The Videographer’s Tools: The Golden Age of Wireless Mics

The Videographer’s Tools: The Golden Age of Wireless Mics

The Pluses and Minuses of Cutting the Cord

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Videographers-Tools

Wireless microphones are essential tools for vloggers and video productions. They offer freedom of movement as well as no messy wires in the shot. There are three types of wireless mics: handheld with built-in transmitters; lavalier mics; and headsets with bodypack transmitters. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. There is no correct choice. It’s a matter of choosing the right kind for the type of video project you’re working on.

When do you need a wireless mic? If you have to move around without worrying about getting (literally) wrapped up in wires, such as during a musical or dramatic performance, a wireless mic is a no-brainer. However, wired mics avoid the chances of radio interference messing up the sound. On the other hand—again—there is value in not getting tripped up by errant wires on the scene. Videographers-Tools-Callout-1-2024

Choosing the right wireless mic depends on many factors: the nature of the content; the look of the video; how far the unit can work from transmitter to receiver; production budget; as well as personal preferences. Let’s look at the pluses and minuses of each type of handheld microphone—and highlight some well-regarded models.

Handheld and Hands-Free Wireless Mics

Here’s a quick look at both handheld and hands-free wireless options.

Handheld Mics with a Built-in Transmitter

Advantages
  • Ease of use. Handheld mics are user-friendly systems that require minimal setup. The built-in transmitter simplifies the process.
  • Versatility. You can use a handheld mic for interviews, presentations, singers as well as general content creation.
  • Cost-effective. Handheld mics may be less expensive than lavalier and headsets. That’s good news for individuals or production teams on a tight budget.
Disadvantages
  • Handling. Some content creators may find it hard to perform certain actions or activities on-screen while holding a microphone.
  • Visibility: Handheld mics might be distracting in video productions and adversely affect the aesthetic of the video.

Three Examples of Handheld Mics

Nady DW-11 HT

This option from Nady is well-suited for stage performances, karaoke, public address as well as simple video operations. Furthermore, the DW-11 offers elected frequencies between 902 and 951 MHz. It also has an operating range of up to 300 feet using line-of-sight.

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Nady DW-11 HT

Additionally, it features 48 kHz/24-bit digital audio conversion, low latency and clear channel operation. The system is available in two configurations—with a handheld mic or a lapel mic. XLR and 1/4″ line output options are available from the receiver to the camera, computer or mixing console. $115.

Sennheiser XSW-D

If you do lots of interviews as part of your vlog or live events, the Sennheiser XSW-D Portable Interview set offers one-touch wireless audio that utilizes a 2.4 GHz digital transmission to seamlessly link audio sources.

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Sennheiser XSW-D

You can switch between multiple transmitters and one receiver as well as configure any combination of transmitters and receivers. A built-in XLR transmitter sends the audio to a 3.5mm receiver and is said to offer a reliable connection with a 250-foot range. $320.

Shure BLX288/PG58

This UHF wireless mic system from Shure is sold with two microphones. The Shure BLX288/PG58 offers pro-quality sound and simple setup as well as a claimed 14-hours of battery life. It’s a great combination for singers and other duet-type performers. The system includes a tabletop dual-channel receiver, two PG58 handheld transmitters and two mic clips.

Shure-BLX288-PG58
Shure BLX288/PG58

Powered by two AA batteries, the system is also expandable. You can run up to 12 channels per frequency band. Moreover, it has a claimed range of up to 300 feet. $550.

Hands-Free Mics

This category includes lavalier, lapel mics as well as headset mics with bodypacks (transmitters).

Advantages
  • Unobtrusive. Lavaliers are easily hidden in a lapel or shirt buttonhole, attached to a tie. Consequently, vloggers and interviewers alike can present a clean and professional look in their videos.
  • Free movement. With bodypack transmitters, a headset or lavalier mic offers the option to easily move around and have both hands available. If you’re demonstrating something, singing with a band or recording a performance, this is a biggie.

Disadvantages

  • Complex setup. You need to carefully position the microphone and conceal wires, which can be time-consuming.
  • Cost. Further, high-quality lavalier and headset microphone systems with bodypack transmitters can cost more than their handheld counterparts.

Lavalier/Lapel & Headset Examples

Røde Wireless GO II

Compact and versatile, the Røde Wireless GO II is a dual-channel wireless mic system. It is ideal for filmmaking, interviewing, reporting as well as vlogging. It also boasts universal compatibility with cameras, mobile devices and computers.

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Røde Wireless GO II

What’s more, the Wireless GO II has an impressive nearly 660-foot line-of-sight range, 2.4 GHz digital transmission and 128-bit encryption. Additionally, inputs and outputs include 3.5mm analog, USB-C and iOS. It also records 40+ hours on its internal memory. $299.

Shure BLX14/CVL

This option from Shure is packed with a CVL lavalier mic, a BLX1 bodypack transmitter as well as a BLX4 tabletop single-channel receiver. Moreover, the Shure BLX14/CVL is great for a wide variety of uses.

Shure-BLX14-CVL
Shure BLX14/CV

It is easy to set up with one-touch scan and selection. The expandable system also offers 14 hours of power from a pair of AA batteries and has a 300-foot range. $330.

Sennheiser EW 112P G4-A

Sennheiser’s EW 112P G4-A features an omnidirectional lavalier mic that is terrific for performers, speakers as well as reporters. Furthermore, you can use the system during outdoor shoots and field recordings.

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Sennheiser EW 112P G4-A

The rugged all-in-one wireless system includes a clip-on microphone ME 2-II (omnidirectional) or ME 4 (cardioid) for speech intelligibility and daily on-location use. The system offers broadcast-quality sound, easy setup, eight hours of use and powerful, reliable transmission of up to 330 feet. $700.

Audio-Technica ATW-901A/H

Ideal for live sound as well as video recordings, the Audio-Technica ATW-901A/H has an extended range of 200 feet. It also boasts a 4-channel design for interference-free operation.

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Audio-Technica ATW-901A/H

Balanced XLR and unbalanced 1/4″ output jacks let you use it with a wide range of gear, including mixing consoles and direct camera plug-in. Features include volume control, AF peak, RF and power indicator lights. $225.

Samson Concert 288

Finally, the Samson Concert 288 presentation system is an all-in-one dual-channel wireless system that includes all three mic options—a handheld mic, a lavalier and a headphone mic. As a result, it’s ideal for theater and production work, live sound, mobile DJs and, of course, many kinds of video production.

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Samson Concert 288

Able to accommodate 10 systems per band (20 performers), it has a 300-foot range. It includes a CH288 handheld transmitter with a Q6 dynamic microphone capsule and a CB288 beltpack transmitter. $370.

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