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Richard Ragon

New IFB system

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I wasn't planning on selling off my whole Block 24 ifb system, but someone offered to buy most of it, so I said, "well.. bite it and just get on with it".  

So, I'm in the market for replacing it, and here's what I need.

I'm a Lectro fan on the ifb side, mostly because while expensive, it just works so, so, so well..  I had x2 T4 transmitters on my cart, and x2 smv transmitters on my bag, and I was able to have 11 receivers that I could use for any bag or cart gig.


1) The first choice, buy the whole system again with the same pieces, only in Block 22.  Retire the x3 venue channels, and x2 411s on the bag, and move all my wireless to block 19, 20, and 21.  Then just buy as many r1a's as I can.  Pros:  This would be the cheapest route as I can use the SMVs for new ifb transmitters for the bag.  Cons:  I'm afraid of putting ifbs in blocks close to my wireless.  Will the 'spray' from the transmitters, effect other close blocks??

2) Second choice,  buy new 941 or VHF ifb?  x2 T4 units, x2 smvs, and r1a's.  I'm an FCC part 74 holder, so this is not a problem.  Pros:  Would put ifb far away.  Cons:  would cost a small fortune to buy everything.

3) 3rd choice, buy M2 Duet System.  Pros:  would be nice to have all those channels, on my cart (and Dante).  Cons:  No bag set up, and even higher prices.. I would estimate close to 20K just for all the receivers.  Wow.  Does the M2 Duet System even integrate with r1a's??  

4) Go with something other then lectro?  Comtec?

Anyone else find themselves having to move around wireless lately?

Thanks for everyone's input

-Richard Ragon

 

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Richard,

In the spring I picked up a Shure PSM 900 system.. A solid purchase.. Sound Quality is excellent. Range is also on par with other systems and in some cases better (Punching thru Corrugated Metal Buildings). Best part is it's a Stereo transmitter that can setup as dual mono.. The receivers allow my Boom ops to dial in the blend they have from each other..IE Boom 1 is being sent to R, Boom 2 to L and on Receivers they can set that L/R blend..

Receivers are metal cases  I have the G7 range and once I found an open freq (510) didn't move the rest of the season.. The transmitter can quickly change output power from 10/50/100 mw.. I ran it at 50 a majority of the time, kicking up to 100 when needed and occasionally down to 10 when we hit some crazy reflection issues on build sets.  The cost is very competitive and ended up purchasing 2 transmitters and 2 receivers... Thumbs up..

ML  

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FWIW I run my Lectro IFB TX (a 400) in the same block with some of my talent systems in a crowded bag and have been fine.  No knock on the Shure system but as expensive as the Lectro IFB RX are I think they work really well, sound good and can always be sold in an instant if you change your mind. 

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I would not want to be using a whole bunch of Duets on set mostly because they eat through batteries. About 6 hours on lithium AA and about 4 hours on rechargeables. 

 

Great for boom ops though. 

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The duet system is also, as you said, very expensive. 

I am still (because I said it many times) a very happy user of the Sennheiser IEM sytem. It can also send out a 2-channel signal and the receivers can choose either signal or a mixture of both. That only works with the half-rack transmitter, though. 

I usually keep everyone on the same frequency and when I move to the bag I have two pocket tx, one for director etc and one for boom-op. The latter needs to change their frequency in this case. For everyone else it’s seemless. 

 

Range is impressive, the new transmitters now work at 50mW, the receivers sound good and it’s pretty cheap

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1 hour ago, Constantin said:

Range is impressive, the new transmitters now work at 50mW, the receivers sound good and it’s pretty cheap


Are you referring to the SK500 G4? I'm thinking about getting one to go with a couple of G3 IEM receivers, which should be compatible. The A-band G3 IEMs were on sale at Thomann when I checked yesterday. I've had a hard time finding out what connectors the G4 500s use, is it the 3-pin Lemo or the 3.5mm TRS on the input?

I really like Sennheiser IEMs as well. They sound very good for the price, they're ridiculously simple to use, they're quite reliable and they run about 10hrs on 2500mAh Ni-Mh rechargables. They're also built pretty tough.

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5 hours ago, Ilari Sivil said:


Are you referring to the SK500 G4? 

 

I was actually talking about the rackmount transmitter, but the SK300 will also do 50mW. 

 

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On 8/15/2018 at 10:41 PM, Mark LeBlanc said:

Richard,

In the spring I picked up a Shure PSM 900 system.. A solid purchase.. Sound Quality is excellent.> snip

Was tempted to try the PSM 900 as well. Only thing that turned me off a bit was the 15 volt DC input. Not an issue on the carts that have a PowerMax, but kind of limits options if you’re just using a regular 12 volt system.  Build quality looks very solid though.

 

Have used both the Sennheiser IEM 300 systems and the Lectro Duet (just for boom ops) with good results.

 

Would be tempted by the Lectro VHF system for situations where I need more range.

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I have 2 PSM systems.. One is on cart running at 12v the other at 14... ZERO issues

12 v Power is PSC Powermx original version and 2nd is Powerstar..

On small cart with 788/Field venue/ 1 micron and wireless vid I get about 7hrs on 35ah pelican battery..

 

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Mark: Thanks for the info on your experience with the Shure PSM.

