Shipping Off – Tascam’s DR-10X


Q I own a brand-name, lower-end wireless lavalier system. I’m looking to upgrade to something that’s not plastic and of higher build quality with better sound. Anything new I should take a listen to?
George V.
Via email

A For years, Lectrosonics’ wireless microphone systems have been used on numerous feature films and television series, and at live sound venues, as well. I occasionally rent Lectrosonics systems, and the sound is always better, with less hiss and more dynamic range and, best of all, the metal cases are really tough. Lectrosonics wireless systems are built with mil-spec precision. Recently, the company introduced their latest wireless microphone system, the L Series. The system I auditioned consisted of the LR receiver, the LMb transmitter, the M152/5P lavalier mic and the LRSHOE camera mount for the receiver, a TA3F to XLRM cable and a zippered transportation case.

As you may or may not know, the FCC has been selling off RF spectrum for the past decade, largely to cellular providers and television broadcasters. The new L Series units all share a wide tuning range of three standard Lectrosonics blocks, or 67.5 to 76.8 MHz, depending on the specific frequency band, and employ Lectrosonics’ patented Digital Hybrid Wireless® technology for compander-free audio along with compatibility modes for interoperability with older analog systems. This means that the L Series features up to 3,072 selectable frequencies. As bandwidth for wireless systems has shrunk, capabilities like this can be a real lifesaver, especially when shooting in crowded metro areas, where there tends to be a lot of interference, impeding your ability to record clean wireless audio.

I found the receiver and transmitter to be small, lightweight and rugged, and I really liked the new graphic LCD and membrane switch interface—it made navigating all of the options offered on the system simple and quick. Lack of space precludes me from listing all of the L Series specs, but the one you may be most interested in is cost.

Lectrosonics systems have traditionally varied from $3,200 to over $4,000 per channel, which has reserved their purchase from most non-pro sound mixers. The L Series that I tested was purchased for $1,998—not inexpensive, but at almost half the cost of Lectrosonics’ higher-end systems, you should take a listen to hear the difference between the L Series and your current system. The Lectrosonics LR/LMb wireless mic system costs quite a bit more than what you have, but it’s more robust, metal-cased and features cleaner, clearer sound quality.

16 CFR Part 255 Disclosure: Tascam and Lectrosonics didn’t compensate me to write this article. The companies didn’t send me review units to try out the hardware; I evaluated the Tascam DR-10X that I purchased at retail and rented the Lectrosonics system from a local audio rental house. No material connection exists between the manufacturers mentioned in the article and myself.

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