Understanding the Basics of Sennheiser G3 Camera-Mount Wireless Systems

Share

Certain pieces of equipment build strong reputations totally organically, through positive word-of-mouth recommendations from user to user, and Sennheiser’s ew 100 G3 wireless microphones are a perfect example of this. These systems deliver great sound quality, they’re compact, built tough and come with everything you need right in the box. If you’re interested in learning more about the Sennheiser ew 100 G3, this article goes over all of the basics, and helps you understand what made them so popular.

There are several configurations of Sennheiser ew 100 G3 kits available. If you just need a wireless lavalier system to mount to a video camera, the ew 112-p G3 is what you’re looking for. The ew 100 ENG G3 is another camera-mountable kit that includes everything that comes with an ew 112-p G3, and it also includes an SKP 100 G3 plug-on transmitter, which makes it possible to run wired dynamic microphones wirelessly.  The ew 135-p G3 is a camera-mountable kit that includes the SKM 100-835, a handheld wireless mic with a built-in transmitter.  

Before we get too deep into the capabilities of the various kits, let’s cover some basic information about camera wireless systems first. The kits will be explained in greater detail later in the article.

The Basics of Wireless Microphones 

A single wireless lavalier microphone requires three components in order to operate: a microphone, a transmitter and a receiver. If you want to run two wireless microphones, you’re going to need two mics, two transmitters and two receivers. You cannot run two wireless transmitters, and have them picked up by a single receiver. This is only possible when you’re using a specially designed “dual receiver,” which is essentially just two separate receivers housed in a single chassis.

When you run more than one wireless microphone system, you need to be able to set them on separate frequencies—aka FREQU —so they don’t interfere with one another. It’s similar to the way broadcast TV stations need to operate on separate channels. This is one of the reasons the Sennheiser ew 100 G3 wireless systems can tune in 1,680 different channels. This ability also helps you combat issues with interference.

When you’re making adjustments to avoid interference or to use multiple wireless systems simultaneously, the channel must be changed on both the receiver and the transmitter. The Sennheiser ew 100 G3 systems feature a “Scan” function on the receiver, which will locate a clear channel for you.

What Sets the ew 100 G3 Apart

Now, we’ll take a closer look at the ew 100 G3 systems to see what makes them unique. People that know a thing or two about wireless microphone systems can glance at a wireless receiver and partially determine how reliable it will be. What they’re doing is counting how many antennas the receiver has. One antenna means that the receiver is “non-diversity,” and therefore not as reliable. Having two antennas means that the receiver is “diversity,” and therefore more reliable. The idea behind this is that when one antenna starts to falter and lose reception, the second antenna seamlessly takes over if it’s receiving a stronger signal.

If you glance at the Sennheiser EK 100 receiver, you only see one antenna. However, if you write it off as a non-diversity system, you are mistaken. The EK 100 features a technology called “adaptive diversity,” which utilizes the connected output cable as the second antenna, making it a diversity receiver. By using the ground connection of its output as the link to a second antenna, it provides improved reception and reliability.

Another factor that sets this system apart is its adjustable squelch. The EK 100 receiver always listens for a pilot tone sent by the transmitter, however, you will never hear the pilot tone in your audio. When the receiver loses contact with the pilot tone, it mutes its audio output. This is done to keep unwanted noise, such as static interference, from being sent into the camera. The sensitivity of the receiver’s ability to listen for the pilot tone, which is referred to as squelch,  can be adjusted up or down, and turned off completely, depending on your needs. 

You can also enable an “Auto Lock” feature on the transmitters, which prevents their settings from accidentally being adjusted when the transmitter is being handled by your subjects. All of the ew 100 G3 transmitters have Mute switches on them, so the talent can disable their mic when they need privacy. The Sennheiser ew 100 G3 transmitters have an output power of 30 mW, which makes them more reliable at close distances, and gives them greater range at further distances.

All of the ew 100 transmitters and the EK 100 receiver feature a nicely sized, orange backlit display, and they all operate on two AA batteries. It’s also possible to run them with separately rechargeable BA 2015G2 battery packs, if you also have the separately available L2015G2 charging station. Both the EK 100 receiver and the SK 100 transmitters feature tough, metallic bodies, because working in the field puts great demands on your equipment, and wireless systems in particular tend to take a beating. The life of a beltpack transmitter is a rough one.

Get to Know the ew 100 G3 Kits

The separate components of the Sennheiser ew 100 G3 systems are available individually, but it usually makes a lot more sense to purchase them as a kit. As I mentioned earlier, the Sennheiser ew 112-p G3 supplies you with a complete wireless lavalier system for a video camera, and it’s available in one of three frequency groups: A, B, or G. You are given the option of the three frequency groups because different geographical locations have different levels of congestion on the airwaves. You can search your area code at this link to see what the spectrum traffic looks like in your location. The ew 112-p G3 kits include an SK 100 beltpack transmitter, an EK 100 receiver, an ME-2 lavalier microphone, output cables, mounting hardware and AA batteries.

