Sennheiser EW 300 G3 vs Shure PSM900

Langston Holland

Sophomore
Jan 13, 2011
222
0
16
Pensacola
This review in large part is intended as a comparison to Shure's PSM900 IEM system reviewed earlier. I'm not going to repeat much of the background information, thus you might want to read the PSM900 post first.

Just did a gig a couple of days ago and one of the muso's let me borrow his G3 IEM system for this review.

Conclusion:

While it lacks some of the simplicity and polish of the PSM900, the Sennheiser G3 IEM is also a joy to use. Its feature set has more depth, particularly with EQ, is very well built, a bit noisier than the Shure and has a longer battery life. Price is also reasonable and everyone seems to be very happy with the sound. The Sennheiser has the best clip indicators in the industry - the entire LED display flashes red. Love that. Cute little red clip lights are fine for the studio, but in live sound things need to slap you in the face if possible.

Like the Shure, it has a nonintuitive number system for sensitivity that requires measurement to know what you're doing. One large issue that separates these units is that it's very important to optimize gain structure with the Sennheiser in order to keep the white noise (hiss) from becoming an issue. You should be doing this anyway, but the G3 design compromises demand it. You can get away with too little signal voltage on the Shure's inputs and still have a quiet system, but the downside to this "advantage" is huge.

Shure is gonna love me for this, but the PSM900 is effectively broken compared to the G3. I bought (4) channels of the PSM900 with an antenna combiner assuming it would at least equal the G3 system if not beat it sonically. It does neither. The 4dB of compression that the PSM900 forces on you for whatever reason dulls the sound enough that there are muso's that really don't like it, the others just don't know any better. This is completely unacceptable. Give me the noise back please, I'll optimize gain structure and have a true representation available for the musician of what he's doing on stage.

Transfer Function vs Input Level:

Because of the decision to avoid compression, the G3 has an effective dynamic range of about 40dB. Signals under that level will be noisy, particularly in the LF. Nevertheless, 40dB is fine with good gain structure. System latency is about 0.125ms. Low frequency extension is improved relative to the PSM900.

The G3 does not do compression, it tells the truth:

G3 at various input gains.png

The G3 at -30dBu and -40dBu input levels with minimum sensitivity setting (don't do this):

G3 at -40 and -30 input gains.png

The PSM900 has a good 60dB dynamic range before audible noise but compresses the output as input level is increased.



Transfer Function vs Stimulus Type:

The Sennheiser's companding is like all the other such schemes I've measured - it expects a relatively full range stimulus instead of sine waves. Thus a swept sine shows the typical companding artifacts and pink noise shows what happens with real music. Red trace is swept sine, black is pink noise.

G3 at -0 Pk vs SS.png

The PSM900 handles the swept sine stimulus a bit better. Notice how -50dBu and -40dBu measure the same as pink noise. Higher input levels confuse the companding - but in a musically useful way.



Transfer Function vs EQ:

The G3 has a huge amount of EQ capability. In my work, this is handled at the source by the console, but it would be very helpful in other situations such as small rigs and hearing impairment compensation. The beltpack is a simple on/off HF boost selection:

G3 Beltpack EQ.png

The much nicer EQ is found at the transmitter. HF boost including increments are shown here:

G3 HF Boost Increments.png

The remainder of the graphic EQ adjustments have the same increments, but I've only shown the extremes in the following. Notice how noise shows itself a bit in the LF maximum cuts when the input is driven by 0dBu at the minimum sensitivity setting.

G3 Trans Min Max EQ.png

With the PSM900 the "flat" setting has HF boost of +1.5dB. The "+2dB" setting adds another 2.5dB and the "+4dB" setting might not sound as bright as the "+2dB" setting in some cases.



"Wireless looks like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under't." Macbeth (Act I, Scene III by William Shakespeare)
 
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Jens Bacher

Freshman
Jan 2, 2012
99
0
0
Slagelse, Denmark
Re: Sennheiser EW 300 G3 vs Shure PSM900

Hi, do you still have the PSM900 graphs?
It seems the Shure PSM 900/1000 has some problems with high frequency impulses, like in a click track. I know of several bands that have gone back to sennheiser G3/2000 beacuse of this.
 

Daniel Nickleski

Sophomore
Jan 11, 2011
251
0
16
Chicago
www.soundworkspro.com
Re: Sennheiser EW 300 G3 vs Shure PSM900

I will chime in saying I have had major issues on 900 and 1000 rigs when it comes to high frequency content. We have had issues with click, but also with hats (even with the hat mic muted the bleed to the other mics have caused issue). I love the sound of the Shure system and the noise floor is GREAT, but I simply can't use them on stage without major issues time and time again.
 

Jason Glass

Sophomore
Re: Sennheiser EW 300 G3 vs Shure PSM900

I will chime in saying I have had major issues on 900 and 1000 rigs when it comes to high frequency content. We have had issues with click, but also with hats (even with the hat mic muted the bleed to the other mics have caused issue). I love the sound of the Shure system and the noise floor is GREAT, but I simply can't use them on stage without major issues time and time again.
Hi Daniel,

I'd like to suggest a deep, narrow notch in the mix EQ at 19KHz to solve that problem, since 19K is an even harmonic of the 38KHz stereo pilot tone. The notch will be inaudible if sufficiently narrow. If the trouble persists, a low pass at 16K-19K should do the trick. If that dulls the mix too much, a boost at 10K-12K will usually serve to add artificial air without stomping the pilot.

It is extremely rare for even the most expensive custom earmolds to produce >16KHz, and even rarer the musician who could actually hear it on a loud stage.
 

Adam Robinson

Sophomore
Jan 11, 2011
172
0
16
Chicago IL
Re: Sennheiser EW 300 G3 vs Shure PSM900

I will chime in saying I have had major issues on 900 and 1000 rigs when it comes to high frequency content. We have had issues with click, but also with hats (even with the hat mic muted the bleed to the other mics have caused issue). I love the sound of the Shure system and the noise floor is GREAT, but I simply can't use them on stage without major issues time and time again.
I too have had issues with 900s and 1000s. It's always been on one-offs, but the issues remain the same. The tracks we use have some very wide stereo content and at the same part each time, the audio cuts in and out. I've also had issue on the 1000s with the stereo image shifting in strange ways. I wish I had time to sit down and put them next to each other and fully describe the issues, but like most one-offs, there is no time to really sit and explore the issues. On the last show where I was given 1000s, the provider also brought G2s for the openers. Wanting to try the 1000s again we started our soundcheck with them, but after some of the issues above and some strange looks from the band, we switched to the G2s and the mixes instantly came together. We've gone to just sticking with the Sennheisers for now (G2, G3, 2000).

That all being said, I did almost a year's worth of touring with another artist when the 900s came out and besides a broken antenna on a receiver, had zero issues.
 

Jim Zumbo

Freshman
Mar 8, 2014
10
0
0
Re: Sennheiser EW 300 G3 vs Shure PSM900

How did you find the graph? Interesting. Thanks for sharing.