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Invisity Earwig-click........click.....click...click clickclick SOLID WHITE NOISE


James Louis
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Hi my union talent is at his wits end with the invisity, and I don't blame him. When it craps out with solid white noise, only pulling it out, twisting it again, and saying a prayer will give you an arbitrary bit of time before it craps out again. Inevitably during a take.

 

I've tried Phonek's contact, technical support, their US 800 number, which only covers their transmitters, and even their facebook messenger. No response. I've also done the google search for this site as well as the production audio google group.

 

I might add: we're on a stage not unlike a freight container. The top and all 4 sides are panels of leds and props, ribs of steel. Also, you might find it interesting to note that the earwig is measured to work 13 hours off a single battery. We were superstitious at first and swapped out the batteries. I've hovered the antenna within 15 feet of the user, while the transmitter remains anywhere from 20 to 30 feet from the talent, (and 40 feet from the antenna) depending on where in the tube the talent is standing.

 

Also of interest, our mixer just walked the full set, touched everything, has kept it in for the last 35 minutes, walked out to our reception/holding, and workshop area, all of which is well outside the recommended range for the device, and the earwig hasn't acted up once. Our talent is not a particularly sweaty person, to the contrary, he's as buff as an astronaut. Intrigued? Read on:

 

Hi, your FAQ contact is still throwing an error: Greetings!
This will be the second time that I have submitted this inquiry.
A few things I might add:
1) read the FAQ mentioning that occasional hiss is normal. I don't understand how a PTT system would make this better-we are using a shure mic sm58 with a PTT system going into a BST-25, and we still get a hiss. Pressing the button and talking again has not made the problem go away.
2) this is the second invisity that we have received and we are experiencing the same behavior.
3) we did do a frequency scan for our area and our mixer toasted the invisity this morning with the PC software-the next day clearly confirms that he picked a frequency that is permitted with the transmitter, but this is an area I do not fully understand. I think it was Channel 42. Can you help us choose a reliable frequency, and now that we have two units, would you recommend we use the same frequency on both, or use a separate frequency as a backup?
 
Please do read the full description such that you know what I have tried or understand 
 
Technical Support:
We are currently on-set with a union feature film. Our primary talent is experiencing full white noise static through an invisity received from a BST-25 Transmitter. When it happens, which is on average very 10 minutes, between rehearsals, etc, the peoples can be temporarily remedied by changing to the other gain setting or even turning it to the 0 position. But even in the 0 position, I have noticed that the static comes in. The sound masks all incoming signal, which we are sending through a dynamic microphone. That is, the signal does not interrupt the hiss.
 
The bst-25 is on 
Channel 14
16.337
The antenna signal between the '3' and '7'
The earwig is set to channel 14
216.3375
I am going from a sticker on the earwigs case.
 
We toasted it to Channel 42 16075
 
Could you help me troubleshoot the static problem?
We are using a Lectro SNA-600 antenna which I would be grateful if you could confirm my extended length for each arm to be 29.7cm. Is that correct?
 
Thank you so much for your support, and I can reply with images and further details if I receive an email from you.
 
All the best,
James
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Hi James. I will be using an Invisty earwig next week. sorry to hear about your problems. you are using an SNA-600 for the BST-25 transmitter, have you tried the system with the Comtek whip antenna? I will be using the Comtek Phasright antenna with this rental system. Any comments from other users about the various antennas?

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I occasionally fill in on a production that uses a Phonak.  Seems like it is pretty reliable.

 

They use a relay system for the transmit.  Lectro R1 receiver right into a Comtek TX (it's a portable, so assuming its a M-216 option 7 TX, but I have never look closely).  For an antenna they use an SNA-600 modified with the Remote Audio Miracle Whip MW216 Kit found here:

 

http://www.remoteaudio.com/antennas/

 

The relay rig gets mounted near talent, and the producer has a PTT mic into a Lectro beltpack set for IFB mode.

 

I'd agree, try different antenna options and get the TX as close to talent as possible.

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Bless you for these immediate replies-We have been ill-equipped to try another antenna, and when they sent us another invisity, they have only sent us another of the same whip. (True Audio, Nashville, which I've always respected.) We are shuttling in a new unit, and having a little more to do with it this time, I'm telling them to do it right: get the manufacturer's antenna, and the TX-300v in order to take any brains out of this decision making.

 

It's not a subtle failure, as it would be if you were driving passed a radio station out of range. Could an antenna really chime in to that extent? I know digital signals can fail completely, but I thought if it were a range problem it should be a partial failure, first, no? It's not like if we take a step back in the direction we came from it goes back in range...

 

Anyho, I like how you think, and I'll let the mixer know that we're already getting replies!  Best Board Ever!

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Back on board-our AD is skipping the SM-58, our first AC stopped pulling focus with a remote, got everyone on airplane mode (lest this was not self evident to people)-and at least for now, we are at peace. Oh wait, yup. Spit at us again. What a sport our principal is.

 

Oh did I mention, we are on an ARRI Alexa, using a TeraLink local network going through a linksys? In the other room is an Airport Express, but that's just about out of range and does have internet.

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It can be a war....  I have fought with the new ones that have many times...  worked perfectly one day, and not at all the next.... This is after exhaustive rounds of trouble shooting.  I have come to the conclusion that they are simply finicky.... 

Customer service?... One guy on a phone with little to no information at the North American distributer.... Service...  Bye, Bye to the country of Switzerland...

 

  I personally ended up getting a few to hope one will work when needed.... and the Comtek Inducer earwig system to have on hand as a back up.. Thank god...  I think they sound better too...

 

  The little "OVEN" for cooking the units new frequencies can be very helpful on set, but it's over  $800.00 just for that "re frequency device.  Many times for whatever reason, they need a new cook....  

Again, I have had them work perfect and then... for no reason... no so...

 

 We actually sent for two new units once from someone, and when they came, only one worked.... Classic..

CH 40 and below is new advice I never heard of...  worth trying....  but ... break out the oven....  sounds like you may have one...

Intermodulation is a great tip from Robert....

Phonak batteries are the only ones recommended by the manufacturer and many others as well...  They scoff at the use of other batts... and swear there is something to it...  

Good luck... I HATE those FU**ING things...  It's always something.... and then,  once and a while, they perform perfectly...

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I've always heard to stay in the narrow band.

My microears are tuned to 0/8 which are compatible with the village set that's usually tuned to 6/0.

 

Do you have anything else going to another Comtek channel that may be inter modulating more when it is being fed an audio signal while rolling that wasn't there doing the walk test?

 

There's always a high noise floor when nothing feeding the transmitter. Like a highly compressed signal. That's just the nature of the beast so far as I can tell.

 

Scott

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I'm going to treat the earwig with tape to make sure it sits further out from his ear. Any recommendations for material?

 

I walked the whole set and surroundings, earwigs in both ears. Touched everything, walked the set, put my hands under water. Flushed the toilets and triggered the pump, touched the earwig to every transmitter and receiver, refreqed the comteks, did a intermodulation test from every walkie, touched all the props, walked 200 yards out of range-I couldn't upset the dragon.

 

We go into rehearsal-mind you the camera is not rolling-and sure enough our actor gets blasted with white noise. I boomed in a crawl space 2 feet from front of camera and our actor. I kept the other unit in my ear the whole time (there was never a pretense of crew cooties) and not one drop out. He hands his to me to say, "see this one's acting up" and yup, I got to hear it. It's intolerable. Not just the static of an open mic. To the contrary, I repeat, it's noise you can no longer speak over in a mic or line sent to the unit. I hand him the other unit. His acts up. Mine-the one he just passed to me to swap out- makes it through all the remaining takes.

 

His ear canals are uniquely deep, a lot of baritone in his voice. I'm also going to put his earwigs on a surface and trigger a similar tonal register-sit it on stuff that vibrates. My voice on the other hand is kind of owen wilson boyish.

 

Just so you know I saw you: I will account for the conditions we are "airing" the batteries. It is admittedly a dusty work space. And there's literally exceptionally fine particulates that are being used for effect-nothing smaller than what is to code. But certainly feel the soot everywhere-on my keyboard as I write this even. Wait a sec, maybe they are full of sh-t.

 

And our mixer reviewed your reply Scott-he'll put it back in the oven.

Also, our crane operator wins the MVP for anchoring the antenna with a free sightline above any wiring and paneling. Owe him one.

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Have you tried an inductive earpiece with neck loop and either Comtek or Lectro tx/rx?

Just to ascertain whether the invisity is incompatible with this particular person?

As we all know, some people suck up rf more than others when wearing radio mics, this person might have some strange effect on the invisity? Especially when they seem to work fine for you and whoever else tests them.

I use inductive earpieces and neck loops with Lectro tx/rx a lot and have very minimal problems. I would try this on the person, if wardrobe allows for the extra pack on the body + neck loop and see if that's any better for him.

With some time to wire up the talent with neck loops etc, it is possible to "hide" everything with tricky wardrobe.

Good luck!!

Mega

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If it was me I would not try the patience of the talent and production by trying to get the current systems to work any more. I would go to the old fashioned neck-or-room loop induction system immediately and see if you have better luck. I bet you do.

philp

Thanks for saying what I was trying to say in a much more concise manner!!

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Sorry to hear about your bad luck with the Wigs, James.

 

 With regard to:   I'm going to treat the earwig with tape to make sure it sits further out from his ear. Any recommendations for material?

 

 I've had great success using thin strips of Moleskin to help seal the unit after switching it on and locking it into the first volume setting. This tends to keep it together and bulk out the unit for a tight fit in a wide ear canal.   With regard to batteries.  Many brands are trustworthy and should not affect the unit's operation, provided they are from a known manufacturer (Phonak batteries are not necessarily the best).

 

Good luck. I hope this was usefull...

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This has all been invaluably useful. Google has already indexed this thread to the first search page, and I doubt this sort of issue has been documented or rung out. Would be nice if the FAQ's were revised on the photek website.

 

Cue cards are going to win out if I can help it in this next go. But I would love love love it if anyone here inferred that this was my first time creating an induction loop, and talked me through it like I was a 5 year old. We have a neck loop model arriving tomorrow, and looking forward to trying it. For awhile, I had set aside my materials for making one, despite knowing I'd hit a wall: 

 

Btw, thanks to your help, I think I have the explanation that accounts for all the conditions I've mentioned, and it makes for a great story! 

 

Yesterday, the earwigs, now treated with moleskin copped out again in wardrobe, so we didn't need to explore the avenue further. I had hoped that the moleskin would also dampen sympathetic frequencies in the vocal range. And I suspect that the stage, with metal ribbing and cables running in circles, may already be acting as an induction loop, propagating frequencies not in our favor and EMI-although it would be nice to confirm that EMI does indeed have these particular tonal characteristics.

 

I matched the impedance of the earwig-10ohms, found Ethernet cable and alternatively copper wire of a rather thick gauge which I can harvest from an old rack mount power unit(not sure what I'm looking at). I can send current through a variable regulated dc power supply. Or just use the run of antenna cable which we already have-which is already measured to match the output of the antenna signal and is already literally set up to fit the only signal we have going out. We have the bst-25 transmitter which does not have a house output.

 

If I was to create an induction loop around a modular section of the set with the antenna cable itself, how would I fit the plus and minus of the loop if I only had a pin (what do you call a "cable" box connection) into an antenna port? 

 

I know you mentioned the neck loop-is some infomercial tv booster kit from walmart going to do the trick, because I'm no where near requesting a real one. Sure would have been nice I comtek even pointed to the t-loop that they recommend as compatible with the earwig on the same product page, or our mixer might have picked a different model entirely. We do have the M216, which only takes line in, and that ain't gonna help I don't think. But what materials would I need to create a neck loop? That would be even more coo coo I think. No one but the sound dept gets off on this stuff, and I'm already sterling time just writing this.

 

 I have TelePrompTer feeds as backup and keynote cue cards-run from the remote app-which I think would be even nicer. I'm using a "push down" transition on them which reveals tr next line, and a marker font which looks straight off Saturday night live. And I put in an order for an M99 marker along with their other art supplies-there is clearly a reason why tv workflow doesn't trust computers to this final hour solution.

 

Thing is, practically the whole stage is lit up. But I see this more as a creative challenge. I've been able to place my boom. Now I just need to think of the antithesis of this: where will his site lines be that isn't part of his blocking and put a pigeon on a plate  there, or just tuck a laptop on a chair.

