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Shure Axient Digital?


Gazwas
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Decided it’s time to invest in my first wireless system. 
 

First I was looking at the Audio Ltd A10 system but with the introduction of the A20 and dropping of the Audio Ltd branding and then the recent company buy out I’d pretty much decided on a Lectrosonics DCR822/DBSMD combo. 
 

Then, by complete accident I stumbled on a Sound Devices YouTube video about the Shure ADX5D and with some quick searching it looks an amazing system but there is virtually no info/reviews on the web and more puzzlingly no mention of it on here. 
 

Anyone seen, used, own or can share any experiences compared to the usual suspects and reasons not to look further?
 

Should I just forge ahead with the Lectrosonics.

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  • Jeff Wexler changed the title to Shure Axient Digital?

Checkout the FB group if you haven't. Shure's Axient line is still fresh to the film location world so there's not a ton of user experiences out yet, but the best I've seen is on the group. Folks are fairly responsive to questions there. Finalizing an order for 2x ADX1M transmitters and the ADX5D receiver tomorrow morning. 

 

Shure Axient FB Group:

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/950768919029841

 

-Mark

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3 hours ago, Mark Farag said:

Checkout the FB group if you haven't. Shure's Axient line is still fresh to the film location world so there's not a ton of user experiences out yet, but the best I've seen is on the group. Folks are fairly responsive to questions there. Finalizing an order for 2x ADX1M transmitters and the ADX5D receiver tomorrow morning. 

 

Shure Axient FB Group:

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/950768919029841

 

-Mark

Hi Mark, many thanks for the link to the FB group, will have a look over there, they sure do look impressive.

 

My only worry and why I like the Lecto's is because they are self contained units without the need for an extra slot-in mount.

1 hour ago, felix said:

I am extremely happy with my Shure Axient wireless purchased from Gotham Sound:

2 x AD4Q rack receivers

4 x ADX5D portable receivers

7 x ADX1m transmitters

2 x ADX1 transmitters

Suggest you try them out!

 

Very jealous!

 

Going to make some enquiries with a dealer tomorrow.

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1 hour ago, Gazwas said:

My only worry and why I like the Lecto's is because they are self contained units without the need for an extra slot-in mount.

No need for that worry. The ADX5D is a self contained receiver if you wish it to be. They sell a $200 backplate that has Hirose and TA3 outputs (can output analog, or AES if your mixer supports it). 

 

Mark

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I was pretty set on purchasing an ADX5D with a few ADX1/m transmitters in the next few months until I looked at the discussion about charging options in that facebook group linked above.

 

Wow! I can't think of something so silly that is such a dealbreaker for me.

 

I mainly do one-man, non-union run & gun and commercial work. I live in nyc and thus have to be able to take my full gear package with me on foot.

 

The idea that I would have to lug around two different types of proprietary chargers, the SBC240 and an SBC210, for slightly different sized proprietary batteries is comically unusable for my style of work. And the fact that I would have to spend nearly 2 grand on both of them + backups is a very tough pill to swallow.

 

I suppose I can leave the chargers at home for day jobs and just carry a bunch of extra batteries, but it is a lot of money for the chargers when nearly every other tx just uses AA's. It's quite odd that they don't have a portable charger to go along with the ADX1M and ADX5D!

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8 minutes ago, Ian Berman said:

I was pretty set on purchasing an ADX5D with a few ADX1/m transmitters in the next few months until I looked at the discussion about charging options in that facebook group linked above.

 

Wow! I can't think of something so silly that is such a dealbreaker for me.

 

I mainly do one-man, non-union run & gun and commercial work. I live in nyc and thus have to be able to take my full gear package with me on foot.

 

The idea that I would have to lug around two different types of proprietary chargers, the SBC240 and an SBC210, for slightly different sized proprietary batteries is comically unusable for my style of work. And the fact that I would have to spend nearly 2 grand on both of them + backups is a very tough pill to swallow.

 

I suppose I can leave the chargers at home for day jobs and just carry a bunch of extra batteries, but it is a lot of money for the chargers when nearly every other tx just uses AA's. It's quite odd that they don't have a portable charger to go along with the ADX1M and ADX5D!

