So this morning Sennheiser revealed they are releasing a G4 to the evolution wireless series. MOST of the actual upgrades affect the rack mount receivers and rack mount transmitters. This includes the addition of tablet apps that manage whole systems and a PA system that rack mounts your receivers into for a small compact PA setup. A DANTE module that convert your analog signals to digital closer to the source “to minimize interference-prone analog wiring.” (Because shielded Star Quad cables are rubbish I guess…)
But they didn’t give a lot of details. So we have to be detectives, stare deep into the pixels, and figure out what is new.
They do list some facts about the new units. The big bumps seem to be for the 300 and 500 series units. This really give sennheiser a much nicer tier system than before. The big different in the G3 series was presets in the banks, higher AF output and dialing in the threshold squelch by dB. Now there is even more of a separation, we can assume if the 100 series got the upgrade that the 300 and 500 also got it. Same goes for the 500 getting the upgrades that the 300 series recieved.
100 Series NEW Features:
- Fast frequency allocation for up to 12 receivers via new linking function
- Up to 20 compatible channels
- Higher Pixel Screen
300 Series New Features:
- Higher RF output power (up to 50 mW, adjustable in three steps – 10/30/50)
500 Series New Features:
- Up to 88 MHz bandwidth, up to 32 channels.
It should be noted for those Sennheiser G3 users that never have used the SKP300 or SKP500 series currently phantom power is supplied using those transmitters. The same holds true for the G4 series. You will need to purchase a G4 SKP300 or SKP500 if you want to run a wireless boom or purchase an external Phantom Power Supply to be used with the G4 SKP100.
Now for the Detective Work:
Senneheiser ME3 lavalier?
UPDATE: The lavalier shown in the press photo is a ME-ii.
That’s not the ME2 we saw packaged with the G3. Does this mean they have upgraded the kit wav that will be included?
The body of the belt pack units seems to be identical. This shouldn’t be a huge shock to anyone who has used the G2 or the G3 units. This makes manufacturing easy for Sennheiser and allows them to keep the price low. Late model G3 units already had the G4 button layout so I parts for also be cross compatible.
Is the circuits inside the unit new? … Maybe. It should be pointed out that Dave Jones, an electronics engineer in Australia, took apart a G3 and discovered that the chip that runs the logic board was actually be underpowered and still had a lot of DSP left.
Does that mean the G4 is just a new screen and firmware that is using the maximum DSP in the current chip?? Maybe. From my own knowledge of taking apart G3 units the Logic PCB used for the 100, 300, and 500 is the same PCB. The only difference is there are parts of the PCB that are unpopulated on the lesser models, like the dual AF output. It could very well be that the logic PCB is the same as the G3 with new firmware but in the 500 series the RF PCB could be a brand new design. It could be a variation of the Sennheiser SK2000 PCB that has firmware that throttles it back from the 100mw output but allows for the wideband capabilities. The reason I suspect this is because that would be the fastest method for bringing the G4 product to the market (a marketplace that has started to question why the G3 still exist) without having to retool a too many machines in their factory.
The most shocking thing about the G4 is what it missing.
- Dual Receiver
- Digital UHF Transmission
- Phantom on the SKP100 transmitter
- Upgraded Compounders
Why are the above things shocking… because it was those 3 things listed that are causing people to look at the Sony UWP systems and the Saramonic UWMic9. I don’t think the G3 user base was all that unhappy with the pixel density of the screen and the speed by which you can scan for frequencies. Already in some of the Facebook groups people are already dismissing the G4 100 units because they aren’t really a big enough jump from the current G3 units. But who knows…
What do you think of the new G4 unit? Comment below.
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