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tolachi

Used Wireless Recommendation for Audio Documentary Work

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I want to get a used wireless setup for audio documentary work. We mostly work with a single subject usually more rural than urban. I'm concerned primarily with excellent audio quality next with battery life. Changing batteries is an option, but going out and getting 3-4 hours of audio at a time isn't uncommon. The rest of the gear is a mixpre 3, sanken cs-3e, rode ntg3, and dpa 4060.

 

I was hoping to get a used lectosonics 411/400 kit and have seen a couple deals at around $1100 but $1350 seems to be more of the going rate. However, i would love to spend less to try out something we aren't sure how much we will use or how valuable it would be. Are there some other used lower cost options that will still get us great sound? I'd love some suggestions from people with real world experience. 

 

Thanks!

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Actually there is a gap in lower priced wireless systems. The lowest you can go which is acceptable is sennheiser g3/g4, then nothing, then comes used lectro 411s...you could also try with 200 seris, but it's getting pretty Old now. If you got budget i would go with 411/400 series

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Thanks! I was curious about the 200 series. I've read some comments that they are actually pretty good. Others indicate a considerably worse battery life and more problems with interference. I think i could live with the battery life if the sound was was actually really good.

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If you want to go G4, consider getting the EW512 set. They cover more frequencies than the EW100, come with the MKE-2 mic which is way better than what you get with the EW100, and the receiver has a headphone jack so that you can use it for a director feed in a pinch.

 

Lots of people also like the Sony radios, which also have headphone outputs and better diversity. But if you can swing the money Lectros are great.

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I do a lot of audio post for low budg docs, and usually ask the filmmaker about their production sound gear so I know what I'm hearing.   Many have Senn G2-3 systems (often bought used), but they often have a better lav mic than what comes with those systems new.   A few have found deals on what will probably be a mishmash of older non-hybrid Lectros, including old fixed freq units like 195.  As the OP has discovered, anything Lectro commands a good price used, their reliability and serviceability are why professionals like them.  There are sometimes pretty good deals on the old fixed freq Lectros, but I usually recommend against them for doc work.  If you get lucky with the frequency the used unit is on in your home town, that's great (for now), but doc work usually involves travelling and then it's unlikely your luck re: RF interference will hold for long.  This is why people end up going with the lower-fi but agile Sennheiser G- wirelesses....

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I’d like to point out that you can get nearly an entire day out of a Lectro um400 if you use a lithium 9V battery vs. alkaline or rechargeable. In my experience, when doing some doc work that really had no down time, that was a valuable asset. Though the batteries are more expensive, I’ve always been able to find bulk deals from eBay sellers at about a dollar a piece based on 100. Just do the planet a favor and recycle them once you’re done. 

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I wouldn't exactly call $3,100 for used SRb, two tired um400a's and two COS-11's a song given they are block 20. This month's purchase. But ROI on new wideband gear of this type is many years out.

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If you plan on working in populated RF environments with the G-series Sennheiser, factor in the cost of an external RF scanner. The built in scanner is inadequate. Factor in the cost of a better mic as well.

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1 hour ago, PMC said:

I wouldn't exactly call $3,100 for used SRb, two tired um400a's and two COS-11's a song given they are block 20.

Still a pretty good song compared to the price of new units. Two new transmitters alone would be about that price. Either way, gear should pay for itself over time with proper rental rates charged.

 

 


 

18 hours ago, tolachi said:

 

I was hoping to get a used lectosonics 411/400 kit and have seen a couple deals at around $1100 but $1350 seems to be more of the going rate.


I would recommend going for this. It will sound great with the 4061. It’s also sturdy, reliable kit and will give you good RF performance.

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Wild card for c. $3500: New Wisycom MPR52 + used Sennheiser SK5212 / Shure UR1M.

Very small, energy efficient dual RX with wide switching band width, HP and AES O/P and usable with multiple brands of TX including relatively small 1s like SK5212, UR1M, AL2040.

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I think I'm going to hold out for a 411/400 given the thoughts here. The fact that i can probably resell it without losing much money if it doesn't work out is a strong selling point.

51 minutes ago, daniel said:

Wild card for c. $3500: New Wisycom MPR52 + used Sennheiser SK5212 / Shure UR1M.

Very small, energy efficient dual RX with wide switching band width, HP and AES O/P and usable with multiple brands of TX including relatively small 1s like SK5212, UR1M, AL2040.

