The New Shure BLX Wireless System

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Shure has a hard-earned reputation as one of the standard bearers for quality wireless microphone systems. Their new BLX wireless system is geared toward users who are in need of a system that has more than “entry-level” features but do not have the need (or the budget) for something like the Shure ULX series. The BLX line focuses on being highly customizable for your setup while providing intuitive use. It has quite a few features that are inspired by some of Shure’s higher-end systems.

The BLX line has three wireless receivers to choose from, as well as a handheld and bodypack transmitter that come with a choice of multiple Shure microphone elements. All of the components are available in four separate frequency groups, H8, J10, K12, and M15. Like any other wireless system, regardless of what microphone/transmitter/receiver configuration works for you, your transmitter and receiver have to be within the same frequency group to work together. This means an H8 transmitter will only work with an H8 receiver. You can configure a BLX system with just about any combination you can think of, so let’s start talking about the individual components.

The BLX4, BLX4R, and BLX88 receivers share a number of cool features. All three have microprocessor-controlled antenna diversity and feature Shure’s QuickScan frequency-selection tool. With QuickScan, you simply press and release the group button on the receiver. From here, the receiver performs an automatic scan that sets the unit to the clearest available group and channel. All you have to do is tune your transmitter to the same group and channel that are displayed on the receiver, and you’re good to go.

The BLX4 is a fairly straightforward single-channel receiver that has some clever features. An intuitive two-color LED audio meter displays green for healthy signal and red to alert you if your signal is clipping. It has a balanced XLR out as well as a 1/4" instrument level out, so you can use it for both vocal and instrument applications. The BLX88 is essentially a dual-channel version of the BLX4. One nice touch on the BLX88 is, rather than having to run a separate QuickScan for both of its channels, holding and releasing the group button sets both of the BLX88’s two channels up simultaneously. This assures that you do not accidently set both channels to the same frequency.

While the BLX4 and BLX88 have a sleek design and can be easily transported between venues, the BLX4R caters to those in need of an installed solution for their wireless system. It has a more rugged design than its cousins, featuring metal construction and a rackmount kit. Whereas the BLX4 and 88’s antennas are internal, the BLX4R’s are external and removable for antenna distribution. Also unique to the BLX4R is its front-panel LCD screen, which provides both radio-frequency and audio-level metering.

Where the BLX system really starts to get customizable is with the available transmitter and microphone configurations available. The BLX1 bodypack transmitter and the BLX2 handheld transmitter both offer up to a 300’ line-of-sight operation range with any of the BLX receivers. One very welcome feature is that, unlike many other wireless systems, the BLX transmitters are powered by two AA batteries as opposed to 9-volt batteries, resulting in a slightly slimmer design and ease of swapping batteries. Both receivers will provide up to 14 hours of operation on a pair of AAs.

Shure has provided no shortage of mics to pair with the BLX1 bodypack. If you need hands-free vocal miking, you can get a system with it paired with a PG30 Headset Mic, the cardioid PG185 lavalier mic, the subminiature omnidirectional WL93 lavalier mic, or with the MX153 headworn ear set. If you find your lavalier miking needs require multiple options, Shure also assembled the W85 configuration, which includes a WL183 omnidirectional lavalier mic, a WL184 supercardioid lavalier mic, and WL185 cardioid lavalier mic, allowing you to use the mic which best suits your given application that day.

The BLX1 can be put to work for instrumentalists as well as vocalists. Paired with the Beta 98H/C clip microphone, the BLX system can be used to mic wind instruments. The BLX14 configuration adds an instrument cable for use with guitars, basses, or any other instrument with a 1/4” output jack.

The BLX2 handheld transmitter is also available with a three different Shure microphone elements: the PG58, the Beta 58A, and the ever popular SM58. One major difference with the BLX2 transmitter and some other Shure wireless systems is that it does not use interchangeable mic capsules that can be screwed on and off the transmitter. The transmitter and mic element are permanently attached. While at first this might seem counter-intuitive, it makes quite a bit of sense. Having interchangeable capsules can easily result in accidental damage to any capsules that aren’t connected to the transmitter, requiring repair or replacement costs and system down time. Shure even offers color ID caps to quickly differentiate multi-mic set ups.

