Wireless Microphones
An Overview for Local 16 Employees
By
Lisa Woodward
1
RF Basics
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Transmitter
Receiver
Carrier Wave
FM-Frequency Modulation
Frequency Range
– VHF
– UHF
Diversity
Intermodulation
Squelch
Tone Key and Digital Code Squelch
Wireless mics use radio frequencies as carrier waves to transmit sound signals from the transmitter to
the receiver. Both the transmitter and receiver need to be tuned to the same frequency. The sound
signals are modulations of the carrier wave of frequency and amplitude, know as FM.
The 2 bands of frequency commonly used are VHF and UHF. VHF is 30 to 300 megahertz and UHF
is 300 to 3000 megahertz. VHF has better bandwidth, thus fidelity. Because of radio congestion in
the VHF range in cities, UHF has become popular for wireless mics. In the US, the UHF band with
used for wireless mics are also used by television stations. Because of this it is important to be aware
of the UHF television channels in the area.
Diversity is a tuner that uses 2 antennae to receive the same signal and then selects which antennae is
receiving the strongest signal.
Intermodulation distortion is caused by the harmonics of radio waves.
Squelch is a circuit that mutes the audio when the radio transmission drops below a certain threshold.
The lower the threshold, the longer the range of the transmitter (or mic in our case), but the more
noisy the transmission becomes. The higher threshold is less noisy, but the range is shortened.
Key squelch is circuitry which gates open the audio signal when it receives the “key” signal, either a
particular tone or digital signal. Thus eliminates the sound of unwanted transmissions.
2
Setting up a RF mic system
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Check the gear
Set up receivers
Place antennae and cable to receivers
Connect audio output to sound system
Choose and program frequencies on receiver
Program transmitters
Choose mics
Test
Overview of talk.
I will refer mostly to the Shure UHF and Sony UHF 800 throughout the rest of this
presentation. There are a lot of other brands, but these 2 are the most popular in our
line of work. In the interest of time, I will not go over other brands and models.
3
Antennae and Cable
4
Cable
Always use 50 ohm cable with radio microphone systems.
5
Cable Type and Length
CABLE TYPE
30% RANGE
REDUCTION
50% RANGE
REDUCTION
LO COST RG-58
15’
30’
QUALITY RG-58
24’
48’
LOW COST RG-8
31’
63’
QUALITY RG-8
48’
96’
FOAM RG-8
BELDEN 9913
75’
150’
Source: http://www.audio-technica.com/using/wireless/advanced/cables.html
6
Shure UA830
• Antennae amp
• Up to 25’ use the 3 dB
gain
• Up to 50’ use the 10 dB
gain
• May gang two together for
more than 50’
• No more than two ganged
together
Source: http://www.shure.com/pdf/userguides/guides_wireless/ua830_en.pdf
The UA830 is an antennae amplifier. Use only 50 ohm cable.
Be sure to put the antennae at the end marked “antennae” and the coax to the end
marked “receiver”.
Be sure to check that both the whip and the amp are for the frequency range of the
transmitter.
Use the 3 dB setting for 25’ cable and the 10dB setting for the 50’ cable. You can
gang together 2 for cables longer than 50’. According to Shure no more than 2 can
be ganged together.
7
Directional Antennae
Look for the frequency range of the antennae.
Directional antennae pick up in a cardioid pattern.
Aim antennae at the receivers.
Use two if possible.
Be sure to check the frequency range of the antennae to see that it matches the
frequency range of the transmitters.
The Shure antennae has a gain switch for 3 dB or 10dB. Use the 3 dB setting for 25’
cable and the 10dB setting for the 50’ cable
Use 50 ohm (RG8) coax.
8
Look for the frequency range of the antennae.
Arrow shows where the frequency range information is located.
9
Antennae Placement
• Maintain a line- of- sight between the transmitter
and receiver antennas.
• Maintain a distance of at least 10 ft between the
transmitter and receiver to prevent overloading the
receiver.
• Point the antenna tips away from each other at a
45 ° angle.
• Do not let antennae touch.
Source: http://www.audio-technica.com/using/wireless/quicktip/oneplus.html; uhf_en.pdf at www.shure.com
10
Antennae Placement continued
• Avoid placing antennae where metal or other
dense materials may be present.
• Avoid placing the receiver near computers or
other RF generating equipment.
• Keep diversity antennae at least 10 inches apart.
Source: http://www.audio-technica.com/using/wireless/quicktip/oneplus.html; uhf_en.pdf at www.shure.com
11
Antennae Dividers or Distros
• Allows several receivers to use just 2
antennae.
• Connect the antennae to the input of the
distro.
• Connect the antennae outputs of the distro
to the inputs of the different receivers.
12
Antennae Distros continued
• Terminate unused outputs with 50 ohm
BNC terminators (but not inputs!).
