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Author Topic: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model  (Read 1252 times)

Eric Snodgrass

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I have a client who runs an after-school theater program and has been bitten by the 600MHz auction.  The client is replacing 6 units of Sennheiser ew100 G2 and G3 with the ew100 G4. 
The client's desired goal is to have 24 units, racked and portable.  According to the G4 manual Sennheiser states that up to 20 units can be run at once.  I'm assuming that this number is based on a safety zone set by Sennheiser for IMD avoidance (please correct me if I'm wrong). 
I'm interested in finding out about any pitfalls of exceeding this number by 4.  The ew100 series is perfect for their budget and has proven to be extremely rugged and reliable over the 11 years that they've owned them.  The client has a mixture of G2 (1), G3 and G4. 
 
So, will it really increase the IMD possibility a lot if they go to 24 ew100 units, even if their bandwidths differ (A, A1 and G bands)?  Is anyone on the list successfully exceeding the recommended number of units? 
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Scott Helmke

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2019, 08:45:08 pm »

This is where you really ought to get Shure's Wireless Workbench software (free download) and play some what-if games.  There's a setting under "compatibility" where you can choose to be robust vs. risky.
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Eric Snodgrass

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2019, 10:17:27 pm »

This is where you really ought to get Shure's Wireless Workbench software (free download) and play some what-if games.  There's a setting under "compatibility" where you can choose to be robust vs. risky.
A good idea.
Will WWB give me relevant results for Sennhesier ew100 units?  Maybe I should download the Sennheiser equivalent. 
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Luke Geis

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2019, 11:52:08 pm »

The band spacing between units is often fixed and you may not be able to get 24 units to work together with 100% success. Often times even getting the full possible numbers of units to work all at once is a challenge. I would take some time and play with both software's to see what they show and find out for sure you can even tune to the frequencies it projects. I would also plan on getting an antenna distro system to handle the RF traffic with. It will greatly improve your odds of success.

I would try and push to get a system that is designed to work in high-density mode though. Most lower end RF units do not have RF power options and are generally fixed. When going high density, you are often posed with needing to tune down the RF power of the transmitters in order to keep them from splattering radio signal all over the place and in the way of other units. You can look at it as making the footprint of each unit smaller so they can all play in a sandbox together. If each footprint is too big, they won't all be able to stand in the sandbox without stepping on toes. 
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Don Boomer

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2019, 01:18:03 am »

The ew100 series is perfect for their budget and has proven to be extremely rugged and reliable over the 11 years that they've owned them. 

Operating wireless over the last 11 years has been much easier than it will be for the next 11 (or even fewer ... maybe many fewer). There are simply many more devices competing for less and less bandwidth. They will likely need to run with better gear and more attention to best practices.
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Ike Zimbel

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2019, 09:08:31 am »

I have a client who runs an after-school theater program and has been bitten by the 600MHz auction.  The client is replacing 6 units of Sennheiser ew100 G2 and G3 with the ew100 G4. 
The client's desired goal is to have 24 units, racked and portable.  According to the G4 manual Sennheiser states that up to 20 units can be run at once.  I'm assuming that this number is based on a safety zone set by Sennheiser for IMD avoidance (please correct me if I'm wrong). 
I'm interested in finding out about any pitfalls of exceeding this number by 4.  The ew100 series is perfect for their budget and has proven to be extremely rugged and reliable over the 11 years that they've owned them.  The client has a mixture of G2 (1), G3 and G4. 
 
So, will it really increase the IMD possibility a lot if they go to 24 ew100 units, even if their bandwidths differ (A, A1 and G bands)?  Is anyone on the list successfully exceeding the recommended number of units?

The 20 unit maximum is per frequency band so by having A and G bands you should be able to get up to 24. BUT, as others have pointed out this raises the stakes quite a bit. You will absolutely need to get a proper frequency coordination done (and there's no guarantee that there will be enough open spectrum available in either of your bands for all of your mics). A proper antenna distribution system has also already been suggested...also a must.
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2019, 12:12:16 pm »

Step up the the EW300 series.
You get 32 pre-set bands plus the ability to monitor your rig through WSM, Sennheiser's free software.
All ew g3 and g4 devices are compatible.
I don't think the trade-in program is still going, but you could sell your old units overseas via e-bay.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2019, 04:19:14 pm by Dave Garoutte »
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Eric Snodgrass

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2019, 02:37:55 am »

Step up the the EW300 series.
You get 32 pre-set bands plus the ability to monitor your rig through WSM, Sennheiser's free software.
All ew g3 and g4 devices are compatible.
I don't think the trade-in program is still going, but you could sell your old units overseas via e-bay.

