This wireless mic system is perfectly designed for singers performing in smaller venues.
Item: Sennheiser XSW 35 Vocal Set Wireless System
Price: $399 (US), £249 (UK)
At A Glance: The Sennheiser XSW 35 is a wireless microphone system that is based around their popular e 835 hand-held vocal mic. It comes with both the mic and receiver and operates on a part of the wireless frequency spectrum that does not require a license to use. The entire system is very quick and easy to set up and you can change the default frequency and set it as a re-callable preset to avoid interference when using multiple wireless systems together. The system also comes with a power supply for the receiver, 2xAA batteries for the mic, a stand clip and carry pouch to protect it during transport.
High Notes: Like the e835 microphone that it is based on, the XSW 35 microphone produces a clear and defined sound that is optimized for vocals. There are presence boosts around 4.5kHz and 10kHz in order to help voices cut through a mix and there is a gentle roll-off from 200Hz to avoid things getting muddy. It features a cardioid pattern to help minimize feedback on stage and its max SPL of 149dB before distortion is more than enough for any singer. As well as controls for wireless pairing, gain and turning the mic on and off, there is also the addition of a “mute” switch, which could be particularly useful in public speaking applications.
Off Pitch: It might have been nice to be able to disable the mute button so it can’t accidentally be pressed during a performance.
VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: The XSW 35 is a nicely designed system for semi-pro musicians and public speakers. While the microphones sound is not quite as refined as the ones in their higher-end systems, it is more than capable of producing decent results on a par with what you would expect from a hand-held mic such as the Shure SM58. The body of the mic is comfortable to hold and at around 240g it is actually lighter than a regular e 835 (330g). The wireless receiver has a large enough range for most venues it is likely to be used in and its signal-to-noise ratio of > 103 dB(A) is certainly good enough for live use. With all systems designed for musicians performing in smaller venues (and with limited budgets), there will always be some compromises when compared to wireless systems designed for touring professionals playing arena gigs; however, Sennheiser seem to have hit a perfect balance between price and sound quality with the XSW 35.
If you are in the market for a wireless mic system for performing in smaller venues, you may also want to look at Shure’s BLX24UK/SM58 and AKG’s WMS420 – both offer a similar overall quality to the XSW 35 system but have slightly different tonal characteristics that will suit some voices better.
Manufacturer’s Website: Sennheiser
Chris Kennedy is the principal product reviewer for voicecouncil.com. Chris is a musician in the United Kingdom – you can see more about his work at www.chriskennedymusic.co.uk You can also see more articles by Chris here.