Selecting a wireless system is kind of like picking out an apartment, you could live anywhere, but would you want to? After trying 4 or so different wireless setups the one I settled on is the Sennheiser G2 series, because it’s rugged, preforms well, runs on AA batteries, and has a nice little cold shoe mount adapter.

Does this mean it’s right for you? Not necessarily. When picking a wireless mic setup there are a few things to consider.

  1. How much do you have to spend?
  2. How far away from the talent do you need to be?
  3. What kind of mounting will you be using?
  4. Are you filming in a urban area or out in the country?

The number one factor that will determine what wireless system you buy is how much you have to spend. Wireless systems like the Lectrosonics 400 series work amazingly well, but at a price of almost $2500 each, I’ll never own one. So Lets look at a few more affordable options.

The least expansive wireless system I’ve ever used is the Audio Technica PRO88W. For a price of $125 you get 2 vhf channels, a cold shoe adapter, and a lavalier microphone. The transmitter and receiver both run on a single 9 volt battery and the body is made out of plastic.  You don’t get a lot of range, I’ve been able to get 40 feet line of site before I started to notice problems. With only 2 VHF channels (UHF is better) to select from this probably isn’t a great choice for conventions, but if you live in a small town, or only plan to use this for intimate one on one interviews or blogs It could work well.

If you are prepared to spend about twice that much you can pick yourself up the Azden 105 Series Wireless Microphone for about $250 to $300. The Azden units are a mixed bag, you get 90+ UHF channels, good range (mine worked 2 rooms away and line of site up to 200 feet), and clean enough audio. The down side is that the unit is made out of plastic, the controls are poorly designed and the audio can get a little bit over modulated when the settings aren’t right. If you need to make adjustments to the settings, you actually have to get out the included plastic tools and fiddle around with very tiny screws. Not only is this a pain, but it also takes a lot of time. One other note is that the included lavalier mic is rather large.

I tried to give this unit a chance but after about 3 weeks of messing around with the horrible controls I gave up on it. The Azden 105 preforms well for the price if you’re willing to put up with the adjustment pains and the plastic.

Once you get fed up with the head ache of using the Azden 105, the Sony UWP-V1 wireless system is a breath of fresh air. At a price of around $400 you get 188 UHF frequencies to chose from, a solid metal body, and controls that are simple and easy to use. The Sony UWP-V1 runs on AA batteries and comes with both a cold shoe adapter and a lavalier microphone. It also includes both a XLR and a mini-plug output cable so you can easily adapt this to any setup. The other nice thing is that you can adjust the power output of the transmitter to increase battery life if you don’t need the talent to be far away.

So if I like the Sony UWP-V1 so much why did I end up with the Sennheiser G2? Well 2 reasons, the first one being the size of the receiver. The Sennheiser G2 receiver is about 2/3rd the size of the Sony receiver making it a little nicer for on camera mounting. The second is that I wanted an XLR transmitter as well as a transmitter body pack so I could do on the scene style interviews. At the time I was in the market, the Sony model was out of stock and I ended up buying the Sennheiser ew100 G2 system instead.

At the time the Sennheiser and Sony models were almost the same price but it looks as though the Sony units have come down in price while the Sennheiser has stayed about the same.  Honestly I think both the Sony and Sennheiser wireless units are about even as far as performance. Some people feel that the Sennheiser controls are a little bit confusing and others find the size of the Sony units a down side.

Having owned both, I think the size of the Sennheiser system still wins me over, but if I had to do it again and the price was $100 less I would probably have gone with the Sony UWP-V1. Either way both of these units are very rugged and well made, I don’t think you’ll go wrong with either if your willing to spend the money.

On a side note the Sennheiser ew100 G2 can often be found on ebay for much less then the retail price. So if your willing to wait a little bit then .

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