LD Systems MEI 100 G2 & MEI 1000 G2 – UHF Wireless In-Ear Systems – Review by Bonedo.de

The LD Systems MEI 100 G2 & MEI 1000 G2 in-ear systems are two new affordable amateur systems for wireless monitoring. Already in line with the new EU regulations (lots of old wireless systems will be discontinued by 01/01/2016 due to a reorganisation of frequencies granting permission for free use). Are the new systems by LD Systems fit for use?

Both models by the Hessian Neu-Anspach company LD Systems will operate exclusively in the remaining unlicensed radio frequencies: That in itself will ensure buyer security, not violate legal requirements, and will make it relatively easy and trouble-free to find frequencies for the system to be used.

We subjected two complete systems to our test: the LD MEI 100 G2 (transmitter) with wireless receiver LD MEI 100 BPR G2, and the LD MEI 1000 G2 (transmitter) with the corresponding wireless receiver LD MEI 1000 BPR G2. We wanted to find out whether the extra zero in the type designation is merely a number phenomenon or if indeed it reveals relevant differences in quality and handling.


Both systems are supplied with a transmitter station incl. antenna, 12-18 V DC power supply, wireless receivers, earphones with various silicone attachments to accommodate differences in ear canals, a rack mounting device and a simple user manual, all supplied in a lightweight but robust plastic case. A foam insert with precision-fit compartments keeps things tidy and securely fits all of the included components. The antenna can be mounted either on the transmitter station or externally using the supplied extension and jack for rack operation. There is a aperture designed for such on the left rack mounting panel.

Both the 100 and the 1000 systems are designed for unlicensed radio frequencies in the 863,000 to 865,000 MHz ranges and 823,000 to 832,000 MHz ranges. This corresponds to a total of 96 channels, which are divided into 8 groups, each with 12 channels. The transmitter and receiver must always be set to the same group and the appropriate channel so that they can transfer information. Expensive transmitters sometimes have a useful scanning feature that searches the area automatically for free, unassigned frequencies. You have to do this manually on both LD MEI systems. It’s rarely a problem finding a frequency, but it tends to take a little longer to find the most interference-resistant frequency for the chosen application environment.

The transmitter stations in both systems come with two symmetrical inputs with XLR/jack combo sockets. Optionally, either a stereo signal or two mono signals can be fed into the system. Both systems set the transmission frequency via a set button and two scroll buttons (up/down), with only the MEI 1000 providing the option of locking the frequency on the transmitter against unauthorised access. Both transmitter stations have a power switch on the front and an additional, adjustable headphone output with a 6.3 mm stereo jack.

According to the manufacturer, up to five different systems can be operated in parallel, and as many receivers connected to the system as desired. In the latter case, all of the receivers can be set to the same frequency as the transmitter station, and therefore can all receive the same signal. These systems could work well in smaller conferences where multiple simultaneous translations take place.

This is where the systems start to differentiate themselves: The MEI 100 G2 has two separate volume controls on the back for the two inputs and a slide switch for mono/stereo operation. In both cases, the balance adjustment between these two signals, whether this is two separate mono signals or a stereo signal, takes place via the controllers on the transmitter, and not via the receiver. The receiver displays whether mono or stereo operation has been selected on the transmitter station.

In contrast, the MEI 1000 G2 only has a PAD switch on the back for lowering the input sensitivity. The regulation of the input volume is located on the front, in contrast to the MEI 100, in the form of a single input-level controller, however both channels can be controlled at the same time. The ratio of the two input signals to one another, whether this is a stereo signal or two separate mono signals, is set at the MEI in 1000 using buttons on the receiver.

As an additional option, the MEI 1000 receiver benefits from the so-called “focus mode”. There is a dual-mono operation hiding behind this. If two mono signals are sent to the transmitter, e.g. mono-sum signal of the band on the one hand, and just the lead vocals on the other channel, you can adjust the ratio of these two mono signals against each other directly on the receiver. The cheaper MEI 100 also has this regulation option, but you have to adjust the ratio between the two signals solely on the controls on the back of the transmitter, not on the receiver. This is clearly a serious disadvantage compared to the MEI 1000, especially in rack mounting, provided that you wish to use this feature.

