UHF vs 2.4GHz Wireless Unit?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by Butch Bobcat, Jun 12, 2021.


  1. Butch Bobcat

    Butch Bobcat

    Jul 11, 2018
    Okay, so I'm in the market for a new wireless system for my bass. I just sold my Nady UHF-4 which, in 2010, I loved. It worked great! No latency or dropouts. I used it with both guitar & bass gigs. It is in the 900mHz range. When I finally "found" my current bass tone, I noticed that I don't like the way the Nady colored my tone. It essentially became my backup for the last few years.

    I replaced it with & currently own a Boss WL-50 which is in the 2.4GHz range. I like the clarity & simplicity of it as well as it being pedalboard friendly. However, there are several cons to it. The latency is only 2.3ms which is nice, but the further I get from the unit, the worse the latency gets. At about 25+ feet, it puts me noticeably out of sync from the band.

    Also, since we got our IEM's about a month ago (which are such a big upgrade for the band), that noticeably out-of-sync latency drops to about 15 feet. Our IEM's, as well as the guitarist's wireless unit, are also in the 2.4GHz range. And in today's rehearsal, the BL mentioned to the singer about getting a few pieces of Bluetooth gear which is also in the same frequency. So now, the stage is getting more crowded with new gear floating around in the 2.4GHz frequency space. Added to that, through the IEM's, I can hear & feel the latency more pronounced so a unit with 4+ms is out of the question.

    An extra note.... I run the sound as well & have to go out to the ballroom area to hear what I might need to change during soundcheck & occasionally throughout the show.

    So, here are my questions:

    I know that I can get a stronger system with more range, but might that fix the latency issue or will it still get that same amount of delay when I get out past 15-20 feet?

    What, in your experiences, is better between the UHF frequencies & 2.4GHz?

    With the FCC auctioning off more UHF frequencies & essentially closing out our available space as well as 2.4GHz being so crowded at such a small range of an 83Hz window, people say that we should ideally only have about 6 wireless systems operating in that range. What the hell.....? I know, this one is more of a rhetorical question :)

    Also, have you had any issues with dropouts on stage using 2.4GHz? Either way, how many pieces of gear (wireless systems, Bluetooth & Wi-Fi devices, etc.) do you have on stage taking up that bandwidth?

    I've noticed that there are several popular models that have a frequency response starting at 50+Hz. I play a 5'er & utilize the low notes on the B string. Will that be an issue with those units being under 50Hz?

    Sorry for the drawn out post, but the more I read up on this stuff, the more contradicting info I get & no one is really talking about bass with these systems. It's mostly microphone & sometimes guitar systems. I just wanted some experiences & knowledge from other bassists in a forum that's newer than 4 years old.

    Here are a few of the models that I've put at the top of my list so far for any reference:
    Sennheiser EW-D DI1
    Shure SLXD14
    Shure PGXD14
    Shure GLXD14 & 16
    Line 6 Relay G50 & G55
     
  2. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    I upgraded my old L6 G90 to the Senn D1 a couple of yrs ago.. will be using it at the gig tonight!
    It's auto-sensing 2.4G and never had an issue with range, dropouts or latency. We have 2 other 2.4G units on stage.
    We also have a couple of wireless mics and 3 IEM units.. 5-piece.

    Which IEM system is your band using that is 2.4G?
    2.4G is totally cluttered and I would TOTALLY stay away from it for IEM's. That might be part of the latency issues you say you are experiencing.
    The 3 of us that use wireless IEM used to be all Senn G3, but I recently replaced it with the Mipro MI-909 (64 MHz bandwidth).
    They are all in the 400-500 Mhz range, not 2.4G. No latency that I have ever noticed.. and I've been totally IEM for almost 10 yrs!


    PS: You'll get a lot of folks that use the Shure GLDX system responding here.
    Read the google doc (in my sig) on how to setup band wireless.
     