This is over my head ;) but i do know that $3500 is out of budget.

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14 hours ago, tolachi said:

Others indicate a considerably worse battery life and more problems with interference. I think i could live with the battery life if the sound was was actually really good.

 Use a BDS and external power, then you never need to worry much about battery life as everything will be powered from one large battery (which depending on the battery and your setup, might very well last you the whole day! Or just need to be swapped out once or twice during the day)

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On 11/25/2019 at 1:41 AM, tolachi said:

I think I'm going to hold out for a 411/400 given the thoughts here. The fact that i can probably resell it without losing much money if it doesn't work out is a strong selling point.

This is over my head ;) but i do know that $3500 is out of budget.

$3500 was an estimate based pairing the dual RX with 2 top end analogue TX. But I hear you - it takes time to build up inventory and my suggestion is only comparable to a 411/400 set up if you're getting 2 channels. $1950 is a lot to drop on an RX if you're only using 1 channel - even if you can pair it with a bargain TX.

 

That said, only having 1 channel of wireless is a bit 'dicey' imho. In the UK 2 channels of wireless (plus boom) is the assumed standard of a 'standard sound kit' rental (even if the client only needs/wants 1) - and I would always try to have at least 1 more channel in my bag than the projected requirements as there are many more (electronic) elements in a single channel of wireless compared to a single channel of most things hardwired. Sony do a couple of dual RXs in their reasonable UWP-d system - if you decide for some redundancy but can't stretch to 2 channels of 411/400 etc.

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The only middle ground I can think of between the G3/G4 gear and the top-end Lectro gear is used L Series equipment: LR receivers and LT transmitters, if you can find them. The down side is that the LR receiver doesn't have a display on top, but it is a good performing receiver with 3-block wide tuning. It can be paired with UM400a or LMa transmitters, but the wideband transmitters are a more flexible match. 

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Re daniel: Thanks for the explanation. I think it is a good thought for the future. For now I want to try it out as inexpensively as possible.

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17 hours ago, karlw said:

The only middle ground I can think of between the G3/G4 gear and the top-end Lectro gear is used L Series equipment: LR receivers and LT transmitters, if you can find them. The down side is that the LR receiver doesn't have a display on top, but it is a good performing receiver with 3-block wide tuning. It can be paired with UM400a or LMa transmitters, but the wideband transmitters are a more flexible match. 

A dual channel LR would have been sweet - I don't suppose that will happen now (or much more by way of any thing analogue from Lectro).

 

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On 11/25/2019 at 11:47 PM, tolachi said:

Got lucky and found a nearby forum member with a used 411/400 setup in good condition. Thanks for the replies. 

 

Congrats! Do you know if you got a UM400 or UM400a transmitter? Don't forget that the A model has a Servo Bias input (something Lectro introduced about 15 years or so ago). So if you have an older UM400 non-A version, just be sure any lavs you get have their connectors wired to work with the UM400.

 

Not the end of the world; both the UM400 and UM400a work really well. Some wiring details from Lectro here:

 

UHF Transmitter 5-pin Input Jack Wiring

The wiring diagrams included in this section represent the basic wiring necessary for the most common types of microphones and other audio inputs. Some microphones may require extra jumpers or a slight variation on the diagrams shown.

Rest of the article:

https://www.lectrosonics.com/Support/Microphone-Wiring/uhf-transmitter-5-pin-input-jack-wiring.html

 

 

 

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On 11/24/2019 at 5:17 PM, Allen Rowand said:

If you want to go G4, consider getting the EW512 set. They cover more frequencies than the EW100, come with the MKE-2 mic which is way better than what you get with the EW100, and the receiver has a headphone jack so that you can use it for a director feed in a pinch.

 

Lots of people also like the Sony radios, which also have headphone outputs and better diversity. But if you can swing the money Lectros are great.

...Sony uwp are true diversity, They are cheaper than g3 g4 and the rf never fall

 

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Question re the Sennheiser G3 units.

 

I know the full size 1/2 rack mounted size receivers ARE true diversity. 

 

There are two complete receivers in there and the audio is selected by Rx signal strength.

 

I have no experience with the small body pack size receivers.

 

Are  the small sized body pack receivers NOT also  true diversity? 

 

Do they also have 2 receivers or the fake diversity with one receiver switching between antennas during a fade?

 

 

thanks

 

Mark

 

 

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