Zaxcom Stereo-link Review
I was a bit stunned upon first opening the stereo link. The system arrived loose without any kind of official 'Zaxcom' box. The transmitter and receiver where in a plastic bag and dropped into a generic box with peanuts. I almost missed the manual in that packaging job and cannot find any type of product registration information, at this point I have know idea what the warranty situation is with this system.
The battery compartment doors on both the transmitter and the receiver fail to latch without internal batteries installed. Powering externally, I was forced to place gaffer tape on both components to prevent inadvertently snagging the doors as they fell open.
The receiver is sure to be a hit with any camera op who feels the weight of it. The transmitter has a good quality feel to it and the external power connections are excellent, they lock into place without worry.
One look at the receiver antenna's and I realized I should have ordered a lot more of those. They will not last in that manner and right angles need to be available.
That first power up I decided to scroll through the transmitter menu screens....wow, was I in for a surprise! I couldn't make heads or tails out of the screens until I checked the manual....yeah....should have looked at that first. The menu's are simple once you know what you are looking at!
The menu's are very well thought out and quite user friendly. I like the fact that they have split the options into two categories. The first being the basic channel changing, gain level and lock/unlock settings. The second set of options requires you to specifically enter into that mode to change settings such as the power output, security codes and high pass filter. This really facilitates speedy access to the most common changes.
The frequency indicators are provided in two forms. The Channel # and the Channel Frequency. They are the same thing with the exception that the channel code which appears on your transmitter is minus the 1st digit of the frequency. So in the above picture that is channel code 550 which is the same thing as frequency 555.0 (this is a block 21 so the first digit will change depending on your block)
The metering is pretty much only useful for your setup. You can only view 1 channel at a time and the location of the meter doesn't lend itself to be of use during ENG bag work. Getting to the point of trust and knowing what the system is doing is critical in that regard. I am developing quite a comfortable confidence level with this system.
Zaxcom has discontinued the Stereoline unit in favor of their new design.
www.televisionsound.com / Thom Shafer