What is the best wireless microphone for me?
If you're in the market for a wireless microphone, you're probably overwhelmed by how large the selection is. There are so many different types of microphones and frequency bands available, how do you choose the one that's right for you? This Buyer's Guide will help you find the answer, but if you have any more questions after you've read it, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Handheld: for vocalists, interviewers or speakers who don't need to be amplified constantly or who want to pass the microphone to someone else. The transmitter is in the housing itself so a separate beltpack is not required.
Headset: for musicians, actors, instructors or speakers who want their hands free. This type of microphone is usually paired with a beltpack transmitter.
Lavalier: this very small microphone can be attached to your clothing and is used in combination with a beltpack transmitter. It is very discreet, which is why it's commonly used by speakers and reporters. A lavalier mic is not the best choice for those who plan on moving around a lot during use.
Instrument microphone: this type of microphone resembles a lavalier but it is designed to attach to an instrument instead of your clothing. It requires a beltpack and usually includes a clamp for a specific type of instrument.
Guitar system: this device is more like a transmitter that hooks up to your electric guitar, bass or another electric string instrument. Some guitar systems connect to a beltpack by means of a short instrument cable and others plug directly into the instrument output.
Each country maintains specific rules when it comes to the use of frequency bands without a licence. In some cases, there are even different frequencies available per region. In the UK, the ranges 606 - 614 MHz can be used without a licence.
Read more about this subject in the article 'Wireless microphones and frequencies', which includes information about regulations in other countries with regards to frequency use.
Tip: the frequency band of each wireless microphone product we offer is commonly found in the product name.
Frequency bands 822 - 830 MHz and 863 - 865 MHz can be used anywhere in Europe without a licence. That being said, these are very narrow frequency bands, so you won't be able to use as many systems simultaneously as you would with a country-specific system. These bands also have a larger risk of intermodulation (different microphone signals influencing each other).
The 2.4 GHz band (2400 - 2483.5 MHz) can be used anywhere in the world without a licence. This band is also used for WiFi and Bluetooth, so if you're in an area with a lot of wireless data traffic, chances are you'll experience interference. Because 2.4 GHz is a very short wavelength, the range of systems that operate on this band is more limited than MHz systems.
Tip: the frequency band is usually included in the name of the wireless microphone product.
VHF stands for Very High Frequency (30 MHz to 300 MHz).
UHF means Ultra High Frequency (300 MHz to 3000 MHz).
Benefits of VHF:
- Generating a VHF signal costs less energy, so batteries will last longer.
- Usually more affordable than UHF.
Benefits of UHF:
- Due to the higher frequencies available, you can use more UHF systems simultaneously.
- UHF has a broader dynamic range than VHF, which enables greater volume differences, making UHF the logical choice for music applications.
- Less expensive wireless microphones operate on one frequency that can not be altered. This doesn't necessarily have to be an issue unless you want to connect multiple sets together because you'll likely end up with the separate signals getting in the way of one another. Some manufacturers sell wireless systems like these in two different versions. Each system is set to separate frequencies that can be used together. You can also purchase sets by different brands as long as each set operates on a different frequency range.
- More expensive systems have adjustable frequency ranges, which is a good choice if you want to use multiple microphones without any risk of interference. Please note that if the user manual states that the system has 16 channels, it does not mean you can use 16 microphones at once. For complex setups, we recommend getting in touch with our customer service team.
- Many wireless systems help you find the available frequency band by means of an LED status indicator that informs you if a particular frequency is already in use.
Tip: check the box 'yes' in the 'Switchable frequencies' filter to find our selection of systems that have adjustable frequencies.
No, usually not. In wireless systems, each microphone is paired with its own receiver and most receivers can only receive one signal at a time. If you want to expand on your wireless microphone system, you'll need to invest in a new mic and a corresponding receiver as well (see question 5).
If you plan on using a handheld microphone and a headset, but not at the same time, then it is possible to add a second headset to your system. Just make sure that the second set is compatible with your existing system (same brand, type and frequency). If you can't find the individual components to augment your system, our Customer Service team is happy to help you!
The 700 and 800 MHz band, with the exception of the 822 - 830 and 863 - 865 MHz bands, can no longer be used for wireless microphones because it is now reserved for mobile telephone providers. It is possible to adjust these systems but the costs would be higher than investing in a new set!
Interference can be anything from irritating ticking sounds to dropouts. Here are a few tips to prevent interference from happening:
- Ensure that the transmitter and the receiver are in a direct line of sight. The antennas of both devices need to be positioned above the audience.
- In handheld microphones, the antenna is located in the body, so make sure you aren't covering it with your hand.
- If you're using a beltpack, make sure the antenna is not bent or twisted.
- Position the antennas of the receiver in a 'V' shape for optimal reception.
- Check which frequencies are allowed to be used in your location and configure your system accordingly.
The receiver of a (non-mobile) wireless system usually has an XLR output, a jack output, or both. Connect the system to a mixer using a regular microphone cable via the XLR output and adjust the gain, tone and fader just like you would with a standard microphone. The (TS) jack output is usually unbalanced and has a high impedance. This output can be used to connect the receiver to a device that doesn't have a mic input.
There are special wireless microphone sets that are specifically designed for use with cameras and recorders. They usually include a compact receiver that works on batteries just like a beltpack receiver and they are made to fit on the shoe mount of the camera. Most have a TRS mini jack output that you can use to connect to the camera or recorder's mic input. Make sure that the wireless system's outgoing signal and the camera's input sensitivity are configured properly so the audio comes in at the right volume.
All wireless microphones
Wireless handheld microphones
Wireless headset microphones
Wireless lavalier microphones
Wireless instrument microphones
Wireless guitar systems
Wireless camera microphones
Jack cables (TS)