Tech Focus: Bodypacks, Part 2 — Transmitters Offer a Wide Variety of Features
New generations continue to get smaller and more rugged; several target sports
It’s a small but crowded market. Here’s a look at some of the leading wireless transmitters and the features designed to help them stand out.
Click here for Tech Focus: Bodypacks, Part 1 — Increased Demand for Onfield Audio Boosts Wireless Transmitters.
ATW-T3201 3000 Series fourth-generation bodypack transmitter features a rugged, ergonomic metal body, highly visible OLED screen, power/mute indicator LED, soft-touch controls, 125-Hz high-pass filter, and a programmable function button that can be set to switch to a backup frequency or mute the transmitter. The transmitter is available in two frequency ranges, DE2 (470-530 MHz) and EE1 (530-590 MHz), to provide complete coverage of the receiver’s bandwidth. It has a cH-style screw-down 4-pin connector, accommodating A-T’s cH-style cables or lavalier and head-worn microphones. Switchable RF power provides 8 hours (alkaline) of battery life in the high setting/9 hours in the low (alkaline), 9 hours (Ni-MH 1,900 mAh) in the high setting/9.5 hours in the low (Ni-MH 1,900 mAh). Battery type is two 1.5-V AA (not included). The ATW-T3201 includes a field-replaceable whip antenna and a protective carrying case. www.audio-technica.com/
The RE3-BPT compact, lightweight UHF bodypack transmitter accepts a wide variety of input devices. The all-metal body is robust and durable and operates on two AA alkaline or rechargeable NiMH cells. An ultrasonic sync function enables simple system setup by syncing the transmitter to the receiver frequency-tuning and other functional data. The selectable output power (band-specific) assists in overcoming the challenges of both long and short transmission ranges. The tuning bandwidth affords generous frequency-tuning options, helping avoid various sources of possible interference. The magnetic sliding-latch-and-lock mechanism keeps the battery door closed securely and facilitates access to the batteries. Recharging contacts provide functional use, with the optional BC2 charging station allowing the NiMH rechargeable cells in two bodypack transmitters to be charged without removal. www.electrovoice.com/
DBSM (single AA) and DBSMD (dual AA) digital encrypted beltpack transmitters feature AES 256-bit CTR encryption with four key policies, including “shared key,” which is designed specifically for sports broadcast. Both offer wideband tuning (470-608 MHz for U.S., 470-614 MHz for export), a highly linear RF output stage for reduced intermodulation distortion, and 10-, 25-, and 50-mW RF power settings for applications ranging from broadcast studios to the playing field. A special super-narrow HDM (High Density Mode) transmission option allows packing more than 24 channels per 6-MHz TV channel without the need for frequency coordination. DBSM and DBSMD feature 24-bit/48-kHz digital audio and the compact, all-metal casings are well-sealed from sweat and dust. These units include a microSD-card slot and can be configured as transmitters or recorders.
The SSM (Super Slight Micro) digital hybrid wireless micro transmitter weighs 2.3 oz. with battery, tunes across three standard Lectrosonics frequency blocks, features power settings at 25- or 50-mW RF power, and runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The SSM responds to RM remote commands, compatible with the Lectro RM smartphone app.
SMWB (single AA) and SMDWB (dual AA) transmitters can be configured as either transmitters or recorders, with files stored on microSD-card memory in the industry-standard Broadcast Wave (.wav) format at 24 bits. The units tune across 76.8 MHz or three standard Lectrosonics frequency blocks and come in several frequency ranges. RF power for these models is selectable at 100, 50, or 25 mW.
The WM is a fully water-resistant transmitter, featuring a membrane keypad and a specially designed machined-aluminium housing. It offers 1,024 frequencies in 25-kHz steps and is available in nine frequency 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. Two AA batteries power the WM, 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, compatible with the LectroRM smartphone app, for hands-free setting changes. www.lectrosonics.com/
The QT-AD10 Axient Digital transmitters expand the Q5X family. Developed in collaboration with Shure, they combine Q5X’s safe, small, and rugged form factors with Shure’s market-leading Axient Digital technology, which adds encryption and improved spectral efficiency. The QT-AD10 transmitters are available in various frequency blocks between 470-694 MHz and 941-960 MHz. Both the QT-AD10 Axient Digital transmitters and Q5X’s long-established family of QT-5100 analog transmitters (470-700 MHz) are available in identical form factors developed over the past decade specifically to meet the requirements of the sports sector. The PlayerMic, AquaMic, RefMic, CoachMic, and BeltMic models are standard with an 8-hour runtime.
PlayerMic S, the smallest remote-controlled PlayerMic to date, features a 3- x 1.5- x 0.4-in. soft, tough, sweat-proof, and flexible polymer enclosure and a runtime of 4 hours. The AquaMic is totally waterproof for watersports or burying in the ground and is available in a long-life version with a 16-hour runtime.
