ENG Wireless Mic System Shootout! Only one will be left standing for my credit card to purchase.

In this video I am doing a shootout of 4 ENG Wireless Mic Systems! Only one will be left standing for my credit card to purchase.

I not a big fan of dual system sync sound. Dual sync sound is when you record audio both on your camera and on an external audio device like the Zoom H1 and then you have to sync them in post. I would rather record audio straight to the camera and skip that step in post. But in order to do that you need a very strong audio signal from the microphone so you can almost turn the preamp in the camera all the way down. Because the preamps in the Canon cameras are terrible(noisy). But when they are turned all the way down they are very clean in terms of a line level input with manual gain or using Magic Lantern. And that is what you get with most of these wireless mics, is a clean line level output to feed in to your camera.

I am going to get a lot of complaints from people saying these are too expensive (as much as a camera or lens). I have used cheap wireless systems before and for me it is just not worth it to go there. Now if you need a lav and you don’t need to go wireless and you are low on cash, I heard many videos using the Audio Technica ATR 3350 and it sounds really good for the price about $30, so that might be an option to save up for a good wireless solution like I have.

These are not inexpensive microphone systems, but they are also not the most expensive either (have you seen the LectroSonic prices?). I choose these because they are very popular and have very good reviews on them already.

Matching Audio Levels

The first test I need to do was match the audio levels on all 4 before I could start, so I used pink noise on my iphone and tried my best to match all 4 of them the best I could in terms of gain structure and their output level in post.

All was going fine until I got to the Sony, something was different so I had to investigate. I thought I was hearing a massive level difference in my voice when I talked much louder so my first thought is the Sony was handling quick transient peaks differently than the others, so I taped each to a piano because the piano has some of the quickest transient peaks I know, but they all sounded the same.

Sony UWP Wireless Compression Limiting

Then I tried using a sine wave but each one sounded fine including the Sony.

When I tested it with Pink noise again but this time I moved the iphone’s speaker in and out and I figured out the issue.  The Sony has some sort of hard compression or limiting which can be nice, but it is not listed as a feature at all in the manual. Having this compression makes it more difficult to set the gain correctly. For instance if I turn up the unit all the way and it is heavily compressing the peaks than the small items like wind coming from my nose or the mic rubbing against my shirt becomes much more noticeable.

ENG Wirless Shootout

Output Level and Noise Test

The Shure wins here by a lot. The Sennheiser and the Sony are tied and they Azden does absolutely terrible. Using the mic level out and turning my Canon 5D up to step 23 sounds quieter than using the headphone output of the receiver and the Canon 5D at audio level step 1. But still the Azden is unacceptable here, there is a lot of high frequency content to the hiss that makes it worse, it is like they are boosting the highs to make up for a crappy microphone that is rather dull, and the EQ boost in the system creates more noise in the high end.

At this point I dropped the Azden out of the running. Before I move on without the Azden, let me tell you a few items first. Most plastic feel of all of them.

The reason I included it in this shootout is because of DigitalRev TV. How does Lok at DigitalRev do it with so much noise? Perhaps because they always have a lot of background noise that drowns out the noise floor, or he uses a ton of denoiser in his NLE. Mic output on the receiver is too low and when you raise the gain on the camera to about 1/3 of the way up I get a good signal but the noise is loud. When I use the headphone jack it is too noisy, why can’t I control the headphone out?

Comes with a screw driver, which I could easily lose.

Not easy to take off the battery cover.

Massive clip for shirt, it is way too big in my opinion, hard to hide.

Wind Noise Test

The Sony and the Shure are tied for the best, and the Sennheiser comes in last. However you can buy some after market windscreens designed for the Sennheiser ME2 omni mic that should really help this issue.

Sennheiser G3 Sony UWP Shure FP Azden ENG Wireless Mic Shootout

Distance Test – Football Field

On the football field test the Sennheiser won. I didn’t hear it drop out until 110 yard mark.

