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Social Media WireLists55 350pxIf you need to monitor multiple different mixes on location or on a stage and are using an M2R with the original unencrypted mode firmware, FlexList™ can make your work day a lot easier. FlexList is a feature built into the M2R, M2T, and DCHT that enables users to set up, quickly find and listen to up to 16 separate mixes as stereo, mono single channel, or a mono blend of two channels. Users can add mix profiles to a listening list, update them if frequencies have changed, add or delete them or clear the list, all via IR sync. FlexList allows the user to then scroll and select between the profiles, making monitoring, sampling, and troubleshooting issues easy and efficient.

1390 Howie with xmitter visible 2Social Media WireLists54 350pxFor decades now, Lectrosonics wireless systems have been used by some of the top touring guitar and bass players. In the early 2000’s – Guitarist Dan Spitz swore by his UM200/UDR200C analog wireless rig. Steve Stevens picked up a Digital Hybrid Wireless® IS400 system in 2006. Bass player Ricky Phillips has used Lectrosonics since about 2007. The Dixie Chicks toured with an extensive Lectrosonics wireless system in the mid 2000s. Fast forward to today, when bassists Eva Gardner and Phil Soussan, and guitarists Doug Aldrich, Jerry Horton, Howie Simon, Oz Fox, and Paul Jackson Jr. among many others rely on the sound quality, range, and reliability of Lectrosonics wireless for touring.

The secret of the Lectrosonics wireless system is mainly that these systems do not compand (compress and expand) the audio signal, and are designed to be as phase linear as possible through the audio band. With the proper input cables matched to the instruments and transmitters, a very clean transfer can be obtained, so that the guitar dynamics, tone, and volume/gain settings are preserved. These systems are the closest thing you can get to a good cable, with a lot more freedom of movement.

Because Lectrosonics units have been used for this purpose for such a long time and through multiple generations of product, there are some complexities to these systems, and some details have changed over time. Let’s start with the two current main series of product:

Social Media WireLists53 350pxBack in Wire List #42,we discussed connecting to Wireless Designer over a network. Since then, we have received several calls and questions regarding network switch connections with Dante and Wireless Designer.

The first thing to remember is that Dante configures itself; it is literally plug and play. The following instructions, which are the same for Mac and PC, configure Dante to interface through the switch and communicate with Wireless Designer. We use a DSQD for our example, but you can set up other Dante-enabled receivers with this process as well:

Social Media WireLists52 350pxOur Repair department occasionally gets reports of performance issues with digital transmitters that are being used in an RF-heavy environment. In almost every case, the complaints were traced back to poorly-designed amplified antennas or antenna distribution systems.

To pinpoint the problem and confirm that the transmitter and receiver are working properly before they are sent to us, we ask the customer to first eliminate their amplified antenna or distribution amplifier and try a whip antenna instead. Full digital systems are particularly vulnerable to overload in the RF signal chain, since the full digital modulation has both FM and AM components. If that RF signal passes through an overloaded amplifier, the AM part of the signal is compressed (clipped) and the AM information is distorted or lost. Antenna systems that may work satisfactorily with FM systems can fall apart when full digital signals are used in the presence of other strong RF signals.

Social Media WireLists51 350pxWireless Designer’s new Zone feature (v2.0.30 for Windows and v2.0.25 for Mac and later versions) allows you to coordinate multiple zones, where some may need to consider intermod interaction and some may not. It is a good way to not only coordinate and monitor a large number of channels in a single facility or studio complex, but also to maximize the number of channels available for use.

You can create zones offline, by doing your band planning prior and loading the project file on the set, or while you are physically on set. Before you begin, it is helpful to know where the clear frequencies are in your area. New Endian’s FreqFinder app or IAS from Professional Wireless Systems can help.

Social Media WireLists50 350pxIf you find that the USB on your DSQD or M2R is not allowing you to make firmware updates or connect to Wireless Designer, but your unit is otherwise operating normally, you may need an EEPROM update.

EEPROM stands for Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory and is a board chip integrated in electronic devices to store small amounts of data by allowing individual bytes to be erased and reprogrammed. EEPROM chips in Lectrosonics equipment control the behavior of the USB jack. Fortunately, updating your EEPROM is something you will rarely, if ever, have a need to do. But if it does need to be done, doing it yourself will save valuable time in not having to send it in to us.

Social Media WireLists48 350pxWhile most repairs should be done by us at the factory, there are some that you can do yourself. If the buttons on your SR receiver seem “soft” (they no longer “click” when pressed) or are slow to respond, or the keypad looks the worse for wear, you can easily replace it. 

Before you begin, assemble the following tools:

  • SR Keypad. For SR, SRa and SRb, the Lectrosonics Part Number is 48093. For the SRc, it is 48626.
  • Static grounding strap*
  • Small flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers
  • Small needle nose pliers or electronics tweezers
  • GooGone or similar adhesive remover
  • Lint-free wipe or paper towel
  • Soldering iron and solder wick
  • (Optional) Black Sharpie

Social Media WireLists47Today's wideband systems can easily overlap each other, which makes frequency band planning a necessity. In the US our wideband units cover 470 to 608 MHz; in Europe that goes up to 614 MHz. When working out of a bag, attention to avoiding frequency overlap between talent receivers and hop or IFB transmitters is doubly crucial, as these units sit in close physical proximity to each other. The goal is to keep different types of RF system spectrums separated from each other so that they don't cause interference and disrupt each other's range and performance. Proper band planning avoids overlap and interference issues.

Three general suggestions before you plan:

Social Media WireLists46 300pxDo you record reality TV, legal proceedings, corporate meetings, sports or other situations where you need to keep your audio signal away from prying ears? For those instances where your transmission needs to be kept secure, without sacrificing audio quality, Lectrosonics offers AES-256 encryption in our digital wireless systems. Receivers that support encryption are the DCHR, DR, DSQD, M2R (when loaded with 3.X firmware), and the DCR822.

What Is AES-256?

The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is the only publicly-accessible, military-grade code available for protecting highly confidential data. AES uses symmetric key encryption to scramble the signal, and only those who have the corresponding key can decrypt it. AES-256, with a key length of 256 bits, supports the largest bit size over a small bandwidth and is nearly unbreakable via brute force approach.
An encryption key is first created in the receiver. The key is then synced with an encryption-capable digital transmitter, via the IR port. The audio will be encrypted and can only be decoded if both receiver and any associated transmitters have the matching encryption key. If you are trying to transmit an audio signal and the keys do not match, no sound will be heard.

Social Media WireLists45 300pxWe recently received a few calls in Service from users confused about the IR-Sync function with our receivers, so we put together this list as both a refresher and a guide.

  1. Select your Frequency Step size on your receiver by navigating to Step Size and selecting either 100 kHz or 25 kHz to match the transmitter you are using. 25 kHz is now the standard for Lectrosonics systems, with the exception of the IFBR1A, which is 100 kHz and does not have an IR Sync function. Adjustments of 25 kHz increments between the two may be needed for other manufacturers or when frequency coordination requires it. The step size must match on both your transmitter and your receiver.

Select your receiver Compatibility Mode. Navigate to Compat Mode, using the Up and Down arrows to scroll through the choices. When the desired mode appears in the screen, press MENU/ SEL or BACK to select the mode and return to the previous menu. Press BACK to return to the Main Window.

Social Media WireLists44 300pxSince 2006, our TM400 “Test and Measurement” wireless system for sound system alignment has been a standard tool in the live sound reinforcement industry. Used by loudspeaker setup and alignment techs, touring rental companies, and consultants doing sound system installation and commissioning, the TM400 system saves time, is compact enough to travel easily, and is easy to use. One reason for this is that the Digital Hybrid Wireless® transmission platform offers relatively flat frequency response, and does not have the dynamic processing common to most analog wireless mic systems.

Another important consideration is audio frequency response. Accurate frequency response information from input to the output, via the RF link, and can make the difference between accurate and not-so accurate measurements.

Social Media WireLists43 300pxLast week, we discussed how to connect to Wireless Designer through a personal network on Windows-based machines. For those of you using Macs, the steps are basically the same, with the exception of slightly different hardware needs and the process of getting to the DHCP menu. You may want to print out the Windows instructions to refer to for this exercise.

We ran this demo using a Netgear switch and a DSQD. You will need a Mac that can connect to Ethernet, either with an adapter (we recommend that you use only Apple-licensed products, as generics often do not perform correctly) or directly into the port. For this purpose, we used a Thunderbolt adapter.

Social Media WireLists42 300It is a simple process to set up a Local Area Network for your Lectrosonics gear, but it requires an understanding of some fundamental concepts to get things setup correctly, consistently.

Before we dive in, If you’re new to connecting to Wireless Designer over a network or have limited experience with networking, our web help tutorial will walk you through some of the basics.

There are two ways to connect to Wireless Designer over a network:

1) Via DCHP, where a router assigns an IP address to the unit/s;

2) Manual IP address entry

Before you begin, assemble the following items. Ideally, you will want to have all of these available, so you can be prepared for whatever you may encounter on the job:

Social Media WireLists41 300pxWith many live music venues still closed, performers are taking the show online and into your home: YouTube, Facebook or on their own websites. While most of us have Face Timed or even done Facebook Lives, the challenge of getting good sound online might seem daunting. It’s not as complicated as you might think!

We recently assisted Magnolia Kids, a 4 piece based out of Austin, TX, in doing their very first live stream on YouTube, using Lectrosonics equipment and an inexpensive (<$400) analog Yamaha board:

  1. We started with an M2T, 3 M2Rs and two laptops, piped through the Yamaha board:

Social Media WireLists40 300TA-5 (“5” for 5 pins) mini-XLR female connectors are the standard lavalier and headset microphone termination for most Lectrosonics transmitters made in the past 30 years. Undoubtedly, if you’ve been at this for any length of time, you’ve experienced a connector getting stuck. And if that happens, your only option is to sacrifice your lav by cutting the cord to dislodge it. Or is it?

Glen Trew, via our Facebook discussion group offered the following strategy, which works regardless of the brand of lav.

According to Glen, there is no need to destroy the cable or connector. Before we explain why, you may want to review our Support article, which explains the inner workings of TA-5 connectors, so you understand what we’re talking about.

Social Media WireLists39 300With many of us getting back to work, "covid compliance" requires that all staff working on a production to be distanced. Many of you have shared your creative solutions and new working protocols with us. For example, we're hearing that some production sets are becoming their own "quarantine facilities," where staff live and work dorm-style in a sanitized area onsite, with no one new coming in or out until production is over. Some directors will also have only necessary talent on set, and locate the sound personnel and production staff in other rooms or parts of the facility. This need to distance is very much a "figure it out as you go along" world right now.

In our last list, we discussed how to do a solo walk test on set. We also discussed the custom tuning range capabilities of Wireless Designer, which allow you to preplan your set-up, to minimize your contact with the set. So, what do you do when you have to plan to work at a distance from the talent? Enter Dante.

Social Media WireLists38 300pxDid you know that Wireless Designer comes with a feature – The Walk Test Recorder - that will allow you to do a walk test all by yourself, with no help at all? It’s a very useful tool, especially for those solo engineers that don’t have a second set of hands and feet to help them with a set up in a new venue, or when their environment limits the number of people that can be in the area at a given time. It’s a way to test RF signal strength and antenna switching, as well as squelching and recording audio.

Even experienced users of Wireless Designer might not know this feature exists, because it is somewhat hidden. In order to see the Walk Test tab at the top of the screen, you have to have a receiver connected and selected from the device list on the left of the screen. You otherwise won’t see it as an option or a feature anywhere else in the system. This screencap shows you where.

Social Media WireLists37 300pxOur newest version of Wireless Designer (version 2.0.25) for both Mac and PC comes with some great new features that should save you time, give you new control, plus added convenience that you might not have thought possible. Let’s dive in:

1) Offline Mode

The new Wireless Designer has an "offline mode" where you don't need to be connected to a system in order to start configuring. You can design all of your set-ups ahead of time. Here’s how. Click on any of the images to make larger:

Social Media WireLists36 300pxIn our recent Facebook poll, many of you expressed interest in learning how to set up transmitter/receivers with recorders in an on-the-job scenario. Last week, we heard from Bal Rayat and Bruner Dyer. This week, we hear from Chris Howland and Steve Morantz.

Chris Howland is the founder of the LA Sound Mixers Group, a long-time Lectrosonics user and has worked on countless film and TV projects. Chris reports that “most of my gain staging is done by feel and the anticipation of the unknown.” The following numbers are his starting points:

From a VR Field Venue to a Sound Devices 688

Line level input settings 
(normal voice and louder performances)

  • Field Venue output +08
  • Sound Devices 688 input trim at LINE level and -8db for unity gain. Will sometimes push to 0 or 2db for soft speakers.

Social Media WireLists35 300pxIn our recent Facebook poll, many of you expressed interest in learning how to set up transmitter/receivers with recorders in an on-the-job scenario. We reached out to a few sound pros in the know, and this list is Part 1 of a multi-part series around how other users approach this exercise.

First, we’ll hear from Bal Rayat.

Bal is a UK-based Sound Recordist and long-time Lectrosonics user:

How he sets up receivers (SRB and SRC): 

“Always set the receivers to line level (as that what Lectrosonics are natively) at +0dBu. I engage the tone on the receiver and set the level on the mixer so that the level is slightly over 0dBu.”

Social Media WireLists34 300px(aka, How To Tickle The Red)

One of the most misunderstood settings on a wireless audio transmitter is the audio input gain, and we’ll explain some basics on how to set yours to get the results that you need. It’s easier than you think!

Most Lectrosonics transmitters allow variable gain in 1dB steps over a range of 44dB. The SSM offers an additional 7dB of attenuation at the bottom end of the gain range, to use with high output lav mics or with loud singers (typical in musical theater situations). Our HM and HMa plug-ons give you an additional 10db of gain at the top end to use with low sensitivity dynamic mics. Why do we offer this level of fine control? To optimize the signal to noise ratio – but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Social Media WireLists33 300pxTroubleshooting Possible Reasons For What You're Hearing

Our Service Department are like mechanics in that we frequently get calls that start with, "I turned on/was using my (product) and heard this sound..." This list will discuss the types of sounds you might hear and give you some examples, along with what you can do to help figure the root cause/s of the issues.

In order to help troubleshoot, we need to know (or you need to consider):

Social Media WireLists32 2 300pxWe've covered antennas for transmitters and receivers in a few of our previous Wire Lists. This week, we share 4 quick antenna tips that we might not have touched on prior:

The Straw Hack

Wireless signals are readily absorbed by anything containing water, which is why we advise not to let transmitter antennas touch the body or skin since this will reduce range due to the attenuated signal. What do you do in those situations where this is inevitable? Grab a straw! A regular drinking straw – opaque or clear both work - cut to the size of the antenna and slipped over it, will prevent skin contact and ensure that your signal remains strong. Another variant of this approach is to use aquarium air tubing.

Social Media WireLists30 300pxPreparation and monitoring are big parts of any production that involves sound, and all productions involve multiple pieces. Even in a wireless world, you are still having to place, adjust and touch every piece of that system: microphones, amplifiers, the mixing set-up. And now, having to do that while maintaining cleanliness and appropriate distancing just multiplied the hands-on portion of your entire crew’s jobs. Distance isn’t your friend when it comes to sound, because as you know, increasing the distance between your transmitter and receivers can create unwanted noise. These are all non-issues if you're using a Dante-enabled system!

Social Media WireLists29 300pxSignal to noise (s/n) ratio is the level of signal power in relation to the power of noise surrounding that signal, measured in decibels (dB). With wireless systems, the quality of your sound is largely dependent on achieving the highest signal to lowest noise ratio possible. So how can we do this? First, we need to look at the cause and type of noise in question. "Noise" is any type of competing signal interference – unwanted tones, static, even other frequencies - within the physical space. If you’re using wireless microphones, your noise may also be a result of channel noise in the FM process. “FM,” because all analog wireless systems use frequency modulation to send audio signals. A component of the FM process is the Capture Effect: wireless receivers will always demodulate (turn into audio) the strongest RF signals within a given frequency, and that includes sounds that you don’t want.

In order to combat the noise, you’ll need to look at the physical space you’re operating in, which is your working environment and also any equipment in your environment. Four tips to consider:

Social Media WireLists28 300pxOne of the things that makes wireless microphones so great is what they don't have - wires! Working wireless gives artists with elaborate stage shows, like Pink, true freedom of movement on set. But as awesome as wireless mics are, they are not without issues. In this List, we'll discuss five common glitches that you might experience with wireless microphones (and their receivers) and how to fix them.

Blocked Signal

One of the most common problems with wireless mics is signal blockage. A wireless mic is a transmitter, and anything in a wireless set-up between the transmitter and the receiver can block the signal. The typical culprits are walls or solid/dense objects on set, so you may need to move your receiver, or your external antennas if you use them, around to find a line of sight path for the RF signal. The human body can also absorb signals, which can be problematic for belt-pack units if not placed carefully. Same goes for handheld mics: make sure that they are being held properly so that the antenna is not covered by the hand. We explain this in more detail in Wire List #8.

Social Media WireLists27 300pxHave you ever been working with one of our systems in the 486-495 MHz range and they’re just not synching up? You might have performed a frequency scan prior to choosing your settings, so you’re sure you’ve chosen everything correctly. Or did you? You may have run into the not-common-but-it-happens Block 19/470 Overlap.

What Is The Overlap?


As we detail in our transmitter manuals, there is an overlap in the frequency range of 486.400 - 495.600 MHz. We designed this intentionally, in order to maintain compatibility with receivers that tune across a single band. The problem only makes itself known in specific instances where you are tuning within the A1 Band on either Block 470 or 19 and one device is set to block 470 and the other one is set to block 19. This can occur when the devices are tuned manually.

Social Media WireLists26 300px4 Tips For Keeping It Clean and 2 Tips For Getting Back To Business And Staying Distanced

Keeping things clean has been a hot topic lately, and social distancing also looks like it will be here to stay for a while. Most of us use lavalier mics, which require touching the talent. As we start to get back to work, how can we adapt what is a very hands-on job to be more hands-off and give our clients the safety and peace of mind that they deserve?

The AQTIS and IATSE in Canada are in the process of writing sanitary guidelines for productions undertaken there. Written by Daniel Fontaine-Bégin, Tony Fortin, Simon Poudrette and Stephan Roy, the guidelines recommend:

Social Media WireLists25 300pxThe times we’re living in are requiring all of us to come up with new ways of doing things, particularly when it comes to group gatherings. If you are a pastor, a youth leader or one who handles the technology for your worship center, this extends to the holding of services and study groups. How can you lead your congregation remotely, particularly if you haven’t done it before? Facebook Live, YouTube and even your own website can offer you a way to reach out – we’ll leave the choice of platform up to you. In this list, we’ll discuss the five considerations for creating a remote worship experience, regardless of platform.

Social Media WireLists24 300pxYou’ve undoubtedly run into situations where you need to get your transmitter antenna away from the talent’s body, or where you could use a few more feet of reach for your receiver. We make & sell these coax antennas as the ACOAXTX and there is also a BNC version available as well – the ACOAXBNC.

That said, if you’re handy and have done a little bit of work with wiring, you can make your own! In today’s list, we’ll explain how to make a coaxial dipole antenna, using a few readily available tools and a pre-made cable.

6 Things You Will Need:

Social Media WireLists23 300pxThe M2R was designed originally as a personal listening receiver, often called an “IEM pack” (in-ear monitors) and thus, we used a very high-quality headphone amp for the design. The downside is there is no protection from 48V phantom power when the M2R is used as a camera hop receiver and is connected to professional microphone inputs. We have seen several M2Rs (and occasionally other receivers) come into repair with damage from this issue. This List will discuss what phantom power is, why it’s important, and how you should work with it to get the best results and avoid damaging your equipment.

Social Media WireLists22 300px The next time you're watching the news or a live narrative-type program - pay attention to the person speaking. You might notice their lavaliere mic, but more importantly, how it is placed. Chances are, it has a loop in it, with the mic head pointing up or down. Called a "Broadcast Loop" or "Newsman's Loop," this technique and mic head placement is effective for specific scenarios and, when hiding the mic isn't the main priority, can fix some common audio problems.

Why Would We Use A Loop?

Social Media WireLists21 300Videography is one discipline where sound and visuals converge, and while it is not exactly new, wedding videography remains one of the most profitable projects that videographers undertake. And the demands for it are more stringent than ever before. No longer are wedding videos a simple chronological record of the day – they have become dynamic films featuring cinematographic camera work and even soundtracks. One of the newest trends is to show a “trailer” containing moments from the ceremony during the reception, which means that the footage needs to be edited an hour or two after filming and most likely onsite! With all of this going on, someone (that would be you) has to be mindful of the most important reason why everyone is there on the day: to witness the vows. The videographer has to figure out the best way to obtain a clean audio track while at the same time being unobtrusive and inclusive of more than one camera set-up. Many videographers plant mics throughout the venue or have the partners speak into wireless mics, but this isn’t always practical, feasible, esthetically pleasing to watch and in cases where the wedding is in a church with strict requirements, might not even be allowed.

Social Media WireLists20 300pxMany of you have asked us about the best way to disinfect your equipment and work safely in light of the current health situation we're all navigating.

The first things you should review prior to anything else are the CDC guidelines, which are updated as the information evolves. These are official government health guidelines and will take precedence over anything that we will tell you, now or in the future.

This situation also offers you an unplanned proving ground - a silver lining to this, if you will. If you're working right now, our wireless technology will allow you to maintain more distance from your subjects and a wider circle of personal space than you may normally need, and you will still get great sound.

Social Media WireLists19 300pxAlong with the re-allocation of TV Frequencies in the US that were finalized in 2018 (and going into effect through July, 2020), regulations also have changed regarding the deviation of all new wireless microphone transmitters to a maximum of ±50kHz. For any questions about the spectrum re-allocations, repacks and new services in the 600 MHz band, see our page FCC & Spectrum Updates.

Since these changes were announced, many of you have called and written us, with understandable confusion: “Do I have to buy all new equipment?” “Is there any way that I can modify what I have?” This week’s post explains how this situation came about and what we and the industry have done/will do to make it easier for you.

* We are discussing transmitters and not receivers because only transmitters have a legal cutoff.

Social Media WireLists18 300pxIn the previous two Wired Lists, we discussed what Firmware Updates are, where to find them, and the software programs needed to install them. In this week's List, the final one in our Firmware series, we'll talk about updates for specific models. There is not a "one size fits all" approach for these models, and you'll need to dive a bit deeper, depending on your specific situation. Look at the serial number plate or label on your device to exactly determine the Lectrosonics model number, then use the following to determine the appropriate firmware load that you need.


The HHa Firmware page is here

As you can see, there are four different firmware loads available on the page. The HHa, HHa/E01, HHa/E06 and HHa/X
models require different firmware loads:

Social Media WireLists17 300pxIn last week's Wired List, we discussed what Firmware Updates are, where to find them, and the software programs needed to install them. In this week's List, we'll talk about products that require either Wireless Designer or the USB Firmware Updater program to perform firmware updates:

Products that require the USB Updater are:

First, ensure that you have the USB Firmware Updater utility. You can download versions of it, for Windows and macOS, here.

Social Media WireLists16 300pxWe’ve had a few recent inquiries through our Facebook page and Customer Service regarding firmware updates – along with some incidents where we discovered the incorrect firmware on a unit sent in for repair. The next three Wire Lists will cover the various pieces of equipment that require firmware updates and how to specifically go about performing them.

What Is Firmware And Why Should I Care About It?

(and 9 things to look at before we do)

Social Media WireLists15 300pxWe often receive equipment in for repair, with the nebulous explanation of “it doesn’t work.” Here are some suggestions to make the troubleshooting and repair process easier:

Before you send your unit in, first check four things. These account for 15-20% of root causes of items we receive, and checking them might save you some headache:

  1. Did you check to see if the batteries are good? Even though we advise to use fresh batteries at the start of projects, not everyone does. Dead batteries = dead equipment.
  2. Did you check the frequency that you intended to tune to? Transmitters and receivers sometimes “don’t work” or don’t communicate with each other because they’re not synched to the same frequency. Or, the frequency that the user is attempting to use is unavailable or is full in that city or country (frequency scans sometimes lock into what is available, not what is allowed or optimal!). We recall one customer who was working onsite and inadvertently tuned to the local Public Safety band! Some specifics on these issues are detailed in Wire List #2.
  3. Are the compatibility modes the same? Just like with frequency, incompatible modes can make transmitters and receivers perform poorly or just not work.
  4. If there is firmware available for your unit, did you check to see if an update is needed?. Not all firmware updates are necessary to the functioning of the unit, so you’ll want to read through the list for your product to see if the behavior you’re seeing was addressed with an update. To make sure that you stay on top of new firmware releases, sign up to receive the RSS feed alerts.

Social Media WireLists14 300pxWe all know that stuff happens, in spite of your best intentions. You can try to protect your transmitters, even using covers like we always tell you to, but they still might get dunked. Talent may drop them, instead of their cell phone, into the toilet. Or a boat might capsize while you’re filming a river scene*. The end is the same: your transmitter sank and is now soaked. Now what?

Before we start, a disclaimer: If you have the option at all to send your unit to HQ or an Authorized Repair Center, do that. Do not follow any of these steps if you choose to do that. These should be considered emergency steps that you can take on location, when no better options are available and your alternative is wrapping for the day or scrapping the project.

Social Media WireLists13 300pxLet’s be upfront: While we don’t advocate hacking any of our products, sometimes things happen on the job that prevent you from stopping what you’re doing and sending your unit back to us. Necessity is the mother of invention and the work has to be done (preferably without alarming your client or your employer as to your ability to do it), so here are three temporary fixes, à la MacGyver, for your HM or HMa (or older UH) transmitter:

  • Challenge #1: Are you on-site, notice that mics you’re attaching are wobbly and realize that you’ve lost the thrust washer (circled in red, our Part # 25675) on your XLR connector? They can come off unexpectedly, especially if you’ve had the transmitter for a while and the parts have had opportunity to move around and wear. This part is not just a washer that you can find in a hardware store – it is specially machined for the purpose, and you need to order one from the factory. But you’re in the studio, at a show or in the wilderness filming. Now what?

Social Media WireLists12 300px copyLast week, we shared a grid with transmitter/antenna combinations. We couldn’t leave out receivers! This grid is slightly different than the one for transmitters because of how receivers are used. While transmitters are usually placed on or near the subject, receivers often sit stationary or are portable, within bags or mounted on cameras. Receivers also have different connectors – an elbow antenna is going to be a logical choice (although a straight style can work equally well depending on the application. Or, you can use an adapter).

