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Wireless Systems FAQ
Will it change my tone? Ahh, this is the million dollar question. I have tested many combinations of mics and amps with as many combinations of transmitters and receivers. The honest answer is yes, it will change your tone.

However the degree to which it does is very dependent on how you set the system up. With an understanding of the components involved and careful setting of transmitter gains and output level, I have been able to achieve what I consider to be very "near-cable" sound.

Set up poorly, however, you can lose a lot of tone. But that's what I'm here for - I will help you get your system optimized. If you buy a mic and wireless system from me I will set them up for best performance before I ship them to you.

All wireless systems seem to apply some degree of compression to the audio signal. Compression makes the soft bits louder and the loud bits softer, to squeeze, say, 100dB of dynamic range into 90dB, in order to fit the whole signal into the available radio frequency bandwidth available. I have actually found this to be a Good Thing - I don't notice a reduction on the high end but I notice when I play quietly it is easier to hear. The quality of the sound still reflects my gentler attack and quieter playing, but it is more audible to the audience.

The receivers have adjustable audio output. In some cases you can dial this up to drive your amp even harder than the cable does.

The transmitters have adjustable gain. Here, setting them up for overdrive is usually a bad idea as the quality of distortion that results is generally not pleasant. Using the receiver's audio peak level indicator as a guide, the goal is to set the transmitter up with as much gain as possible while only barely triggering the "peak" light when you play as loud as you might. Because different mics have different output levels, you will either want to adjust this setting on a per-mic basis or choose a "happy medium" compromise.

How is the battery life? The AX1 and AF1 transmitters take an AAA battery; the AR300 transmitter uses an AA. Battery life for all is about 10 hours - good for a couple of shows. In every case there is a battery indicator light that will flash once when you turn the unit on, but remain glowing if the battery has about 2 hours of life left or less.

The AP1 foot pedal receiver requires a 9V battery and also provides about 10 hours of battery life. It too has a low battery indicator, but unlike the transmitters it can be powered by an A/C adapter. Although Samson's packaged product for guitar players doesn't include this adapter, I include it with the systems I sell.

How far away can I go? Every environment will be different due to the amount of RF interference present, and the physical nature of the venue. However in practice I have been able to walk 50 feet or more away with no noticeable loss in signal quality. The CR77 and AR300 receivers each have two important meters - one shows audio level and the other shows RF signal strength.
AF1 or AX1 Transmitter? For high impedance mics, either of these transmitters works well. The AF1 based system is a little less expensive, however I prefer the AX1. First it is easily used with low impedance mics so is more flexible. Second, its antenna is internal so it is a little more comfortable to play with and looks better aesthetically. It has an adjustable gain potentiometer, while the AF1 has only a 15dB pad switch.

If you have a mic (or an electric guitar!) with a 1/4" female jack, however, the AF1 is the way to go.

For microphones with screw-on connectors, the AX1 requires the screw-on-to XLR adapter (shown on the Wireless Systems page) and the AF1 requires the Switchcraft Type 332 Adapter (which I also have available for $14.95). You can see these in the picture to the right.

Note - The equivalent of the AF1 transmitter for the Synth line is called the AG300. It's 1/4" plug swivels from 90 degrees out to an angle similar to the AF1.

Left: Bullet mic with screw-on-to-XLR adapter and AX1

Right: Bullet mic with Type 332 adapter and AF1

Both of these mics have their own volume controls. If your mic doesn't have a volume control I can make an adapter for either transmitter which provides a built-in volume control.

Foot pedal or rack/desktop receiver? The AP1 Foot Pedal receiver has its small size and battery power option as advantages. But there are tradeoffs too. The CR77 and AR300 receivers have visual Audio and RF strength meters, while the AP1 only has a peak indicator. Perhaps more importantly, the adjustment range of audio output level (what your amp "sees") is greater with the rack mount units. For this reason I can get closer to "cable" sound with the rack mount units. Note that in order to attain this level, you need to use the "balanced" output (XLR jack) on the receivers - also only available on the rack mount units. You will need an XLR cable and an Impedance Matching Transformer to connect the receiver to your amp this way. If you don't have them, I do - see "Best Amp Interface" in the Accessories section of the Wireless Systems page.
What is the Squelch control for? When the receiver doesn't receive your signal strongly enough, it "squelches" itself, silencing its output, so that you don't hear any "between stations" distortion. This is a very nice feature because it means you can turn your transmitter off between songs or sets to prolong its battery life without worrying about unwanted noise. The Squelch Control sets the signal level below which the receiver goes silent. Set too low and other RF signals in the area may cause interference. Set too high you may not be able to move as far away from the receiver as you would like before you begin to drop out. I have found the factory setting to be completely adequate where I have performed.
Why no Belt Pack systems? If all you do is play harp, nothing wrong with them. But if you sing, or play another instrument, or play some of your stuff through an acoustic mic (I do all 3!) you need to put your harp mic down. But with a belt pack it is tethered to your hip. I like to be able to put my mic down and move away, simple as that, without disconnecting anything. Yes, you can put a bullet mic in your pocket but you're gonna get some strange looks.....
I have a high impedance mic with an XLR connector. Can I just plug the AX1 or AX300 transmitter straight into the mic? If your XLR connector is wired "Pin 2 Hot", yes. If it is wired "Pin 3 Hot", no. You may have to adjust the transmitter gain to a level that is significantly different than where you might set it for a low impedance mic, so switching between two different mics, one low- and one high-impedance will require a compromise setting.
Can I just plug the AX1 or AX300 transmitter straight into my JT30, Hohner BluesBlaster or CAD mic? The JT30, CAD and Hohner Blues Blaster mics are wired "Pin 3 Hot". The connector can be rewired Pin 2 Hot and used with the caveats mentioned for the previous question above. Or it can be rewired in Balanced mode (signal on pins 2 and 3) and work great with the wireless transmitters. However now you will have a "balanced, high impedance" XLR connector and you will not be able to find a commercially available cable that will allow you to cable your mic to your amp. I can make such a cable, however.

More questions? Hey - I wrote the above before launch. If you have more questions, ASK!!!! I will answer you personally, but I'll also build this list over time.

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