The Sony did really well going to about 100 yards before dropping out a few times.

And the Shure came in last, it started cutting out at 40 yards. It didn’t work much past 80 yards.

Wireless Mic Distance Test

Rustling Clothes Test

Wear a jacket under the mic to hide it. Sennheiser and Sony tie for the win, and the Shure seems to pickup more friction sound in the upper frequencies.


Sennheiser has the best construction in my opinion, I would actually have given this to the Sony but I don’t like Sony’s battery compartment. The Shure comes in a distant 3rd place, it feels way to cheap and in dead last the Azden is very poor in comparison to the others.

Audio Quality Test

The Sennheiser and the Sony sound really good, they both have some low end and the “S” sounds don’t sound unnatural, perhaps the Sony has to much S sound. Both sound very similar.

The Shure has a little more nasal sound to it, like I have a slight cold and my nose is a little clogged.

The Azden doesn’t sound that bad if you can concentrate with all the background hiss.

Senheiser G3 Wireless System Review


You can scan for clear frequencies and sync the units quickly.

The best construction of the 4.

The quickest to set up, the most flexible in terms of gain structure which is huge.

ME2 microphone omni mic pattern.

More than 8 hours battery life.

The mic clip doesn’t rotate.

Smallest overall package, fit nicely into my camera bag.

Best construction in my opinion, I would actually have given this to the Sony but I don’t like Sony’s battery compartment.

Sony UWP Wirless System Review

Sony UWP-V1

You have to turn the unit on and off to save the audio level.

No sync function from what I could see, win for Sennheiser and Shure.

Mic/line input for use with a mixing board on the transmitter.

6 hours battery life. Only two bars on indicator want 3, that makes me nervous. But the battery it has accumulated use time which it nice!

No audio level adjustment on the receiver? Can’t hit the camera as hard as the Sennheiser, by a lot because of the compression?

I like the Sennheiser belt clips, the Sony’s seems flimsy.

When I took out the battery compartment I said oh that feels flimsy.

It has a headphone jack on the receiver which is nice, is it louder than the 5D Mark III output which means you can use iPhone headphones if you like. If you have a Canon 5D2 or a Rebel than this one might be for you since you can’t monitor the audio going in to your camera.

Cable from the receiver to the camera is a little long for a DSLR.

I don’t like having the power switches on the outside of the unit, while it is snug fit, it makes me nervous that will be be turned off when the talent wearing it.

Shure FP Wireless System Review

Shure FP

Has a very similar feature set to the Sennheiser, it’s like they copied it.

You can scan for the clearest frequency. Not a lot of feedback on after the sync, small blue light hard to see.

TA3M connector! I don’t like them.

You can get a hot signal out into the camera.

*** No feedback on the transmitter that you are over modulating!!!!!

You need a small screw driver to make an audio level adjustment, if a analog potentiometer than that will go bad after a few years and become noisy.

Very plastic feel compared to the Sony and Sennheiser.

Windscreen, two of them, and a clip that flips nicely.

Microphone is the largest, harder to hide.

Doesn’t balance well on top of the camera hot shoe.

Two year warranty.

12 hours battery life.

Azden 330 Wireless System Review

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Products Used In This Video – Find Prices

Help me make more of these types of videos by purchasing gear from the links posted on my site. It costs you nothing extra, and helps support me to make more videos.

Shure FP Wireless
Shure FP Wireless
Sennheiser G3 Wireless
Sennheiser G3 Wireless
Azden 330LT Wireless
Azden 330LT Wireless
Sony UWP Wireless
Sony UWP Wireless


  • great video dave, all of your videos are great and very informative/educational – thank you! I’ve had the G3 for a little over a year, great mice, never any problems and yes, the increase in cost is well worth it. Thanks again, I appreciate all you do.

  • Dave, I think I saw above that you couldn’t control the headphone output on your 5D III? There is a way to do that. If you play a clip and adjust the “speaker” volume with the top wheel, that will adjust the volume. There is also some kind of shortcut/key combo you can push to accomplish it, it’s in the manual somewhere.

