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Author Topic: Wireless Systems, Shure vs. AT  (Read 9055 times)

Joseph White, CTS

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Wireless Systems, Shure vs. AT
« on: April 13, 2011, 11:09:19 am »

I currently use Shure UHF-R wireless mics, but I need to put together an all new rig and am interested in the Audio-Technica 5000 series. I've talked to many people who seem to think that the Shure is the only one that anyone should buy, but I've seen many AT systems out in the wild used by huge names so I want to give them a shot.

Please offer your opinions on Shure vs. AT or if you are a fan of something else then let me know what won you over to them. Also, in the AT line what handheld capsules are your favorite?

Thanks guys.
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Joseph White, CTS
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DavidTurner

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Re: Wireless Systems, Shure vs. AT
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2011, 11:17:48 am »

This is a little bit like Honda vs Toyota... We use Shure wireless gear exclusively and are really happy with the products, but YMMV.

I currently use Shure UHF-R wireless mics, but I need to put together an all new rig and am interested in the Audio-Technica 5000 series. I've talked to many people who seem to think that the Shure is the only one that anyone should buy, but I've seen many AT systems out in the wild used by huge names so I want to give them a shot.

Please offer your opinions on Shure vs. AT or if you are a fan of something else then let me know what won you over to them. Also, in the AT line what handheld capsules are your favorite?

Thanks guys.
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Andrew Moyer

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Re: Wireless Systems, Shure vs. AT
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2011, 12:24:49 pm »

We sent out our PO for 18 channels of Sennheiser 2000 series units.  18 beltpacks and 8 handhelds with the e965 capsule on them.  Easy to program, reliable, light weight packs, computer application to monitor/program units is easy to use.

My $0.02 CAD (so it's worth a little more then $0.02 USD :P)
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Andrew Moyer

tim.j.phillips

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Re: Wireless Systems, Shure vs. AT
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2011, 12:41:58 pm »

We sent out our PO for 18 channels of Sennheiser 2000 series units.  18 beltpacks and 8 handhelds with the e965 capsule on them.  Easy to program, reliable, light weight packs, computer application to monitor/program units is easy to use.

My $0.02 CAD (so it's worth a little more then $0.02 USD :P)

+1 for sennhieser, we have a bank of 8 of the ew300 series and aside from an abnormally long mic cable on the beltpacks we have never had a problem with them.  The software is fairly simple to use to program and monitor them as well being a very reliable unit.

However, my own personal favorite will always be shure uhf-r's partially cause ive worked with them longer and have never had a problem with them.  The uhf-r's are nice also because the beltpacks are metal insteal of plastic which depending on how rough you think your clients will be with them might come in handy. 
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Gus Housen

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Re: Wireless Systems, Shure vs. AT
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2011, 01:52:41 pm »

The biggest concern should be "wich one will make me the most money" If you are fufilling riders and crossrenting, the audio technica is pretty low on the request list, most artists request Shure or Sennheiser . If you are doing Hotel AV or non specific rider work than the audio technica should be just fine.
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Joseph White, CTS

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Re: Wireless Systems, Shure vs. AT
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2011, 03:36:18 pm »

I suppose I should mention that this is for a large church, so there are some, but not many riders to deal with. The musicians will generally use what we tell them to as long as it sounds good. I need to buy about 12 channels worth of wireless next year.

We have been happy with the UHF-R, but a system with even a Beta 87A handheld retails for about $2600 a channel and with a KSM-9 that skyrockets to about $3500 per channel (I know it can be had for less than retail, I don't need another sales rep). From what I've heard so far I like the AT capsules better than the SM and Beta capsules from Shure, and they retail for only about $1600 a channel with the same remote monitoring suite.

Given the range of artists and venues that I've seen using the AT (Justin Timberlake, Tayler Swift, Daughtry Grammys, CMAs, etc.), I assume it is not crap. If the same or similar quality can be had for barely half the price, then I need you guys to convince me not to make the switch or to go a different route. Sennheiser could be a viable option, I've just been wary of their capsule selection for use on a live stage.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2011, 08:48:38 pm by Joseph White »
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Joseph White, CTS
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Adam Kane

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Re: Wireless Systems, Shure vs. AT
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2011, 05:05:49 pm »

We use mostly AT stuff and have had excellent luck with it. To my ear, AT sounds more natural (audio term) and less...I don't know...processed??? than Shure and Senn. Most of the Senn stuff I've used (various heads) seem to have a very hyped high end. Some people like that. I don't.

I'm seeing more and more AT show up on riders and even when we get a rider that says Shure, I can only think of one time in the past several years that they absolutely wouldn't accept our AT gear, and that was because they had some sort of endorsement deal with Shure and weren't allowed to be seen on stage with anything else. Everyone has been more than happy to use it once they knew it wasn't their entry level Freeway Series stuff.

We had one act last year that normally uses a UHF-R with the (I think) Beta87 head and, since we had the time to mess around, he tried one of the AT 's we had sitting by monitor world. I believe it was a 4000 series with the AE5400. He ended up using that for the show instead of his Shure. Both he and his FOH engineer agreed that it just plain sounded better.

