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Topic: VHF vs. UHF Wireless Mic
Message: Posted by: Lou Hilario (Sep 21, 2003 02:58PM)
What is better, a VHF Wireless Mic or a UHF Wireless Mic? Currently, I'm using a Shure VHF Headset. I plan to upgrade to UHF but I don't see the difference but the price and frequency. Can anyone please help me on this?
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Sep 21, 2003 03:08PM)
I am not positive but I've been told that cell phones screw with VHF frequencies.

UHF has a better range and distance and supposed to be the best of the two. It of course is much more money.
Message: Posted by: Lou Hilario (Sep 21, 2003 03:34PM)
Thanks for the quick response Den. Yes, I suspect that some cellphone signals interfere with my VHF mic sometimes. My VHF mic also interferes with other similar models. I think the UHF is a good investment. It's about $100 dollars more.
Message: Posted by: Andy Wonder (Sep 21, 2003 03:53PM)
Yes basically you are much less likely to get interference using UHF. UHF also has a better range. VHF sometimes gets interference from things like garage door openers or maybe TV transmissions plus all sorts of other things. If you are working in a big crowded city like Manila I would expect your chances of getting some type of interference would be much greater than mine.

I also suspect UHF may have a better sound quality but I'm not sure if that is a real issue.

MacawMagic I wish I had known you when I visited The Philippines a few years ago. I'd love to have met all your lovely assistants that I saw on your web page. Wow!
Message: Posted by: Ron Reid (Sep 21, 2003 05:03PM)
Hi Macawmagic:

Go to http://www.magicroadie.com. He has some excellent information on UHF vs. VHF.

Message: Posted by: Andy Leviss (Sep 21, 2003 08:22PM)
I'd like to set a few fallacies in the above posts straight, coming from my background as a sound engineer with a LOT of experience with wireless mics, rather than from the POV of an entertainer who knows a little about them.

It was stated that VHF is more susceptible to cellphone interference. This is not entirely correct. Cellphones can affect ANY frequency mic, as can any other RF device. Two completely different frequencies can have what's known as intermodulation interference, even if they are in completely different frequency ranges.

As a matter of fact, the last time I heard significant interference from a cellphone on a wireless mic was on a very high quality UHF system.

The major differences for the end user between the two band ranges are:

-Originally, there were more open UHF channels. Today, it's fairly equal, courtesy of digital television.
-VHF has a longer usable distance from transmitter to receiver, but operated right, this isn't a huge issue (anybody who says UHF has a longer range doesn't know what they're talking about, it's a matter of physics).
-Most money is spent on developing new UHF models, so the newer, better features are generally only available, or at least much more easily and affordably available, in UHF models.

Frequency has NO effect on sound quality, Andy. You may get better quality on [i]some[/i] UHF products, but due to what I said above, that more development is done on UHF devices as far as new models go. That is to say, companies who develop ways to improve the sound quality will be more likely to implement the new technologies in UHF versions, since that's what sells.

I also want to repeat again one item from that list. Two previous posters noted that UHF works over a longer distance than VHF. [i]This is not true.[/i] VHF has a longer wavelength than UHF, due to its being a lower frequency, so by nature of simple physics VHF will always have a wider usable range. Experience in the real world proves this to be true.

As for other similar models interfering with your mic, going to UHF will do NOTHING to alleviate this. That is always going to be a problem. The only solution to it is to have a frequency-agile model that allows you to try numerous frequencies in each venue and find one that is free.

Hope this helps,
[url=http://www.ducksechosound.com]Duck's Echo Sound[/url]

P.S.-FWIW, anybody who is operating a wireless mic in the US without the appropriate FCC license is doing so illegally. They tend not to heavily enforce this, but if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time and cause interference with something else that has a higher priority (and, the way the FCC regulations are written, nearly everything has a higher priority than wireless mics), you could be in for fines and other such trouble.
Message: Posted by: Lou Hilario (Sep 21, 2003 09:13PM)
Thanks to Den, Andy Walker, Ron and specially to Andy Leviss. If that's the case, I don't know why my Shure VHF Wireless is not compatible with other sound systems except for my portable Fender Passport 250W. That is the reason why I am upgrading to a newer model which I think will have a better crisp sound. I just had it checked recently and the technician said it was fine. I'm realy not sure.
Any sugesstions for a better headset model. Senheisser?
Message: Posted by: Eldon (Sep 21, 2003 10:04PM)
As usual Andy is right on. Actually your Shure system should work with any system especially if it works well with your Fender P-250. I sell a lot of T-Series Shure headset mics and can highly recommend them. (What model is your system?) The Fender P-250 is also a great system, but you might want to have a tech check the speaker wires that came with it for interminent shorts. Some of the leads they have been shipping have this problem and can cause serious damage.
Message: Posted by: Andy Leviss (Sep 22, 2003 12:39AM)
I personally LOVE Sennheisers. In the "economy" price range, you can't beat their Evolution series. There are three levels, the 100, 300, and 500. Each adds more features, at appropriate cost increases, but even the 100 sounds great and works great at a surprisingly low price.

