Sennheiser EW-DP Review – A Fantastic Small Crew Audio Solution

Sennheiser EW-DP Review - A Fantastic Small Crew Audio Solution

Sennheiser’s new EW-DP wireless audio digital UHF system just might be the perfect pairing between convenience and reliability for small crews and solo owners/operators. If you want to simply power the system on and start filming, you can do that. Or, if you want the added flexibility of using your phone or an onboard menu to change settings, that’s an option, too. How does this system compare with the Sennheiser AVX 1.9 GHz system, and who is the perfect user for the EW-DP? I’ll dive into those questions and more in this review.

It may have been the combination of the writers’ strike (now SAG as well) and being onboarded for several smaller crew shoots, but I used the EW-DP system a lot. For past reviews, I made a point of taking a piece of kit on two or three shoots before I felt comfortable passing along my thoughts. For this review, the EW-DP stayed with me for two separate documentary shoots in Hawaii and commercial projects in Chicago, Santa Monica, San Diego, and Los Angles over the course of two months. I also recorded several lighting reviews using the EW-DP for (See my Nanlux 900C, Aladdin Mosaic, and amaran 150C reviews). In short, I put some hours into this thing.

I will be the first to admit that I’m not an audio professional. I work primarily as a Director of Photography, Producer, and sometimes Director in the scripted, documentary, and commercial space. Before you click away from this page in a huff, I think I might be the perfect user for Sennheiser’s digital systems like the AVX and the new EW-DP. Several times in the past few months, I felt this kit was designed specifically for my workflow.

If you are an audio professional with thousands of dollars already invested in UHF wireless audio, this review may not be for you. But if you are a run-and-gun documentary filmmaker, online creator, journalist, or solo op, I encourage you to stick around for the next few hundred words. The EW-DP is meant for you.

First, let’s take a quick look at the advertised banner EW-DP specs:

  • Number of RF Channel Frequences: 2240
  • RF Frequency Band: 470 to 526 Mhz
  • Advertised Max Operating Range: 328.1′
  • Max Transmitters Per Band: 58
  • Sample Rate/Resolution: 24-Bit
  • Dynamic Range: 134db
  • Latency: 1.9ms
  • Bluetooth Control
The Transmitter with the kit ME 2 Lav Mic. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

For this review, I used the following two kits:

  • Sennheiser EW-DP ME 2 SET Camera-Mount Digital Wireless Omni Lavalier Mic System (Q1-6: 470 to 526 MHz) – Cost: $699.00
  • Sennheiser EW-DP 835 SET Camera-Mount Digital Wireless Handheld Microphone System (Q1-6: 470 to 526 MHz) – Cost: $699.00

Note: This review has been updated as of May 16th, 2024 with my thoughts on the EW-DP SKP Plug-on transmitter as well!

Sennheiser AVX or EW-DP?

I’m a longtime user of Sennheiser’s AVX system. Most recently, I used that plug-and-play 1.9 GHz 1:1 system on a BBC Two documentary, and before that, while solo filming the Artemis 1 NASA Recovery for Smithsonian/Paramount+.

You can see the signature blue end piece of the AVX receiver in the image below hanging off the rear XLR port of the Canon C300MKIII.

In an Osprey with the Canon C300MKIII and Sennheiser AVX, taking off from Navy Base Coronado. Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

During the Smithsonian project while aboard the USS Portland, located off the coast of Baja, there were definitely moments when I loved the AVX system. There were also moments when I needed the flexibility to find a better channel in a challenging wireless environment surrounded by NASA and Navy equipment and all manner of sensors.

When my AVX system hit too much interference, the audio transmission momentarily dropped out, and the fact that there was an issue was immediately apparent. This heads-up was helpful because I could have the contributor restate an answer or know that I should move closer to the subject. I also found that mounting the AVX Receiver directly at the top of the camera versus into the XLR port improved things by giving a better line of sight between transmitter and receiver. However, know that the drawback of this configuration is that it no longer provides the minimalist rigging of having the receiver in the XLR port.

Canon C70 in Hawaii (Kauai) with the EW-DP mounted above. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

I found that to achieve the advertised 98′ range of the AVX system conditions had to be perfect (i.e., the middle of a flat field away from an urban environment). That never bothered me because I’m often close to documentary subjects who are mic’d up. Here’s another area where dedicated audio mixers scanning for the best UHF frequencies can achieve a much better and more reliable range. As for me, I’m not always able to take an audio professional into the field with me. In the case of the Artemis 1 recovery, there literally wasn’t enough space onboard. Also, in the work I do, safety considerations often increase with the size of the crew.

Image credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

Why go for the Sennheiser AVX over the EW-DP system? Depending on the situation, you may decide to use both, as I do. Indeed, Sennheiser doesn’t look at the EW-DP system as a replacement for the AVX. Each is still available, and the newer UHF-based EW-DP system actually comes in $100 cheaper when compared to the $799 1.9 GHz AVX-ME2 set (August 2023 pricing).

