The SR Receiver is the much anticipated new Dual Channel Slot Receiver from Lectrosonics. The unit is based on the front end of the Lectro 401. It is designed to fit into larger cameras such that offer a wireless slot (such as the Pan SDX-900) offering a clean, balanced and lightweight solution to large wireless units hanging off the side of the cameras.
I bought my SR Receiver on Block 21 from Professional Sound Corp in NYC for $1890 with the external adapter. I also opted for the SRUNI Panasonic adapter for $122. I also bought cables and backup cables for the external adapter (4 TA3s to XLR, 2 Camera Power Cables & 2 BDS Cables). They also offer a Sony adapter and a hardwired adapter for bag use.
When I first took it out of the box, I couldn’t believe how light and small it was compared to my 411a’s.
External Camera Hop Use
My first experience with the SR was on BetacamSP in a saddlebag (that normally carries my 2 411a’s): All seemed well, and I was excited to be using it. While I wasn’t listening in, however, my cam op was. He told me that he loved not being weighted down and twisted to the right by the weight of the two 411s in a BEC box off the side of the camera. His first question to me was, “Why haven’t you done this sooner!?”
In a Bag
My next experience was using it in a bag alongside three 411a’s. Another mixer and I had coordinated 10 active freqs with 10 spares using the IAS coordination program and we were shooting in the middle-of-nowhere Georgia. I did notice right away that the 411s had a much greater signal strength than the SR. As the unit is built similarly to a 401, this was not a big surprise,but I was surprised to see how much of a difference. While my 411s were solid, I was getting hits on the SR.
Now, it may just be my SR, but it seems to have some issues. For one, the battery indicator always showed that channel two was low. Even when I changed both channels to be on the same frequency, the second channel was low and often would fluctuate to blinking status and back. I also noticed that the SR was RF touch sensitive and when I would put my fingers on or around the unit, the RF signal strength would go up or down, while the 411s were rock solid. (In talks with Lectrosonics, they have requested that I send my unit back for testing, so take some of my technical problems into consideration as I MAY have a faulty unit.)
My third experience was once again as a camera hop with a SDX-900 in a reality situation. I had just received the Unislot attachment for the SR and was very excited to put it to use. I HAD heard that the Sony camera slot was single channel only, but I hadn’t heard that Panasonic’s were the same way. I was saddened to find out that Panasonics with the Unislot are set up to only use a single channel in the W.L. (Wireless) setting. Lectro is in talks with Panasonic (and Sony) to change this, but as of this moment have no confirmation about future cameras or retrofitting older models.
The Fix for Cameras With Single Channel Wireless Slots:
Lectrosonics will be offering a mod version of the SR called the SR/5P near the end of June. It will feature a top mounted external connector to get around the problem of legacy wireless slot single-channel cameras and run a cable down the camera to connect with the rear channel 2 connector. It isn’t as pretty, but it will work, and that’s what counts.
Larry Fisher, President of Lectrosonics, wrote on RAMPS about this issue: “We will make only the 5 pin warted unit for factory stock for the foreseeable future and make accessory cables to go between the wart and the camera external inputs. Once the brontos change over, we will go back to the original wartless unit as standard. We can convert already purchased units of the standard SR to the warted SR for the difference in price. For anyone that feels we misled them, we’ll do it
at no charge. At the moment the whole thing is in flux and our literature and web site haven’t caught up. ” Thanks Larry.
What if my Camera doesn’t have an accessory power outlet?
I have been told by Lectro a battery sled will be available in the next few months that will be powered by two 9Vs. This will allow the SR to be used by the prosumer cameras that don’t have an external power connector. I look forward to seeing that.
Things I like:
1) Again, the small size and light weight of the SR is incredible.
2) Two in one receiver! No brainer.
3) Easy and Intuitive menu: If you’re familiar with a 211/401/411, you’ll find it easy to use.
5) My camera operators seem to love it. It definitely has a WOW factor.
6) Did I mention that is has two channels? =)
Things I’d Like Changed:
1) I would like to see an option for the LED backlight to stay on, like a 411, rather than having to hit a button to turn it on for when in use in an ENG bag.
2) I wish the base of the external adapter had easy to see colored plastic rings blue and red rings around the TA3 connectors, rather than the hard-to-read low contrast white paint numbers “1” and “2” on the aluminum base. (Lectro is considering this)
3) For those that plan on switching out the bottom adapters like I had, I feel that the REALLY TINY screws that hold the adapter in place would VERY easily be lost, especially when being changed out in the field. I’d rather see a clip release of some sort without integral parts that could be lost. (Lectro tells me they will now be including a spare screw taped to the inside of the adapter plate.)
4) For the Unislot adapter’s top bracket, I wish the screws were phillips heads rather than flathead. It’s not easy to screw them in with the included tweaker tool. BTW, the tweaker provided with the SR is now a two sided screwdriver with the addition of a phillips head at the top. (Lectro has told me that they were originally phillips, but a conflict on a new Sony HD camera didn’t allow the higher head of the phillips and they went with a flathead screw)
5) For battery life, the unit shows a battery icon, but does not have a volt meter like my 411s.
6) I wish the SR was built based on a 411a, instead of the 401, but I suppose that’ll have to wait until nanotechnology catches up and the SR2 comes out. =)
The SR is a bold offering by Lectrosonics and will most definitely change how we use wireless camera hops. I appreciate the unit for what it offers and applaud Lectrosonics for looking towards the future. I’ll be using it for much time to come.
I encourage everyone to contact their Camera Reps and plead for the addition of second channel support!
Note: Next week, I am sending my SR “back to the mothership” for a check up for my unit’s issues and to mod it to the 5P connector. I’ll let you know how it works out!
Hi Chris, thanks for this awesome review.
just wondering how you have found your SRa subsequent to writing this? Do you still find that it has significantly poorer performance than the 411’s? I am keen on buying one, as you say, 2 receivers in one unit is a major drawcard, as is its versatility in being used as a hop.
The SR have been improved quite a bit and I’m much more confident using them in a bag. They still aren’t a 411a, but pretty darn close. I’m actually selling my second SRa5p w/ acessories. Let me know if you are interested! It’s a block 21.
Chris, just this past month I heard from a couple of sources that Sony had finally caved in to the mounting pressure and that their broadcast cameras now have the second channel open of the Slot open to non-Sony wireless systems. Have you heard anything to this regard to confirm or deny?
I have NOT heard that. I do hope it’s true!!!
I will ask around. Thanks for the tip!