Tech Focus: Bodypack Transmitters, Part 2 — A Look at the Leaders
The devices are becoming smaller, tougher, and increasingly flexible
With burgeoning demand for putting on-field audio on the air for sports broadcasts, the selection of RF bodypack audio transmitters and their capabilities are also growing. Here’s an overview of some of the leading current models.
CLICK HERE for Tech Focus: Bodypack Transmitters, Part 1 — A Growing Role in Sports Sound.
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 and with 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 (two AA alkaline batteries). A three-position sliding control cover prevents accidental shutoff/channel-switching. www.audio-technica.com/
The WTU-2 is a compact metal bodypack solution for the RE-2 system. Automatically compatible with the Telex RSB-2 mute switch for football applications, it offers selectable RF output power and rechargeable AA battery operation with optional BH-200 charger. The unit is compatible with the RSB-2 referee mute switch.
BPU-2 is a compact bodypack transmitter for the RE-2 wireless system. It 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 microphones, including the RE97Tx and RE97-2-Tx. Other features include a “cellphone” rotating belt clip and a smart battery. www.electrovoice.com/
The DBa digital encrypted beltpack transmitter features AES 256-bit CTR encryption, wideband tuning (470-698 MHz), a highly linear RF-output stage for reduced intermodulation distortion,. and true 50-mW transmission RF power for excellent range and resistance to dropouts. A multifunction switch can be configured for mute or power, making the unit flexible, and the device provides 24-bit/48-kHz digital audio for pristine sound quality.
The SSM (Super Slight Micro) digital hybrid wireless micro transmitter tunes across 76.8 MHz or three standard Lectrosonics frequency blocks, features power settings at 25 or 50 mW RF power, and runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It measures 2.52 x 1.48 x 0.57 in. and weighs 2.3 oz., including battery. The SSM responds to RM remote commands, compatible with the Lectro RM smartphone app. Frequency bands offered are A1 (470-537 MHz), B1 (537-614 MHz), C1 (614-691 MHz), and D1 (691-767 MHz, export only).
The SMWB (single AA) and SMDWB (dual AA) transmitters tune across 76.8 MHz or three standard Lectrosonics frequency blocks and come in several frequency ranges. RF power is selectable at 100, 50, or 25 mW. The SMWB and SMDWB feature the standard TA5 connector, with servo-bias mic input also found on all previous SM Series units and all current TA5 beltpack units. The SMWB and SMDWB units can be configured as either a transmitter or a recorder, with files stored on Micro SD card memory in the industry-standard Broadcast Wave (.wav) format at 24 bits. The memory card can also be used to update firmware in the field. These transmitters feature IR sync for quick setup and can also be configured via RM remote commands, compatible with the Lectro RM and PDR Remote smartphone apps, for hands-free setting changes.
The WM is a water-resistant transmitter with a membrane keypad and a specially designed water-resistant machined-aluminium 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 bicolor modulation LEDs for accurate gain adjustment, and a backlit LCD for ease of use. 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. It responds to RM remote commands, compatible with the Lectro RM smartphone app, for hands-free setting changes. www.lectrosonics.com/US/
The new enhanced RCAS (Remote Control Audio System) behind the QT-5100 PlayerMic and QT-5100 RefMic sports transmitters features significantly increased range of RF remote control, allowing adjustment of all transmitter functions over relatively long distances without interfering with the athletes or on-air talent. New software and firmware upgrades add the ability to connect the handheld controller to a computer and use the MicControl software with an expansive GUI that facilitates managing multiple transmitters, in addition to the existing remotely controlled on/off, frequency, mute/live, mic-gain, group-commands, companding-modes, and RF-transmit–power (10-250 mW) functions.
The QT-5100 family of wideband remotely controlled transmitters are designed for sports applications and are frequency-agile from 470 to 700 MHz with 3,000 selectable channels across 75-MHz blocks in 25-kHz steps. Currently, there are five models of the QT-5100: QT-5100 Incognito, QT-5100 AquaMic (waterproof), QT-5100 RefMic (with integrated non-popping mute switch), QT-5100 PlayerMic, and QT-5100 PlayerMic S. The QT-5100 PlayerMic S is the smallest remote-controlled PlayerMic to date and features a soft, tough, sweat-proof, flexible polymer enclosure measuring 3 x 1.5 x 0.4 in. and a run time of 3.5 hours at a 50-mW RF-transmit-power setting.
The manually controlled QT-300 series, an updated version of the QT-256, is available in three models: QT-300 BeltPack, QT-300 PlayerMic and QT-300 AquaMic. QT-300 is tunable to 3,000 frequencies in 25-KHz steps between 525 MHz and 598 MHz. The output power is adjustable in preselected steps between 10 mW and 250 mW. Mic gain is adjustable as well. Every Q5X transmitter uses the latest lithium-ion battery technology to maintain a green environment while providing four to 15 hours of runtime (depending on battery size and transmitter power) on a single charge. www.q5x.com/
The new ROAMEO is an easy-to-use communications system based on a wireless keypanel in the form of a beltpack. The system provides high-quality audio and accommodates a large number of simultaneous users across a wide coverage area. Operating like a wireless keypanel, ROAMEO can be fully integrated into an existing ADAM series and allows users to address either individuals or specified groups. The system consists of the TR-1800 beltpack, the AP-1800 access point, and accessories including a charger, holster, and pole-mount kit. Connection to a digital matrix is established via a single Ethernet cable. In addition, the system can use standard IT infrastructure, which ensures easy installation and low maintenance costs. Capacity can be increased by adding wireless beltpacks and associated access points.
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 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 Digital 6000 Series uses the same long-range mode and proprietary Sennheiser Digital Audio Codec as the Digital 9000, Sennheiser’s top-of-the-range wireless series. The digital two-channel receiver works across a switching bandwidth of 244 MHz (470-714 MHz), which is covered by three transmitter versions (470-558 MHz, 550-638 MHz, and 630-718 MHz). For larger systems, up to eight receiver units can be daisy-chained without the need for an additional antenna splitter; the multichannel system will work with a single pair of antennas. System latency is 3 ms. The Digital 6000 offers true-bit diversity, transmission-error correction, and additional intelligent error concealment and provides switchable AES 256 encryption.
The SK 9000 high-resolution, uncompressed digital wireless beltpack transmitter is compatible with three-pin Lemo connector lavaliere microphones. Its housing is made of die-cast magnesium to offer maximum robustness at a very low weight; the device features exchangeable energy packs with lithium-ion batteries The user interface has an icon-based menu structure and offers infrared synchronization with the receivers. The SK 9000 is compatible with the flagship EM 9046 digital wireless mainframe, which accommodates up to eight receiver channels.
The SK 5212-II ultra-compact bodypack uses one AA battery and offers transmission over a switching bandwidth of up to 184 MHz in 5-kHz steps. It features switchable output power of 10/50 mW, plus a low-intermodulation power mode that increases the linear headroom of the amplifier, allowing more channels to be squeezed 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 SK5212-II matches Sennheiser’s EM 3732-II true-diversity receiver but is also compatible with all 3000 and 5000 series receivers. www.sennheiser.com/
The new AD1 is a wireless bodypack transmitter compatible with Axient digital wireless systems. It delivers impeccable audio quality and RF performance with wide-tuning up to 184 MHz, high-density mode, and encryption. Features include durable metal construction, optional rechargeable power with dockable charging, and TA4 and LEMO3 connector options. www.shure.com/