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Opinions on Sony digital wireless


DyerEar
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Hi Ron,

I'm using the DWX system for half a year now. I have 3  19" receivers (6 channels)  with total control of the transmitters. And for bag-use I have another 2 small receivers. I'm very happy with the dynamic range and frequency response. 

I've never had any radio hits from walkies. I just did an extra test: Sony transmitter even at 1mW and walkie at 5 watt, almost touching the receiver antenna's: NO DROP AT ALL ! 

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Why do we know of so few people using the SONY DWX series digital wireless? I was looking at cost and maybe that's a factor (seem to be more expensive than everything else on the market). I am not well versed in all the specs but it appears that it is a true digital system with Zaxcom being the only other digital wireless in common use.  The Sony has remote control via 2.4 ghz but it is not clear what can be controlled. I suppose the other factor is power output --- selectable 1, 10 or 50 mw maximum.

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Yes, Rado, we all saw the digital wireless from Audio, Ltd. at NAB and they look really good! "I am very excited to have other options" --- I didn't mention the Audio, Ltd. because they are not yet shipping, therefore we don't "have that option" yet. The SONY model we ARE discussing has been out there for some time and I was just curious why it seems to not be an "option" that many have chosen so far. The question was directed primarily at Stijn J who has said that he has been using the SONY model.

Edited by Jeff Wexler
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To be honest I'm not really sure why they didn't seem to "catch on" with us. They were in with the systems I was considering at the time and I mainly went with wisycoms as I got a very good deal on them. Might be price, or possibly the fact that the previous generation of sony wireless didn't sound very good.  I also think they were never marketed towards us either, more to OB and as camera receivers (it's possible to control them through the camera menus on certain sony cameras). Quite fiddly cables requiring 7V reg power without using the big, expensive 'sled' mount. Analogue outs are mic level only? No high power tx options for those who can legally use them? Sony have a reputation for only playing nicely with other sony gear?

I'm fairly sure it's possible to control tx gain over 2.4GHz, but I've only used them once in the field and didn't need to adjust it then. At the moment I think it's just these and Zaxcom which are "fully digital" professional wireless mic systems which we can get and use now.

Also these are the only portable digital radios with a word clock input, so can be used with machines without sample rate converters on the digital inputs

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Why do we know of so few people using the SONY DWX series digital wireless? I was looking at cost and maybe that's a factor (seem to be more expensive than everything else on the market). I am not well versed in all the specs but it appears that it is a true digital system with Zaxcom being the only other digital wireless in common use.  The Sony has remote control via 2.4 ghz but it is not clear what can be controlled. I suppose the other factor is power output --- selectable 1, 10 or 50 mw maximum.

​perhaps,  due to the price,  many systems have been sold to camera rental houses at a discount.  one of my clients gets a "camera hop" package at little or no cost,  when renting a sony camera.  when working on docs on construction sites or factories,  the fewer dangling cables (with a slot receiver),  the better.  the thing that I like about the transmitters is the 2 "aa" battery sled that allows one to change batteries quickly.  this is one reason that I have not seen the need to upgrade my camera hop package.  it's either the supplied sony units,  or an older analog unit for other jobs,  that is quite hardy. also seems to have less rf splash than the zax units that I have auditioned.

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Jeff,

I’ve compared Lectro, Wisycom, Zaxcom and Sony. Only Zaxcom and Sony are “true digital” and my conclusion was:
- Both systems are sounding great. The Sony’s even a bit more silent. Dynamic range is great. Amazing after all those years of compressed wireless sound!
- range of the Sony’s @50mW equals Zaxcom @125mW. When I’m close to te set, I often switch my wireless booms to 1mW without drops!
- remote control: Sony is using the 2.4GHz Zigbee-protocol, which is close to the WiFi band. All receivers are on a network switch, and remote Zigbee transmitters are on the same network. Each “RMU” has a 50 ft range. So you can put a 2nd RMU by connecting it by an standard ethernet cable, or just move your RMU closer to the actors. 
- you can control: RF Power [1/10/50mW], Mic/Line in, Gain [in 3dB steps], Phantom power 48V [only on Plug-On], Sleep mode, Scanning free frequencies, Scan used channels, Rename TX, Lock TX… All this on a big OLED display.
- Controlling the Zaxcoms is far more difficult if you don’t use a Zax-recorder. I was struggling with an IFB200 on a small screen, pressing gain   - & +, and not sure if the command ever arrived, not sure at what level was. 
- I am mixing on a Sonosax SXST and recording on a 788T. And if I ever will replace my 788T, I guess it will be a CantarX3. So Zaxcom wireless wasn’t an option for me.
- I preferred the 19” receivers as they have a build in antenna distributor and more TX control features than the small receivers. 
- Pricing: here in Belgium, systems with small receivers are cheaper than Zaxcom, systems with 19” receivers are a bit more expensive.
 
