Audio / Tips and Solutions

Purchasing and Setting Up Multiple Sennheiser G3 Wireless Microphone Systems

         

When you buy a single Sennheiser ew 100 G3 wireless microphone system and set it up, it will typically work really well right out of the box. However, if you buy two wireless systems and try to use them both without adjusting the settings, there’s a good chance you’ll run into trouble. This article was created to provide you with clear instructions on how to operate more than one Sennheiser G3 wireless system simultaneously.

The following analogy explains why it’s necessary to adjust a few settings in order to use multiple wireless microphone systems. Wireless microphone transmitters are like little radio stations that fit into your pocket, and just like big radio stations, they cannot transmit signals on the same channel without interfering with one another. This is the most basic rule of using multiple wireless microphones: separate systems need to operate on different channels. When I say “system,” I mean one microphone, one transmitter, and one receiver.

Unfortunately, simply making sure that the various systems you’re using are switched to different channels isn’t a foolproof way to avoid interference. Even when multiple wireless microphone systems are tuned in to different channels, they can still interfere with one another, thanks to a pesky phenomenon called intermodulation.

The technical definition of intermodulation is, well, heavily technical. All you need to know about intermodulation is that it’s a real pitfall that exists, and you need to take measures to avoid it. Steering around intermodulation issues is a pain in the neck with other wireless systems, but thankfully, Sennheiser has made this process really easy.

The ew 100 G3 systems feature 20 Banks of Presets, with each Bank offering 12 Presets. The Presets were intentionally chosen by Sennheiser so that they can be used together without experiencing intermodulation issues. So, the most important rule for using multiple Sennheiser G3 systems at the same time is this: make sure that every system in use is in the same Frequency Range, and tuned into the same Bank.

In the United States, Sennheiser G3 systems are available in three different Frequency Ranges: A (516 to 558 MHz), B (626 to 668 MHz) and G (566 to 608 MHz). If you plan on using more than one system at the same time, it’s strongly advisable to purchase systems that operate in the same Frequency Range, specifically so that intermodulation issues can be resolved.

Here’s a solid workflow to stick with every time you work with multiple G3 systems:

1) At the beginning of a shoot, turn on one of your EK 100 G3 receivers and press the Set button to enter into its Menu Mode.

2) Using the Arrow Keys, navigate to the Easy Setup option in the Menu, and press Set once to enter it.

3) Using the Arrow Keys again, navigate to the Scan New List option in the Easy Setup Menu, and press Set once to enter it.

4) The EK 100 Receiver will carry out its scanning procedure at this point. A progress bar will slowly move across its display. The entire process takes around 55 seconds to complete.

5) When the scan is finished, the screen on the EK 100 receiver will display the number of “Free” Presets that are available in each Bank.

6) Press the Arrow Keys and scroll through the 12 Banks to see how many Free channels are available in each one.

7) Choose the Bank that offers the largest number of free channels by pressing Set. For example, when I performed a scan when writing this article, Bank 3 happened to offer 9 free channels, so that Bank was the best choice for me. The Bank with the most free channels will be the most clear of interference.

Please Note: The reason you should perform the process of “Scan New List” every time you work is to see what the RF traffic looks like in the area in which you’re working. It’s advisable to perform this scan every time you travel to a new location. Even if you’re working in the same location all the time, routine scanning is still really beneficial. You never know when RF interference will invade the airwaves around you, and performing this process helps you steer clear of issues every time.    

8) Now that you’ve scanned and selected a new Preset channel on which to operate your receiver, you now must Sync this new Preset Channel to one of your ew 100 transmitters. Turn the Power on for the transmitter that you want to Sync with this receiver.

9) Press the Set button once on your EK 100 receiver (putting it in to Menu mode).

10) Press the Arrow Keys until Sync is displayed, and press the Set button again to enter into Sync mode. The word “sync” with a black triangle graphic will fill the display of the EK 100 receiver.

11) With the battery doors open on both the EK 100 receiver and your Sennheiser G3 transmitter, hold the two units face to face, one foot away from each other, or closer. When the infrared beam from the EK 100 successfully syncs the new channel, a check mark will appear beside the word “sync” on its display, and the receiver will return to Menu mode.

