To me, the true measure of any wireless system is sound quality. Features are nice, but can I tell if what I’m hearing is wired or wireless?
Based upon the use of the Lectrosonics Venue wireless microphone receiver and companion transmitters on numerous live gigs over the course of an evaluation process that has lasted about three weeks, I can confidently state that this is a family of products that really pushes the limits of wireless sound quality.
The Venue receiver offers a modular approach that is designed to provide a very high audio signal quality combined with lot of flexibility in dealing with the congested RF spectrum.
Venue is comprised of the master rack mount host chassis that accommodates up to six individual receiver modules, as well as built-in antenna multicoupler with loop-thru output. The company’s LecNet2 software is supplied for setup and control.
Operating in the UHF band (470.1–691.1 MHz, 537.6–767.9 MHz, and 640–861.9 MHz frequency groups), Venue uses the company’s proprietary Digital Hybrid Wireless technology for transmission. Briefly, a patented algorithm encodes the 24-bit digital audio information in the transmitter into an analog format, and then the encoded signal is then transmitted over an analog FM wireless link. At the receiver, the signal is then decoded to restore the original digital audio. It’s a process designed to eliminate compandor artifacts and produce frequency response flat to 20 kHz.
As previously noted, as many as six channels of wireless receivers can be packed into the 1RU chassis. If offers a centralized menu system and readout for all six channels, and a headphone monitoring system is also built in.
Front and back view of the Venue receiver, including antenna and loop-thru connectivity. The individual receiver modules can also be seen on both sides of the unit. (click to enlarge)
If you’re using more than six channels, you can jump the antenna leads out of one Venue chassis into the next, thereby eliminating the cost of a separate antenna distribution system. Phantom power for remote antenna amplifiers is available from the multicoupler antenna inputs using internal jumpers.
The receiver frame also provides bias voltage for active antennas. Since six channels share the receiver chassis the cost of owning one or two channels is fairly high; however the system becomes quite economical if you plan on buying in multiples of six.
What’s more, the Venue receiver can operate in a “compatibility mode” that can receive signals from older, analog transmitters as well as the new digital hybrid series. This offers a great deal of value to rental houses that already own Lectrosonics gear.