Hands-On Review:Sennheiser EW 300IEM G2 Wireless In-Ear Monitor System
Saving musical marriages one gig at a time
By D.J. Adams
I’m not a musical marriage counselor, but I play one in print. Let me explain. I have a good friend who handles the sound and plays drums for a popular classic rock cover band in the Midwest. The band has been together for quite a few years. But lately I’ve been hearing rumblings of discord among the four members. It seems there is a divisive issue threatening to rip them apart. I pried, suspecting that the issue might be of a spousal nature. (We all remember the disbanding of another good four-piece rock combo that could loosely be traced to one of the member’s overbearing mates.) But nope, that wasn’t it. Maybe the problem was money? I understand that’s the most prevalent cause of separations. But I was assured that wasn’t the case here.
The source of the discord was monitors. More accurately, the problem was the mix of the monitors at their performances. “They’re too loud.” “They’re not loud enough.” “Their sound is messing with the mains, dude.” The guitarist was griping to the bassist about the monitors. The keyboardist wondered if his instruments were even plugged in. All three were hounding my soundman pal, who couldn’t get off his drum throne to deal with it between each song. The situation had reached a boiling point and something had to be done.
The “magic bullet” for musical marriages
“Not a problem!” I assured my friend that the solution to his dilemma was only a toll-free phone call or a few mouse clicks away. Wireless in-ear monitor systems are certainly a “better mousetrap” and the Sennheiser EW 300IEM G2 Wireless In-Ear Personal Monitor System knocks ’em dead. Besides providing individual players with a personal monitor, the technology eliminates the need to lug around bulky floor wedges. It also dramatically reduces sound levels and feedback on the stage. Plus it should run less than my friend’s band’s bar tab for two or three gigs. I thought he would be overjoyed at my solution, but he just sort of stared blankly at me. I then realized he had not even heard what I’d said. His ears were still ringing from the band’s last gig. The monitor mix was a little too loud. Now my buddy can save his ears, save his back, and save the band.
How does it work?
Maybe you’re a performer who has never used a wireless in-ear monitor. You might be old-school like me and just not familiar with the newfangled technology. Let’s take a look at how the system works.
There are two basic components: the transmitter and the receiver. The rackmountable transmitter is powered by the included adapter or your mains unit with the DC connector. You connect your mixer to the transmitter via standard XLR jacks, then plug in your standard 1/4" plug headphones at the front of the transmitter (after adjusting the volume down low, of course), and you’re ready to monitor the incoming sound. The signal is metered by the LCD display on the transmitter’s front. The supplied antenna mounts on either the rear of the transmitter or through the supplied front rackmount kit which sends the signal to the receiver.
The compact (only 2-1/2"W x 3-3/4"H x 1-1/4"D), rugged bodypack receiver is powered either by two AA batteries or Sennheiser’s optional Accupak rechargeable battery pack and charger. Plug in the supplied in-ear headphones and you’re ready to monitor the mix. The receiver has a function that automatically scans all of its presets so there is always a clear signal. Nine frequency banks with 12 presets allow the entire band to operate multiple Sennheiser units without interference. In addition, there are 1440 selectable frequencies to choose from, making the system the most versatile in its class. You can also run multiple EK300IEMG2 bodypacks off the same transmitter signal if you wish to share a mix with another band mate. The receiver can also be switched from stereo to focus mode, which allows each musician to blend their own personal mix of two channels right from the bodypack! The transmitter adds a 19kHz pilot tone to the signal sent to the receiver. This tone squelch feature automatically mutes the receiver when the transmitter is off. This eliminates the annoying hissing sound from the receiver when no transmitter signal is present.
How does it perform?
I had no gigs scheduled, so I loaned the Sennheiser EW 300IEM G2 system to a drummer friend who plays out regularly. His band had a big weekend performance on an outdoor stage. His sound person hooked it up and they gave it a try. They reported that the sound quality was phenomenal and RF interference was nonexistent. The controls were easy to use and a few minutes with the manual was all that was needed to get up and running. The earbuds were comfortable and the little bodypack receiver was unobtrusive and solidly built. The receiver’s volume control was easily accessible and battery life was surprisingly long. Being able to adjust the receiver’s balance in Focus mode was ideal for isolating the drum overheads from the master mix. The system was a hit.
New millennium monitoring technology
You have choices in in-ear monitors and Sennheiser’s EW 300IEM G2 is a great one. Even if your band mates aren’t bickering about the sound mix, the benefits of this system are crystal clear. Superb sound quality, dependable wireless operation, lower onstage sound levels, personalized monitoring, and less equipment to lug around are just some of the advantages of the system.
- High-RF output power for extended range and reliable transmission
- Backlit LCD display on transmitter
- Audio signal metering on transmitter LCD display
- Tough metal transmitter housing
- 9 frequency banks with 12 presets each
- Automatic frequency scanning
- 1440 tunable UHF frequencies
- High-quality in-ear headphones
- Stereo to Focus (i.e., dual-mono) switch
- Pilot tone squelch for quiet operation
- Switchable hi boost
- Color-change peak warning on transmitter display
- Battery status display on receiver
- Includes IE4 earphones, AC adapter, and rack mounting kit
- Frequency ranges 518-554, 626-662, 740-776MHz
- Transmission/receiving frequencies 1,440
- Compatible frequencies per bank up to 12
- Compander HDX
- AF frequency response 40-15,000Hz
- Signal-to-noise ratio 91dB
- Pilot tone squelch 19kHz, stereo MPX (switchable) Receiver
- Scan function receiver scans one frequency bank
- Adjacent channel rejection 70dB
- Intermodulation attenuation 70dB
- Sensitivity (with HDX at peak deviation) <2.5 uV at 52dBArms S/N
- EQ preset Hi Boost (+6dB @ 10kHz)
- Dimensions 8-5/16"W x 1-1/2"H x 4-7/8"D
- RF output power (50 ohms) max. 20mW
- Max input voltage (unbalanced peak deviation) approx. 2.4 Vrms
- Dimensions 2-1/2"W x 3-3/4"H x 1-1/4"D