Wireless microphone systems can range widely in cost, making it hard to decide how much you really need to spend. Before we can give you some advice, we first need to explain how a wireless microphone system functions, and why this matters in your decision-making process.
Wireless Microphone System Components and Function
A modern wireless microphone system includes two parts: a receiver (usually installed with the mixer) and a transmitter (what most people recognize as the microphone). The microphone takes a sound wave and broadcasts it wirelessly back to the receiver. Once received it is then translated back into an audio signal that can be sent to the mixer.
Almost all wireless systems today use diversity receivers, meaning each receiver has 2 antennas to search for a signal from the transmitter. These 2 antennas allow the receiver to switch alternately between them in the event of radio interference.
If you have more than four wireless receivers in close proximity to one another, all the antennas are forced to compete with each other. This leads to an issue called “intermodulation,” a fancy way of saying “cross talk between antennas.” During intermodulation radio frequencies can get lost on the way to the receiver, or they can be intercepted by the wrong unit. This problem can cause dropouts or interruptions in the signal, which can make it difficult to understand speech or music. To avoid intermodulation, Pro Acoustics incorporates an antenna combining hardware when designing many multi-channel wireless packages.
So, Does Cost REALLY Matter?
The Answer: It depends.
With wireless microphone systems you truly do get what you pay for, so you have to assess what quality you need based on what the system will be used for, and what your budget constraints are.
Some cost-effective systems may use cheaper components that can degrade the quality of the system and prevent you from getting clear, natural sound. They may also run the risk of intermodulation if they do not have the proper hardware installed.
On the other hand, high-end touring grade wireless microphone systems, like the ones you see used during the Grammy’s, cost $1,000+ per system and may not be a budget-friendly option, or necessary for many locations.
The main questions to ask yourself are: 1. What do I need this system for? 2. What is my budget? 3. Are the possible risks associated with low-quality systems worth a cheaper option? Once you answer these you can narrow down your options and make a more informed decision.
If you need help finding a wireless microphone system that fits your needs AND your budget, give us a call at (888) 256-4112 and our engineers will work with you to find the best solution.