The Audio-Technica 1800 Series wireless microphone system
I was recently hired to record an episode of "America's Most Wanted," and in order to keep up with the fast moving pace of the show, all of the audio had to be captured wirelessly.
RUNNING AND GUNNING
Going in, I knew that the audio rig needed to be secure, tight and well constructed, as the crew was constantly jumping in and out of cars to keep up with the U.S. Marshalls as they pursued convicted felons. To meet the show's production requirements, I used Audio-Technica's 1800 series wireless microphone system for getting audio from my mixer to the camera's audio inputs.
My previous experience with this equipment, when set up correctly, has shown it to perform as solidly and reliably as a mic cable. I've used it in many difficult and challenging RF environments to cover the NBA Playoffs, NFL games and similar large scale media events. I've found that an optimal user configuration delivers a good signal-to-noise ratio when used with a Sound Devices audio mixer. I've also found that I don't have to push the 1800 Series receiver output level very hard to get sufficient level either.
In setting up for this shoot, I attached the Audio-Technica ATW-R1820 dual-channel diversity receiver to the camera with a BEC mounting box. This arrangement provided both protection for the wireless receiver, along with a secure platform for the receiver.
When working on a production of this type, it's always the best practice to check and double check every little detail, as there are no "do-overs." With the Audio-Technica or any other wireless technology, I always rely on the camera operator's ears to make sure that every bit of desired audio gets recorded. They use headphones and monitor for dropouts or other problems.
I've been very happy with the Audio-Technica wireless technology. One of the nicer features with the system is that the ATW-T1801 transmitters offer two RF level settings. These can be used to tailor performance to meet the user's application. There's a 10 mW setting, which is great for stretching battery life, and there's also a 30 mW setting when you need extended transmission range. And even with the high power output, I find I can operate the link for some 14 to 15 hours on lithium AA batteries, which will certainly get you through a day's shooting, even if it goes into overtime. I've always made it a practice never to turn off the transmitters during the shoot, just in case something important should happen unexpectedly. I've also used the equipment with rechargeable batteries and have found, in a controlled production environment, that I can get about six hours of use before recharging is needed.
The 1800 Series wireless microphone offers professional audio quality and excellent value, even when compared to other systems costing more than $4,000. Some of these are nice, but I'd rather have the $3,000 that I've saved with the Audio-Technica system to spend on something else.
Noel Dannemiller is a location sound mixer for commercial, documentary, and television productions, and is based in Akron, Ohio. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
For additional information, contact Audio-Technica at 330-686-2600 or visit www.audio-technica.com