UHF radio microphones: rusty junk or trusty workhorse (or both)

Jan 4, 2019
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I am using a mic with an XLR extension cable to record video interviews that delivers reliable and good quality audio to my camera, so what is not to like about it apart from... it's a cable!

For an upcoming project that will involve more interviewing than usual I am exploring wireless audio options with the hope to find a solution that can do the job well enough for my (prosumer) needs but does not cost the earth.

Some time ago I tried a simple Audio Technica Pro88W T/R kit that did not last long as the audio quality was poor and the build quality was worse. Now I am looking at a legacy Sony UHF radio microphone kit that is affordable and also seems to have the possibility to deliver acceptable audio quality for recording interviews if nursed properly and not tortured (for example I do not plan to do any recording in helicopters or call centers)?

But I have searched with not much luck for any detailed review about the advantages or pitfalls of using and/or audio quality of the Sony system that I am looking at that is a Sony URX-P1 and UTX-B1?

Are these or similar legacy Sony UHF wireless microphone kits rusty junk or trusty workhorses?

 
I haven't used wireless mics in nearly a decade. But my experience has been they can all be good or bad. What really matters is how much interference they experience. If there's interference, even an expensive set can suck. If there's no interference, even a cheap set can work well. Note that interference can come from the wireless mic itself in the form of multipath (signal bouncing off a object and reaching your receiver at a slightly different time than the direct path).

The UHF frequencies have more channels, but they also suffer more interference since more devices use those frequencies. The better models will auto-switch frequencies if they sense too much interference, or use diversity antennas (the receiver will have 2+ antennas which act together to "aim" reception at the transmitter) to try to cut through the interference. I'd try searching the manuals for the wireless mics you're considering to see if they offer those features.

I've noticed signal quality also degrades quickly when the battery gets low. So keep plenty of spare batteries handy, or keep them topped off if they're rechargeable.
 
Jan 4, 2019
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To the pessimist the glass is half empty. To the optimist the glass is half full...

Cheers Solandri! Thanks for this useful advice. What you say about glasses seems to be quite similar to your good advice about wireless mics ie either quite useful (half full) or over-rated (half empty) depending on quite a few variables that I can see I need to consider apart from how much they cost, like interference (hadn´t thought too much about that) and battery life (even makes quite a noticable difference on the Zoom H1 I use for non-video interviews):
 
Jan 4, 2019
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How much has UHF wireless microphone radio technology advanced in the last decade or so?

The reason I ask is I can see some older UHF wireless microphone systems with many of the characteristics good modern systems have that are available at very affordable prices, providing one doesn't mind cosmetic wear and carting around a clunky box instead of a streamlined plastic shell that I don't, since though ergonomics is a consideration what matters most is what is inside, right?

The example I have in mind is the Azden 51BT and 500UDR diversity kit that has many (manual) switchable channels, diversity antennas, XLR outputs, though maybe not such a good lavalier? When it came out it was positioned as a professional kit - but that was a long time ago, maybe it was not as good as other better known kits even then, and the audio quality was only good enough for recording punk bands in loud bars rather than interviews?
 
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