Sennheiser say that the AVX-Combo is the perfect digital wireless microphone set for film projects. It may also be just that and more for mojo work.
The system (which uses AES 256-bit encryption at an audio resolution of 24-bit, 48kHz) includes a receiver, handheld microphone, body-pack transmitter with omni-directional lavaliere microphone (we upgraded to the MKE2) and the connectors required to operate with camcorders, DSLRs and smartphones. You’ll need a TRS to TRRS adapter for iPhone use.
At the heart of this system is a bite sized receiver (EKP AVX -4) with adjustable AF output (in 10dB steps for 0, -10, -20 & -30 dBu). It channel hops to tune into the best available frequency. pairs between receiver, body pack or hand held, at the press of a button in what seems like seconds. It can activate phantom power when plugged directly into an XLR socket. Finally, no more mic sensitivity adjustments, this receiver does it for you.
The receiver fits neatly onto the iPhone (via a cradle hot shoe mount), or clips onto your belt, shirt or trousers using the supplied belt clip. But you’ll probably need a cable extension (not supplied) if you are clipping it onto your person. The receiver also ships with an XLR to minijack cable. What’s neat is that even when plugged in via the XLR connector, the receiver will pivot 360 degrees to make way for a second system to give true multi track wireless on video cameras with two track recording.
The handheld microphone (SKM AVX-835) is big enough to be seen and small enough not to be off putting, like some sledge hammer sized hand held microphones. The transmitter is built into the handle and only pokes out about 4 cm – it is tiny.
The body pack (SK AVX-4) is about the same size as the G3 which means its one of the smallest on the market. Mojo work requires a reasonably bright microphone, but not that bright that you will need to run the audio through EQ before or after edit. Mojo work often doesn’t allow for time for that. The MKE2 is a bright sounding microphone, but not too bright, which means it’s a great location microphone for mojo type video and audio work, that’s edited in its raw form on the smart device and published from location.
The system uses rechargeable lithium batteries. Sennheiser says a fully charged receiver will run for 10 hrs and the body pack transmitter for 5 hrs. The relatively small size of the system means that you can carry the complete combo which includes connectors, pop filter and dead cat, in one small neoprene bag, or the two padded pencil case bags that ship with the kit. The complete combo using the MKE2 is around US$1600. The AVX is also sold as a receiver plus hand held microphone (US$899), or body-pack plus MKE2 lavaliere combination (US$1050).
The video below was recorded on an iPhone using the AVX MKE2 and body pack. The room is very LIVE with air conditioning noise and wooden floors. The G3 compared with the UWP-D11 got a little crackly around corners over 100 meters from the receiver. We have done a preliminary straight line distance test to about 30 meters and the receiver works just fine.
Here’s a video that explores the distance capabilities of the AVX receiver and the body pack with MKE 2 microphone. I walked about 25 meters across (maybe a little more), through two doors, 8 meters down two flights of stairs, through a stair well, a hallway and then out the front door before we heard crackle.
Overall: the first look has shown that it does pair easily. I haven’t played with the hand held microphone yet, but I’m sure journalists will. The MKE2 mic has just about the right presence for me and the receiver is almost perfectly balanced on the hot shoe when the XLR to mini jack cable is attached. I love that the receiver will lie flat on the iPhone cradle so that it is not sticking up perpendicular and in the way.
Check out the videos and look out for journo comments on this post/site.
Rune, from NRK in Fredrikstad, was one of the first journalists on the mojo course to use the AVX. His first comment was ‘Awesome – it just works’. Ease of operation is why I already like the AVX system for mojo workshops and for any teaching environment where multiple people will use it. Rune found the pairing a breeze. Not everyone will use the hand held and the receiver, some jobs will require the body pack. So Sennheiser made the pairing between receiver and the two transmitters very simple and quick. This is so important when you are working with multiple hands in a large class and/or in a fast turn around mojo environment.
Kristiansand – the AVX combo testing continues, this time the receiver with the MKE 2 mic and body pack.
Jim, a video journalist from FVN uses the Sennheiser AVX system on the Smartmojo course to cover police searching for a diver missing on the waters near Kristiansand in Norway. The wind is blowing fiercely yet the audio (MKE 2 microphone hooked up to the AVX receiver on the iPhone does the wireless job with no wind noise) Jim says, “I was suprised how good the sound quality was. Even though it was placed on the person I was filming you could easily hear the people he was talking to. And I really liked the lightweight reciever. Perfect when you work with iPhone when you want things to be lightweight.”
A journalist from Natavisen said the following after using the AVX. “This was my debut as a mojo and I found it useful to have the AVX it worked really well outside. I stood outside in the middle of a traffic jam and still the sound was amazing”.