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Author Topic: I hate to ask, vis-a-vis Buy once Cry once  (Read 2598 times)

frank kayser

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I hate to ask, vis-a-vis Buy once Cry once
« on: February 04, 2018, 01:14:11 am »

Hi again,
As I mentioned in another post, a band I'm working with is contemplating IEMs.
I would like to go with Senn g3 (which I have a 2 bodypack/1 transmitter package, or the newer G4.  The Senn units seem to be one of the go-to products used by folks here.


One of the members has purchased a Galaxy Audio AS-100-4 system
https://www.galaxyaudio.com/products/as-1100-4
The Galaxy site has them MSRP for $999, which is about what I paid for my 2-receiver Senn g3 setup.  I see Sweetwater has the Galaxy as-1100 with one transmitter and one receiver for $399.



I gather from reading here that using poor IEM equipment will just about guarantee a failed venture into the world of IEM.


Has anyone experience with the Galaxy audio setup?
Can we be happy with these, or is it $$ down the drain?


At least I have a G3 system to A:B with the Galaxy in a test environment. (sigh)


frank





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brian maddox

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Re: I hate to ask, vis-a-vis Buy once Cry once
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2018, 10:18:52 am »

Hi again,
As I mentioned in another post, a band I'm working with is contemplating IEMs.
I would like to go with Senn g3 (which I have a 2 bodypack/1 transmitter package, or the newer G4.  The Senn units seem to be one of the go-to products used by folks here.


One of the members has purchased a Galaxy Audio AS-100-4 system
https://www.galaxyaudio.com/products/as-1100-4
The Galaxy site has them MSRP for $999, which is about what I paid for my 2-receiver Senn g3 setup.  I see Sweetwater has the Galaxy as-1100 with one transmitter and one receiver for $399.



I gather from reading here that using poor IEM equipment will just about guarantee a failed venture into the world of IEM.


Has anyone experience with the Galaxy audio setup?
Can we be happy with these, or is it $$ down the drain?


At least I have a G3 system to A:B with the Galaxy in a test environment. (sigh)


frank

Because i spent a few years working in a church environment, i still frequent a bunch of church tech and musician groups.  And i see some form of this question ALL the time.

What i have heard/seen is this.  There are some lower cost alternatives to the standard Shure/Sennheiser standard that seem to work okay and the Galaxy offering is one of them.

but...

The one issue no one factors in is resale value.  You can still get 450-500 bucks from a Sennheiser G2 IEM rig, and they haven't made those in like a decade.  Same with older Shure stuff.  But if you try to resell that Galaxy or Carvin or whatever, you're gonna have a bad time.

I do understand that if the money isn't there, the money isn't there.  Just something else to consider.
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Brian Adams

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Re: I hate to ask, vis-a-vis Buy once Cry once
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2018, 11:14:05 am »

The main issue for me with most of the lower cost systems is the lack of antenna combiners that are specific to those units. If you're on a small stage the tiny antennas on each unit might be fine, but I wouldn't go without a combiner on a large stage or in a challenging RF environment.

As long as the transmitters have detachable antennas you can likely use another manufacturers combiner, but it probably won't be as integrated as if it were from the same manufacturer. Sennheiser and Shure are good examples, as each transmitter can be powered by the combiner over the antenna cable, eliminating the external wall-wart type power supplies. You're unlikely to find this feature on lower cost equipment.

I don't know if you can use transmitters of different brands or frequency ranges on a combiner, since I've never had to think about it before.

The other thing that's nice about higher-end systems is the option to run them dual-mono and use 2 receivers with 1 transmitter for 2 mono mixes, which can keep costs down and save rack space. I don't know of any "off-brand" iem system that has this functionality.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: I hate to ask, vis-a-vis Buy once Cry once
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2018, 02:08:41 pm »

The main issue for me with most of the lower cost systems is the lack of antenna combiners that are specific to those units. If you're on a small stage the tiny antennas on each unit might be fine, but I wouldn't go without a combiner on a large stage or in a challenging RF environment.

