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Bax

Interference issues with the SD633 & IFB200 comb

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Hi there,

 

I would like here to share with you my experiences working with the combination of the SD633 mixer and the IFB200 Transceiver and especially the interference issues i had with.

 

First of all, i must say that the SD633 and IFB200 are fantastic tools.

The engineering behind the SD633 is huge as is the potential of the IFB200.

 

But, the combination of this two devices is not as stress-free as we could most of as expect.

Indeed, it is obvious to me today that, the SD633 and the MixPreD (witch are the two only mixers i tested until now) are not very tolerant in 2.4GHz radiations...

 

The gear is sitting into a Petrol PS607 bag one next to each other with only the soft orange separator between them. (Photo)

 

The kind of noise you can here is like digital disturbances of a GSM phone.

It seems that the SD633 is very sensitive to the proximity AND direction of the omni 2.4GHz antenna of the IFB200.

 

This noise is recorded when you press REC.

This noise is present in the input stages only.

 

The audio example is the Mix-L out, antenna pointing the Gain (@12 o'clock) of CH1, fader @ 12 o'clock.

 

This phenomena is amplified when:

 

1: When you pointing the 2.4GHz antenna to the Gain or the fader pots

2: When you are on a closed reflective space

3/ When you are close to a reflective surface

 

You can minimize this phenomena by:

 

1: Decrease the transmission power of the IFB200 (there is an issue about that, that you can read on a special topic)

2: Move the antenna far away from the mixer (the solution i adopted)

3: Chose open spaces to closed ones... ;-)

 

In practice, you have to be always very careful about that since this noise can come and go... Not very reassuring i suppose...

 

For me, moving the antenna was the only serious option.

For that, i used a 15cm extension of a SMA-M to SMA-F coax cable. I have a 50cm extension too for a harness installation of the antenna.

 

Hope this will help. Cheers.

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Last month I had some strange digital sounding interference on my wireless using the 633 when in proximity to cameras using the Teradek system, which transmit at 2.4GHz, I believe. Camera crew didn't believe that the Teradek was causing the problem, but it only surfaced when I was in close proximity to the cameras. The Teradek system became too buggy for them and they ditched it, and my interference issues went away.

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This is what I was talking about in my comment: Problems with 2.4 ghz interference is not new it is just that we have so many more devices using it and when we have to use other devices, like the 633 (that may be more susceptible to this sort of interference) in close proximity, it's going to be a problem.

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This isn't just a 633 issue..This 2.4 bleed happens on 664 and (while I dont own one) I've actually heard it on my friends Zaxcom mixer. This is something that has been talked about for some time and the only solution thus far is to remote the antenna.

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This isn't just a 633 issue..This 2.4 bleed happens on 664 and (while I dont own one) I've actually heard it on my friends Zaxcom mixer. This is something that has been talked about for some time and the only solution thus far is to remote the antenna.

I hope people realize from my comment that this is NOT just a SD 633 issue and it is a problem that has been with us for as long as there have been 2.4 ghz signals to deal with. My comment also serves to clarify that this is not just a Zaxcom IFB problem either. My hope is that none of these topics descend into the blame game, damning any one of the great products we use from any or all of the great companies that produce this stuff. Solutions will be found but sometimes it's just not that easy.

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I hope people realize from my comment that this is NOT just a SD 633 issue and it is a problem that has been with us for as long as there have been 2.4 ghz signals to deal with. My comment also serves to clarify that this is not just a Zaxcom IFB problem either. My hope is that none of these topics descend into the blame game, damning any one of the great products we use from any or all of the great companies that produce this stuff. Solutions will be found but sometimes it's just not that easy.

Not at all Jeff, I just wanted to point out that it wasn't isolated to the IFB200/633 combo.

 

Its a tough problem to deal with and there is really no "one size fits all" solution.

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Last month I had some strange digital sounding interference on my wireless using the 633 when in proximity to cameras using the Teradek system, which transmit at 2.4GHz, I believe. Camera crew didn't believe that the Teradek was causing the problem, but it only surfaced when I was in close proximity to the cameras. The Teradek system became too buggy for them and they ditched it, and my interference issues went away.

 

Hey Andy,

 

The Bolt operates on the 5GHz band, not 2.4GHz so it would be rare for it to be the cause of any interference problems. What can happen, however, is channel overlap between the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands, especially when you sandwich the Bolt against another wireless device. 

 

To rectify the issue, newer versions of the Bolt allow its operating frequency to be set manually so you can avoid any possible overlap among your wireless devices.

 

If you have any other questions, just holler: mike@teradek.com

 

-Mike

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bax: " But, the combination of this two devices is not as stress-free as we could most of as expect. "

maybe, maybe not...

this is not about devices, but about the technologies...

maybe you have unreasonable expectations?

" For me, moving the antenna was the only serious option. "

for most of us...

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bax: " But, the combination of this two devices is not as stress-free as we could most of as expect. "

maybe, maybe not...

this is not about devices, but about the technologies...

maybe you have unreasonable expectations?

" For me, moving the antenna was the only serious option. "

for most of us...

It not unreasonable to expect any manufacturer to R&D the technology and test for these types of issues. Without placing blame on any manufacturer there is no excuse for these types of issues to occur. This is too small of a market to not be able to test all of the latest equipment and even communicate with other manufacturers to correct these types of problems..

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Hi Matt,

Small niche market with small manufacturers with small resources and small amounts of engineering time.

 

Also, the call of the Common Engineering Loon is "!!They are doing what with what?!!"

Best,
Larry F
Lectro

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I get what your saying Larry..BUT, these are major players in our market.

 

As a manufacturer are they above testing the product along side its competitors?? Or even with their own products? Just to see if they play nicely together??

 

I understand that you can't test every scenario because of costs etc.. Even though the IFB200 is a new product, the implementation of the technology has been around. Its not like it just came out and all of the sudden we have a new problem to deal with.

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studiomprd: this is not about devices, but about the technologies...

 

maybe, maybe not...

 

studiomprd: maybe you have unreasonable expectations?

 

maybe, maybe not... It fits all i agree  ;)

 

I didn't have the opportunity to check this 2.4GHz bleed with other audio mixer manufacturers yet because i mostly use my own gear. I will try to do that in the near future.

 

It seems that Zaxcom are aware of this particular problem with the SD633 mixer. (mail from the Zaxcom support)

 

Jeff, studiomprd,  i realize that this is probably not about a gear only issue and i strongly believe that, now-days,

when messing 2.4GHz technology with RF and DIGITAL audio mixers into the smallest possible bag, things can be easily out of control.

 

I can understand the necessity for time and support for a hi tech product to achieve maturity but in the other hand, all this gear is made for Audio bag life and i expect from them to work flawlessly, as simple as that.

 

mradlauer, of course i agree with you  

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Dear Bax:

"I can understand the necessity for time and support for a hi tech product to achieve maturity but in the other hand, all this gear is made for Audio bag life and i expect from them to work flawlessly, as simple as that."

 

As it has been discussed, it is not possible for our manufacturers to test everything or to even design all of their products to work perfectly at all times in all bags with all other gear. For example, some of the recorders from Sound Devices, I believe the 744T and possibly the 788T, have had demonstrated RF leakage from the battery compartment (or so I have heard, forgive me if I am using a bad example) which could de-sensitive wireless receivers, in the bag, in close proximity. Does this mean that Sound Devices did not test the product for RF leakage? Does it mean that Sound Devices knew it had a problem and we're unable to fix it? We can speculate all we want but I am sure that Sound Devices was very thorough in their design of these machines and certainly took it into full account that they would be used in a bag with other gear. Now, let's take the example of the IFB devices from Zaxcom --- they all use 2.4 ghz and I can assure you that Glenn Sanders with a degree in electrical engineering and a 20 year history of designing and building gear, is well versed in the potential problems of RF with devices in close proximity to other devices. Should we assume that Zaxcom just decided to ignore this, put out a product that is going to cause problems? Of course not.

 

When you say "all this gear is made for Audio bag" this must include the recorders from Sound Devices, the IFB units from Comtek and Lectrosonics, the DC power distribution units, the RF multi-couplers, and on and on. I would just like to see a balanced approach to solving these problems rather than the sort of brute force blame game that seems to be a feature of this topic.

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This is what I'm getting at Glenn... I may be mistaken but it seems that the major players don't communicate too often... I can understand why, because they don't want to give up trade secrets or whatever, but something has to give when it comes to development.

 

Its awesome to have all these tools...I use all of them, but if they don't play nice from the get go then something has to change.

 

What I don't like is being told by anyone that "its not their problem" or you have to do this or do that... WHY? These things are supposed to make our production lives easier. Its not fair to a customer that pays thousands of dollars for something that in order to use a product you have to use some workaround or this or that.. R&D it...figure it out and FIX IT!

 

Stop making excuses...it gets old and makes people loose confidence in your product.

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"What I don't like is being told by anyone that "its not their problem" or you have to do this or do that... WHY? These things are supposed to make our production lives easier. Its not fair to a customer that pays thousands of dollars for something that in order to use a product you have to use some workaround or this or that.. R&D it...figure it out and FIX IT!"

 
Stop making excuses...it gets old and makes people loose confidence in your product."
 
Why is this directed to Glenn Sanders? Glenn, and no one else at Zaxcom, has made any excuses about anything. All I have seen is dedication to making the best products they can, giving us these amazing tools to do our jobs. You are the only one who is spending an inordinate and un-productive amount of time trying to place blame on one company and one individual. Why don't you ask Jon Tatooles to "R&D it...  figure it out and FIX IT!"? 
 
I thought that my last post might bring this topic back to reality...  I guess I was wrong. 

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My recent experience with the Bolt is that it crippled the reception of an A band Comtek

PR75 transmission...I did not have a chance to test other frequencies.. may get to next month

cut range from a bst 75-216 thru a phase right to pr75 down to about 15 feet (not kidding, and these were not defective components- we even used RF cable supplied by Comtek).

Shut Bolt off.. range goes to more like 100 feet at same location.

 

Have also found it's important to test Preston FiZ frequencies on set, as they will also create an interference zone removing that band of comtek from usefulness.

 

On the plus side, Blackberry handsets shut down Prestons easily.

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I too have had g3 and Srb rendered inoperable with the teradek..... In the heat of battle no chance to test other than turn it off

And problem disappears

Cheers ant

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Even though as the consumer we do not make the individual products, we are making our choices, and building our own system out of the chosen components, and need to hold a bit of responsibility in that system design. If you paid someone to build your bag for you, then you might have a case to complain when it doesn't work.

When troubleshooting, if you focus too much on one element, or the symptom, you will often miss the underlying root cause of the problem.

These manufacturers are doing everything they can to build great products that are reliable and problem free.

Running into these kinds of issues have pushed me to learn more about the underlying technology of the equipment I operate, so I can understand what's happening, and find a solution to it, or at least a work around.

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Ok..

 

First of all I want to apologize to Glenn. My post was NEVER meant to be directed at him.

 

Glenn and I had a long friendly conversation regarding the post and I apologized to him personally and explained to him my intent of the post.

 

I am not placing blame on any one company. I think its in every ones best interest to communicate when developing new products to see how they react or interact with existing products etc.

 

I will say that the problems that I experienced were handled quickly and professionally by SD.. Not by John but his group and all of my gear plays nicely with each other...with the exception of this wifi thing..

 

As I said. Typing Glenn's name was purely a typo on my part and not directed at him or Zaxcom in the slightest. I'm sorry for what sounds like me dragging him through the mud publicly.

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To expect a consumer to do the research necessary to be aware of this particular problem with their exact system is just silly. This issue has popped up with SD mixer/recorders, Zaxcom mixer/recorders, BDS V4 power distros. and various others. The problem is it happens to some with a particular set up, and then not to others using the same/similar configuration. If there is a clear/consistent problem with a manufacturers product interfacing with other current products from other manufacturers, the manufacturer and/or the reseller should make that know to potential buyers. This issue seams to be more random than that which makes it so frustrating.

Even though as the consumer we do not make the individual products, we are making our choices, and building our own system out of the chosen components, and need to hold a bit of responsibility in that system design. If you paid someone to build your bag for you, then you might have a case to complain when it doesn't work.
When troubleshooting, if you focus too much on one element, or the symptom, you will often miss the underlying root cause of the problem.
These manufacturers are doing everything they can to build great products that are reliable and problem free.
Running into these kinds of issues have pushed me to learn more about the underlying technology of the equipment I operate, so I can understand what's happening, and find a solution to it, or at least a work around.

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This issue seams to be more random than that which makes it so frustrating.

I know people who are using the IFB200 with a 633 or 664 and have no issue, and I know people who are using the IFB200 with a 633 or 664 who are having issues. Why are some people having problems while others aren't - I don't know.

Is it Zaxcom's fault? Is it Sound Devices fault? Is it a fault with the cabling? Is it the way peoples bags are set up?

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To expect a consumer to do the research necessary to be aware of this particular problem with their exact system is just silly. This issue has popped up with SD mixer/recorders, Zaxcom mixer/recorders, BDS V4 power distros. and various others. The problem is it happens to some with a particular set up, and then not to others using the same/similar configuration. If there is a clear/consistent problem with a manufacturers product interfacing with other current products from other manufacturers, the manufacturer and/or the reseller should make that know to potential buyers. This issue seams to be more random than that which makes it so frustrating.

If the problem was clear and consistent I would think it's a design flaw in one product, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Intermittent problems are frustrating for everyone, and pointing fingers at a manufacturer won't help figure it out. That's just the way I see it.

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This problem has been present for a while and has been discussed before. I have it with my TRX CL and have, along with others, tried to isolate the problem including using different cables, different power sources, no cables, different RF materials, and different mixers. I find the noise present on both my 633 and my Nomad although it is not as bad on my Nomad. The only things that seem to work are either reducing the power of transmission, or remoting the antenna itself. Both of these options I don't find suitable as one, you get quite a bit of reduced range when you reduce the power, and two, the whole reason I bought the CL was so I didn't have to deal with the issues of remoting the antenna like I did with the original TRX 900/STA in the bag. I would love to hear another solution that doesn't dramatically affect the range of the unit and doesn't require remoting an antenna. So far I've only been told that it's a 633 problem and I don't agree with that.

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"The only things that seem to work are either reducing the power of transmission, or remoting the antenna itself."

 

I think these are the only solutions when dealing with 2.4 ghz RF transmission in close proximity to other devices that are susceptible to interference at this frequency.

 

"So far I've only been told that it's a 633 problem and I don't agree with that."

 

Please, it is not a question of whether you "agree" with this or not. I think when we discuss any of these sorts of problems it is most productive to analyze the problem and look for what are the possible solutions. It is, in fact, a SD 633 problem, a Nomad problem, a TRX-CL problem --- we need to look to where there can be a fix or a workaround if you want to use all these things together. Has Sound Devices done whatever they can to make their recorder less susceptible to this interference? Probably (and maybe more work can be done design-wise). Has Zaxcom done whatever they can to minimize the problems associated with 2.4 ghz? Probably (and still more work to be done I'm sure).

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