TOA is well known for its powered mixers, speakers and other affordable pro audio equipment. The company has now introduced the Password Series, its fifth generation of wireless microphone systems.
Product PointsApplications: Sound reinforcement, corporate audio
Key Features: Handheld unit (WM-4200), a beltpack lavalier unit (WM-4300) and the associated tunable receiver (WT-4800); built-in frequency scanner.
Price: Password-H (handheld) $1,080, Password-L (lavalier) $1,140
Contact: TOA at 800-733-7088 or see Web Site
+ Clean, quiet UHF operation
+ Simple to adjust channel/frequency selections
+ Up to sixteen simultaneous systems
– A bit pricey
The Score: A well-built wireless system that should provide many years of service.
The TOA Password Series is a wireless system featuring a handheld unit (WM-4200), a beltpack lavalier unit (WM-4300) and the associated receiver (WT-4800). Both transmitters (handheld and lavalier beltpack) are dark graphite in color and have a nice, nonreflective finish. The handheld WM-4200 is about 9 inches long on the main body and has a 1 1/2-inch long by 1/4-inch diameter antenna protruding from the bottom. The capsule is a proprietary cardioid dynamic microphone with a very stout metal mesh grille. TOA provides a perfectly located ON/OFF switch for the capsule and transmitter together, just below the edge of the mesh grille. The battery is accessed via a threaded lower body compartment where the gain control, channel and bank (group) rotaries are also located. There are 16 different channels in four different groups, essentially giving you 64 UHF channels between 692 and 722 MHz.
The lavalier mic transmitter (WM-4300) is about 4 inches tall, 2 1/2 inches wide and slightly less than 1 inch deep. It has a conveniently placed recessed ON/OFF switch near the front middle of the beltpack, and like the handheld (WM-4200), the gain, channel and bank selectors are located within the door, except a hinged door in this case. The proprietary cardioid condenser mic connects to the belt pack via a mini four-pin connector at the end of a four-foot cable.
The receiver is a half-space package that is clean and to the point. The front panel of the TOA WT-4800 receiver contains the output level control, a green LCD display (that shows bank, channel and actual frequency), an antenna diversity activity display, the channel/bank selector and the ON/OFF switch. A Menu button accesses the Scanner feature, allowing you to scan each bank for clear channels. The rear panel offers switchable Mic/Line XLR- and TRS-balanced outputs, as well as a TS unbalanced 1/4-inch Mix input for a second receiver or audio source if mixer inputs are in short supply.
The antennae are connected by BNC connectors, one on each side, as well as antenna OUT BNC connectors for looping into the antenna inputs on other WT-4800 receivers.
Supplied with the system that we tested was an AC/DC adaptor, a mini screwdriver (for transmitter channel assignments), a mic stand clip for the handheld, a tie clip and foam windscreen for the lavalier.
I used the TOA wireless system with quite a few artists over a three-month period. One of the artists I used it with was Lou Rawls, who has the perfect satin-smooth voice with which to test a mic. We found the handheld WM-4200 to have excellent vocal clarity, superior frequency response, and nice off-axis rejection of unwanted sounds. The TOA WM-4200 required very little EQ adjustment to attain monitor stability at a fairly loud SPL. I found the handheld possessed a nice warm quality and a very clear and friendly quality in the sibilant range, providing a natural, transparent vocal range.
I also tested the WM-4200 handheld mic with saxophone, flute and acoustic guitar, and found the results to be equally as good.
Let’s face it, working with the “lavalier” sound live can be tricky, but the WM-4300 was fairly easy to EQ. The cardioid capsule provided good rejection of unwanted stray sounds while providing a clear portrayal of voice. I tried the lavalier mic on violin, acoustic guitar, voice, and saxophone, and I must say, I was impressed with the uncolored quality.
I had quite a bit of time to test, torture, experiment, and otherwise play with the TOA WM-4200, WM-4300 and WT-4800 system. I found the RF path to be clean, clear and free of outside hits, clicks, whiffs and pops in areas fairly heavily encumbered with RF traffic. The tuning mechanisms were easy to adjust and the display on the receiver was easy to read. The handheld was comfortable to hold for long periods of time, being solid, but not too heavy, and the non-reflective finish was never slippery.
I would recommend this TOA wireless mic system to anyone in need of good, reliable RF microphones that will not break the bank.
Soundcraft Series Five FOH console; Yorkville TX8 and 9 speaker systems, JBL Eon powered subs; dbx 2231 1/3 octave and Klark-Teknik DN360 1/3 octave graphic equalizers; Channel D Mac the Scope Spectrum Analyzer; Apple Mac G4 Powerbook.