As long as the transmitters have detachable antennas you can likely use another manufacturers combiner, but it probably won't be as integrated as if it were from the same manufacturer. Sennheiser and Shure are good examples, as each transmitter can be powered by the combiner over the antenna cable, eliminating the external wall-wart type power supplies. You're unlikely to find this feature on lower cost equipment.

I don't know if you can use transmitters of different brands or frequency ranges on a combiner, since I've never had to think about it before.

The other thing that's nice about higher-end systems is the option to run them dual-mono and use 2 receivers with 1 transmitter for 2 mono mixes, which can keep costs down and save rack space. I don't know of any "off-brand" iem system that has this functionality.

The text in bold has been discussed over in the LAB Wireless and Communications forum and I suggest a look at the index pages.  That forum doesn't get as much traffic as the Lounge so it's easier to find what you're looking for. :)

Henry Cohen has a sticky at the top of the W&C forum regarding T-Mobile's roll out of their 600mHz service and I suggest giving it a read.

If you have any specific questions about Galaxy products I suggest you call them.  Galaxy is here in Wichita and has folks that can answer your questions.  (I've no connection with Galaxy, we're not dealers, etc)
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Ike Zimbel

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Re: I hate to ask, vis-a-vis Buy once Cry once
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2018, 05:13:02 pm »

The main issue for me with most of the lower cost systems is the lack of antenna combiners that are specific to those units. If you're on a small stage the tiny antennas on each unit might be fine, but I wouldn't go without a combiner on a large stage or in a challenging RF environment.
Good point.

As long as the transmitters have detachable antennas you can likely use another manufacturers combiner, but it probably won't be as integrated as if it were from the same manufacturer. Sennheiser and Shure are good examples, as each transmitter can be powered by the combiner over the antenna cable, eliminating the external wall-wart type power supplies.
Not exactly. The Sennheiser uses the power over the antenna cable scheme, the Shure PA-421 has four 15vdc power jacks on the back which require separate jumper cables to power the transmitters. A quibble, to be sure, but important for someone to know when buying on line.

I don't know if you can use transmitters of different brands or frequency ranges on a combiner, since I've never had to think about it before.
Brand shouldn't matter, but frequency range does. However, most combiners out there should be broad band...but check first.

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frank kayser

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Re: I hate to ask, vis-a-vis Buy once Cry once
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2018, 12:29:46 pm »

Thanks, all!  And thanks to Brian M for your take on the Galaxy IEMs.  I'm very relieved to hear they are a decent, workable option.  Probably a big hoe in my thought process, but I have never considered resale in the purchasing equation.  Hmmm... Looks like I should!


And to Brian A - I'm not sure I'm at a point (or will be in the near future) to concern myself about antenna combiners, though it does give me a good trail to follow to see advantages and when to deploy.


frank
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Garry Wilson

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Re: I hate to ask, vis-a-vis Buy once Cry once
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2018, 12:50:24 pm »

Hi again,
As I mentioned in another post, a band I'm working with is contemplating IEMs.
I would like to go with Senn g3 (which I have a 2 bodypack/1 transmitter package, or the newer G4.  The Senn units seem to be one of the go-to products used by folks here.


One of the members has purchased a Galaxy Audio AS-100-4 system
https://www.galaxyaudio.com/products/as-1100-4
The Galaxy site has them MSRP for $999, which is about what I paid for my 2-receiver Senn g3 setup.  I see Sweetwater has the Galaxy as-1100 with one transmitter and one receiver for $399.



I gather from reading here that using poor IEM equipment will just about guarantee a failed venture into the world of IEM.


Has anyone experience with the Galaxy audio setup?
Can we be happy with these, or is it $$ down the drain?


At least I have a G3 system to A:B with the Galaxy in a test environment. (sigh)


frank

Hi Frank,

I had the same situation a few years ago. I wanted Senn or Shure, but my budget said otherwise. After some research and staying within the framework of features I wanted, I bought the Audio Technica M2 IEM system. I've been happy with it.