12) The receiver and the transmitter will now be operating on the same Preset Channel. You can exit the Menu mode on the receiver by quickly pressing the On/Off button, or by using the arrow keys to navigate to the Exit option in the menu, and pressing Set.

Tips

If you’re syncing the EK 100 receiver with the SKP 100 Plug-on transmitter or a SKM 100 handheld transmitter, you don’t need to open the battery door in order to sync with the receiver, because the infared sensor is already exposed beside the LCD screen.

One of the options in the Main Menu of the EK 100 receiver is “Name.” If you select this in the Menu by pressing Set, you can change the name that’s displayed on the screen, by pressing the Arrow Keys and selecting characters with the Set button (the factory default name is “ew100 G3”). Now, when you Sync with a transmitter, both the custom Name that you chose and the Preset Channel will be synced to the transmitter. When you’re using more than one system at the same time, this custom name will help you keep track of which transmitter is synced with which receiver.

So far in the first 12 steps, we performed a scan and determined which Bank had the most free channels, we set our receiver to a new channel and we synced one of our transmitters so that it's operating on the same Bank and Preset as the receiver that performed the scan. Now we must get our second G3 wireless system up and running.

13) Turn on the Power of your other EK 100 receiver by pressing the On/Off button.

14) Press the Set button to enter into its Menu Mode.

15) You are going to perform a new scan with the other receiver. You simply repeat Steps 2 through 4 with this receiver. Please note: keep the other wireless system powered up and running as you perform this scan.

16) When the scan is complete, use the Arrow Keys on the EK 100 receiver, and navigate to the Bank that you selected on your other wireless system (in my case, I chose Bank 3 with the first system, because it offered the most free channels, so now I must set the second to Bank 3 as well). Press Set to select the Bank.

17) Using the Arrow Keys, select the Channel Preset that you would like to use in this Bank. If you left your other system powered on when you performed this scan as instructed, then you can’t choose a bad channel from these Presets. Since your other system was powered on when the scan was performed, that channel will not be available as a choice in your second system.

18) Press Set on the receiver to store the new Bank and new Channel Preset. The word “STORED” will appear on its display.

19) Now you need to Sync this receiver with your other transmitter. Repeat steps 9 through 12 with this system.

You now have two separate Sennheiser G3 systems operating on Preset Channels that are free of RF interference, and free of intermodulation-distortion issues. If you want to operate more than two systems, repeat steps 13 through 19 with your other Sennheiser G3 wireless systems. Remember, in order for your systems to be free of intermodulation issues, the various G3 systems in use all need to be in the same Frequency Range, and set to the same Bank.

Thanks for checking out this B&H InDepth article. If you have any more questions about how to use Sennheiser G3 wireless systems, you can visit our SuperStore in New York City and speak to a B&H sales professional, you can give us a call at 1-800-606-6969 or join us online for a Live Chat.

EK 100 Receiver
Modulation Wideband FM
Frequency Ranges 516-558, 566-608, 626-668
Receiving Frequencies 1680, tunable in steps of 25kHz
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 42MHz
Nominal/Peak Deviation ±24kHz  / ±48kHz
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, 1kHz 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 25kHz
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 25kHz
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 42MHz 42MHz
Nominal/Peak Deviation ±24kHz  / ±48kHz ±24kHz  / ±48kHz
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)

Discussion 32

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Is it possible to sync multiple transmitters to one receiver? For instance, if you want to mic several presenters, would each need their own separate system, or could you set all of their transmitters to one frequency and have only one receiver on that same frequency?

Hi Yasmine -

Only one transmitter can synced with a receiver.  A single transmitter may broadcast to multiple receivers, however.

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

Thank you very much for this extremely easy to understand tutorial. Incredibly helpful and worked a treat.

Thanks for reading, kim!

Why do you advise repeatedly performing full scan when setting up multiple systems? If the first system you set up says there are 9 available presets in Bank 3, why not pick Bank 3 Preset 1 for system one, and then manually select Bank 3 Preset 2, Bank 3 Preset 3 etc for subsequent systems. What is the advantage of taking the extra time to perform a full scan for each system when you advise selecting the same Bank for all systems?