I did let them know that they might have to purchase the ew300 series systems to reach their stated goal of 24.
I have also told them that antenna combiners are now needed for all of this wireless to ensure consistency of signal from venue to venue.  Antenna farms just won't cut it anymore.  The good news is that they are interested in getting the combiners. 
I told them that they can have 3 racks of 8 each along with two ASA 1 antenna combiners.  That will give them flexibility with their wireless.  Since they could have multiple productions going at the same time they can easily split up the wireless because they will be in three different racks. 
And Dave, another compatibility between the G3 and G4 units is the rackmount kits.  The G4 units come with their own rackmount kits and while building them one rack I discovered that the G3 and G4 units can be rackmounted side-by-side.  Even their Evolution D1 2.4gHz series is compatible with the G4 rackmount kits.  That was a good call by Sennheiser. 
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2019, 12:28:24 pm »

The other cool thing about the combiners is that you can connect two together to use one antenna set.
Each one connects to four receivers and then feeds the other.
It sounds like that's your plan.

My setup is two sets of four receivers and a combiner in an SKB three space case.
Power and short xlrs pre-wired.
I can do two four channel events or one eight channel event with a pair of jumpers.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2019, 03:21:23 pm by Dave Garoutte »
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Eric Snodgrass

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2019, 12:54:48 pm »

The other cool thing about the combiners is that you can connect two together to use one antenna set.
Each one connects to four receivers and then feeds the other.
It sounds like that's your plan.

That is my plan. 
In my researching of this I found out that Sennheiser provides a wiring diagram for 32 EW units wired to a single pair of A 1031-U passive omni antennas.  Follow the link and look under FAQ.  They have wiring diagrams for a number of scenarios. 
So in theory I could build three racks of 8 EW100 units and 2 ASA1 combiners, add one more ASA1 combiner and run all three racks with two antennas. 
I am still recommending to the client that they get a pair of antennas for each rack so that they can have the flexibility to use each rack independently. 
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Kevin Maxwell

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2019, 10:48:24 am »

Step up the the EW300 series.
You get 32 pre-set bands plus the ability to monitor your rig through WSM, Sennheiser's free software.
All ew g3 and g4 devices are compatible.
I don't think the trade-in program is still going, but you could sell your old units overseas via e-bay.

Will that allow you to use the receivers as scanners for the WSM software?
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2019, 12:31:13 pm »

Will that allow you to use the receivers as scanners for the WSM software?

I believe so.
I don't think the 100 series lets you do that.
The events I do are small enough that I use the internal scanning to choose a bank.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2019, 12:34:39 pm by Dave Garoutte »
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Scott Helmke

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2019, 10:05:06 am »

Unless I'm really missing something here, the only difference between Evo 100 and 300 is features.  All the RF performance and intermod characteristics should be identical (Wireless Workbench has all the same numbers) and therefore I wouldn't expect to be able to fit in more 300 than 100.
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Brian Jojade

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2019, 10:19:21 am »

If the manufacturer says that you can use a maximum of 20 units together, TRUST THEM. Yeah, you may be able to get more to work sometimes, but it's going to be never ending frustrations for you.

Your spec is 24 wireless units that need to work together.  Start your product search with that spec on the table. Eliminate any products that don't spect that by the manufacturer and proceed.
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Brian Jojade

boburtz

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2019, 12:07:57 pm »

If the manufacturer says that you can use a maximum of 20 units together, TRUST THEM. Yeah, you may be able to get more to work sometimes, but it's going to be never ending frustrations for you.
Our G3 300 series boast up to 32 simultaneous channels. The G4 500 series has the same spec. The G4 100 series just states "up to 20 compatible channels". I believe that is a limitation based on its preset bank / channel system. I'm sure you could get the same amount of 100 series as 500 series playing nicely together, it just wouldn't be a simple process of scanning on the unit, and pressing "go". One would have to use WSM (or other frequency management software) and manually plug in all of the info to get a frequency list, then manually plug the frequencies into the units.
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2019, 12:54:51 pm »

From Senny website:

G4 EW100
42 mhz bandwidth / 1680 addressable frequencies
20 banks of 12 channel presets
30mw max output for transmitters
Can be linked for auto presetting

G4 EW300
88 mhz bandwidth / 3520 addressable frequencies
20 banks of 32 channel presets
50mw max output for transmitters
Can be networked to work with monitoring software
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Christian Ekren

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2019, 09:00:44 pm »

It is possible, assuming your local RF climate isn't giving you issues.

