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Mobilise your monitoring with these new fangled, tangle-free wireless headphones from Vivanco



High on many camcorder ownerís gripe list is wind noise on the soundtrack. Some models are worse than others, and itís difficult to avoid on machines where thereís no facility to monitor the sound as its recorded, but if your camcorder has a headphone socket, thereís no excuse. Well, thatís not strictly true, headphones are a darn nuisance, the lead always seems to get itself tangled, cables are either too long, or too short, and most recent lightweight designs are not very good outdoors, where there can be a lot of ambient noise.   


The Cyberwave FMH 6800 wireless headphones from Vivanco could be the answer. Cordless headphones arenít exactly a new idea, infra-red models have been available for some time, but these are the first to use the recently ratified 863-864 MHz frequency band, (earlier RF headphones, also from Vivanco, used the congested Ďlo-fií 49MHz band). Itís a new EU-wide standard; the UHF frequency allows a wider, full range hi-fi audio bandwidth, thereís less noise and interference and the range is better. Unlike IR cordless phones they also work through walls; these models have a maximum range of 100 metres, though 20-30 metres is a good average, when the transmitter module is indoors.


Padded, fully enclosed ear cups cut out extraneous noise. The headphones are powered by a pair of rechargeable batteries, a full charge lasts between six and seven hours. Power for the transmitter module/charger comes from a plug-in mains adaptor. It has another interesting feature, that is of particular interest to us, the transmitter can also be powered by a 9 volt battery, which means it is completely portable.


The headphones are light and comfortable, the self-adjusting headband adapts to any size or shape of head and the ear cups fit snugly around the outer ear. Set up is easy. The audio input cable plugs into the camcorderís headphone socket, (or hi-fi, TV etc.),  select a channel on the transmitter -- thereís three to choose from, to avoid interference from other, nearby users  -- and tune in using the small thumbwheel on the bottom of the right hand headphone. A small LED changes from red to green when the signal is received. Set the input and headphone volume and youíre in business. Treble and mid-range response is very good indeed, bass output is a little lightweight but thatís hardly a concern on most video movies. Thereís some background hiss, and it gets louder as you approach the limits of the range, but itís not intrusive and can be minimised by juggling input and volume levels.


We experienced some interference in one South London location, but since this happened to be only half a mile from the BBC and IBA TV and radio transmitters in Crystal Palace, it wasnít altogether surprising.


If youíre doing location camera work, plus ten other jobs, where you need to be able to move around, then the Cyberwave headphones can give you the freedom you need. The quality is very good indeed, so when you get home hook them up to the hi-fi, and enjoy your favourite music in the back garden, or wherever the fancy takes you.



Make/model                  Vivanco FMH 6800 Cyberwave

Guide price                    £80

Features                       FM wireless headphones operating on 3 selectable channels (863-864MHz),  audio bandwidth 20Hz to 20kHz, range up to 100 metres, rechargeable battery powered receiver, mains adaptor/charger included, optional battery power, connecting leads supplied, automatic transmitter cut-off

Sockets            stereo line input (phono/minijack), power supply (DC socket), charge lead (microjack)

Weight (headphones) 220grams (with batteries)

Distributor                     Vivanco UK, Maxted Court, Maxted Road, Hemel Hempstead, Herts HP2 7BY, telephone  (01442) 403020


VC Rating *********

High performance mobile monitoring, but at a price



R. Maybury 1998 2201








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