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Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby Will_m » Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:23 pm

Hi all, I'm getting into location recording for film/t.v type work and I'm looking to invest in a wireless kit to accompany my boom mic. I'm looking at getting the Sennheiser ew 122p G3 system, I've found that there are some great deals from the states but I'm wondering if the american version will work in the u.k.

Also I know the new channel 38 requires a license, are there any free U.K channels I can use for a couple of channels of wireless without issues?
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby Sheriton » Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:10 am

The only free frequencies you can use in the UK are between 863.1 and 864.9MHz. However, after the end of this year, that band is likely to get very crowded as people vacate ch.69. Relying on it for professional purposes isn't likely to be a good idea. Buying in the UK would be a much better idea - you'll easily get the right frequencies and a proper UK warranty too.
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby John Willett » Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:39 am

Will_m wrote:Hi all, I'm getting into location recording for film/t.v type work and I'm looking to invest in a wireless kit to accompany my boom mic. I'm looking at getting the Sennheiser ew 122p G3 system, I've found that there are some great deals from the states but I'm wondering if the american version will work in the u.k.

Also I know the new channel 38 requires a license, are there any free U.K channels I can use for a couple of channels of wireless without issues?

NO - DON'T DO IT!

US systems are only legal in the UK on fixed-site licenses, so you will *HAVE* to purchase a different licence for every venue you use it in. It will then end up being very very much more expensive.

The *ONLY* G3 version that can be used in both the UK and USA is version "GB". This has the new Ch.38 licensed frequencies for mobile use all over the UK and also the Ch.39-41 frequencies that are legal in the US (and fixed-site licence in the UK).

Version "B", which they use in the USA, starts with UK Ch.39 which are the fixed-site only channels.

Ch.38 is *only* legal in the UK - it is illegal everywhere else as it's used for Radio Astronomy - in the UK we came to a special deal with the radio astronomers for them to vacate Ch.38 as that work can be done by European radio telescopes.

So - get a version "GB" in the UK and you'll be fine.


Anyway, a US version won't be that cheap as you will have to pay for shipping to the UK - then add on Customs Duty and VAT and also the cost of purchasing a 230V UK mains adaptor. It could even end up costing *more* than buying in the UK.

Oh - and the only licence-free channels, as has been said, are 863.1 - 864.9 MHz in version "E". version "E" is totally illegal in the US (they use A, G and B). There are only a few channels in this very narrow licence-free band and when G4 mobile broadband fires up on the sold off Ch.60-69 frequencies is likely to suffer from high levels of interference.

So - get a "GB" in the UK.
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby Will_m » Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:12 pm

Awesome, thanks guys. I'll steer clear of the of the american versions then. Is there anyone out there using the free channels without any issues? I'm told its around £100 a year for the channel 38 license and I'm just starting out with wireless so just wondering what my options are.
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby John Willett » Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:31 pm

Will_m wrote:Awesome, thanks guys. I'll steer clear of the of the american versions then. Is there anyone out there using the free channels without any issues? I'm told its around £100 a year for the channel 38 license and I'm just starting out with wireless so just wondering what my options are.

Are you a professional earning money?

If the answer is "yes" then the only real solution is to get version "GB" and use the licensed Ch.38 frequencies. And - remember - you only need one licence, however many systems you have.

The licence-free channels are on version "E". This very narrow 2MHz window (863-865MHz) contains the *only* frequencies you are allowed to use - every other frequency is totally illegal. Although use may be OK for now, tests indicate that when G4 mobile broadband gets going in the next year or so there could be considerable interference on these licence-free channels. The upper G4 frequency is 862MHz - only 1MHz away from the licence-free channels.

If you are (or aim to be) a professional I would not touch the licence-free channels with a bargepole.
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby Will_m » Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:55 pm

Hi John, I do earn money from it yes but I'm only just starting out in location recording, I've mainly been doing low budget film/documentary stuff but I'd like to branch out and a wireless system seems the way to go.

Am I to understand that there is an 'E' version of the Sennheiser G3 that can use the free channels but the GB version can only use the licensed channels?

The GB version I found on jigsaw says the it works on frequencies between 830MHzHz and 866 mHzkHz so I'm guessing this would work on both channel 38 and 70?

