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Everything you need to know about wireless microphones

What is a wireless microphone system, and why would you want one?

Microphones are critical for activities such as recording sound, or to make a performer heard at a public event. At its most basic, a microphone is a transducer that converts sound into an electrical signal, which is then recorded or amplified. Choosing a wireless mic over a traditional wired microphone is a matter of convenience. When a singer or speaker is equipped with a cordless microphone, there are no cables to trip over, and they have more freedom of movement.

Types of microphone

There are many different types and designs of microphone, each of which is suited for specific applications. Many vloggers and podcasters opt for a USB microphone that plugs directly into their computer. The PC provides the power, and the signal is wired so there is no risk of interference.

However, a USB microphone doesn’t offer the freedom of a wireless mic recorder. Popular types of wireless microphones include noise cancelling (that reduce background noise so the speaker can be heard more clearly), cardioid microphones (popular for recording speech), shotgun mics that capture sound in an extremely narrow area, and omnidirectional mics that pick up sound from all directions.

How to choose the right wireless microphone

Choosing the right microphone is primarily a matter of knowing how and where you are going to use it. Are you recording a podcast? Then you probably want a cardioid microphone for optimal speech pick-up. Are you recording bird sounds? Then a shotgun mic is a better choice. It’s also important to know the environment where the mic will be used. If the person using the microphone is going to be moving around, or you don’t want cable clutter getting in the way, a cordless microphone is your best bet. If you’re sitting in front of a PC to record, then skipping wireless and going with a plug-in USB microphone would work just fine.

Which is better, a VHF or UHF wireless mic?

When it comes to wireless, professional microphones atypically transmit on VHF (very high frequency) or UHF (ultra high frequency) bands. Which is better? A UHF cordless microphone has definite advantages, including further range and a smaller risk of experiencing interference.

Benefits of a clip on microphone or lavalier microphone?

There are many situations where a clip on microphone (also known as a lavalier microphone) is the best choice. A microphone for singing can be held or mounted on a stand. But when a vocal microphone is needed for more casual presentations where the speaker is sitting, a clip on microphone is much more discrete and less distracting to the audience. This is the setup of choice for talkshows, for example. However, some broadcasters prefer a headset microphone. This gives them the benefits of a wireless microphone, but they can also hear an audio feed that gives them live information updates.