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Author Topic: Shure UHF-R noise  (Read 6291 times)

hugovanmeijeren

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Shure UHF-R noise
« on: February 20, 2017, 09:39:54 am »

Hi All,

I was wondering what your experiences are with Shure UHF-R and the noise level of the audio output?

We have 20 channels of Sennheiser EW100 G3, recently we bought 12 channels of Shure UHF-R (UR4D+ receivers and both UR1 and UR2 transmitters, all second hand systems though). When comparing the Shure systems to the Sennheisers, the first thing I noticed is how extremely noisy the UR4D+ receivers are.
Compared to the Shure systems, the Sennheisers are dead quiet.

I am quite positive that I have my gain structure set up properly. Currently I am doing an amateur theatre play with 8 Sennheiser channels and 4 Shure channels, all mics are identical (DPA 4061). Shure receivers are outputting at line level and receiver gain is set at +0dB. UR1 settings are 0dB sensitivity and -10dB gain.
As for the Sennheiser systems, beltpack levels are set to -30dB and receiver output is +0dB (mic level).
At the mixing desk (DiGiCo SD11), I have my Shure channels sit at minimum gain, while for the Sennheiser channels I have to add about +4dB of gain (depending on loudness of the actors voices). All 4 Shure channels have a distinct noise/hiss, while none of the Sennheiser channels add any audible hiss at all.

I tried switching off the UR1 beltpacks, this reduces the hiss just a little, but I believe a good portion of the hiss is created by the UR4D+ receivers. I also tried switching the UR4D's to mic level output, when gain on the mixer is set to the proper level, I believe noise levels are about the same again.

Do you guys also think your UHF-R systems are noisy? We have a lot of customers that request Shure UHF-R, so for us it is a good investment. However I had thought that considering the price, the performance would have been quite a lot better (especially in comparison to the much cheaper Sennheiser EW100 systems).
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Kevin Maxwell

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Re: Shure UHF-R noise
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2017, 06:36:30 pm »

Hi All,

I was wondering what your experiences are with Shure UHF-R and the noise level of the audio output?

We have 20 channels of Sennheiser EW100 G3, recently we bought 12 channels of Shure UHF-R (UR4D+ receivers and both UR1 and UR2 transmitters, all second hand systems though). When comparing the Shure systems to the Sennheisers, the first thing I noticed is how extremely noisy the UR4D+ receivers are.
Compared to the Shure systems, the Sennheisers are dead quiet.

I am quite positive that I have my gain structure set up properly. Currently I am doing an amateur theatre play with 8 Sennheiser channels and 4 Shure channels, all mics are identical (DPA 4061). Shure receivers are outputting at line level and receiver gain is set at +0dB. UR1 settings are 0dB sensitivity and -10dB gain.
As for the Sennheiser systems, beltpack levels are set to -30dB and receiver output is +0dB (mic level).
At the mixing desk (DiGiCo SD11), I have my Shure channels sit at minimum gain, while for the Sennheiser channels I have to add about +4dB of gain (depending on loudness of the actors voices). All 4 Shure channels have a distinct noise/hiss, while none of the Sennheiser channels add any audible hiss at all.

I tried switching off the UR1 beltpacks, this reduces the hiss just a little, but I believe a good portion of the hiss is created by the UR4D+ receivers. I also tried switching the UR4D's to mic level output, when gain on the mixer is set to the proper level, I believe noise levels are about the same again.

Do you guys also think your UHF-R systems are noisy? We have a lot of customers that request Shure UHF-R, so for us it is a good investment. However I had thought that considering the price, the performance would have been quite a lot better (especially in comparison to the much cheaper Sennheiser EW100 systems).

I have a setup that I use regularly that has 18 Shure UHF-R and up to 8 channels of Sennheiser ew100 G2s the Sennheiser are much noisier then the Shure’s. You have something set wrong. I use mostly Countryman E6 mics and I usually have them set to +8 sensitivity, these are the blue band reduced gain ones. If I use an MKE2 I have to reduce the sensitivity to 0 because they are a much hotter mic. I use the transmitter with the switch set to mic level output.
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Ike Zimbel

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Re: Shure UHF-R noise
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2017, 10:41:25 pm »

Hi All,

I was wondering what your experiences are with Shure UHF-R and the noise level of the audio output?

We have 20 channels of Sennheiser EW100 G3, recently we bought 12 channels of Shure UHF-R (UR4D+ receivers and both UR1 and UR2 transmitters, all second hand systems though). When comparing the Shure systems to the Sennheisers, the first thing I noticed is how extremely noisy the UR4D+ receivers are.
Compared to the Shure systems, the Sennheisers are dead quiet.

