Wireless mic around £200?

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Wireless mic around £200?

Post by dickiefunk »

Hi,

I am looking to buy a handheld wireless mic for both speech and singing and am looking for some suggestions.
My budget is around £200 and I’m not sure what frequency band would be best. From my understanding 863-865mhz is the legal UK frequency but there is also 2.4ghz and 5ghz? What would be the best choice for avoiding interference etc?

What would you recommend?
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Re: Wireless mic around £200?

Post by Mike Stranks »

dickiefunk wrote: Sun Jul 25, 2021 9:28 am Hi,

I am looking to buy a handheld wireless mic for both speech and singing and am looking for some suggestions.
My budget is around £200 and I’m not sure what frequency band would be best. From my understanding 863-865mhz is the legal UK frequency but there is also 2.4ghz and 5ghz? What would be the best choice for avoiding interference etc?

What would you recommend?

863-865 MHz (Channel 70) is the UK - and most of Europe - licence-exempt frequency.

606.5-613.5 MHz (Channel 38) is legal to use in the UK, but needs a licence. There are other frequencies available under licensing conditions. Check out the Ofcom website - you'll find all the info incl cost of licences there.

173.8-175 MHz (VHF) is also licence exempt. People suggest that this band isn't as 'good' as the UHF channels for breakthrough and interference, but I've never experienced problems. VHF these days is almost exclusively the province of the cheaper kit or for secondhand older kit.

2.4 and 5.8 GHz are increasingly popular but there is a lot of other stuff working in those bands. IME set-up is more critical and line of sight really does mean line of sight! I have a number of 2.4Ghz systems which I use for video work (from quality manufacturers) without any problems.

The maximum number of systems you can safely use simultaneously in Channel 70 is 4. I sometimes tried to use more and came a cropper - in one case catastrophically and very embarrassingly so.

Channel 38 allows more simultaneous systems to operate safely - at least 6 IIRC, but I've never ventured there because of the licensing requirement.

If I was buying now at the price point you suggest I'd be going for Ch 70 with kit from Sennhesier or Audio-Technica, BUT I'd want to be sure what other stuff might be using that channel at any venue I'd be working in. Ch 38 is the safest option in venues that already use Ch 70, but, of course, you'll need a licence.

One final point for the general reader... Just because radio kit can be legally sold in the UK, it doesn't mean it can legally be used in the UK!
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Re: Wireless mic around £200?

Post by dickiefunk »

Thanks Mike.

I already have a Sennheiser XSW-65 and use Audio Technica 3000 series with the ATW-T371B condenser handheld mics at a venue.
The XSW-65 doesn’t sound as clean as the 3000 series and I have high frequency artefacts most of the time?
I’m often using the XSW-65 with 2x 3000 series systems and both the Audio Technica systems work flawlessly and sound very clean but I am not happy with the results I’m getting with the XSW-65.
Had an open air event last weekend and tested all the mics in the sound check and they were all working well. However, when the event started the XSW-65 started dropping out and there was a lot of high frequency fizz? All the receivers were placed together and were on different frequency settings and the 3000 series systems worked perfectly but the XSW-65 did not?

I’m not sure if I’m doing anything incorrectly or wether there is another issue causing this?
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Re: Wireless mic around £200?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

Just being 'on different frequency settings' is not enough.

When running multiple channels the specific frequencies used are critical because harmonics from one can interference with another, so only very specific combinations are valid.

So thats the first thing I'd check...
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Re: Wireless mic around £200?

Post by Mike Stranks »

Just what Hugh says...

The catastrophe I mentioned above only occurred during the actual performance. Install check: no problem; Run-through: no problem; Live with large audience: drop-outs, fade-outs, noises off :oops:

I'd spaced the frequencies equidistantly and thought that was enough... it wasn't. After that fiasco I stuck to the rule-of-four and always used a 'recommended frequency spacing/allocation' chart I found online.

Of course, IEMs have to be included in your Channel 70 rule-of-four calculations and you never know if someone else's equipment is using an unauthorised frequency. There's still a lot of people doing that - or there were up to 5 years ago when I was busy in live-sound.

Sounds like Ch 38 may be your best bet - with a licence of course. :)

Edit: Just reread your post about it being open-air when you had probs... You have to be careful on hot sunny days that neither the TX or RX is in direct sunlight and subject to temperature rise... A-T (rightly IME!) used to give a warning about that in some of their user-guides. I experienced significant problems with two AT systems one hot and sunny afternoon when the receivers were in direct sunlight... BTW... A-T always were my systems of choice... just sold my last two!
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Re: Wireless mic around £200?

Post by dickiefunk »

Thanks Mike. Yes same problem.
I've done a quick google search for the recommended frequency spacing/allocation chart you mentioned but to be honest I'm not really sure what I'm looking for?
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Re: Wireless mic around £200?

Post by Mike Stranks »

dickiefunk wrote: Sun Jul 25, 2021 4:39 pm Thanks Mike. Yes same problem.
I've done a quick google search for the recommended frequency spacing/allocation chart you mentioned but to be honest I'm not really sure what I'm looking for?

Here y'go... http://juicesound.co.uk/channel70freq.pdf

All useful stuff, but Page 2 gives two example sets of 4-mic spacing within the channel.

NB. This was written when Channel 69 was still usable. It's use is now prohibited for radio mics. Other aspects may well also be out of date. This is only posted for the Channel 70 info.
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Re: Wireless mic around £200?

Post by dickiefunk »

Great! Thanks Mike :thumbup:
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