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Disconnected And Amplified: Wireless Microphones

May 14, 2008
Wireless microphones work well when it is clearly defined what they are for. The purpose dictates the kind of wireless mic needed.

Wireless microphones work by using different frequencies, standard or transmission technologies to replace the cable. In a wired microphone, the cable is used to transmit sound from the receiver in the microphone to an amplifying or recording device. The sound travels as an electric signal through the cable then gets converted back to sound waves. In wireless microphones, the electric signal for sound travels through the air in the form of waves or frequencies to a transmitter.

Wireless microphones can use radiowaves such as those in the UHF and VHF frequencies, FM, AM or other digital schemes. Some low cost models even use infrared, which required that the transmitter have an unobstructed line to the microphone.

There are two main kinds of wireless microphones in use today. One is the handheld type, which comes with its own battery, and transmitter while the other is a body pack, which has the battery pack and transmitter separate from the receiver of the microphone, which may come in the form of a lapel, headset or others.

There are several things to consider when choosing a wireless microphone. One has to consider what the mic will be used for. Since wireless microphones are often used for productions, shoots and live performances, the type of setting it will be used in will help determine what kind of wireless microphone to get. A body pack with a lapel mic would be ideal if the purpose is to use a wireless mic without it being too obvious. A handheld wireless mic could be used if it is not important whether the microphone is seen.

Since modern wireless microphones use frequencies to transmit sound, it should be considered how many microphones would be used at the time. Several microphones used together may result in a mix up of the signal. Wireless microphones that enable the user to configure the frequency would be ideal so that there will be no crossing of signals and that all will work properly.

In using wireless microphones, one has to consider the fact that some spots or areas inhibit the use of frequencies. These spots are called dead spots, and there may be some in the area where the mics will be used.

One concern with wireless microphones is the range. Some wireless microphones have a limited range, which restricts the movement of the one using it. Higher end wireless mics can provide users with a greater range of movement because of its stronger signal and frequency.

Another concern when choosing wireless mics is the battery life. Since wireless mics come equipped with its own battery packs and are not plugged directly into any outlet. One has to check the standard battery life of the wireless mics to ensure that they can last for the duration of the desired use.

The type of wireless mic on the market comes down to two main categories. The first is the consumer or prosumer level of wireless microphone. These products enable enthusiasts, amateurs and beginners to try using wireless microphones for non-professional use. Consumer grade wireless microphones are often sold as a complete set and most often come in the form of handheld mics with charger and receiver.

The professional grade wireless microphones are those meant for professional use. They are often sold individually as components that can be added to an existing set-up such as a digital video or recording set-up. These often cost more but make up for it with better features and changeable settings.
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