The best wireless microphones can solve a big headache for filmmakers. Sometimes, when setting up a microphone for small-scale production like a live stream, podcast, conversation via video, or live performance, cables can get in the way. Tripping over cables on the stage is just one part of the problem, vastly amplified when trying to record something in a home studio where floorspace is severely limited. That’s why many turn to wireless microphones.
Built with an internal transmitter, powered by batteries, and linked up to a desktop or rack-mounted receiver, wireless microphones are an ideal cable-free solution for recording audio. It’s helpful for users to gesticulate freely when talking making performers feel more comfortable but it also allows complete freedom when moving around a performance space.
Not all wireless microphones are created equally, though. Some have lithium-ion batteries which are rechargeable, but less expensive models still rely on AA batteries for power. Operating distances vary in range from anywhere between 30m and over 100m. Digital transmission and encryption also help keep electrical and radio frequency interference to a minimum and keep transmissions safe in confidential circumstances.
Long-standing professional microphone brands like Shure and Sennheiser offer premium options with all the bells and whistles but also come at a premium price. Those that are budget-conscious may want to look at brands well-known for their affordability like Behringer, which drop a lot of the faffy professional technical aspects and focus on the basics.
Other things to be considered when buying a wireless microphone, aside from range and battery life, are options to grow the kit, the cost of additional accessories, and product guarantees. Some models are limited to one or two channels, which means that, at most, only two microphones can be used simultaneously. For a bigger production, say where three or four (or larger) microphones must be used at the same time, look for a kit below that offers a greater channel range.
Best wireless microphone in 2022
Shure’s iconic SM58 is known around the world for its rugged construction, bulletproof performance, and excellent audible character, and now it’s wireless. Rock-solid connection via the 2.4GHz digital transmission but only operates at up to 30m which should be fine for most applications but falls short of some competitors.
The microphone has a lithium-ion battery that lasts up to 16 hours and there’s a useful charging dock on the GLXD24R receiver which alleviates untidy cable runs. The design looks a little dated but its simple operation means anyone can “unplug” and play.
Using a simple one-touch approach, AKG has designed the DMS100 for creatives that want a flexible wireless mic system but don’t need the high-end performance of premium models. Sure, it’s limited to just 30m but for most applications, this should be fine, especially if live streaming from a small studio.
There are two kit options available here at the same price, one with a cardioid microphone and the other with a bodypack transmitter ideal for lapel mics or hands-free headsets. It’s AES 256-bit encrypted for private or confidential productions and is compatible with up to four channels.
There’s a lot to like about Sennheiser’s wireless mic set up, the EW 500 G4-935. For starters, there are 32 compatible channels perfect for scaling up to larger productions and it has 3520 selectable UHF frequencies which are fully stable and tunable. It’s also built with professionals in mind, constructed in fully-metal housing.
This probably isn’t ideal for beginners or those with tighter budgets, but if you’re expecting your production to grow, or want the highest possible quality in terms of audio and data transmission, then you can’t go far wrong with this.
This wireless microphone performer kit from Rode comes with a sensitive condenser microphone as well as a desktop receiver. Ultra-portable, the microphone is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery but can alternatively this can be swapped out for two AA batteries in a pinch.
Operating at 2.4GHz, the digital transmission between mic and receiver is encrypted so it shouldn’t have too many issues with interference, but some users (especially those who want to use it for larger productions) may need to upgrade. It does have a 100m range though, and an easy one-touch pairing option makes it a breeze to set up and use.
Line6 uses its own encoded digital transmission signal to alleviate the frustrating audio interference some wireless mics get from external devices such as smartphones. A distance range of up to 300ft means it’s appropriate for use in just about any space.
The real wonder of this wireless microphone is that Line6 has injected its renowned modelling technology inside, so you can choose up to 10 different mic models to give different audible character to the sound. That’s great for those on a budget because while it’s possible to purchase further capsules/microphones, those seeking a different sound won’t have to fork out the money for another mic.
Anybody looking for wireless microphones on a tight budget should look no further than Behringer’s ULM302MIC. At the same price as a single microphone from other brands, Behringer has crammed the entire kit into an affordable package here and doesn’t stop there by including two microphones as well.
Of course, to keep costs down some features seen on competitor models have been omitted, such as a poor 60m line-of-sight range. There are no rechargeable lithium-ion batteries in the mics themselves so users will have to buy AA batteries in bulk. Overall though, it’s a massive load of kit for the price.