In this comparison, we’ll look at the critical differences in the Sennheiser EW 100 G4 vs 500 G4. Steadily improving on G3’s decade-long reign, the G4 has taken the throne to prove that Sennheiser’s lineage of wireless systems was made to rule. 

Talk shop with any successful videographer and pretty much all of them generally consider their leap to a G3 or G4 wireless system as the first time they felt like a bonafide audio professional. 

Though Sennheiser’s reputation for quality precedes them, I have to admit that shopping their endless permutations of product bundles can be a bit of a headache. With 31 different product bundles for the G4 series alone, the naming abbreviations and product variants can be as tangled as the branches of the European royal family tree.

We’re here to help.

In this article, we’ll be looking at Sennheiser’s fourth generation of evolution wireless systems, the G4 series, and comparing the EW 100 ENG G4 and the EW 500 FILM G4. We’ve picked these two product bundles for including a standard set of videographer audio equipment and being the most comparable. 

The EW 100 ENG G4 and EW 500 FILM G4 bundles both include one camera receiver, one bodypack transmitter, one plug-on transmitter, and a lavalier microphone with important under-the-hood distinctions we’ll cover below.

Side note: Sennheiser also offers a G4 300 series but it’s been geared more towards installation use in churches, corporate, and educational settings rather than the 100 / 500 series location-use designed for videography/filmmaking.

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Sennheiser EW 100 G4

Sennheiser Pro Audio Ew 100 Portable Wireless Microphone System, A, ew 100 ENG G4-A (ew 100 ENG G4-A)

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Sennheiser EW 500 G4

Sennheiser Pro Audio Portable Wireless Combo Set (ew 500 FILM G4-AW+)

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Sennheiser EW 100 G4 vs EW 500 G4: Technical Specs

Sennheiser EW 100 G4

Sennheiser EW 400 G4

Audio output

3.5mm jack socket: +12 dBu (mono, unbalanced)

3.5 mm jack socket: +17 dBu (mono, balanced)

Signal-to-noise ratio

≥ 110 dB A

Line: ≥ 110 dB A, Phones: approx. 90 dB A

Battery life

~8 hours

~8 hours

Power supply

3 x 2 AA batteries, 1.5V (two batteries in each)

3 x 2 AA batteries, 1.5V (two batteries in each)

Switching bandwidth

up to 42 MHz

up to 88 MHz

Included lavalier mic

Sennheiser ME2

Sennheiser MKE2

Mic connector

3.5 mm jack

3.5 mm jack

Mic cable length

5.25 ft (1.6 m)

5.25 ft (1.6 m)

Mic polar pattern

omnidirectional

omnidirectional

Full specsClick here

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Sennheiser EW 100 G4

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Sennheiser EW 500 G4

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Included Lav Mic Sound Comparison

Sennheiser EW 100 G4 vs 500 G4: Critical Similarities & Differences

Lavalier microphones

The biggest distinction (and reason for the significant price hike) between the 100 and 500 series is the different lav mics included in each bundle.

While they are both terrific Sennheiser-made lav mics in their own right, the MKE 2 edges out the ME 2 with better frequency response, lower self-noise, and a smaller mic head.

When I, an armchair audio expert, listen to the difficult-to-detect sound comparison, I kind of think the size of the mic head is the more important difference here.

Switchable bandwidth / compatible channels

Perhaps the most important reason the G4 series is regarded as a professional step-up over systems like the RodeLink Wireless Filmmaker Kit is its ability to manually tune to specific frequencies.

In case you missed it, some radio frequencies are restricted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for use by planes, boats, the military, etc.

Sennheiser’s wireless systems operate on unrestricted bands in the 42 MHz and 88 MHz range from which there are thousands of available frequencies. Herein lies another key difference: the number of available frequencies. 

  • The 100 series operates on the 516 to 558 MHz band
    • 42 MHz bandwidth
    • 20 channels
    • 1680 tunable frequencies
  • The 500 series operates on the 470 to 558 MHz band
    • 88 MHz bandwidth
    • 32 channels
    • 3520 tunable frequencies

Basically, this means the 500 series has a lot more flexibility when it comes to high-traffic environments. Let’s say you were at CES and everyone and their mom was walking around with wireless systems interviewing company reps and tech junkies. You’d have a much better chance finding an uninterrupted frequency with the 500 series.

On the other hand, if it’s just you and your mom filming an at home YouTube series about the importance of writing down your iCloud password then the 100 series number of selectable frequencies would already be overkill. 

Here’s a complete G4 tutorial by New Slate Films:

RF power

Last and possibly least, is the difference in RF power which is basically the amount of juice the transmitter is able to pour into the signal that’s running back to the receiver. The 100 series transmitter is limited to 30 mW which, is probably fine for most basic shoots. 

The 500 series, on the other hand is able to switch between 10, 30, and 50 mW.

If you’ve miked up the wide receiver who is now hurtling towards the endzone for a game-winning pass, first of all, I hope you’ve told them to be careful with your equipment, and second, you have the option of bumping the RF power to 50 mW in case the signal needs a little more oomph. Oomph, there goes your lav mic. 

But sometimes less really is more and 10 mW can save your audio from over-juicing in a small, quiet, cozy (or cramped) location. The 10 mW setting also saves some battery life, and who doesn’t want to be known as a lifesaver.

Sennheiser EW 100 G4 vs 500 G4: The Bottom Line

Sometimes, even geniuses need a little gift of administration. Hopefully this article has helped tidy up the confusion in Sennheiser’s brilliant but less-than-streamlined product page. 

If you’re a hobbyist, semi-pro, or just a simple human with simple broadcast-quality needs then the EW 100 ENG G4 bundle is for you. If you’re a professional recordist on-set of demanding productions, the EW 500 FILM G4 is worth the price bump. 

It’s as easy as that.