Hi Claude -

This is a tried-and-true workflow recommended by Sennheiser engineers and working professionals who use this system on a daily basis.  Trying to save a few minutes by  skipping this step may cause incalculable pain and regret.  Please Note: The reason you should perform the process of “Scan New List” every time you work is to see what the RF traffic looks like in the area in which you’re working. It’s advisable to perform this scan every time you travel to a new location. Even if you’re working in the same location all the time, routine scanning is still really beneficial. You never know when RF interference will invade the airwaves around you, and performing this process helps you steer clear of issues every time.    

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

Thanks for the reply, Mark. I should point out that I'm not questioning the wisdom of performing the process of "Scan New List" every time one works, or every time one changes location. That makes perfect sense. What I'm asking is why one should do it repeatedly in the same location at the same time when using multiple systems.

Hi Claude -

As you add systems you may need to change the set-up.  It is important to follow the prescribed set-up.  The extra few minutes can save a world of hurt!

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

WHAT IS NEED OF TO SYNC TRANSMITTER AND RECEIVER IN RF MICS?

Hi -

We have an excellent article that will help you understand the set-up:

Sennheiser ew 100 G3 Wireless Mics: How to Scan Frequencies and Set Levels

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

Hi guys. I reside in Dubai and have the EW 100 G3 lav mic transmitter and receiver set up. I wanted to purchase a wireless mic to use (not at the same time) with my existing reciever. However my home country is UK so I bought one from there hoping to get it sent over. However before I have recieved it, I've seen that my receivers are Band C 734-776 Mhz and the mic is Band GB 606-648. Will the mic I have now bought work with my receiver? or is there a workaround? Thanks

Hi Inayat -

You will need to carefully match up your system to the handheld transmitter.  We do not offer Sennheiser products for the UK or Dubai.  We are restricted by Sennheiser from selling or shipping their products outside the USA.  Please contact Sennheiser UK or Middle East for assistance:

http://en-uk.sennheiser.com/service-support-home

Sennheiser Middle East

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

We have two EW 100 G3's for a question and answer interview to take place where I need the audio to feed to my Nikon D7200. What should I use to connect the two G3 receivers to the 1/8" mic input on my DSLR? Will that even work on the D7200? Thanks.

Hi Scott -

Use a small on-camera mixer/audio adapter:

The DXA-POCKET Compact Audio Adapter by Beachtek is a two-channel, compact audio adapter for camcorders or DSLR cameras. It is used in various environments for audio applications by providing two mono unbalanced mini-jack inputs and one stereo mini-jack input connector. It allows you to connect wireless mics, small self-powered mics, external audio mixers and more to your camera. It features a low-noise preamplifier with dual trim controls to adjust the signal levels independently. In addition, a VU meter is featured and allows you to set precise recording levels for optimum results. The output is an unbalanced stereo mini-jack connector with a detachable stereo cable.

The DXA-POCKET is rugged and built with an extruded aluminum chassis, and has an integrated mounting shoe that allows you to attach a wireless receiver or a hand grip with the supplied rubber insert. Its compact size fits under or over the camera for plenty of flexibility. A 3.5mm to 3.5mm output cable is included along with a brass mounting foot, bolt, Allen wrench, two mounting shoes, and four slotted screws.

Front panel power switch and power LED to indicate battery condition

Easy to read VU level meters indicate proper signal levels at a glance

Two mono mini-jack input connectors and one stereo mini-jack input connector

Integrated front mounting shoe / grip

Trim controls adjust the signal levels independently on each channel

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

Can you change the audio output from mono to stereo?

Hi Julie -

The output is mono on a TRS output.  It cannot be changed.  Perhaps your input device has the ability to double the mono feed and create a double -mono track.  Or the mono recording can be doubled in post.

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

Great Article! I have a question though. How do I connect two receivers to one camera. I want to use two systems to record a two people interview but I want the audio from two microphones to get into one camera. Do I need a splitter or an adapter for that? 

