Stage Clix Pack Bell Mics QDE 0804

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Clip on ‘bell’ mics coupled with wireless systems are hardly a new concept, but to date they have all, bar a few very expensive exceptions, been of the analogue variety.

There are two distinct drawbacks with this type of system. The use of a ‘compander’ (short for compressor/ expander) to effectively squash the signal before transmission so that it will fit into the VHF or UHF band and then expand it back again at the receiver to try and replicate the original sound really doesn’t cut the mustard. As we all know, once you’ve removed information to reduce the file size, you won’t get it back.

The other problem with analogue systems is the bandwidth. Rolling off the top and bottom ends means that that big fat bottom is not coming through and the sonic subtleties in the high-end harmonics are all but lost.

Enter the Stage Clix digital wireless system. This Dutch produced product has no need for a compander – it’s digital – so all the information is retained. And with a bandwidth of 20Hz to 20kHz, you’ve got CD quality sound.

The system comes in a lightweight, moulded, ABS hand case, which offers plenty of protection for the delicate components. The mini condenser clip-on microphone and its supporting system is exceptionally well built with a well padded, firmly sprung ‘clamp clip’ attached to a gooseneck, to allow accurate positioning for maximum response. There is also a mini shock-mount holder for element protection and the handling of noise rejection. Some players have apparently found that vibrations from the bell of their instrument have still been picked up by the mic, due to the rigidity of the support fan around the mic capsule. Although we didn’t have any such problems, this can, we are told, be alleviated by reducing the contact points between the cage and the capsule.

Overall, the mic responded as we had expected. Its exceptional build qualities were reflected in its sonic response. Attached to a sax bell, it managed to seemingly capture every nuance of sound clearly, cleanly and evenly across the full range.

There was no audible tainting or colouring. With a patented transmitting technique dubbed ‘triple-diversity’, which uses three frequencies within the one channel at the same time, there’s little chance of either dropout or interference. There are almost certainly going to be problems with the current analogue systems given the government’s future ‘switchover’ plans. But as the Stage Clix system uses a frequency of 2.4 GHz, which is both legal to use and available worldwide, there’s no need for an upgrade and no more applying for licences as per Channel 38.

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