I like the Shure transmitters as much these days. The Sennheiser's, with the exception of their stupid choice of a screw-on 1/8" connector, are much more rugged (and there are places to either buy Sennies with different connectors, or have your existing ones customized, e-mail me and I can point you to a guy I've dealt with who offers those services). And, in the same price range, the Sennies have better feature sets.

I do, however, love some of the Shure elements. The really tiny Shure headset and lav elements are actually OEM'd Countryman elements, so you know those rock. The Shure handheld elements are great. My typical spec for a handheld wireless is a Sennheiser of one model or another with a Shure SM-58 or Beta-87 element (depending on the usage). For lav mics, I stick with the Sennheiser MKE-2 line, the Countryman line, or the DPA 4060 line.

That's not to say I won't use Shure transmitters, and on occasion I have had shows where for specific reasons I specified Shure transmitters over Sennheisers (the newest UHF model has auto-frequency selection, which on certain gigs can be a huge timesaver, for example). These, however, are the high end Shure mics, not the lower end ones that you can buy for under $1000 (usually packaged with names like "The Presenter", "The Vocalist", etc.). In that price range, I'd only go with the Sennheisers.

Moving up to higher end ones (much higher end), the only other brand I have enough experience to comment comfortably on is Sony. They're okay, but not great for the price. The feature set is killer, the automatic frequency selection beats the pants off of Shure's--one button press will set six receivers to compatible available channels, and all six receivers fit in one rack space! Unfortunately, however, the sound isn't so great. In it's "sweet spot", it sounds decent, but it's much more sensitive to overloading than other brands.

Unless your Shure is one of those customized "plug into the prefab sound system in the 'accessory slot' and go" devices, I don't know why it wouldn't work with other systems. If it is, that's probably why, those systems sometimes have custom connectors to power and supply audio signal, since they dock into the device, instead of standard power and output connections on the back.

Anyway, that's much more than what was asked, so I'm off for now :o)
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Sep 22, 2003 05:49AM)
Thanks for your advice. It is really helpful.

Now here is a helpful question. For all the users in the Café, What transmitter/receiver, & headset would you recommend for the (1) low cost end entertainers, (2)those who have a few bucks to spend and (3) the best system out there?
Message: Posted by: Al Kazam the Magic Man (Sep 22, 2003 12:45PM)
Well, first up, I'm no expert in electronics. I have had a lot of experience using two quite famous brands here in Taiwan. I've used both Mipro and Chiayo brand receivers with their headset and hand held mics for almost 10 years now. Both are quite good to use and in my opinion sound clear and don't have much feedback problems. I've used them on large stages with huge crowds to small settings without any problems at all. I own a Chiayo receiver with two hand held mics and one body pack and headset mic adjusted to the same frequency as one of the handheld mics. So, I have one set with three mics. So far after many years still going fine for me.
Message: Posted by: Andy Leviss (Sep 22, 2003 05:41PM)
For low budget, I'd recommend the Sennheiser Evolution 100 (I can't remember which exact model number the beltpack/diversity receiver combo is, but it's in the 100s). For a mic element, I don't know if Sennheiser makes a decent headset or not. Good headsets are $300 (aside from the wireless) or so at the least.

Avoid the big ugly Madonna-looking Shure headset at all costs, it sounds worse than it looks. The cheaper headset I recommend, which is slightly larger, is the Countryman Isomax Headset. It's available in a few different colors (black and a couple skin tones), and there's also a Shure version of it; I don't know the Shure model number, but if you look at the pics at http://www.countryman.com you can recognize it when you look at Shure's. The Shure OEM may be cheaper, I don't know.

