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Jack Norflus

Zaxcom QRX-100 my first impressions

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So after long anticipation I finally got my Zaxcom QRX 100 stereo receiver – actually I got two - I believe they are the first two off the assembly line. I got a pair so I can do two camera feeds simultaneously. I also got the Zaxcom TRX 900AA transceiver with record option, the STA150 stereo adaptor, and the filtered antenna.

Before buying the QRX I looked at several options for new camera hops. Now I’ve been a loyal Lectrosonics user for around 20 years so I really wanted to like the D-4 or the SR. But after looking into and demoing both systems I think they both have limitations, in both features and performance, especially when compared to the QRX. So in my opinion nothing came close to the Zaxcom.

Now I am not one who is generally an early adaptor, I usually wait for a piece of gear to be out for a while before I jump in. But after a lot of research on Zaxcom wireless, and having a strong desire to replace my old block 28 camera hops sooner rather than later I jumped all over the QRX. My thought was Zaxcom has come a long way from the problems that they had with their first generation wireless, and the Digital RF technology that is in the QRX is not new to Zaxcom, it has been proven in their RX900S. And everyone I spoke with regarding the RX900S had no complaints. So I figured that RF in the QRX wouldn’t be an issue, and the TRX transceiver has been around long enough to prove itself as well. Then I figured that if there were any necessary upgrades to the QRX, like most gear now it can be fixed with a software update - unlike years ago any changes usually required a hardware upgrade. Which by the way upgrading the software is super easy on the QRX.

When I first looked at the manual for the Zaxcom digital wireless on line before receiving the system I was overwhelmed, it is 104 pages, so I thought it would take forever to be able to figure out how to use it, but it’s pretty simple – just plug it in turn it on and go.  There’s not much to it. I later realized that the manual is for several Zaxcom wireless products so much of the information didn’t necessarily apply.

Although I haven’t had the opportunity to actually use it on a shoot yet, I’ve had a chance to play with the QRX.  My first impressions are WOW – I love this unit.  The QRX is light weight (one ounce lighter than the SR), it has low power consumption, and it doesn’t get very hot. So I don’t think I’m going to hear another cameraman complain about the weight or battery drain ever again.  I love the series of bright LED’s on the side of the unit – which allows me to visually confirm that the signal is getting to the QRX as well as eye ball the modulation, and I think the QRX with its illuminated LED’s looks very sexy attached to the camera.

In my opinion the sound quality is amazing.  I also did a few simple walk tests and I found the range to be great with no hits, I was getting at least the same range if not better than my Lectros. The QRX also has a dropout compensator – the way I understand it is that if there is a hit or dropout the QRX will take a bit of the audio from before the hit and a bit from after and “patch it together” to cover up the hit. In my tests I am not sure if it happened or not but I heard no hits so if the dropout compensator did kick in it was pretty seamless. I do plan on doing additional range tests, so I will follow up with those results.

With the QRX you can also have the ability to receive up to 4 analog channels of audio as well as supply AES to the camera. Both of these features I currently don’t need right now, but it’s nice to know that they are available in the QRX to use if I do need it.

I also played a little with the ZaxConvert software which allows you to take the card from the TRX and convert it to a WAV or MP3 file. The software is pretty easy to use and also supplies you with a basic sound report.

As of now I am still waiting for the time code send/receive and IFB optional boards for the QRX but I am being told that it is on the way soon. After that is installed the QRX will be able to send / receive TC and it will be able to send monitor audio back to me for confidence monitoring.  For me these two features were the main reason for going with the Zaxcom vs. Lectro.

I will update when I have additional feedback to report, but for now the QRX is my favorite piece of gear - Hands Down

Jack

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I'm eager to see how it all works once all the boards are up and running.

I am looking into one QRX-100 for 2 wireless booms (with the TRX900LT), with the option of adding the ERX for IFB/TC to cameras.

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I am very happy to now be shipping TRX900LT and QRX100. These things always take longer than you hope they will.

