I used to understand wireless mics but things have changed so much in the UK that I’m pretty confused. With licensing changes and spectrum being sold off I’m one of those people who uses a cable if I possibly can.
One of the biggest advantages I’ve enjoyed whenever I get to use a reasonably upmarket video camera is the fact that, unlike a typical DSLR, they usually feature XLR mic inputs. Tools like Pluraleyes have made life easier than ever for people capturing audio to non-timecode equipped external recorders but its still better to capture audio and video together if you can. Unfortunately many people use external recorders because it is simpler to capture to that external device than it is to get audio from an external mic into a DSLR because of the 3.5mm audio connector found on most DSLR cameras.
The Sennheiser XSW-D system is an entry level wireless system which presents itself as a ‘“cable replacement system”. It is a simple to use series of transmitters and receivers which all work in the 2.4GHz range and so are useable anywhere. These FM systems work very well and by incorporating diversity (two independent transmission paths with the receiver automatically switching to the path with the least interference) and companding (a double ended process which is a combination of compression and expansion at the transmitter end which is reversed at the receiver) manage to overcome the limitations of the system but these systems can still encounter issues in use.
Do Digital Wireless Systems Introduce Latency?
Seeing the word “Digital” immediately makes me ask about latency. In this case latency is negligible. At under 4ms latency is equivalent to the time sound takes to travel approximately 4 feet through air. Probably less than a boom mic would experience.
No Analogue Companding Needed To Preserve Dynamic Range
The XSW-D is a digital wireless system and so doesn’t need to use companding to keep the transmitted signal at the optimum level. In the best 2.4GHz systems frequency diversity is used to switch frequencies away from interference in an area of spectrum occupied by Wi-Fi and microwaves. The XSW-D has dual antennae and features diversity switching.
Simple One Button Pairing
Through a simple system of one button pairing, any transmitter can be paired with any receiver and having a variety of transmitter and receivers means that an XLR equipped Mic transmitter suitable for a dynamic mic (the mic transmitter doesn’t supply phantom power) can be paired with a 3.5mm equipped receiver suitable for use with a DSLR. Transmitters are also available for lavalier mics.
One receiver can be paired with up to four transmitters, though only with one can be used at a time, and up to five pairs of XSW-D devices can be used simultaneously.
To find out more about the Sennheiser XSW-D series visit the Sennheiser DSLR Audio product pages