Choosing a Wireless Microphone
- Movo Photo Blog
- Jan 29, 2019
A wireless microphone system is a great way to capture quality audio for clear and intimate sound in a quick, compact, and professional manner. But between interference, displays, directions, ranges, and countless other factors, choosing the optimal mic setup can get a little tricky.
Depending on your project, you may want to invest in either a lavalier, a handheld, or even an on-board (wired) microphone, or all of the above. While lavaliers are best suited for up-close dialogue and interviews, a handheld might flow better in a presentation or broadcast setting, and an on-board is always good to have for backup and atmospheric audio.
Let’s first take a look at a lavalier setup.
Since these mics are small and subtle, they are nearly unnoticeable, clipped directly to your talent. However, their daintiness can backfire and cause major distortion and interference from the slightest ruffle of clothes, or unwanted mouth-noises, so noise cancellation is imperative.
The go-to for the best-of-the-best is found in the Sennheiser ew 112P G4 pack, which not only includes over 1,600 frequency channels across 42 MHz, but also a 3-level squelch, compander, and auto frequency scanner to find the optimal channel for optimal sound. While by no means cheap ($600), this dynamic and durable duo of mics make up for their cost in uncompromised, clear and quality audio. Plus, they are backwards compatible with their previous iterations, should you already be a Sennheiser connoisseur.
If you’re interested in the lavalier setup, but aim for a slightly lower price tag, Saramonic offers the RX9 + TX9 wireless mic set ($270) that rivals its Sennheiser counterpart, save for only a few drawbacks. With “only” 96 channels, these mics still hold quite the range, and while slightly clunkier and with a less appealing LCD screen, it is a close second with comparable results.
For a more diverse soundscape, you may want to trade in some of those frequency channels for the freedom of mixing. The Saramonic Audio “Gig” Bundle includes light, mountable and omni-directional lavaliers that function swimmingly for electronic field productions, as well as an on-board super-cardioid shotgun condenser microphone, and an SR-PAX2 2-channel Premium Audio Mixer to combine your sounds on the spot.
While the lavs only sport a 16-channel selection, the shotgun comes equipped with options for level control, a high-pass filter, and high-frequency boos for a different sonic perspective. But the cherry on top of this bundle is unquestionably the mixer. Featuring a pre-amp, phantom power, level metering, dual inputs, ground, gain, peak, AGC, and mono/stereo, this two-channel mixer provides enough eclectic horsepower for audio mixing to justify its 9V battery power supply.
Now, when it comes to handhelds, things get a lot easier.
The Saramonic HU9 Microphone and its compatible RX9 receiver boasts the same 96-channel selection as its lavalier counterpart, as well as the same operating range of 330ft and easy-to-read LCD screen, making it a solid and low-cost answer to any ENG project. Though it may not be the prettiest of mics, it delivers.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to get serious, the Rode Reporter might be the way to go. Made specifically with reporting and interviewing speech in mind, this omnidirectional dynamic microphone comes equipped with a multi-layered mesh windscreen, extra durable finish, and a sleek matte black design, and even comes with a Rode 10-year warranty! The downside? This mic comes with no wireless receiver, so you’re either looking at a separate XLR wireless receiver, or, dare I say it, a cumbersome XLR cable – yikes.
So there you have it; the soundscape of wireless microphones is available at your fingertips, with any number of sounds waiting to be recorded, just as long as you know where to look, or, where to listen. Choose wisely, as these bundles don’t always come cheap, but if you know how to use them, you’re sure to get your money’s worth in an abundance of quality audio. Good luck, audiophiles!