We are very focused on making the QRX100 the best ENG receiver ever built. I was quite surprised when Howy (Zaxcoms chief engineer) asked me if I wanted to program the QRX100 receiver by having the transmitter broadcast the software via the SD card in the transmitter. This feature allows any number of receivers to be updated at the same time and by the end user. This worked out great and was icing on the cake.

The QRX100 RF section was a difficult design but in the end it came out great. With no intermodulation and the ability to receive 2 transmitters at once the QRX100 should be a hit with camera people due to the weight, size and power consumption for 4 channel receive capability. Current consumption worked out to about 250 ma at 12V for 4 channel receive operation.

I think the AES output is also very cool. It eliminates any level mismatch to the camera and any possibility of ground loop problems common to analog camera inputs. AES output also lowers the power consumption by 30ma as we can turn off the analog outputs when AES is in use. Two cables are all that is needed to deliver 4 channels to camera.

As Jack talked about the side mounted LEDs (Patented) are very neat. We made a matching camera holder so the LEDS will always be visible. Different colors indicate signal level and clipping and are visible in direct sunlight.

The IFB and time code return channel option will be out soon and can installed in the QRX100 without a return trip to New Jersey.

This is our 3rd generation receiver and I think our best yet.

Glenn Sanders

President Zaxcom Inc.

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"The IFB and time code return channel option will be out soon and can installed in the QRX100 without a return trip"

i wish i would knew this message last week Glenn.....

looking forward to seeing them in beijing !

best

Cloud

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Very good news indeed. Sounds like a wonderful machine with some well-thought innovations. AES out. Yes!

Now I gotta rethink whether to get the additional RX4900 or two of these units.

Who's got pix??? Pix are up @ Zaxcom's site http://zaxcom.com/QRX100.htm

Link to the manual?

:)

-- Jan

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good question Tom,

I'm still waiting for zax to release an updated wireless manual so we can all get a better idea of how the QRX works.

P.S.  Zaxcom, please consider making unit-specific user manuals like most other manufacturers do.  I really do not enjoy having one big manual with your entire RF product line up to have to skim through.

P.S.S Anyone using the new LT transmitters regularly?  Would love to hear feedback on those as well.

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Link to the manual?

Jan - as far as I know the manual is still being written. But after spending just a few minuets with the QRX I was able to figure it out. It truly is turn it on and go. When the time code option becomes available there may be some more things in the menu to deal with but for now it is very intuitive.

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Thanks for the info Jack, I was looking to buy a wireless camera hop soon and was going to get the Lectrosonics system but I was also unaware of the Zaxcom one. I will now look at the Zaxcom before I buy. I just want to know why you hate the Lectrosonics?

All so what is the filtered antenna system, i could not find any info online. Is this something I need?

Bob

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All so what is the filtered antenna system, i could not find any info online. Is this something I need?

The filter antenna also known as a RF trap. Is a must if you have the system it prevents bleed from the zaxcom into your lectrosonics systems it has a cable attached to it that allows you to remote the antenna up on your sound harness and gets it away from the bag. Zaxcom doesn't do a very good job with information on the website but any sound dealer is aware of it and can order it for you.

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Bob,

I don't hate the Lectrosonics units, I just said that I feel the SR and the D-4 has limitations in both features and performance especially when compared to the Zaxcom system.

The feature set the QRX offers is way above anything Lectro has available right now. Both the timecode send / receive feature and the return audio for monitoring in my opinion is revolutionary. To accomplish this in the past you would need to have attached three boxes on the camera - now it's all in one.

The LED's on the rear of the QRX is also a huge plus - now I can visually see that audio is making it to the receiver.

The record feature on the transmitter also helps makes the Zaxcom system that much more bullet proof - because I now will have a time coded back-up of the sent audio to camera. So if the shit hits the fan I have an ace in the hole.

All in all the features the Zaxcom QRX offers will my job easier and my life a lot less stressful.

