In the advent of self-isolation due to COVID-19, music activity around the world has not stopped, but the form of distributing music has changed, mainly to streaming. My instrument is the drums and I don't have enough skill to create even the chorus of a song, so I had nothing to do with microphones until now. But due to the circumstances of the band, I decided to use a headset-type wireless microphone with which I wouldn't have to worry about the cable getting in the way, or getting disconnected. Due to the influence of the COVID-19, more and more people want to have their own microphone instead of using one that others have handled. In addition, in the case of vocals, it is very natural to want to make a difference with rivals with a microphone. And if you have your own microphone, and want to move around during a gig, and hate when the cable gets in the way, I think that desire will be even deeper. A wireless microphone will fulfill such a desire!
First, let's take a quick look at some of the basic knowledge you need to know when using wireless microphones.
■ Advantages of Wireless Microphones
- As the name suggests, since there is no “wire” (cable), obviously the biggest advantage is that you can move around freely without worrying about the cable.
- It is also possible to minimize the noise generated when the cable is moved around and comes into contact with other equipment.
■ Disadvantages of wireless microphones ト
- Depending on the radio waves, the number of microphones that can be used in the same area is limited.
- There is a risk of signals getting mixed.
- Depending on the wired microphone, the audio signal output from the transmitter is sent to the receiver by radio waves and output as an audio signal, which may affect the sound quality. However, since the influence varies depending on the equipment, this point is not necessarily a disadvantage.
■ About frequencies
Several frequency bands are used to send and receive wireless microphones. For each frequency band, it is called as follows.
◆ A band
Band A used radio waves in the 770-806MHz band. Also known as a specific radio microphone, you will need a land mobile station license to operate it. These are often used in large concerts event venues and large domes because the signals are less likely to get mixed. In response to the recent increase in the use of mobile phones, the government has revised the Radio Law and is currently transitioning to the White Space Bands (470-714MHz), 710-714MHz, and 1.2GHz. Certain radio microphones using the 770-806MHz band are no longer available.
◆ B band
The B band uses the 806-810MHz band. You don't need a license, and it's easy for anyone to use. This type is often sold at musical instrument stores. Depending on the model, up to eight mics can be used simultaneously in the same area.
◆ C band
The C band uses radio waves in the 300MHz band. You don't need a license. The sound quality is considerably inferior to that of bands A and B, but it is used for communication systems used for conversation between staff in stores.
These use the 2.4GHz band. There is no need for a license, and anyone can use it. Because it is the same frequency band as WiFi and Bluetooth, if you are using a WiFi device nearby, radio waves may interfere and the sound may be interrupted. Even if it is used at the same time as the B band, it is an advantage that it does not cause interference of the radio waves.
■ Nature of radio waves
Radio waves change the way they are transmitted when the frequency (wavelength) is different. Therefore, the frequency is chosen and used to suit specific purposes. Radio waves go straight through the air, but depending on whether the frequency is high or low, the way radio waves are transmitted varies greatly. The 800MHz to 2.4GHz used in wireless microphones are strong for direct radio waves. The 2.4GHz band demonstrates its ability, especially in large outdoor events. In addition, 800MHz frequencies are flexible, so they are stronger against obstructions when compared to 2.4GHz. It is the same as the frequency band called the platinum band used in NTT Docomo and Softbank mobile devices.
■ Differences in digital and analog sound quality
Wireless radio waves can be either analog or digital. Analog waves compress and extend the sound input via the compander, so the timbre changes with the input signal. On the other hand, the digital method does not use a compander. The sound is good because it is digital data before it flies as radio waves, and the voice signal does not change shape. It is also characterized by a wider dynamic range than analog.
■ Notes on the selection of wireless microphones
There are some things you need to consider when choosing a wireless microphone.
● How many microphones do you want to use in the same area?
On the product pages, you’ll find the expression "you can use X number of waves in the same area". This is the number of microphones. First of all, let's decide how many microphones you want to use, including yourself and other band members.
● Frequency band of wireless users other than yourself, the manufacturer and the model.
As a general rule, we recommend that you use wireless microphones from the same manufacturer and from the same series. This can also be said when the transmitter and receiver are combined and multiple systems are used in the same area. For example, let's assume you had a SHURE SVX series receiver. If you want to take advantage of this, you will need a microphone and transmitter compatible with the SHURE/SVX series.