Garry
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frank kayser

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Re: I hate to ask, vis-a-vis Buy once Cry once
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2018, 01:16:46 pm »

Hi Frank,

I had the same situation a few years ago. I wanted Senn or Shure, but my budget said otherwise. After some research and staying within the framework of features I wanted, I bought the Audio Technica M2 IEM system. I've been happy with it.


Garry


Tonight we're going to compare my Senn with the Galaxy.  Time will tell.  Nice to know AT also offers a viable product.
Thanks
frank
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Michael Storey

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Re: I hate to ask, vis-a-vis Buy once Cry once
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2018, 10:57:12 pm »

Look into the Shure PSM 300 (specifically the P3TRA215CL model with the metal belt pack) as well. They have a few cons vs the Senny G3 (pre set frequencies, TRS in/out, less than stellar battery life), but I prefer their RF stability and IMO they sound way better.

They also come packaged with Shure SE215 earphones which are pretty decent and come in handy when someone forgets their earphones at home.



Tonight we're going to compare my Senn with the Galaxy.  Time will tell.  Nice to know AT also offers a viable product.
Thanks
frank
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Stephen Kirby

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Re: I hate to ask, vis-a-vis Buy once Cry once
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2018, 11:18:40 pm »

Success in converting established musicians to ears depends on the mix.  And earphones that seal so that the bass is the same for everyone.  The more individual stereo mixes you can provide the better.  Otherwise everybody gets everyone in the center of their head.  This far outweighs sound quality.  Although you do need reliable RF.  And make sure people put their cell phones on the side of the stage, not in their pocket.  ;)
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brian maddox

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Re: I hate to ask, vis-a-vis Buy once Cry once
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2018, 02:09:25 pm »


Tonight we're going to compare my Senn with the Galaxy.  Time will tell.  Nice to know AT also offers a viable product.
Thanks
frank

The AT unit is comparable in quality to the S and S offerings as is the MiPro.  In some ways the MiPro may even be superior.  But both of these suffer from the same resale issue i referenced above.  If you can find a good used unit though, you can leverage that to your advantage.

Curious to here your head to head comparison of the Senn with the Galaxy.  Keep us posted.
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brian maddox
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frank kayser

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Re: I hate to ask, vis-a-vis Buy once Cry once
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2018, 01:19:39 pm »

The AT unit is comparable in quality to the S and S offerings as is the MiPro.  In some ways the MiPro may even be superior.  But both of these suffer from the same resale issue i referenced above.  If you can find a good used unit though, you can leverage that to your advantage.

Curious to here your head to head comparison of the Senn with the Galaxy.  Keep us posted.


Well, the head-to-head did not happen the other day.  We concentrated on getting the mixes correct.  I did have some major brain flatulence using the Galaxy... Had the whole gain structure ass-backwards.  I was concerned about the player inadvertently turning the volume on the receiver too high and blowing their ears, so I had them set full-on minus a tick or two.  Of course, that made the receivers use the max amplification to make the relatively low signal loud enough, resulting in a lot of hiss, not surprisingly. D'Oh!  So, despite the hiss, practice went well. Bud balance was good, so with luck and a little fine adjustment, correcting the gain structure should result in a smooth changeover.


One of the members did a straight comparison of the Galaxy supplied buds vs the Westone AM-10 buds - No surprise, the Galaxy buds did not hold a candle to the Westones.  Good enough to get started?  Mmmm... Could be.  We spent a lot of time getting the mix in everyones Galaxy buds as tuned as we could - must have been pretty close as the members could immediately notice their own mistakes as well as the others.


We'll use them tonight for the first time in anger - Performers will have the Galaxy and my Senn will be attached to the monitor bus.  When the guest performers on the stage using regular stage monitors, we can A:B them then.  Or, that's the plan, anyway.  Will keep you posted...


One more question... This group a type of variety show, where they open, have a poet, comedian, and some other musical groups.  We plan to deploy floor monitors for the guests today, but that begs the question of whether trying to get guests to use IEMs is practical, or whether the floor monitors remain a fixture.  What is the best practice on that?