 

I believe you're referencing the discussion I started on the FB group. It is indeed a serious oversight on their part that I hope is addressed immediately. I believe Shure simply was unaware how big of an issue this is for many Sound Mixers who work more minimally since the bulk of their products have historically been used for large events. I hope they do take the feedback to heart. It was actually also a dealbreaker for me initially, but ultimately I decided to move forward. Not looking forward to this clumsy charging setup as I like to keep a tight kit for travel work, but if the Axient Digital system is truly as good as some are reporting, I imagine this will end up being a minor annoyance worth dealing with until/if they address it.

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13 minutes ago, Mark Farag said:

 

I believe you're referencing the discussion I started on the FB group. It is indeed a serious oversight on their part that I hope is addressed immediately. I believe Shure simply was unaware how big of an issue this is for many Sound Mixers who work more minimally since the bulk of their products have historically been used for large events. I hope they do take the feedback to heart. It was actually also a dealbreaker for me initially, but ultimately I decided to move forward. Not looking forward to this clumsy charging setup as I like to keep a tight kit for travel work, but if the Axient Digital system is truly as good as some are reporting, I imagine this will end up being a minor annoyance worth dealing with until/if they address it.

Yes, looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the system and hopeful they will come out with a more compact and interoperable charging solution in the future. If Wisycom doesn't announce new transmitters in the next few months I will probably just go with the axient and deal with the charging stuff somehow. 

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I've been looking at going axient for my next wireless system. I've had the same thoughts on batteries as you all have, however I did find that they can run off AAA batteries with a different sled. Is it pricy, yup, but will it save you in a pinch if needed, yup. No idea how long it powers the transmitters, but it would definitely be something I'd pick up. 

 

Shure SB913 AAA Battery Sled for ADX1 and ADX1 LEMO Transmitters

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I just rented an ADX5D and 2x ADX1m system for a gig last weekend, comparing it primarily to my Lectro SRc/SMDWB system. Here are my thoughts:

 

Basics:

-- ADX1m is not much different in size from a SMDWB, aside from lacking an antenna.

-- Range was about equal to the Lectro systems with both systems set to their "medium" tx power (50mw & 10mw).

I ran a few tests at home using 2 channels each placed in different spots and they each performed about the same, every time. I was primarily testing in an indoor environment where I was going through walls as I went further away, and did not do a line of sight test or use shark fins.

-- Wireless reliability on whips was about the same

When using it on a doc style shoot this weekend, I noticed the odd signal drop at shorter ranges, when "signal strength" was still 2-3 dots. I have also noticed similar behavior on my Lectros. Not a major issue, but not really an upgrade, either.

-- Battery life was about the same on SMDWB's using rechargable NiMH batteries and the ADX1m's (~6-6.5h). However, Lectros have the option of using Lithiums, which nearly doubles their runtime.

-- The digital system obviously sounded a bit better, but Lectros are plenty sufficient for broadcast already. Neither supports phantom power for boom use.

-- The ADX5D's power consumption is about double that of the SRc, at ~4.3W compared to the SRc's ~2.2W. Measured at ~16V using my Audioroot distro.

-- I liked the OLED screen, color LED lights, and menus on the Shure system quite a lot. It's all very slick and definitely has a cool factor. They do take a bit of getting used to at first, and there are a lot of menus that most users probably won't ever have to use. In comparison, the Lectro menus are much simpler and thus can be faster to operate. 

-- In general the Lectro system seems more resilient to dust, both tx and rx, but only time can tell, really.

 

ShowLink impressions:

-- ShowLink seemed to have a usable range of about 30-40ft indoors. While I was testing range, I experienced a bug where settings were not applied to the transmitter and the SL signal graph was not updating on either device. Importantly, I never lost audio signal to the transmitter. Both the rx and tx simply stayed on the old frequency when I manually selected a new frequency on the ADX5d. This was my primary point of concern for a remote control system, but experiencing a software bug right away still made me nervous.

-- I don't really know what I would use ShowLink for. It's primary usefulness for me seems to be to change frequencies, which I rarely do after my initial scan in the morning, even when running around NYC. The automatic interference detection system is nice, but not something I personally find that I'm lacking, especially on low channel count bag jobs.

