News

4 Aug 2015

Review: Sennheiser evolution D1

Digital wireless with more

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D1 is the next evolution of wireless systems from Sennheiser. It’s a 24 bit 48kHz digital platform operating in the globally license-free 2.4GHz band. The marketing info tells me D1 is “designed for people who make music as a part of their lives, not for people who make a living making music”. I reckon they’re playing it down a bit – D1 is really good. I’d happily swap to it from some of the wireless systems I’ve been handed for use on professional shows over the years.

The system has >135dB dynamic range and is available with a handheld or beltpack transmitter. The handheld offers a choice of 835 or 845 capsules, while the beltpack allows for lapel or headset mics, or even an instrument lead connection. I rather like the design of the transmitters. The handheld is much nicer looking than the early evolution wireless series kit, and battery replacement procedure is far easier thanks to a removable caddy.

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The beltpack transmitter looks like a design hybrid of the 2000 and evolution series – in short it looks great. My only grievance with the transmitters is that the display on the handheld is deeply recessed and not backlit, which makes it hard to read. As it turns out though this doesn’t really matter, since you don’t really need to look at it. The only controls on the transmitters are power and pair buttons, plus a mute switch.

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The brains of the operation is the D1 receiver, which features dual SMA antenna connections (remember it’s 2.4GHz, so the antennae look like the ones on your wireless access point), XLR and jack output, Ethernet port, and a lovely OLED display with accompanying navigation encoder and escape key, plus pair and power buttons.

Straight out of the box, D1 kits are paired and ready to use. Literally all you need to do to get started is plug them in and switch them on – as much as this plays in favour of the ‘enthusiast’ user, professional users will equally appreciate the time savings. Those same users will also appreciate the optional rack mount.

Being as how nearly every WiFi device around uses 2.4GHz, this part of the spectrum can get appreciably crowded at times. D1 keeps track of what’s going on in the spectrum, and has a redundant channel ready to switch to in case of interference. Better yet, when multiple D1 systems are used in the same vicinity they wirelessly co-ordinate frequencies with each other. Up to 15 systems can be used concurrently.

The D1 receiver has some nice ‘value add’ features – a de-esser, seven band EQ (with presets), and an AGC option. The transmitter mute switch can be disabled from the receiver’s menu, and the audio output level can be boosted and even switched from mic to line level.

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Latency on the D1 system is a very mere 3.9mS, and operating time on a pair of AA batteries is specified as 6 hours. The optional rechargeable battery pack extends runtime to nearly double this at 11 hours, and it can even be charged via USB. The receiver constantly analyses the received signal strength as well as background noise, and adapts the transmission power as required (up to 100mW). This has the dual benefit of maximizing range as well as increasing battery life at shorter distances.

Connecting the Ethernet port to a wireless router allows you to access the D1 receivers via an iOS app. The app has an overview screen which displays all connected receivers, and from here each receiver can be individually accessed. The app allows adjustment of audio and system functions, and you can even access the “walk test” function – this allows you to see the received RF signal strength on your iPhone as you walk around with the mic. The only thing I couldn’t do from the app was rename the units – we had beta software so this function may yet appear.

As if the functionality of the D1 kit wasn’t already enough, you also get a nice carry case thrown in – from memory this is a first for the evolution wireless range and a nice bonus. I like D1 – it’s a well- considered and very capable product.

  • Brand:  Sennheiser
  • Model:  Evolution D1
  • RRP: D1 Vocal set with 835 capsule – AUD$1099.00  Presentation set – AUD$1099.00  Instrument set AUD$999.00  Rack mount kit or rechargeable battery pack – AUD$89.00 each.  Two bay battery charger – AUD$349.00  All prices inc GST.
  • Product Info:  www.sennheiser.com
  • Distributor:  www.sennheiser.com.au

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