Sennheiser’s new system is their best yet – Sennheiser EW-DP G5 review

Apr 3, 2024

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

Sennheiser’s new system is their best yet – Sennheiser EW-DP G5 review

Apr 3, 2024

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

YouTube video

Sennheiser’s wireless UHF systems have always been some of the best in the industry. Their audio quality is superb, and they work well even in areas with saturated frequencies. We’ve been using some of these systems ourselves for years (any G3 users in the audience?), but since the new Sennheiser EW DP G5 system ($699) is here, one gotta ask: what’s changed, and is it worth the upgrade?

Why some wireless microphones are better than others

To understand why the EW-DP is so amazing, I will first explain what Digital UHF is. Generally, there are three wireless audio standards in the industry. 2.4 GHz, DECT, and UHF.

2.4 Ghz microphones

These systems are pretty much what digital creators and influencers use. They are affordable, relatively reliable, and have a small factor. I’m talking about systems like the DJI Mic 2, Rode Wireless Pro, and Hollyland Lark M2. They are all excellent systems, and while you may have a lot of control over general settings, you don’t have much control over their radio medium. And, if you’re using a 2.4 GHz system in a place where your frequency is saturated, you will have interferences. 2.4 GHz is used by Wifi, Bluetooth, and a whole slew of other public domain protocols, even some video transmission. If you hit a saturated location, it could be hard to recover.

DECT microphones

If you’re going a step higher, you have DECT systems like the Sennheiser AVX ($763). We’ve been using the AVX for trade shows for ages now, as it gets practically zero interference, even in saturated areas. I love our AVX system, and even with the EW-DP I am still keeping it in my kit. Sadly, the AVX doesn’t give a lot of control and is more of a plug-and-play system.

UHF microphones

Lastly, there is UHF. Like DECT, you don’t have much interference, but unlike DECT, you have plenty of control available. The tradeoff for that is that you have to know what you’re doing, and deviating from the default may take some time to set up. A final point to consider is that different countries use different UHF bands, so your kit needs to be geo-specific. (If you are shooting in Europe, Japan, and the US, you will need more than one set).

Sennheiser EW-DP G5 Digital UHF wireless audio system

With the G5, Sennheiser introduced Digital UHF, which is kind of the best of both worlds. It is far more flexible and reliable, but it’s also easier to pair, and you get better control over the medium. The basic EW-DP kit has a microphone on one end and a receiver on the other. The type of microphone depends on the kit, and we tested the lav/bodypack and the reporter mic.

EW-DP EK receiver

EW-DP EK receiver

The heart of the system is the EW-DP EK receiver. It’s a bit bigger and a lot sturdier than the G3/G4 form factor. It is very “boxy” which makes much more sense both in a production environment and when packing.

The receiver has a standard 2.5mm headset port and a 2.5mm mic out. The kit includes the signature blue Sennheiser cable for that port.

EW-DP EK mounting options

The G5 receiver is incredibly versatile when it comes to mounting. Aside from the standard 1/4-20 thread on the bottom of the unit, you also have two other mounting options.

The back of the unit has a clip for a belt or a sound bag, which fits well in both smaller and larger sound kits.

Sennheiser EW-DP in a sound bag

However, the best mounting feature is the magnetic connection on the bottom of each receiver. It allows you to place the receiver on a dedicated Sennheiser plate or stack receivers on top of each other (the top of each receiver is magnetic as well). This makes a convenient setup solution if you need to record more than one channel.

Sennheiser EW-DP stacking on a camera

The only thing to be aware of is that stacking those receivers creates a taller rig, and depending on your setup, this may or may not be an issue. My typical setup is stationary on a tripod, so this is not an issue. But if you’re using a gimbal, then you’ll have to take the extra height into consideration.

EW-DP EK menu system

Menu-wise, you’ll find everything you need to control the system on the receiver. Both for radio and for audio. You can control both the frequency and the channel. Obviously, there is an auto-scan feature that selects the best options for you, but you can also go manual and select the options yourself.

On the audio side, you can control everything that you would expect from a 2024 microphone: gain, output level, headphone volume, and whether the talent can mute the microphone or not.

This is 2024, so the menu is a very bright and relatively big readable screen, which is much easier to read than the G3 we’ve used so far.

Sennheiser EW-DP receiver warning light

One of the best features of the kit is a “warning” light that calls for attention in case you are in an edge case: Clipping, low battery, microphone is muted, and so on.

EW-D SK transmitter

EW-D SK transmitter

Of course, as in any wireless system with a receiver, there is also a transmitter. The new EW-D SK transmitter has a few differences from the previous generations.

The biggest one is the lack of a display. Instead, the entire system is controlled by the receiver. This makes a lot of sense, as you want the person who monitors the audio to control the setup and not the talent.

That leaves the unit with a very clean design: a 3.5mm screw-lock TRS socket, a mute switch, and a sync button. The power button remains under the battery door, just like with the G3/G4 systems. Taking the power button away makes sense to avoid situations where the talent accidentally turns off the unit.

To attach the transmitter to a belt, you get the same standard metal clip.

Moving on.

