We had an issue at the office a few days back.
One of the production guys was using a wireless mic to capture some audio. Our manager stepped in, looked at it and gave a deranged sort of look to it.
A few moments later, he called me to his office:
“What’s that thing you’re using? Is it any good?” – the manager asked me.
“Of course, it is” – I answered back.
Later that day, I sent an audio file to him. He was both astonished and pleased.
The scenario here depicts the reliability of wireless microphones.
If it were 2005 or so, then your skepticism would have been justifiable. But things have changed.
People are becoming creators and listeners. They are not just using the internet to listen to famous artists, they are trying to follow the footsteps of their idols as well.
That’s where today’s discussion on the best wireless microphones comes in.
With such a variety of creators blooming each day, vendors are starting to come out with their own version of wireless microphones, hoping to make an impression in the wireless space.
While some of them are indeed good for productivity, many of them aren’t good enough to make the cut.
In order to save you the trouble of going through such a plethora of options, we took the responsibility of coming up with some of the best available wireless microphones you can get your hand on right on.
But, before jumping into the full review, here’s a quick look at the offerings.
- Best Wireless Microphones: Our top picks for 2020
- Shure BLX288/PG58 Dual Channel Wireless Microphone System
- Audio-Technica ATR288W TwinMic VHF Battery-Powered Wireless Microphone System
- Sennheiser EW122G3 G3 LAV WIRELESS
- Sennheiser Consumer Audio Handheld Wireless Microphone
- Shure PGXD24/SM58-X8 Digital Wireless Microphone System
- Sony ECMAW4 Wireless Microphone
- Product Overview
- Shure SLX2/SM58 Wireless Handheld Microphone Transmitter with SM58 Capsule
- Shure BLX14R/MX53 Wireless Microphone System
- Sennheiser XSW 1-825-A Vocal Wireless Microphone
- Audio-Technica System 10 ATW-1102 Wireless Handheld Microphone System
- Buying the best wireless microphone: Things that matter
- Wireless Microphones: Backtracking the history
- Looking for a wireless microphone system? Here’s what you should be looking for in a package
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Closing thoughts
Best Wireless Microphones: Our top picks for 2020
Now that you’ve had a look at some of our offerings, it’s time to get into the full review.
Do keep in mind that we don’t have any favorites in the group. All the choices have their ups and downs. It all comes down to the individual user to come up with a choice that’s unique to his or her style.
Shure BLX288/PG58 Dual Channel Wireless Microphone System
The Shure BLX288 Dual Channel Microphone System has a couple of unique quirks that made it stand out in our list for the best wireless microphone. It’s a perfect blend of proper pricing and stellar performance.
In terms of the construction, there’s not a lot of microphone systems that can stand up to the BLX288. Its clean aesthetic enables it to blend in any studio environment. Also, the included PG58 wireless microphones exude stellar audio, perfect for both new and professional users alike.
As far as the performance goes, you pretty much have a very decent system that’s got all the bells and whistles. You have the Quick-Scan frequency selection feature, which is very prone to interferences. You also get XLR and 1/4-output connectors, which you may not get with even some of the more high-end brands.
Considering the range, usability and pricing, we believe it’s a perfect harmony that can pretty much handle any situation. You should certainly check it out if you want something that’s balanced and doesn’t break the bank.
- The cardioid capsules offer top-notch performance.
- The LED status indicator is a nice touch.
- The gain control is right on point.
- Features a solid 14-hour battery life, which is decent.
- It also comes with a decent range of 91-meters, more than acceptable for the average user.
- The build quality could be better.
Audio-Technica ATR288W TwinMic VHF Battery-Powered Wireless Microphone System
Audio Technica has been a symbol of loyalty in the music industry for quite some time now. They offer quality products that are highly reliable and functional.
You can say the same for the ATR288W Wireless Microphone System.
As far as the design goes, it’s pretty plain and simple. There’s clearly nothing wrong with it. The message is simple:
It’s all about the performance.