Size comparison: Sennheiser AVX RX (left), EW-DP RX (upper right), and a Tentacle Track E for good measure (below). Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

I asked Sennheiser about where they feel the EW-DP sits when compared to the AVX system, and Robb Blumenreder, Insights Manager on the Pro Audio team at Sennheiser, responded with the following:

“While there are quite a few technical differences between AVX (1.9 GHz DECT band) and EW-DP (Digital UHF), choosing the right system for you starts with how involved you want to be with your audio workflow. AVX is the wireless audio equivalent of shooting in “Auto Mode”. You’ll get great results with a system that has the plug & play convenience of 2.4 GHz wireless but with a much more reliable transmission scheme and feature set designed for professional applications. AVX will automatically configure everything from frequency to gain settings, and even power management, but the trade-off for that convenience is a lack of manual control, as well as some added latency (19 ms) as the system runs through all the automatic elements under the hood. AVX has found a home in many applications but works particularly well for video journalists, broadcasters, and users that don’t really want to dive into their audio signal path, but still need high-quality, professional results they can rely on.

That said, when it comes to wireless technology, UHF is the standard by which all other wireless systems are measured. It’s the choice of professionals for good reason – it gives you the most flexibility, reliability, and control. Plain and simple: if you’re getting paid for your work, your gear needs to be able to adapt and overcome any environmental challenges you may encounter. With EW-DP, we’re breaking new ground for users and giving them features that get the technology out of the way of their craft while providing complete control over their wireless system. EW-DP is the ideal choice if you’re working in harsh or congested RF environments, have a need for higher channel counts, and you’d benefit from having flexible transmitter options like the EW-D SKP Plug-on Transmitter. Between the two systems, EW-DP is more capable and configurable, which can ultimately provide you with higher-quality audio for your content. Regardless of your choice, both AVX and EW-DP can give you excellent results, so depending on your personal needs and desire to dive into your audio workflow, one or the other may be more appropriate for you.”

EW-DP Receiver mounted atop the Canon C500MKII. Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

Okay, distilling down Robb’s comment here — yes, the “Auto Mode” of the AVX system still has its advantages. I’ve filmed documentary scenes with rough audio in situations where there is violence or physical confrontation, and I can promise you that in these moments, I’m more concerned about the safety of the crew than I am about checking to see if I’ve occasionally clipped my audio levels. In those moments, the AVX has my back (especially with proximity and a solid line of sight). For a highly controlled interview, I’m going to rely on an audio professional with their UHF kit, or I’m going to reach for the EW-DP system myself because I have the time to tune everything in the prep hours before the contributor or talent arrives on set. But, if the talent comes early, I can still rely on the auto-scanning and fast-pairing-sync capability of the EW-DP.

Size comparison between the EW-DP Receiver and the AVX Receiver. Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

Robb also touches on the fact that the EW-DP system is already getting a greater number of new accessories compared to the AVX. For example, he specifically comments on the Sennheiser EW-DP SKP Digital Plug-On Wireless Transmitter/Recorder and I recently (article is updated as of May, 2024) had the opportunity to give the EW-DP SKP transmitter and recorder a try alongside the formidable MKH 416 Shotgun mic that is an industry workhorse in its own right.

The EW-DP SKP alongside the MKH 416. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon / CineD

The versatile cube that is the EW-DP SKP is cross compatible with everything under the “Evolution Wireless Digital” umbrella and that includes EW-D, EW-DX and EW-DP. Banner features include the ability to record internally via microSD card and the option to use either XLR (female) and 3.5mm inputs.

The EW-DP SKP. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon / CineD

I immediately placed the EW-DP SKP alongside the MKH 416 shotgun mic directly onto a two month production filming in Los Angeles primarily on a soundstage environment and it worked perfectly alongside the EW-DP lav units we used on the production.

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon / CineD

You also have the option to feed 48v power with the EW-DP SKP and that makes it useful as a power source for a wireless boom setup to avoid dragging XLR cables around your set. Your microSD files provide you with extra redundancy in the case of signal dropouts and everything is controlled through the ‘Smart Assist’ app that I’ll touch on in a moment.

Accessories/Mounting the EW-DP

The EW-DP receiver is obviously several times larger than the AVX receiver, and with that size increase comes the need for unique mounting options. Thankfully, Sennheiser has taken a page from the camera accessory playbook and now has an included magnet mounting plate for the receiver, which offers a variety of mounting points. You can also use the single 1/4″-20 thread at the receiver’s base and forgo the magnetic plate option.

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

The plate affixes to the magnetic points at the base of the receiver. From there, you can mount the receiver anywhere or use the included cold shoe mount with a clever twisting locking mechanism, or come up with your own solution using the variety of available threads. This mounting plate, in general, works well. However, after a recent slide down a hill in the rainforest, I found the receiver popped off, and some mud got in the grooves around the four corner magnets. The result was that the plate failed to adhere securely to the receiver, and I had to carefully clean the grooves around the magnets before I could continue filming. Something to be aware of – or you could simply not be clumsy like me and avoid sliding down muddy hills!