The components of the BLX line are available in just about every configuration possible, allowing you to assemble the system with features that will best suit your needs. An added benefit of Shure’s experience with wireless is that, depending on the wireless traffic in your area, you can use up to 12 systems simultaneously per frequency band. This flexibility makes the BLX system a strong contender for small clubs, auditoriums, houses of worship, and boardrooms.

If you’re not sure which configuration will work best for your applications, you can ask a B&H Sales Professional at our SuperStore in New York City, give us a call at 1-800-606-6969, or you can join us online for a Live Chat.

BLX1 Bodypack Transmitter
Audio Input Level Maximum: - 16 dBV, Minimum (0 dB): 10 dBV
Gain Adjustment Range 26 dB
Input Impedance 1 MΩ
RF Transmitter Output 10 mW, typical
Housing Molded ABS
Power Requirements 2x LR6 AA batteries, 1.5 V, alkaline
Battery Life Up to 14 Hours
Dimensions (H x W x D) 4.3 x 2.5 x 0.8" (110 x 64 x 21mm)
Weight 2.6 oz (75 g)
BLX2 Handheld Transmitter
Audio Input Level, Gain 0 dB (-20 dBV maximum)
-10 dB (-10 dBV maximum)
Gain Adjustment Range 10 dB
RF Transmitter Output 10 mW, typical (varies by region)
Housing Molded ABS
Power Requirements 2x LR6 AA batteries, 1.5 V, alkaline
Battery Life Up to 14 hours
Dimensions (L ength x Diameter) 2.1 x 8.8" (53 x 224mm)
Available Microphones PG58, SM58, Beta 58A
BLX4 Receiver
Channels 1
Outputs 1x XLR, 1x 1/4" (6.35mm) TS
Output Impedance XLR: 200 Ω, 1/4": 50 Ω
Audio Output Level XLR: -27 dBV, 1/4": -13 dBV (Both into 100 kΩ), Ref. +/- 33 kHz deviation with 1 kHz tone
RF Sensitivity  -105 dBm for 12 dB SINAD, typical 
Image Rejection > 50 dB, typical
Housing  Molded ABS
Power Requirements 12 - 15 V DC @ 160 mA supplied by external power supply
Dimensions (H x W x D) 1.5 x 7.4 x 4.1" (40 x 188 x 103mm)
Weight 8.5 oz (241 g)
BLX88 Receiver
Channels 2
Outputs 2x XLR, 2x 1/4" (6.35mm) TS
Output Impedance XLR: 200 Ω, 1/4": 50 Ω
Audio Output Level XLR: -27 dBV, 1/4": -13 dBV (Both into 100 kΩ), Ref. +/- 33 kHz deviation with 1 kHz tone
RF Sensitivity  -105 dBm for 12 dB SINAD, typical 
Image Rejection > 50 dB, typical
Housing  Molded ABS
Power Requirements 12 - 15 V DC @ 320 mA supplied by external power supply
Dimensions (H x W x D) 1.5 x 15 x 4.5" (40 x 388 x 116mm)
Weight 15.1 oz (429 g)
BLX4R Receiver
Channels 1
Outputs 1x XLR, 1x 1/4" (6.35mm) TS
Output Impedance XLR: 200 Ω, 1/4": 50 Ω
Audio Output Level XLR: -20.5 dBV, 1/4": -13 dBV (Both into 100 kΩ), Ref. +/- 33 kHz deviation with 1 kHz tone
RF Sensitivity  -105 dBm for 12 dB SINAD, typical 
Image Rejection > 50 dB, typical
Housing  Molded ABS, steel
Dimensions (H x W x D) 1.9 x 7.7 x 6.4" (50 x 198 x 163mm)
Weight 2.2 lb (998 g)
Please note, all receivers and transmitters are available in H8, J10, K12, and M15 Frequency Ranges.
