Nady 151 VR wireless microphone receiver and transmitter set

This is a belt-pack pair of receivers and transmitters, dating from the 1990s (apparently Nady has continued to sell similar models using the same 151 VR product code).  The transmitter is a tie-clip microphone hard wired to a belt-pack transmitter, with a power switch, mute switch, and mike gain preset trimpot.  The receiver is a belt-pack with an unbalanced microphone output, a headphone output with a volume control and power switch, and a squelch preset trimpot.  Both need a 9 volt battery (the press stud type, as used in transistor radios from the 1970s), and will run for a few hours.  Both run on 203.4 MHz (VHF).

Originally, the microphone output was on an unreliable 3.5 mm jack, but I've modified it to have a XLR plug on a pigtail lead (wired for unbalanced audio, with pins 1 & 3 bridged together).  The microphone lead is used as the transmitting antenna, and the receiver has a dangling wire antenna.  Both need to be as long and straight as possible, and vertically oriented.  Sound quality is quite good, bearing in mind that it's an omni-directional tie-clip microphone, and companding signal processing is used.  Music does sound nice, through it, but it's meant for miking up a person talking.

While promising much in their product specifications brochure, I find that the they suffer from rapid and noisy signal drop outs due to reception/transmission problems.  They don't mute and unmute quietly—it sounds a bit like someone cracking a whip near a microphone using AGC.  And when used indoors, even with the transmitter and receiver within a few metres of each other, signal reflections were a continual and frequent problem.  That said, they're certainly better than microphones that transmit in the middle of the FM radio broadcast band, for you to receive using a ordinary radio receiver.

If used indoors, they're best suited to situations where the positions of the microphone and receiver units do not move, nor any other things moving between or around them.  i.e. They're really not fit for the purpose they're marketed as (both units being worn by as belt packs by the people using them).  So, we stopped using them a recording microphone, and used them as a one-way communications set (e.g. sending instructions to a cameraman).  Outdoors, they covered quite a good range (about twenty metres) fairly well.  So would be quite useful for someone talking to camera for wide shots, through to close-ups.  Though I'm inclined to avoid using them for one-take-only shots, where you cannot re-take a spoiled recording.  You really need to listen to your audio as you're recording, or check playback immediately.

Hire rate $20/daily (05 Dec 2006).

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