Sennheiser XSW 2-835-A Wireless Vocal Set review

Today, I have the XSW 2-835-A wireless vocal set for review. I have recently been reviewing a number of Sennheiser products for the blog and most of these reviews are of Sennheiser’s wireless systems, which include in-ear monitors and microphones. This wireless microphone kit resembles other products in the Sennheiser wireless family. However, the XS Wireless 2 receiver and the E835 microphone combine to give us what promises to be a great professional wireless vocal system for live performances. In this review, I look at the features of the XS Wireless 2 receiver and the E835 mic, I test it out and I give you my opinion on the quality of the build, wireless transmission and finally the sound of the product.

XSW 2-835A system offers a complete setup for wireless vocal needs

The main components of this microphone system are the E835 wireless microphone and XS Wireless 2 receiver but there are a few other elements as well. Here is a list of everything you will find in the box:

  • XS Wireless 2 receiver
  • E835 wireless dynamic microphone
  • Microphone clip
  • Detachable antennas (x2)
  • Rackmount wings (x2) and spacer
  • Vinyl protection pouch for the microphone
  • Power adapter with international connectors
  • 2 AA batteries (for microphone)
  • Rugged build and rack-mountable

As I open the box, I notice immediately that the XS Wireless receiver has a metal housing and the hardware for rack-mounting the receiver is also a part of the package. These are the types of details that help distinguish a professional-grade system from a beginner-level system. The receiver takes up the space for 1/2 of a rack. The mounting brackets are two wings and a spacer, which converts into a brace should you decide to combine two 1-channel receivers to complete a full rack. I am happy to report that the metal housing inspires confidence and professionalism for the receiver. Sound equipment, no matter how well-cared for, can receive an enormous amount of abuse with regular use. Having a metal chassis makes a huge difference to the longevity of the unit.

External antennas can be folded down for storage

The XS Wireless 2 receiver has two detachable antennas. Some other Sennheiser wireless systems have integrated antennas. However, the XS Wireless 2 keeps up with the industry standard for high-quality broadcasting/receiving. The antennas also fold downward, to allow for easy integration into a rack case for regular use.

XS Wireless 2 receiver front and rear panel design

A view of the front panel of the XS Wireless 2 receiver

The front panel of the XS Wireless 2 receiver is simple and intuitive to use. It also displays all of the relevant information for the real-time functioning of the wireless microphone system. Indicators for RF (strength of wireless signal) and AF (volume of audio signal) are to the left. The tuned frequency of the microphone is the largest part of the display, followed by the Bank and Channel settings. Finally, to the right are the Antenna meters and also the Mode indicator (Tune/Preset/Scan and Sync). Finally, a volume knob for adjusting the receivers output to the main console, and the On/Off power button.

The sync feature is indispensable

Of all the features available via the front panel, it is the sync feature that stands out for me. Should you need to change the routing or assignment of the microphone, it is a very easy task. Start by setting the Bank and Channel via the “Set” menu on the receiver. Then, press the Sync button found on the bottom of the wireless microphone. Again on the receiver, the word “Sync” begins to flash. Press Sync on the receiver and the routing information is then sent directly to the microphone.

I love how easy this is! It will save precious setup time, or if ever there is a technical crisis to manage during live performance.

The rear panel of the XS Wireless 2 receiver

Taking a look at the XS Wireless receiver’s rear panel, I discover standard features. Connections for the two antennas, an XLR balanced output, a 1/4″ unbalanced output, a Line/Mic switch, an SQ “Squelch” knob and finally the DC power input.The SQ “Squelch” knob is useful. It helps to manage the small sounds that sometimes interrupt the transmission between the wireless microphone and receiver. The farther apart the two components are from one another, the greater the chance of these “hiccups” in the signal, and the SQ helps to mask those sounds.

E835 wireless microphone features

The E835 wireless microphone is special for one reason in particular. The design of the E835 capsule targets specifically singers in live music situations. Offering a boost at 3kHz – 5kHz allows for a singer’s voice to cut through a mix amongst other instruments. The microphone’s construction is plastic and metal. Normally I am hesitant when I see plastic materials being used for the primary tools. I want to experience confidence and durability with my equipment. I am satisfied, however, as the important parts are made of metal. The plastic is simply a covering, which saves weight overall.

Hidden under the battery chamber is a switch which allows adjustment of the microphone gain. 0 dB (Flat), -10dB, -20dB and -30dB options are available. It is a nice touch for making macro adjustments to suit individual singers. The microphone has a master On/Off switch near the bottom. Additionally, it has an active/mute sliding switch on the body, which is a standard feature of most wireless microphones. Finally, the LCD screen on the mic provides vital information such as bank, channel, frequency and battery status.

XSW 2-835-A wireless vocal system has excellent reception and range

In my opinion, the transmission and reception of the audio signal are the most important elements of this wireless vocal set. I am happy to report that the XSW 2 system delivers fantastically! Broadcasting over a 2.4 GHz band, the connection between the microphone and receiver is stable as I move about my home studio, which has plenty of obstacles that could cause problems for the unit. I researched to find out the broadcast range of the system, but I was unable to find the information I need. Based on past experience with Sennheiser’s lesser-priced wireless microphone models, I would say that the range is at least 75m (250ft) under optimal conditions.

Many options for customising parameters

There are eight frequency banks available, should you be using multiple units. Each bank has 12 presets available as well. These details seem to be common across most Sennheiser wireless products. Nevertheless, it is good to know that you can run large productions using a wide array of Sennheiser units and that they will work with each other to provide excellent wireless sound with minimal technical fuss.

Final thoughts

To conclude, I will simply say that this is indeed a professional system in every aspect possible. From build quality to transmission quality to usability, the XSW 2-835-A wireless vocal set provides technical confidence and sonic excellence. Get this microphone system today, and enjoy it for a long time. Sennheiser has wireless microphones and many other excellent wireless products available. You will find the best fit for your needs at the Best Buy website!

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