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Have you tried an inductive earpiece with neck loop and either Comtek or Lectro tx/rx?

Just to ascertain whether the invisity is incompatible with this particular person?

As we all know, some people suck up rf more than others when wearing radio mics, this person might have some strange effect on the invisity? Especially when they seem to work fine for you and whoever else tests them.

I use inductive earpieces and neck loops with Lectro tx/rx a lot and have very minimal problems. I would try this on the person, if wardrobe allows for the extra pack on the body + neck loop and see if that's any better for him.

With some time to wire up the talent with neck loops etc, it is possible to "hide" everything with tricky wardrobe.

Good luck!!

Mega

 

If it was me I would not try the patience of the talent and production by trying to get the current systems to work any more.  I would go to the old fashioned neck-or-room loop induction system immediately and see if you have better luck.  I bet you do.

 

philp

Could not agree more with Peter and Phillip.....

This is why I just completed an extensive Comtek Induction system with 5 systems....  I was so tired of fighting with the Phonaks...  When they work, they work, when they don't, know when to stop fighting and move on to plan B... as Phillip says..

  Those Comtek Neck loops or ROOM loops work great and I think actually sound better.  Your sending audio to reliable comtek receivers, for me, they always work fine... very dependable... and at around $250 brand new for the induction ear pieces, and a few bucks for the Neck loops, you really can't go wrong...  This has been covered on another thread as well...

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The FM Phonak's work great, and sounds like you're having battery issues. If they're outputting white noise in my experience it has always been fixed with a new battery.

The batteries are very susceptible to oxidation and age. I've been buying mine from Costco, in the hearing aid department near the pharmacy. Size 10 you get 40 for $10 and they seem to be "fresh".

 

Bud.

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Hey james. sorry you still had issues with the Phonaks. I just finished 2 days on a commercial with Phonak and Comtek BST25/16 transmitter on narrow band setting. You had me worried because of all your problems, but fortunately the RF gods shone on me. I  used the Comtek Phase-Rite antenna, SM58 with switch for director. rigged wireless link to BST25 via Lectro 201 RX. We were on location in a museum first day and outdoors the second day (cold,cold,cold). had few complaints from talent besides the usual: not all that comfortable to wear for a long day. I kept my lightweight cart as close as possible to the action to hedge my RF bets. There was a ton of RF floating around: 2 Boxx wireless SDI video links (often problematic) at 5.4ish Gig TX. plus a terradek. amazingly I had zero RF problems, except for other Comtek feeds to the agency folks in the RV, (bless all 12 of 'em). Backed up with a little speaker set up in the RV patched in to the embedded SDI feed from the Boxx. meh. the Phonak was a rental unit (had a backup earwig too). Seriously considering getting the Comtek neckloop/earwig system. Phonak was too much of a nail biter for me. i was lucky this time, but next time....

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My experience with Phonak problems has mostly been battery related:

- Poor battery stock

- Alcohol swab (for sanitary reasons) would short the battery contacts, draining the battery much faster than it should

 

I've also had issues with a poorly tuned Comtek BST25/16 transmitter. It was off by a whole channel at one point.

 

The stability of the signal is important too, because I've had issues where a simple on/off reset of the phonak would let it continue to work for the full duration of the expected battery life (vindicating the battery and transmitter). I believe that the phonak does not do a good job recovering after being hit with interference.

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We went with cue cards and a comtek neck-loop, everything's aces.

 

Strange set of circumstances, NewEdition. I know these small receivers work with small diversity, but it sounds like you are describing something else...

Hi bud!

Battery oxidation has been suggested as well, and I'd love to agree with you, although there is no way to control for it and rule everything else out. Only I can mention that we've tried batteries which we've bought, photek's batteries, batteries that came with 4 separate kits, batteries swapped out every time the earpiece cops out.

 

They are peeled off the packaging as we apply them. And no other batteries show signs of corrosion. The units themselves have remained in jars with silicon packages in their pouches. 

 

I'll also reiterate that the batteries are spec'd to last over 13 hours of continuous use. Where we were using them for 5-20 minutes.

 

Of course after all this, you could still be correct, but the environment that we are using them in-a dusty stage in winter-is really the only constraint.

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