Guide to Wireless Microphones
Cutting the cord
These days most things come with a WiFi version, removing the need for obtrusive cable that get in the way. It’s that revolution which is spurring on the wireless microphone revolution. Sure wireless microphones have been around for a long time now, but reliability and affordability has meant that more and more performers are making the choice to free themselves from the cable.
Wireless microphones give you the freedom to roam
It’s quite understandable that performers don’t want to feel teathered to the stage, restricted movement impedes your ability to engage with the audience. That’s why for a lot of artists and public speakers wireless mics are worth the investment. Even more so when you consider the alternative such as tripping on cables or worse still, ripping the cable out mid performance.
When you look at a stage that’s running wires everywhere it can often look unprofessional. The issue is amplified when shows are being broadcast live, and with the growth of Facebook live and YouTube’s alternative it’s becoming common for smaller acts to consider the finer details of performance.
Cabled microphones will at some point, no matter how good, suffer from a broken cable situation. It’s a live engineers nightmare and worse still it can ruin a performance, often at a crucial stage in the set.
So let’s take a look at some of the options out there from professional down to the budget end of the market. We’ve looked at four different types of technology, each has it’s own benefits and drawbacks. Although this is not a conclusive list of wireless technology we sell at Dawsons, we hope that this guide gives you an understanding of the breadth of options available. So here we go:
Shure GLXD24 Wireless Converter
The Shure SM58 is a unidirectional (cardioid) microphone and a legend among vocalists and performers across the world. It’s designed for voice, providing just the right frequency lift to bring the presence out on vocals. It’s also rugged in both construction and application for the job, be that screaming vocals or subtle conversation.
So when you add in the Shure GLXD24 wireless receiver you’ll get all the quality you’d expect from a classic SM58 with a huge 30 metre range (around 2/3 of the width of a football pitch). There’s nothing to the operation of it, everything is clearly laid out and even relays the battery level down to the final minute. The further addition of a second battery port means there’s room for you charging a spare while the microphone is being used in a performance.
At the other end of the spectrum, AKG manufacture a highly affordable wireless microphone set that is both crisp and clear sound. As with all AKG products, their technology is designed to give perfect signal and sound reproduction, as you’d expect from a highly respected German manufacturer. One cool feature of the AKG WMS40 that we love is the three status LED monitor that shows on/off status, signal strength and audio clipping.
These little features can save lots of time when troubleshooting, making light work to diagnose and correct a fault. If that wasn’t enough then this mic offers 30 hours of operation on a single AA battery, that’s pretty incredible performance. Plus, this wireless microphone comes with everything you need to get going straight from the box.
Maybe you already have good stage microphones and you’d prefer to keep using them. Well that’s where the geniuses at Alesis have your back. Their Miclink Wireless Digital Microphone Adaptor plugs directly into any Lo-Z dynamic microphone like the Shure SM58 just like a standard XLR cable. The system is simple to pair, making it virtually plug and play, giving you up to 60 foot of 16 bit 44.1kHz of clear digital audio signal. All you need are three AA batteries and Miclink to give you super affordable, high quality wireless mic capability.
Line 6 XDV-35
So different again from the other three wireless microphones, the Line 6 XDV-35 Lavalier Wireless Microphone System is the perfect choice for performers who like hands-free freedom, be that vocalists, performers or presenters. It’s especially good for active performers with the cardiod polar pattern lavalier mic, body pack and receiver. Line 6 are known for their modelling capabilities, so it’s no wonder that this 24-bit beast produces a signal that blurs the line between wired and wireless mics.
One of the best things about this product is how much thought has gone into preventing unwanted interference, Line 6’s digital lock technology means that you won’t get unwanted sounds coming through on the channel. Speaking of channels, you can have up to six different mics operating from the one receiver, which is great value when you consider it.
There we have it, we hope that you’ve now got a better picture of what’s out there in the world of wireless microphone technology so that you can make a more informed choice when you’re spending your hard earned cash.