◆ Supported handheld microphones
Next, what if you had one set of SHURE's SVX288/PG58 and you have two more singers? Since SVX can only use up to 3 waves in the same area, instead of adding a BLX that can use 6 waves simultaneously of SVX series and higher models, you can add a 2.4GHz microphone with a different frequency band. With a 2.4GHz microphone, there is no need to worry about signals getting mixed even if you use it together with the B band at the same time. Available from CLASSIC PRO, LINE6, SHURE, audio technica and SONY. Please refer to the following:
■CLASSIC PRO/Wireless Mic/Handheld 2.4GHz List
■LINE6/ Wireless Mic/Handheld 2.4GHz List
■SHURE/ Wireless Mic/Handheld 2.4GHz List
■audio technica/ Wireless Mic/Handheld 2.4GHz List
■SONY/ Wireless Mic/Handheld 2.4GHz List
As mentioned above, you can avoid trouble by first deciding the number of units you want to use and the environment in which you want to use them in advance. This is getting lengthy, and as this is the first time, I’ll end the explanation here and introduce microphones recommended for each application.
Please refer to the following
◆ You need it cheap, and you only need one microphone.
Cost-effective B-band wireless microphone. If you buy the JP2 sold separately, you can use two sets in the same area. When combined with the AKG/WMS40 PRO MINI VOCAL SET (JP2), two can be used in the same area. Two JP1 cannot be used with each other, and the JP2 can be used with the JP1, be careful! Ideal for vocals, karaoke and speech.
◆ You need two microphones, but want to keep the costs to a minimum.
B-band wireless microphone. Up to two waves can be used in the same area. A fixed frequency type. Specialized for using two microphones at the same time, it is a model that has cut down on unnecessary functions. This is perfect for vocals and speech.
◆ I need up to 6 mics in the future, but I want to keep the costs down.
B-band wireless microphone. Up to 6 waves can be used simultaneously in the same area. Excellent in that it automatically scans the optimal channel from among the 30 waves in the B band. It is a product that provides high cost performance, and is recommended for vocals and speech.
◆ I want to keep the costs down, but I also want to good sound quality.
CLASSIC PRO's B-band wireless microphone offers reliable quality at a surprising price. It is equipped with an auto-scanning function that searches for fault-free channels and a sync function that transfers receiver settings to the transmitter. It's easy to set up, easy to use, and provides great sound. Up to 6 waves can be used in the same area. (One microphone can be connected with one receiver.)
The dual set is here.→ CLASSIC PRO/CWS802M Wireless microphone receiver & Dual hand microphone
This is CLASSIC PRO's 2.4GHz digital wireless microphone. 8 waves can be simultaneously used in the same area. It is characterized by a clear, natural sound. We promise great performances for a wide range of applications, including live vocals, karaoke, and speaking.
The dual set is here.→ CLASSIC PRO/CWR242 Handheld dual set
◆ I want a wireless mic with the head of a standard microphone.
B-band wireless set that comes with the SHURE/SM58 head, which is said to be a world-class microphone. Up to 6 waves can be used at the same time in the same area (there are some restrictions for installation). It has clear, powerful mid-range that is optimally adjusted for vocals.
The dual set is here → SHURE/BLX288/SM58
B-band wireless set. Up to 6 waves can be used at the same time in the same area (there are some restrictions for installation). The sound quality is clean in the low range, and the middle and high ranges are easy to handle. Please try the BLX vocal wireless system equipped with the head of the classic microphone BETA58A that professionals also love.
The dual set is here → SHURE/BLX288/BETA58
◆ I need to use more than 10 microphones at the same time in the same place.
2.4GHz digital wireless with a dynamic range of up to 120dB or more. Excellent products and you can use up to 14 waves in the same area. Still, it's very easy to set up. It also has a luxurious function called microphone modeling. It is equipped with 10 popular microphone models, and you can choose the model that best suits your voice by simply pressing a button on the microphone. Please try this microphone for vocals, and refer to the blog below for this product.
So. How was it? Did you find you a wireless microphone to your liking? Next time, I would like to introduce products I recommend while talking about wireless microphones. Thank you very much for reading to the end.