I intend to get a license for when I start getting more work but I'd like to try out wireless on the free channels before I get serious about it.
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby Sheriton » Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:29 pm

Will_m wrote:
The GB version I found on jigsaw says the it works on frequencies between 830MHzHz and 866 mHzkHz so I'm guessing this would work on both channel 38 and 70?

Alas not. Ch.38 is between 606 and 614MHz.
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby Will_m » Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:48 am

Ok so this one is the band E (free channels):

http://www.jigsaw24.com/product-details/g982ara/sennheiser-ew122p-g3-gb-wireless-system-including-me4-clip-on-microphone

And this is the channel 38 one?

http://www.jigsaw24.com/product-details/g687ara/sennheiser-ew112p-g3-gb-portable-wireless-microphone-system-with-me2-mic

I'm confused as on the jigsaw site they state this:

"The Sennheiser EW112-P GB G3 kit ships on the Band E (Channel 38 friendly) frequency, so no need to convert or buy new equipment in 2012. The EW112-P kit is perfect for broadcast and education use, and has been Jigsaw's best selling wireless kit."

This seems to suggest band E ones can be used for channel 38, also they state that "All G3 GB kits are Channel 38 friendly". The first link to the band E 830-866Mhz one is also listed as G3 GB...
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby Sheriton » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:18 am

I think Jigsaw are very confused... The 1st link quotes three different frequency ranges on the spec page! Perhaps John can go round and sort them out
As they contradict themselves in their own descriptions, I think you'd have to rely on their manufacturer codes. Both of those end in GB, which as John has pointed out is ch.38 friendly. Both will of course need a licence as they won't operate on ch.70.
Or you could buy from a supplier who's a little more clued up.
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby John Willett » Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:59 am

Will_m wrote:Hi John, I do earn money from it yes but I'm only just starting out in location recording, I've mainly been doing low budget film/documentary stuff but I'd like to branch out and a wireless system seems the way to go.

Am I to understand that there is an 'E' version of the Sennheiser G3 that can use the free channels but the GB version can only use the licensed channels?

Yes




Will_m wrote:The GB version I found on jigsaw says the it works on frequencies between 830MHzHz and 866 mHzkHz so I'm guessing this would work on both channel 38 and 70?

I intend to get a license for when I start getting more work but I'd like to try out wireless on the free channels before I get serious about it.

Jigsaw has it wrong I'm afraid. Those look like the frequencies for an old G2 version E.

The frequency list for the relevant G3 versions is:-

Range GB = 606 - 648 MHz....(includes frequencies in TV channels 38 to 43)

Range E = 823 - 865 MHz.......(includes frequencies in TV channels 65 to 70)

If you buy a version E for the licence-free channel you will NEVER EVER be able to get a licence to use anything else in that version. Only the tiny 2MKh window between 863MHz and 865MHz is usable and that is licence-free. No other frequencies in version E are legal in the long term. I would say it is a waste of money for you. As the licence-free channels will likely be subject to interference from G4 in a year or so I would not bother with it.

The only sensible option is version GB. OK, you will have to buy a licence, but it's not expensive, less than £2 a week and gives you a ot more safety than using the licence-free channels.
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby John Willett » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:01 am

Sheriton wrote:I think Jigsaw are very confused... The 1st link quotes three different frequency ranges on the spec page! Perhaps John can go round and sort them out

You mean someone from Sennheiser UK should go around and sort them out.
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby Will_m » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:15 pm

Thanks again guys, I thought their must be something amiss with the listings, they must get a lot of returns...

Are there any other wireless systems for around the same budget that can cover booth channel 38 and the free channels? Or just any other wireless that you guys would recommend over the G3 as a starter kit. I'll be using it with a couple of Sennheiser MKE-2's.
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby John Willett » Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:11 pm

Will_m wrote:
Are there any other wireless systems for around the same budget that can cover booth channel 38 and the free channels?

No - nothing at all - the frequencies are just too far apart.



Will_m wrote:
Or just any other wireless that you guys would recommend over the G3 as a starter kit. I'll be using it with a couple of Sennheiser MKE-2's.

No, not really, the G3 has about the widest switching window available - certainly at the price - it's very reliable, with good back-up all over the world.

Yes, you can pay more and get better; though in a range test I saw last year the G3 actually came out the best, to the surprise of everyone as it was about the cheapest.


If you want mains receivers and cheaper, you could try the new Sennheiser XS series which they launched at NAMM last week.