I am quite positive that I have my gain structure set up properly. Currently I am doing an amateur theatre play with 8 Sennheiser channels and 4 Shure channels, all mics are identical (DPA 4061). Shure receivers are outputting at line level and receiver gain is set at +0dB. UR1 settings are 0dB sensitivity and -10dB gain.
As for the Sennheiser systems, beltpack levels are set to -30dB and receiver output is +0dB (mic level).
At the mixing desk (DiGiCo SD11), I have my Shure channels sit at minimum gain, while for the Sennheiser channels I have to add about +4dB of gain (depending on loudness of the actors voices). All 4 Shure channels have a distinct noise/hiss, while none of the Sennheiser channels add any audible hiss at all.

I tried switching off the UR1 beltpacks, this reduces the hiss just a little, but I believe a good portion of the hiss is created by the UR4D+ receivers. I also tried switching the UR4D's to mic level output, when gain on the mixer is set to the proper level, I believe noise levels are about the same again.

Do you guys also think your UHF-R systems are noisy? We have a lot of customers that request Shure UHF-R, so for us it is a good investment. However I had thought that considering the price, the performance would have been quite a lot better (especially in comparison to the much cheaper Sennheiser EW100 systems).
This really sounds like a gain mismatch between the output of the receiver and the input of the console, although what you describe sounds like you've done everything correctly. But, I have never, ever had a complaint about the UHF-R having noisy outputs. So...next step, are you hitting the front end of the receivers with enough signal? I'm a big believer in lining up gain stages with a test tone. The way I do this with lav mics is to use a test signal (like from a Q-Box) into a pair of headphones, turn it up until it's a decent level (like someone singing) and then hold the ear cups over the lav mic. Adjust the transmitter gains until you are getting proper deflection there and on the receiver's audio meter, and then, adjust the gain stage at the console. If you find you are hitting the front end of the SD-11 too hard, go into the "Audio" menu on the UR and attenuate the output. If nothing else, you can just do that step and see if things quiet down at the desk. I don't have an SD-11 manual here in front of me, but I question whether "minimum" gain is actually equal to Line level.
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~Ike Zimbel~
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hugovanmeijeren

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Re: Shure UHF-R noise
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2017, 03:51:14 am »

Thanks so far for your replies. It is good to hear that UHF-R should not be as noisy as what I am experiencing.
To be honest, there's one thing I haven't ruled out yet, which is a possible defect to the UR4D+ receivers. We used to have 2 UR4D+ receivers with 4x UR2 handheld transmitters. Last week, we got an extra 8 channels of UR4D+ with UR1. Currently I am using 4x UR1 with the 'old' UR4D+. So maybe I should compare the UR4D+ that we already had to the new ones that came in last week...

So...next step, are you hitting the front end of the receivers with enough signal?
(...)
but I question whether "minimum" gain is actually equal to Line level.

I think I am, but will spend some extra time on checking this, your tips are very useful. RF wise I am getting plenty of signal, we are using 2x Sennheiser A2003 antennas into an ASA3000 which splits the signal to the Sennheiser receivers and UR4D+. Receivers are all on stage so distance to transmitters is never more than about 10 metres. I am running the UR1 in 'Normal' (10mW output power) mode.

Minimum gain on the SD11 (with D-Rack) is not equal to line level, it is +10dB fixed gain (there is a -20dB PAD but after this I would have to bring up input gain again so there's no need in this situation). Input levels on the SD11 are good for the UHF-R channels, so that shouldn't be a problem. As stated before, I have to turn up gain more for the Sennheisers, but noise levels are way lower on those channels (no audible noise at all), so personally I do not think that the console is the problem in this matter.

Next Friday I will have another show with this same setup, I'll try to make some changes again (fiddling with gain settings on the transmitters and receivers) and see if I can bring back noise on the UHF-R. I will report back.
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Ike Zimbel

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Re: Shure UHF-R noise
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2017, 09:06:25 am »

Minimum gain on the SD11 (with D-Rack) is not equal to line level, it is +10dB fixed gain (there is a -20dB PAD but after this I would have to bring up input gain again so there's no need in this situation).
I'm pretty sure that this is the issue as it's a basic level mismatch. Don't forget that the "0db" that comes out of the UHF-R is actually +4db. I would try engaging the pad and then adding 6db of gain and see what your noise floor is like. If it is still noisy, then yes, it would be a good idea to get the units checked. They should be quiet.
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~Ike Zimbel~
Wireless frequency coordination specialist.
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Radio Active Designs
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hugovanmeijeren

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Re: Shure UHF-R noise
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2017, 09:38:07 am »

I'm pretty sure that this is the issue as it's a basic level mismatch. Don't forget that the "0db" that comes out of the UHF-R is actually +4db. I would try engaging the pad and then adding 6db of gain and see what your noise floor is like. If it is still noisy, then yes, it would be a good idea to get the units checked. They should be quiet.

