Digital wireless systems are all the rage these days, but good old UHF still has some unique advantages.
Many radio systems are now digital, some working on the licence-free 2.4GHz (WiFi) band, including systems made by Audio‑Technica themselves. However, there are some benefits in using UHF systems, the most often cited being the lack of latency — which is particularly important when in-ear monitoring is being used. Licensed systems also mean less likelihood of conflicting frequencies in the area. As a general rule, digital systems have the edge over analogue on audio quality, but while an analogue system will warn when you are moving out of range by becoming noisy, digital systems either work or they don't.
Audio-Technica are among the manufacturers who still see new UHF systems as worthwhile, and for this review I was sent the ATW-3212-510 system, which comprises an ATW-T3202 handheld radio transmitter (fitted with ATW-C510 moving‑coil capsule) and the ATW-R3010 receiver. A compatible ATW-T3201 belt‑pack transmitter was also supplied for us to look at. Supporting four frequency bands spanning 470.125 to 699.875 MHz, there's a 60MHz UHF tuning bandwidth available in each band (minimum 25kHz steps) to allow the user to avoid parts of the spectrum where other radio systems are operating. There are two preset scan groups and two user groups, each of which can be set with up to 32 frequencies. A frequency scan mode and IR (infra-red) sync functionality for pairing the receiver with an ATW-T3201 or ATW-T3202 transmitter make setup straightforward. The IR windows of both devices need to be pointed at each other for the process to complete when sync'ing; once the receiver is set, the sync...
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