Outside of the Sennheiser G2/3 series most filmmakers have never worked with any of Sennheiser’s other wireless systems. That is why when a Sennheiser SK2000 fell into my lap I thought to myself… take it apart, snap photos, run a work bench test on the unit!
The Sennheiser SK2000 has an odd place in the Sennheiser catalog. If you are a filmmaker Sennheiser tells you to buy the G3 kit… if you shoot network news they tell you you need to buy the Sennheiser 6042. Two very different pricepoints!!!!
Then Sennheiser has the 3000/5000 series. They are nice and small and even can talk to the 6042 but also have their own reciever, the 3241 (they won’t talk to the Evolution lineup from Sennheiser.) But the 3241 is a lot of money to spend on a single channel reciever! This now brings us to the 2000 series… it’s priced double that of the G3s and half that of the 3000 series and yet… it’s still lost in the lineup.
On paper is it everything you want:
- All Metal Body
- 10mw, 30mw, 50mw, (US Only 100mw, in the RF Power menu go to High and press/hold the up key for 4-5 seconds to engage Maximum 100mw mode)
- $800 new / under $400 used
- Easy Graphical Menu (Almost identical to the G3)… in fact it uses the same control PCB as the G3 but with different firmware. The G3 and SK2000 use the same control chip but the G3 doesn’t use all the DPS. The RF PCB is different though and plugging in a SK2000 RF board won’t upgrade your G3.
- Button locks
- IR Sync
- Works with EW100/300/500 G3, G2/G3 IEM, Tourguide EW300, and EK2000(IEM) reciever as while as the 3041/6042 units. Also with Lectrosonics’ SRc inin E-Mode
And yet… it’s hard to suggest to people they should buy them… why?
- It’s still a G3 build quality but with a metal battery door instead of plastic.
- No metal door with battery eliminators features.
- The DAMN 3pin Lemo: if you are a G3 user and you want to sell just your TX and upgrade to a more powerful transmitter you also have to factor in the cost of reterminating all your Lavs. Why cant it just be a locking 3.5mm port like the rest of the Evolution wireless systems have been for 20yrs. Why would Sennheiser make a universe of compatible wireless and change one of the most important things on a body pack!
- As a talent wire, it’s heavier and bigger then Wisycom /Zaxcom /Lectrosonics on the market
And yet… Why should you still buy one?
- Comteks sound terrible in comparison to the Sennheiser Compander. Sennheiser IEM systems sound as good are a R1a.
- For $200 more you can buy a used one to feed your camera hops and boom o.o with a better signal then a basic G3. They ussually are only $400 used on eBay.
- Once modded (email me) you can attach the Lectrosonics SNA600a dipole and really make these units work amazing for you.
- The 3pin Lemo isn’t so bad if you only have to buy 1 and you make it terminate to something universal like a female CPR connector.
The reason I had this SK2000 in my hands this week is someone left it with me to test their G3s after I had modded their antennas to have SMA ports. While range testing each G3 I decided to check it’s range against my newly purchased UCR201/um200c kit (which sells used for about the same price as a used SK2000/EK100 kit.. give or take $200USD.) The results were about as you’d expect, they matched fairly well foot for foot. The ucr201 is often thought of as a camera hop reciever so I figured this was a decent pairing for an A/B test. And feature wise it’s easy to say the SK2000/G3 EK100 pairing is easier and smaller to work with.
In the end, if you have some G2/G3 bumming around your audio closet, get them modded and purchase one SK2000 to give your cameras and boom op a stronger signal… If your looking at the SK2000 as a step up from G3s before making the plunge into the LectroVerse (that’s what we are calling it now) sell your G3 units and buy some Lectrosonic 100 or 200 series units instead. They are flooding they used market online (some people are buying Block 21 100 series TX/RX for $300) and will be a better purchase in the long run. Bumping over to LEMO Land just acts a detour to the real fun!
Andrew Jones is a location sound mixer based in Los Angeles. He started in the TV and Film industry in 2004. You can email him at Andrew@HoldForSound.com