-- ShowLink lacks a control of tx output power, tx locking controls, or a real "sleep" mode which conserves battery. Sleep mode on Lectros is something I use most days and helps me keep a pair of rechargables going all day under tough outfits. Unfortunately on the Shure system, you will need to swap batteries every 6 hours, period. I'm hopeful that this functionality can be added in a software update.

 

Unanswered questions:

-- Gain staging was rather confusing since there is no gain adjustment on the transmitter. I ended up cranking the output level on the receiver, which can go quite high, before feeding it into my MixPre10 at line level. I'm not sure whether the better approach would be to leave the ADX5D's output gain at 0db and gain up on the MixPre, rather than gaining up on the receiver and going in at roughly the same level as my SRc outputs at +6. The Shure receiver had several dozen db's of gain on the receiver side, which seemed clean enough to me.

-- Some options on the ADX5D were a bit unclear. For example, they split up the receiver's options menu into 3 groups -- general settings (as the manual states, settings which apply to both channels), ch 1 and ch2, (settings for individual channels). However, when you do a group scan on one channel, and one channel switches to a different group, it presumably must also set a new frequency on the other channel in order to match the group. So then why is a group scan under the individual channel menus and not the general menu? Things like this would probably become more clear with repeated use.

 

Conclusions:

For me, the Axient digital system looks and feels extremely high tech, and has some killer features like dual transmit and interference detection, which I can see being useful in contexts I don't often find myself in. For the sort of low channel count (<6) bag work that I do, it has some rather basic drawbacks. Namely, a remote tx sleep option & significantly higher rx power consumption. But mainly, the ADX1m isn't much more versatile than the SMDWB, and there are significantly fewer options in the Shure wireless ecosystem (no SM, no SSM...). It also costs significantly more, has either the same or far worse battery life, and you need to buy the Shure proprietary batteries and charger, adding to the cost and space taken by the system.

HOWEVER, if you're working with high channel count wireless systems & using a mixer which can support AES input, Axient digital starts to look a heck of a lot more appealing, especially if you have a sound utility to manage things like battery swaps & ShowLink access points. I can understand why these things are used so much on a stage or in a stadium, and I can imagine they're great for things like reality, too.

I would be curious to hear anyone else's impressions of using the Axient system in the field, particularly for bag work, and if I missed something important or got anything incorrectly!

F0BD346D-4E89-44D0-B203-27C4F7C7D166_1_105_c.jpeg

EE6977DF-245E-4A4D-9445-41AED58EDFFB_1_105_c.jpeg

E31EC3A8-1F32-4204-90CD-736EAEB1DB85_1_105_c.jpeg

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12 hours ago, Ian Berman said:

I just rented an ADX5D and 2x ADX1m system for a gig last weekend, comparing it primarily to my Lectro SRc/SMDWB system. Here are my thoughts:

 

Basics:

-- ADX1m is not much different in size from a SMDWB, aside from lacking an antenna.

-- Range was about equal to the Lectro systems with both systems set to their "medium" tx power (50mw & 10mw).

I ran a few tests at home using 2 channels each placed in different spots and they each performed about the same, every time. I was primarily testing in an indoor environment where I was going through walls as I went further away, and did not do a line of sight test or use shark fins.

-- Wireless reliability on whips was about the same

When using it on a doc style shoot this weekend, I noticed the odd signal drop at shorter ranges, when "signal strength" was still 2-3 dots. I have also noticed similar behavior on my Lectros. Not a major issue, but not really an upgrade, either.

-- Battery life was about the same on SMDWB's using rechargable NiMH batteries and the ADX1m's (~6-6.5h). However, Lectros have the option of using Lithiums, which nearly doubles their runtime.

-- The digital system obviously sounded a bit better, but Lectros are plenty sufficient for broadcast already. Neither supports phantom power for boom use.

-- The ADX5D's power consumption is about double that of the SRc, at ~4.3W compared to the SRc's ~2.2W. Measured at ~16V using my Audioroot distro.

-- I liked the OLED screen, color LED lights, and menus on the Shure system quite a lot. It's all very slick and definitely has a cool factor. They do take a bit of getting used to at first, and there are a lot of menus that most users probably won't ever have to use. In comparison, the Lectro menus are much simpler and thus can be faster to operate. 