So what I didn't like about the Lectro SR is the front end in the system. The SR is essentially two 401's in the same box, and my issue with the 401 is the lack of a tracking front end. A majority of my work takes place in NYC - a harsh RF environment - so I need and want the best RF preformance I can get. And in my opinion is the fact that the unit doesn't have a tracking front end leaves the unit just a bit more vulnerable to stray RF. The SR is a great system, and if I worked in an area that was a bit more RF friendly than yes the SR would have been an option. The D-4 I demoed got hot, very hot, and had a huge current draw - although I believe Lectrosonics improved the power draw a bit. But with that issue and once again the lack of features that the D-4 offered made my choice to go with the Zaxcom obvious.

Now after all that I am still a huge Lectro fan, they make great wireless, and I still use Lectro for mic's into my bag, but the sends to camera are now Zaxcom.

Jack

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jack

So i have been looking into the new Zaxcom set and sombody told me that you may not be able to use Lectrosonic and Zaxcom in the same bag but you posted that you have Lectrosonics and Zaxcom. So is this untrue?

Bob

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sombody told me that you may not be able to use Lectrosonic and Zaxcom in the same bag

Just a few rules to follow and you should be fine - and by the way these rules are true not only for Zaxcom but for any wireless including Lectrosonics.

Keep the camera send frequency away from talent receive frequency (two blocks or more is great). My Zaxcom is on block 21 and my talent receive is on 25 and 26. Also keep physical separation between your camera send transmitter and talent receiver receivers. Also by using the Zaxcom filtered antenna will help - the antenna will not only get the RF further away from your bag but it will reduce the unwanted RF "spray" that could possibly get into the talent receivers.

Now I don't have first hand knowledge of it - but have spoke to other sound people who have had issues with Zaxcom's FIRST generation wireless many years ago. And at the time there was issues with RF spray in ENG bags, but Zaxcom has come a long way from their first generation wireless systems and the new generation stuff has been out for quite some time with many happy users.

I know there are other "Lectro Receive / Zaxcom Send" ENG users on this board (I've spoken to several of them). So perhaps you guys can add your two cents.

Jack

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Love that their stuff is backward compatible as well.  My rough plan is to upgrade my hops at some point to a QRX & TRX900/sta150 and keep the old model on the same block to use as a second receiver for a B cam and keep the older stereoline transmitter in to use for 4 channel sends if I ever need it.

I also think the QRX will be great in the bag as a talent receiver.  In a similar setup to those of you that are using SR's in the bag to reduce the number of Rx needed over the shoulder.  In that scenario it could also replace your comtek/ifb without having to buy an IFB100(if you buy into the ERX system)

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hello

am i correct in thinking if using the qrx-100 for talent mics then it would be a two channel device like a single SR receiver, and as a hop you can use two stereo transmitters hence 4 channels,

many thanks

richard paterson

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am i correct in thinking if using the qrx-100 for talent mics then it would be a two channel device like a single SR receiver, and as a hop you can use two stereo transmitters hence 4 channels

That is the way I understand it - but if Glenn is here I'm sure he can give a definitive answer

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gonna make some cables for the QRX100,so i need some advices about the output routing ......i'm wondering:

when i want to use two 900LT(let's say A and B)  with one QRX100 , the output signal from QRX100's output ,QRX100 has two TA5,let's call them TA5(1) and TA5(2)

TXA's signal comes out from TA5(1) and TXB's signal comes out from TA5(2) ?  or both TXA and TXB's signal will come out from TA5(1)???

and when i use a TRX900AA&STA150 with a QRX100

does the stereo signal will only come out from TA5(1) ?

best regards

Cloud

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Here is the wiring diagram direct from Colleen at Zaxcom.

Standard wiring for QRX100 TA5.

1  GND

2  CH1+  /AES1

3  CH1-    /AES1

4  CH3+

5  CH3-

1  GND

2  CH2+  /AES2

3  CH2-    /AES2

4  CH4+

5  CH4-

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