For higher end, I'd go with the more expensive Sennheiser UHF models, they're all pretty good. The creme de la creme is the 5012 beltpack transmitter, it's about the size of a matchbook and was designed specifically for use in theatre. Pair that with a Countryman E6 Earset, which just clips to one ear (rather than going around the entire head) and is much smaller than the Isomax, and again comes in multiple colors.

For lavalier mics, any of the elements I mentioned above (DPA 4060 series, Countryman B3 or B6, Sennheiser MKE-2) are great. The stock one that comes with the Sennheiser, I believe it's the ME-2, is okay, but it's a lot larger than the MKE-2.

To cut down on price a bit, a middle of the line might be the Evolution 500. It's in the lower budget Evolution range, but has a lot more perks than the 100 does. Mix and match from the aforementioned mic elements as fits your needs and budgets.

Hope this helps,
Message: Posted by: Eldon (Sep 22, 2003 07:56PM)
[quote]On 2003-09-22 18:41, Andy Leviss wrote:
For low budget, I'd recommend the Sennheiser Evolution 100 (I can't remember which exact model number the beltpack/diversity receiver combo is, but it's in the 100s). For a mic element, I don't know if Sennheiser makes a decent headset or not. Good headsets are $300 (aside from the wireless) or so at the least.[/quote]

I've sold a few Sennheiser EW152 headset mic's and the customers love them. I have only used them long enough to test them. They did sound very good. I'm still using my old Shure TPD/84 lapel mic (the one Andy doesn't like) in my show. I really like it.
Message: Posted by: Lou Hilario (Sep 22, 2003 08:18PM)
Andy Leviss, the main reason I use a headset is to reduce feedback. Lapel mics give a lot of feedback and are not suitable for magicians with body loads.

It would be nice if there was a wireless mic that would be invisible (such as the one you mentioned connected to the ear) to the audience point of view. What would you recommend that gives less feedback? The headset mics also gets in the way when I have to use my mouth on some tricks. Please specify the brand and model number.

Thank you so much for sharing your valuable knowledge on this matter.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Sep 22, 2003 11:37PM)
Macawmagic... We use the Audio Technica ATW-7375x wireless unit. The specific mic we use is the AT899c-TH. It is a subminiature omnidirectional condenser microphone. It is the theatre model, which means it is beige in color. It runs under my shirt, up the back of my neck, over my ear, and is taped to my cheek. It is held there with clear medical tape. From a distance of 10 ft or further it cannot be seen at all. It is VERY SMALL. It can still be used as a lapel if need be. The system is 100 PLL-synthesized channels selectable via switches on receiver and transmitter. We always carry a backup as well.

As far as our handhelds are concerned we use Shure wireless handhelds and again we always have a second unit as a backup.

Hope that helps and good luck!

Living Illusions
Message: Posted by: Fitz (Sep 23, 2003 01:06AM)
Hi I'am a magician and AV tech.
I have just bought two wireless VHF mic systems from a rental company for $270.00. I recieved 2 lavs, 2 handhelds, and 2 recievers, all are Shure. I recieved this deal because nobody wants to rent VHF. I think VHF is okay for what we do and fewer people are useing VHF. This helps us because it opens more VHF channels.
Try some AV rental companys in your town. :firedevil:
Message: Posted by: Andy Leviss (Sep 23, 2003 03:36PM)
The most invisible mic you'll find is the Countryman B3 (or the B6, I'm honestly not 100% sure off the top of my head which is the smaller one, but if you look at the site it's obvious from the pictures). Mounted to the ear, forehead, or cheekbone, a flesh-toned one (or appropriately colored in the hair for a forehead mount) is practically invisible.

The catch is, when you get into hiding mics, you need an omnidirectional mic. You can't use a cardiod as effectively as you can with a headset (or the E6 Earset). When you use an omnidirectional mic, it's more prone to feedback.

The key to eliminating feedback is to properly EQ the sound system. You can have the best mic in the world, and if the system isn't EQ'd right for the space it's being used in, it will still be very likely to produce feedback.

One gadget that can help, IF you take the time to properly learn how to set it up, is a feedback exterminator (I'm partial to the ones by Sabine; I love, love, love their Graphi-Q, a combined digital EQ, compressor/limiter, and feedback exterminator (FBX)). This is basically an intelligent digital EQ. When you set it up, it programs in a certain number of filters, some of which become fixed on problem frequencies it finds in the room, others are dynamic, so they shift automatically when more feedback appears. These filters are incredibly narrow in the frequencies they affect, much narrower than a graphic EQ is (for those familiar with the terms, they're basically an automated parametric EQ that's set to a very, very narrow Q).