These kits come with the omni-directional ME-2 lavalier microphone, which serves as another factor that make the Sennheiser ew 112-p G3 kits a popular choice. Users are typically very satisfied with the sonic performance of the ME-2. There are other microphones available from Sennheiser and other notable brands that all feature the correct locking mini-plug connector that’s compatible with this system, so if you want to upgrade the microphone, you can do so.

Using a lavalier microphone with an omni-directional pickup pattern is usually the best way to go in video production. When the person that's wearing the lavalier turns their head while they’re speaking, the dip in volume is smoother when you’re using an omni-directional lavalier mic. However, in certain situations, you may prefer to use a lavalier microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern, which can help block out unwanted environmental noise. That’s why Sennheiser offers the ME-4 cardioid lavalier as a separate purchase, or it can be had in the ew 122 G3 kits, which are available in groups A, B or G. The ME-4 is also available in the ew 122-p G3 kit, which includes the SKP 300 plug-on transmitter, which is capable of supplying phantom power to condenser microphones.

If you're not familiar, plug-on transmitters are somewhat unusual looking at first. They can be attached to the base of a non-wireless handheld interview microphone, such as the Sennheiser MD46, making it wireless. Because the input sensitivities of the Sennheiser transmitters can be adjusted to accept a line-level signal, you can connect the output of an audio mixer to a plug-on transmitter as well. This is useful for sending a wedding DJ’s feed wirelessly to a video camera.

In addition to the factory kits from Sennheiser, B&H offers a variety of additional kits that are built around the ew 112-p and ew 100 G3 Combo kits. For users who need to operate two separate wireless mics, B&H offers the ew 100 ENG G3 Dual Wireless Basic Kit, which bundles two complete G3 systems, one SKP 100 plug-on transmitter, a handheld interview mic, a watertight case as well as a holster case for the SKP 100, and a V-Bracket—which enables you to mount two EK 100 receivers to a single camera shoe. The Dual Wireless Basic Kit is available in frequency groups A, B, and G.

Every Sennheiser G3 kit enables you to connect to a variety of cameras and other kinds of audio equipment. Two different kinds of output cables are included. You get a mini-plug output cable for connecting to video-enabled DSLRs and consumer video cameras, and you get an XLR output cable for connecting to professional video cameras. The included cables connect to the locking mini-plug output on the EK 100 G3 receiver, and they’re the perfect length for camera mounting. The CA 2 accessory is also included, which enables you to mount the EK 100 receiver to a camera’s shoe.

Thanks for checking out this B&H InDepth article. If you have any questions about Sennheiser wireless systems, you can discuss them in person with a B&H Sales Professional at our SuperStore in New York City, you can give us a call at 1-800-606-6969, or you can join us online for a Live Chat. You're also encouraged to submit a Comment below.

EK 100 Receiver
Modulation Wideband FM
Frequency Ranges 516-558, 566-608, 626-668
Receiving Frequencies 1680, tunable in steps of 25 kHz
20 frequency banks, each with up to 12 factory-preset channels, intermodulation free
1 frequency bank with up to 12 user-programmable channels
Switching Bandwidth 42 MHz
Nominal/Peak Deviation ±24 kHz  / ±48 kHz
Receiver Principle Adaptive Diversity
Sensitivity With HDX, peak deviation: < 4µV, typ. 1.6 µV for 52 dBA rms S/N
Adjacent Channel Rejection Typ. ≥ 65 dB
Intermodulation Attenuation Typ. ≥ 65 dB
Blocking ≥ 70 dB
Squelch Off, Low: 5 dBµV, Middle: 15 dBµV, High: 25 dBµV
Pilot Tone Squelch Can be switched off
Compander System Sennheiser HDX
S/N Ratio 1 mV, peak deviation = ≥60 dBA
THD ≤0.9%
AF Output Voltage At peak deviation, 1 kHz AF: 3.5mm jack socket: +11 dBu (mono, unbalanced)
Adjustment Range of Audio Output Level 42 dB, adjustable in steps of 6 dB
Temperature Range  -10 ˚C to +55 ˚C
Power Supply 2 x AA batteries, 1.5V or BA 2015 Accupack
Nominal Voltage 2.4V
Power Consumption At nominal voltage: typ. 140 mA
With switched-off receiver: ≤25 µA