You won't be unhappy with the AT stuff. It's rock solid reliable and sounds at least as good as any other pro-level gear out there. Also, their customer service has been second-to-none.
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Mike Grignon

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Re: Wireless Systems, Shure vs. AT
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2011, 09:07:21 pm »


[I currently use Shure UHF-R wireless mics, but I need to put together an all new rig and am interested in the Audio-Technica 5000 series.

Please offer your opinions on Shure vs. AT or if you are a fan of something else]
- - -
[We sent out our PO for 18 channels of Sennheiser 2000 series units.]

Shure UHF-R is tried and true good stuff. I've covered entire stadiums with them. I also recently had a client purchase a Sennhieser 2000 system, which I am very impressed with, given the price point. I use it for sports sideline/rover reporter and not for music.

Not familiar at all with AT. Would be good to hear more comments.

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Andrew Hnatiuk

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Re: Wireless Systems, Shure vs. AT
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2011, 12:22:40 am »

We predominantly use AT 5000-series products and have been very pleased with both the first and second generation units.  We have been using 16 channels on a variety of corporate, live and theatrical events over the last 5 years with great reviews and no complaints. We did have an issue with one hand-held transmitter that I recall and remember AT resolving it within a few days. +1 to AT for great customer service.

We also keep 2 UHF-R units on hand to meet requirements / rent as necessary. This Shure / AT combo has worked well for us and would not change things if I had to make the decision over again.

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Andrew Makinson

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Re: Wireless Systems, Shure vs. AT
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2011, 09:08:06 am »

My theater has 36 channels of AT 5000 series.  My last venue was a multi room church campus that used Shure everywhere with the UHF-R in the larger rooms. 

If you are adding to what you have I would strongly push the Shure stuff just so that you can change your capsules around as needed and have the same connectors for everything that uses the body packs.  You may also be able to stock fewer transmitters if any beltback or handheld can match any receiver. This doesn't matter if the new stuff will be used on a completely isolated campus. 

The Shure stuff has infrared sync which the AT does not.  This is my biggest complaint with AT.  You will have to program the transmitters manually anytime you make a change.  The AT capsules are not easily changed around.  The AT beltpacks have a battery door that I have to tape every time so that it doesn't accidentally come open.  If it opens then the batteries pop out.  I don't like the AT beltpack connector as much as the one on the Shure UR1.  AT transmitters take more buttons to lock on and are more bulky.

The AT 5000 series with the 5400 or 3300 capsule sounds great!  I also have some of the AEWT6100 which I don't like at all.  They are too easy to overload and sound worse even slightly off axis.  Most of the national acts that have come through our venue in the last year were carrying at least some AT wireless.

If you need sound quality on a budget, AT has that.  The sound quality is top notch from the condenser capsules.  If you need flexibility and speed of setup, then maybe you should stick with UHF-R.
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Jack Kontney

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Re: Wireless Systems, Shure vs. AT
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2011, 02:11:26 pm »

Since this is for a fixed installation, the choice you make is probably non-critical. Although the metro area and total number of simultaneous RF channels may modify that.

IMPORTANT: Do NOT be influenced by the products you see used on award shows. This is actually a quasi-random mix of rider preferences, endorsement requirements, and personal/technical preferences of the production staff.

That said, the fact that the Big 3 (A-T, Sennheiser, Shure) are the only ones you see does at least tell you that any of them is likely up to the task. There's too much at stake to use anything dicey.

Personally, I regard this as a two-horse race in terms of the technical abilities of the top systems from these manufacturers. And those two horses are Shure and Sennheiser. This is especially true in terms of computer monitoring, frequency selection/agility, etc.

Now, is the AT 5000 competitive in terms of sound quality, reliability and features you are likely to need? Yes, absolutely. As you can see in this thread, there are plenty of happy AT users out there. But when the price difference is that huge, it's for a reason. TANSTAAFL.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 10:14:40 pm by Jack Kontney »
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Luther Bell

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Re: Wireless Systems, Shure vs. AT
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2011, 10:01:55 am »

I have worked with both systems and prefer Shure.  I have also worked with a company that said "We are a AT dealer and we don't use them on shows, that should tell you something."

My biggest issue with any of the AT handhelds that I have seen in the 3000, 4000 or 5000 line is the way the case threads onto the mic.  If you can, get your hands on one of the handhelds before you buy it and see how you feel about it.  There is a shell that slides on and covers 3/4 of the handheld and then twists onto some threading just below the capsule.  I have used handhelds that thread great, and some that feel like there is dirt (but there isn't) in the threads. 

We had a 5000 series HH stop threading and we couldn't get the shell off with any level of force so we had to ship it in for repair.  Also, depending on the use, I have seen HHs with stripped threads, something I have never seen on a UHF-R.

One last thing to look for is batteries.  I know the UHF-R and AT 5000s both take AAs, but it's always something to keep in mind.  All of the AT3000-5000 series mics use AAs but if you go down the line from UHF-Rs the ULXs use 9v.

+1 on the number of "keystrokes" it takes to lock a transmitter.  AT has a mini menu system that you have to navigate through where Shure has a simple "hold this button, then press this button" system.

Have fun making the decision.
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Luther Bell
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Wireless Systems, Shure vs. AT
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2011, 10:01:55 am »


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