This can be quicker and easier to set up, if you read the instructions, than a regular EQ, and set up right does a great job at killing most feedback. It is NOT a magic device that you plug in and expect to automatically kill all feedback, you do need to do a setup with it in a room before using it. The quick way to set it up, called "Turbo Mode" on the Sabine products, requires a quiet room to do it in. There is a regular setup mode that isn't as quick, but can be done during a show/with people present (well, you could do Turbo Mode with people present, but not during a show).

Hope this helps,

P.S.-A few people have PM'd me with direct questions. I'm glad to answer them, but please, please, please send them via e-mail to magiccafe@andy-l.com instead of PMing them. It's a lot quicker and more efficient to do that than to use the PM system! Thanks!
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Sep 23, 2003 07:01PM)
Just checking out these mics:

The [url=http://www.countryman.com/products.html][b]Countryman B3 [/b][/url] is an excellent choice for hair miking in theater work. Its outstanding features include water resistance, small size, and flat frequency response.

Smaller than the cable of other lavaliers, the [url=http://www.countryman.com/products.html][b]Countryman B6 [/b][/url]is rugged and features replaceable protective caps that can change it's color and frequency responce to match your application.
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Sep 23, 2003 10:15PM)
Hi, everyone! As usual Andy Leviss has provided a lot of good info on selecting a system. Thanks, Andy!
For a ton of info on how to select a mic, how to get the best-possible performance from your wireless system, and how to benefit from thoughtful speaker placement, visit http://www.magicroadie.com.
Cheers from Toronto!
Message: Posted by: Dennis Michael (Sep 24, 2003 04:13AM)
Thanks Dan,

The information you provided along with Andy is very helpful.
Message: Posted by: Andy Leviss (Sep 24, 2003 05:16AM)
Thanks for looking that up, Dennis! That's what always confuses me; the B3 is larger than the B6, even though 3 is a smaller number. Now that I think of it, it makes sense, because the B3 came out first, so the numbers go sequentially (no, there wasn't a 4 or 5).

Message: Posted by: Eldon (Sep 24, 2003 10:19AM)
I hope everyone realizes the wealth of information that Andy and Dan are providing. In my opinion they go above and beyond the call. Thanks guys and keep up the good work.
Message: Posted by: RayBanks (Sep 24, 2003 03:07PM)
If you go to this link


and find the link to Handy guide to evolution wireless systems (PDF) you will get a nifty guide to wireless microphones in general and the evolution series in particular. I got one at an equipment show this morning and it has a lot of good info.
Message: Posted by: kenscott (Sep 29, 2003 03:20AM)
I for one am using the Country Man E-6 and it really is the best mic that I have ever had. The sound is great and you cannot even tell you have a mic on your ear.

Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Sep 29, 2003 07:38PM)
Yeah, the Countryman E6 is a very nice mic! It's one of the most fragile and expensive mics out there, but it is tiny, sits close to the mouth (for good "gain-before-feedback"), and comes in four "flesh" tones.
Cheers from Toronto!
Message: Posted by: Salazar Magic (Oct 1, 2003 10:06PM)
Anyone know where the cheapest place I can find a 100 series Sennheiser system and Countryman mic?
Message: Posted by: Andy Leviss (Oct 2, 2003 02:15AM)
Hey dude, long time no see! Try Klay Andersen, out of Utah. http://www.klay.com

Tell him I sent you--I don't get anything out of it, but I like to support the good guys, and Klay's one of the good guys. Good prices, good service, and he'll give you honest advice if you have questions about what you need and call him up.

Message: Posted by: Neznarf (Feb 14, 2010 10:07AM)

Any new information for 2010?
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Feb 14, 2010 11:39AM)
On 2010-02-14 11:07, Neznarf wrote:

Any new information for 2010?
Not that I can think of.
Message: Posted by: Neznarf (Feb 14, 2010 04:09PM)
Are VHF channels being digitized making VHF obsoleted?

And if so, When?
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Feb 14, 2010 06:48PM)
[url=http://www.antennasdirect.com/vhf_hdtv_stations.html]VHF Station List Digital TV Stations Broadcasting on VHF[/url]