Sennheiser AVX is a great wireless system – but not with DPA lavs

Tip: power AVX receiver with a cellphone backup battery

Tip: power AVX receiver all day with a cellphone backup battery

I recently took advantage of Sennheiser’s trade-in program for wireless mics in the 600Mhz range. I was able to get $100 bucks from Sennheiser for trading in my soon-to-be illegal G3 wireless package for a fancy new Sennheiser AVX system, lured by its simplicity. I figured it would be a real beast paired with my DPA D:screet 4061 mic. And I was right. But not in a good way.

Turns out the the DPA 4061 turns the AVX into a virtual theremin. If you move the cable anywhere near the antenna, you get humming and buzzing interference. That would be fine if you were creating sound effects for Gravity, but not so great if you just want clean dialog.

It appears the culprit is the thinly shielded cable on the DPA 4061, which is no match for the transmitter on the AVX. The problem disappears when you plug in the OEM mic from Sennheiser, which sports a thicker rubber coating.

Another gotcha with the AVX is that the receiver only lasts 3 hours before needing a recharge. So unless you plug in while recording, you’re likely to need extra of those $50 Sennheiser proprietary batteries. I thought I’d found a clever solution by powering the receiver from the same battery that powers my Sound Devices MixPre-3 mixer/recorder. But turns out that causes interference too. So my solution is to use a portable cellphone battery recharging stick to power the AVX receiver while I’m working. Luckily, the AVX receiver can take a charge in this way at the same time that it is operating, so this works great, even if it is a little unwieldily with all the cables.

If I’d known all of this when I bought the mic, I probably would have waited for the forthcoming Sennheiser G4 wireless. Because you can’t beat the sound of the DPA D:Screet mics.

 

7 thoughts on “Sennheiser AVX is a great wireless system – but not with DPA lavs

  1. CY

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for sharing. If I base on your findings that DPA 4061 doesn’t work well with the AVX system, I guess the rest of the typical lav or headset microphones with thinly shielded cables will also not work too. There may be less interference if you try to wrapshield a portion of the cable near the antenna, or lengthen it slightly with a quality shielded cable.

    Reply
    1. Dan McComb Post author

      Hi Cy,
      If you have some kind of wrap that you can use to shield the cable, it seems like that might work. If you end up trying that out and it works, let me know your solution – would love to put my DPA mic back to work with the AVX.

      Reply
      1. Dan McComb Post author

        Yeah I have a standard AVX wireless kit, so nothing unusual about my setup on the Sennheiser side. The DPA mic I have is a 4061 – maybe there’s something odd about how those are wired relative to yours? I know DPA makes them for a whole variety of applications, and maybe there’s a specific kind you have to buy for use with the AVX.

        Reply
  2. Aljosa

    Hi,

    I have other horrible experience with the AVX system, which I’ve purchased bcs it’s form factor, which is very important in my working environment. So, I was quite unpleasantly surprised when I’ve found that noise levels of this model are almost at the verge of unacceptable. There is constant hum/noise whenever this unit is turned on. First I thought it was the camera (Canon C200), so I’ve checked it with my B camera (Panasonic GH5s) and it was just the same. Then I thought it is about the microphone, and I’ve did tests with different Sennheiser lavalier mics and the noise was there. Then turned off transmitter and only left receiver on, and nose was there. Tried to change the audio settings on cameras, no positive results.

    So, bottom line, I love the form factor, but I hate that noise which restricts using this system only in the outdoors areas, while for doing interviews in quiet surrounding this is just rubbish for me, and in those cases I’m using only my “old” G3 eW100 system.

    Reply
    1. Dan McComb Post author

      Hi Alijosa,
      I would send it back to Sennheiser for inspection. You definitely shouldn’t have that kind of constant noise floor with the AVX. Something’s not right on your unit.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.