Sennheiser Sets a New Ease of Use and Low Price with its XS Wireless System

In 2015, Sennheiser introduced its 1.9 GHz AVX wireless microphone system. Not only did it set a new low-cost standard for professional systems, but it was the easiest to use wireless system ever built. Now, Sennheiser has raised the bar again, bringing the entry price even lower and creating a system that any child can operate.

The Sennheiser XS system is remarkably easy to use. Simply press one button on the transmitter and receiver and the system pairs up automatically. It’s a 2.4GHz digital system that works anywhere in the world on a license-free basis.

The XS begins in price at an astoundingly low $299. This, however, is no toy. The XS system is robust enough for professional use, delivering a 250-foot operating range and up to five hours of battery life on a single charge. It is ideal for one-man journalists and camera operators who covet simplicity. Like the AVX system before it ($899), it just works.

XS components come in ten different kits for virtually any conceivable use. Each module, which can be mixed and matched, costs $179.95. There are systems tailored for handheld and lavalier use, video systems, music and guitar. All modules can handle five simultaneous connections and each has a mute button. For testing, Sennheiser sent us its XSW-D vocal set ($349), an elegant XLR package with a dynamic handheld microphone.

Sennheiser XSW-D Vocal Set

Sennheiser XSW-D Vocal Set

Sennheiser bills this system as its entry level wireless package. That translates to “junk” from some companies. But not Sennheiser. This system sounds great at up to 250-foot range. It has a five hour battery life and is rechargeable using a standard USB-C cable. Unlike the AVS system, which can use interchangeable batteries, the XS system is limited to five hours of use before the need to recharge the internal batteries.

We tried to shake it, but we couldn’t do it. There was zero dropout, which plagues most entry level system. The XS system worked flawlessly in all our tests and sounded every bit as good are the more expensive AVX system. It is clear that Sennheiser learned something about of ease of use from AVX and brought it to users in a more cost effective system.

Users get a convenient mute function on both the transmitter and receiver, and can be alerted between units of a low battery. This system is so simple and intuitive that the small included instruction sheet is rarely needed.

XS has essentially plug-and-play operation. The series includes a flexible array of compact plug-on receivers and receivers, enabling compatibility with lavalier mics, handheld mics and instruments. Each works the same way, having on a single LED and button. The XLR version does not provide 48-volt phantom power and needs to use a dynamic microphone.

It is remarkable how far wireless microphone systems have come, both in reliability and price. Of course, any wireless system at any price can run into interference problems and it is always good to have a wired backup in case that happens.

But the XS system is an excellent model for anyone seeking a smooth entry into the world of wireless microphones.

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