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This article was originally published in issue #56
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The mic has a fairly flat mid-range leading to a gentle lift in the 2-4kHz region followed by a dip to around 7-8kHz then a few wobbles between 10 and 20kHz which work nicely to provide for crisp vocals at impressively high volume levels before feedback.
Open, crisp sound
Low handling noise
Good feedback rejection
Easy to set-up and to use
None, but make sure 8 channels is enough
Wireless Vocal Condenser Microphone
Super Cardioid Polar Pattern
35Hz to 20kHz Frequency response
RØDELink Performer Kit
MSRP £499 (UK) $499 (US)
Industry giants, RØDE present the RØDELink Performer Kit; a cost-effective wireless mic kit that aims to be a solution for a wide range of performers. Andi Picker finds out more.
Wireless mics are great for freeing-up performers and for reducing cable clutter; just connect a good mic to a good wireless system, make it simple to use and we’re in business.
The RØDELink Performer Kit contains the TX-M2 which is the wireless version of RØDE’s M2 live condenser vocal microphone, and the RX-DESK diversity receiver, along with a Lithium-Ion battery pack for the mic, power supply for the receiver, micro USB cable, mic clip and a soft storage pouch.
The TX-M2 specs are virtually identical (give or take the odd dB) with the standard M2, so we get a shock protected ½” capsule with a super-cardioid polar pattern, frequency range from 35Hz to 20kHz and a high maximum SPL of 140 dB. There’s a list of other measurements available, but basically, it’s a stage mic that provides pretty-much studio-grade performance in a handheld format. The mic has a fairly flat mid-range leading to a gentle lift in the 2-4kHz region followed by a dip to around 7-8kHz then a few wobbles between 10 and 20kHz which work nicely to provide for crisp vocals at impressively high volume levels before feedback. A singer who is used to the voicing of a specific dynamic microphone may need a little time to dial in their sound on a more hi-fi mic, but most will welcome the extended articulation that’s available with the M2. Incidentally, the TX-M2 actually worked well when I tried it in front of a very loud guitar cab and an acoustic guitar too, and yes, I know it’s not what it’s designed for, but it’s another way for it to earn its keep, and one less cable to trip over doesn’t hurt!
A simple twists and slides opens the mic body to access the battery compartment; the marketing material says the battery life is up-to ten hours on a full-charge of the included LB-1 Lithium Ion battery pack (I don’t know because it didn’t run-out while I had it), and it’ll also run on a pair of standard AA batteries if needed. Also in the body is a micro USB socket which can be used to charge the battery in the mic and a Pair button and a small LED display. The power switch is located at the base of the mic where it won’t be accidentally pressed in use, and there is a slide mute-switch on the side of the body.
The fixed frequency agile wireless system has eight channels operating in the globally license-free 2.4GHz band and uses 128-bit encryption. Connecting the mic (or any other RØDELink device) with the receiver takes seconds, press the Pair button on the receiver, use the Channel button to select a channel, then press the Pair button on the mic, the display will show a letter P then change to show which channel is used, and it’s done. I’ll just mention that there is a video on the RØDE website that seems to suggest that the RØDELink system will auto-select the best available channel; it actually always defaulted to the channel that was on the receiver display when it was powered up, and the Quickstart guide says to select the channel that you want to use as part of the pairing process – I figure the video is referring to the diversity system which helps to avoid dropouts, but that’s not quite obvious. In any case, it worked fine.
The RX-Desk receiver is a desktop box with an external power supply. On the front panel are the Pair and Channel buttons, input level buttons and a mute button which also operates as a safety override in case the performer accidentally mutes the mic in use. A central display shows connection status, selected channel, signal level/mute status, input trim level and transmitter battery condition. Around the back are the locking power supply input socket, balanced XLR and unbalanced ¼” jack outputs with selectable mic/line levels, a USB socket for any future firmware updates, and the pair of aerials for the diversity system.
The RØDELink Performer Kit works well: the M2 is a good microphone in either wired or wireless models; sensible features like the locking power supply cable, mute override and optional AA battery operation help to keep things running and the wireless system is simple and worked flawlessly for me. The system may not meet the requirements of a full-blown wireless production where more than eight channels are needed, but for working bands/performers/presenters it’s an impressive and affordable way to lose the lead.