Forums/A/V Equipment list

Revolabs xTag wireless USB microphone

Pete Woodworth
posted this on May 06, 2010 05:37 PM

The xTag is a small, USB-powered wireless microphone system. It is actually bi-directional for use with Skype, etc.

It is quite adequate for use with Panopto, but we have found significant variations in frequency response from unit to unit.  Additionally, most sound quite 'boomy' -- surprising for a microphone designed specifically for voice use.  We have attempted to contact Revolabs in this regard, but we have never received a return call or e-mail.

Since it is bi-directional, it tends to commandeer the PC's playback path whenever connected via USB, which must be reset in Windows to the preferred output device, usually the motherboard's audio connections.

 

Comments

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Glenn McGarry
University of Derby-UK

I would concur with this.  On paper they provide all the functionality you require for lecture capture and simple enough plug n play USB unit to send your lecturer away to set up on their own.  So the base unit is great!

However the freq range of the mic leaves a lot to be desired. These units are relatively expensive so why have Revolabs opted skimp on the most  important component and ultimately spoil the product?  Unfortunately we have had no response from RevoLabs either , as they have this market cornered right now I don't expect we will get a response!

A lot of our academic staff have told me that they wish to buy these units, but I have advised they do not until RevoLabs improve their product or a competitive product is released.

May 07, 2010 04:07 AM
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Dave Hannan
Panopto Inc.

I passed this thread along to our contacts at Revolabs and this was their response:

"The reason we cut back on the Freq response of the xTag was to keep the price point down. Since this mic is wireless and encrypted the costs will increase as opposed to a wired solution. The xTag was originally designed for Skype and Lecture Capture well before the lecture capture software had the capabilities it does today. We are always working on new products and constructive feedback is greatly welcomed as we rely on customer feedback to drive new product concepts. We do offer a new HD Single Channel solution that is 3x’s the price of the xTag, but has a selectable mic option and 50Hz-20KHz audio bandwidth. We have been finding several customers using this when audio bandwidth is of the upmost importance."

May 07, 2010 11:24 AM
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Glenn McGarry
University of Derby-UK

Wow, wasn't expecting that Dave, thanks.

We also have an HD version of the xTag but we don't tend to use it as it only has a headphone jack to conect to the PC and not the USB.  In our experience using USB audio is far more a fail safe option than the headphone jack, when lecturers are setting up in a hurry.  Besides, the price tag is too restrictive to us buying these in any volume.

I'm not sure from their response though what the rationale behind compromising the audio bandwidth is.  Is it restricted because it is a duplex device or because the wireless encryption requires too much processing or just because the microphone component is too expensive to install? 

I suspect LC requirements may have changed since they looked at them, and institutes like ours would want a single channel, USB (and USB powered), full audio  bandwidth wireless mic that was affordable enough to buy in volumes of 50 - 100+ to kit out an entire campuses.

May 07, 2010 12:08 PM
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Dave Hannan
Panopto Inc.

No problem Glenn. Here is their latest response:

"4 years ago when this product was designed, The demand for higher audio bandwidth was too low to justify increasing the price to provide it. When we start looking at ideas for a new design of the xTag, audio quality will be at the top of the list of priorities as the cost of providing such bandwidth has decreased 10 fold and the demand has risen even more."

 

 

May 08, 2010 10:11 AM
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Pete Woodworth
California Polytechnic State University

Sorry, those responses from Revolabs are either marketing spin, or lack of understanding of the xTag problem--take your pick. The problems are with the frequency response, not with bandwidth.

I will restate: The published xTag audio bandwidth of 100-6800 Hz is not only quite adequate for lecture capture, but most other voice applications as well. Our issues are several:

  • Uneven frequency response which does not compliment speech;
  • Frequency response variations from unit-to-unit;
  • Lack of customer support response despite several attempts.

"Higher bandwidth" products are fine; but please, just flatten the frequency response of the unique xTag.

Just my opinion.  -Pete-

May 12, 2010 04:59 PM
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Dave Hannan
Panopto Inc.

Thanks Pete. I'm posting another reply on Revolabs behalf.

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The xtag is tuned to have a flat freq response. Every system is tested for both audio level , freq response and RF power twice before being shipped. If there is a variation with a unit, then there could be something wrong with their individual device. Customers can either email support@revolabs.com or call 1-800-326-1088 for support. There are several people who are available to help with any product issues. If the customer gets no response please email me directly at espata@revolabs.com and I will address the concerns personally.

Eric Spata

Director of Technical Support

May 13, 2010 09:53 AM
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Pete Woodworth
California Polytechnic State University

Thank you for the information.  I have never received a response from the support e-mail address, but we will try the 800 number.  Thanks again.  -Pete-

May 13, 2010 11:40 AM
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Dave Hannan
Panopto Inc.

If you don't get a good response from their normal support lines, I would just contact Eric directly. He's been very helpful in working with us in the past.

May 13, 2010 01:28 PM
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Rusty Presley
Auburn University

Great product with CourseCast

May 20, 2010 11:50 AM
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Nigel Thomas
Aberystwyth University

What a useful thread. I bought 10 of theese which I think are great. However I have had 3 units where the mic does not turn on. I sent two away and they, or exchange units were returned but Revo labs claimed no fault was found. I currently have a third unit doing the same thing. I will let you know what happens.

May 24, 2010 05:12 PM
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Graham Robinson
University of Southampton

We tried to buy one of these in the UK from three different suppliers and it seems they just aren't coming over here. Would love to hear from anyone who has heard otherwise.

May 28, 2010 05:40 AM
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Nigel Thomas
Aberystwyth University

Graham

In the forum I also posted about these MICS. I purchased 10 via GV multimedia.

You can conatct me on lnt@aber.aC.UK if you wish to take off line.

Nigel

May 28, 2010 05:46 AM
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Sacha Goodwin
University of Bath

They're adequate Ior the job IMO but not brilliant - only odd thing I notice about them is the rather weird 'wind' noise that we get from them, even if the recording area is silent!

June 28, 2010 06:09 AM