REVIEW: Deity HD-TX Wireless Audio Recorder and Transmitter (Part 1)

REVIEW: Deity HD-TX Wireless Audio Recorder and Transmitter (Part 1)


In this video, we’ll take a
look at the new Deity HD-TX wireless transmitter and
audio recorder. [Cool BFM Intro] This is the Deity Connect
Interview Kit. This kit is loaded with stuff,
and it would take me way too many hours to do it justice in
a single video. So, this is the first in a series
of videos covering the kit, starting with the recently
announced Deity HD-TX. I’ll be looking at all the
features and menus with some suggestions, mainly testing the
audio recording capabilities in this video, then testing the
wireless capabilities with the connect kit, in the next video. Right now I’m using the Deity
SMic-2s, awesome mic by the way, into the HD-TX recorder. All of the audio recorded in this
video has not been post-processed, except to normalize the sound levels. I received this kit free of
charge from Deity with no obligation, and they’ve had no
input into the making of this video. If you get the unit by itself,
you get the Deity HD-TX Transmitter/Recorder, a
cable for charging the unit, Holster with Belt Clip,
Manual and Warranty. Totally solid unit, all-metal
construction except for the push buttons on the front and
the micro-SD card cover which is rubber, meaning, it doesn’t
have a little plastic or metal door that will break off. The sides do have some plastic
but that’s because the wireless transmission is internal. On this side, a headphone jack
is a very welcomed addition, as you can monitor the sound being
transmitted and recorded, as well as listen to the recorded files
on playback. Headphone volume can be set
in the menus which you’ll see in that section of this video. On a lot of micro-SD Card units
I own, they recess the card slot, making it really hard
to insert and eject the card. I like that the Mini-SD card slot
on this unit is larger and leaves room for my fingers. The unit takes these widely
available Micro-SD card, and accepts up to 128 Gb cards. Trust me, that’s plenty – an
8GB card will give you about 8 hours of recording time, so
with larger cards you’re looking at days. Audio is recorded using standard
24bit/48kHz uncompressed wav files, which is excellent and plenty for
most people’s needs. This battery and card system work
hand-in-hand. The unit predicts if you’re about
to run out of battery power, and ensures your current recording is
safely saved to the card before it shuts down. Additionally, if someone presses
the power button in the middle of a recording, the unit takes the
same action – ensures the recording is saved before powering down. Next is the USB-C port with
an included cable for charging the unit using your computer or the
widely available plugs most everyone owns nowadays. Charging from complete zero
to 100% takes about an hour and a half. Yes, the battery is built-in, but
if you do the math, it has 500 recharge cycles, and if you
recharged it from zero percent to 100% every day, 5 days a week,
which is unlikely, that’s nearly 2 years. So under normal use you’re
going to get many more years than that. Plus, Deity offers a replacement
battery service for all their products. I didn’t know that. Apparently, no one knows about it
as no one has needed it, but that definitely gives me peace of mind
and future proofs this device. Apparently you can open the unit
and replace the battery itself, using these screws on top, but
I don’t see needing that for years to come, and I
would probably let the pros at Deity handle that. This unit easily got 10 hours
in my tests, and that’s with 48V phantom power going to the microphone. I can only imagine how long it will
last using something that doesn’t use phantom power, like this Deity
VMic Pro that supplies its own power. Up here you can see the
unit accepts both XLR type mics as well as 3.5 mm type microphones, a
real plus as it covers all microphone types, and as you upgrade to higher
grade mics, you’re covered. Not only does the 3.5 accept both
screw connections and plug-in connections, but this connection
system on top for an XLR mic is ingenious. On the Deity, you push the mic
on, twist this screw until tight, and this mic is going nowhere. You don’t run the risk of it
falling off or not being totally connected, something I’ve run
into on all other units. To remove, unscrew the mic, and
it pulls off gently – well thought out and a really great feature. On the front, we have brightly lit
yellow click-type buttons. Turning the unit on takes a long press,
about 2 seconds. The unit shows us a great looking
OLED screen that is easy to read, and helpful when using it in
bright lighting conditions or outside in sunlight. You can see the battery level,
and whether you’ve got an XLR type mic or a 3.5mm mic attached,
indicted by the TRS light. The VU meter shows the input level of
the mic and is really handy to see if you’ve got the unit set too low or
too high and clipping, which is indicated by these two bars. The upper right audio icon shows if
the unit is muted or not, done by clicking the power button once to
