Purchasing and Setting Up Multiple Sennheiser G3 Wireless Microphone Systems

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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)

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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

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

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