Wireless Bodypack Transmitters: A Look at the Leaders

Rounding up this month’s coverage of RF bodypack audio transmitters, here’s a selection of some current models.

The AEW-T1000a UniPak bodypack transmitter features an LCD display, soft-touch controls, and field-replaceable helical and flexible-wire antennas. It has a four-pin locking connector and offers both low- and high-impedance inputs plus a bias connection, for use with dynamic and electret condenser microphones, as well as Hi-Z instrument pickups. Switchable RF power provides eight hours of battery life in the high (35-mW) setting and 10 hours in the low (10-mW) setting (2 AA alkaline). A three-position sliding control cover prevents accidental shut-off/channel-switching. www.audio-technica.com

The WTU-2 compact metal bodypack solution for the RE-2 system is automatically compatible with the Telex RSB-2 mute switch for football applications and features selectable RF output power and rechargeable–AA-battery operation with optional BH-200 charger. The unit is compatible with RSB-2 referee mute switch.

The BPU-2 compact bodypack transmitter for the RE-2 wireless system is made from high-impact ABS plastic. The single on/off switch also functions as a mute, and the TA4 microphone connector is compatible with any EV lapel and head-worn microphone, including the RE97Tx and RE97-2-Tx. Other features include a “cellphone” rotating belt clip and a smart battery. www.electrovoice.com

The SMV Series brings Lectrosonics’ Digital Hybrid Wireless technology to miniature transmitters in two configurations. The optional RM unit provides hands-free remote control of audio-input gain, frequency, lock or unlock modes, and sleep-mode on/off functions for both models. The Servo Bias input provides a programmable, regulated voltage to accommodate a wide variety of electret microphones, eliminating the need to install resistive pads for some mics to prevent overload of the input stage, divide the bias voltage down for some low-voltage mics, or reduce the limiter range at minimum gain settings. Two bi-color LEDs permit adjusting input levels for proper modulation.

The WM version is a water-resistant transmitter with a waterproof membrane keypad and a specially designed water-resistant machined aluminum housing. It offers 256 synthesized UHF frequencies in 100-kHz steps in nine blocks, each covering a 25.6-MHz bandwidth. Features include selectable RF power at 50, 100, and 250 mW; dual bi-color modulation LEDs for accurate gain adjustment; and a backlit LCD for ease of use in any environment. The WM is powered by two AA batteries, with internal switching power supplies providing constant voltages to the transmitter circuits from the beginning (1.5 V) to the end (0.85 V) of battery life. The WM responds to RM remote commands for hands-free setting changes. www.lectrosonics.com

Quantum5X’s analog bodypack transmitters are designed and built with the athlete in mind. The QT-256 series offers 256 channels at 100-kHz steps with an available frequency range between 600 and 698 MHz and output power ranging from 30 to 200 mW. The standard QT-256 enclosure is milled from solid industrial aluminum and is the size of two AA batteries. The unit is the smallest analog waterproof transmitter and has been used by a variety of professional sports leagues and teams, including MLB.

The QT-1000 PlayerMic offers the same RF profile as the QT-256 but comes in a flexible, sweat-proof polymer enclosed case and is 4 in. long. It has an internal antenna and is offered with a detachable or hard-wired lavaliere microphone.

The QT-5000 RemoteMic has 4,000 channels available in 25-kHz spacing and an output power range between 30 to 150 mW. Functions that can be wirelessly controlled from a laptop or handheld controller include on/off, monitor status and battery level, frequency adjustment, mic gain, and groupings of any QT-5000 transmitters. The form factor is the same as the QT-1000; risk and discomfort to the talent are minimized by the unit’s rubberized encasement and flexible design.

Quantum5X has just launched a new bodypack transmitter for the NBA. It is similar to the QT-5000 in that it is controlled remotely but is 30% smaller and has a broader RF range (500-600 MHz). It has a modified companding solution with the ability to accommodate a wide array of microphone elements. The remote-control functionality has also been enhanced with the ability to adjust RF output power and improved battery-charge status.

