by Robert Lindquist
When I first learned of the VocoPro UHF-5800, which packs four wireless microphones and their receivers in a single system, I thought “It’s got to be well over a grand.” Then…when I read that the suggested retail was just $479 (found online for as little as $329), I thought “No, it just can’t be very good.” In retrospect, I realize I was being far more judgmental that I should have been. I mean, VocoPro has been making good wireless products, as well as microphones, for a lot of years. If anyone could figure out how to do a 4-channel system inexpensively, they would probably be the company to do it.
Are there compromises? Of course. You always get what you pay for. Sometimes those compromises are obvious (overuse of plastic, sub-par electronics, etc.) and sometimes they are not. In the case of the UHF-5800, VocoPro has kept the quality of the product the priority, while still being able to hit their intended price point.
Why on earth would you need 4 wireless mics? If all you ever do is sing and play as a solo act, you probably don’t. On the other hand, this could be a very handy package for vocal trios and quartets, for bands that want to be free to move around and interact with their fans and for smaller festivals that want to keep the stage free of a lot of mic cables to expedite changing acts. In addition, if you already have a PA, this could open up some new revenue generating opportunities during those down-times when the band is not performing (More on that in part #2 of this review). For now, let’s see what’s in this big silver case.
What is it:
So, just what do you get for a SRP of $479? The centerpiece of the UHF-5800 system is a single space rack mountable unit with four wireless receiver modules. The modules are color coded to match the tail pieces on the four wireless hand held microphones, and they can be easily switched out on the fly if need be (see photo). Each module has a it’s own volume and squelch (I love saying that word – It sounds like someone stepping in Jell-O) controls, and it’s own pre assigned frequency (the frequency is noted on the back of each module). On the back of the receiver unit, there are independent XLR outs for each mic, as well as a common output that utilizes a 1/4” connector. So along with being a receiver unit, it can also be used as a mic mixer.
The microphones are not at all what you would expect in this price range—they are much better. Instead of some flimsy plastic jobs, these are well-balanced with a solid and sturdy feel. In keeping to the necessary compromises to hit that price point, the microphone cases are plastic, but finished in such a way that they don’t have that typical plastic feel. Each requires a AA battery and each is equipped with a on/off switch.
Rounding out the package is an AC adapter for the receiver and 4 mic stand clips. As mentioned earlier, you also get a nice road case that keeps everything safe and dry while on the road—and that’s where I’m headed next, to see how the UHF-5800 performs in the real world. (Watch for part #2 of this review to be posted soon).
VocoPro UHF-5800 Features:
- 600-698MHz UHF Band
- 4 Handheld Transmitter Mics
- Module Replaceable Receiver
- 4 Discrete Outputs & Stereo Out
- Low Interference UHF Operation
- 12 Hour Battery Life
VocoPro UHF 8800 – if 4 is not enough mics, how about 8?
VocoPro UHF 18 – Or, maybe you just need one
VocoPro UFH-BP1 – Yes, they have back pack mics too
VocoPro UBP-3 / UBP-4 – How many do you need?
Also, be sure to check out the new AIR-NET Wireless Audio Transmitter system.
If you are not all that familiar with VocoPro, I’ll start by saying that VocoPro has been around since 1991 and first made a name for themselves by offering innovative, higher-end karaoke products. Their first successes, in fact, were stand-alone systems that packaged microphones, a karaoke media player, amplifier and speakers in a single system, introduced to the masses as prize packages on some hit TV game shows. With that kind of promotion, it wasn’t long until these highly portable systems became very popular, first among KJs and karaoke enthusiasts and then with performing musicians looking for an inexpensive PA for coffee house type gigs. As the company approaches it’s 20th year, VocoPro continues to offer innovative products at surprisingly affordable prices.