EW-D SKM-S

EW-D SKM-S

The EW-D SKM-S handheld transmitter is a reporter-style dynamic mic, and it is one of the most versatile mics that I have seen in the range. Out of the box, it comes equipped with the Sennheiser MMD 835 microphone capsule ($99), but you can swap it for other Sennheiser microphone capsules. This gives you a wide range of options for different polar patterns and sound signatures.

Audio quality

The Sennheiser MMD 835 and the Sennheiser ME2 lavalier ($129) sound natural and clear. But come on, you already knew that. Interestingly, that capsule has not changed for an incredibly long time. The design for these mics is more than 20 years old by this point, and there is a reason why Sennheiser still sells them. Why fix something that isn’t broken?

Dynamic range

Back at NAB, Sennheiser boasted a 134 dB dynamic range for the G5. They claimed we wouldn’t manage to hit clipping with a human voice, not even when the system is set with enough gain to record whispers. We took on that challenge, yelling our lungs out to see if it was true. Even when the gain was set to +33 db, we weren’t peaking. This massive range reduces the need for adjustments, and it helps you avoid errors during setups. The bigger the range, the more forgiving the system is for marginal gain levels.

As long as there is nothing between the receiver and transmitter, you can have quite a good range with the G5. In our testing, the audio remained solid up to about 90m. At that distance, anything that cuts the line of sight between the units will cut the audio out completely. If you have a talent at that range, and they turn around, facing away from the receiver, that will be enough to lose their signal.

A new battery system

The New battery system

Sennheiser also released a new rechargeable battery system for the G5, the Sennheiser BA-70 ($49). You can use this battery to run any device in the system. If you’re not a fan of propriety batteries or if your BA-70s run out of juice, you can also use two standard AA batteries. The receiver itself can also accept power via the USB-C port.

If you prefer to stick to the BA-70s, Sennheiser offers multiple charging docks for the BA-70 batteries. There are the simple two-bay chargers like the L-70 ($59). Alternatively, you can get the LM-6070 module ($129) for the L-6000 charging station ($1099), making a massive, rack-mountable charging station.

Pairing has never been easier

By far, the thing that most users will notice first is a new pairing system. WOW! The new pairing procedure is as simple as pressing the sync button on the transmitter and receiver. If you remember how you had to infra-red your way on the G3’s you’ll appreciate it a lot.

It takes about two seconds from the time you press the buttons until the mics are synced. If you swap between multiple receivers and transmitters, it is a massive time saver.

EW-DP syncing

Sennheiser EW-D smart assist app

Sennheiser EW-D smart assist app

Sennheiser also has a new app, The EW-D smart assist. You can use it to mess around with the settings of the systems from afar: remotely muting or unmuting, controlling gain, allocating frequencies, and more. It feels a lot like accessing the receiver menu from your phone. Conveniently, you can also use the app to run software updates.

Sennheiser EW-DP Specs

System
Audio link frequency rangesQ1-6 (470.2-526 MHz)
R1-6 (520-576 MHz)
R4-9 (552-607.8 MHz)
S1-7 (606.2-662 MHz)
S4-7 (630-662 MHz)
S7-10 (662-693.8 MHz)
U1/5 (823.2-831.8 & 863.2-864.8 MHz)
V3-4 (925.2-937.3 MHz)
V1-3 (1785.2-1799.8 MHz)
Bluetooth LE Frequency Range2404-2480 MHz
Audio frequency response20 Hz – 20 kHz (-3DB) @ 3dBfs
Audio THD≤ -60 dB for 1kHz @ -3 dBfs input level
Dynamic Range134dB
System latency1.9ms
Operating temperature-10ºC – +55ºC (14ºF – 131ºF)
Relative humidity5-95% (non-condensing)
EW-DP EK
Input voltage~1.8 – 4.35v
Input currentTyp. <250 mA / Max. <400 mA (BA 70)
Typ. <400mA / Max. <750mA (2xAA batteries)
<300mA @ 5v (USB-C standalone)
Power supply2xAA batteries 1.5v or BA70 rechargeable battery pack or USB-C PD power supply (max):
5v / 1500mA
9v / 900mA
12v / 700mA
Transmitter power (radiated)BLE: max. 10mW EIRP
Audio output power<2 dBV max (high level) / <4dBU max (high level)
Headphone output<50mW into 16 Ohms
Dimensions86x67x28mm
Weight (without antennas and power supply)Approx 140g

Conclusion

Just like we thought at NAB, The Sennheiser EW DP G5 is an incredibly versatile and capable system. The high-dynamic range, DUHF, and magnetic system all help the G5 quickly adapt to any situation you need. We’ve been using the G3, and the decision to upgrade was very easy for us. That said, we are still keeping the AVX in our kit for times when UHF needs stricter licensing.

The EW-DP G5 is available in multiple bundles starting at $699. You can get each bundle with a different frequency band. Make sure the one you’re getting fits your needs and location.

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One response to “Sennheiser’s new system is their best yet – Sennheiser EW-DP G5 review”

  1. Joost Wierenga Avatar
    Joost Wierenga

    Cant wait to try this set!