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Cheap Wireless

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by Codemonkey, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    OK, I heard the screams from here. It's not that bad! Well maybe it is.

    For our (the church I go to) pantomime/play (in 2 weeks :eek: !) we needed 2 wireless mics. Rather than hire a pair of say, wireless PG58s for £120 (total) I suggested that we buy a pair outright - and suggested a pair of Senn Freeport FP35 (we need something handheld) at £240 total.

    Turns out that's a bit more cash than reasonable - so I found a twin set from Kam whom I can't find many reviews on. The reviews I did find were all good - but it's DJ level stuff, not pro equipment.
    Although I don't expect us to be treating them like tour equipment. And there's less alcohol involved...

    The system I found was the Kam KWM1940 and it looks decent. Single receiver for 2 mics, UHF-based, switchable through 16 different channels (863-865MHz) and with integrated preset dynamics i.e. a limiter. Can't be that bad... and YES it has separate XLR outputs for each mic.

    Going on the spec and price (£150) it's the best we can get, so I'll keep you posted on if it's any good or not. Here's the spec if anyone's interested.

    There were cheaper alternatives but most of the stuff was using fixed-frequency receivers which I decided was a very bad idea. For our purposes I decided that VHF would've worked but it turns out this UHF kit is cheap enough. Also I couldn't find a VHF unit with adjustable frequency.

    We haven't actually bought it yet, but we're set to. Unless a beady-eyed someone tells me that this is crap, I imagine we'll be finding out how you should really spend more on wireless gear.

    The only concern I have is, are rechargable batteries (AA size) fine for wireless mics, should I expect less operating range or less headroom?

    I learned some things while choosing this kit; maybe it'll help someone looking in future.

    1) Fixed frequency is bad. Imagine owning a radio but you can only tune into the same station, regardless if you take it on holiday and there's no station on that frequency, you can't use the radio.

    2) VHF works unless you're in a dense urban area or if you plan on using 10 mics at the same time.

    3) Diversity receiver! I read "multi-phase reflections" or some crap like that, decided it was a form of inaudible acoustic cancellation, and skipped the rest of the description.
    (That said, is there audible acoustic cancellation? If the signal is cancelled, you surely can't hear it?)
  2. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Keep us posted on your results.

    Honestly, I'd rather buy one decent mic than two cheapo mics. There's a certain threshold, that anything below it - you're just flushing money away.

    3) The diversity receiver has nothing to do with the audio signal. Radio signals also bounce off surfaces, are subject to phasing and get blocked by room characteristics. A true diversity receiver has got two antennas per channel and it's always monitoring which antenna is receiving the stronger signal. It automatically picks the stronger signal, if no transmitter is turned on, it will sit there all day toggling between the two antennas looking for a signal. The model you linked to has two antennae, but it's two receiver not dual diversity. In that case it's one antenna per receiver.
  3. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Oh right... I assumed it was a communal antenna for both. Like one satellite dish on a tenement block.

    I knew diversity has nothing to do with the actual signal, but is about avoiding dropouts?

    Unfortunately we specifically needed a pair, for the theatrical side of things. Buying one and renting a second, yeah.
    But you're spot on, I'd sooner have one SM58 than a pair of anything cheap.
  4. BRH

    BRH Active Member

    Go back to Sennheiser or Shure. That KAM is crap.
  5. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    OK, we didn't get the KAM. Instead, we got a ProSound (who seem to sell the exact same units but with different branding) bit of kit which is even further down the ladder. VHF, fixed-frequency, blah. And the store has a no-returns-once-opened policy which I don't care for (it's the UK equivalent of radioshaq)

    The unit is a ProSound L59AW.

    Anyway I rigged the kit up using the unbalanced line output (mix of both mics) into my PC line in, and turned it on. After cranking up the gain in about six places (when I get a real mixer/input, I'll sort this out bigtime), and I think they're not that bad.

    (OK, you can ban me now)

    Really though, the mics have minimal handling noise, the HF doesn't grate. There's not much proximity effect and the off-axis rejection seems halfway decent. A spectrum analysis shows they're lacking in the mids (say 800-3K) and some EQ fixes that up nicely. My sole gripe is that the 100-200 range seems a little hot. But not to the point where it's a problem.

    Much better than expected! Not bad for £70 (go go gadget sale) oh and I picked up 4 9V batt.s too, which were also on sale :lol:

    I'd do you a sample, but I only have a guitar and a square room with a lovely ring at 110Hz. If you really want, I'll find a way to prop the mic up and play you... a chord.
  6. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    But I thought they were chordless mics? :roll:
  7. If you're looking for inexpensive wireless microphones pro audio style or DJ style http://cheapforme.com should be one of the best places to go to. Actually, I'll go on the site right now and get the microphone page for anyone who is interested in checking it out http://www.cheapforme.com/index.php/cPath/496_506_558_561 there's close to 100 to choose from starting around $20 just so you know.
  8. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    One more update:

    Just found out that the existing lavalier/beltpack radio mic we use operates on the same freq. as one of the mics we just picked up.

    However, it means I have a full-diversity receiver that can pick up one mic probably better than the pacakaged receiver.

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