How to Choose the Right Wireless Microphone System
Wireless microphones ensure that your pastor and worship ensemble can move freely on stage, unrestricted by cables. If you're thinking about adding a wireless system to your House of Worship, this guide can help you find the wireless microphone system for church that's right for you.
Wireless microphone systems play a critical role in modern productions, from Houses of Worship services to concerts and business presentations. Pastors, journalists, vloggers, and fitness instructors all depend on wireless microphones for their daily work.
A wireless microphone system offers undeniable advantages to pastors, vocalists, and worship bands. Using a wireless microphone system lets you take advantage of an easy setup process and eliminates unnecessary cable clutter in the House of Worship. And most importantly, it allows the pastor and vocalists to move throughout the sanctuary while performing or speaking freely. With a wireless microphone system, you no longer must drill holes in the walls to accommodate wiring for wired microphones. Also, not only does it save labor costs, but it also protects your facility.
There are many options for wireless microphones, from simple analog microphone systems to complex, multi-channel digital microphones systems. We understand that choosing the right wireless microphone system based on your unique needs is critical in amplifying the message.
This guide will teach you several critical factors to consider when selecting a wireless microphone system and provide wireless best practices for your House of Worship. And we will recommend Shure's top wireless microphone systems for church.
Sound Quality – Analog vs. Digital Wireless Microphones
When choosing a wireless system, sound quality is typically the chief concern. Analog wireless microphone systems use a compander – compander is a contraction of the words compressor and expander – to squeeze the entire dynamic range of a voice or instrument into the narrow frequency allocation provided for wireless mic use.
On the other hand, a digital microphone system can transmit a consistent digital sound that provides a full dynamic range without companding and gives a more natural sound to your congregation.
For further learning, take our Getting to Know Wireless course to learn more about Analog vs. Digital Wireless Microphones.
VHF vs. UHF Bands vs. 2.4GHz
Most wireless microphone systems operate in the UHF (Ultra High Frequency) band of 470 - 952 MHZ. Some work in the VHF (Very High Frequency) band of 49 – 216 MHZ. While VHF systems are typically more affordable, they will have fewer available channels. And VHF requires extremely long antennas.
However, the UHF band contains several bands that are readily available for wireless microphone systems. In the UHF band, you can achieve very high-quality audio and accommodate many concurrent systems.
The UHF band has been the standard for many years and typically gives the strongest and best performance due to its extensive frequency range and smaller antennas.
Recently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has placed limitations on the number of operating frequencies for wireless microphones. These limitations have caused UHF wireless microphone systems to become considerably more efficient in bandwidth use to accommodate multiple wireless microphones in a frequency band.
In addition, you can find several wireless microphones systems that operate in the 2.4 GHz band. Keep in mind that the 2.4 GHz frequency band is the same as your computer Wi-Fi, which makes its operating range much shorter. It is best practice with 2.4 GHz wireless systems to make sure that you have a controlled environment.
To provide optimal communication between the transmitter and receiver, you must maintain a clear line of sight between the transmitter and the receiver.
The Basics – Transmitters and Receivers
Every wireless mic system has two major components. One is a transmitter – typically worn or held by the performer. The other component is a receiver – which collects radio signal from the transmitter, converts it to audio, and sends the audio through a cable to your mixer or power amp.
Wireless handheld microphones will usually have the transmitter and microphone integrated due to the transmitter being built directly into the microphone's body. This integration allows wireless handheld microphones to be quick and easy to set up. Lavalier and headworn mics will typically connect to a transmitter pack, usually worn on someone's belt.
Frequency Agility & Automatic Frequency Selection
If you plan to use several wireless microphones simultaneously, each microphone must operate on a different open radio frequency so that the signals do not interfere with each other.
Wireless microphone systems that are "frequency agile" offer users various frequency paths to work with during production. Being frequency-agile is essential if your House of Worship will require multiple wireless microphones to operate simultaneously or stationed at a location with many competing signals coming from wireless devices.
Today, some wireless microphone systems have automatic frequency selection, which readily scans the environment for open channels and automatically picks the best one. This functionality is handy for novice users or volunteers who have little experience coordinating or deploying available frequencies.
The three things you must know if you want to go wireless are:
- What am I planning to do?
- Where am I going to set up the mics?
- How many microphones do I need in the same room at once?
Below is a system-by-system guide for Shure's most popular wireless microphone systems for our House of Worship customers. All systems mentioned below come with a variety of Shure's best-in-class handheld, headset, lavalier, and instrument microphones.
Recommended Wireless Microphone Systems for CHurch
The ideal entry-level wireless microphone system for small venues, BLX offers professional-quality sound with a simple setup and an intuitive interface for performance you can trust right out of the box.
GLX-D Advanced Digital
GLX-D Advanced Digital provides confidently clear audio for small and medium stages with automated frequency management and rechargeable power.
SLX-D provides crystal-clear digital audio quality with >120 dB dynamic range so that you can handle a whisper-quiet pastor and loud worship bands alike. SLX-D maintains stable signals with high efficiency for rock-solid, reliable performance with up to 8 hours of use from either 2 AA batteries (included) or optional Shure lithium-ion rechargeable batteries.
Shure: The Perfect Choice to Help You Go Wireless
When you're ready to take your House of Worship wireless, Shure has the wireless microphone systems to fit your unique needs and budget. Contact us today to get started!
Here are a few other resources you might find helpful: