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Radio Mics for theatre..what 2 buy?


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I am in a fortunate position to spend some money in a theatre!!


I am looking to buy an 8way radio mic system (not hand held)


I am becoming bemused as to what is out there! sennheiser / shure?


Basically I want 8 transmitters and receivers / decent mics / preferable head mounted / top of scalp / cheekbone

Compression over them

Antenna paddles situated FOH

All nicely racked up


Any ideas? Have 4-5k to play with


Ta muchly in advance

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Cheers Dave for speedy reply! Will have a look...


What ever you do don't buy trantec they are ####. sony/senhiser/shure are bout your best bet. also bear in mind that they are still in talks about selling all the frequencies used for radio mics to the mobile phone companies. If the phone companies get their way you won't beable to use the mics we have at the mo after bout 2012.

hope this helps

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Holly - that doesn't help at all, and forgive me, is total rubbish.


I have been using Trantec, Shure and Sennheiser (and the odd A/T) for a very long time now - nearly as long as you've been alive - and they all have plus and minus points.


As you slated Trantecs, I'll start with them. I've been using them since they were single channel crystalled kit with SM58 heads and available with Trantec or Shure labels on the box.


They are not perfect - never have been, BUT they have been used and abused and very few problems have surfaced over the years. I've always had between 10 and 16 channels in stock - and after all this time only two units have been back to Trantec for repair. All other faults have been due to damage, and I have repaired them myself. We're talking about daft things - a lemo connector that comes loose, and can even be snapped off if really abused. VHF helicals that fracture, and pretty average lav type mics that often have cable problems near the mic element.


All these faults are minor and are caused by use, not poor design. I have 18 Trantecs at the moment and just one has a small fault - a couple of segments in the lcd display are out.


The sennheiser 100/300 systems have been very good too. A couple of packs have finicky jacks that need careful tightening to stop crackles. My older Sens had worn mic connectors too. One handheld has a cover that is too easy to ping off when pulling out of a mic clamp.


All of these have proven to be reliable and decent value for money.



As for the radio spectrum - it's complicated but the Government have recently made it clear they realise and appreciate the need for spectrum space - you need to do a bit of research and stop scaremongering!


I presume you hold some licences? If so, you'll know the up-to-date info.



At the moment the Senns have a pretty good range, but the new Trantecs do appear to be a runner. Before I suggest them, I'd need a bit more hands-on.



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I'll be 100% honest. When Trantec were down to come and demo products, I was ready to dismiss them straight away (having seen the Shure ULX etc) and then the S5.5 was shown to us. For the value for money factor they are absolutely superb. Trantec will sell a hell of a lot of these as they have just got it spot on. We also stock the S6000 but they are a different league altogether.


What ever you do don't buy Trantec they are ####.


Might I suggest you take a look at both the S5 range and the S6000's. I bet you'd fast take back that comment. And if they are so #### as you say, then why would the likes or Orbital etc stock them? :P I'd be interested in what you have used to be able to so boldly say that on an internet forum?

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Thanks for the replies folks...Did not mean to start a heated debate!! I have an old Trantec system inhouse at the moment......I have never had a real problem with it for the am dram companies that come through the theatre of a season.


I just have a few grand spare in my theatre budget and want to upgrade. Nice position to be in I know. I have been looking at the Sennheiser ew300 range. I will take advice on the 'new' Trantec range and get a demo arranged.


It can be a fine line as to what quality you buy in a busy theatre environment. Its not the West End!



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Most of what needs to be said is already there, but I'll try to summarise.


First off, in your budget range, the brands to try are Sennheiser, Sony, Shure and Trantec. All have advantages and disadvantages so I'd take a close look at all four and see what you like best.


Sennheiser probably have the biggest market share which might make renting compatible extras easier but, on the other hand, the size of the Sony receiver packs makes for a nice neat installation. You can also get up to 12 intermod free frequencies (on channel 69) with Sony whereas Sennheiser 300G2 only claim up to 8. If you ever need extras, you might save some money in licence fees.


I'd certainly not rule out Shure or Trantec either...both make good products but I don't personally know them as well as the ones I've mentioned.


Some other points:


First, to some extent you can separate the decision on the mic capsule from your choice of TX/RX packs. Initially you'll likely find that package deals will dictate that you buy your mics along with the TX packs but in the longer term you will very likely do better to mix and match. For example, see the topic started by paulears about a very inexpensive headset mic. I mention this because you'd specified you want hairline/over the ear mounts. Some of the mics that come as part of kits are a bit large to do this well.


(By the way, at the risk of stating the obvious, when it comes to hairline or over-ear mounts, you're "on your own" in developing your own fixings...nothing comes as part of a kit. However, there are lots of topics here in the BR with suggestions.)


Your plan to locate paddle or shark-fin antennae as near the stage as possible is a good one. Make sure your budget includes sufficient high quality, low-loss cable of the proper impedance though. For 8 receivers you'll also need a splitter network. Again, you need to pay for decent quality on this aspect of the install.


When looking at systems, don't forget to check what type of batteries are used and what life you can get out of each cell. There's a big difference in cost between a system that uses a single AA cell for 9 hours compared to one that uses a 9V cell for only 4 hours!


Finally, it IS worth being aware that you will need a licence to use 8 simultaneous channels. So long as there aren't lots of users in the same are as you, channel 69 (the cheapest, most basic licence) should work fine for you, with the possibility of adding 2 or 3 extra rented mics on the licence-free bandwidth just above your main channels. Getting more licences for other frequencies is possible but more expensive. It's also worth noting that UK radio mic licensing is in a state of flux with various consultation documents floating about. However, everyone is in the same boat right now.



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