Which Shure Digital Wireless System Is Right for You?

So you’ve decided a digital wireless system is right for you. But which system should you buy? Digital wireless systems offer a number of key advantages, particularly when considering spectrum efficiency and the recent changes to our RF landscape. If you’re not already aware of what’s happening, we recommend you also check out our online resource, Losing Your Voice, for the facts.

If you’re in the market for a digital wireless system, there are, like any major purchase, a number of things to consider. The following is a guide to Shure digital wireless systems to help you choose the right system based on your application and budget.

GLXD4

The High-End Solution: ULX-D Digital Wireless Systems

For demanding installations and live events

ULX-D is the high-end solution of the three digital systems and includes many features specifically designed for demanding installations and live events. For a particularly efficient use of spectrum, ULX-D offers High Density Mode (HD Mode). This mode allows you to use up to 560 channels in 72 MHz or 63 channels in a single 8 MHz TV band!

High Density Mode offers 560 channels in 72 MHz

High Density Mode is available as an option by default in ULX-D systems. Single, Dual and Quad receiver options also have a 256-bit encryption, switchable output power (1 mW, 10 mW, 20 mW), an optimised scan function or secure frequency planning, and interference detection and alerts. Finally, ULX-D systems feature AMX and Crestron compatibility with the Shure Wireless Workbench 6 software.

Avoiding Interference with Frequency Diversity

The dual and quad receivers are equipped with some additional features, including the possibility to use two body packs for secure RF transmission. This mode is called Bodypack Frequency Diversity where two body pack transmitters send the same audio. If one transmitter experiences interference, the receiver automatically and silently utilises the signal of the second body pack and seamlessly avoids interference. Furthermore, both receivers also offer channel summing. In this mode, the receiver can operate as a two or four channel mixer and will route all audio channels simultaneously to two or four outputs.

Dante Audio over Ethernet

The dual and quad receivers also offer Dante Audio over Ethernet – a technology that allows the transmission of uncompressed, digital audio with low latency over a standard Ethernet network. All of these features make ULX-D the ideal system for large-scale installations in universities, convention centres, and theatres. ULX-D is also perfectly suited for touring productions.

The Little Brother: QLX-D Digital Wireless Systems

The newest addition to the Shure Digital family is QLX-D, which relies on the same technology as ULX-D; albeit with a reduced feature set. QLX-D is designed for applications where the requirements are less complex, but gives the user optimal results with streamlined feature set. QLX-D, for instance, only offers 1 mW or 10 mW RF output (ULX-D also has 20mW), but these options are more than sufficient for normal RF environments. The HD Mode, as described above, is also exclusive to ULX-D, but QLX-D still more than doubles what current systems at its price offer in terms of spectral efficiency by squeezing 22 channels into a single 8MHz TV channel.

Simple Setup and Use

The QLX-D display menu is noticeably simplified and focuses on a selection of crucial functions. QLX-D is loaded with other professional features such as AES 256-bit encryption, network control over WWB6, and identical audio performance to ULX-D. In summary, QLX-D is the perfect choice for live events and installations in churches, schools, hotels or medium to large sized conference facilities.

Spectral Efficiency

The daily challenges of RF co-ordination are addressed by offering excellent spectral efficiency. The RF landscape is dramatically different to what it was only a few years ago due to the ongoing erosion of UHF spectrum and subsequent allocation to the mobile sector. QLX-D can squeeze 22 channels into a single 8MHz channel which completely redefines spectral efficiency for a mid-tier product.

Encrypted RF signals

More and more applications, particularly corporate or government agencies demand encryption. Both ULX-D and QLX-D use the advanced AES-256 encryption, which is generally considered the most secure standard.

Getting started: GLX-D Entry level digital wireless systems

While ULX-D and QLX-D are primarily designed for professional users in live and installed setups, GLX-D is aimed at musicians, singers, guitarists, as well as speech applications. GLX-D is available with a variety of high-quality Shure microphone capsules.

License-free Transmissions

GLX-D operates in the license-free 2.4 GHz band and provides remarkable transmission reliability, which is based on an automatic frequency management algorithm called LINKFREQ. This unique method of operation always maintains a number of backup frequencies in the event of interference immediately and silently switches to a clean frequency.

All Shure digital wireless systems share the same sound quality – 24-bit/48 kHz (or 24-bit/44.1 kHz with GLX-D) transmission combined with a linear frequency response and full 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency range. Such specifications guarantee your Shure systems will always have a precise and natural sound.

Intelligent Power Management

Shure’s medical grade Lithium-Ion batteries are the basis for modern day energy management, and all Shure Digital systems, ULX-D, QLX-D as well as GLX-D operate on these cells. The batteries can be at charged at any time without any memory loss effect and without having to discharge them in advance. The charge times are also impressive: three hours provides a full charge which gives the user 16 hours of operation and even a 15-minute charge is sufficient to ensure one hour of operation. Besides longer runtime and cost savings compared to AA batteries, the Shure Li-Ion cells provide the user with a host essential battery parameters including remaining time in hours and minutes.

Latency

Even the latency, which is regarded as the only drawback to digital wireless technology, is very low in all three Shure systems. (ULX-D / QLX-D: 2.9ms, GLX-D: 4ms).

GLXD4 with an SM58 on Stage

Are You Ready for the Future?

Changes to RF spectrum have come thick and fast in recent years. Shure have addressed these inconsistencies with the new digital wireless systems described in this post. From sophisticated installations and live events, to ambitious amateur musicians, Shure’s digital wireless systems guarantee performance that was designed to operate in an ever changing and more challenging RF landscape.

If you’re still unclear about the changes to RF spectrum and how digital is part of the solution, you’re not alone. Head over to our resource portal, LosingYourVoice and get your free guide to wireless frequencies in the UK.

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Marc Henshall

Marc forms part of our Pro Audio team at Shure UK and specialises in Digital Marketing. He also holds a BSc First Class Hons Degree in Music Technology. When not at work he enjoys playing the guitar, producing music, and dabbling in DIY (preferably with a good craft beer or two).

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