Sennheiser ew 500-935 G3 mic kit
Sennheiser’s evolution series is a professional grade, yet affordably priced, line of live microphones.
Adding to this impressive line,
Sennheiser now offers a complete wireless handheld microphone series, the evolution G3, reviewed here as the ew 500-935 G3 featuring the evolution e 935 dynamic cardioid capsule, SKM 500 handheld transmitter, and EM 500 G3 rack-mount receiver. The G3 kit is also available with the e 945 supercardioid capsule, or the flagship e 965 large-diaphragm condenser capsule (a true, non-electret condenser) All evolution series mics are manufactured in Sennheiser’s German factory.
The Sennheiser ew 500-935 G3 is a true diversity, UHF wireless microphone system incorporating a number of great tools generally found on pricier systems. Most importantly, this new Sennheiser mic is available in six different frequency ranges, depending on your nation of use. Each range in the G3 500 series offers 20+4 frequency banks containing up to 32 different channels per bank.Each range has a total of 1680 tunable frequencies.
The ew 500-935 G3 employs two AA batteries for either the handheld or optional lavalier bodypack; each have an on-board display showing available battery power (as does the receiver, too). Rechargable contacts are standard on both the handheld and bodypack transmitters for use with the optional BA2015G2 rechargeable battery pack in lieu of standard AA batteries.
The SKM 500 transmitter is very solid; although it comes here with the e 935, it allows for interchanging of different capsules. The handheld is Sennheiser’s recognizable Evolution slate grey color, complemented with an orange LCD display window offering all the pertinent information — Range, Bank, Frequency, transmit strength, battery strength, a flashing red low batt graphic, and mute statuses. Frequency changes are accessed at the base of the mic, under a protective collar; when the collar is rotated, it locks out the ability to fidget with controls.
The EM 500 G3 receiver unit is equally stout with similar color schemes and displays. It provides a headphone TRS jack on the front panel alongside a headphone volume rotary knob, another menu display window, the menu toggle control, a menu escape button, and a Sync button. Sync allows you to pair the microphone to the receiver with the push of a button. On the rear of the receiver is the jack combo for output, containing an XLR and TRS jack, along with a wall-wart adapter jack, dual antenna BNC jacks, and an Ethernet jack for use with the free Sennheiser WSM system control software.WSM software unlocks features such as a graphical spectrum analyzer as well as provides easy computer control over complex system from your Mac or PC.
At Atlantis Audio, our first test of any new piece of equipment is in the shop. For this particular kit, we plugged the receiver into a Yamaha MG Series mixer’s XLR input. Input gain was adjusted via PFL. It was not necessary to fidget with screw drivers to alter output levels, as it is done via a menu setting named AF OUT in the receiver. You can scroll the menus easily by using the jog wheel which also confirms settings when pressed down in the middle position.
The first real street test came when we did audio, lighting and stage for the Phoenix Symphony’s New Year’s Eve 2009 Gala. Held in a huge Westin hotel ballroom, the event was in a part of Phoenix that is veritable RF hell, being in close proximity to a rather busy airport and a host of other resorts. We employed the ew 500-935 G3 kit for the lead vocals for the entire evening, which would end up being the medium for a variety of different voices.
In no time, we had to do a channel change as we were bombarded with hits from something on the same frequency. The frequency adjustment took literally 10 seconds on both the receiver and transmitter, thanks to the quick action of the Sync system. [Ed. note. Along with it’s 42mHz switching bandwidth, one of the most notable features of the EWG3 system is the ability to do an automatic frequency scan to ascertain available frequencies. Best practice would be to perform such a scan in any new location, which would have avoided the spectrum conflicts cited here.] The remainder of set up, the following day of rehearsals, and the show itself went absolutely flawless with no hits, noises, or issues. The RF path was clear as glass with only slight coloring from the e935 capsule; it has a slight 125 to 160 Hz bump, but is very even across the rest of the audio spectrum. Throughout the show, the kit handled at least five different voice ranges, and did so with great accuracy with lonely and very minor EQ changes on our Midas Legend console.
The e935’s cardioid pattern was very friendly with wedge monitors. We attained levels of 108dB on stage at rehearsal. The mic was exceedingly well-behaved with our Yorkville TX2 monitors. We made only minor adjustment to the graphic EQ, with notches at only five points on the curve.
We subjected the ew 500-935 G3 rig to many tests, ultimately finding the experience with wedge monitors to be very pleasant with very few EQ issues. The capsule has a nice low-end warmth that sounded equally smooth with both male and female voices. Handling noise was very quiet with no pops or breathiness with regard to the screen on the capsule.
Overall, the ew 500-935 G3 is a professional-quality handheld wireless that I would use with any talent. Thus, I give this product my full recommendation.
Will James, chief owner of Atlantis Audio and Lighting, is a longstanding PAR contributor.atlantisaudio.com