mute, then again once to unmute. You can turn that feature off in
the menu system as you’ll see later. The ID number we’ll cover in a moment. Internal recording is quite simple,
press record to arm, again to record. You can pause the recording and
unpause it again to continue with the current recording, or
press stop to end the current recording. Same with playback, you can
play the recording, pause, and continue, or stop. I like the simplicity, but, you’ll find
all sorts of features and goodies in higher-end audio recorders
and transmitters when you enter the menus. Press menu to enter the system, and
use the up and down arrows to move, the SELECT button to choose. Use the back button to back out
of the menus, and again, to the main screen. I love that pressing the menu button
again brings me back to where I was. If I’m trying to set frequency boost,
for example, I don’t have to scroll all the way down to where I was. Let’s start with the top menu: INPUT TYPE. This is where you select if you’re
using an XLR type mic or the 3.5mm type. Next is MIC LEVEL. You’ll see that you
get the VU meter to see the levels so you can test them, and the peaking bars at the
top. Scrolling up sets a plus level, scrolling
down sets minus levels, meaning you can add or take away loudness depending on
your mic type and what you need. VOLUME works the same way, plus for more,
minus for less, and is used to set the output of the headphone jack. Here you can turn the LIMITER OFF or ON. Limiters attempt to salvage audio that is
way too loud, in other words, they try and keep your audio from clipping. These are not digital limiters, but analog
limiters, which is amazing as analog limiters are usually found on units audio units costing
in the upper range, sometimes thousands of dollars. Now I’m going to do two testsm with
the limiter of and the limiter on. I’m going to yell really loud,
and I’m going to show you, the volume, and how it peaks, and
how it limits the sound from clipping. So you might want to turn down your
headphones or your speakers or whatever, and I’ll give you about 5 seconds. First thing is I am going to yell
with the limiters off and it’s really going to clip. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. This is the HD-TX without the
limters on. Now I go in and set the limiter
on and as you can see when I back out to the main screen, it shows
LIMIT that it’s on. Now I’m going to yell into it again
and we’re going to see how these limiters work and what they do to
the sound to keep it from clipping. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. This is the HD-TX with the
limter on. Very respectable, and that could
make all the difference between audio that can be salavged and
audio that can’t be used or corrected in post. The LOW CUT options are phenomenal, and
they let you dial out precisely rumble and other irritating noises depending on where
you are shooting, a good idea to check with the headphone jack if you have
these sounds occurring. These go from 20 hertz all the way
up to 200 hertz. I would like to note two features
I’d like to see in a future firmware update. One is I have to press the button every
time to move down a selection. I’d like a second or two pause while
holding one of the arrows down and have it auto scroll through the menus, The other is when I get to the end
of a long list, like these LOW CUT options, for it to wrap to the top. Not a big deal, just a suggestion. You can set the frequency boost,
a very nice feature for things like lav mics, as some
higher end frequences are absorbed by clothing when hiding these mics,
or if you’re using this mic with a blimp. MUTE is simply another way to mute
the unit, similar to clicking the power button once. RF power allows you to power up the
radio frequency transmission to the receiver. Mine is set to AUTO, meaning,
this receiver will send a pulse to this unit and will auto adjust
the radio frequency to help prevent signal loss. This also increases battery life
you won’t be using more power than the system needs. We’ll see these tests in the
follow on video. USER ID allows you to assign an ID
to each transmitter in the case of multiples, and note that
these signals are encrypted. PAIR will attempt to pair the
unit with any receiver in range. FIRMWARE allows you to see the latest
version, which you should always do when purchasing a unit like this
and see if you have the latest version. Many new features and problems can
be fixed by simply updating your firmware to the latest version, which is what
the next menu does – UPDATE. The website tells you how to do this
and it is usually very simple, such as downloading the new update the the
micro SD card and selecting this option. AUTO LOCK tell the unit how long
until it takes to lock the screen and buttons for safety. If the unit does lock, it will
tell you to hold down the up and down buttons for 3 seconds
to unlock. I keep mine at NEVER as I don’t have
other people around messing with my stuff, but a great feature if you
have people that do. HOTKEY simply says the power button