Hi Greg -

It would depend upon the camera of course. If your camera offers dual XLR inputs - then just plug each receiver in with the supplied XLR cable. If your camera only offers a single stereo 1/8" (3.5mm) microphone inuyt - then you will need an audio adapter:

The Beachtek MCC-2 2-Channel Audio Adapter and Bracket is designed to attach to your DSLR camera and allows you to send two mono or one stereo audio source to your camera's audio input. It has two mono 1/8" inputs with individual trim control knobs as well as a stereo 1/8" input. A mono/stereo switch controls whether the two mono or one stereo input is active. It connects to your DSLR camera via a 1/8" stereo mini-jack output, and works ideally with cameras that have a headphone output to allow you to monitor your audio.

The body of the MCC-2 has three integrated mounting shoes to attach a variety of mics or wireless receivers to the unit. The MCC-2 itself will fit on any DSLR or camcorder that has a standard mounting shoe. It has passive operation, and thus requires no batteries or power source.

Expand the number of items able to be mounted to your camera's hot shoe with the 8" Cold Shoe Extension from Vello. It features a 8" aluminum rail raised about 1.5" above the camera's shoe and supports multiple shoe-mounted accessories, including self-powered lighting, audio equipment, and more. The extension's shoe mount also includes a 3/8" threaded male bolt with 1/4"-20 female threads for alternate mounting options.

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

Thank you soooo much, Sam! I can stop pulling out my hair because of unexpected frequency noise. Now we can breathe easy, knowing people will not be startled during church service by embarrassing sound trash when we attempt to use a second mic. Now, Sam, I will install our 3rd mic system. Blessings to you!

Very good article, thank you :)

I do have a couple of questions however,

Do any of the Frequencies (ABG) currently available from Sennheiser (These wireless models in particular) conflict with Canadian Radio Frequencies Allocations?

Is there any advantage to buy one frequency range over another, say if I was to buy frequency range G for example, would I be less likely to incur intermodulation from other (close by) wireless Sennheiser devices being used by other users, using A or B? I susspect from the article I would be more likely to have intermodulation from users of A or B if I was using G. So assuming the more popular bought frequency range was A, would A be the range to go with to avoid possible intermodulation from other users?

Thank you, hope I made sense.

We do not know what the frequency response will be for Sennheiser wireless systems purchased in the U.S. when in use in Canada, frequency bandwidth allocation is regulated by the goverment of each country and we have no access to that information. In our experience, if you purchase a Sennheiser wireless system in the U.S. and try to use in Canada, 3 issues may arise:

a) Wireless distance range will be reduced to a 3rd of the maximum distance ( from 300ft, down to 100ft on average)

b) The Auto-scanning mode will be disabled.

c) The squelch mode will be disabled.

There is no advantage in choosing one frequency group over another, the feature set is the same;  this factor is only important if you are going to deploy more than 3 wireless system on a single location at the same time, in which case we suggest to select different frequency groups p/ single system.

NOTE: There are no intermodulation issues as far as we are aware.

Yossi O wrote:

There is no advantage in choosing one frequency group over another, the feature set is the same;  this factor is only important if you are going to deploy more than 3 wireless system on a single location at the same time, in which case we suggest to select different frequency groups p/ single system.

Hi

Many tthanks to Sam mallery for this useful articles.

I am planning to buy couple of wireless system for talent mic as well as for communication when needed. This article covers exectly what i need about selecting frequency bands for multiple systems. But i couldnt relate the comment mentioned above with 

"If you plan on using more than one system at the same time, it’s strongly advisable to purchase systems that operate in the same Frequency Range, specifically so that intermodulation issues can be resolved"

described in the main article. 
 

Can you please help selecting frequency bands for 4-6 systems for a single location at the same time. 
note that i own 2 systems from Range A. 

Looking forward...

Hi Dipu -

Please note:

Receiving Frequencies 1680, tunable in steps of 25kHz
20 frequency banks, each with up to 12 factory-preset channels, intermodulation free
1 frequency bank with up to 12 user-programmable channels.

So in a perfect world, up to 12 systems could be used on frequency  A, B, or G.  You will need to use the

Sennheiser Frequency Finder

tool to determine the commercial broadcast TV activity in your geographic area.  Be aware that the systems we offer are deigned for use in the USA only.

