Sony, a company that manufactures world-renowned professional products, has come up with yet another high-end professional product – the 800 MHz wireless microphone system.
The Sony 800 MHz RF system is available in several combinations. There is a six-channel, one rack-space modular receiver (MB-806A modular frame: $940 list; WRU-806A receiver module: $500 list), which can be tuned to any of 94 channels in one group. The tuner has 10 preset groups, allowing simultaneous reception of up to 19 channels without stepping on each other.
Each channel receiver is modular and removable, offering an XLR-type connector output, as well as a single XLR connector, which allows for a mixed signal to be attached directly to an amplifier or mixer. A more affordable tuner is offered in a one-half-rack-space version ($835 list), also tunable to a number of channels and groups.
The Sony rig is an attractive unit in a black frame with gray modules. Each module colorfully displays the different parameters of the system. Displays include channel and group, reception strength/modulation, battery power and carrier frequency detection. The single channel version displays the same information.
One item in this Sony RF rig that I really like is the WRT-808A plug-on microphone transmitter ($799). It is a black rectangular module that is only 4″ long and weighs a mere 6 oz – loaded with two AA batteries. A protruding XLR connector, spring-loaded, locks tightly to the microphone of your choice. Additionally, Sony offers a guitar strap pack (WRT-805A: $475), easily tuned into the same system, but accessed with a 1/4″ TRS connector.
I gathered up all the parts and headed to a show with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra featuring Shirley Jones (yup, that’s right – Mama Partridge). I used the UHF transmitter with several mics, checking the positive locking XLR mechanism in each case. The microphone we used for Jones’ vocals was a Sennheiser 431, which locked down nicely. I also tried a Shure SM58, which fit very well, and then a beyerdynamics M88, which fit rather loosely (more a function of the microphone than the transmitter). After ringing out the monitors, I had inadvertently left open the channel containing the Sony RF rig. Much to my pleasure, there were no pops, RF presences or other annoying noises (usually attributed to VHF rigs). The Sony 800 MHz system was extremely quiet, with no fuzziness after six hours of transmit time – even when the battery indicator showed low at rehearsal.
I plugged the guitar pack into the electric bass and found equal quality to the microphone transmitter. In either case, the units were easily tuned and grouped. One needs a jewelry or glasses repair-type screwdriver to adjust the recessed rotating switches. I needed my magnifying glasses to see the switches, which are quite small.
The Sony 800 MHz rig had unmatched quietness, quality and transparency. If you are searching for the ultimate wireless rig, one that allows you to use whatever microphone you want, look no further.
Contact Sony at 201-358-4109.