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Rodelink Wireless Filmmaker Kit: Worth the Savings?

COW Blogs : Itty Bitty Video Gear Blog : Rodelink Wireless Filmmaker Kit: Worth the Savings?
Yesterday I had a customer concerned about interference he is experiencing with his RodeLink wireless system. I have used the RodeLink a few times in the past, without issue, so I have to confess––I was a bit skeptical about his complaint. He claimed to be experiencing a buzzy interference noise when the transmitter was in close proximity to the lav mic.

I tested out two different RodeLink systems here in the studio, and concluded that the lav mic that is included with the Rodelink Wireless Filmmaker Kit definitely has some shielding/interference problems. There is buzzy noise that fluctuates according to the proximity of the lav to the RodeLink transmitter. Even with the transmitter on the back of my belt, and the lav on my Iapel, the interference is audible. I also tested two other lav mics with the RodeLink system; the Sanken COS-11D and the Sennheiser ME 2. The Sanken sounded the best, (no surprise) with absolutely no interference noise. The Sennheiser ME 2 also performed much better than the included Rode lav. I could hear some interference when I held the transmitter right next to the ME 2––but aside from that, the signal was clean.

I can see that the cable on the Rode lav is about 30% thinner than the Sanken or the Sennheiser.

Interestingly, if I hold the Rode lav cable between my fingers, the interference goes away. Is this just what is to be expected when you get a wireless system that is $100 less than the competition? The good news is that Rode took care of this customer and replaced his lav mic. That got me wondering if Rode had fixed the problem for all the new Rodelinks coming out of the factory. I talked to Saul, the service manager at Rode, and he confirmed that the Rodelink lav mics have been updated for better shielding and that all related concerns should be addressed with Rode support directly.

Looking back, I realize that when I had previously used the Rodelink, it had been paired with a Sanken COS-11D. That's why I hadn't experienced any issues. The Sanken is a great sounding mic, BTW, and the two make a great pair!


Re: Rodelink Wireless Filmmaker Kit: Worth the Savings?
by Ht Davis
Wireless systems are prone to this sort of behavior. They are made for distance miking not somebody standing right next to the unit. The reason you're getting interference is that the cable, the mic, and the antennae are all acting as antennae of sorts when they are grounded together. The electrical signal from the mic is a wired radio signal, and when you place it close to the receiver, you get interference because some of the signal escapes the wire, and the wire also picks up the radio waves (it has very little shielding). The mic is an em based device as well, and has a magnet that produces em waves. When you place a magnet near a radio antenna, you get fuzzy radio. Lastly, the best way to combat this phenomena is distance, but you can use some rubber tubing instead. Wrap the tubing around the wire boom from the mic, and use a rubber wrap around the body pack, excluding the main antennae. This provides blocking of interference to the grounding mechanism on the body pack. Then the only variable ground is at the receiver. The Sanken has a better shield over the ground mechanism. That's why it sounds so good. How can you tell where the Antennae is? You'll have to open it up. If it's wrapped around the box, wrap half of it. You may lose a few feet of distance, but you'll get less interference. Finally, if you can, mount the receiver above the camera or capture device using a plug extension. This will maximize distance without succumbing to interference from the cameras operations (some have other poorly shielded connections that can prove cumbersome).

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