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Author Topic: Question about advancements in wireless IEM  (Read 1338 times)

Ike Zimbel

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Re: Question about advancements in wireless IEM
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2019, 08:28:19 pm »

I have used the Shure PSM1000 on a few occasions and I don't think it sounds all that good. it is supposedly the best of the best too. The problem isn't so much quality of sound as much as noise floor, the dynamic range and the stereo separation.

The last few I have used all seem to have a similar issue. The Senny G3 and the PSM1000 both suffered from stereo separation issues and i feel it had compression or stuffiness to it that made the mix sound closed up. The G3 wasn't much better in terms of low dynamic range.

As far as the PSM700 goes, I have not used that model. I have only used the 300, 900 and 1000 series. The 1000 series is obviously better than the 300 and 900, but honestly, they all do not sound like your plugged into the mixer directly but will work just fine.
The P10R+ is a whole new ballgame. These are the current PSM-1000 receivers (belt packs), and they sound amazing, particularly when it comes to separation and noise floor.
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Luke Geis

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Re: Question about advancements in wireless IEM
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2019, 04:09:08 pm »

I am perhaps picky, but I can tell a very stark difference between the pack and just plugging into even a phone. The stereo separation may be the best of the bunch, but it is still lacking. Noise floor with all of them can be optimized and really isn't an issue aside from some having less dynamic range than others. All in all, I think any stereo IEM setup that is available is going to do the task just fine. There really haven't been any major improvements to the technology in that past several years I think. The whole 8 driver, balanced armature thing is a bunch of malarky designed to separate you from your money too.

I think the bulk of making IEM's work is done at the mixer. You MUST have stereo mixes, you have to play god with the mix and you need to have a way to address bone coupling. Having the world's greatest earbuds won't get you too far if you don't have the mix itself nailed.
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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Question about advancements in wireless IEM
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2019, 11:29:06 am »

I am curious about how far technology has improved with IEM wireless rigs. I have some older units (Shure PSM700) that are still frequency compliant but wonder if new units such as Sennheiser G4 or Shure PSM 300/ 900 have advanced in sound quality to the point they should replace my trusty old technology. I do understand they have all moved off the 9v standard of years past, but looking for differences other than that. Thanks for any help!

For further research, if you desire.

https://soundforums.net/community/threads/sennheiser-ew-300-g3-vs-shure-psm900.2215/
https://forum.fractalaudio.com/threads/for-those-who-have-tried-both-shure-psm-900-or-sennheiser-ew-300-g3.75049/
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brian maddox

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Re: Question about advancements in wireless IEM
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2019, 04:09:31 pm »

Other than the 9v issue they seem to be fine, however not trying anything newer, it has me wondering. I have to be honest, I plugged into a cheap Behringer P2 with a stereo mix, and was blown away with the difference. Totally silent, with absolutely amazing separation. By reading some of the above posts it appears that wireless tech hasn't really grown all that much in that regard.

The audio quality difference between the PSM700 and PSM900/1000 is STRIKING.  Going to Senn G3 or G4 is also VERY significant.

That's completely ignoring the enormous difference in RF flexibility and performance.

I stuck with my PSM600 when the PSM 700 came out because they sounded basically the same.  I tend to get pretty frugal when i'm spending my own money.  When i heard the PSM900 i immediately called my local dealer and ordered one.  That was shortly after they came out and i've not had a reason to replace it since.
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Henry Cohen

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Re: Question about advancements in wireless IEM
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2019, 09:17:52 pm »

There really haven't been any major improvements to the technology in that past several years I think.

The Lectrosonics Duet is a significant step forward in IEM design and has nearly the stereo separation you desire (85dB). To be sure, it's a work in progress, but I see a substantially better new generation digital IEM in the near future.

To some extent, I see the same attempt in the Mipro digital unit, but the TX is a bandwidth hog and the receiver doesn't quite have the selectivity it should have IMO, resulting in a system that is not very spectrally efficient.
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Question about advancements in wireless IEM
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2019, 11:38:03 pm »

How big of an issue is the spectral efficiency?  Obviously, it depends.  In my situation, rural Iowa 35 miles from Iowa City-the closest "city".  We typically use up to 8 channels of Shure SLX's along with 8 channels of MiPro mics.  Looking to get our feet wet with IEMs-but don't have anyone with any experience.  Likely will only do one mix on IEMs to share (this is for theater/musical work-mostly performing to  tracks).  Suggestions on a good starting point?

Current system is a QU32, QSC K12'2 ansd K10's using the SLX's to give an idea of where we feelcomfortable budget wise.  I've liked the MiPro mics other than the use and abuse they receive as rentals-so the MiPro IEM has me curious.
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Steve Swaffer

Luke Geis

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Re: Question about advancements in wireless IEM
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2019, 03:51:10 am »

Stereo separation is one thing, and I feel overall dynamic range is another. I have not yet used a wireless IEM system that has the same overall quality as plugging an earbud straight into a headphone amp or the mixer's headphone out. I was fortunate enough once to be running sound for my own band utilizing an LS9-32 and being close enough to use the headphone out to create my own stereo monitor mix. This is a very rare occasion for sure. What I can say is that from a monitoring perspective, it is the best mix I have ever had in both terms of quality of sound and the mix in general. It had stereo separation and it sounded like the band as if we were in a studio. I probably looked like a total fool with a 32 channel mixer sitting 2' to my left and a set of earbuds running to my head, but it worked.

