I have a long, checkered past with wireless microphones.
After unboxing brand after brand and running an initial sound-check in my living room, my expectations are always high. I have tested models with dual receivers, Ethernet boxes that mount close to a loudspeaker in order to reduce interference, rechargeable batteries, smartphone apps – and in those early moments of inspection, it is clear how far most brands have come in the last five to 10 years.
Modern wireless systems look good, sound good and are full of features that make set-up and operation easier than ever. In small rooms or in suburban country clubs, most modern wireless systems perform without issue.
But what about under pressure, in that moment in the ballroom of a downtown hotel as you hand the mic to the best man for the first time? This is where the rubber really meets the road and the true test commences. It is in this moment where many brands fall down, and I’ve found that Sennheiser shines brightest. My experience with the Sennheiser ew D1-835-S ($499 MAP) is no exception.
The Sennheiser evolution wireless D1 system takes advantage of the universally unlicensed 2.4 GHz frequency spectrum – in a range where the FCC still treads lightly. My test unit was a wireless system with half-rack receiver and a handheld mic with a replaceable e835 capsule. The microphone has a battery box that slides in and firmly clicks into the bottom of the unit. The unit uses standard AA batteries, but an optional lithium-ion battery module that can be recharged via a USB cable is also available.
Figuring out how to use the on/off switch takes a few moments. But once you get it, you realize that the slight challenge it presents is perfect for deterring speakers from switching the mic off after use. For this purpose, there is a large mute switch, which also triggers a flashing message on the receiver, a great feature for easily seeing the mic state.
The dual antenna-equipped receiver itself has a number of valuable features, including automatic frequency management, which selects the best frequency no matter the location, and seamlessly changes frequencies if interference is detected. The system also features user-adjustable equalization, compression, de-esser and the aforementioned mute switch – making this an extremely user-friendly system.
Like all Sennheiser models, the ew D1-835 looks great, with beautiful German craftsmanship like their signature “square” mic head, and strong, sturdy construction. I was able to quickly get up and running and had no issues whatsoever with drop-outs until more than 200 feet from the receiver, which is likely further than you will ever need to be.
Sound quality was outstanding with strong bass reproduction and clear, crisp mids and highs. In my judgment, Sennheiser makes the best-sounding wireless mics in the business and the D1-835 does not disappoint.
The other issue I frequently have with wireless systems is handling noise, which was very minimal here. At the end of the day, this was one of the best systems I have tested and will be my go-to unit for many seasons to come.
• 2.4 GHz digital transmission with license-free operation
• Automatic Frequency Management continuously scans for interference
• AFM Automatically changes frequencies, if needed
• Adaptive high-power transmission continuously checks wireless signal strength
• Adjusts transmission power for consistent, reliable performance
• D1 systems deliver up to 100 mW, which delivers generous usable working range
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