Wireless System Accessories
Wireless Microphone Systems
A wireless microphone is a microphone without a physical cable connecting it directly to the amplifying equipment with which it is associated. A wireless microphone system allows the user's voice to be transmitted "wirelessly" to its receiver, located in the sound system.
There are numerous types of wireless audio systems:
Also known as 'lav' or 'lapel' mics, lavalier microphones are small and unobtrusive, designed to be clipped onto the clothing or taped to the body. This close proximity to the mouth gives them a good signal-to-noise ratio. It also eliminates a lot of the issues involved with achieving good audio quality with shotgun or on-camera mic placement. Lav mics are most commonly used in video and filmmaking, where a visible mic doesn't fit into the context of what is being captured, or in a scenario where the subject needs to keep their hands free.
As the name suggests, these are worn on the head, often over the ear, while a discrete arm positions the capsule very close to the mouth. Headset and Earset mics are especially useful when subjects are in noisy environments or on the move, the mic stays the same distance from the mouth and allows the user to be completely hands-free. Headsets typically use the same beltpack style wireless systems as lavalier microphones.
Handheld mics are your standard, archetypal stage microphone - usually a dynamic or condenser. These will usually have a transmitter built into their body, making them quick and easy to set up and move around with. There are also systems with plug-on transmitters for adapting your favorite dynamic handheld mic to use wirelessly.
Wireless systems for instruments such as guitars don't typically include a microphone. They typically include a bodypack transmitter just like a lavalier microphone, but then a cable connects directly to the instrument. There are also plug-on style instrument transmitters to eliminate the need of a bodypack transmitter.
Systems designed for camera-mounting typically utilize a bodypack style portable receiver that can be mounted directly on a camera allowing for audio to be recording along with video. This helps in editing because you can use the audio from the (typically) cleaner audio of external microphones.
IEM In-Ear Monitoring
In-ear monitors (IEMs) are a way for listening to a personal mix of vocals and instruments, or for performers/presenters to receive vocal instructions in a discreet manner. In-ear monitors are often custom-fitted for an individuals ears.
There are two main components of a wireless audio system:
So, what does the transmitter actually do? As you probably guessed, its role is to convert the audio signal it receives from the mic into a signal that can be picked up by the receiver, then transmit it wirelessly. When it comes to digital wireless systems, this process involves converting the analog mic signal into a digital signal, which is then sent as a series of 1s and 0s to the receiver over a radio link.
The receiver is at the other end of the radio link. It extracts the 1s and 0s of the digital signal and converts them back into the audio signal. These can either be single or multi-channel systems and, depending on their capabilities, are either larger desktop units (like our Performer Kit) or smaller camera-mounted units or beltpacks (like the Wireless GO).