Wireless microphones for a long time were used solely by popular artists who wanted to move around the stage during performances. But today you’ll find their use in many more applications.
They’re not only great for lead singers, but for public speakers, churches, and any function that requires a little mobility in front of a crowd.
Over the years, technological improvements to wireless technology have lead to better products, at more affordable prices. Wireless microphones are no longer functional only within short ranges. They can cover large areas and are quite resistant to interference and dropouts. And with these improvement comes economies of scale, helping drop wireless microphones prices to an all-time low.
Key Features To Look for In a Wireless Microphone
For example, in order to run 5 wireless microphones at the same time, you would also need 5 channels to run 5 systems together.
That means when looking for a mic, anticipates its use. If you’re going to use the microphone in a place with many obstacles, you should look at wireless systems that are around twice the actual distance from the receiver. This ensures you prevent dropouts.
Digital systems convert the audio into a signal that’s sent out by the transmitter. The net result is interference and noise are eliminated. For this reason, digital systems are the most popularly used at important venues and shows. Additionally, digital systems give you the option of encrypting your signals.
X8 Digital Wireless System with Beta 58A
Cons: Relatively Expensive
The Beta 58A is the best wireless microphone we have ever used, period. If you’re a musician who has been disappointed with the older UHF or VHF tech, this is a completely different technology. It’s incredible. There is no compander here – just a pure digital signal that’s carried wirelessly. This is the clearest wireless mic you’ll ever hear – no fuzz, pops, or drop outs to be found.
You can order this system with different Shure cartridges and later swap them around if needed. Although the Shure 58 is in many ways the industry gold standard for mics, the Beta 58A is one of our newer favorites. It’s a cardioid dynamic mic that’s powered by 2 AA batteries ( in our uses they last around 12-14 hours of continuous use). One of our favorite features with this mic is the inclusion of a LED light. A green light informs you the system is connected and ready whereas a red flashing light warns about connectivity problems or a weak battery. The system is ideal for small to medium indoor/outdoor venues.
Note that you can mix and match Shure microphone receivers and transmitters. Each system is also sold separately so you can purchase only what you need.
GTD Audio G-622H
Cons: Plastic Construction
Our favorite budget choice goes to the GTD Audio 622H. For around $170 you get two dynamic XLR microphones(that can be used simultaneously) and a decent mic system that’s rackable. GTD Audio isn’t as known as some other brands like Sennheiser, but you’ll find they’ve been producing great products at affordable prices since 1990.
This specific unit has 100 selectable frequencies with a marketed range of 600 feet. In practice, that means up to 500 feet, which is plenty for the price. Running the UHF system is great for sound quality, but don’t expect wonders here. The system is far from perfect but for most users, there’s not much to be picky about. The plastic construction doesn’t initially reassure durability, but in practice, it has held up just fine. GTD Audio’s customer service is also quite good – when we didn’t receive rack ears on another model (G-787H), they shipped us a set immediately.
For the price, you won’t find anything better.
Cons: Receiver Only Accepts One Transmitter, No Battery Meter
A digital wireless system for around $250 makes this a hard package to beat. The sound quality is almost on par with Shure. Audio Technica calls their system the “System 10”. It can be used on up to eight channels but unfortunately, the receiver can only detect one transmitter at a time. The included mic is the ATW-T1002 dynamic mic (unidirectional).
Although the mic sounds great, it burns through batteries (on average lasting 4-5 hours). There’s also no battery meter on the mic which makes it hard to know when the battery is about to die. That said, there’s really no better digital system for the price point. If your microphone use doesn’t demand lengthy performances you’ll be fine.
Even though wireless microphones don’t seem like complex instruments on the surface, to deliver a great sound consistently without interference or connectivity issues isn’t the easiest of tasks.
Although you’ll find wireless microphone systems for under $100, you should avoid these. They make too many compromises to sound and reliability to warrant their use. Save yourself grief, and purchase a better system. You demand and expect your system to deliver a great performance, so it’s in your interest to buy one that fulfills your needs.