Wireless Microphone Systems...

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Arvida, May 7, 2009.

  1. Arvida

    Arvida Guest


    We are a house of worship and need to install a wireless microphone system. At this time we have two Shure wireless mics/receivers that we want to retire and two newer Sennheiser systems.

    I've heard about rackmountable systems that will accommodate up to 20 wireless handhelds but cannot seem to find much information or pricing on them. At this point we want to purchase and install four new microphones, but would possibly adding another four in the near future. So, if possible, we'd like to have one receiver that handles all of the mics, up to 10. This would exclude the two Sennheisers, but that is acceptable.

    Any thoughts? Thanks!
  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    You did not indicate a budget, but the systems that are modular-that is, each mic's receiver is a "card" that plugs into a rack-mounted "cage"-these systems are VERY expensive. This is typically the type of rig that you see in larger venues, churches, productions, etc. Sony and Sennheiser both manufacture these.
    You definitely need a seperate receiver for each mic. The systems that let you pair up 2 mics to one receiver are pretty bad performers. I know of none that can handle 10 mics on 1 receiver, don't see how that could work.
    At my church, we have (4) Sennheiser Evolutions that rack up in a 2-space area. Each receiver is a 1/2-rack unit, they all are tied to a common pair of antennae, so the number of "rabbit ears" is minimized. But EACH mic has its' own receiver. We also have a pair of the Shure SX systems, which, IMO are not as good for several reasons (mainly ruggedness)...
  3. BRH

    BRH Active Member

  4. Arvida

    Arvida Guest

    Thanks for the replies. The solution that I think that I may have heard about is what you mentioned above, hooking up multiple receivers to the same antennae. That seems to be the route we are going to have to go.

    We are looking at the Sennheiser 365s, thoughts on those as opposed to Shure Beta 87a?
  5. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member


    Now you're on the right track. Each mic will need a dedicated receiver. Some econo models run two mics into one receiver, but at the expensive of their "true-diversity" capability - which I think is a bad trade-off.

    You can use 2 wideband antennas and feed all of the receivers. Wideband antennas and the necessary splitters and coaxial cables add significantly to the cost, but it improves range, eliminates the nuisance of all the short antennas, and a small amount of interaction between the receivers.

    Distance from the platform (stage) and the budget will be the determining factor. [I know some churches are touchy about the word 'stage'] You can locate the receivers at the mixer and hide the antennas up near the platform, or put the receivers 'back-stage' somewhere if there's an audio snake. Either method can allow you to get your wireless signal into a wire as quickly as possible -which is what you want.

    In my church system I'm currently running between 8 & 16 UHF wireless rackmounted receivers at the mixer. Each receiver has 2 4-inch antennas on the back of the units mounted inside a heavy wooden cabinet. We're roughly 60ft. from the platform and have no drop-out problems. I've also got a university client using 20+ wireless systems using the wideband antenna method very effectively, but it's a much larger facility.

    If you're in a very urban area and there are a lot of competing broadcasters in the UHF range locating the antennas near the platform will help a little bit. For antenna cables up to about 40ft. you can use RG58 coaxial cables. If these cable runs are 40ft. - 80ft. you may need to go with a special low-loss coaxial cable such as RG213. You can go further, but it may require a combination of cables and a signal booster along the way.

    I'd have no reservations about recommending Shure or Sennheiser - and I'd add AKG to that list.

    Tell the seller how many systems you plan to add in the future to make sure there is adequate spacing between the available channels. And I'd recommend systems that are tunable to a wide range of frequencies.

    IT IS IMPORTANT, that you ask if the channels they're selling you are compliant with the new "White Space" requirement for wireless mics. Many of the frequencies (between 698MHz - 806MHz) being used by wireless mics will be up for grabs after the digital TV transition. Depending on your location, it may be nothing, it may be chaos. What will be broadcast on the those channels in the future is anybody's guess. There are plenty of retailers offering 'special deals' not telling the consumer that the channels may be problematic in the future - buyer beware.

    If I can be of any further assistance let me know.

    Good luck!
  6. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    All good tips!

    For a taste of what you can use in your area here's Shure's RF lookup page:


    You'll notice that, as stated above, depending on your area you may not have very many options with certain bandsplits.

    Many if not all of the major manufacturers can help you find the band(s) that are right for you - check out their websites or give them a call...
  7. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    Well the OP is LIGHT YEARS ahead of the typical church sound man. Most churches buy from a box house or a music store without doing research. My hat is off to ya OP.
  8. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    *hopes he's not considered part of that mold*

    Not that I expect (or really want) to go wireless in our church, but is there a version of bent's link but for the UK? That seems to be US only.
  9. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    I did a Google and found this very nice site which has about the same info. Our laws differ, but the premise is the same. The governments are selling off frequencies, putting the money in their pockets, and making everyone get a license. This is their way of getting more money out of you at a later time. It is also a way to control speech with fairness related laws. It can happen. If you want to see the future, look to the past.
  10. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    All of the big boys are global companies that have to worry about wireless systems working when the professionals go on their world tours.

    The really cool systems will scan the airwaves and find the cleanest available channel(s).

    These two European manufacturers have some imformation on which UHF channels to use and which to avoid in specific areas of Europe.

    video from Audix

  11. Arvida

    Arvida Guest

    I just checked a few of our 'older' wireless systems and they are operating in the 700mhz range...so frustrating.

    Anyways, we are looking at the various Shure mics, but I was wondering if you had any recommendation of a specific version as opposed to the others. We are a pentecostal church, loud music, and loud vocalists. So, we need something to handle the punch in the $600-800 range. There are so many options and I'm not sure the best route....SM58, Beta58, Beta87a, SM86, SM87....Wahg.

    Thoughts? Of course, we'll make sure that Shure's application engineers verify that we are going to have the proper band and frequencies for our area. Thanks again.
  12. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    That is a really hard range to get good wireless mics. I would look for used systems maybe. For mics, there is no advantage IMO with a beta58 on a wireless for backing vocals. Plus they add a bunch of upper mid crap around 3k. Go with 58s. There are some better sounding AKG units in that price range.

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