How Wireless Microphone Systems Work
Wireless microphones are perfect for singers, venues and schools as there are no wires to trip over and the person using it can move around freely.
Wireless microphone systems are made up of pairs of transmitters and receivers, set to the same wireless frequency. The transmitter sends the signal across the wireless frequency and the receiver receives it.
- The transmitter is either a handheld microphone or a beltpack (connected to a headset, lapel or instrument microphone by a short wire).
- The receiver is either a box which is powered by the mains and connected to your PA system (see right), or it's built into a portable PA system.
Beltpack transmitters have headset microphones or lapel microphones (sometimes called lavalier or tie-clip microphones) connected to them by a short wire. Beltpacks usually have a clip on the back which will fit onto a belt or waistband, or they can be placed in a pocket.
Wireless receivers receive the signal but don't amplify it - that job is done by another piece of equipment in your set up. The receiver needs to be connected to an Active speaker, a mixing desk or a mixer/amplifier. Alternatively, the receiver could be already built into an all-in-one portable PA system speaker. It is the speaker which produces the sound.
How do you hear the sound from a wireless microphone system?
Which type of wireless microphone is best - handheld, headset or lapel?The general public often have problems using handheld microphone transmitters because they hold them too far away from their mouths, down by their stomach or wave them around when they are gesticulating! This makes the signal too low so the microphone volume has to be turned up loud to compensate, and this can result in feedback noise.
In our opinion, headset microphones are usually best for public speaking, as the microphone stays next to the mouth, so it doesn't matter how much the speaker moves around - the volume stays constant.
Tie clip or lapel microphones are fixed whilst the speaker moves their head around; consequently the volume can go up and down. Lapel microphones of 'BBC quality' would be thousands of pounds each, so you must expect to get the quality you pay for.
Handheld microphones are better for singers, and easiest for speech if you need to pass them around.