In size and shape, the two candidates differ only marginally. The visually striking difference is the colour of the illuminated displays on the transmitter and receiver. This is blue on the MEI 100, whereas the display on the 1000 MEI lights up green.

We found key differences between the receivers, but first let’s discuss the similarities again: Both receivers are operated with 2x 1.5 AA batteries, which should last for up to 12 hours. The mini-jack input for connecting the earphones and volume control, which also acts as an on/off switch, is located on the top in both models. If the receiver is to be put into operation, the volume control should be turned slightly to the right until it overcomes a barrier-catch, which protects the controller against being switching on and off unintentionally. Both receivers have a metal clamp on the back to attach the device accordingly to the user’s clothing. Depending on how much the user moves around, it is advisable to attach the device with alternative methods. That’s the main reason Velcro pockets made from neoprene were created.

There are three small buttons for the “set” function and the “up” and “down” menu navigation keys, which are located on the front of the MEI 100 BPR G2. The set button is located underneath a cover flap on the MEI 1000 BPR G2 on the other hand, and additionally supplemented by an ESC key that allows you to quickly exit a menu. Since there are no further menu items on the MEI 100 G2 BPR other than selecting the receiving frequency (group & channel), an ESC key on that model would be redundant. The Up and Down buttons at the MEI 1000 BPR G2 located on the outer cover on the front panel are easily accessible. As a special feature for live situations, they assume the additional function of balance control for adjusting the stereo or volume ratio of the two different signals in dual-mono mode (focus mode).

The battery compartment located at the bottom of the MEI 100 BPR G2 is locked with a sliding lid. Although it come off relatively easy, but you have to fumble about to get it fully off if the battery compartment is empty. There are no other movable elements on the receiver that could split or break off accidentally. Whereas it’s a different story with the MEI 1000 BPR G2. The batteries are installed under the aforementioned flip-down front cover, under which the two small control buttons “set” and “ESC” are located. They lie horizontally in the device, are easily accessible, and can be changed accordingly quickly and easily. If the unit is dropped in a live situation, however, it is according to experience that this form of construction means that the battery compartment easily pops open and the batteries fall out. This too is an argument for an adequately-locked pocket instead of the mounted terminal.

In addition, the MEI 1000 has more functions than the 100 model:
Equalizer: There is no full EQ hiding behind the EQ function, just a broadband treble boost of about 6 d B at 10 kHz.

Limiter: There is an option of using a limiter to switch the signal path. This protects ears and listeners from any volume spikes, as may arise, for example as a result of feedback or loud cracking noises.

Locking function (locking the receiver): If this option is enabled, you cannot make any changes using the scroll keys, and thus the receiver is protected against accidental changes.

Focus mode: As previously mentioned, a mode can be activated on the MEI 100 receiver, which receives both input channels of the transmitting station as equally loud mono signals. The ratio of these two signals can be regulated on the receiver via the scroll buttons (up/down). For example, your own signal (vocals, guitar, bass, etc.) is located on a channel of the transmitter station and the remaining sum of the monitor signal on the other. The ratio of the solo signal to the rest can be easily set on the receiver. In the normal stereo mode, the scroll keys regulate the “panning”, i.e. the left-right balance in the earphones.


Earphones in general
The earphones included are sufficient for an in-ear beginner to get to grips with the material. The enclosed three silicone attachments do not however ensure an optimal fit for each ear. They couldn’t do that anyway. Only specially-adapted earpieces can offer a really good and secure fit, but these are naturally much more expensive, but if they are properly cared for, will last for many years. I also know colleagues who get along very well on stage with bog standard iPod earphones. Trial and error is called for here. Personally, I have been working with in-ear systems for 20 years and I would like to do without the adapted version.