  • Nice job Dave.

    Would you need 2 sets of these to wirelessly mic 2 individual people? If so, would you need to run into a juiced link/similar, or could you y-cable it.

    I guess it really starts to get clunky at that point, but mic-ing 2 people is a realistic necessity.

  • Great review, Dave!

    Part of me just knew that the Sennheiser would come out on top. I’ve been using their headphones for years, and no one can match their audio quality.


  • Great Review as always Dave.
    You almost bought me with the Sennheiser.
    However unless you are doing live tv transmissions or so , still think dual recording is better cause of the dropouts,
    and Audio compression 24 bit 96 khz gives you a lot of room in editing. One of your sponsors is Juiced link, People say they have great amplifiers, so you don’t have to play so much with levels in camera, The RM202
    is a model is tempting me, any chance for a review on that ?

  • Very comprehensive. Great material.
    I really dig the Joel Grimes look of your cover photo.
    Do you know him? He has a signature look similar to what you have created. Is that a composite background?

  • Hi, Dave.

    Thanks for the review.

    One thing I notice is that you seem to always have the mic antenna ‘pointing’ at the subject. I believe this is actually the part of the antenna with the least favorable reception. If you were to orient the receiver vertically, similar to the transmitter, you might find you have even better range.

    Even pointing the antenna to the side would offer you better range to the front. Pointing the antenna forwards is the worst.


    Ben Freedman

  • A fantastic clear and concise review Dave. I have been following your vids for long time, and this is one of you best.

    Thanks for the tests and great info, as always!


  • I have a BeachTek DXA-SLR Active DSLR Adapter (US$ 295) working with a The Azden WLX-PRO (US$ 184) with pristine quality. This set provide me a short range – 40ft but for my interviews its just perfect. combine, this kit has AGC disable (biggest DSLR problem), XLR adpter if you need to use some top shotgun mic), phantom power for that, real time monitoring, and the best, mono/stereo switcher.
    In resume, i can boom some shots in the wireless way, use the lapel mic with no hiss with less money.
    Just an alternative.

  • Hi Dave Great review, very clear and concise.

    If you’re looking for a new subject with Audio , may I suggest one on field recorders. Sometimes more than 2 people may need to be captured. If three people needs to be captured and your shooting wide lavaliere mics stills seems the way to go. But I am guessing one needs three sets, or I am missing something?

    Thanks Dave, enjoyed the video immensely

  • Nice review! I love my Sennheiser ME-66/67 shotgun, but have two Azden lavs. I might have to sell those and buy a couple of the G3’s instead.

    But what if you need 2/3 mics on a shoot? Thoughts on that?

  • If you didn’t have a 5D Mark III do you think the headphone monitor on the Sony would have had more impact on your decision? That seems invaluable to me and only have a T3i.

  • Very timely review for me. Will be pulling the trigger on the G3 soon – hopefully before Christmas so you can show me how to use them 🙂

  • Dave: is it possible to have 2 lines out of the receiver, one to the camera and another to my H4n as a backup?

  • Thanks for the great review! It’s amazing this area of equipment haven’t seen much change for many years now, basically similar products at a similar price point when cameras almost halve their priceses every year. I’m sorry to hear the Shure mic didn’t live up to expectations. I guess it’s not until WIFI mics get mainstream that prices hopefully go down. Since WIFI now can be built into something as small as a SD card it would seem to be possible to transmit audio this way to with better quality and safer transmission?

  • Good review. However some of the criteria are highly dependent on the particular lav mic – kind of like comparing DSLR’s using kit lenses. We use Countryman over-the-ear mics with Sony UWP’s – very different performance than the kit mic. We like it better.

  • I have the G3 system and it had an issue. I sent it back to Sennheiser. 2 Days later I received a call. They informed me that I would be receiving a new replacement in the mail next week. For that reason alone….THUMBS UP to Sennheiser!!

  • Awesome video Dave!

    I have a Canon 600D and would love to use a wireless setup to conduct video interviews.

    Can these setups be used to record 2 mics, interview style?

    What would be your preferred set up?

    Thanks so much, your site is amazing!

  • Hey Dave, I have seen your review, and definately agree with your choice of the winning system. The Sennheiser wireless system is great.

    But in the interest of informing your readers, I would urge you to try another set of the Azden system.

    I personnaly use the Azden 310LT system (single emitter), that is almost identical (except for the receiver) to the system you tried to review, and have not come across any of the problems you experienced, which leads me to believe you had a bad system or the test was a fluke.

    Furthermore, I would easily rate the Azden 310LT as a Best Bang for your buck, considering its performance and price point (a cool $250 cheaper than the Sennheiser).

    Check it out if you have a chance, and to all the viewers out there, I wouldn’t scratch Azden off your list of potential buys just yet.


  • HI Dave,
    First off very thorough review. I think I would have done part of the review differently to find the differences between the the wireless transmitters / receivers by using the same brand and model of microphone and using different microphone adapters. DPA and Countryman are two example companies that make microphones with different connectors (1/8″ vs. TA4F)

    This would probably changed your results for your audio quality, wind noise, and noise floor tests as the stock microphones that ship with the wireless systems are… let me be honest, not great quality (but I’ll submit I’m picky about mic choice). Perhaps it was the digital companding in the Azden that was causing a high noise floor, but it may have been a low quality microphone that has a high self-noise. What this also does is let you hear if the preamp in the wireless unit is coloring or distorting the incoming sound by using the same microphone.

    I don’t want to make it sound like I’m bashing your review, I think you made a great decision with the G3, I have a handful of G3 wireless IEM’s that I use and they sound great.

    As a production note, in the last few moments of your video as you’re thanking Jason I heard your voice twice as your voice was being picked up by both your mic and Jason’s mic. You can easily fix this by muting or gating his mic when not speaking. Sound travels at right about 1 foot per millisecond so it took 3 milliseconds for your voice to travel to his mic, which is why it was heard twice. It also will sound a bit cleaner as you don’t have the added noise from multiple open mics.

    Again, great review, have fun with the G3 and Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Just a vote for the Sony UWP’s – been using them for three years and never had a moment’s trouble with the battery drawers or the slider switches (which are well recessed). And the sound has always been reliably good. After using the Senny setup and picking up the fragments after a shoot at the X-Games, I opted for the bullet-proof metal in the Sony models. Thanks for reviewing an expensive but necessary category of audio gear.

  • i can vouch for the sony UWP as well. no worries on the battery door or power switch, but the foam windscreen on the mic comes off way too easily, and the mic clip is weak and worthless. i also lost one of the belt clip metal wires after the talent took off the transmitter carelessly. still, love the sound quality which is very reliable, and the head phone monitoring as an essential feature on older cameras.

  • I used the Sennheiser G3’s for 4.5 months of frontline combat footage in Afghanistan, they were amazing. Not one hiccup or issue. The construction is excellent and held up to the most demanding of enviroments. I would use these again in a heartbeat, in fact I will be in March.

  • Dave

    The simplest test for a radio mics capabilities due to their compressed frequencies is the loose change test. Take some coins and move them around in your hand in front of the lapel mic – the wide range of frequencies from the coins will test the mics capability to handle dynamic range. I think your Sony with the in built compression will fail miserably.

    See what you think – Giles

  • Hi Dave,

    First, thanks for this excellent and very thorough review.

    Regarding the Sennheiser kits, how do you know what band to choose? A, B, or G? I live in the Westminster, CO area and I found this page on the Sennheiser website: http://en-us.sennheiser.com/service-support-frequency-finder.

    It looks like there’s a lot of vacancies between 704 MHZ and 806 MHZ in my area. However, I have no idea what that means with with respect to the A, B, or G bands. Do you have any advice on how to figure this out?