Lectrosonics SR/5P Receiver – A Second Look After The Updates
Last week I received the updated SR/5P. The unit had two internal and one external hardware change and numerous updates to the operating system.
The first improvements were for two bugs. The first corrected the unit’s diversity and the second fixed the second channel’s battery display. One IMPORTANT note: Lectro tells me that because of the way the SR is designed, it is better to have the first channel be a LOWER frequency than the second channel for performance reasons.
The obvious hardware upgrade is the 5P (external 5pin adapter) which allows the unit to work on cameras that have a slot, but only have a single channel activated. Basically, you attach an external TA5F cable that splits into to XLR connectors and attaches to the rear XLR inputs on the camera. While we all wish it worked in the slot, this is a good fix until the camera manufacturers get up to speed. I do HIGHLY recommend you get a backup cable with your 5P as it would difficult to get a replacement on-the-fly.
Also, as per my request, Lectro got me some Phillips head screws to swap out for the flat heads in my adapter plates.
New Backlight Menu
This is an update I’m very pleased with. Holding down the power and up button allows you to access the backlight menu. You can choose from having it “always on”, “always
off”, a “30 second timeout”, or a “5 minute timeout.”
New External Voltage Monitor
While in operation, hitting the power button shows the external battery voltage. This is nice, but I’d like to see it read the transmitter voltages in the future. Lectro says they’d like to do this, but there isn’t room in the processor memory to accommodate this.
Lectro has updated the display of the RF meters to respond more like a 411.
IN THE FIELD
I haven’t had a chance to run all my tests yet. This week I’ve been working with BetacamSPs and have only been able to use the external adapter hanging off the side of a camera.
With the limited tests, I must say that the improvements to the unit seem to be rock solid. I’m getting much better range and reception out of the unit and much less touch sensitivity than I had experienced, previous to the updates.
I like it. A lot.
In fact, I just ordered two more SR/5Ps to use on a reality shoot that I will be on for about four months where I will be feeding three Panasonic HDX900s (in the slot, with 5P cables). That should be a great test of the durability of the units and how they operate in a high use situation.
Third look at the SR/5P
I’ve been using three SR/5Ps in Panasonic HDX-900s on a reality show for two weeks (with two and a half months to go). For the most part, the Camera Operators are shooting hand held. They have performed very well and I only have two issues to report.
1)Heat: In the HDX-900, the SR/5P can get HOT. I’ve measured it at 140+ degrees or more. The heat is due to the camera running hot and the SR conducts it very readily. For reference, we are shooting in Atlanta in 90-99 degree weather for ten plus hours. (Note: the unit is designed and tested by Lectrosonics to fully operate up to 185 degrees F and as cold as -25 degrees F. It will also operate down to -40F, however the LED will stop displaying.)
The heat doesn’t affect operation of the SR/5P, but it can cause burning and irritation on a CamOp’s arm when used with a Hip Shot (which my operators use OFTEN on this show).
Notice the burn line of the 5P and screw in the forearm, and the red irritation on the bicep area.
My working solution has been to wrap the 5P in three layers of Moleskin. So far, this seems to help, but I’m wondering if a thermal break could be installed in between the SR and the 5P to help reduce the heat transfer.
2)5P Cable Connector: I’ve had three cables fail at the TA5 right angle. Again, this is a result of frequent shooting from the hip. The camera operator’s arm rests directly on the 5P . It seems that the stress and the heat, in combination, causes the seam in the connector to open up, which precipitates failure in the connection. Lectro has sent me replacements that have heat shrink wrap around them to help deter this. I’ll continue to test them and report back.
Lectro is in the process of getting a molded boot created, but this may be some months away from production. Switchcraft is also designing a swivel connector for the 5P, but this could be even further away.
So, if you shoot the majority of projects on sticks or on your shoulder, you should be fine. I still recommend getting a spare cable or two just in case!
Also at my request, Lectro has been sending my replacement cables using Neutrik NC*MX XLR Connectors instead of the Switchcraft rubber boot connectors. I find the Neutriks to be much hardier when on the back of cameras, as the Switchcraft boots can tend to tear when stressed. The Neutriks are also shorter in length. I also like the fact that they have blue and red colored compression rings that for easy identification of left and right channels.
I’ve had an intermittent issue that I didn’t want to mention until I saw it happen at least a few times.
Occasionally, I’ve had one of my block 21 SRs act like it was getting about 2/3 of it’s RF spectrum being used across the ENTIRE block. The other two SRs would show completely clean RF.
This is totally intermittent and only seems to happen for my first shot in the mornings. It is not something I can predict and has only happened three times in a month of shooting that I’ve noticed.
Today, it happened in the middle of nowhere Georgia where there was no RF in block 21 at all.
When I listened in on the camera’s audio feed, it indeed was sounding like it was getting heavy interference.
Lectro is shipping me a new SR tomorrow to exchange with my SR, so we’ll see if it was just that particular unit.
Update: This issue has been solved. It turns out a wire was cut too short and was shorting between two boards.
The new metal right angle TA5F is also working out well. So far it seems to hold up very well with the operators shooting from the hip.
Lectro tells me they will be switching the TA5 “wart” to the other side of the SR in a future updrade, as well changing the antennas into removable ones like on the UM400a. This will allow them to used in a six-pack unit they are developing.
Hello , I have Panasonic AJ HPX 2000 P2 camcorder and Lectro SR 5P. The problem – I have a nose like ground loop noise.
Also I’m here the noise when touching the Lectro housing.
Did you have something similar.?
Tested SR on my friend’s HPX – the same noise.
Would you ever use the SR’s as part of your main audio insted of the 411’s. If your tight on money. Is the sound good enough
Sure, the SR sounds just as good. It doesn’t have the same tracking front end as the 411 and might not have the same range on the extreme end.