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PhotobucketAs a certified cheapskate, I scrimped a long time on wireless microphone systems, even though I considered it an indispensable tool in my shows.

I contented myself with the cheap brands, mostly China imitations of known brands, which lasted only a few months of use. It took me years before I decided to buy a proper brand.

The serendipitous purchase happened one Christmas season. I strolled up to Perfect Pitch in SM Southmall to browse the items they offered. A solitary Sennheiser Freeport in one inconspicuous corner of the store caught my attention.

PhotobucketIt was on sale. Its original price was P24,000. The sales person said he would give it to me for P12,000.

When he saw I hesitated despite the whopping discount, he asked another store clerk to wear the lavalier mic that came with the system and told him to go to the second floor of the mall. (The Perfect Pitch store was on the basement level of the Southmall.)

The sales person then plugged the Sennheiser receiver into a Fender Passport 250. A little while, we could hear the store clerk on the second floor saying, “Mic test…One..Two…Three.”

I couldn’t believe it. The one speaking into the mic was on the second floor of the mall (we couldn’t even see him), and yet he was broadcasting loud and crystal clear over the Fender sound system.

PhotobucketI whipped my Visa card out of my wallet and handed it to the sales clerk.

I never regretted that purchase. Sennheiser has served me without fail for more than seven years now.

I was so happy with its performance that occasionally I would entertain thoughts of buying a second unit as back-up. But since the one I’m using never gave me any trouble—not only performing 100% every show but also broadcasting in a quality I could be proud of— I nixed the idea of buying a back-up. What for?

My Freeport unit is made ruggedly. Over the years, it got banged up several times, bending the receiver’s two antennas and tearing away the belt pack’s antenna. Still the unit kept performing with undiminished quality.

After the seventh year, though, my Freeport started giving out choppy signals. I thought something was wrong with my earset mic, but after a check-up with a technician who found nothing wrong with it, I began to suspect the Freeport had reached the end of its service life.

Seeing no other option,  I bought a new Freeport unit. This time it was not on sale. Fortunately, over the years, the price tag had come down to P20,000.

My Visa card made the purchase less painful to my pocket.  I entered into P20,000 worth of debt and put my new Freeport into service right away at the very next show.

One time, after a show, I decided to pack the old unit to lighten up our baggage. That was the first time I noticed that my assistant had turned the Squelch switch in full open position.

PhotobucketThe Squelch switch (found at the rear of the receiver) is designed to control ambient sounds and had the unfortunate effect of forcing choppy broadcasts.

I closed the Squelch switch and tested the old Freeport at home. I didn’t know how to react—whether to be dismayed or be happy—when the unit functioned normally. No choppy sounds. Nothing but clear, crisp broadcast.

Okay, I was both dismayed and happy.  Dismayed because I spent P20,000 on a new unit when nothing was wrong with the old. Happy because I now have the backup unit I was planning to have.

PhotobucketNext time, I’ll write about my earset.  I use it with my Freeport instead of the lavalier mic the comes with the unit. Stay tuned…

Stay magical,