• Be sure to check that frequency range is
compatible with the rest of the system.
• Turn it on!
13
Arrow points to where frequency range information is located on the Sony WD-820.
14
Multiple dividers
Notes from the manual on Sony WD-820A:
Only 2 or 4 receivers can be connected to the divider.
Do not exceed the 300 W rating of the AC outlet when daisy chaining power.
Notes from the manual on the Shure 840A:
Up to 5 receivers can be connected to divider (outputs 1-4 + cascade).
No more than 5 units can be powered together by daisy chaining AC.
15
Connecting to the Sound System
16
Gain for Receivers
• Mic/line level
– Shure “mic/line” switch in the rear
– Sony “level” switch –20 on the front
• Output gain knob all the way clockwise
• The set the “mixing” switch on Sony
receivers to OFF
• Use XLR connectors when ever possible
Most receivers will produce a line level signal. The mic level on the receivers is
often a pad. Use line level whenever possible so the signal goes through the least
possible number of gain stages.
On the Shure, set the “mic/line” switch in the back of the receiver to line level; set
the output gain knob on the front right of the receiver fully clockwise.
On the Sony, set the level switch on the front panel to –20 and the level knob to
MAX, fully clockwise.
In the rear panel of the Sony, watch out for the “mixing” switch near XLR
connector. Be sure this is switched to OFF.
Use the XLR connectors when ever possible.
17
Sony “Mixing” Switch
18
Programming Receivers
Shure UHF and Sony UHF 800
19
Programming Shure Receivers
Source: uhf_en.pdf at www.shure.com
Program Shure UHF receivers by hitting the “menu” button.
Press the “+” or “-” keys to page through the different choices.
Hit the “select” key when the screen reads the parameter you want to change.
Use the “select” key and the “+” or “-” keys to change the parameter.
Once the program is set, hit the “menu” button again.
The screen will read “SAVE ?”; hit the “+” key to save.
If you do not save the receiver will revert back to the previous settings in 20
seconds.
20
Programming Sony Receivers
Program the Sony UHF 800 receiver by holding down the “set” button and then
hitting the “group” button.
Each time you hit the “group” button, you cycle through the first channel of each
group (00, 11, 12, 13, A1, A2 & A3).
Let go of the group button on the selection you want.
Hold down the “set” button again and hit the “channel” button to cycle through the
possible channels within the group.
21
Choosing Frequencies
22
Frequency Bands
Frequency
Band Number
30 - 300 Hz
2
Classification
Extremely Low Frequencies
Abbreviation
ELF
300 - 3000 Hz
3
Voice Frequencies
VF
3 - 30 KHz
4
Very Low Frequencies
30 - 300 KHz
5
Low Frequencies
LF
300 - 3000 KHz
6
Medium Frequencies
MF
3 - 30 MHz
7
High Frequencies
30 - 300 MHz
8
Very High Frequencies
VHF
300 - 3000 MHz
9
Ultrahigh Frequencies
UHF
3 - 30 GHz
10
Super-High Frequencies
SHF
30 - 300 GHz
11
Extremely High Frequencies
EHF
300 GHz - 3 THz
12
-
VLF
HF
-
Source: http://www.testeq.com/charts/freqclas.lasso
Human hearing is 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
UHF is 300 MHz to 3000 MHz.
23
Frequency Ranges of
Shure UHF series
Shure series
Frequency range
TV Stations
UA
782-805
66-69
UB
692-716
51-54
M4
662-669
46-50
J4
554-584
28-32
Source: http://www.Shure.com
The Shure UHF currently has 4 series. The “UA” series is the original and covers
782-805mega Hertz in TV channels 66-69. The “UB” series goes from 692-716
mega Hertz in TV channels 51-55. The “M4” series is 662-669 mega Hertz in TV
channels 46-50. The “J4” series is 554-584 mega Hertz in TV channels 28-32.
24
Frequency Ranges of
Sony 800 series
800 series
Frequency range
TV Stations
TV 64
770-782
64-65
TV 66
782-794
66-67
TV 68
794-806
68-69
Source: http://bpgprod.sel.sony.com/proaudio/index01.htm
The Sony 800 UHF come in three TV channels, 64/65 (770 MHz to 782 MHz) ,
66/67 (782 MHz to 794 MHz ), and 68/69 (794 MHz to 806 MHz ). The total carrier
coverage is between 770 and 806.
Other brands cover other ranges.
