Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Audio-Technica System 10 - Now With Battery-powered Receiver & More

System 10 with AC-powered Receiver
I was very interested in Audio-Technica’s System 10 roll out a year ago. The first System 10 only offered an AC-powered receiver. That kept it from camera or bag use for location audio. It appeared that Audio-Technica was looking first at the Church, PA and Musician markets and coming in with some nice pricing. $300 for a handheld mic and receiver is head turning. The audio is compressed, using an APTX codec.

Now there's a new battery-powered receiver designed to fit on a camera and a stomp box for guitar players. That certainly changes the game, but let's backtrack.

System 10 is more than just a new, remarkably affordable wireless system, it's a technology shift. Not VHF. Not UHF, but up in 2.4 GHz with Wi-Fi. I need to make a point here; System 10 does not require Wi-Fi to operate. In fact, a thick Wi-Fi environment may make it operate closer to Audio-Technica published specs. In addition to passing 24-bit, 48 kHz, 3.8 mSec low latency audio, the System 10 transmitter and receiver are in constant communication with each other and they shift automatically as needed and without dropout or frequency coordination. Read on…!

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 BP896 mini lav and headworn mics. It's apparently a shielding problem. More on that as it develops.

11/6/15 Addendum: The BP892 heqdworn lav has now been altered to reject the 2.4 GHz noise. They are still working on the BP896.

AT8691 Double Receiver Mount
11/6/15 Here's some solid good news for existing System 10 owners. Audio-Technica has released a new bracket, the AT8691 that allows you to stack two System 10 receivers on top of each other. The AT8691 comes with a shoe terminal for camera or stand mounting. The bracket also ships with the AT8351 Y-connector that allows both receivers to be connected to one piece of gear via its 1/8" mini TRS jack for split track audio.

3/17/16 The Countryman B6 works well with the Audio-Technica System 10 transmitter. 

Maximum Performance?
OK, the manual for this receiver makes me a little concerned. "Place the receiver at least three feet above the ground and three feet from any wall or metal surface. In bold letters; Keep System 10 receiver 30 feet from any wireless access points. In multi-channel systems, keep receivers at least three feet apart." Well that means you can't mount two of them on top of a camera or in a location audio bag. But what about the AC-powered receivers? Those you can stack eight high? That doesn't make sense.

Gary Boss
called Gary Boss at Audio-Technica US for some background. "We've been working with digital wireless for more than a dozen years, if you count when we began research. Our current upscale product, SpectraPulse Ultra Wide Band, has been out for seven years. When we submitted it to the FCC for approval, we had to send one of our engineers because the FCC couldn't find the signal. The nature of the system has the signal buried in the noise floor."