The fact is that the earpieces are not adapted, and this makes it very easy for them to fall out, and that is bearing in mind that minimal changes in ear position make massive differences to the sound. This is mostly an issue when transmitting low frequencies. Even a chewing motion in the lower jaw can then lead to the loss of bass or volume fluctuations. Besides, I’ve had to help fish out stuck silicone plugs from desperate colleagues’ ear canals on stage several times. This doesn’t inspire confidence, and in an emergency it’s not funny at all, even if it is a welcome reason to engage in after-show conversations.

Given that in principle, I do not use standard earplugs, I performed the test with my customised three-way earpiece, which also served to assess the transmission/reception quality of the two in-ear systems tested here.

In order to test the two systems I used a high-quality audio live recording of the monitor mix of the show “Rock of Ages”, which I played about 800 times in London’s West End, so am accordingly familiar with its in-ear mix. I used the same three-way earpiece as in the show.

The operation of both LD Systems MEI systems is almost identical, very easy and intuitive. The first thing to do is to set the test monitor signal at an optimum level on the transmitter. An audio player is enough to do so, or a similar source and the level input AF indicator on the transmitter display. Then select the desired monitor mode, i.e. mono or stereo. This selection on the MEI 100 G2 uses a small slide switch on the back, which is a bit awkward in rack mounting, as is the level adjustment of the input volume of the monitor signal, which also takes place on two separate controls on the back of the MEI 100 G2. The MEI 1000 G2, however, is superior in that it is operated on the front, and you just need a central level regulator to take care of the levelling. You then select the operating mode mono, stereo or focus (dual mono) on the receiver. In general, both devices can be used to level the transmitter as they have a purely visual level indicator on the display.

The next step is to set the transmission/reception frequency, whereas the sequence of steps listed here is of course a matter of personal preference. If you have understood the basic information that the available 96 frequencies are divided into 8 groups of 12 channels, then you can get started straight away. First of all select a group and then a channel using the transmitter via the set and scroll keys. You should pay attention here, because after a few seconds the display jumps back and only displays the selected frequency.

The next step is to select the identical group and the corresponding channel on the receiver. First of all, the general principle applies that you should do this either without earphones, or at least with the receiver volume turned down. The noise that can occur here is neither healthy for the earphones let alone for your ears. If you forgot to set a group and channel on the transmitter in the meantime, then you have to go back to the set menu on the transmitter, as the display only shows the currently active frequency. Unfortunately, this is a bit cumbersome.

Now set the identical group/channel on the receiver. The set and scroll buttons on the MEI 100 G2 are directly accessible on the front of the receiver. This is the only way to reach the scroll keys on the MEI 200; the set button is located under the front cover of the battery compartment, which you have to open first to adjust the settings. This model is the same in that you first have to select a group and channel from the menu using the set button. The priority with the MEI 1000 G2 therefore is in keeping the flap open, so you can easily operate the scroll keys during operation. It is not necessary to conceal the set button on the MEDI 100 G2, as there are no further menu/operating options on the receiver, except for the frequency selection.

Similar to the process on the transmitter, the receiver display shows the selected frequency after a few seconds, which must match that of the transmitter. The display on both receivers displays whether a RF or broadcast signal is being received, and an AF display indicates whether an audio signal is present. The hope is that this results in background noise-free transmission of the monitor signal to the transmitter. However, this is not always immediately the case. It is therefore advisable to turn up the volume control on the receiver slowly and gradually. If the result is not satisfactory, i.e. an incomplete transfer takes place, or you can hear lots of dropouts and clicks, then repeat the frequency selection process until an optimal result is achieved. Don’t forget to turn the volume on the receiver back on.

It’s possible to use both systems within a good and interference-free environment within a few attempts, whereas in the MEI 100 G2, some frequencies somewhat appeared to be more susceptible, and it did not manage very well especially when close to a laptop. The MEI 1000 G2 appeared largely resistant to all sorts of other sources of interference, such as mobile phones, laptops, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and whatever else is in the overall electromagnetic pollution floating through the air. The reception range, even through multiple walls, was equally impressive on both models.