will mute the unit when pressed once, and you can turn this on or off. FILE gets you access to the recorded
files on the Micro SD card. Not only can you playback, delete,
or delete all files, you are able to name the files as suits your
productions. SYSTEM RESET sets everything back
to the system defaults as shipped, such as when you’re messing with
al the settings while learning it, want to set everything back to normal. DATE and TIME allows you to set
the current date and time, this is important to make sure your recorded files
are properly time-stamped. LANGUAGE is self-explanatory, ENGISH
or CHINESE, I think, and I am sure they will add more languages via
firmware as this unit needs it. SO, you can see although a simple
looking unit to use, you can really get into the nitty gritty details if
you need to. Now I’ve recorded some silence using the
Deity SMic-2s noise floor, which is vry respectable, I wanted to
see if the HD-TX introduced any noise from the unit. This looks incredibly respectable
for a recorder of this size, and actually quite surprsing. Here’s a few more things you
should know. This isn’t just for shotgun mics
as I am showing here. The availability of these features
allows you to plug in ANY shotgun mic like my Deity S-Mic 2s, SMic-2,
Rode NTG2 and Rode NTG5. I can also jack in a singer
type mic like my Shure SM-58, or a podcast mic such as my Shure SM7B. Then you have the 3.5 mm jack
accaepting my Deity V-Mic, Rode VideoMic NTG, or any 3.5mm
for that matter. These can be hand-held, which
gives you the freedom to walk around and not have a fixed mic, such
as doing interviews. I can also jack in a lapel mic
and use the unit as a standalone recorder, handy if I need freedom
of movement, possibly mounting the mic on myself or the talent,
and using this included holster clip to contain the recorder. Right now I’m using the recorder
as an out of frame mic above my head, mounted on the end of my boom
pole, and that works well too. That’s why all these settings
are important, as you can tailor the unit to recprd the best possible
audio from whatever microphone you happen to be using, under
many different applications. Now in case anybody asks, it looks
like I am eating the mic. The mic
is actually about 12 inches away from my mouth. Now, this unit CAN BOTH record and
transmit at the same time, which is really cool, UNLESS, you live in
the United States. If you hit record while transmitting,
the wireless transmission is disabled, and that’s by design. Don’t blame Deity, that’s because
a company called Zaxcom holds the patent behind that technology. And don’t blame Zaxcom either,
as they were first to marry that tech together and are
protecting their development costs. HD-TX units shipped outside the
U.S. are not limited in this way, so lucky non U.S. folks. Maybe Zaxcom will loosen up a bit
or some deal will be struck and we’ll see that in a firmware update
as well, but seeing how Zaxcom sells similair units that transmit
and record, probably not anytime soon. And sure, you can go buy a Zaxcom
unit similar to this one, but be prepared to spend over $1000. The buttons on this are quite
clicky, you might be able to hear that when I press these up and
down arrows. I was kind of turned off at first
by these, but after using the unit, as I set everything up beforehand, and
I’m not really using the menus during recording, so it’s not an issue for me. I’ve heard one comment about the
bright yellow buttons, and how talent has to remember to turn the recorder
towards them otherwise, it looks bad. Maybe so, but I don’t think it
looks bad at all, and for people like me who wear glasses, I despise
having to use a magnifying glass to see the menus and buttons
so I’m OK with it and actually appreciate the easy to read controls,
and the larger OLED screen. If this were ONLY a plug-on
recorder and not a wireless transmitter, I think it’s a great
deal at $249 as of January 2020. Add in wireless tranmission capabilities,
and you got some amazing all-in-one audio tech for that price. I’ll definitely be using this to
do interviews and record audio at the upcoming NAB trade show, which
means I can dump all this stuff in my carry-on and not have to worry about recorders
and bags and cords and all that. In the next video, we’ll be
covering this units wireless capabilities, test that to its bounds,
but I can already tell it does not disappoint. Links are in the video description below. AND Don’t forget, that $5000 giveaway, which
Deity has kindly offered up their award winning Deity V-Mic Pro location kit, plus 20 other products totaling nearly $5000,
which ends on January 21st, so make sure you enter right now. I hope that helps, thanks for watching,
and we’ll see you next time! [BEEP] If you saw my giveaway video, we
had some fun and rocked some folks worlds by subscribing to their channels. I’m going to keep doing that for
channels that offer great content and post consistently. They have no idea I’m doing this,
but let’s go subscribe to Deity’s YouTube channel. They offer weekly audio and sound tips
and you’ll find their channel quite useful. Tell ’em Basic Filmmaker sent ya.

