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Replacement radio mics - digital and encryption


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Hi all,


Like many others here no doubt, I'm in the process of looking at replacements to our radio mic systems (currently mostly Senn 300 G2 kit) for post-DSO. We have 16 channels at the moment with 14 bodypacks and 5 handhelds and use them for three main purposes; up to 12 (or even 14) way systems for amateur theatre groups (including ones we are involved in ourselves) with bodypacks, live event work using say a couple of handhelds for annoucements at partys/retirement events etc. or corporate presentations/conferences using up to 5 lavs with a couple of handhelds for Q&A.


I like the sennheiser G2 gear and had expected to move to 500 G3 equipment (for the MKE2 mics) but am also wondering if I should consider getting some (or maybe even switch completely) digital mics which support encryption to take into account some of the conferences we do with commercially sensitive information. For theatre use with lots of channels, the monitoring and easy RF setup offered by the Sennheisers is excellent. One option would be to continue with Sennheiser but get some extra channels of something encrypted or do I move over completely.


To that end I have been researching various other options and would appreciate any feedback others might have on this and their own experiences.


Zaxcomm - UHF, Encrypted - Nice looking gear, but too pricey for me at approx £3,000/channel

Audio Technica - could only find some digital kit that was more about installation with wireless boundary mics or bodypacks but no handhelds.

Shure - UHF their PGXD system is only available in the US at the moment and is a bit too budget end and doesn’t appear to be encrypted.

MiPro – but I don’t know much about them as a company and I think it’s too expensive for me at approx £2,5000/channel.

AKG – DMS700 system looks to be more in my price range (approx £1,600/channel) and is encrypted plus has more sophisticated feature set than say, Shure or Line6.

Sabine 2.4GHz - not heard good things from others in terms of dropouts and unreliability - not sure if this is still the case.

Line6 - 2.4GHz Good value, although lacks any central networked monitoring and doesn't mention encryption.


2.4GHz would have a fringe advantage that we could use them abroad which we occasionally have done in Europe on the ISM band which we can't do on ch.38. I've seen the extensive thread about Line6 and 2.4GHz. Does anyone have any experience of other 2.4Ghz systems?


I don't have a big desire to go digital other than for encryption purposes so I guess that means the way I see it, we either go for:


1) mostly analog on ch.38 and then a few channels of encrypted at the cheaper end - e.g. line 6 and cope without the advanced features on that kit plus the benefit of working abroad (assuming that line6 is encrypted).

2) half/half with analog and say DMS700 - messy since on larger deployments in theatre we would need both.

3) Go all over to something like the DMS700 with the advanced features and encryption for when we need it on one system - more expensive


How secure is digital without encryption from being eavesdropped?


Thanks for your help. I need to make a decision and start buying in within the next two months before we start handing our kit back.


ETA - If theres other systems I missed please add them to the discusssion!

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Hi Michael,


I work for the Sabine distributor so have good experience of their 2.4GHz systems.


Firstly with regards to the dropouts and reliability; I did hear some negative things about the first generation of the products, but things have moved on considerably and the system is now rock solid. I can't remember any products being returned apart from those that had suffered mechanical damage.


On the issue of eavesdropping without encryption on the digital systems - with the Sabine systems, a potential eavesdropper would need their own Sabine receiver to listen in; it would then require them to select the channel they wanted to listen to. With an encrypted system, this would not be possible without the encryption key.


The requirement for encryption is fairly rare in my experience; I think I have only been asked if it is possible on two occasions.



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The MIPRO Digitals are serisouly good. Don't even think of questioning the quality. If you try them you'll see what I mean. I used a set for a pantomime gig last year and was able to use 8 channels with no external antennas at all.


As I'm used to replacing batteries for each gig I forgot to charge them before one of the shows. Potentially disastrous but it was absolutely no problem. These things last for ever on a charge. I got through the show and I'm convinced that I could have run another with them with no further charge. Very impressive.


Audio quality is crisp and very natural, no latency and if you switch on the encryption you can ONLY listen to that transmitter with the receiver you programmed it with. Another receiver of the same type tuned to the same channel can't work with it making it very secure. Apparently it's an RSA derived encrytion method so security is high. The displays on the receivers look great and you can see them from a distance if you need to.


I'd suggest you give them a go before making a decision. They have a wide bandwidth so many channels are available.





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The Line 6 XD-V 2.4G digital wireless systems ARE encrypted but there is only a single key. It is not user adjustable, What this means is that only another Line 6 XD-V receiver can decode the transmission, it cannot be done by a scanner or other radio.


What level of encryption do you require?



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The ease with which a cheap scanner can listen in to analogue transmissions is the problem - so a system like Don's would make casual interception difficult. If you could find it (and let's be honest, even attempting to make sense of what goes on up at 2.4GHz is a major issue), and the identify it, you could source one of Don's receivers and intercept - but that's not very practical. So somebody with devious activities in mind would need to know in advance what kit they'd need. Not something you could really even contemplate doing on site!


Going digital, with or without encryption makes the system an awful lot more resilient to unauthorised monitoring. It's not exactly common on analogue, where it's so easy to do. I've not come across and casual recordings made covertly on the net, suggesting that if people do it, it's not for general release to the public for fun, but presumably done for other purposes. I expect the National news organisations would have had a use for it, being so easy to do - but that's not happened yet, has it?

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Hi guys,


Whilst encryption isn't strictly necessary, we sell loads of MIPRO digital to financial institutions such as banks. The need for encryption is an absolute necessity. There are definite market slots for encrypted equipment, However, I believe that the MIPRO units are the only ones currently to have a guaranteed RSA derived encryption key.


As far as cost goes, don't forget, the pricing quoted on our website is retail. If you are a pro user or hire company the deal can be negotiated. This can reduce the cost considerably. What you won't know however is that MIPRO are about to release a new, analogue system that has a 72MHz bandwidth. This system has loads of very useable frequency space and complies with the new frequency band allocations post 2012. No firm pricing on this yet but this will be up on our web site towards the end of the month. Pricing will be very keen and may even be substantially cheaper than other brands of similar specification.


Build quality is superb. Audio quality and usability is also excellent. I'd suggest users take a look soon! If anyone needs any further info please give us a call.

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I think somewhere in the blurb it says it uses FHSS between 4 frequencies in the band and each of the 12 channels uses a different 4 frequencies.

But what the actual frequencies are, they keep very close to the chest.


edit for SPAG

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  • 2 weeks later...

You may have already seen this, plus I apologise in advance if this link doesn't work, but I hope this helps..

It's worth pointing out that the link is to a US based article, and that their TV channel numbering scheme and the spectrum they have lost in their version of the sell off is different from the UK.

There is also the slightly problematic issue of having manufacturers to help write articles about their own gear. Sometimes (but not always) objectivity slips a little...

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