It's roughly half the price of G3 and available in the UK on both version GB and version E (choice).

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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby Will_m » Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:17 pm

Ah thanks John, sounds like the G3 on 38 is that way to go. Thanks again for all the help guys.
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby seablade » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:48 am

John how does that XS compare to the Evolution series (Either G2 or G3) in terms of performance of quality of audio? Kinda curious about it given the price.

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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby John Willett » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:29 pm

seablade wrote:John how does that XS compare to the Evolution series (Either G2 or G3) in terms of performance of quality of audio? Kinda curious about it given the price.

Seablade

I'm sorry, I have no idea.

I have no experience with the XS other than what I have read on-line.

Knowing Sennheiser it will be good value for money and reliable.

The cheapo freePORT series was always good value for money and the new XS is between that and the G3.
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby seablade » Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:56 pm

John Willett wrote:
Knowing Sennheiser it will be good value for money and reliable.

The cheapo freePORT series was always good value for money and the new XS is between that and the G3.

Yea the Freeport series was never quite up to being able to be used by me on what I work on. If the XS series ends up being close to comparable to the G2s for example then I would be looking strongly at them myself for certain projects at that price point.

Sadly like you I have no direct experience with them either, so am keeping my eyes and ears open.

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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby John Willett » Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:35 am

seablade wrote:
John Willett wrote:
Knowing Sennheiser it will be good value for money and reliable.

The cheapo freePORT series was always good value for money and the new XS is between that and the G3.

Yea the Freeport series was never quite up to being able to be used by me on what I work on. If the XS series ends up being close to comparable to the G2s for example then I would be looking strongly at them myself for certain projects at that price point.

Sadly like you I have no direct experience with them either, so am keeping my eyes and ears open.

Seablade

Well, Sehhheiser only launched the XS series a week ago, on the 19th January.

What Sennheiser said in their Press Release was:-

At NAMM in Anaheim, audio specialist Sennheiser is launching its brand new XS Wireless Series. Designed for users who want to go wireless in an easy way, this entry-level series offers complete sets with sturdy units, simple operation and high quality sound. The transmitters have a battery life of up to 10 hours, while a switching bandwidth of up to 24 MHz allows for flexibility in the choice of frequencies. The series is comprised of two vocal sets, an instrument system and presentation sets with clip-on microphone or a headmic.
.
“With the XS Wireless Series, Sennheiser offers reliability and quality sound at an entry-level price,” explained Martin Fischer, Product Manager for Sennheiser’s wireless systems. “It offers good value for money and will benefit small event and conference venues, houses of worship as well as bands, vocalists and musicians.”
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Wireless without a fuss
The designers have focused on ease of use: the systems are operated via intuitive menus, they automatically search for free frequencies, and transmitters are synchronised with their receivers via a wireless link. “We wanted to make sure that users can fully concentrate on their performance, their speech, etc. without having to worry too much about the set-up and technology,” said Martin Fischer.
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XS Wireless includes two systems for vocalists and one instrument set for guitarists. Vocalists can choose between a handheld with a super-cardioid condenser capsule and one that includes a genuine dynamic e 835 capsule. “The XSW 35 system takes the assertive sound of the cardioid e 835 to new user groups,” added Martin Fischer.
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For installed sound applications and presentations, users can choose between systems with a handheld transmitter or a bodypack transmitter with either a head-worn mic or an unobtrusive clip-on microphone. Mute buttons on the handheld and the bodypack ensure that speakers are in control of the transmission.
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Ruggedness and flexibility
To withstand the rigours of daily use, the true-diversity receiver is housed in a sturdy metal case. In the transmitters, one set of batteries will last for up to ten hours – not only good for energetic stage shows, but also for long events and conferences. The systems feature freely
tunable frequencies within a switching bandwidth of 24 MHz (13 MHz for the E frequency range). This allows up to 12 wireless links to be operated simultaneously, ensuring trouble-free operation even at somewhat larger events.
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby seablade » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:32 pm

John Willett wrote:
Well, Sehhheiser only launched the XS series a week ago, on the 19th January.