Having used IEM's on a couple of occasions that range from cheap to high end is that I have not replicated the same level of quality as when I was plugged directly into the mixer. The mixes in wireless IEM's are just more compressed, stuffy and lack that overall dynamic range that makes it sound like you are really there. The lack of stereo separation doesn't help. You can hard pan an instrument and it just doesn't seem to move away from the middle as much as it should. Now perhaps Lectrosonics has figured it out, the problem is that 99% of musicians will never get to use one; I included thus far. Granted I am not a touring musician myself and I don't typically deal with A national acts, so I tend to end up dealing with B & C national acts that except PA systems, not demand or dictate them.

I am pretty easily impressed too, as I like being able to find cheap alternatives to expensive problems. That only means that having used Shure PSM 1000's, I wasn't that impressed considering the money they cost. I find it pretty sickening that you can spend $2k+ on a wireless IEM unit and then need spending another $2k+ on some super wazo earbuds to extract the last 5%. I mean, what the literal hell...... It is not rocket science, it shouldn't cost $4k to replace a damn $1 per foot cable........ I DGAFF what anyone says, it is 100% BS. I work with many high-end musicians that have spent a small fortune trying to improve on something that shouldn't be that hard. I had one in particular that spent $2k on the Sensaphonics multi-driver, fitted earbuds and she felt it was only a marginal improvement over the $500 earbuds she started with. I about cried when she mentioned she started with $500 earbuds. I tried a technique I have with her and she did say it was an improvement, but I only work with her a few times a year, so dialing in a perfect mix and really getting it dialed in is tough for a one-off type event. The long and short is that you can throw a lot of money at a problem and never really fix it. It starts with the mix ( the tricks I use among other things ) and having time to work with artists to really dial it in. Stereo separation can be dealt with, lower dynamic range can be dealt with, it just requires tricks and techniques to make the mix sound more natural, open and real. This is not something that most average musicians can do. They work with random engineers and random systems and get fairly random results. The fix to solve the randomness is to spend more money on an IEM system that makes it easier to get good results, the problem is that it requires a LOT of money to do that.

Three rules to IEM mixes. Stereo, ambient mics along with a great overall mix and to absolve bone coupling. You do not need a $2k earbud and you probably don't need a PSM 1000 to get great results, what you need is to follow the rules. If you can get those three things nailed, then even a $5 pair of earbuds and a cheap $600 IEM system will provide stellar results.
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Question about advancements in wireless IEM
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2019, 11:27:17 am »

The Lectrosonics Duet is a significant step forward in IEM design and has nearly the stereo separation you desire (85dB). To be sure, it's a work in progress, but I see a substantially better new generation digital IEM in the near future.

To some extent, I see the same attempt in the Mipro digital unit, but the TX is a bandwidth hog and the receiver doesn't quite have the selectivity it should have IMO, resulting in a system that is not very spectrally efficient.
I could live with the poor battery door design and lousy battery life of the Duet, but the audio sounding like a 32kbps MP3 stream was the killer. I’m told there are FCC limits to channel bandwidth that are the main issue here.

The transmitter is a dual unit and the pack has diversity reception. I understand that some markets and events have very limited bandwidth availability, but when that’s not an issue, I would love to see a “high quality” mode where a pack could utilize two transmitter channels - one for left and one for right, which would double the bandwidth and hopefully significantly improve sound quality. I suggested this to Lectro during my eval last year and at the time it was off the table for the current-gen duet, but hopefully in the future it can work. 

I did like the size of the pack, and RF performance was amazing.
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Jason Glass

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Re: Question about advancements in wireless IEM
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2019, 02:33:27 pm »

I could live with the poor battery door design and lousy battery life of the Duet, but the audio sounding like a 32kbps MP3 stream was the killer. I’m told there are FCC limits to channel bandwidth that are the main issue here.

The transmitter is a dual unit and the pack has diversity reception. I understand that some markets and events have very limited bandwidth availability, but when that’s not an issue, I would love to see a “high quality” mode where a pack could utilize two transmitter channels - one for left and one for right, which would double the bandwidth and hopefully significantly improve sound quality. I suggested this to Lectro during my eval last year and at the time it was off the table for the current-gen duet, but hopefully in the future it can work. 

I did like the size of the pack, and RF performance was amazing.

It has its issues with low frequency, low volume content reproduction, and audible artifacts under certain conditions that many users find objectionable.

But I must respectfully disagree that it's anywhere near as bad as a low bit rate MP3.  Not even close.  Head and shoulders superior to that.  By a marathon of miles.  While simultaneously eliminating other annoying characteristics of many other high end IEM systems.  IMHO.

It's up to the engineer and users to determine which balance of characteristics is most suitable for the specific application.  As it always is.

FCC rules specifically and unequivocally limit the occupied bandwidth of a channel of equipment of this type and frequency band to 200 kHz maximum.  The manufacturer can't use two channels for a single stereo transmission because that's the law.  You can't blame any mfg for that.

Nor should you expect that to change in the foreseeable future.  And if it ever were to happen, utliizing more bandwidth for a digital signal requires a complete redesign of the transmitter and receiver, from the modulation methods and data compression algorithms employed, through hardware modulators, filters, amplifiers, and on and on.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2019, 02:39:08 pm by Jason Glass »
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Russell Ault

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Re: Question about advancements in wireless IEM
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2019, 03:09:39 pm »

[...] The manufacturer can't use two channels for a single stereo transmission because that's the law.  [...]

I haven't read the FCC regs (although I'd guess that they're fairly similar to the ISED Canada regs), but isn't this basically what Telex did with the BTR-800? Am I missing something?

-Russ
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Re: Question about advancements in wireless IEM
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2019, 03:09:39 pm »


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