The RefMic and the CoachMic feature a large, robust, integrated non-popping audio-mute switch. All control parameters for both digital and analog Q5X transmitters are adjusted through the same QG-H2 MicCommander handheld remote-control unit deploying the proprietary RCAS (Remote Control Audio System). RCAS facilitates total control without physically touching the transmitter, enabling the distanced workflows demanded by COVID-19 protocols.
The QT-AD10 Axient Digital transmitters work exclusively with Shure Axient Digital receivers. QT-5100 analog transmitters can be used with proprietary QR-3200 dual rack-mount receivers or QR-M3 mobile receivers. Both receivers are wideband (470-700 MHz) and feature new high-quality Mode 2 companding. QT-5100 analog transmitters can also be implemented with analog receivers from Shure, Sennheiser, Lectrosonics, or Wisycom using compatibility mode settings. Every Q5X transmitter features the latest lithium-ion–battery technology to maintain a green environment while providing 4 to 16 hours of runtime (depending on battery size and transmitter power) on a single charge. www.q5x.com/
The EW-DX features 2- and 4-channel receivers, an 88-MHz bandwidth, extended battery life, optional Dante networking, AES-256 encryption, and up to 293 channels at once. Available with multiple hardware options, including 2-channel half-rack (9.5-in.) or 4-channel full-rack (19-in.) receivers. Dante network audio, Ethernet control ports, and AES-256 encryption allow EW-DX to be securely transmitted and systems to be managed and to flex as needs change. Link Density Mode packs even more channels in a dedicated space and takes full advantage of interchangeable components across the Evolution Wireless Digital line.
The G4 series, part of the Evolution wireless portable systems, is fully compatible with all previous evolutions of wireless transmitters, safeguarding earlier investment. The ew 100-p G4 series comprises the ew 135-p G4 portable handheld set, two portable lavalier sets, the ew 112-p G4 (omni), and ew 122-p G4 (cardioid); in addition, the ew 100 G4 ENG combo set offers both plug-on and bodypack transmitters with an omnidirectional ME 2-II clip-on microphone.
The Digital 6000 Series features the same long-range mode and proprietary Sennheiser Digital Audio Codec as the Digital 9000, the company’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 two transmitter versions (470-558 MHz, 550-608 MHz). Up to eight receiver units can be daisy-chained without the need for an additional antenna splitter. System latency is 3 ms, and Digital 6000 features switchable AES 256 encryption.
The SK 6000 and ultra-compact SK 6212 high-resolution digital wireless beltpack transmitters are compatible with 3-pin Lemo-connector lavalier microphones. Both bodypacks provide industry-leading intermodulation-free performance. The user interface deploys an icon-based menu structure and infrared synchronization with the receivers. The SK 6212 has an exchangeable lithium-ion battery pack for up to 12 hours of battery life. www.sennheiser.com/
The Axient Digital ADX wireless transmitters are available in a variety of application-specific form factors, including a frequency-diversity handheld and the first micro bodypack with an internal self-tuning antenna, delivering high-performance RF, software command and control, and hardware scalability. A durable, lightweight option, the ADX1 bodypack transmitter has a removable antenna and fully concealed buttons for discreet performance. Providing advanced interference protection, rechargeability, and ShowLink remote control for real-time parameter adjustments and automatic interference avoidance, all ADX transmitters enable excellent functionality and range and include two rechargeable batteries. The ADX1M micro bodypack transmitter delivers pristine audio and is equipped with an internal self-tuning antenna, High Density (HD) mode, encryption, and ShowLink remote control. Its contoured form factor and lightweight PEI construction offer both comfort and heat-resistance for better concealment and comfortable wear in a variety of production and broadcast environments. Sealed switches and LEMO connector protect against moisture, and the OLED display provides excellent visibility in low-light environments. The ADX1M micro bodypack includes two SB910M rechargeable batteries. www.shure.com/
Zaxcom’s digital recording wireless bodypack transmitters are fully digital and encrypted, capable of transmitting and recording at the same time, and remotely controllable. The small and light flagship ZMT4 measures 2.2 x 1.6 x .55 in. and weighs only 2.2 oz. with battery. It lasts for up to seven hours and has power for all microphones — from a 5-V lavalier to a 48-V phantom-powered mic. It features a high-strength impact-resistant nylon-polymer casing with rounded edges and machined metal that’s cool to the touch. Zaxcom’s ZMT4-Flex was designed to capture the on-field experience of professional sports. A soft yet durable silicone housing allows the transmitter to bend and flex, providing an elevated level of safety to the professional sports player. This transmitter features dual microphone input and a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts up to 7 hours with 24 hours of standby.
Other transmitter offerings are the ZMT4-X and TRXLA5. The ZMT4-X was created for users who need an ultra-durable and extremely long-lasting transmitter: it runs for up to 16 hours on a single charge. The TRXLA5, Zaxcom’s classic bodypack updated for 2023, runs on two AA batteries and is fully wideband, covering all legal areas in the U.S., Blocks 20-23, the guard band, and the duplex gap. zaxcom.com/