Sunday, December 8, 2013

Audio-Technica System 10

Even though I am very impressed by its 24-bit, 48 kHz, APTx compressed audio quality, I've been skeptical of the Audio-Technica System 10. Wireless on 2.4 GHz? Up there with Wi-Fi and consumer wireless phones? I still am not sure how fierce a Wi-Fi environment System 10 can prevail in.

Right now System 10 offers a maximum of eight units running at the same time. As the environment crumbles, I'm told, you lose mics and/or operating range. I'd like to push the envelope to find out when and where things crumble using eight units running in a dense Wi-Fi environment while getting at least 100 feet for a start. 

At 2.4 GHz, 10 mW is not a lot of power. What about absorption. How robust is the system when you have to bury the transmitter on someone? As I mentioned in the above video, I got 75 feet with the body mic transmitter in a pocket of my cargo shorts. When I took the mic out of my pocket I was back on and got another 120 feet. So, almost 200 feet, unblocked, line of sight. There are five or six Wi-Fi enabled houses visible on my iPad when I take it outside, so it's not like I'm in the middle of the desert, plus I'm running a 2.4 and a 5 GHz system in my own home.

5/2015 Addendum: While the System 10 works quite well with the Audio Technica 830 Lav, I found digital RF problems and noise when using Audio Technica's BP892 and AT 896 mini lav and headworn mics. It's apparently a shielding problem. More on that as it develops.

If you were using the hand held mics for a walk and talk or live music performance, line of sight isn't much of a problem, but for most video work, you don't want to see the transmitters and the deeper you hide them, the shorter the range. A lot of video is shot with location sound mixers within 20-30 feet. To test that, I'd want to try four buried mics simultaneously at 30 feet for starters.

At only $300-$400 a set, though, depending on which set you get, the "get in" price is pretty low. You can do your own envelope pushing. Oh, there's a small rebate available if you buy before 12/31/13. Here are the rebate details.