SM58 Mic
Type Dynamic
Frequency Response 50 Hz to 15 kHz
Polar Pattern  Cardioid
Output Level  -54.5 dBV/Pa (1.85 mV)
Beta 58A Mic
Type Dynamic
Frequency Response 50 Hz to 16 kHz
Polar Pattern Supercardioid, rotationally symmetrical about microphone axis, uniform with frequency 
Output Level Open Circuit Voltage: -51.5 dBV/Pa* (2.6 mV) *1 Pa = 94 dB SPL 
PG58 Mic
Type Dynamic (Moving Coil)
Polar Pattern Cardioid
Frequency Response 50 Hz to 15 kHz
Polarity Positive pressure on diaphragm produces positive voltage on pin 2 relative to pin 3 of microphone output connector 
Sensitivity -53 dBV/Pa, (2.2 mV), 1 Pascal=94 dB SPL (@ 1 kHz) A78
Electromagnetic Hum Sensitivity 26 dB equivalent SPL in a 1 millioersted field (60 Hz)
Temperature Range -20 to 153°F (-29 to 57°C)
Relative Humidity 0 to 95% 
PG185 Lavalier Mic
Type Condenser, Electret Bias
Frequency Response 60 Hz to 12 kHz
Polar Pattern Cardioid
Output Impedance 1200 Ω @1 kHz
Output Level -47 dBV/Pa (4.5 mV)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio 66 dB, 1 kHz  @ 1 Pa
Maximum SPL 120 dB
Dynamic Range 92 dB (Max. SPL to A-weighted noise level)
Output Noise 28 dB (Typical, A-weighted)
Recommendad Operating Voltage 5 V DC, 10 V max (Pin 2 to Pin 1)
Polarity  Positive sound pressure on diaphragm produces
positive voltage on pins 3 and 4 relative to pin 1
(ground) on the mini TA4F connector
Cable 48" (1.22 m) two-conductor shielded
Connector Mini TA4F
Weight 0.81 oz (23 g)
WL93 Lavalier Mic
Type Condenser (electret bias)
Frequency Response 50 Hz to 20 kHz
Polar Pattern Omnidirectional, uniform with frequency
Impedance  3000  Ω
Output Level Open Circuit Voltage: -38 dBV/Pa (13 mV), 1 Pascal = 94 dB SPL
WL183 Lavalier Mic
Type Condenser (electret bias)
Frequency Response 50 Hz to 17 kHz
Polar Pattern Omnidirectional
Impedance 1800 Ω
Output Level -40 dBV/Pa
WL184 Lavalier Mic
Type Condenser (electret bias)
Frequency Response 50 Hz to 17 kHz
Polar Pattern Supercardioid
Impedance 1800 Ω
Output Level -44.5 dBV/Pa
WL185 Lavalier Mic
Type Condenser (electret bias)
Frequency Response 50 Hz to 17 kHz
Polar Pattern Cardioid
Impedance 1800 Ω
Output Level -45.5 dBV/Pa
PG30 Headset Mic
Type Condenser, Electret Bias
Frequency Response 60 Hz to 18 kHz 
Polar Pattern Cardioid
Output Impedance 1200Ω @1 kHz
Output Level -52 dBV/Pa (2.5 mV)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio 61 dB, 1 kHz @ 1 Pa
Maximum SPL 125 dB
Dynamic Range 92 dB (Maximum SPL to A-Weighted Noise Level)
Output Noise 33 dB (Typical, A-Weighted)
Recommended Operating Voltage 5 V DC, 10 V maximum (pin 2 to pin 1)
Polarity Positive sound pressure on diaphragm produces
positive voltage on pins 3 and 4 relative to pin 1
(ground) on the mini TA4F connector.
Cable 50' (1.27 m) 2 conductor shield
Connector  Mini TA4F
Weight 1.82 oz (51.6 g)