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Review: Sennheiser AVX Handheld Mic Set

At $899 street, this innovative AVX kit is probably the most flexible digital wireless system I’ve ever used.

Marketed as a license-free 1.9 GHz-band handheld digital wireless kit for indoor or outdoor HD video sound, Sennheiser’s AVX-835 package is a very useful tool in a far wider range of applications. In my experience, it excels as a simple and super compact wireless vocal mic for anything between small house-of-worship (HOW) and/or institutional-style applications and even some portable PA-based use—anywhere a great-sounding wireless handheld transducer and accompanying tiny receiver hardware is desirable (and a latency of 19 milliseconds won’t really matter). This entire road-ready kit fits inside its compact padded Sennheiser wireless mic zipper pouch, making even the smallest half-rack wireless system hardware seem like luggage by comparison. Best of all, both the transmitter (AVX SKM) and receiver (AVX EKP) hold Lithium-ion batteries, rechargeable via mini USB (B-type) connection (with charger unit included), making this a truly modern on-the-go handheld wireless system.

Operational features of the AVX-835 includes inaudible shifting to license-free frequencies upon the detection of interference, adaptive transmitting power, automatic transmitter sensitivity correction and transmitter battery life display. Specifications include 24-bit/48 kHz operation, 20 Hz-20 kHz frequency response, > 90 dB(A) signal-to-noise ratio, and > 120 dB(A) dynamic range. The package comes with the aforementioned handheld transmitter, receiver and mic pouch plus mic clip, USB cable, USB-to-AC adapter and XLR to eighth-inch TRS connector.

For camera use, the receiver is plugged directly into an XLR-3 input. If a camera provides phantom power, the receiver is automatically activated together with the camera. When using via mixer, portable powered PA enclosures, etc., the AVX receiver is plugged direct into its desired XLR input; during this review period, the AVX-835 excelled in use with Sunburst Gear’s M3BR8 powered speaker—an example of a most portable wireless mic/portable PA solution.

For non-video applications, the AVX-835 is most useful in spoken-word, public address scenarios—for one example, at a school gymnasium-based fundraiser with the AVX as the sole transducer input for a Mackie Reach portable PA. The kit’s e835 cardioid capsule always sounds superb; it is super easy to pair the transmitter and receiver, simply with the touch of a button; and battery life/signal strength are usefully referenced on the handheld transmitter’s LCD display. Usefully, the receiver’s Lithium-ion battery USB port is positioned so it can be charged while in use; that saved me on another occasion while using the AVX-835 when undercharged and paired with a compact analog mixer.

No matter where I used it, the AVX-835 was met with a smile from speakers, vocal talent/artists and end-users, legitimately wowed by its tiny form factor and obvious flexibility. Finally, Sennheiser pedigree is no small matter, either; it ultimately allowed a most skeptical A/V professional I encountered to trust a crucial vocal to the AVX-835’s crystal clear signal path.

At $899 street, this innovative AVX kit is probably the most flexible digital wireless system I’ve ever used. Though it won’t replace the growing plethora of 2.4 GHz rack-mount wireless systems found in music venues, clubs, HOWs and schools, it’s tiny form factor, USB-chargeable design, flawless performance and exciting flexibility makes it the ultimate compact wireless microphone solution, all enclosed in one single mic pouch.