-- In general the Lectro system seems more resilient to dust, both tx and rx, but only time can tell, really.

 

ShowLink impressions:

-- ShowLink seemed to have a usable range of about 30-40ft indoors. While I was testing range, I experienced a bug where settings were not applied to the transmitter and the SL signal graph was not updating on either device. Importantly, I never lost audio signal to the transmitter. Both the rx and tx simply stayed on the old frequency when I manually selected a new frequency on the ADX5d. This was my primary point of concern for a remote control system, but experiencing a software bug right away still made me nervous.

-- I don't really know what I would use ShowLink for. It's primary usefulness for me seems to be to change frequencies, which I rarely do after my initial scan in the morning, even when running around NYC. The automatic interference detection system is nice, but not something I personally find that I'm lacking, especially on low channel count bag jobs.

-- ShowLink lacks a control of tx output power, tx locking controls, or a real "sleep" mode which conserves battery. Sleep mode on Lectros is something I use most days and helps me keep a pair of rechargables going all day under tough outfits. Unfortunately on the Shure system, you will need to swap batteries every 6 hours, period. I'm hopeful that this functionality can be added in a software update.

 

Unanswered questions:

-- Gain staging was rather confusing since there is no gain adjustment on the transmitter. I ended up cranking the output level on the receiver, which can go quite high, before feeding it into my MixPre10 at line level. I'm not sure whether the better approach would be to leave the ADX5D's output gain at 0db and gain up on the MixPre, rather than gaining up on the receiver and going in at roughly the same level as my SRc outputs at +6. The Shure receiver had several dozen db's of gain on the receiver side, which seemed clean enough to me.

-- Some options on the ADX5D were a bit unclear. For example, they split up the receiver's options menu into 3 groups -- general settings (as the manual states, settings which apply to both channels), ch 1 and ch2, (settings for individual channels). However, when you do a group scan on one channel, and one channel switches to a different group, it presumably must also set a new frequency on the other channel in order to match the group. So then why is a group scan under the individual channel menus and not the general menu? Things like this would probably become more clear with repeated use.

 

Conclusions:

For me, the Axient digital system looks and feels extremely high tech, and has some killer features like dual transmit and interference detection, which I can see being useful in contexts I don't often find myself in. For the sort of low channel count (<6) bag work that I do, it has some rather basic drawbacks. Namely, a remote tx sleep option & significantly higher rx power consumption. But mainly, the ADX1m isn't much more versatile than the SMDWB, and there are significantly fewer options in the Shure wireless ecosystem (no SM, no SSM...). It also costs significantly more, has either the same or far worse battery life, and you need to buy the Shure proprietary batteries and charger, adding to the cost and space taken by the system.

HOWEVER, if you're working with high channel count wireless systems & using a mixer which can support AES input, Axient digital starts to look a heck of a lot more appealing, especially if you have a sound utility to manage things like battery swaps & ShowLink access points. I can understand why these things are used so much on a stage or in a stadium, and I can imagine they're great for things like reality, too.

I would be curious to hear anyone else's impressions of using the Axient system in the field, particularly for bag work, and if I missed something important or got anything incorrectly!

F0BD346D-4E89-44D0-B203-27C4F7C7D166_1_105_c.jpeg

EE6977DF-245E-4A4D-9445-41AED58EDFFB_1_105_c.jpeg

E31EC3A8-1F32-4204-90CD-736EAEB1DB85_1_105_c.jpeg

Thanks for sharing this. My friend has just bought into the Shure system and I'm quite tempted to follow. I'm currently running senn-wisy combos so I'd like to read a comparison between the Shure system and Senny's Ek6042 with Sk5215 and Sk6212 Tx (12 hour battery life on the digital 6212 really appeals).

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  • 5 months later...

Old-ish thread but just would like to add..  if showlink is not a must-have for you, then take a look at the AD1 transmitter.  It takes AA (lithiums) and is functionally the same, other than missing showlink.  Can sync via IR to ADX5D receiver.   Also, AD1 is nearly half the price of ADX1 ($849).  

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