Hands-On Review:Sennheiser EW 300IEM G2 Wireless In-Ear Monitor System


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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.

 

Features


  • 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

Technical Specifications


    System
  • 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
    Transmitter
  • 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