Tips for purchasing a wireless Lavalier mic system.
With video becoming the latest tool for distributing your marketing message over various platforms, it is important to focus on capturing the best and brightest sound. Why is this important? Because regardless of how crisp and clear your video is, audio is what makes it. Viewers will watch a video with a poor picture if they have good sound, but not vice versa.
Audio delivers your message, so you want it to be as good as it can be. Since most B2B marketing videos feature executives, subject experts, and testimonials, having a good wireless Lavalier microphone set up is important.
These are tiny microphones that clip onto lapels, shirt collars and ties. The mic cable runs underneath the subject’s shirt of jacket into a transmitter. The transmitter sends the audio wirelessly to a receiver that plugs into your camera or your audio mixing gear.
Wireless systems have an obvious benefit – freedom of movement. Wireless systems also are faster to set up, and minimize the clutter of cables and mic stands. Of course, their benefits aren’t limited to stages; you’ll find wireless systems in houses of worship, lecture halls, theatres, dance and exercise studios—anywhere presenters, instructors, or performers are looking for freedom of movement. Wireless systems have grown increasingly popular along with improvements in their sound, reliability, and affordability.
Wireless Set Up Basics
The following is a generic approach that applies to the vast majority of wireless microphone systems available. Of course, it is always best that you follow the instructions found in your owner’s manual for the best results.
- Turn on your receiver while the transmitter is still powered off. Most wireless receivers have an “Automatic Frequency Selection” function – press that button and your receiver will assign itself a frequency.
- Most wireless transmitters have a button that will make it synchronize with the receiver that you just turned on (once the receiver has chosen a frequency). Press this button, and the transmitter will engage with the receiver and you’re ready to go.
- Check the signal levels at the transmitter and at the receiver to make sure that you’re getting a good signal without any distortion. Adjust the transmitter volume controls for the best signal with the least distortion possible.
- The signal-to-noise ratio of a wireless system. As the transmitter moves farther away from the receiver, the overall signal-to-noise ratio grows worse as the transmitter signal gets weaker. When the system gets near the limit of its operating range, dropouts will become more frequent and a buildup of steady static or distortion may be audible.
Analog Versus Digital Wireless Systems
It is not necessary to understand technical aspects of how digital and analog wireless signals are processed and transmitted, but you should know that there is a difference. You can look at an analog wireless system as basically sending your audio through the airwaves, with the wireless system doing its best to separate any noisy, interfering audio from your original signal. While pro-quality systems do this very well, there is at least the potential for signal quality loss.
Digital wireless systems convert your audio to a digital signal right at the transmitter, and basically send a digital signal of ones and zeros to your receiver, which then decodes it into an analog audio signal. Because your receiver only deals with the digital data, it doesn’t even worry about analog noise or interference. It simply ignores anything that’s not a stream of ones and zeroes. Top quality analog wireless systems can rival digital wireless systems in audio quality and ease of use.
Things to Consider in Finding the Right Wireless System
Here’s a list of questions to answer that will help you zero in on the right wireless solution for your needs:
Where Do You Plan to Use the System?
If you’re going to use it in one fixed location, the considerations are pretty simple. Just be sure the system operates on VHF or UHF frequencies that won’t compete with local TV broadcasting or other wireless devices used in or near the location.If you plan to use the wireless system in different cities and locations, a frequency-agile system will help you adapt to local conditions. Automatic frequency selection makes the process simpler.
How Many Wireless Systems Will Be in Use?
If your answer is one, then there’s no need for multi-system management. If you’re going to use two or more wireless systems, each must be able to operate on a different frequency. Those frequencies should be chosen with care to prevent interference between systems. Better-quality systems help with these issues by automatically selecting compatible frequencies. UHF and VHF systems can usually be operated alongside each other without issues.
Are There Likely to Be Signal-Path Obstructions Where You’ll Use the System?
Diversity receivers, especially those with true diversity circuitry, will help prevent dropouts caused by physical obstructions and reflective surfaces
There are many wireless Lavalier systems on the market at a multitude of price ranges. Always remember that you get what you pay for and temper that thought with how important is the content you are exporting into your various marketing channels.
Famous Last Words
“Despite all the technical improvements, it still boils down to a man or a woman and a microphone, playing music, sharing stories, talking about issues – communicating with an audience.”
– Casey Kasem
The Big Kumbaya in CyberSpace
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