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. Wireless microphones usually have a range of up to 50 metres so the person singing or speaking can be a fair distance away from the receiver if there are no obstructions - this is often referred to as 'line of sight'. The signal can pass through floors, doors and walls but such blockages will reduce the overall distance it can travel because the signal is weakened.

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.

How do you hear the sound from a wireless microphone system?

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.

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.

Cost effectiveness

You can get single, dual or multiple wireless microphone systems: single have one microphone and one receiver, dual have two microphones plus two receivers which are built into the same box. The benefit of the dual receivers is that they can take up only channel on the mixer if you take a mix from the back of the receiver. Dual systems are much cheaper than two singles, and four- and eight-way systems are also available - perfect for schools or theatre groups!

Need some advice?

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