Bodypack Transmitters: A Roundup of Current Offerings
By: Dan Daley, Audio Editor
Monday, November 29, 2010 - 1:00 am

Winding up this month’s coverage of RF bodypack audio transmitters, here’s a look at some available models and their features.

Audio-Technica
The AEW-T1000a UniPak bodypack transmitter features an LCD display, soft-touch controls, and field-replaceable helical and flexible-wire antennas. It has a four-pin locking connector and offers both low- and high-impedance inputs plus a bias connection, for use with dynamic and electret condenser microphones, as well as Hi-Z instrument pickups. Switchable RF power provides eight hours of battery life (two AA alkaline) in the high (35-mW) setting and 10 hours in the low (10-mW) setting. A three-position sliding control cover prevents accidental shut-off/channel-switching.

Electro-Voice
The BPU-2 compact bodypack transmitter for the RE-2 wireless system is made of high-impact ABS plastic. Its single on/off switch also functions as a mute, and the TA4 microphone connector is compatible with any EV lapel and head-worn microphones, including the RE97Tx. Other features include a “cellphone” rotating belt clip and a smart battery.

Lectrosonics
The MM400C miniature water-resistant transmitter has a waterproof power/mute switch and a water-resistant machined-aluminum housing, with 256 synthesized UHF frequencies in 100-kHz steps over a 25.6-MHz bandwidth selectable via two rotary switches located on the bottom of the unit. Features include 100-mW isolated output power, dual bicolor modulation LEDs for accurate gain adjustment, and DSP-based pilot-tone signal to eliminate squelch problems. The MM400C is powered by a single AA battery, with internal switching power supplies providing constant voltages to the transmitter circuits from the beginning (1.5 V) to the end (0.85 V) of battery life.

The SMV Series brings Lectrosonics’ digital hybrid wireless technology (also found on the MM400C) to miniature transmitters in two configurations. The dual-battery SMQV model doubles the battery life of the SMV with the same feature set. Both models offer switchable RF power levels at 50, 100, and 250 mW. The optional RM unit provides hands-free remote control of audio-input gain, frequency, lock or unlock modes, and sleep-mode on/off functions for both models. The Servo Bias input provides a programmable, regulated voltage to accommodate a wide variety of electret microphones, eliminating the need to install resistive pads for some mics to prevent overload of the input stage, divide the bias voltage down for some low-voltage mics, or reduce the limiter range at minimum gain settings. Two bicolor LEDs are provided for adjusting input levels for proper modulation.

Quantum5X Systems
The QT-256 micro-transmitter technology is splash-proof and features lithium-ion battery technology that lasts up to 12 hours, depending on output power from 50 mW to 250 mW. Each transmitter has 256 frequencies in 100-kHz steps selectable in blocks from 450 MHz to 950 MHz. The QT-256-AQUAMIC is a completely submersible version and shares all of its other functionality.

Specifically designed for the NBA, the rubber-clad, waterproof QT-1000 PlayerMic bodypack is 0.35 in. thick, 1.5 in. wide, and 4 in. long; weighs 1.5 oz., including the lavaliere; and features an internal antenna. It’s available in either 100-mW or 250-mW output power, with a standard six-hour battery life at 100 mW, using a lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Each transmitter has 256 frequencies in 100-kHz steps selectable in blocks from 450 MHz to 950 MHz.

The QT-5000 remote-control transmitter is the same size as the standard QT-1000, offering 5,000 frequencies in 25-kHz steps. It functions through a 2.4-GHz ZigBee control protocol. The remote unit controls on/off, mute, frequency selection, and audio level and monitors battery level and signal strength. It can control multiple transmitters within a 300-ft. range and can be extended with additional communication gateways.

Based on proprietary patent-pending microtransmitter technology, the new QT-256 DUAL transmitter wireless beltpack is small enough to be worn or hidden anywhere to provide a voice channel from athletes and coaches. It has companding and pre-emphasis and provides high-quality broadcast audio with two lavaliere microphones and a two-antenna diversity receiver. It also features two lithium batteries that last up to 12 hours, depending on output power from 30 mW to 250 mW, as well as double 256-frequency selection from 600 MHz to 850.000 MHz. Accessories for the QT-256 DUAL include the AX-1 power supply, designed to provide replaceable AA batteries as an optional attachment to enable around-the-clock operation.

Sennheiser
The SK 5212-II (released in March) ultra-compact “wear-and-hide” bodypack uses one AA battery and features wideband transmission of up to 184 MHz (upgraded from 36 MHz on the original SK5212) in 5-kHz steps. The SK 5212-II features switchable output power of 10/50 mW, plus a new low-intermodulation power mode that increases the linear headroom of the amplifier, allowing users to squeeze more channels into a crowded RF environment. Other features include HiDyn Plus noise reduction, backlit LC display, audio sensitivity adjustable in steps of 1 dB from –30 dB to +40 dB, and a switchable low-cut filter. The SK 5212-II is compatible with Sennheiser’s newly upgraded wideband EM 3732-II true-diversity receiver.

The SK 250 pocket transmitter offers a maximum 250-mW RF output power, quick-exchange battery or rechargeable pack, 16 switchable carrier frequencies, and HiDyn Plus noise-reduction system. The SK250 is compatible with the EK 3241 slot-mount diversity receive and the EM3732-II wideband true diversity receiver.

The 2000 Series bodypack transmitter offers up to 75 MHz of switching bandwidth in 25-kHz steps, plus full compatibility with Evolution Wireless receivers. The SK 2000 has a frequency response of 25 Hz to 20,000 Hz and three RF output powers (10/30/50 mW), plus a fourth 100-mW output power in the U.S. version (the SK 2000 XP). With selectable output, users can increase power for longer transmission ranges or reduce power to squeeze more channels into a tight frequency range. An optional rechargeable battery pack can be charged right in the unit using the external charging contacts. Other features include 20 fixed-frequency banks with up to 64 compatible presets, six banks each with up to 64 tunable channels, and a pilot-tone squelch for interference-free operation. The SK 2000 is compatible with the EM 2000 and EM 2050 receivers, all Evolution Wireless receivers, and now with the EM 3732-II diversity receiver.

Shure
At 2.2 oz. without batteries, the UR1M wireless transmitter is Shure’s most compact bodypack. Additional features include audio-level monitoring and control, infrared automatic transmitter sync, frequency and power lockout, and bitmapped backlit LCD display. The UR1M is compatible with Wireless Workbench 5 software.

Telex
Targeted at the high school and collegiate markets, the Legacy complete portable wireless intercom system (up to 14 coaches) sets up in seconds. It includes one XO-AP base station, a directional antenna, encrypted XO-1 beltpacks and battery chargers, and one gooseneck antenna mount with clip for optional remote placement.

Zaxcom
The TRX series of encrypted digital wireless transmitters feature internal backup recording, timecode and remote-control reception, and internal IFB. Other features include digital modulation wireless transmitter, RF remote control of bodypack (using an optional IFB100 remote-control transmitter), 96-hour internal recording with timecode, digital dropout protection, five-hour running time, a graphic LCD display, integrated timecode reception, and no intermodulation; up to 50 transmitters in the same frequency block can be used together. The IFB100 remote control transmits IFB audio, timecode, and remote control signals to the TRX series digital wireless transceivers on a single RF carrier using a 2.4-GHz signal.

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