This should rarely lead to on-stage problems, which is especially critical for applications in which the actors are positioned far away from the transmitting station. This is common in theatre productions, outdoor events, conferences and similar events, in which cases this would work and forego the need for costly directional antennas. With regard to the signal-to-noise ratio, I must add that open, non-adjusted earpieces must usually be set to higher volumes, which inevitably increases the noise. Whereas with closed, customised systems, the noise is kept completely within the tolerance framework, and in my experience, that’s relevant when it comes to in-ear monitoring.

I would describe the sound quality on both systems as adequate, and definitely good enough for most applications. The sound is similar to MP3 audios at 192 kbit/sec or a bit below that, with a slight advantage being on the side of MEI 1000 G2, especially for bass instruments, which are not overwhelming on both devices, but even for me as a bass player it was still sufficient. One must be aware that it is mainly the low frequencies that are lost when transmitting wirelessly. According to the operating instructions, the lower limit of the MEI 100 G2 should be set at 80 Hz and at 60 Hz for the MEI 1000 G2. However, I’m not suggesting that reproducing these frequencies necessarily falls within the remit of the earphones included.

If you have your own earphones that sound a bit washed out, you could achieve something a bit more transparent by using the EQ option on the MEI 1000 BPR G2 receiver. This lifts the heights at 10 kHz by +6 dB. It could be that this is required here, and I found the result helpful, but the function is however not mandatory. Normally, the sound can already be modified accordingly by the monitor desk. I didn’t notice any major transmission differences between the two systems. Even the cheaper MEI 100 G2 showed sufficient definition in this regard. Neither systems produce hi-fi sound, and you have to be clear about that. The systems are designed for stage monitoring with the proviso that you can hear certain things well, and they absolutely deliver on these two aspects. The optional switchable limiter on the MEI 1000 G2 is definitely a plus in terms of safety, should unexpected peak signals occur.

As a plus, you can use the MEI 1000 G2 option in focus mode. However, this is strictly a question of the application area. You have to be clear that the so-called focus mode does result in a significant compromise on sound, which in reality is a dual-mono mode. When working with a highly stereo-heavy sound environment, for example, with lots of keyboards, two guitars, and a percussion microphone all forming part of the stereo environment, or a stereo-ambience microphone to feed the sound into earphones, there will be considerable loss of sound in mono mode. Lots of special keyboard sounds that use phase effects are not mono-compatible and suddenly disappear in the monitor mix, taking lots of signals out of phase with it, resulting in thin and tinny, echo chambers that disappear partially from the sound.

On the other hand, the ability to directly control your own signal in relation to the residual signal on its receiver during the performance autonomously and directly, should not be disregarded. Personally, I would however, always give the priority to the stereo mix, the resulting sound and the possibility of distributing the signals along the stereo field, which provides much greater transparency. But, as I said, there are other areas where the systems could be used, such as for purely language-oriented purposes, where mono signals are perfectly adequate and priority can be given to controlling the channel levels.

Incidentally, it is also possible to operate the value for money MEI 100 G2 in dual mono mode, and besides you can adjust the ratio between both channels using just the transmitter, but this is not practical during a live performance.

The two in-ear systems MEI 100 G2 and MEI 1000 G2 by LD Systems function well and sound great, and they are good-value solutions for wide-ranging applications in the field of wireless stage monitoring. The intuitive and straightforward operation makes both systems in combination with the license-free radio frequencies an ideal solution for those who are planning to enter the world of in-ear monitoring in a safe and effective manner. A small advantage of the MEI 100 G2 is in being able to directly adjust the sound transmission, stereo panning, or alternatively dual mono operation on the receiver, but the cheaper MEI100G2 is only minimally inferior in terms of sound and transmission quality.

