Deity Microphones dives into the wireless market with a new 2.4 GHz system.
You might have heard the name Deity Microphones before due to its relationship with lighting sibling company Aputure. Deity makes a series of shotgun microphones like the V-Mic D3 Pro and V-Mic D3 that many YouTubers and vloggers look to because of its attractive price point. Deity Connect is its first wireless system.
Andrew Jones, a production sound mixer and former editor/current writer at Wav.report, stepped in as COO for Deity to expand the brand in the market. We met him at Cine Gear LA where he talked about how the company was developing a wireless system, and at the time, was looking for feedback from the sound community. In fact, Vincent Rozenberg, another Wav.report contributor (and sound mixer) posted on JW Sound, a forum created by production sound mixer Jeff Wexler (yes, the son of iconic cinematographer Haskell Wexler), asking forum members what they wanted in a kit. It led to some great responses.
After an appearance on Thomas Popp's Vault Talk in June, Jones teased more of the specs (starting at the 24-minute mark). The biggest reveal was that it would be a 2.4 GHz system. Our first reaction was "Nooooooo..."
For the uninitiated, the 2.4 GHz band is an unlicensed band in the U.S. where the FCC allows manufacturers to create products with specific specs without needing to obtain a license. It's the same frequency band that WiFi uses. Meaning, it can get crowded and have a greater chance of RF interference creating a signal drop.
Wireless systems like those from Audio Limited, Azden, Lectrosonics, Sennheiser, Sony, Wisycom, and Zaxcom take space in the wireless spectrum which requires a license from the FCC. While licenses can be costly and the approval process can take months, they are well worth the benefits. Those systems will typically offer higher frequency counts with less interference working at greater distances.
However, a 2.4 GHz system does have the advantage of working in almost every country without a license. UHF and VHF frequency bands are not the same across each country and have different governing rules. Deity is taking a simpler approach by offering one 2.4 GHz kit that can work virtually anywhere. It makes sense for a company just starting out in wireless. It's cheaper, and as the company grows, they could offer more robust options down the line.
The prototype shown at IBC Deity Connect is looking to turn the downside of working in the 2.4 GHz spectrum around with its new technology. The company has bumped the RF power up to 100 mW and uses two protocols to protect against wireless dropout – adaptive frequency hopping and Listen-Before-Talk (LBT).
Deity's adaptive frequency hopping jumps between 9 different frequencies (4 core channels and 5 trail channels) and picks the best one available. The protocol is said to operate between the WiFi protocol instead of fighting against it to reduce dropouts and interference. LBT will check the interference signal before or during the wireless transmission, and if interference occurs, the system will add the audio to the next two clean frequencies automatically. The working range for the system is said to be approximately 98 feet (30m) indoors and 328 feet (100m) outdoors in a clean line of sight.
The transmitter can send a 24-bit 48 Khz uncompressed audio signal in small form factor. It's a tad smaller than a Sennheiser G4/G3 but larger than Lectrosonics SMV or SSM or Zaxcom ZMT3. The unit has a removable SMA antenna connector which is a nice touch, a 3.5mm screw type/locking microphone input (similar to Sennheiser), and a 1/4″ 20 mount for the belt clip. An OLED navigates the menu and there are on-screen references for signal strength and battery life.
RF power is switchable at 100, 50, 25, or 10 mW. There's also an auto option that will adjust the milliwatt power via its receiver signal to save on battery life. The transmitter has options for gain control, a low cut, limiter, and frequency boost. The BP-TX has an internal battery that is said to last 10 hours and gets a full charge in about one hour.
With Deity Connect, you won't have to "search" for the best frequency channel at your location as you would on a Sennheiser or Lectrosonics L-series device. It works automatically while connecting the BP-TX to the receiver as a simple menu selection.
Deity did users a solid by offering a dual channel receiver. This means you can receive audio from two different transmitters with this receiver. It's also a true diversity receiver featuring a quad antenna design: two external removable antennas and two internal dipole antennas to improve signal strength along the horizontal plane. Two 3.5mm balanced outputs supply audio into the camera or recorder and are adjustable.
As for size, it is on the larger side. It's much bigger than a Sennheiser G4/G3 or the Lectrosonics SRc5P, Wisycom MPR52-ENG, or Zaxcom Q235, which are all dual channel receivers. The Duo-RX receiver has the same OLED display and internal battery as the BP-TX, lasting 10 hours and it charges in one hour. Both a 1/4″ 20 and 3/8" mount options are available on the bottom of the receiver.
The lav included is Deity's omini-directional microphone with a locking 3.5mm input. Deity said any 3.5mm locking microphone will be compatible with the system, e.g. Sennheiser's MKE2, ME 4, or ME 2-II.
Keep in mind that the kit introduced at IBC is only a prototype, so some specs may change at launch. Deity Connect will come with two BP-TX transmitters, a Duo-RX transmitter, and two lav mics. Street price is expected to be around $800 USD.
Deity Connect Specs:
- BP-TX Transmitter
- Duo-RX Receiver (2 Channels)
- 2.4 Ghz Band
- 24bit/48Khz Uncompressed Audio
- True Diversity
- Input Gain Control
- Dual Adjustable Outputs
- 10 Hour Internal Battery
- USB-C Quick Charging