And that true in every sense of the word. You have a lavalier condenser microphone, which offers a solid hassle-free experience. You also have a decent 300-feet range, which is convenient as well. Furthermore, the included earphones offer solid monitoring capabilities as well.
So, if you’re a stage performer or someone who needs to be mobile, you can certainly it out. It will offer proper performance no matter what.
- Features a rugged and lightweight design with decent battery life.
- You have 2-switchable frequencies for hassle-free operation.
- The rubber-coated antenna offers a solid reception.
- The clip-placement allows a good grip when you’re moving around.
- There’s no indication of whether or not the batteries are dead.
Sennheiser EW122G3 G3 LAV WIRELESS
When it comes to the best wireless microphone, you need to put Sennheiser on the list. It’s one of those trusted brands that put quality first.
So, what can you expect from the Sennheiser EW122G3?
It’s a very simple design with a lot of horsepower under the hood. The internal drivers of the EW122G3 are precision parts that offer professional quality sound without a hiccup. You also get 12 factory pre-set channels along with 12-user programmable options.
In terms of sound quality, there are no complaints at all. In terms of usability, there’s no question about its overall capabilities. Do check it out if you’re interested.
- The sound signature is more than acceptable.
- The system is relatively compact.
- It features a bodypack transmitter and rackmount receiver for solid flexibility.
- It’s a Sennheiser ‘A’ band device, offering clear audio through and through.
- The rigidity isn’t up to the mark.
Sennheiser Consumer Audio Handheld Wireless Microphone
The Consumer Audio Wireless Microphone from Sennheiser is one of the most sought-after options you will find. It’s got a decent design with all the perks and features you can want in a consumer device.
When it comes to the design, then you have the signature Sennheiser flavor, which does look nice in any setting. You can expect solid durability as well, with metal construction through and through.
The APT-X codec is one of the main reasons for stellar audio output. Sensitivity tuning and latency performance are robust as well. Furthermore, you get proper link selectivity, which offers good frequency and transmission capabilities. And the battery life is decent as well.
All in all, it’s a solid choice for professionals and intermediate users thanks to the strong set of features. If you want to do some further digging, you may want to try it for yourselves.
- It can detect latencies by scanning the environment 100+ times.
- The signal locking is on point.
- There are no noticeable latency issues.
- The ruggedness of the system is satisfactory.
- It is a bit on the heavier side.
Shure PGXD24/SM58-X8 Digital Wireless Microphone System
Shure, as many of you already know, is a leader in the consumer audio market. Although it has the same features as its predecessors, there are some additional things that may lure you to buying it.
For instance, the design is one of its strong suits, if you count aesthetics as an important feature. It’s got a futuristic look that can complement any interior.
The same goes for the performance as well. The internal drivers offer rich and accurate sound, especially for vocal recordings, thanks to decent frequency selection capabilities. The audio gain adjustment is an added bonus as well.
Overall, for multi-purpose use, we think it can be your ideal partner. Do check it out if you want to try something new.
- The rough and tough build quality compliments mobility.
- The gain and frequency adjustments offer good flexibility.
- The ergonomic design is very easy to use.
- It features a solid battery life despite having a small form factor.
- Long term reliability is an issue.
Sony ECMAW4 Wireless Microphone
Sony, a common name among media enthusiast, has the ECMAW4 as an offering in our review for the best wireless mic.
One of the main attractions of the ECMAW4 is the compactness. It’s very lightweight and doesn’t feel too cheap at all. Although the 50-meter range isn’t that much, the clear and rich sound signature makes up for a lot of it.
Overall, if you want something that doesn’t make a lot of compromises while keeping the footprint small, the ECMAW4 is highly recommended for you.
- The sound output is accurate and clean.
- The included windscreen is very effective in reducing ambient noise.
- The monaural condenser capsule offers solid usability.
- The communication is pretty seamless in a small space.
- The battery life isn’t great.
- The range isn’t suitable for a highly professional environment.