25
TV Frequencies in the US
channel
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
Frequency (MHz)
channel
54-60
60-66
66-72
76-82
82-88
174-180
180-186
186-192
192-198
198-204
204-210
210-216
470-476
476-482
482-488
488-494
494-500
500-506
506-512
512-518
518-524
524-530
530-536
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37*
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
Frequency (MHz)
536-542
542-548
548-554
554-560
560-566
566-572
572-578
578-584
584-590
590-596
596-602
602-608
608-614
614-620
620-626
626-632
632-638
638-644
644-650
650-656
656-662
662-668
668-674
channel
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
Frequency (MHz)
674-680
680-686
686-692
692-698
698-704
704-710
710-716
716-722
722-728
728-734
734-740
740-746
746-752
752-758
758-764
764-770
770-776
776-782
782-788
788-794
794-800
800-806
*Currently allocated for Radio Astronomy only.
Source: http://www.flyingwombat.com/usa_tv_freqs.html
26
TV Frequencies in the US
channel
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
Frequency (MHz)
54-60
60-66
66-72
76-82
82-88
174-180
180-186
186-192
192-198
198-204
204-210
210-216
470-476
476-482
482-488
488-494
494-500
500-506
506-512
512-518
518-524
524-530
530-536
channel
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37*
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
Frequency (MHz)
536-542
542-548
548-554
554-560
560-566
566-572
572-578
578-584
584-590
590-596
596-602
602-608
608-614
614-620
620-626
626-632
632-638
638-644
644-650
650-656
656-662
662-668
668-674
channel
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
Frequency (MHz)
674-680
680-686
686-692
692-698
698-704
704-710
710-716
716-722
722-728
728-734
734-740
740-746
746-752
752-758
758-764
764-770
770-776
776-782
782-788
788-794
794-800
800-806
*Currently allocated for Radio Astronomy only.
The yellow highlight shows the frequency ranges that the Shure UHF and Sony
UHF 800 uses in comparison to television stations in the US.
27
Bay Area TV and Sony/Shure frequencies
channel
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
Frequency (MHz)
channel
54-60
60-66
66-72
76-82
82-88
174-180
180-186
186-192
192-198
198-204
204-210
210-216
470-476
476-482
482-488
488-494
494-500
500-506
506-512
512-518
518-524
524-530
530-536
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37*
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
Frequency (MHz)
536-542
542-548
548-554
Free?
KPIX-DTV SF
KQED-DTV SF
Free?
KMTP SF
584-590
590-596
596-602
602-608
608-614
614-620
620-626
626-632
632-638
638-644
644-650
650-656
656-662
Free?
KWOK-DTV NOVATO
channel
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
Frequency (MHz)
Free?
KSTS-DTV SJ
KFTY-SANTA ROSA
KDTV-DTV SF
KICU-DTV SJ
Free?
KTEH SJ/KFTY DTV SR
716-722
722-728
728-734
734-740
740-746
746-752
752-758
758-764
764-770
Free?
KLXV SJ
KPST SF
Free?
KWOK-NOVATO
Free?
*Currently allocated for Radio Astronomy only.
Source: http://www.lns.com/sbe/Bay_Area_TV.html
Warning: This information may be incorrect or outdated. Find out for yourself what
TV stations are operating in the area!
28
Shure M4 example
Source: http://www.Shure.com
29
Choosing Clean Frequencies
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Manually scan through frequencies
Contact other operators
Use the same group for all frequencies
Frequency separation
Frequency intermodulation
Shure website at www.Shure.com
Audio Technica website at http://www.audiotechnica.com/index2.html
Manually punch through all the frequencies you want to use with the transmitters off
to see if you have any traffic.
Contact other operators in the area and coordinate with them so you are not on or
near their frequencies.
On both the Shure UHF and Sony UHF 800, all channels within a group do not
overlap, but different groups do overlap. Use channels within the same group to
avoid overlapping.
When using frequencies besides the preprogrammed groups, try to separate
frequencies by at least .5 MHz to avoid “stepping on”.
Also when using frequencies besides the preprogrammed groups, don’t use
frequencies at regular intervals to avoid intermodulation.
Check out the Shure website and the Audio Technica website.
30
Groups, Channels and TV
stations on Shure and Sony
• Both Shure and Sony group frequencies that do
not intermodulate. Each group is a collection of
channels (frequencies).
• The groups are built around TV channels.
• Choose channels within the same group so
frequencies will not overlap or intermodulate.
• Sony TV Channel 66 and TV Channel 68 overlap
Shure series “UA”.
31
Master Groups
• The master groups are groups of channels that
access every frequency available on the device.
• Shure master groups are designated by the letter
A. For example A1, A2, A3, ect.
• The Sony master group is 00 group.
• Because the master group channels are every
frequency, they will intermodulate. Be careful
when using them.