When I spoke to Shure, they said that the 900 would probably work on 12 volts, but it would be borderline, as it was at the bottom end of the regulator range. They’re usually pretty conservative on their design tolerances though.

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On 8/15/2018 at 10:28 PM, Richard Ragon said:

Will the 'spray' from the transmitters, effect other close blocks??

This very much depends on a lot of factors, mainly, what is the RF environment like, how many channels of wireless you are running, etc. If you coordinate your frequencies well, and you make sure there's enough physical distance between the transmitter and the receivers to make sure you're not desensitizing the receivers' front end, you should be ok. If you add things like band-pass filters in front of the receivers, then you can make sure that any signal outside of the filter gets attenuated. In short, it can be done, but you have to be meticulously careful.

 

On 8/15/2018 at 10:28 PM, Richard Ragon said:

buy new 941 or VHF ifb?

There's pros and cons to either of these choices. 941 seems to be super clean even in really crowded RF environments like Times Square, but I suspect that may not last long as the available spectrum reduces after the post-spectrum auction business comes to a conclusion and manufacturers (like Lectro) continue to make wireless transmitters in other viable TV channels (like 941). I'm sure it won't be long before other wireless manufacturers follow suit, and not just audio, probably video too. VHF is great because it doesn't require too much power to transmit over long distances, and no matter what, you can always find good frequencies to work. Both are definitely viable choices.

 

On 8/15/2018 at 10:28 PM, Richard Ragon said:

 Does the M2 Duet System even integrate with r1a's?? 

They do not. The Duet is a fully digital system, whereas the R1a's are not, they're digital hybrid.

 

On 8/15/2018 at 10:28 PM, Richard Ragon said:

Go with something other then lectro?  Comtec?

That's a harder question to answer, as everybody's taste is different. All the options you've mentioned are great. I think ultimately it will come down to money and preference. Option 1 seems like the most frugal choice, and you can definitely make it work. Other options like Comtek are definitely more accessible price-wise. Myself and many other folks I know use Comteks for everyone who does not need to critically listen to the program. That is most of the folks in video village (clients, producers, etc). Usually better IFBs like Lectro IFB / Duet only go to sound department, maybe script supervisor, maybe director. So that may be another option, spend the money on quality IFBs where it's really needed, and the rest get Comteks.

Also look at the Sennheiser IEM. They do sound good (definitely better than comtek), and fall somewhere between a Lectro R1a and a Comtek PR-216.

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For the sake of thoroughness, here are most of the current and common IFB beltpack choices:

 

Sennheiser IEM

Lectrosonics R1a (VHF, UHF, 941)

Lectrosonics Duet

Comtek (72 or 216)

Zaxcom ERX

Shure PSM

Listen Technologies (1.9GHz, 72, or IR)

 

There are plenty of other options AM, FM, and 2.4GHz bands too.

 

Richard, you've got plenty of places to demo any of the options you're looking at.  Make sure that whatever you decide, you're going to be completely satisfied with it.  Good luck!

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@Richard Ragon Franco uses Listen Tech 216s (not listed above) and swears by them. They are cheaper than anything listed, lifetime warranty, and are compatible with Comtek 216 systems (which is handy when going from cart to bag since Comtek makes bag transmitters but LT only makes rack). They are also stereo or dual channel so you can play with different feeds from the cart. 

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ListenTech does have a portable 72 & 216 MHz Tx. The "LT-700 Portable Display FM Transmitter".

Addendum; Just like a 3.5mm TRS the input plug for a Sennheiser, the 'Ring' terminal is -10dB line level, The 'Tip' is mic. The red 'mute' switch only functions in the mic level mode.

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On 8/18/2018 at 12:38 PM, Mark LeBlanc said:

I have 2 PSM systems.. One is on cart running at 12v the other at 14... ZERO issues

12 v Power is PSC Powermx original version and 2nd is Powerstar..

On small cart with 788/Field venue/ 1 micron and wireless vid I get about 7hrs on 35ah pelican battery..

 

 

PSM looks great..But, it looks like I can't use it for the bag system.. Which means, I would have to buy an entire other system for a bag system.  Price is great though.

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On 8/20/2018 at 3:06 PM, Jose Frias said:

 

They do not. The Duet is a fully digital system, whereas the R1a's are not, they're digital hybrid.

 

That's not entirely correct - the M2R receivers CAN receive an analog transmission from an IFBT4 - go to the compat set screen in the setup menu and Select IFB mode.  You'll be good to go!

 

On 8/20/2018 at 3:06 PM, Jose Frias said:

 

They do not. The Duet is a fully digital system, whereas the R1a's are not, they're digital hybrid.

 

That's not entirely correct - the M2R receivers CAN receive an analog transmission from an IFBT4 - go to the compat set screen in the setup menu and Select IFB mode.  You'll be good to go!

 

One other option I didn't see mentioned - reblocking your existing IFB's  - easily done, less costly than replacing the system (unless you get a good price selling your existing units)  and you end up with new units in old housings - the reblock involves all new boards.  Check with our service department for pricing.  You have until July of 202 before it NEEDS to be done.  

 

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4 hours ago, Gordonmoore1 said:

That's not entirely correct - the M2R receivers CAN receive an analog transmission from an IFBT4 - go to the compat set screen in the setup menu and Select IFB mode.  You'll be good to go!

 

I wasn't aware that the receivers can do analog as well, good to know! Thanks for the correction!

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