+ Good, compact system in the supplied case
+ Intuitive
+ Good transmitting/receiving performance
+ Satisfactory audio quality
+ Both systems are very good value for money
+ The advantage of the MEI 1000 G2 lies in its additional options: Limiter, treble boost, dual mono mode, operating mode and stereo panning directly on the adjustable receiver

– Display on the transmitter and receiver jumps back from the channel display to the frequency display very quickly


LD MEI 100 G2 T
– Wireless receiver frequency range: 823 – 832 MHz and 863 – 865 MHz
– Channels: 96 (8 groups over 12 channels)
– Operating modes: Mono/stereo
– Transmission method: FM Stereo
– HF output power: 10 mW
– Frequency range: 80-15000 Hz
– Signal-to-noise ratio: > 90 dB(A)
– Inputs: 2
– Input terminals 6.3 mm jack, XLR (combi)
– Input impedance: 100 ohms
– Antenna connection: TNC
– Operating controls: Power (on/off), set, arrow keys (up/down), headphone volume, audio level (AF level) left/right, mono/stereo switch
– Display elements: Multifunction LCD display
– Power supply: External power supply
– Operating voltage: 12 V – 18 V DC, 300 mA
– Dimensions (W x H x D): 212 x 38 x 90 mm
– Weight: 0.57 kg
– Accessories (included): Set of instructions, power supply, antenna, headphones, rack mounting kit

MEI 100 G2 BPR
– Frequency range: 823 – 832 MHz and 863 – 865 MHz
– Channels: 96 (8 groups over 12 channels)
– Transmission method: FM stereo
– Frequency response: 80-15000 Hz
– Signal-to-noise ratio: > 90 dB (A)
– Harmonic distortion (THD): 0.50%
– Audio output: 3.5 mm stereo jack
– Max. audio output level.: 100 mW
– Operating controls: Volume/on/off, set, arrow key (up/down)
– Display elements: Multifunction LCD display, HF signal
– Power supply: 2 batteries, type AA 1.5V
– Operating time: > 10 hours
– Dimensions (W x H x D): 65 x 95 x 25 mm
– Weight: 0.07 kg (without batteries)

MEI 1000 G2 T
– Frequency range radio receiver: 823 – 832 MHz and 863 – 865 MHz
– Channels: 96 (8 groups over 12 channels)
– Operating modes: Mono/stereo/focus (Dual Mono)
– transmission method FM stereo
– HF output power 10 mW
– Frequency response 60 Hz
– 16,000 Hz
– Signal-to-noise ratio 85 dB
– Inputs: 2
– Input terminals 6.3 mm jack, XLR (combi)
– Input impedance (ohms) 14 kOhm
– TNC antenna connector
– Operating elements: Input Level, power, pad, set, arrow keys (up/down), volume, headphone
– Display elements: LC display
– Power supply: External power supply
– Operating voltage: 12 V – 18 V DC, 300 mA
– Dimensions (W x H x D): 200 x 44 x 96 mm
– Weight 1.2 kg
– Accessories (included): Set of instructions, power supply, antenna, headphones, rack mounting kit

MEI 1000 G2 BPR
– Frequency range: 823-832 MHz and 863-865 MHz
– 96 channels (8 groups over 12 channels)
– Transmission method FM Stereo
– Frequency response 60 Hz – 16,000 Hz
– Signal-to-noise ratio 80 dB
– Distortion (THD) <1%
– Audio output: 3.5 mm stereo jack
– Max. audio output level: 100 mW
– Operating controls: Up, down, set, volume, escape,
– Display elements LC display, low battery, RF power supply: 2 batteries, type AA 1.5V
– Operating time >12 hours
– Dimensions (W x H x D).: 65 x 90 x 24 mm
– Weight 0.1 kg (without batteries)


Source: Bonedo.de, Germany: http://www.bonedo.de/artikel/einzelansicht/ld-systems-mei-100-g2-mei-1000-g2-test.html
Author: Oliver Poschmann

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