In an emailed press release, Zaxcom has announced the ZMT4 transmitter, part of the company's Digital Recording Wireless series. The ZMT4 combines the best of Zaxcom's ZMT3 and ZMT3-Phantom 2 into one compact transmitter that features 5V power for lavs and up to 48V phantom power for mics.
For those who don't know, Zaxcom designs and manufactures high-end production audio gear. They offer several wireless transmitters and receivers as well as audio mixers and recorders. They're one of the key innovators of the audio industry developing user-friendly tech like NeverClip, Zaxcom High Density Modulation (ZHD), ZaxNet, and they were the first company to offer simultaneous audio transmission while recording directly to a microSD card. This is a feature many competitors have "borrowed" in one form or another.
Credit: ZaxcomThe ZMT4 is their next-gen transmitter that uses less power than the ZMT3, plus it features NeverClip in all modes—something the ZMT3 does not. The idea of NeverClip is similar to 32-bit float recording. It doesn't provide the same amount of headroom, but there is plenty of room for error if recorded audio is louder than expected. NeverClip has extra headroom of up to 44 dB and records a separate Broadcast Wave file with extra iXML data for post-processing. With the ZMT4 you're getting a track with 136 dB of dynamic range.
The ZMT4 carries over many of the features that production sound mixers have come to expect with Zaxcom. For instance, encrypted audio, internal recording to a microSD card, timecode, PowerRoll to extend battery life, ZHD Modulation, which adds to the number of frequency channels, as well as ZaxNet, which allows you to remotely adjust transmitter settings without needing to remove the bodypack from the talent.
The ZMT4 features a 3-pin micro lemo connector to pair with a number of lav, condenser, balanced, and ribbon microphones. Phantom power is selectable at 12, 24, 36, or 48V. And with 5V support, the ZMT4 easily pairs with popular DPA microphones. The unit runs off an NP-50 battery which is the same battery as previous models. Users can expect about 6 hours of runtime with a lav and 4 hours running 48V. Selectable power is 10 or 50mW.
Credit: ZaxcomWe like what Zaxcom has done here. They've essentially combined two products into one, which is a good thing for users. We'd expect them to release a ZMT4-X which should provide selectable output power up to 75mW. However, what we want from Zaxcom is a wireless system at indie prices. Their competitors are circling with very similar features and functionality at much lower price points.
It would be great if Zaxcom offered its tech in a Sennheiser G3 style package. Create a wireless kit with a transmitter and receiver that have matching bodies paired with a lav. Give us digital audio, simultaneous recording, timecode, MARF, and possible ZHD between $500-$800 out the door. Maybe include ZaxNet, NeverClip, and ZHD as an upgrade path, or include them. Maybe make the receiver slot compatible with Nova with a module.
Heck, they could keep those features completely out of the conversation and stash them for their higher-end models. What budget-conscious shooters want is reliable audio transmission. If Zaxcom gave us that and possibly added 32-bit float to the equation, you'd have something better than RØDE Wireless GO II, Tentacle Track E, the Tascam DR-100, and the Zoom B2T—especially for shooters in the U.S.
For now, the ZMT4 is available in two different frequency bands. Within the U.S. they have a 512-608 MHz option, and outside the U.S. a 578-698 MHz option is available.
The list price for the ZMT4 is $1,995 USD.