Indeed, there are not that many users. But after I tried them, I was convinced. I’ve been out on a shoot for a new series for 100 days now and I’m sure I made the best choice.
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The SONY DWX models are quite impressive but seem to have some of the same sorts of proprietary quirks, like Zaxcom, that make them at their best when being used with associated SONY equipment. Things like they are slot loading but I believe SONY does their own slot configuration. The way I see it, for me, is that some of these non-standard, non-mainstream things, certainly with my Zaxcom wireless, provide features and functions that are not even available from other manufacturers. I will be sticking with my Zaxcom wireless because they are certainly at their best when used with Zaxcom gear that I use. I agree Stijn J that all the great remote control with Zaxcom is not a lot of fun with just the IFB-100/200 but I use Zaxcom recorders so being able to control continuously variable preamp gain with a pot on the recorder is wonderful. I would not want to give up that feature or of course the recording and re-mixing capability I have with my setup.

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The bodypacks are rated at 5 hrs for 10 mW with alkaline or 12 hours with lithium AA's. Anyone have experience with run times at 50 mW?

Very cool but man $4500+ per channel of rack mounted wireless is expensive.

​Hey, Bud, I'm thinking the cost may be the main factor in answering my question why we don't see more of these SONYs. Also, SONY doesn't need to market specifically to our people, so there is probably a limited number of production sound people that even consider these. It's a good topic for JWSOUND and we'll continue to see where it leads us.

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The bodypacks are rated at 5 hrs for 10 mW with alkaline or 12 hours with lithium AA's. Anyone have experience with run times at 50 mW?

I haven't used them myself, but I spoke to a camera guy that uses them and he just said "man, they are power hungry" - apparently both the transmitter and receiver. Cheers Fred Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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Perceptions, which are usually swayed by popular opinion, could be the main reason why the Sony DWX is not that popular. People, in general, are resistant to change. When these systems were first announced and launched, way back in 2010, I remember excitedly posting about their very innovative features in a Facebook group for Sound Mixers. However, the post did not get much attention. Most people were comfortable using, or investing, in the already established popular manufacturers (which was the general response from those that bothered to reply to the post). Coming from an Electronics and Communication Engineering background, I was able to really appreciate the advances Sony had made through this system so I invested in them without batting an eyelid. Even the ECM-88BC which had a radically different design did not get much attention (which was also launched around the same time) because people preferred the COS-11D's to it, despite its very innovative feature: Zero cable-handling noise (something sound mixers are really plagued with when using lavaliers).

Another system that launched shortly after, which also did not get much attention, and was far ahead of the other players, is the Axient system from Shure. Shure says they designed the Axient system with the "live-performance" audio engineers in mind, but I do not see any reason why these systems cannot be used by cart based mixers.

Human nature?

Edited by Ashok Vardhan
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The bodypacks are rated at 5 hrs for 10 mW with alkaline or 12 hours with lithium AA's. Anyone have experience with run times at 50 mW?

Very cool but man $4500+ per channel of rack mounted wireless is expensive.

​I paid about $ 2900 per channel for my 19" rack receivers, remote control and bodypacks and plug-on.

Power consumption: I use Panasonic Eneloop 2500mAh or Ansmann 2850mAh at 50mW. In general you can run them for at least 6 hours. Which is fine. We start in the morning and change batteries after lunch. Easy.

 

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I have similar results like Stijn with my transmitters too. I power two receivers using a NiMH NP1 battery (60W) for 3/4th of a day. Which seems normal in my experience.

​I paid about $ 2900 per channel for my 19" rack receivers, remote control and bodypacks and plug-on.

How do you use your rack mounted receivers Stijn: Cart-based or fixed installation? What powering options do you use? 

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No, I bought them new! Forget list prices; just ask for a decent quote.

In total we bought 16 channels, a nice combinatoin of beltpacks, plug-ons, rmu's, 19" receivers and small receivers)

I have 3 rackmounted receivers on my cart. The whole cart is powered by a Meon LiFe: 3 Sony's, Sonosax, LCD monitor, ... 

2 small receivers in my bag with old SD442 & 744. Also at 12V DC.

 

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I have been very happy with the ergonomics and sound quality of the DWX system. I'm using the sled adapter with XLR outs. 10 mw is often sufficient transmission power setting. The remote gain function is very handy, although there is minor clicking while you change gain on the fly. In practice this hasn't been a critical issue for me.

I am using the bodypacks with DPA 4063, but they do work with DPA 4060 as well, I have noticed.

Zaxcom as a brand isn't as mainstream here in Europe as it is in USA. The 50 mw cap on transmission power and the higher price of Lectros compared to USA are big considerations over here.

My main reson for purchasing the system was to finally get a wireless boom solution that would provide a minimal compromise in sound quality.

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Good to know about DC powering, thanks Bud. You know me, native DC powering is very important to me. I guess I should have looked more closely at the image of the back of the rackmount dual receiver unit.

SONY_DC_IN.thumb.jpg.d8f34d366c59cd239c5

Edited by Jeff Wexler
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