This past month I’ve been rockin’ some new gear in the wireless department. I’ve taken a big step and upgraded to Lectrosonics, a long-time industry standard for wireless equipment in location work and live sound. Pictured in the center is the “SRa5P” dual-channel diversity receiver, flanked by two SM transmitters. Also pictured are two coiled-up black B6 lavalieres, also brand new.
The receiver (SRa5P) and transmitters (SM) absolutely rock. Working together, they sound cleaner; they’re more robust against interfering radio frequencies; the physical range between me and the actor can be longer; and they’re built to withstand the elements (i.e. an actor sweating profusely all over my expensive gear.)
It’s easy to geek out to the SRa5P, and honestly I’m still digesting the manual, but suffice it to say, it’s a proper piece of gear. It receives two channels, not just one, so I have more space in my sound-bag. I’m now able to perform a thorough scan of available radio frequencies with a helpful graphic display. And it’s stocked with proprietary Lectrosonics features, like variable noise reduction to reduce hiss. (Lavs always have higher noise than standard microphones.)
The SM (“super mini”) transmitters, which are worn on the actor, were bought used and selected specifically for their size and weight (and price!) The only unimpressive quality to them is their short battery life (approx. 3 hours with AA rechargeable NiMH) but that makes a lot of sense considering they operate on one single battery. There’s a limiter feature, which is also immensely helpful. And they’re built from a single aluminum block and finished with the same non-corrosive material used by NASA for interstellar vehicles (R.I.P. Neil Armstrong).
The B6 lav mics were chosen for their size (and, of course, sound.) I find that they absolutely shine outdoors. With small size comes flexibility. Flexibility means the mic potentially can be positioned more ideally than a larger mic. They also come with small protective caps that help prevent moisture damage to the capsule, as well as providing different high frequency boosts for when the mic has to be buried under clothes.
Once Chase gets their cash (don’t ask) I’ll be back shopping for more awesome gear. The quest never ends, you just sort of get comfortable for a while until some client says, “Wait a sec — you don’t have a ______ ?!”