Jensen Music Industries, manufacturer of raw drivers for auto, hi-fi and musical instrument applications, has been absorbed by the Recoton Corp., well-known for consumer car audio and wireless speaker systems. Recoton became interested in aiming its wireless transducer technology expertise toward the microphone market, and introduced the JW201H True Diversity System -"Trudy" for short.
Product PointsApplications: Sound reinforcement
Key Features: Diversity system; field replaceable receiver module
Price: $389 retail; $250 street
Contact: Jensen Music Industries at 818-374-5857.
+ Diversity system works well
+ Good sonics
- Unbalanced output
The Score: Made for light-duty sound reinforcement where good performance on a budget is required.
The Trudy 200 system is Jensen's mid-priced system - $389 retail; less than $250 street. It has frequencies available in the VHF 160 to 245 MHz range; the model I tested transmitted at 179.3 MHz. It arrived packaged in a polyester fabric travel case and included a sturdy, spring-style mounting clip, cord, two BNC-connected retractable antennas, WT-201 mic and JW201H receiver, with wallwart power supply. A shelf-style rackmount kit is available, but a generic shelf from Raxxess, Middle Atlantic or other such company would work as well.
The receiver is housed in a matte black steel chassis with an anodized aluminum faceplate. From right to left, there's a push-button power on/off switch with red indicator LED, detented gain control, squelch adjustment control, diversity Channel A and B LED indicators and a large ladder LED RF reception display. At the rear of the unit are antenna A and B BNC inputs, fuse receptacle, DC power input, level switch and 1/4" audio output jack.
The WT-201 microphone has a cardioid dynamic capsule within a durable foam-filled steel mesh windscreen. The lightweight handle finish has a nice tactile feel to it, a three-position switch (off/standby/on) and LED battery indicator. A 1.5 V AA battery (alkaline recommended) powers the mic. The systems battery circuit keeps the draw on the battery constant, no matter how loud the vocalist sings into the mic. A single AA battery provides eight hours of power no matter how loud one sings.
At the outset, before activating the system, I perused the two manuals (one for the mic, one for the receiver) for any specs and operational aspects I should know about. The manuals were printed in five languages, including broken English. I was also disturbed that there was no mention of Jensen, Recoton or any manufacturer to be found anywhere within the manuals. Nothing but a copy of an FCC grant of equipment authorization to Sekaku Electronics in Taichung, Taiwan, dated October 1991.
In case of problems, a source of tech support would be nice. The manual says "if unit fails · contact us for a return authorization prior to shipment." My question is; to whom, where? No guarantee here, either (hold onto your receipt!). (According to Jensen, the manuals have been updated since the reviewer received his copies and are much easier to read. A warranty card is also include, specifying Jensen as the party responsible for repairs, returns or other problems. The card includes all contact information.-Ed.)
Further investigation of the manual did reveal an interesting feature of the unit, which almost went completely overlooked. Under a section called "Character" the manual says: "It is very easy to change frequency module or replacement module from front panel. It is very convenient for user." There were, however, no further details on this procedure anywhere.
Remembering back to the days when I installed a few TOA wireless systems, I unsnapped the raised faceplate section on the unit, revealing an edge-card connected removable frequency module. This unit can obviously be field-replaced - a valuable asset. If I were Jensen Music Industries, I would advertise this useful feature.
In use at a local sports bar, the unit worked well for karaoke night. Although the signal source was almost unbearable at times, when the few people who knew how to sing were on, the microphone had a nice neutral sonic quality, decent rejection of off-axis program and tolerable handling noise.
The diversity section switched noiselessly and smoothly without interruption. High SPLs seemed to send the system into immediate clipping, however. This factor, along with the handling noise, would keep me from using the system with an Espresso-lunged frenetic rock singer. The receiver's signal output being high impedance (10 kohms) unbalanced -6 dBV does not endear it to most professional applications.
Jensen Music Industries makes a good start with its Trudy JW201H System. The product performs well in the right situations and the price brings it in well below competing systems with similar features.