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Road Test: Lectrosonics Venue Wireless Receiver & HH Transmitter
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Along with the HHC cardioid condenser capsule, I also tested a Shure Beta 87a and an Earthworks SR40V.

The difference between them was as clear as if I was changing mics on an XLR cable.

The wireless component seems to have been removed from the sound quality discussion. This is great because you can use some truly high-end mics and get every last bit of performance out of them that you paid for.

The HHC is a condenser element that behaves very much like an SM58. It’s cardioid pattern works best for singers that move around a lot. The top end is well defined but not overly hyped. I like this capsule, but using it with louder monitors takes a bit of work.

The Beta 87a sounded exactly like an 87a should. Very crispy and hyped high frequency response is better suited for talking heads or quiet stages.

The Earthworks SR40V provided to be the jewel, residing between the other two when it comes to top end. I would call it extremely accurate;  however it never gets harsh. The rejection is fantastic, with proximity effect almost nothing.

Genius Of Simplicity

Lectrosonics included a pair of SNA-600 antennas with the package. These are especially useful if you have a large inventory of wireless systems because they’re tunable over a range between 550 to 800 MHz, meaning you don’t have to carry a large inventory of different frequency antennas.

A handy battery eject lever and control buttons are housed inside the HH transmitter. (click to enlarge)

To adjust them, you simply loosen two screws, slide the element out to the length needed (which is printed right on the antenna body), and tighten the screws. A fantastic yet simple idea.

I do have a few caveats to point out. Both the HH and SMQV go through batteries pretty fast. You can easily get through a concert or a play, but if it’s an 8-hour conference, you’ll want to change the batteries at the halfway point.

In addition, caution should be used when pushing buttons on the SMQV beltpack, particularly if you have large hands. If you’re not paying attention, you can hold down two buttons simultaneously and turn the unit off. 

And, the menu system in the receiver chassis is a little awkward to navigate. It uses a rotary encoder to scroll through menu choices and to go down the list you have to turn counter-clockwise. It had me going the wrong way while scrolling through menu options.

Note, however, that these are not mission critical issues, and I found – as with almost all gear – that I got used to them the more I worked with the system. And while these things are worth a mention, I’m thoroughly happy with this wireless package.

As noted, it sounds superb, I have had zero RF issues, and having it ready to use is as simple as turning it on and scanning for a free frequency.

In fact, I’m going to be specifying Venue for my next band project, where it will fit in perfectly. The band has two lead singers that both play acoustic guitars, so I’ll use two HH transmitters for the vocals and two SMQV transmitters for the guitars. The HH transmitters will be using the talkback function so that both of the singers can communicate with the monitor engineer without leaving the stage –  and all of this will fit in a single rackspace. Perfect.

The VRMWB chassis lists for $1,920; VRS standard receiver modules list for $475 each; HH transmitter lists for $1,500; SMQV transmitter lists for $1,932, and the SNA600 antenna lists for $125. All prices are U.S.

To read Tim’s full review of this Lectrosonics wireless package, and check out other comments from the community as well as to ask questions, go to the Road Test Forum here on PSW.

Tim Weaver is the owner of Weaver Imaging, an audio, lighting, and projection provider based in College Station, TX. He has been a professional sound engineer for 18 years, working across all genres.

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