What Sennheiser said in their Press Release was:-

Yea I have been keeping an eye on it from NAMM obviously, just you seem to have direct experience with more of their stuff than I get sometimes so I figured I would ask;)

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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby Will_m » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:40 pm

Hmmm, I've just been looking at the G3 system and seen it doesn't supply any phantom power, however when I checked out the blurb for the Sennheiser Mke-2 lav mics it says the following:

"It is supplied with a 1/8 inch (3.5mm) Mini (TRS) Output Jack for use with Evolution G2 series wireless systems. It can be powered directly from the SK 100 G2, SK 300 G2 or SK 500 G2 bodypack transmitters. It can also powered directly using Phantom power with the optional MZA 900 P."

Any idea if this is true, or will I need to get separate phantom power for my lav mics?
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby seablade » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:52 pm

Will_m wrote:Hmmm, I've just been looking at the G3 system and seen it doesn't supply any phantom power, however when I checked out the blurb for the Sennheiser Mke-2 lav mics it says the following:

"It is supplied with a 1/8 inch (3.5mm) Mini (TRS) Output Jack for use with Evolution G2 series wireless systems. It can be powered directly from the SK 100 G2, SK 300 G2 or SK 500 G2 bodypack transmitters. It can also powered directly using Phantom power with the optional MZA 900 P."

Any idea if this is true, or will I need to get separate phantom power for my lav mics?

While you can use phantom power for lavalier mics, this only applies to mics that are hardwired to XLR. Lavalier mics on wireless packs tend to depend on bias voltage provided by the pack, which is really not the same as phantom power. For more information see here...

http://www.shure.com/americas/support/technical-library/phantom-power-and-bias-voltage-is-there-a-difference

So short version, phantom power doesn't really apply in this case if you are talking about a lavalier microphone designed to be used with a wireless bodypack.

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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby Will_m » Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:01 am

The MKE-2 Lav I have is terminated with TRS mini-jack, I've never tried it with wireless but using it with my tascam dr-680 recorder results in lots and lots of noise and barely any level (on 48v phantom).

Using the same mics on my little zoom h4n at 24v phantom seems to be fine though. Does anyone know for sure whether I can use the MKE-2's without phantom if they are just plugged into the G3 transmitter?
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby seablade » Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:26 am

Will_m wrote:The MKE-2 Lav I have is terminated with TRS mini-jack, I've never tried it with wireless but using it with my tascam dr-680 recorder results in lots and lots of noise and barely any level (on 48v phantom).


You almost certainly have it wired wrong.


Using the same mics on my little zoom h4n at 24v phantom seems to be fine though. Does anyone know for sure whether I can use the MKE-2's without phantom if they are just plugged into the G3 transmitter?


Yes, as I said before.

Any termination you use has to be matched to the input you are plugging it into. This means that the actual wiring in the termination may be VERY different between two different inputs, for instance your wiring for your 1/8" TRS connector with phantom power is most likely wired wrong, especially if by TRS mini-jack you actually mean the screw on 1/8" TRS connectors intended for the Sennheiser bodypacks, which is very likely as there is not any other standard termination for 1/8" used with those that I am aware of. So in other words, to get the intended performance out of that mic plugged into an XLR with phantom power (Which I assume is where you are plugging into on the DR-680) is going to be very different from the 1/8" connector intended to be plugged into the screw on port on the Sennheiser bodypacks that have Bias voltage instead and I wouldn't expect it to work very well at all no.

Your H4n, if it only provides 24v is MUCH closer to the 5-9v that the MKE is expecting, however as noted in the above, the MKE is expecting Bias voltage, NOT Phantom power, so I would be very surprised if it was performing at anywhere near intended capability. Frankly I wouldn't be surprised if you have damaged the mic by hooking it up to phantom power if it was wired and expecting bias voltage. If it isn't damaged, consider yourself lucky. It isn't a question on whether the mic will work with bias voltage from a pack, it is a question on whether you even have it wired to work right with phantom power from an XLR to begin with, which requires at least a step down transformer inline IIRC(Which by the way is what the MZA-900P provides along with a basic preattenuation).

For the record...

http://www.sennheiserusa.com/media/productDownloads/otherDownloads/mke2wiring.pdf

All the different ways a MKE can be wired to fit the appropriate connector, including connectors on different bodypacks that are identical in appearance, but different in wiring possibly(Haven't actually checked if this is the case on any of them.)

So short version(TL;DR), make sure you know what you are doing, but YES the mic can be used with any input be rewiring the termination. You have to know exactly how the connector should be wired and change the wiring to match the input.

