In all of the upgrades to my wireless system in the past years, I have to say incorporating RF Antenna distribution with Sharkfin Antenna’s has been the most beneficial for me in improving wireless strength and range.
RF Distribution with Sharkfin antenna’s gives you the opportunity to focus your wireless signal on a particular area, lowers the noisefloor, and reject interference from other directions. More information on RF distribution can be found here:
With the current options of new RF Antenna distribution for Mobile Bag Mixers I found myself not being able to afford it and putting off the upgrade. However, I would advise this as an upgrade Mixers should be considering earlier than later in their career. In this article I will provide a cost breakdown of the options available for Antenna Distribution for bag mixers and my personal cheap solution that worked for me. I want to promote to up and coming mixers that RF Distribution is a beneficial upgrade and can possibly be affordable.
Lets take a look at the options available for use in a Bag:
PSC RF Multi SMA $826 US
This seems like a great option for Bag mixers out there who will use 8 channels of wireless and have Lectrosonics SR Series or any equivalent Receivers using SMA connectors.
My personal problems with buying it were it is $826 US and I would have to pay to supply all cables and also convert from Lectro 411s BNC to SMA connectors at $24 a connection (for 8 wireless that would be 16 x $24=$384.00 US) because I use Lectro 200-400 series. Also personally 8 wireless seems overkill to me at this time ( i only own 4 receivers.. 8 x $24 = $192.00 US). You will need to supply all of your own cables.. so even if you only need SMA connectors you are still looking at around $30 a cable x 16 =$480.
total cost of full system $826 + $480 +(2 antennas) $550 + 2 more antenna cables $120 = $1976
It is not as cheap as it looks. You will need 2 Splitters to provide true diversity for 2 antennas for only 4 Channels of wireless ($309.09) and then you also need to buy the amplifier to power it so this setup costs $309.09 + $489.95 = $799.85. Additionally you will need to supply all of your own BNC Cables $$. Also the cabling may look messy in a bag.
PSC FPSC0006 Psc Rf Multi Coupler 1×4 Wide Band UHF $200-$400
This is rather affordable. It is an older used item no longer available new. I could not find any for sale at the time i was looking. You will need 2 for 4 channels of Diversity. Additionally you will need to supply all of your own BNC Cables. Some may like the idea that it can be powered by 2 9V or Power supply.
Lectrosonics Six Pack Wideband -$150-$500 US (i paid $400 US for Wideband 470-block 26)
-6 channels of Power and Antenna Distribution for true diversity wireless BNC connections
– do not need extra Bnc cables as cables are supplied
– Power distribution can run on supplied Battery and 12V power or external battery
– included batteries
– will no longer need to buy power cables for 211-411 series receivers as they are built-in to this system
-Having separate Power distribution for wireless provides additional safety from power failure.. For example, in a power failure Sound Devices recorders’ internal batteries will kick-in and continue rolling but if your wireless is on that same power line it will die… so if wireless has a separate power supply.. you can continue rolling in a power failure.
-original chassis + batteries weighs 20lbs (original batteries are heavy = expensive shipping) (i decided to make a custom cable of external power from my lighter HiQ batteries costing $60 CAD) ( I am not using the Tempest batteries it came with)
-not the neatest solution in a bag and although the UDM modules are very light they do take up extra space in a bag and i have found it hard to make it look neat and nice
– will want to take apart of the Six Pack Chassis which is 10-15 minutes of time.
When I found out the Lectrosonics Six Pack’s UDM modules could be used in a Bag, I was excited as I found the most affordable system that worked for me. The things I liked about this option is I gained RF and Power distribution intended for 6 channels of 200-400 Lectro Series Wireless (prior to the SR Series). It provides power input cables for 211 and 411 receivers and uses BNC connectors (not SMAs for SR series). Additionally, it is a product made by Lectrosonics- i know i can trust it- and it is Wideband Block 470-26.
Exclaimer… Lectrosonics Six Pack can be upgraded to Wideband if it is not already and this will only cost a few hundred dollars. I have seen this item sell not as wideband for $150 US.
One reason why the Lectrosonics Six Pack can be found very cheap is because the original alluminum chassis it comes built-in with weighs about 20lbs and most people these days don’t want to add that weight to their cart. Furthermore, it is not a rackmount like their UMCWB Multicouplers. Additionally the batteries it comes with are very heavy and won’t fit in a bag. I actually recommend to someone ordering this item to see if they can ship it without this chassis as they will save lots of money on shipping. I see no need in keeping my Chassis. Its taking up extra space in my closet and I never intend to use it. For myself, I bought a custom 5pin XLR cable made to plug into the power input of my other lighter Remote Audio HiQ batteries.
Next you will want to buy Antenna’s… fortunately they are cheap and will last you your career.
Cost of Antennas:
Lectrosonics SNA 600 Antenna – The most Common antenna for Bag Mixers as its small and easy to mount to a bag $135.95
Lectrosonics ALP500 LPDA Shark Fin Style Antenna for Fixed Indoor Installation $258
Lectrosonics ALP620 Perforated LPDA Shark Fin Style Antenna $326.00
AudioTechnica ATW-A49 – $329.00
RF Venue Diversity Fin Antenna ( 2 antennas in one) $415.00
Very cheap antennas – $30-60 http://www.wa5vjb.com/products1.html
There is one more cheaper option for Antenna Distribution for someone considering this upgrade and not afraid to go DIY and do the cheapest route possible.
See below article for more information: