Audio Technica System 10 Camera-Mount Wireless System
For many in video production or electronic news gathering (ENG), the most complicated part of their rig is the wireless audio system. Without a dedicated sound person, capturing audio that matches the quality of your shot can be a daunting task. However, not every wireless system requires a Bachelors degree in audio engineering and fluency in German to get you great results. Enter Audio-Technica’s System 10 Camera-Mount Wireless System, which as you might have guessed, takes the user-friendly System 10 and adapts it for camera-mounted applications like video production and ENG.
So, what makes System 10 stand out? A valid question—and one whose answer requires a look under the hood. System 10 is a digital system, meaning it converts the analog audio into a digital signal before it transmits it wirelessly. It employs a greater-than-CD-quality audio resolution of 24-bit/48 kHz, assuring high fidelity sonic replication.
Speaking of transmission, System 10 operates on a 2.4 GHz bandwidth. Working on the 2.4 GHz bandwidth on which your wireless router and cordless phone also operate might seem odd at first glance, but it provides quite a few benefits, namely, it completely avoids the increasingly crowded and ever-changing frequency ranges on which broadcast television and other radio devices operate, avoiding all sorts of common wireless interference. Another benefit is the ability to use the system in any city in the country without worrying about the frequency band to which your transmitter is tuned working fine in Los Angeles but getting nothing but interference in New York City.
The system is centered around the ATW-R1700 wireless receiver, which can be hot- or cold-shoe mounted on your DSLR or camcorder. Its most noticeable physical characteristic is its dual antennas, which in part enable three types of diversity: frequency, time, and space. What this basically means is the two antennas work in tandem to maintain constant connection with the transmitter, so if signal is lost by one of the antennas, the second antenna assures there will be no drop-out. Also, if the system encounters interference, it automatically selects and moves to a clear one.
The ATW-R1700 is streamlined, but still packs in a number of handy features. For compatibility with a wide variety of cameras or recording devices, the receiver has selectable balanced and unbalanced audio outputs. The headphone output allows you to monitor what you are receiving, and has an independent volume control from the main output. A built-in rechargeable battery gives you up to 12 hours of operating time, and can be recharged with the included USB cable or any USB-powered output device such as a laptop or USB power bank.
As you might expect, an automatic frequency selection function tunes the receiver to the clearest available channel. The transmitter and receiver talk to each other, assuring your transmitter is tuned to the same channel, with no fuss on your part. For fast switching between transmitters, you can link up to eight transmitters to one receiver, though you can only use one at a time.
Audio-Technica offers the systems in a few different configurations, in addition to the receiver à la carte. You can get the system with a body pack receiver and lavalier microphone, as well as with a handheld microphone transmitter. If you have your own lavalier mic that terminates with a 4-pin locking connector, you can just grab the system with a body pack transmitter and receiver.
When the camera person also finds himself or herself tasked with handling audio duties (a typical scenario), the shoot can benefit from a simplified wireless system, giving them one less thing to be concerned about while filming. Further, the 2.4 GHz bandwidth makes the system travel-friendly, for those crews who are always on the go. System 10 is clearly geared toward ease of use, and as such, should be appealing to a variety of audio-for-video applications.