Shure SLX2/SM58 Wireless Handheld Microphone Transmitter with SM58 Capsule
The Shure SM58 Wireless microphone is a solid performer in every way. It doesn’t cut any corners in terms of usability and performance.
Although it’s a single component, the sound signature is more than pleasant. It’s a solid option for anyone who wishes to stay mobile for long hours, thanks to the good battery life.
Overall, as a novice who wishes to become a professional someday, you should certainly have a thorough look at its features.
- The signal is clean and crispy.
- It features a compact design that features a rugged design.
- The 3-segment fuel gauge is very useful.
- The 300-feet range is solid for average users.
- The cardioid pattern is loose, which is prone to feedback.
Shure BLX14R/MX53 Wireless Microphone System
There shouldn’t be any doubt in anyone’s mind about Shure and its reliability. We have a bunch of their products in our lineup.
So, let’s talk about the BLX14R, which is a wireless microphone system with good operational capabilities.
Among some of its strong points is the Quick-Scan frequency selection, which is a prominent feature of the BLX14R. The MX53 microphone receiver is also a solid performer, making this Shure system a top dog in the wireless music market.
In short, if you want something that’s got decent battery life, solid build quality, and customizability, then you can go with the BLX14R with your eyes closed.
- The overall construction quality is very decent.
- The battery life is on par with some of the potential competitors.
- It comes with a variety of receiver mounting options.
- The interference blocking is on point.
- If you’re wearing glasses, the over-ear kit may cause problems.
Sennheiser XSW 1-825-A Vocal Wireless Microphone
If you’re someone who is an on-the-rise creator, likes to travel light but doesn’t want any compromises with quality, then the Sennheiser XSW can be a decent choice for you.
As far as brand reliability goes, Sennheiser is one of the top choices among enthusiasts. And that’s what the XSW has to offer.
Along with a stellar aesthetics, the XSW strikes the consumer where it makes the most sense-the sound signature. This UHF wireless microphone system isn’t just a solid survivor in the long hours, it also makes the most of its innards and offers solid quality as a whole.
We would highly recommend the XSW from Sennheiser not just because of the brand, but because of the things, it has in store for the user.
- Offers a crisp and dense sound signature.
- The antenna switching feature delivers quality output.
- The flexibility of use is robust.
- The transmission capabilities are right on point.
- You may want to be cautious with it because of the plastic parts.
Audio-Technica System 10 ATW-1102 Wireless Handheld Microphone System
This last offering from Audio Technica is for the professionals who want to remove cable clutter from their lives.
In terms of the performance, you have a 2.4-GHz wireless mic that pretty much covers all the aspects that’s needed for a solid overall performance. You have good channel selection and proper switching capabilities, both of which are essential for proper operation. Also, diversity options play a vital role in offering superior sound quality overall.
In conclusion, the Audio Technica System 10 comes with a lot of offerings that make it a solid option. The sound signature is great, followed by decent battery life. So, you may want to give it a go in order to get a taste for something different.
- It’s a versatile system with decent build quality.
- The system diversity delivers a rich sound signature.
- It’s very easy to use.
- The battery life is decent as well.
- The multifunction switch is a bit flimsy.
Buying the best wireless microphone: Things that matter
It’s pretty evident for anyone to understand why anyone would want to get their hands on the best wireless microphone.
It eliminates cable clutter while keeping quality in the ‘acceptable’ range. Although it doesn’t make much sense for professional videography, for small-scale businesses, it’s ideal.
Wireless Microphones: Backtracking the history
If you dig deep to find out the history wireless microphones, you’ll find it to be very interesting.
Back in the ’40s when wireless technology was still a foreign concept to the average user, wireless radio microphones did exist. They used radio frequencies to convey signals, which was not usable for commercial applications.
It was not until the 50’s that wireless microphone technology started to see some light. Raymond A. Like is often recognized as the man to bring the wireless microphone system to life. Even then it was out of reach of the average customer.
It wasn’t until the 60’s when Sony introduced the CR-4 audio system, which became available in the local entertainment systems. Since then, we’ve come a long way with wireless technology, where microphones now have a good overall range.
