Review: Audio-Technica System 10 PRO 2.4 GHz Wireless System

Strother Bullins. A-T’s latest 2.4 GHz wireless rig is a boon for budget-conscious audio pros and DIY live sound folks.
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Budget-conscious audio pros, venues and discriminating DIY musicians can benefit greatly from the 2.4 GHz technology now available in many wireless systems: it’s the most user-friendly range of wireless transducer technology (probably ever), is irresistibly affordable and it sounds great. The 24-bit/48 kHz ATW-1312 package from A-T ($1,089 list)—a dual channel bodypack/handheld system— is an ideal example of 2.4 GHz’s modern appeal.

A System 10 PRO rig is comprised of a half-rack chassis with two receiver unit slots. Via Ethernet, each rig’s receivers can also be mounted remotely, up to 300 feet away from the chassis—a considerable savings in applications where normally an antenna distributor would be employed. Five System 10 PRO chassis can be linked via RJ12 cabling for a total of 10 channels per system.

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System 10 PRO features include the LCD Dual System Display with RF signal level, system ID, transmitter battery level and system link status for both channels. Its Frequency Diversity feature utilizes dual auto-selected frequencies per channel; Time Diversity uses multiple time slots per channel to avoid multipath interference; and Space Diversity is accomplished via two antennas per transmitter and receiver. Each System 10 PRO Rack-Mount system includes an ATW-RC13 receiver chassis, one or two ATW-RU13 receiver units, one or two AT8690 receiver-unit mounting brackets, one RJ12 cable, two rack mounting brackets, one joining plate, one AC adaptor, and one or two ATW-T1001 UniPak bodypack and/or ATW-T1002 handheld transmitters. Our ATW-1312 review unit featured two receivers, one bodypack and one handheld.

The ATW-1312 system is incredibly easy to use. Handheld-wise, the ATW-T1002 is a solid, good-sounding microphone with a multifunction, A-T logoed “press/hold” style button on its end for intuitive channel selection, on/off and mute switching. Its mid-body positioned LED window offers a bright blue number indicating channel plus green and red lights for “on” and “mute” indicators, respectively.

In a variety of venues and applications— metropolitan club/venue, house-of-worship, outdoor and residential/rehearsal—the System 10 PRO performed well, whether via handheld or bodypack. Vocalists specifically commented on the clear, open sound of the ATW-T1002 handheld and appreciated its simple design, feel and overall build quality, the latter proven by one or two impromptu concrete floor drops.

When pushing the far limits of its range (with both receivers in the chassis), the System 10 PRO never “broke up;” rather signal level temporarily sagged in just a few spots; this only happened in arguably unrealistic performance scenarios: walking outside of a rock-walled HOW and into an adjacent concrete building, for example. Considering that the system’s dual ATW-RU13 can be remote-mounted up to 600 feet away from each other (with the chassis in the middle), the System 10 PRO provides more than ample available range to work with for most every application.

I’ve been sold on the licensefree/2.4 GHz wireless concept since my review of Line 6’s early wireless systems years ago. Today, these systems are proven and just keep getting better and better. A-T’s System 10 PRO is a solid, flexible and scalable wireless investment that I will enthusiastically recommend.

Audio-Technica
www.audio-technica.com

Strother Bullins is NewBay Media’s Reviews Editor, AV/Pro Audio Group, active musician, recordist and clublevel sound reinforcement wrangler. sbullins@nbmedia.com