Keeping all this in mind:

Social Media WireLists11 300pxAre you packing a project bag, or trying to be prepared for anything you might encounter? This handy grid will make your life a lot easier when coordinating the antennas that you should bring with you to accommodate all of your transmitters. Four things to note:

  1. Antennas for the LMB and SSMs are fixed antennas. They cannot be swapped out, except to repair them.
  2. Available blocks are: 470, the range from 19 to 33 and 944 (not all blocks are available in all countries – check before you order or visit). The prefix “AMJ” refers to a jointed antenna, while the prefix “ACOAXTX” refers to an antenna with a coaxial SMA connector.
  3. In general, due to the overlap, any antenna that you choose for Block 470 will also be compatible with Blocks 19 and 20.
  4. As long as it is the correct antenna for the block you’re using, an antenna for an SMV can also be used on a WM or any transmitter in that block, connector dependent. We’ve tried to make things interchangeable when we can.

Social Media WireLists10 300pxEvery wireless mic system has two parts: a transmitter connected to a microphone or source and a receiver that picks up the transmitted signal. Both of them have antennas - one to put out the signal and one (or more) to receive it. The area between the antennas is where most drop-out issues occur.

Start by identifying what kind of drop-out you're dealing with:

a) RF drop-out can be seen on the RF Meter. The meter will drop as the drop-out occurs. With Wireless Designer or with a DSQD receiver, the 10 second RF history display can help with identifying which channel/s are experiencing RF dropouts.

b) Pilot tone drop-out can be seen on the Pilot Tone Indicator. If the RF Meter shows sufficient RF signal, but the Pilot Tone Indicator shows a loss of Pilot Tone, try bypassing the Pilot Tone. If the audio is now acceptable, the problem is Pilot Tone drop-out.

Social Media WireLists9 300pxIf you own one of our rack receivers, you’re no doubt familiar with Wireless Designer. We specifically developed it to be intuitive and easy to use. Here are three things that you might be unaware of that can enhance your experience and utility when using this software:

Firmware Updates

Lectrosonics RSS FeedKeeping your firmware updated is critical to ensure that your equipment performs as designed. Did you know that we have an RSS feed at the bottom of our Firmware page that will alert you when you need to download an update? If you don’t already have one, search and install an RSS reader for your browser of choice or download a mobile RSS app to get notifications. Then visit the Support page and click on the RSS icon.

Social Media WireLists8 300pxWhat do all of these musicians have in common? Hint: It’s the way they’re holding their mics. Someone, somewhere gave them a lesson in attenuation.

Lectrosonics Listicles 8 Singers

What is RF attenuation and why should I care about it?

As you know, what most refer to as “wireless mics” are actually wireless hand-held transmitters. A transmitter is any device that sends out a wireless signal – electromagnetic waves via a transmitting antenna – to another device that interprets those waves, called a receiver.

Social Media WireLists7It’s Winter time again! And unless you live in a tropical climate, Winter means one thing: COLD. Regardless of the time of year, many of you also run sound in perpetually cold locales, such as the Arctic Circle, Siberia or Mongolia. Contrary to popular belief, electronics, unlike Husky dogs, don’t actually like the cold. Your transmitters and recorders can deliver reduced performance and even fail to work below certain temperatures unless you take precautions. Here are four areas to pay attention to when operating or storing your equipment over the next several months:

LCD Displays

LCD displays – such as the ones on our transmitters and receivers - use liquid crystal fluid (more like a gel) in the display. Like all other non-solids, the liquid crystal can freeze in cold conditions. Ideally, you should store any equipment with an LCD display in consistent temperatures between 40° and 100°F to keep the liquid crystal from freezing.

Social Media WireLists6 300pxAre you having issues with battery drain or inconsistent power in your SSM, in spite of using fresh batteries each time? Are you hearing an odd, intermittent scratch-click that you can’t trace to any of your other equipment? If you’ve checked everything else, the problem might just be a pogo pin.

What is a pogo pin?