Now that history lesson’s over, it’s time to dive into the mind of an average consumer and plant some things deep within.
Be advised, the tips and tricks we want to share with you may or may not be applicable in certain scenarios. We will be going in a sort of unorthodox style, so you may want to grab a coffee and go through the things. They will matter.
Looking for a wireless microphone system? Here’s what you should be looking for in a package
How much range should I go for?
The range is one of the first things many users overlook. They don’t realize until it’s too late.
Usually, with range, it all depends on the brand itself. Often time long-range microphones have issues delivering sounds across obstacles. Still, anything in the range of 200 to 500 feet is probably more than acceptable for average users.
It will depend on your use case of course.
Before you go ahead and buy something with a range limit, you may want to consider some other aspects as well.
Will the frequency matter?
To avoid restrictions and interference, you may want to take a look at the frequency of the system.
Although 2.4Ghz bands are becoming popular, it’s interference with the typical Wi-Fi frequency can lead to inconsistencies. If you are on the road to becoming a professional someday, anything between 500 to 928-Mhz can make the cut.
Just take a look at the FCC regulations for good measure. You should make it a standard practice.
What’s the deal with reliability?
There are little things like noise reduction and dropout. You’d always want a system that can filter out ambient noise and offer solid performance.
If that’s the case, then you may want to have some curiosity about the wireless microphone system. Do your research before you make any decision. Also, make sure to check out your local experience centers for good measure.
What type of sound output can I expect?
There are certain things that affect the overall usability of a microphone system like battery life and spectral range. Fortunately, with wireless microphones, you have proper reliability with both of these. Wireless microphone systems have 30% more battery life and a wider spectral range.
Combine them together, and you have proper usability.
In the case of analog systems, you have a ‘compander’- short for compressor and expander. The ‘compander’ cannot make room for range within the allocated frequency.
You don’t have this problem with a digital system. There’s basically no drop in quality as the full range gets utilization. So, keeping the year 2020 in mind, where the prices have come down significantly, a wireless digital microphone is what you should be getting.
You will be getting a no-compromise sound signature, which should be adequate for your needs.
The feature set
There are simple things you should look for in a wireless microphone:
- A Dual-purpose mute and power switch (it’s better if they are separate).
- Twin antenna arrays for better variety.
- Rechargeable batteries.
And that’s pretty much all there is to it. As long as you clear your head and know what you want, you’re good!
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How many hours a typical wireless mic can perform for?
Answer: Varying on models, this can range within a span of 8 hours to 14 hours. The best score far had been received from Shure BLX288.
Question: What covering range does a wireless mic provides with?
Answer: Comparing to lavalier mics, the distance covered is wider enough. It can be up to 350 feet if you select the right brand.
Question: Do wireless mics provide hassle-free switching among frequencies?
Answer: Yes, they do. For example, in the ATR288W by Audio Technical, you would get a dial frequency feature.
Question: Can these wireless mics be clipped to the body?
Answer: For those that can be attached to clips, it can be used while you’re on the go. If you’re a travel vlogger or so, this is quite possible.
Question: Can I program my own wireless mic once I receive it?
Answer: Some of the models like Sennheiser EW22G3 has 12 factory-built channels along with 12 programming options for users.
Question: How much latency could I expect from a good quality wireless mic?
Answer: Theoretically, it’s possible to free a system from latency. But at least close distant models are going on.
We’ve shared a lot of information with you today.
Frankly speaking, it’s a lot for us too. Still, a little knowledge here and there can’t hurt.
So far, you’ve seen some of the options in the ‘best wireless microphone’ category. All of them have some weaknesses. But they all have one thing in common.
All of them are worth giving a shot.
But, even if you don’t want to have a shot at the wireless microphones, we have in store for you, we did share our opinion on how you can choose one for yourself.
Don’t worry, we won’t hold it against you if you don’t like what we have to offer!
And that’s all we had to say. We hope our paths cross in the coming days.