32
Example of Cross Frequencies
Specific TV Groupings-- Cannot
use cross group mix
SHURE SONY
FREQ
A1/1
A1/2
A1/3
A1/4
A1/5
A1/6
A1/7
A1/8
A1/9
A1/10
A1/11
A1/12
A1/13
A1/14
A1/15
A1/16
A1/17
A1/18
782.125
782.250
782.375
782.500
782.625 66/67 11-1
782.750
782.875
783.000
783.125
783.250
783.375
783.500
783.625
783.750 66/67 11-2
783.875
784.000
784.125
784.250
66-1
66-2
66-3
66-4
66-5
66-6
66-7
66-8
66-9
66-10
66-11
66-12
66-13
66-14
66-15
66-16
66-17
66-18
Sony 11
Sony 12
Sony 13
Even #
Odd #
TV 66 TV 67 TV 68 TV 69
TV
TV
No TV Present
Present Present Present Present
Present Present
Sony A-1 Sony A-2 Sony A-3 Shure 1 Shure 2 Shure 3 Shure 4 Shure 5 Shure 6 Shure 7
No TV
Present
7-1
A1-6
66/67 13-1
3-1
A3-4
5-1
1-1
7-2
2-1
3-2
6-1
1-2
66/67 13-2
7-3
2-2
6-2
3-3
66/67 13-3
5-2
Source: Spread sheet by Jim Risgin of On Stage Audio
This spreadsheet shows how different groups/channels of the 2 brands can share the
same frequency.
33
Transmitters and Mics
34
Programming Shure transmitter:
a. Press and hold down the MODE button until only the Group number is displayed,
b. Press the SET button to increment the Group setting.
c. Press the MODE button again so that only the Channel number is displayed. Press
the SET button to change the Channel setting.
d. Press the MODE button again so that the new Group and Channel numbers are
both displayed. Now the new settings are saved.
35
Shure Transmitters
Start with gain all the way down
Start attenuator at –6
36
Power Lock and Frequency Lock
on Shure Transmitters
•
Power Lock :
–
–
•
Press and hold the SET button, then press and hold the
MODE button. Hold both keys down until “PoL” (for
power locked) is displayed.
To unlock , repeat the steps.
Frequency Lock :
– Turn the transmitter power off.
– Turn the power back on while holding down the SET
button until the fuel gauge on the transmitter is active.
“Fr L” will appear momentarily, until you release the
SET button.
– To release, repeat steps.
37
Programming Sony transmitter WRT-820A:
a. With a small tweeker or pin, push down the indented SET button while
switching on the belt pack.
b. Press the +or- to change the channels.
c. Set the power switch to off to save the setting.
Setting the gain:
a. Push on the SET button to cycle the channel display or attenuation display.
b. In the attenuation display mode, press the + or - buttons to change the
attenuation.
c. 6 dB is usually a good place to start.
Tape over the power switch.
38
Transmitter Gain
• Wireless mics use compander circuitry to
compress and expand the audio signal.
• To maximize the compander circuit set the
transmitter gain to as high as possible
without overmodulating on the loudest
sounds.
39
Lavalier Mics
• Mic selection
– Cardioid: Shure mx185
– Hyper Cardioid: Shure mx184, sennheiser 104
– Omni: Shure mx183, sennheiser mke2,
countryman trams
The A1 will usually pick the mics to be used.
Go through the package to determine which mics are available.
Pull off the windscreens to check out the brand and model of mics.
40
Polar Patterns of Mics
41
Sennheiser Lavalier Mics
mke 104
mke 2
Source: www.sennheiserusa.com
42
Countryman ISOMAX
Source: Countryman website http://63.194.67.202/
Countryman ISOMAX EMW omni lavalier mic
43
Check for Failures
• Windscreen
• Mic Capsule
• Exercise the connections
of both mic and antennae
• Seat batteries firmly or
tape them in
• When using “combo
packs”, make sure that
only the handheld or the
belt pack programmed to
the same frequency is on
at one time.
• Walk the room to check
for RF dropouts
• Test every mic on stage
through the speakers
before the audience
arrives
44
Mic and Belt pack Placement
• Have talent remove
badge and/or jewelry
that may hit mic
• Clip mic just under tie
in the center of the
body
• Some clips can be
rotated
• Leave a little slack if
dressing through
clothing
• Turn off cell phone
• When double micing,
place belt packs on
either side of back
45
Batteries
• Count the battery inventory at load in and estimate
how many you may need for the run.
• Use fresh batteries for every show.
– Remove all batteries from all transmitters and put in a
box or away.
– Put fresh batteries in each transmitter.
– Turn on each transmitter one at a time and verify at the
receiver.
• Return unused batteries to the vendor.
46
Other Topics
Shure Scanning Software
47
Shure UA888
The Shure UA888 is a network interface for the Shure UHF receivers.
Connect all the receivers network plugs to the UA888 and connect the computer
through the com port.
48
UA888 Software
49
UA888 Software
50
Resources on the Web
• Audio-Technica http://www.audio-technica.com/
• Sennheiser http://www.sennheiserusa.com/
• Shure Brothers http://www.shure.com/
• http://www.local16.org
• lisa@pink-noise.com
rfmicV4-11/02
51