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How To Decide Between A Wired Or Wireless Microphone

Posted on November 18, 2016 by Paul There have been 0 comments

ShureWirelessMic

If you are a speaker, a vocalist or a pastor at a church, eventually there will come a time when you must select a new microphone that fits your needs. When this situation arises, not only will you have to select from many different manufacturers and models, but you will also need to make the decision between a wired or wireless microphone.

Deciding the answer to this question can seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. With industry standards from Shure, AKG, Audio Technica and Sennheiser, selecting a great microphone that will stand the test of time isn't hard to do. To help you decide whether it's the right time to go wireless or not, we've put together a guide to helping you navigate the wonderful world of being cable-less.   

There are advantages and disadvantages to both wireless and wired microphone systems. Your choice should be determined by your specific application. It is very plausible that you would decide to go wireless just to reduce the trip hazards and unnecessary cabling on stage. That alone is a good reason, but let’s look a little deeper into the issue.

ShureWirelessMic
A wireless microphone will probably cost about four to 10 times as much as its wired counterpart. For example, the industry standard Shure SM58 hardwired microphone sells for $99.99 the same SM58 Capsule in Shure’s BLX24/SM58 wireless system sells for $399.99. This is Shure's entry level professional wireless microphone. This same microphone capsule in a Shure ULXD system can run into the thousands. When it comes to wireless, there are many things to consider. After asking yourself these questions, you will be much closer to making an educated decision.

Questions to Ask When Making The Decision to go Wireless

  • - Will I be stationery? (For instance an orator at a podium or a musician on a keyboard.)
  • - Do I need the freedom to move around without the limitations of an XLR cable?
  • - Am I concerned about the safety hazard the XLR cables can create?
  • - Do I know which frequency range is best for my location?
  • - Am I, or do I have someone competent to sync the transmitter to the receiver?
  • - Do I want rechargeable batteries?
  • - Do I have replacement batteries on hand?
  • - Do I need a Handheld, a Lavalier or a headset system?

Aside from freedom, which is the most notable advantage of a wireless microphone, there are many other great reasons to choose this option. Safety, aesthetics and sound quality. Yes, I said sound quality. As far as misconceptions go, there is one that surrounds wireless systems. Many believe that a wireless microphone can't sound as good as a hardwired one. This is simply untrue. Today’s digital wireless systems are incredibly accurate and reliable. You no longer need to be concerned about losing any of the sound quality you worked so hard to achieve.

On the other side of the coin, I understand there are some obvious advantages when choosing a wired microphone. Many musicians and engineers are drawn to the ease of use and speed of set-up. There are many good reasons to think this way. They generally do not want to deal with frequency selection or battery life. They save time tracking down problems, because there are simply less things that can go wrong. The majority of issues fall upon the mic cable. Generally, a simple switch of the cable fixes the problem. If you are a stationary performer or speaker, a hardwired microphone could very well be advantageous. It saves on cost and complication.


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