Sunday, July 21, 2013

Audio Technica PRO88W-830-24 battery powered wireless transmitter and receiver in-depth review

Audio Technica PRO88W-830-24 Pro 88W Wireless Microphone
So you are thinking about wireless audio options for Canon DSLR

Reasons that I thought about buying…
So if you have watched my review on Zoom H4N, you know that using a separate Audio recorder is probably the way to go for capturing high quality audio.  The next problem that I ran into is being able to record audio from a distance without running a wire and carrying around a microphone. The main things that I needed were the ability to run on batteries and keep the weight down as low as possible.  I looked at the options with Sennheiser and some of other lower cost options.  As you can tell from my other reviews.  I tend to try and save as much money as I can.  I want the quality and features but at the lowest cost. Even though I read several reviews on this product, I thought that for my needs, it would work out.

Here is what I actually use it for.....
I found that for interview and training types of videos, I use this as the main input for mic'ing and ultimately sending the audio into my Zoom H4N.  If I want the flexibility of moving around, without moving a mic, I use this a lot. I will typically mount the zoom on top of the hot shoe on top of the camera and then mount the receiver to the bottom of the Zoom.  This doesn't cover all things and the one area that I am lacking is news interview style where I use a lav mic for myself and a handheld for people I want to interview.  Because of this, I haven't done any of this style of interviewing.  Just as well because it really requires multiple people for a camera man and talent.  I did my research to compare multiple systems and although the Audio-Technica is not the best, the distance that I typically shoot works alright.

Here are the things I didn't expect or didn't like...
I didn't expect the audio quality to be great, but I didn't expect the level of noise that is introduced because of the radio signal.  I also didn't expect the level of radio interference that can happen at really short distances.  Computer equipment, some lights, cell phones, all of these things can disrupt the signal.  And not having the option to change the signal beyond an A/B switch is not enough to get to the best possible clear signal.  I have found that when I shoot around lots of computer equipment, cell phones, walls, and other interference, I have to test and move the position of the receiver a lot.  This is not a fun process.  I typically have to be within a few feet in order to keep the signal from being static ee.  In open air though, across 30 feet, it does pretty well.  

Here are the super cool things that I love about it...
I love not being tethered to the camera, once I find the right (non-interference spot), turning on all the signal chain and the camera and then knowing that it will work.  I haven't had any problems with cables, or even the mic, although I haven't ever stretched to any heat or cold limitations.  The batteries last quite a while, several hours, without worry. Just don't forget to turn it off.  For the price, it was a good purchase.  For the amount of headache of checking for interference, and doing takes that end up screwed up because of signal interference, I can't really recommend this product.  If you want rock solid and flexibility, it looks like spending the extra money is well worth it.  I will be upgrading to a the Sennheiser system for the future.
Common settings that I use...
Only has an A/B switch for channels
Levels can be adjusted but I never have from out of the box.

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