To help select an appropriate operating frequency range for wireless microphones and wireless IEM systems for your geographical area we offer a tool on our website called the Frequency Finder: (http://en-us.sennheiser.com/service-support-frequency-finder).

From the control panel in the upper left corner of the page type in your zip code and click on your town or city from the pop-up list. Once the zip code is entered and the town/city selected then click SEND. The Frequency Finder queries the FCC database and reports back a list of broadcast facilities and their relative signal strengths at your location (determined by power and distance).

The results of the Frequency Finder should be interpreted as follows:

- "white" = indicates strong broadcast facility signals that might disrupt your system and would likely cause issues if these frequencies were to be used.
- "yellow" = indicates weak broadcast facility signals that should be able to be worked around to find some available frequencies to use.
- "green" = indicates vacancies (ie: no broadcast facility signals) and should result in plenty of available frequencies to use.

NOTE: Once the Frequency Finder results list has been generated a new drop down menu labelled RANGE will appear just above the RESET and SEND buttons. From the RANGE drop down menu you can select the product range that you are interested in and once a product range is selected the different operating frequency ranges of the selected product range will overlay on the Frequency Finder results list as a pale BLUE HIGHLIGHT so you can see where the frequency ranges fall. From here you can review the Frequency Finder results list to determine what operating frequency range would be optimal for your region. 

The default settings of the Frequency Finder are set for general use both indoors and outdoors. If the initial results list doesn't appear to show any available frequencies try changing the "ATT" drop down menu from 30 dB to 40 dB and the color indicators for available frequencies will adjust accordingly.

NOTE: In a vacant television channel you can operate up to 8 wireless microphone systems or about 6 wireless IEM systems.

NOTE: All frequencies above 700MHz are reserved by the government to facilitate the use of internet capable mobile devices. Government regulations prohibit the sale and use of equipment that operates in these frequencies in the United States.

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

Hi everyone!

So I just got the package combo where I have one transmitter and one receiver.  Is it possible for me to buy a second transmitter and have both mics synced up to the same receiver?  I would really hate to buy a second mic/transmitter/receiver combo if I don't have to.  I basically want to have two people mic'd up with this setup somehow.

Thanks in advance!

No a secondary transmitter on the same frequency will only interfere with the first transmitter's signal.  The only way to have two transmitters is if you have a dual channel receiver.  That would then be able to read the two frequencies at the same time.  If it is a single channel receiver, then it can only read one channel at a time.

Great advice! Is there a reason or advantage to perform the scan from the body pack or handheld instead of from the rack unit itself?

Thanks!
 

Hi Josh -

This article is describing portable bodypack/camera-mountable systems (Sennheiser ew 100 G3), so rack receivers were not part of this discussion.  If using a rack receiver - similar instructions would apply.

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

HELLO. HAPPY NEW YEAR. I M INTERESTING FOR THIS PRODUCT. I WANNA BUY 2 WIRELESS BODYPOCKET WITH THEIR RECEIVERS. CAN YOU TELL ME HOW MUCH ITS COST ? THANK YOU .

At the end of this article there is a small section entitled "Items discussed in this article".  You may there click on any of the items and it will take you to the product link for them on our website, where it will list the price, current availability and other product details. From there you may add the items to your shopping cart on our site, and it will then list the shipping options, descriptions/time frames and costs to your location and will calculate the total based on any shipping method you choose. 

Sam,

Thanks for this. It is exactly what I was looking for. I'm going to be using these during an upcoming movie shoot.

Steve Crabill

For years the rumor was to buy different frequency ranges, i.e., "A" "B" "C" (now C is no more) to have different range options.

This is the first time I have heard advice to buy the same range.

Guess this advice is a function of high RF traffic areas. Here in the Tahoe area, they all work perfectly. But I will keep your advice when I move to NYC.

Thanks,

T2

Thanks for that Sam,
Great advice, I must admit I have only ever bothered to use the presets on the G3's and never had a problem, but this is a quick and easy solution for high traffic area's.

Cheers Dean

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