We took some time out to review the all-new XS Wireless Digital radio mic series from Sennheiser.
Available in nine ready-to-go sets which contain everything you’ll need for a fully functioning radio system, Sennheiser XSW-D is offered as an inexpensive, entry-level product. It will appeal to schools, vloggers, DSLR users and those involved with presentations and recording interviews. Individual system components are also available from Canford, these enable users to create larger, bespoke systems.
The XSW-D Series operates within the 2.4GHz spectrum and therefore provides licence-free operation worldwide. Sennheiser claim the digital systems can be pushed to a transmission range of up to 75m “in optimal conditions” – more on range later.
Weighing in at a mere 50-63 grams, and measuring between 86-130mm in length (dependent on model), XSW-D transmitters and receivers are small, very small! They’ll slip discreetly into a pocket, clip on to a belt or mount directly to a DSLR cold-shoe without any noticeable weight gain or bulking problems.
Three versions of XSW-D transmitter (TX) and receiver (RX) are offered. The TX 63 and RX 63 are intended for use with musical instruments and come with an integral 6.3mm jack plug. The TX 35 and RX 35 are equipped with 3.5mm mini-jack sockets. The TX 35 making use of Sennheiser’s locking socket which is compatible with lavalier microphones such as the ME 2-II (91-448) and ME 4-N (91-500). Finally, the TX XLR and RX XLR provide 3-pin XLR connectivity. The TX XLR is intended for use with dynamic microphones. It incorporates a female XLR and is used as a ‘plug-on’ transmitter, while the RX XLR makes use of a 3-pin male XLR.
All transmitters and receivers house an integral 850 mAh Li-on battery. A typical full charge cycle will take 3 hours, and provide up to 5 hours continuous usage. Charging is via a USB C socket. A 1m USB A to USB C charge cable is provided in each set.
Multiple transmitters can be linked (paired) with a single receiver, but only one transmitter can be used at any one time. This enables fast switch-over between different transmitters during a presentation. For example, hopping between a lapel system using the TX 35 and a TX XLR hand-held set-up, or maybe multiple TX 35 lavalier transmitters.
Operation is plug-and-play. A single momentary switch is used for all functions; power on/off, pairing and mute. A series of press durations determines the function, which is acknowledged via a multi-coloured LED indicator. Immediately after power-on, the LED also indicates remaining battery power with a 4-second traffic light sequence; green at >75%, yellow when between 5-75% and red when <5% charge.
The audio latency, or time taken for XSW-D to process the audio from input to output, is minimal. Sennheiser quote it as being < 4 ms. Typically, this amount of delay will be un-noticeable.
Our Marketing Manager, Stephen Gallagher took a closer look at the system to illustrate the line-of-sight range with this short video:
Sennheiser XS Wireless Digital is available now. For more information visit: canford.co.uk/SENNHEISER-RADIOMICS-XSW-D-Wireless-Digital-series