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  3. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    I wouldn’t consider any units in the 2.4 range professional. They are much cheaper for a reason. They may work, but are much more prone to interference and dropouts.
     
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  4. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    yep. I stay strictly away from anything 2.4 ghz. Still using my old XDR 900 menzies wireless after trying a Line 6. I really only use wireless to sound check and reality check during the night though. As a singer, I'm fairly stationary during a performance.
     
  5. Butch Bobcat

    Butch Bobcat

    Jul 11, 2018
    My BL bought the Xvive U4 for the band. There are 2 transmitters & 4 receivers. I'm on one transmitter by myself & the rest are on the other one together. He wanted to buy only one transmitter, but I told him that I needed my own mix.

    I was looking to buy a Sennheiser G3 or G4, but he got that before I got one. It's decent, but I'm not sold on it. I'll eventually be upgrading from the Xvive, which is a mono only system to a stereo IEM system.

    The 2.4G is a concern for me especially with IEM's because of the overpopulation in that range. I mean, if it starts dropping out, we're kind of screwed.
    What makes the Sennheiser an upgrade from the Line 6 for you?
     
  6. Butch Bobcat

    Butch Bobcat

    Jul 11, 2018
    Yeah, the reliability is a big factor for me. I've seen many differing opinions about 2.4G, but only have personal experience on the 2 systems that I mentioned in my post, one in each realm of frequency & I really like the fact that the 900mHz range is kind of uncluttered so there's theoretically less to worry about.
    In my current cover band, other than the few times that I leave the stage to check the sound, I'm generally in my purple circle on the stage. In other bands though, I have been known to jump on & walk across bars & pool tables among other things so I need something that I can rely on that won't color my tones.
     
  7. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    The various articles I have read suggest the range of perception for delay is about 15mS. The latency through your signal path is cumulative. So if you have a digital wireless for the bass, a digital mixing console, and also a digital wireless for your IEMs, the latency of each devices adds.

    The next part of the puzzle is sound travel 1' in about 1.13mS. To make the conversion, easy audio techs oftenasd\ use 1' = 1mS when they are estimating delay for a system. The relevant point is when you are 15' from your amp, your on the edge of perception for the propagation delay, even if there is 0 latency. So any latency in the signal path will get you into the range of perception with less distance between you and the amp.
     
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  8. Butch Bobcat

    Butch Bobcat

    Jul 11, 2018
    Yeah, that all definitely makes sense & I do like the aspect of rounding it to 1mS to make the math easier especially when I have to factor in all the variables of multiple digital devices bouncing the sound back & fourth.

    One thing that I didn't mention in my post is that when we're doing the soundcheck, I'm hearing that delay through the mains. My wireless receiver is on my pedalboard at the front of the stage.

    The more I read about the stuff, it seems like I'd be better off with a UHF system, just to, at the least, keep as much space open for the IEM's which are 2.4G.
     
    Wasnex likes this.
  9. Wasnex

    Wasnex

    Dec 25, 2011
    FYI, Some audio techs delay the mains back to the back line.

    The latency has nothing to do with the frequency band the device operates in. This is a digital VS analog issue.

    Regarding UHF: Especially if you buy used, make sure devices operate in a legal part of the spectrum. Operation of Wireless Microphones | Federal Communications Commission (fcc.gov)
     
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  10. My mindful of what the law states. A lot of the UHF bandwidth is now restricted over here in Oz, so many of the old wireless UHF units aren't worth anything as they use frequencies that are reserved for emergency/govt. services. Elsewhere in the world will no doubt be different.
     
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  11. bass.slinger

    bass.slinger

    Aug 15, 2015
    Santa Fe, NM
    The Mipro that much better than Sennheiser G4’s? I have a single G3 system that I am looking to add on / upgrade for individual units for each band member.
     