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

Those same magnetic points also allow you to stack receiver units one on top of the other without additional tools. Though I think this is generally a good idea, if you stack receivers, you risk your camera height getting too high for comfort, potentially hitting door frames, or becoming less portable on a run-and-gun project. Obviously, this is dependent on the camera body you’re using. This vertical height issue may be more a function of the fact that my preferred doc camera is the Canon C300MKIII and its vertical design, and that’s less of an EW-DP design concern.

Stackable receivers! Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

If you wish to forgo the cold shoe option, Sennheiser includes a belt clip that clips to the magnetic plate for use in a mixer bag of your choice.

Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

The EW-DP kit also includes both a 3.5 mm locking cable and a 3.5 mm to XLR cable. For this review, I primarily worked with the Sennheiser ME 2 Omnidirectional Lavalier Mic, although I also tried the system out with a Sanken COS-11D lav. You can purchase the EW-DP kit with a Sennheiser ME 4 Cardioid Lavalier Microphone optimized for live event applications.

The app

You will want to download the “Smart Assist” app (available for iOS or Android users) to use in conjunction with your EW-DP kit right off the bat. Upon pairing my first transmitter and receiver, I was immediately hit with an update firmware notification – easily done directly over Bluetooth while taking care to keep the device in proximity to the TX/RX. Remember, you can only update one receiver or transmitter at a time – no bulk updating here.

The app has a “guide” setting that makes it abundantly clear what you should be doing at any given moment. Here I’m being given help with pairing, for example. Feel confident with the EW-DP kit and want to turn off the guide? Simply press the button on the upper right.

You can only have 16 total receivers on the dashboard in the app at a given time — which may or may not be a problem depending on the type of shoot you’re working on. You can receive real-time feedback on battery life. For example, I’m being told in the next image that the top unit is powered off of USB-C and the battery life per unit.

On my iOS device, I needed to “forget” a receiver at one point so I could concentrate on a single receiver in play — which meant jumping out of the app and heading to my Bluetooth settings to find the right device. Leaving the app was momentarily annoying, but this may be more of a function of how my iPhone works and less a reflection on the app itself.

I’ll be interested to see how often I use the app over time versus the receiver-side menu. I found the onboard menu to be very intuitive and easy to use, but having the option to use my phone is generally very nice, and being able to see the transmitter battery life without fiddling with the transmitter pack is a helpful touch. In short, sometimes I feel like I must have the app to get full functionality out of a given device, so the app integration in the EW-DP systems feels like a valuable tool on those occasions.


The power options with the EW-DP are flexible, and you can use either rechargeable lithium-ion or AA battery solutions for the hand mic, bodypack transmitter, and receiver. Either option works well in practice, though rechargeable would be the more environmentally friendly option in the long run.

Canon C300MK III with the EW-DP RX on a cooled lava flow in Kona, Hawaii. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

Sennheiser made a great engineering decision with the EW-DP when they designed the same BA 70 rechargeable battery pack to work with the receiver and the transmitter. In the case of the other AVX system, the rechargeable batteries are each very different (likely a necessity of the receiver being so small), and thus you are forced to purchase a few of each type to get you through the day.

Transmitter with Sennheiser’s replaceable BA 70 battery. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

Over several seven-hour shoot days, the BA batteries performed as advertised. Still, I would suggest purchasing one backup BA 70 battery at minimum or having AAs on hand. You can charge a BA 70 battery by plugging the receiver directly into the wall through USB-C, but Sennheiser makes a dedicated dual charger (called the L 70) that feels like a must-buy accessory to me.

Final thoughts

This review is primarily dedicated to the EW-DP lav system and less so for the handheld mic system simply because I received the handheld system later in the review process and post Cinegear and NAB (two shows where CineD uses handheld mics almost exclusively to isolate the voice away from show floor noise). We’ll make sure to put the EW-DP handheld mic system through the paces on a show floor in the future, and I’ll update this post with those thoughts.

Steam from volcanic crater; the receiver has headphones jack, useful depending on your camera body. Image: Graham Sheldon/CineD

The wireless lav system with integrated windscreen isolates the talent voice very well, and a range improvement can be expected with a UHF system versus the AVX. For a producer/shooter, journalist, or DP in the jungle (like me), this is the audio kit to consider.

Note the mic out, headphone, and USB power ports on the RX unit. Image Credit: Graham Sheldon/CineD

There are all sorts of quality-of-life design ideas here — everything from stackable magnetic mounts to locking connectors. The receiver even warns you when the transmitter is muted. It’s the little things that make set life easier.

Sennheiser has also done a solid job walking the line with the EW-DP by providing just the right amount of options and enough control to provide peace of mind in any interference-heavy environment.

We want to hear from you! Are you a previous Sennheiser AVX user? Have you had a chance to try out the EW-DP yet? Let us know in the comments below!

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