A pogo pin, which is a common term for the positive battery spring contact and is used in the design of all electronics using prismatic (square) batteries, is so-called because it acts like a toy pogo stick. Though they look like solid pins if you look into the battery case, pogo pins are two part housings, with an integrated helical spring inside that applies a constant normal force against the back of the contact plate. This spring counteracts any unwanted movement which might cause an intermittent connection with batteries. They’re very small parts – smaller than a pencil lead - that can cause big problems if they malfunction. Pogo failures don’t happen very often with Lectrosonics products, but they can happen. Most maddeningly, if one is the cause of an SSM’s visit to Repair, it’s one of the less obvious, head-scratcher things that can happen. As they say, You learn something new every day. Fortunately, the causes of most pogo pin failures are 99.9% within your control (the other .1% being manufacturer defect).

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We think of lavaliere mics as being indestructible because they’re self-contained, but the fact is that some seemingly innocuous things can wreak havoc on them. And you often won’t realize that you have a faulty lav until you listen to your recorded tracks and realize that they just don’t sound right (talk about wasted time!). Here are 4 ways that you can mangle your mic:

  1. Keeping the mic attached to the transmitter it’s being used on, and wrapping it around the unit body when you’re finished. This is a BIG no-no. Over time, doing this can weaken the inner threads of the wire, or worse, break the 5-pin connector. There is no inexpensive fix for these if they happen. Disconnect your lav when you’re finished with your project and store it in its case.
  2. Allowing the lav to come in direct contact with skin. We realize that you want to hide the lav on camera if possible, and the easiest way to do that is underneath clothing. It is best to keep a layer of fabric between the lav cord and talent’s skin, for the simple reason that sweat is corrosive. Lav wire encasements are slightly porous, and over time, sweat can leech inside, corroding the copper wires underneath. Like wrap damage, there is no easy fix for this.

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SM transmitters might go through hell on the job --  but they don’t have to look like it.  Battery doors and the 5-pin jacks are particularly susceptible to wear and tear. These tips can help:

Battery Doors

IMG 3410If the battery door and mating surface on your SM series transmitter look like this and are starting to become difficult to open, don’t scrub them with an abrasive!  We’ve seen a few units that were damaged by steel wool, sandpaper and other materials. Multiple problems can be created as a result, such as getting particulate (tiny pieces that break off) into the unit, damaging the battery contacts on the door, and removing the conductive coating from this area and even the entire housing. 

IMG 3411To clean, we recommend Wright’s Silver Cream (available in Walmart and Home Depot; under $10 for a small container that will last you a year or more) to clean the door and housing. 

Social Media WireLists3The Long Ranger Wireless PA has been in the field for over 30 years and remains popular with school marching bands. Every fall after summer break, and again after winter break, like clockwork, we see a fleet of Long Rangers coming in for service with easily-preventable battery-related issues. And in case you were wondering, premature battery failure is not covered by warranty. Here are five things to consider to make sure that your Long Ranger is ready for another semester:

  1. At the end of each use and especially before extended breaks, store your Long Ranger in a safe, dry place that is ideally under 77°F. At 77°F, Long Ranger batteries are estimated to last about 5 years (3 years with the Long Ranger IV) with regular charges. For every 15°F rise in temperature, battery lifespan is cut by 50%. We know that some of you live in warmer climates; our temperature suggestions do not apply to operating environment.

Social Media WireLists2One of the most common calls that we get in Customer Service is that a transmitter “doesn’t work.” Since “doesn’t work” is a very broad complaint, there are four things that you should check, prior to calling us, that could help you self-troubleshoot and possibly eliminate the need for a call altogether:

  1. Do your transmitter and receiver both have power? While it sounds rudimentary, ensure that your units are plugged in or that your batteries are fresh. Bad or weak batteries are surprisingly common. A general rule is to store your units between use without batteries, and supply new or freshly charged batteries at the start of each session. And make sure your batteries are inserted correctly – it’s easy to put them in the wrong way. All of our units are marked with battery orientation somewhere – either on the back or side of the unit, or inside the battery compartment. You may also need check your power supply, battery eliminator or BDS unit for proper voltages.

Corroded board

Nothing is more frustrating than turning on your transmitter…and…finding out it doesn’t work. Like with winter colds, sick transmitters can take some diagnostics to figure out and cure. Here are 4 suggestions to help prevent problems before they start:

1. Don’t place the transmitter against bare skin. All transmitters are susceptible to becoming damaged from moisture, including sweat (and everyone sweats). Sweat is a carrier for water, salt and oils which can leech into the transmitter and corrode the circuit boards and other parts. Once sweat or other moisture seeps inside the unit, there is no wiping or removing it. So how do you prevent this? By placing the transmitter into a pocket, pouch or baggie; or (best option) using one of our specially-designed silicone covers. Pro tip: keeping transmitters – and especially their antennas – away from skin also improves RF transmission, bodies are mostly water and water absorbs RF.