Seablade

EDIT: Corrected a mistake I made not having direct experience with the MZA-900P. It only provides attenuation.
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby John Willett » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:17 am

Will_m wrote:Hmmm, I've just been looking at the G3 system and seen it doesn't supply any phantom power, however when I checked out the blurb for the Sennheiser Mke-2 lav mics it says the following:

"It is supplied with a 1/8 inch (3.5mm) Mini (TRS) Output Jack for use with Evolution G2 series wireless systems. It can be powered directly from the SK 100 G2, SK 300 G2 or SK 500 G2 bodypack transmitters. It can also powered directly using Phantom power with the optional MZA 900 P."

Any idea if this is true, or will I need to get separate phantom power for my lav mics?


Lav mics don't use phantom power at all normally.

They use a low voltage unbalanced plug-in power of about 5V - all pocket transmitters will supply this voltage.

Unfortunately some companies in the USA seem to describe "plug-in power" as "phantom power" - this is WRONG and very confusing to users.

SO - the pocket transmitter will power any normal miniature tie mic (lav in the USA) fitted with a lockable 3.5mm mini-jack.


In the UK lav means something different

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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby John Willett » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:21 am

Will_m wrote:The MKE-2 Lav I have is terminated with TRS mini-jack, I've never tried it with wireless but using it with my tascam dr-680 recorder results in lots and lots of noise and barely any level (on 48v phantom).

Using the same mics on my little zoom h4n at 24v phantom seems to be fine though. Does anyone know for sure whether I can use the MKE-2's without phantom if they are just plugged into the G3 transmitter?

Of course you can use the MKE 2 plugged directly into the G3 pocket transmitter - it's what the MKE 2 with the lockable mini-jack was designed for.

That's why it is *not* working on phantom power when you plug it into the Tascam but *does* work when you plug it into the mini-jack of the Zoom which is not putting out phantom power, but low voltage plug-in power.

I hope you haven't damaged the mic. by trying to feed it 48V when it only requires about 5V.
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby seablade » Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:57 pm

John Willett wrote:
That's why it is *not* working on phantom power when you plug it into the Tascam but *does* work when you plug it into the mini-jack of the Zoom which is not putting out phantom power, but low voltage plug-in power.

Does the H4n provide Bias voltage? I couldn't find out with a quick google so assumed he was applying the 24v phantom to the capsule(Still not good and not sure it would work with the wirings anyways), but that would make much more sense obviously.

By the way, "Lav" in the US is short for Lavalier, which I think applies to both countries equally. Much like Lav in the UK as described by John above is short for lavatory, which also applies in both countries equally(Though is not as commonly used in the US, I think the only place it is used is on airplanes typically).

However a careless sound guy or conference speaker and you do get a lav mic in both sense of the term:)

Seablade

^^^ Has happened before when an actor missed his cue for a rehearsal and I start to bring up the mic and detect immediately what is going on so I have to bring them out and the rehearsal grinds to a halt. It makes for interesting expressions when I tell people where he is and why he isn't on stage as the director et al. are all looking around:)
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Re: Using Sennheiser G3 from the U.S.A in the U.K and free channels.

Postby John Willett » Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:26 pm

seablade wrote:
By the way, "Lav" in the US is short for Lavalier, which I think applies to both countries equally. Much like Lav in the UK as described by John above is short for lavatory, which also applies in both countries equally(Though is not as commonly used in the US, I think the only place it is used is on airplanes typically).

However a careless sound guy or conference speaker and you do get a lav mic in both sense of the term:)



Strictly speaking a Lavalier mic. is one that is hung from a neck cord and was named after the mistress of King Louis XIV of France : Madame Louise de La Valliere.


A Lavalier is a type of pendant necklace. The term refers to a jewelled pendant on chain and was widely used in the first part of the last century. The necklace can be made of fine jewels or costume jewellery – the material is not what counts here it is the form.

Appartently the term comes from the mistress of King Louis XIV of France : Madame Louise de La Valliere who lived between 1664 and 1710. Perhaps she was partial to a wearing this type of necklace or was given particularly fine examples by the king?


In the USA in particular, the term "lavalier" was switched away from the original lavalier microphone that was a heavy dynamic neck-worn microphone and began to be applied to the small tie microphone.

In the UK some use the the term for a tie mic., but the miniature tie mic. is still often called a "tie mic.".


But if we use the term lavalier for a tie mic. what do we call a real lavalier mic.?

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