Beginners Guide: Wireless Microphones
What is a Wireless Mic?
The name says it all! A wireless microphone is one that does not require a physical cable to connect with the receiver or speaker.
Why Buy a Wireless Mic?
It is a super convenient method of performing or presenting, as you are free to roam about the stage or area as you please without the restriction of a cable.
How Do They Work?
Wireless or cordless microphones work on radio frequencies, much like a standard FM radio. There is a Transmitter, which is generally in the form of a handheld microphone or body pack. The other component is a Receiver which is a box that receives the signal and outputs into your mixer. These communicate using a set frequency (eg; 641.200MHz) eliminating cables and offering a great freedom to move around your stage or venue.
DJ City Fact: You can have multiple receivers to one transmitter!
How Do I Choose a Wireless Microphone?
#1 What Type?
Start by asking yourself what type of microphone you need. Do you need a hands free option? Or are you happy with a handheld?
This all depends on the intended use. Are you a fitness instructor and need a headset microphone? Maybe you have a presentation coming up and need a lapel to clip the mic to your shirt? Perhaps you need a mic for your instrument while you walk around?
It could be that you need a combination. This brings us to the next step.
#2 How Many?
Next step is deciding how many microphones you need and whether you need the option of adding more later on, as some microphones only have a limited number of frequencies available.
#3 How Far Away Do I Need To Be?
You need to think about where you will be using the wireless microphone system and what will be around you. Do you need to be far away from the receiver or will you be close to it?
An operating range is typically calculated with ‘Line of Sight’ in mind. This basically means there are no obstacles between your microphone and the receiver. Usually, the greater the operating range of the microphone, the higher the price.
#4 Do I Need Quality?
Depending on the occasion and usage, you need to decide on the quality of the microphone. Do you do professional gigs regularly and need something high quality? Or perhaps you only use the microphone occasionally for speeches and don’t need anything too fancy.
Quality plays a huge part in the price of a wireless microphone system.
#5 Be Careful!
Before you purchase any wireless microphone, you need to make sure it complies with the law! That’s right; we aren’t allowed to use some frequencies!
As of January 1st 2015, frequencies between 694MHz and 820MHz became illegal for Wireless Microphones or In-Ear Monitor systems. This was the time when Australia fully transitioned from Analogue to Digital TV transmissions.
This portion of the frequency range is “surplus to requirements”. This surplus spectrum is known as the Digital Dividend. It has been allocated to Telecommunications service providers and enables the use of 4G. Devices previously used in the spectrum no longer work.
In addition to 4G, TV services around Australia have been allocated into a block structure in the remaining 520-694MHz broadcast spectrum. However, this varies depending on your location. As a result, if you intend to use a wireless microphone, you need to check which will work best in your area as it can interfere with broadcastings.
Use the frequency calculator to find the best frequency and suitable wireless microphone for the location you intend to operate in.
It is now illegal to operate in the Digital Dividend frequency range. If you are unsure, please feel free to contact our experienced DJ City staff in-store or online.
#6 Do I Need Accessories?
If you’ve gone with the handheld option in particular, you may want to consider a microphone stand. We also have microphone clips available for different sized microphones. You may also want to consider a wind sock for when you perform outside. This prevents the mic from picking up unwanted sound, such as wind.
Hopefully this has helped you understand how wireless microphones operate and will be useful when buying a wireless microphone.
Visit us at your local DJ City store or contact us online to help ensure you purchase the best wireless microphone system for you.