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About the Author: Emmet Marks

26 Comments

  1. Love your videos very informative Kevin. Remember to watch to the end so the YouTube algorithm promotes Kevin's videos 🙂

  2. Thanks for this review Kevin. I'll be looking for your upcoming review about this device's transmit capabilities. So far I really like this audio recorder/transmitter. I've been looking for something a bit better than my RODE Wireless Go (like a whole lot better or at least significantly better). The Deity HD-TX record function is a plus, for sure. I entered your giveaway. I got my fingers crossed. Cheers!

  3. Looks really good, Kevin. Really looking forward to the wireless tests. How odd that the USA units have to have that limitation, yet the company doesn’t have the same grip in other countries. I’m guessing that it would be ok to go to the USA from say UK and use it in dual mode? Or would it be legal for USA filmmakers to buy from Europe and have it shipped?

    It’s a bit like radio laws here. It’s legal to own a radio that is illegal to transmit on. So we can look at it and have it, but not transmit on it!

  4. I ended up getting bronchitis and had to push back my pre recorded shoot… I am still working on a thank you piece i plan to release here soon. Cheers for another solid video bud.

  5. This may be the right solution for making my audio bag a true wireless xlr solution for the boom pole. I am using a mix pre 3-ii, 2 wireless rode filmmaker kits and a wired boom pole Sennheiser mkh-416. Most other affordable option up to now meant converting the xlr to 3.5mm TRS to transmit the boom mic wirelessly.

  6. Awesome video Kevin! Gonna have to check that unit out. And don’t forget to give all the giveaway items to me and Amber!.. Jk😉

  7. Kevin, forgive my ignorance but I'm just learning. My Sony 5000c camera does not allow for an external Mic. Is there a way to sync an external voice recorder with a camera like mine? I'm also new to your channel and might add you do a very through job.

  8. Thanks Kevin. Once again a nice product review. I hope to become the owner of a Deity products someday. No. 2 on my wish list ☺️

  9. HA! Your countdown coincided with Youtube's "AD IN 5" Seconds countdown and cut away to commercial just as you were about to scream!

  10. This is a must have for the versatility it offers. I'm just now really getting my sound together and wanted this to have 32bit float but with your loudness test I see its not really necessary and just more of a want

  11. Wow, Deity is really producing some fantastic products ! Love you can just plug a XLR microphone right into it.

  12. An awesome video Kevin I appreciate the extensive thoroughness of your testing. 😁 👌

    I won't lie I'm already very interested in the HD-TX as a product just purely as an audio recorder and its multiple usage case scenarios.

    A quick question if I may: what's the name of the broadcast compressor that you use when post-processing your audio?

    Cheers man! 🍻

  13. Makes me wonder if you say… Use a vpn to download a non-US firmware……

    A couple other things, I don't like that the VU meter goes away while recording. As a recordist, my #1 job is to watch that VU to make sure it's not clipping. Secondly, I hate hate hate hate buttons for audio level adjustment. I'm just an analogue knob kinda guy.

    Last, and probably least, while using an XLR mic, it would be cool if it gave an option to embed timecode using the 3.5mm jack. Similar to the way the BMPCC can use it's 3.5mm jack for timecode.

  14. So many cool pieces of kit out there and so little $ left in the credit card, This recorder is so darn good and all the various uses this unit has. Thanks for creating this video mate. Cheers

  15. Fuck Zaxcom and those stupid "patents"! They are not protecting their development, but a basic concept. Luckily for us, they didn't get a patent on cars that can play music at the same time.

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