectro/Sennheiser/Zaxcom.

 

Hopefully we get it done soon. I'll post more info when it comes.

 

John

When you do the test, you MUST (caps deliberate) use exactly the same frequencies. Testing one unit at 525 MHz and another at 567 MHz is not a test. RF noise levels vary tremendously by frequency, even if you scan. Scans only pickup relatively strong signals, i.e., above a few microvolts. Even most spectrum analyzers are not quiet enough to do a background scan of the environment, until you spend 50k or so. You can sidestep all this by using the same frequencies for each unit. If you have noise on a frequency, it will tend to reduce the differences in the products but at least it will be apples to apples. I understand this will be impossible on one of the units since it uses a different band but use the same frequencies as much as possible.

Best Regards,

Larry F

Lectrosonics

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Our Zaxnet does work on 2.4 gigs so a direct comparisons will not be possible. If you are indoors our system will work better than outdoors so test both conditions.

 

Of course time code transmission and audio quality will always come out the best on the Zaxcom system. Audio coverage will vari. The interseting part of the ERX is that it is a Quad diversity receiver so its resistance to dropouts within its coverage area will be excellent.

 

Glenn

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Based on what other people have posted on this board, it also seems like your environment matters a lot. The Zaxcom, Lectrosonics, Comtek and Sennheisers have physical conditions they shine in and others they hit some trouble. Indoors, outdoors, are there walls you are going through, or that the signals can bounce off of. 

Then again, I am not sure those tests were all tuned to the same frequency, so what Larry posted above is step one to a valid "real world test". Then you run the test in real world environments. Modern apartment buildings, old brick/stone buildings, in the woods, on a soccer field etc. 

In my experience the Comteks give the illusion of better range because they always sound noisy, so when they start to break up it's masked by the noise. On the other end, the all digital Zaxcom IFB is more obvious when you are out of range. I'm not saying which one has longer range, but digital breakup is a different beast. 

 

The other factor is what they offer. The Lectrosonics offer the push button ability to hop between different transmitters, which is sometimes expected on a lot of bigger reality shows with multiple mixers. The Zaxnet offers, well Zaxnet. I have blown people's minds when I hand them an ERX2TCD so they can take notes and have the TC on their IFB unit. You can also add a Zaxcom IFB100 to a Nomad for more output power. I'm not sure if that's that much better than the Nomad internal one though, or if you would be better keeping an eye on people trying little amps in the bag. There is something great about one transmitter feeding your IFB as well as your camera scratch tracks AND sending TC to the cameras. When I do a narrative film project, most are shot on a Red camera, so TC box of some sort is required. I would velcro a Denecke SB-3 and a Sennheiser G2 for scratch audio. I was also running Comteks for the crew monitors. That's not too bad, but it's a lot nicer when you replace those two boxes with a little lightweight ERX2TCD. That's even better when you are working with smaller cameras, then the operator wants small and light. 

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I was going to comment on Larry Fisher's advice about comparative testing but Glenn beat me to it. Lectro, Sennheiser and Comtek all operate on standard UHF frequencies and when testing and comparing they should be set to the same frequency. Even within these units that may be difficult (with Comtek being in the 216 mhz region). It is not possible to have the Zaxcom units on the same frequency because Zaxcom is the only one using 2.4 ghz transmission. My conclusion based on some real world testing is that if all you need from your IFB is the best possible range in all environments and adequate audio, the Lectro or Sennheiser will probably give you the best range. But with Lectro and Sennhesier, that's all you're getting. With Zaxcom, using the term IFB for their system is really not telling the whole story. Having an ERX receiver that displays timecode, can be used as a camera hop for distribution of audio AND timecode, the ability to preview (monitor) all the wireless body packs and lots of other features, make it an excellent choice for "IFB". I would not expect to use the Zaxcom IFB for the Utility person who needs to go off the set and back to the truck --- for that I would use a Comtek because as someone pointed out, it will not sound good but you'll be able to hear something when well out of normal range.

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As was said, in some cases you can't really compare systems on the same freqs because they don't use the same freqs.  (Esp re PR72).  But a decision has to be made, so the next best thing is having the situation and antenna placement etc as much the same as you can.  An advantage to the tried and true audio hop+ separate Lockit box setup is that an issue with one doesn't disable the other (like battery or big RF interf etc), and the pieces can be configed different ways.

 

philp

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Thus, all discussion is redundant. We all need to conjure the sacred words "It Depends" whenever our minds start wandering off in that gruesome direction of thinking and wanting to discuss things. Discussion is futile. "It depends" is eternal, and true. Ohm.

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When AskSenatorSound.com is launched later this year, it will have only one section for questions to be asked and the Reply to Post will have 3 checkboxes: "it depends", "call the manufacturer" and "yes". Shouldn't be too difficult to moderate that forum. Good luck.

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When AskSenatorSound.com is launched later this year, it will have only one section for questions to be asked and the Reply to Post will have 3 checkboxes: "it depends", "call the manufacturer" and "yes". Shouldn't be too difficult to moderate that forum. Good luck.

Nope, there won't even be a reply box, just a notice that says 'do a search'.

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ERX's are amazing but range sucks. In the bag is fine and as long as you are close to the camera and those listening.

On a cart you will need an amplifier.

Really pay attention to how Zaxcom words things. With there wireless they never say there products get good range. But! They do really empathize that if out of range they have built in recorders so no audio will be lost.

I think Zaxcom wireless on a cart with amplifiers work great from guys I know use it on here. In the bag doubtful. Lectro for life!!! (Except with ERX's, I do love them)

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Just to clarify, Justan, when you say "Zaxcom wireless" you need to specify that you are talking about Zaxcom wireless IFB (2.4 ghz). Zaxcom digital wireless (for talent mics) have excellent range. I do use full receiving antennas but no amplifier, range has been just fine. Zaxcom emphasizes the recording feature because it is unique to Zaxcom wireless --- it is not a substitute nor an apology for lack of range. It is, of course, a huge advantage when you are having wireless difficulties (and not necessarily just range issues) where there are frequency problems or real range issues, like when the talent jumps in a car and drives away.

 

The topic is comparative range with the leading IFB solutions, not talent wireless.

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Just to clarify, Justan, when you say "Zaxcom wireless" you need to specify that you are talking about Zaxcom wireless IFB (2.4 ghz). Zaxcom digital wireless (for talent mics) have excellent range. I do use full receiving antennas but no amplifier, range has been just fine. Zaxcom emphasizes the recording feature because it is unique to Zaxcom wireless --- it is not a substitute nor an apology for lack of range. It is, of course, a huge advantage when you are having wireless difficulties (and not necessarily just range issues) where there are frequency problems or real range issues, like when the talent jumps in a car and drives away.

The topic is comparative range with the leading IFB solutions, not talent wireless.

Yes you are right. I was referring to all Zaxcom wireless. I've only used there ERX's. No one in my area uses Zaxcom wireless (Meaning the talent wireless units) I know a few who have rented them and were not happy with them.

But yes! On topic. Very happy with the ERX's but I'm holding into my Comteks because they do offer better range.

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Hi all-

 

I appreciate all your thoughts and input on this topic.   What I've seen echoed in this thread is concurrent with what I've heard around town, and that is this:

 

Out of the bag and LOS, in close proximity to ERX's, Zaxnet works fine.  Some of you feel that a Lectro Lma at 50mw to an R1a has a bit better range.

 

Thanks, I have a good rough estimate of what to expect and this is precisely the info I was looking for.

 

Vincent  

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