Just a (hopefully) quick review of Sennheiser's Speechline system. Thanks to Ryan at Sennheiser Middle East for the hire of the units for a short notice unknown gig! I'm not a dealer or affiliated with these guys in any way - just a musician who uses (RF) Sennheiser radio gear almost every day and a get up to a little sound engineering when I'm not.
Not quite my first time using digital radio mics, admittedly, but I was definitely not worried about the ease of use to put a few units straight on a gig having used Sennheiser for years. Nice to have them on the 1.9GHz band out of the way of general wifi. Not that I've ever had big problems using 2.4GHz or 5GHz on my small gigs, to be fair.
Half rack size and, as ever, well built like the hundreds of G2/G3 systems I've used. The display is lovely (OLED?). Didn't get a chance to try anything much else other than the XLR socket on the back. The management software looks pretty good at a glance, though.
The built in 5 band EQ was invaluable for the headsets and a whole load better than the outboard-less old house desk that I had to use. Pairing of the TX/RX units took all of seconds. The TX beltpacks were well built and lightweight.
Three were provided in each of three systems: Handheld with an 865 capsule, a MKE1 lapel, and an SL headset. Client originally asked for 3x lapels but I ended up going with two headsets for two actors and a handheld for an MC. Good to have the choice there.
MC was running competitions all evening and doing general shouting over lots of crowd noise. Not a hint of clipping anywhere I could tell from mic and receiver through to the speakers. This is modern digital. The days of that thing where 'radio mics are a compromise to a cabled mic' can't be said here. It sounded like an 865 - which is good. Still a rounded, full sound. No handling noise, either.
The SL headsets were just about invisible on stage and the actors had no issues with comfort, weight or fit. They also just worked with minimal EQ. Had that special thing where it didn't sound mic'ed up and very natural.
Only bad thing I could say about the mics/packs is the display is a little small and dim. The status LEDs make up for it while pairing etc. I understand why, because you don't have to worry about setting frequencies or sensitivities. Would still rather have a bigger display like on the G3 stuff, for example, though.
So far, my rambling review is mainly 'it just works' and 'sounds a lot better than fine' but the best thing is the battery life. The display doesn't lie when it says things like 10hrs remaining. No more boxes of AAs lying round! The MC used his all day and I didn't have to swap it out for a spare, nor was I worried about it dying halfway through a speech. The actors' mics were also left on for a few hours after sound check into the show. So good not to worry about battery swaps and go hunting around dressing rooms to sort things. Because of this, ultimately never used the charging unit so can't comment how long the packs/mics take to recharge. Not scientific by any means but the range seemed good. Could PFL them at any time while the itinerant actors were milling around to check.
To sum up: Sounded great. Battery life is impressive and that's a huge headache lifted. Three units up and running with no intermod/RF problems in ten minutes.