Hi Ike, I'll try this coming Friday. But would you agree that switching the UR4D+ to mic level output and then applying enough gain on the SD11 should also give similar (low noise) results? Because I tried that before with no success.
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Ike Zimbel

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Re: Shure UHF-R noise
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2017, 07:27:23 pm »

Hi Ike, I'll try this coming Friday. But would you agree that switching the UR4D+ to mic level output and then applying enough gain on the SD11 should also give similar (low noise) results? Because I tried that before with no success.
Yes, I did wonder about that. You could also try the 1/4" TRS output as it has separate electronics...try listening to the headphone jack too. I should have asked earlier, how would you describe the noise?
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~Ike Zimbel~
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Ike Zimbel

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Re: Shure UHF-R noise
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2017, 07:01:52 pm »

Yes, I did wonder about that. You could also try the 1/4" TRS output as it has separate electronics...try listening to the headphone jack too. I should have asked earlier, how would you describe the noise?
Hi again. I was doing some tech work on a broadcast truck this week, which put me around the corner from the Toronto VER shop. Today, I was able to whip over there with my Audio Toolbox and take some noise measurements on three different receivers, a Shure UR4D, a Sennheiser 3732-II, and a Lectrosonics Venue. The test setup was the same for all three: Unit ON, no transmitter and on a clean channel so there was no RF background noise.
Here's the results.
Sennheiser 3732-II, o/p level set to +18 (Max line o/p), Squelch set to 10uv. Ch-1 NF @ -88.00 dbu with a bit of cycling up and down (probably the RF noise floor)
Ch-2 NF -82.50 with the same cycling. Note that it is not uncommon in two channel devices for the channel closest to the power supply (usually Ch-2, as it was here) to be slightly noisier.

Shure UR4D, set to 0db (max) o/p, Line level, GND - On (ie: not lifted) Ch-1 and Ch-2 XLR were within 0.2dbu of each other, -89.10 and -88.92 respectively. These levels are not affected by either turning down or Muting the o/p.
Note that the TRS o/p was identical on both channels and even quieter, -95.60 dbu.

Lectrosonics Venue (this was the only other receiver model that they had in the shop)...and it was SO quiet, I had to double check to make sure that the outputs were even active...around -104 dbu! Nice one, Karl!
Now, just to be sure I was making a fair comparison, I checked the o/p level with the built in tone generator which is awesome, and something I have been asking other manufacturers for for years (see post above about checking levels with tone). As it turned out, that level was around +2db or so, so I added a bit of gain to get it to +3.45 (the closest to +4 that I could get...the next step was over +5). Well, that raised the noise floor to -98.08dbu, so the Lectro still wins for lowest noise floor.
<edit> For reference, I consider anything below -80.00 or so to have a low noise floor. And, this is AUDIO level, not RF level.
Cheers,
Ike

« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 01:20:02 pm by Ike Zimbel »
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~Ike Zimbel~
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Radio Active Designs
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hugovanmeijeren

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Re: Shure UHF-R noise
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2017, 03:39:00 am »

Hi Ike,

Wow, thanks for your reply and for taking some measurements. Unfortunately I do not have the tools to do a noise measurement myself.
However, tonight I will be using the setup again and will spend some extra time setting up levels, I will report back on that later.
Probably tomorrow I will have the chance to compare a couple of different UR4D+ receivers, to see if any of those units may be faulty.

Anyway, your measurements show that noise should really not be a problem with these units. Considering the amount of noise that I am experiencing, I really think some of my receivers may be faulty. I'll try to find out what's going on this weekend.
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Lee Buckalew

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Re: Shure UHF-R noise
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2017, 06:33:49 am »

I have a setup that I use regularly that has 18 Shure UHF-R and up to 8 channels of Sennheiser ew100 G2s the Sennheiser are much noisier then the Shure’s. You have something set wrong. I use mostly Countryman E6 mics and I usually have them set to +8 sensitivity, these are the blue band reduced gain ones. If I use an MKE2 I have to reduce the sensitivity to 0 because they are a much hotter mic. I use the transmitter with the switch set to mic level output.

The G2 which you are comparing and the G3 which the OP has asked about are very different animals. 

In my experience with Sennheiser G3 series, they are quieter than UHF-R as long as I was comparing apples to apples. 
Keep in mind that each Mic element is also going to have self-noise so the overall system noise will depend on the element used and of course, as others here have stated, on proper gain structure being utilized.  I have always tested between any wireless systems with the same DPA livelier Mic element with Microdot termination and then the correct adapter for the belt pack in question. 

I have only been in a position to compare identical hand held Mic elements (Neumann KMS105) between Sennheiser 2000 series and Shure ULX-D (which Shure still says is their best sounding wireless system).  In that comparison the Sennheiser was quieter and sounded more like a hard wired KMS105.

Without measurement or at least a comparison using the same Mic elements the OP has little chance of actually knowing which wireless system is quieter.

Lee
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Re: Shure UHF-R noise
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2017, 06:33:49 am »


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