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Author Topic: Shure BLX Wireless Microphones - Are they really that bad?  (Read 1342 times)

Simon Barz

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Shure BLX Wireless Microphones - Are they really that bad?
« on: March 10, 2019, 08:15:29 pm »

Hey Guys,

I am in the market for some wireless handheld microphones for AV hire use. Mostly corporate gigs at smaller venues and no more than (4) mics at a time.

I've been doing some research and see a lot of negative comments from the pro community regarding Shure BLX. I don't know much about RF and was wondering if any of you all could help me understand if/why they are a poor option.

Thanks!
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William Schnake

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Re: Shure BLX Wireless Microphones - Are they really that bad?
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2019, 08:26:05 pm »

Simon, I just bought 4 BLX, I generally use either ULX/P or QLX-D.  Anyway, I used them last week for a conference in a small breakout room and they worked fine.  They are not a high end mic, but they worked just fine for the conference that we were doing.  I am also going to use them for school rentals.

Bill
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David Allred

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Re: Shure BLX Wireless Microphones - Are they really that bad?
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2019, 10:25:12 pm »

Simon, I just bought 4 BLX, I generally use either ULX/P or QLX-D.  Anyway, I used them last week for a conference in a small breakout room and they worked fine.  They are not a high end mic, but they worked just fine for the conference that we were doing.  I am also going to use them for school rentals.

Bill

I put one in an install several years back.   It works at ranges up to 125 ft through 2 cinder block walls.  Standard antennas only. 
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Shure BLX Wireless Microphones - Are they really that bad?
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2019, 11:17:05 pm »

I have a BLX system ( a couple actually). 
I sing backing vocals from FOH and I got myself a good quality AKG headset mic to use with the pack and it has been great.
I get no problems with drop out and latency is no more noticeable than with any other wireless mic I have come across.
It is of cheaper build - plastic and quite basic but it has everything I need and gets the job done.
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Taylor Hall

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Re: Shure BLX Wireless Microphones - Are they really that bad?
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2019, 07:34:26 am »

Keep in mind that there are two flavors of BLX, one that is a plastic receiver, and one that is metal. The metal version, while more expensive, allows you to use external antennas and gives you more info on signal quality, audio level and battery life.
We have several channels of the metal receviers and haven't had any issues with them. Really the biggest drawbacks are that the mic capsules aren't swapable and the receivers don't interface with WW, so coordination is a bit of a shot in the dark. The method these mics use to find their channels seems to work well enough to prevent crosstalk, though. We only had to swap channels once when we were doing an event alongside about 5 others in a conference center, lots of RF flying around that day. Similar to Bill, we use these as our "budget" wireless setups as the sound is perfectly acceptable and are cheap enough to replace should something go wrong.
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Shure BLX Wireless Microphones - Are they really that bad?
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2019, 09:26:39 am »

Keep in mind that there are two flavors of BLX, one that is a plastic receiver, and one that is metal. The metal version, while more expensive, allows you to use external antennas and gives you more info on signal quality, audio level and battery life.
We have several channels of the metal receviers and haven't had any issues with them. Really the biggest drawbacks are that the mic capsules aren't swapable and the receivers don't interface with WW, so coordination is a bit of a shot in the dark. The method these mics use to find their channels seems to work well enough to prevent crosstalk, though. We only had to swap channels once when we were doing an event alongside about 5 others in a conference center, lots of RF flying around that day. Similar to Bill, we use these as our "budget" wireless setups as the sound is perfectly acceptable and are cheap enough to replace should something go wrong.

Yes - there is a metal bodied receiver and a plastic one. I have one of each and I have found them to be as reliable as each other. In fact I have found the plastic bodied receiver to be less prone to interference from other RX /TX equipment in the same rack. However, I can take my antennas from the metal unit and move them to a more suitable location which of course I cannot do with the other one.
The packs are plastic regardless of which receiver you choose but I did drop one of mine one time on a hard floor and it survived (surprisingly).
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lindsay Dean

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Re: Shure BLX Wireless Microphones - Are they really that bad?
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2019, 11:08:34 am »

 small drawbacks to entry level is the capsules are not interchangeable
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Rob Spence

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Re: Shure BLX Wireless Microphones - Are they really that bad?
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2019, 11:28:12 am »

Also, they often can have a smaller number of units in a single system.



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Taylor Hall

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Re: Shure BLX Wireless Microphones - Are they really that bad?
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2019, 12:44:00 pm »

Also, they often can have a smaller number of units in a single system.
BLX is limited to 12 channels per band, but for an entry level system that's pretty snappy. That's triple the max channels of their entry level digital lines (though I think the new digital "advanced" lines bump that up a bit) since not everyone can quite stomach $1k+ per channel for Q/ULX or Axient... I can't think of many small band or HOW scenarios that would encroach on that limit, even if every band member had vocals along with a couple belt packs for instruments. Maybe if you had a fleet of Debbies for backup singers, though ;)

Pretty sure the other non-digital lines from Shure have a similar limit, but they also allow you to "combine" additional bands to get you up somewhere in the 20s for usable channels.
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Steve Litscher

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Re: Shure BLX Wireless Microphones - Are they really that bad?
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2019, 03:22:55 pm »

I have (and am selling) a BLX system with dual PG58 handsets and dual-channel receiver. It has worked flawlessly the 4-5 times that I've used it. For the $$, it's pretty tough to beat.

Would I use it for lead vocals in a band, or if I had to coordinate a ton of RF? No. But it works really well for talking head/emcee use. Battery life is great, range is good, and they seem reliable.

My only complaint is the "on/off/mute" button on the handheld. If it had a switch, rather than a push button, they'd be perfect.

Stephen Beatty

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Re: Shure BLX Wireless Microphones - Are they really that bad?
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2019, 03:34:45 pm »

 They are not bad units for general speaker use. You will not see them at the Grammy's.

 I am at a university so the units we put out have to be PHd proof. I was using the Telex FMR series. And tried the BLX14R units. Inexpensive, rack mountable with external antennas. They work very well for our purpose except for 2 very bad things. You can open the battery door and easily change the frequency and the mic gain. Users have fingers and there you go....

 So what I am deploying to the general classrooms now (thank you FCC) are the Samson Concert 99 series in the 470 MHz range. Very inexpensive, rack mounted, external antennas and no fiddling with the controls other to turn it on and off. You need a tweaker to set mic gain and IR link to the receiver to set the frequency. They sound ok and the body are plastic but seem pretty sturdy. So far the ones we have put out are working ok.
One thing is the Samson's do not get quite the battery time the Shure's do.
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Paul Miller

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Re: Shure BLX Wireless Microphones - Are they really that bad?
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2019, 08:18:47 pm »

Another satisfied BLX4R user. I use them with BLX2 handheld transmitters with Beta58 capsules. It's the least expensive wireless I can actually recommend, for the price I don't think there's anything even close.

... a lot of negative comments from the pro community regarding Shure BLX.

For some reason a lot of "pros" turn their nose up at any wireless that comes in under $1000 per channel. They seem to forget that there are lots of use cases where that's either unwise, unfeasible, or both.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Shure BLX Wireless Microphones - Are they really that bad?
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2019, 01:12:04 am »

For low demand stuff where audio quality/RF reliability aren't critical, they are fine.  ie, use in fitness centers, etc where all you need to do is make some noise they are great.

But, the more critical the event becomes, the more important it becomes to move into the higher end units.  For corporate AV, it's probably worth spending a few extra dollars for the better stuff.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Shure BLX Wireless Microphones - Are they really that bad?
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2019, 01:12:04 am »


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