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  12. KohanMike

    KohanMike Gold Supporting Member

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  13. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    Given the price differential ($350+)…YES!
    I used the Mipro on a gig last night for the first time (instead of my old G3 which I sold).
    I did a lot of research on the Mipro vs G4 and the upgrade from a G3 -> G4 just didn't warrant the expense. When factoring in all the features, ROI, cost-benefit, etc. I went with the Mipro. Bought it here: http://ineargear.com/mipro-mi909-2/ Mike was great.

    I had no dropouts, interference or artifacts the entire night.
    FWIW - they run in different frequency bands so that may have been the reason.
    Regardless, strong, clear audio the entire night.

    FWIW - an IEM system in the 2.4G range is something I would avoid like the plague. Most pro-grade stuff runs in the 400-600Mhz band, 900 MHz or the international 5.8Ghz band. It’s a problem waiting to happen IMHO.
    If you do go the G3/G4 route for IEM’s, make sure you get the model that has the most open frequencies for your zip code. There’s links in the doc in my sig.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
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  14. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    The upgrade was necessary because the G90 is single chan only.. meaning one picks the channel to use. That becomes problematic with 2 other units on the stage, and it was 7 yrs old and starting to have issues.. The Senn is auto-sensing - so it switches to the best available channel as needed. I power it up and play. No channel switching, no need to scan for the best "open" channel in the venue. Been using it about 2 yrs without any issues!

    NOTE: My gear is all rack-mounted (from the days when I played 90+ gigs a year and worked full time) so a pedalboard style unit like the GLXD16 was not on my radar.
    YMMV
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
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  15. bass.slinger

    bass.slinger

    Aug 15, 2015
    Santa Fe, NM
    Does the Mipro have a limiter like the G3/G4? Can’t seem to find that info on the Mipro website.
     
  16. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    No, it does not. That was a concern of mine, but in retrospect,I’ve never had the G3 limiter kick in (in the 5yrs and 100’s of gigs I used it) not even in late 2019 when the drunk singer of a band I subbed with dropped his wireless mic. it remains to be seen if I need one…
     
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  17. Butch Bobcat

    Butch Bobcat

    Jul 11, 2018
    So I'm most likely going to pick up the EW-D CI1. That being the case, one of you're tags implies that you have an Ibanez BTB. I also have a BTB with Aguilar pups & an active preamp.

    Does your Senn EW color the tone compared to using a cable. I understand that the longer the cable, the more high end roll-off there is. Other than that aspect, is there a noticeable difference in tone between plugging straight in to your amp & using the EW? I've read that a lot of wireless systems can't handle active pups. I'd imagine that this one shouldn't have an issue, but....
     
  18. s0c9

    s0c9 Supporting Member

    Jan 9, 2014
    Ft.Worth/Dallas
    1964 Audio artist, Fractal Audio Beta Tester
    Not that I have noticed. I always have a spare cable sitting on top of the rig - just in case batteries die - and have had to use it occasionally. I have the BTB but mostly play my Fender Jazz Elite these days. Both have active pups and I tend to use switching from passive/active settings for tone variations.
     
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  19. Barisaxman

    Barisaxman Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2005
    Omaha, NE
    Like s0c9, I used a G90 for a lot of years, but as the 2.4ghz spectrum got busier I lost both range and stability, so I moved on last year. I'm using a Shure SLX-D system now which is rock solid, and I've used Sennheiser G3 in-ears for a long time with zero issues, so I'm fully in the UHF (legal freq.) realm. My two guitar players both have 2.4ghz units, which work ok for them because they rarely leave stage like I do on shows where I mix as well as play. It also probably helps that I'm no longer trying to find an open 2.4 ghz channel in the same space as them. The investment is worth it 1000%, IMO.
     
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  20. Butch Bobcat

    Butch Bobcat

    Jul 11, 2018
    Good to hear!

    Havin the multiple tone options is vital. That's why I like the BTB. It seems to have a lot of versatility for me & doesn't get thin on the low B string like other basses I've played.
     
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