CTW NAMM Coverage: Shure ULXD Digital Wireless

Last year we got a sneak peak at Axient, Shure's new high-end wireless system. For those that can afford it, Axient is now shipping. I asked about pricing and was told, "Well, it's really based on a system; the Spectrum Manager, ShowLink and then how many channels and transmitters do you want?" An acutal number never came up... I'll keep digging.

But ULXD does have pricing, and it's an interesting product. Unlike just about every other analog wireless system how there, the ULXD does not use companding. It transmits full-bandwidth audio from the mic (or guitar pack) to the receiver. It's also encrypted, so if you are worried about someone stealing your bass line, worry no more. 

For RF hostile environments, the ULXD has some distinct advantages. First, it's digital, so the signal will get there or it won't. Interference should be less of an issue. It's also very efficient; I'm told they can fit 14 channels of ULXD into a single DTV channel (6 MHz). That's not bad. You can also use up to 60 channels per band (there are three bands available). Also good.

ULXD works with the Axient Spectrum Manager as well, so you could design a hybrid system with a couple of channels of Axient for your money channels, then use ULXD for everything else. It operates in the same frequency bands as UHF-R so existing paddles and antenna distros will work fine.

Finally, they are giving it the new LiOn battery system developed for Axient. With a variety of chargers (that are networkable), you get fast charging, no memory effect and up to 12 hours of battery life. I'm a huge fan of rechargeable batteries, and I'm glad to see manufacturers supporting that trend. 

Pricing should come in around $1,300-1,500 per channel and it's available now. Also shipping is the UR5 and UR3 ENG wireless systems.