Every Q5X transmitter leverages the latest lithium-ion battery technology, providing six to 12 hours (depending on battery size and transmitter power) on a single charge. www.q5x.com

The BTR-240 bodypack uses license-free 2.4 GHz technology and offers multilevel security and audio encryption, ClearScan channel selection, a choice of two independent or simultaneous audio channels, eight full-duplex beltpacks or a virtually unlimited number of half-duplex beltpacks, an easy-to-read LCD display, two-wire and four-wire wired intercom interfaces, XLR in/out for interfacing with general audio systems, auto-select for condenser or dynamic microphones, and wired or wireless TR-240 beltpack operation. www.rtsintercoms.com

The SK 9000 is compatible with three-pin LEMO-connector lavaliere microphones, but instruments with line signal and guitars also benefit from the cable-like audio transmission. The housing of the SK 9000 is made of die-cast magnesium to offer maximum robustness at very low weight. The user interface features an icon-based menu structure and infrared synchronization with the receiver. Exchangeable energy packs with environment-friendly lithium-ion technology supply the required energy while saving thousands of batteries over time.

The SK 5212-II ultra-compact bodypack uses one AA battery and provides transmission over a switching bandwidth of up to 184 MHz in 5-kHz steps. The SK 5212-II features switchable output power of 10/50 mW, plus a low-intermodulation power mode that increases the linear headroom of the amplifier, allowing users to squeeze more channels into a crowded RF environment. Other features include HiDyn Plus noise reduction, backlit LC display, adjustable audio sensitivity in steps of 1 dB from –30 to +40 dB and a switchable low-cut filter. The wide switching bandwidth of the SK 5212-II matches Sennheiser’s EM 3732-II true-diversity receiver but is also compatible with all 3000 and 5000 series receivers.

The SK 250 beltpack transmitter offers a maximum 250-mW RF output power, quick-exchange battery or rechargeable pack, 16 switchable frequencies, and HiDyn Plus noise reduction. The SK 250 is compatible with the EK 3241 slot-mount diversity receiver as well as with all 3000 and 5000 series receivers.

The SK 2000 bodypack transmitter, part of the 2000 Series, offers up to 75 MHz of switching bandwidth in 25-kHz steps, frequency response of 25 to 20,000 Hz, plus full compatibility with Evolution Wireless systems. The SK 2000 offers selectable output power (10/30/50 mW), allowing users to increase power for longer transmission ranges or reduce power to squeeze more channels into a tight frequency range. For long-range applications, the SK 2000 XP (U.S. version) includes an additional 100-mW output-power mode. An optional rechargeable battery pack can be charged right in the unit using the external charging contacts. Other features include 20 fixed frequency banks with up to 64 compatible presets each, six banks with 64 user-tunable channels, and a pilot-tone squelch for interference-free operation. The SK 2000 is compatible with the 2000 Series’ EM 2000 and EM 2050 receivers, all Evolution Wireless receivers, and the EM 3732-II diversity receiver (with HDX compander activated). www.sennheiser.com

The ULX-D digital wireless offers 24-bit audio clarity and efficient RF performance with single-, dual-, and quad-channel receivers. Scalable, intelligent hardware delivers a large number of simultaneous active transmitters on a single TV channel, with consistent signal over the entire range. Optional rechargeable accessories offer extended run time and metering in hours and minutes. For secure transmission, all ULX-D components include AES-256 encryption.

The ULXD4D dual and ULXD4Q quad digital wireless receivers offer two and four channels, RF-signal stability and efficiency, and advanced setup features in a single rack unit. They are also equipped with integrated Dante digital audio networking, which allows multiple channels of audio to be distributed to a variety of devices over a single Ethernet cable.

The AXT100 Axient bodypack transmitter combines advanced features with precision performance to deliver ultra-linear RF performance for more channels on-air and superb audio quality. Its advanced power management provides extended, rechargeable battery life and highly accurate status metering, and ShowLink Remote Control enables comprehensive real-time remote control of all transmitter parameters, including frequency adjustments. The AXT100 is compatible with Wireless Workbench 6 software.

At 2.2 oz. without batteries, the UR1M wireless micro-bodypack transmitter is Shure’s most compact bodypack. Additional features include audio-level monitoring and control, infrared automatic transmitter sync, frequency and power lockout, and bitmapped backlit LCD display. The UR1M is compatible with Wireless Workbench software. www.shure.com

The TRX series of digital wireless microphones feature patented internal backup recording with timecode and RF remote-control reception. Other features include 100%-digital modulation, digital-dropout protection, five- to nine-hour running time (depending on model), a graphic LCD display, and no inter-modulation; up to 50 transmitters in the same frequency block can be used simultaneously. The timecode transmission and reception can also be distributed through ZaxNet, Zaxcom’s 2.4-GHz–signal network, to other transmitters and receivers, keeping the entire workflow in perfect timecode sync. www.zaxcom.com

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