By James Elizondo
So, like most of us I got into the biz to mix, to nightly rock my face off. But, these days, working for a regional sound company, I have a few other hats to wear. You know, things start to go south on the show so you now become the systems guy, but your also the monitor tech, the backline guy, the patch guy, the RF guy, and the truck driver. As I started to have to wear many hats, I became particularly interested in being a systems guy.
As the company that I work for continued to grow, I got more and more opportunity to be the systems guy as most of the bands that we were working with were carrying a house mix guy. Over the course of the past few years, I have also had the privilege of being able to work under and with some of the best systems guys in our industry. They have taught me a lot, including what kind of tools I need.
Now, most of us “many hats” audio guys carry a bag full of audio triage, which I still do, but there aren’t that many tools that are specific to the systems guy. I mean sure, we all have a few measuring devices, lasers, a few computers that run various software packages, and the almighty SMAART rig.
The latter is what we are here to talk about today, most specifically the microphone portion. Today were are going to talk about the Lectrosonics TM400.
Like with most things audio we want them to load in and set up fast because, dammit, we all want to go eat. And to that end, I have my SMAART rig racked up with all the cable loomed together to make it quick and easy. But we all know that the worst part is that dreadfully long cable for the measurement mic. It’s not so bad if you’re just running across the arena floor but once you have to start dragging it over chairs for the out-hangs and the balconies it starts to get lame rapidly.
In comes the TM400, it’s a wireless unit specifically designed to be used with RTA systems. Little to no coloration and very marginal latency and to my knowledge it’s the only one that is recognized for use with SMAART. In fact it’s actually available to buy from the Rational Acoustics website.
When you unbox it, it’s quit an unassuming little fella, a small butt-plug style transmitter and a roughly ¼ rack-space receiver. Small and dainty but it doesn’t skimp on the features at all. The transmitter is powered by a pair of AA’s and has a gain control, high pass filter, frequency tuning, and a few selections of phantom voltage. The receiver also has the tuner, output attenuator, XLR and TRS ¼” outputs, and several other features that make it a very functional tool.
When you watch the attached video you’ll see that the frequency response between the wired mic and the wireless system is very, very close. And if you’re a nerd like me and want to know how much latency it has, it’s between 2 and 3 milliseconds. Although it has latency, that is kinda arbitrary and moot because it’s giving the same latency to every measurement that you take so all of the relationships still remain the same.
I know that our system tools are few and far between so when I was given the opportunity to review this item I jumped on it. I was so impressed that I actually purchased the review piece and kept it for myself. Because after all if I can run all over the venue without dragging cable it speeds up the tuning process and gets me that much closer to catering. And if you’re anything like me eating is paramount.
So if you’re looking for something to simplify the alignment and tuning of your system grab up a Tm400 and get to work. Because lunch is waiting.