As always, thanks for all the help getting us through this!


frank
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Stephen Kirby

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Re: I hate to ask, vis-a-vis Buy once Cry once
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2018, 09:15:20 pm »

If there's other live amplified or loud instruments on stage, wedges still help.  Note that most varsity situations still have monitors in the stage floor.  The IEMs keep the level down at the ear, a good thing, and let someone add what they need back in to what leaks around the plug (at best 30dB attenuation but likely much less).  So if there's acoustically a good balance on stage, the IEMs can enhance that.  When they're all there is, it takes some real getting used to.
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brian maddox

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Re: I hate to ask, vis-a-vis Buy once Cry once
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2018, 11:29:38 am »


Well, the head-to-head did not happen the other day.  We concentrated on getting the mixes correct.  I did have some major brain flatulence using the Galaxy... Had the whole gain structure ass-backwards.  I was concerned about the player inadvertently turning the volume on the receiver too high and blowing their ears, so I had them set full-on minus a tick or two.  Of course, that made the receivers use the max amplification to make the relatively low signal loud enough, resulting in a lot of hiss, not surprisingly. D'Oh!  So, despite the hiss, practice went well. Bud balance was good, so with luck and a little fine adjustment, correcting the gain structure should result in a smooth changeover.

...

It sounds like you're already going to fix this, but i posted something recently explaining why this practice [turn the pack up all the way and adjust input volume into the transmitter] is a Really Bad Idea.  And it's not just that it raises the noise floor.  Although that certainly happens to.  :)

Anyway, here it is if you want to peruse...

http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,166287.msg1533599.html#msg1533599
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brian maddox
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frank kayser

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Re: I hate to ask, vis-a-vis Buy once Cry once
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2018, 04:55:24 pm »

It sounds like you're already going to fix this, but i posted something recently explaining why this practice [turn the pack up all the way and adjust input volume into the transmitter] is a Really Bad Idea.  And it's not just that it raises the noise floor.  Although that certainly happens to.  :)

Anyway, here it is if you want to peruse...

http://forums.prosoundweb.com/index.php/topic,166287.msg1533599.html#msg1533599


Ah yes, Brian.  I've perused it, but hardly an in-depth reading.  Many things I want to go back to as I progress on my journey.  Thank you for a great writeup.


As far as the head-to-head. 
Honestly, the Galaxy's were surprisingly good, the hiss much reduced once gain structure was corrected.  Once sound started coming out of the headsets, not surprisingly the hiss became all but inaudible.  There was some interference in at least one of the Galaxys - the owner noticed it in his ears.  No one else said anything, but that did not mean it was not present. The Senns were definitely quieter i.e., hiss.  I was in and out of the Senns and possibly for that reason, did not notice the same interference.  We're still fumbling through band and groups/banks, and of course no scan was done.


The Galaxy transmitters run either stereo or mono, but the body packs do not run in a mono mode. The owner of the system made a pigtail to "hot wire" to either all left or all right, which may have contributed to the noise... or not.  He is running two transmitters to four receivers. 
The band seemed happy enough with IEMs only, no floor monitor.  I think we did a decent job at practice to get the mixes close - Saturday required only minor adjustments. 


One thing we did notice that affected the IEMs but were not specific to either of the brands, the keyboard player used an accordion-sounding preset on the keyboard that put out significantly more signal, which had noticeable musical imbalance in the in-ears.  I anticipated this and was able to drop its level. 


The additional hiss was strike one, the need to pigtail the receivers to mono was strike two.  It seemed there was room to grow in the Sennheiser, where features were maxed out in the Galaxy.  That ended up being strike three.  He's sending them back and getting two Senn G3 systems each with 2 receivers at nearly 2x the cost.   The G4 were beyond our time requirements, and the bargain-basement sell-off of G3 units have not started yet either.  Timing is everything.


All in all, during the short time we were using them, the Galaxy 1100 were good enough for proof of concept, and to get the band on-board.  Someone on a budget could get a lot of good use out of the Galaxy system and not go broke getting there. 


That was the end of the experiment.  Thanks for the comments, help and interest  shown in this thread.


frank



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