Live musicians and television personalities will always have a need for real time direct feedback of their current performance so they can make adjustments for the best show they can provide. But sometimes, the type of event isn’t very conductive to hearing yourself among an ensemble. In these situations, an In-ear Feedback system is invaluable to the performer to allow them to hear not only themselves, but the performance mix as a whole. The Galaxy Audio AS-1100 system is a good, cost-effective wireless version of these devices that works well for musicians on the go as well as wayward television hosts.
The AS-1100 system is Galaxy Audio’s high end wireless In-ear Feeback system, or IFB. The system itself is very simple to set up and operate. Containing two XLR 1/4-inch combo jacks for stereo feeds, the transmitter can take a stereo or mono aux mix from the board at line level. From there the transmitter uses UHF frequencies (with 120 available frequencies to choose from) to transmit a stereo mix to one of any number of AS-1000R receiver packs. The transmitter has a blue colored LCD display with indicators for current frequency and levels for each stereo channel.
The AS-1100R receiver packs are small pocketable units with a belt clip capable of picking up the transmitter’s signal. The pack itself contains a few controls in the front for selecting the frequency to match the transmitter while a volume knob acts as the single talent-adjustable control on the top. The top of the pack also contains a small wire for the antenna and a 1/8-inch stereo headphone jack that will accept any type of headset. Using 2 AA batteries, the pack itself lasts for about 5 hours and the whole unit weights about 100g without batteries.
We found that the receiver packs have very good output for the headphones, and the antenna is fairly sensitive. The problem though, is that as an external antenna, the receiver pack is prone to picking up a significant amount of RF signal in our office. The unit itself is not designed to “lock” onto a specific transmitter and as such had a tendency to pick up miscellaneous radio noise and relaying static to the talent.
The transmitter is rated at 10mW of transmission power over UHF frequencies, and we found the range was good inside the studio. But once we moved towards the outside about 50 feet away we would immediately lose the signal. It was not a problem with the other wireless audio systems we use, and it was a bit of a disappointment.
One Missing Feature
The biggest concern with the system though was the lack of talent selectable stereo mixes. While it’s wonderful that the unit itself can transmit in two channels at once, it is a less than optimal to only allow a stereo feed for the talent. We could have easily exploited the two channel system to provide two independent mixes for our talent if the packs themselves supported a “L/R” pan mode. Something as simple as a mono mix down pan knob next to the volume knob would have been invaluable as we use mono style earpieces that are limited to the left channel only. It’s a feature found in some more expensive competitors to the AS-1100.
Fortunately there is a more advanced version coming from Galaxy Audio that does support this individual mix feature. While most musicians using the system wouldn’t need individualized feeds for the whole band, as it stands, the lack of this feature just feels like a let down.
Overall, the AS-1100 is a decent system that is far above the entry level IFB systems many can find at their local electronics store. Aside from some missing functionality, the AS-1100 remains a very cost effective way to outfit a production with feed back systems for your talent.
The AS-1100 is available from many pro-audio retailers for an MSRP of $399 for the transmitter and a single receiver, with additional receivers for $199. A 4 receiver band pack is also available for $999.
- Easy to use and set up
- Works with unlimited number of receivers
- UHF suspect to interference
- Lack of mono-mixdown control per receiver.