A Guide to Selecting Wireless Microphones
Let’s say you’re recording music or creating a video to put up on social media. Whether you’re doing it indoors or outdoors, it’s better not to be tethered down by a wire connecting you to your recording equipment. There are wireless microphones that send radio signals in the UHF range of frequencies, which ensures that the signal is less subject to interference. And a wireless microphone will allow you to move around more freely, whether you’re vlogging, DJing, or performing on stage!
We’ll see that there are wireless microphones primarily for connecting to an amplifier, music mixer, or karaoke machine. You can also buy pairs of wireless microphones so that two people can sing in tandem, while a mixer will combine the two voices together flawlessly. Some wireless microphone sets can support as many as 15 microphones at once! There are also clip-on wireless microphones that you can wear, which will free you up when singing, performing, or conducting an interview.
We’ll go through some of the options among wireless microphones in the Best Reviews Guide list. Some of them have astounding range, battery life, clarity, and noise-canceling features!
What are UHF and VHF wireless microphones?
You’re probably familiar with UHF and VHF channels on your TV set. There are also wireless microphones that send signals at either UHF or VHF frequencies. A VHF wireless microphone may be less expensive, but it will require that there are no obstructions between your microphone and the receiving unit. A UHF microphone can allow for more microphones hooking up to a single receiver unit, and can still deliver a clear signal, even if there are obstructions or other radio signals in the area.
Types of Wireless Microphones
There are essentially three categories of wireless microphones:
Handheld microphone: These will have a handheld transmitter unit that looks like a familiar microphone. It sends the signal to a receiver unit that can be connected to an audio amplifier or a karaoke machine. An example is the Bietrun UHF Dual Handheld Cordless Dynamic Mic System. You insert the receiver into the 6.35-mm “Mic In” jack port on your outdoor speaker, PA speaker system, amplifier, or karaoke system. There is also a 6.35-mm to 3.5-mm adapter if your audio device has a 3.5-mm jack.
Bietrun UHF Dual Handheld Cordless Dynamic Mic System
Bodypack microphone: You can clip these microphones onto your clothing. They enable you to record while your hands are free. This is great for preparing a video, when giving an interview, or in a live performance. Some can be converted into an inconspicuous Lavalier microphone that you place on your lapel. An example is the Saramoni Blink500 Pro B2 2.4 GHz Wireless Lavalier Microphone.
Saramoni Blink500 Pro B2 2.4 GHz Wireless Lavalier Microphone
The Saramonic Blink500 Pro B2 also has an option to be converted into a handheld microphone with the optional Blink 500 Pro HM microphone-holder:
Converting the Saramonic Blink500 Pro B2 into a handheld mic
Plug-on transmitter microphone: This is an option that allows you to convert a wired dynamic microphone into a wireless microphone. An example is the Sennheiser Pro Audio Plug-On Transmitter (Model No. SKP 100 G4-A). You attach the Sennheiser transmitter to the handheld mic’s XLR connection, and it sends the signal to a receiver that you attach to your amplifier.
Sennheiser Pro Audio Plug-On Transmitter
What reviewers say
Here are some customers’ impressions about the wireless microphone that they bought:
Hook up to a camera: One useful purpose of these wireless microphones is hooking them up to a GoPro camera. That way, you can narrate what’s going on while skiing, bike riding, or just sightseeing!
Prefer a metal housing: If you purchase a handheld microphone, it’s preferable to get one with a metal casing. Customers who bought a handheld microphone with a plastic case were always concerned that if they drop the mic at any point, it will crack the casing.
Volume control on several mics: Some wireless microphone systems allow you to adjust the volume on each microphone separately from the receiver. The Fifine UHF Dual-Channel Wireless Handheld Microphone allows you to adjust each microphone’s volume individually.
Fifine UHF Dual-Channel Wireless Handheld Microphone
However, the Bietrun Wireless Microphone doesn’t allow you to adjust the volume for each microphone individually. The only way to adjust its volume is by plugging each receiver into a different channel on the amp or mixer.
Here are some tips to help you select the right wireless microphone for your needs:
Some handheld microphones won’t hook up to your computer: The Tonor Wireless Microphone is intended to be connected to an audio amplifier, which then sends the signal to speakers. You can also hook it up to a karaoke machine. However, it’s not compatible with a laptop or desktop computer, not with an iPad, cellphone, or AV receiver. But there are other wireless microphones that will be compatible with a computer or tablet. The DJI Wireless Lavalier Microphone is able to hook up to your PC, iPhone, or Android device, to allow you to record interviews. If you want, it also has 8 GB of internal storage, to allow you to store up to 14 hours of audio content without compression.
Select different frequencies for different microphones: Many of the microphones allow you to hook up several microphones. In order to avoid confusion, you should select a distinct frequency for each microphone.
Range: Wireless microphones will be limited to a certain range. One of the best wireless microphones that we reviewed, the DJI Wireless Lavalier Microphone, has an impressive 250-meter range (=820 ft.) in an unobstructed, outdoor environment. This makes it excellent for live streaming or recording an event outdoors.
DJI Wireless Lavalier Microphone
Noise cancellation: Another important feature that some wireless microphones have is noise cancellation. That means that they have special electronics to block out any ambient noise. That way, you’ll broadcast or record only the content that you intended to listen to in the first place!
Battery life: A handheld wireless microphone typically works on 2 “AA” batteries in the handheld unit, and has a rechargeable battery for the receiving unit. The receiver of the DJI Lavalier Microphone has an exceptional battery life of 15 hours on a single charge. It also comes with its own charging case.
TS, TRS, and TRRS: You’ll see that wireless microphones may differ in the type of plug that goes from the receiver into a laptop computer, amplifier, or mixing equipment. There is TS (=Tip/Sleeve), which is a mono signal, TRS (Tip/Ring/Sleeve), which transmits a stereo signal, and TRRS (Tip/Ring/Ring/Sleeve), which typically goes into a computer, smartphone, or tablet. You can tell which is which by looking at the number of black insulation bands there are on the output jack going out from the receiver.
Comparison of TS, TRS, and TRRS jacks
We went through some of the best wireless microphones available nowadays. Some of them are handheld units, while others are wired microphones that can be converted for wireless use by means of the appropriate plug-on attachment. Yet other microphones are wearable devices that you can clip onto a lapel. Before making a purchase, consider whether you need a wireless microphone for indoor or outdoor use, what kind of range you require, and how many microphones you want to use at once. You’re sure to be able to find the appropriate wireless microphone set for your needs!