I came in to a system of 55 channels of Sennheiser EW100 G2/G3 last season spread across A1 (x16), A (x28), and G (x11) bands. One of the "sneaky" differences Sennheiser doesn't tell you about between the 100 and 500 series is that the frontend filter on the 100's is not as good (the reason the 500's list the ability to run more units.)

We ended up getting a PWS Bandpass filter (to lower the noisefloor and help with the TMobile 600MHz turn-on) along with 2x 200' runs of Belden 9913 RG-8X cable connected to Sennheiser A5000CP antennas. RF distribution handled by "master' ASA3000's feeding ASA1's and ASP2's feeding receivers.

This was for a 2,500 seat outdoor amphitheater with the receivers located in an enclosed brick-building offstage and antennas overstage pointing down. Ended up coordinating through Shure's WWB using "More Frequencies" compatibility with scans taken from an RF Explorer and Vantage. 6 actors wore backup rigs (one A1 and another G band.) Didn't have any RF issues throughout the season due to intermod, even in scenes with many actors getting physically close to one another.

Just my $0.02.
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Eric Snodgrass

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2019, 12:37:14 am »

I came in to a system of 55 channels of Sennheiser EW100 G2/G3 last season spread across A1 (x16), A (x28), and G (x11) bands.
Thanks Christian.  Good to know.  I think my plan of running 24 will work just fine.

 
One of the "sneaky" differences Sennheiser doesn't tell you about between the 100 and 500 series is that the frontend filter on the 100's is not as good (the reason the 500's list the ability to run more units.)
I learned this fact about Shure wireless receivers too while attending a Shure Master Class for their wireless.  They said that the consumer isn't paying for the transmitter, they are paying for the front end filter in the receiver, so that the more expensive the unit the more units one can run together without IMD chances increasing.
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hugovanmeijeren

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2019, 10:42:43 am »

One of the "sneaky" differences Sennheiser doesn't tell you about between the 100 and 500 series is that the frontend filter on the 100's is not as good (the reason the 500's list the ability to run more units.)

Well actually, it is mentioned in the user manual of the EM100 and EM500 respectively:

Quote from: Sennheiser EM100 G3/G4
Adjacent channel rejection: typ. ≥ 65dB
Intermodulation attenuation: typ. ≥ 65dB
Blocking ≥ 70dB

Quote from: Sennheiser EM500 G3/EM300-500 G4
Adjacent channel rejection: typ. ≥ 75dB
Intermodulation attenuation: typ. ≥ 70dB
Blocking ≥ 75dB

However, from personal experience I can tell that running 24 EW100 units in the same band (given that there are no other sources of interference within that band) is perfectly possible. If you can spread the number of units over different frequency bands, than it shouldn't be too much of a hassle to get 24 units to work together.
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Brian Hancock

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2019, 09:04:02 pm »

A few others have said similar but I've found it always to hold true ... you get what you pay for with wireless, I've read a few times "I think" and probably "ok" or "good enough" and that's all good and fine in a best case scenario which maybe the case right now but 12 to 18 months from now it may not be the case be a good steward of the schools money recomend the fullest spec, most flexiable, best laid out system, include. band pass filters remote antennas, I'd look into rf venues pads, zone combiner, etc. It may hurt a little more now but if their system doesnt work because of a new cell tower, other wireless in the area it will be much more painful to buy again in a few years or even expand ... wireless just isnt going to be what it's been moving forward and it's going to be a harsh reality for a lot of places.
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Ike Zimbel

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Re: Exceeding Manufacturer Recommended Wireless Units for Make/Model
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2019, 09:48:28 am »

A few others have said similar but I've found it always to hold true ... you get what you pay for with wireless, I've read a few times "I think" and probably "ok" or "good enough" and that's all good and fine in a best case scenario which maybe the case right now but 12 to 18 months from now it may not be the case be a good steward of the schools money recommend the fullest spec, most flexible, best laid out system, include. band pass filters remote antennas, I'd look into rf venues pads, zone combiner, etc. It may hurt a little more now but if their system doesn't work because of a new cell tower, other wireless in the area it will be much more painful to buy again in a few years or even expand ... wireless just isn't going to be what it's been moving forward and it's going to be a harsh reality for a lot of places.
These are all good points.
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~Ike Zimbel~
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