  SK 100 Beltpack Transmitter SKP 100 Plug-On Transmitter
Modulation Wideband FM Wideband FM
Frequency Ranges 516-558, 566-608, 626-668 516-558, 566-608, 626-668
Transmission Frequencies 1680, tunable in steps of 25 kHz
20 frequency banks, each with up to 12 factory-preset channels, intermodulation free
1 frequency bank with up to 12 user-programmable channels
1680, tunable in steps of 25 kHz
20 frequency banks, each with up to 12 factory-preset channels, intermodulation free
1 frequency bank with up to 12 user-programmable channels
Switching Bandwidth 42 MHz 42 MHz
Nominal/Peak Deviation ±24 kHz  / ±48 kHz ±24 kHz  / ±48 kHz
Frequency Stability ≤±15 ppm ≤±15 ppm
RF Output Power at 50Ω Typ. 30 mW Typ. 30 mW
Pilot Tone Squelch Can be switched off Can be switched off
Compander System Sennheiser HDX Sennheiser HDX
AF Frequency Response Microphone: 80Hz - 18kHz
Line: 25Hz - 18kHz
Microphone: 80Hz - 18kHz
S/N Ratio 1 mV, peak deviation = ≥110 dBA 1 mV, peak deviation = ≥110 dBA
THD ≤0.9% ≤0.9%
Max. Input Voltage 3 Vrms 3.3 Vrms
Input Impedance 40 kΩ, unblanaced / 1 MΩ 60 kΩ, unblanaced
Input Capacitance Switchable N/A
Adjustment Range of Input Sensitivity 60 dB, adjustable in steps of 3 dB 48 dB, adjustable in steps of 6 dB
Temperature Range  -10 ˚C to +55 ˚C  -10 ˚C to +55 ˚C
Power Supply 2 x AA batteries, 1.5V or BA 2015 Accupack 2 x AA batteries, 1.5V or BA 2015 Accupack
Nominal Voltage 2.4V 2.4V
Current Consumption At nominal voltage: typ. 180 mA (30 mW)
With switched-off transmitter: ≤25 µA
At nominal voltage: typ. 180 mA (30 mW)
With switched-off transmitter: ≤25 µA
Operating Time Typ. 8 hours Typ. 8 hours
Dimensions 3.2 x 2.52 x 0.94" (82 x 64 x 24mm) 4.13 x 1.7 x 1.7" (105 x 43 x 43mm)
Weight 0.35 lb (160 g) 0.43 lb (195 g)

Add new comment

***** I have a question concerning purchase strategy regarding Sennheiser system. I currently have a EM100 Receiver (Freq Range: A2 518-554MHz) and an e815 microphone transmitter. I am thinking about purchasing another Sennheiser system from B&H for use with my DSLR in order to conduct video interviews. Should I purchase Sennheiser system that uses the same Freq Range as my EM100 receiver OR should I purchase one with Freq Range B or G? I am just trying to figure out the best course of action in the long run. I am leaning towards getting a system in the same Frequ Range so I will have the option of using my EM100 receiver with the new transmitters... Any suggestions??? Thanks!

What would I need to have 2 wireless lavs? For example having 2 people talking to each other both mic'd with their own lav.

I will also be using an H4n or H6 for the recording

two sets of lavs. tuned to seperate freq.

I currently have a Sennheiser EW 112P G3-B omni-directional EW system that I connect to my Nikon D7100. However I now need to be able to record two audios simultaneously. What would be the best way to go about this? Purchasing another Sennheiser EW 112P G3-B omni-directional EW system? Will the camera record the sound for both? Do they need to be on different frequencies?

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

you are getting into second system recording when you need to record two sources at once. I am not familiar with your DSLR but I am pretty sure it does not have two audio inputs... Best to buy a second lav kit and a way to record them. Yes they need to be tuned to separate freq. and get used to using something as a slate sound at the head or tail of your recording to help in the edit.

Hi,

I have this set (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/618739-REG/Sennheiser_EW_112P_G3_A...) that I purchased from B&H about a year ago. Therefore, I do not have the "SKP 100 G3 plug-in transmitter". My question is, is it possible to use the body pack transmitter included in the above package with any other regular wired standard dynamic microphone with a 3-pin XLR connection? (and, if yes, does it have to be a Sennheiser mic?)

Many thanks in advance and looking forward to returning with my order!

/Fredrik

Any Hand Held mic that does not require phantom power will work. XLR to mini locking cable. 

I need to know if a Sennheiser Rcvr in Group A2 shares any frequencies with a Rcvr on Band A.  What was the purpose of A2 if not?  Why not label the A2 Band with any other unused letter for that matter? 

Hi Lester -

The A2 frequency is  (518-554 MHz).  The A frequency is (516-558 MHz). Sennheiser can use any naming convention they please since the series of products using A2 are now discontinued.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com