Our Christian school is looking to purchase several wireless mics for an upcoming play, and also for use thereafter. We are looking for a wearable (Countryman style), in the upper 400 to lower 500 frequency range.
We hope to stay within $500. Any recommendations?
There are many different opinions on this.
Mine comes from overseeing the AVL needs of a large organization with relatively limited resources.
As much as I want to be able to deploy 500$/channel wireless, it’s a bad use of money and I will no longer do it. This opinion is based on a lot of expierience and more importantly, a lot of disappointment.
My recommendation, in the current RF climate, is to only buy professional quality, digital transmission gear operating in the high 400 to low 500 MHz frequency range. I would also argue it should be narrow-band capable. This is going to put you into the 1300$~1600$/channel range with a head mic depending on if the gear is standard or narrow-band capable.
If these numbers don’t work for you then you should either work within the confines of wired mic options, or rent the gear in for the show.
As painful as it feels to see the money “disappear”, renting the right gear is often the better answer than buying the wrong gear.
Again, i would love to have a reasonably reliable and reasonably durable 500$ belt pack option out there. We would use them all over the place. But that product doesn’t really exsist, and those products which do exsist in this price range are increasingly being ran over by the ongoing FCC restacks and an otherwise ever-less-friendly RF environment.
Many thanks for the answer, I was concerned the cost would not be near the price I had hoped. Our church uses a DPA/Shure combo that may be close to the price and frequency range you quoted. The units show which TV channel a given frequency uses, so as to avoid any UHF stations.
Currently inquiring with a rental company about mics.
Very happy to see the AV/Lighting thread, only saw it this week.
A good, but affordable headset mic is going to run you about $200-250 by itself. That’s not counting the actual wireless system itself. The Sennheiser EW100 G4 is a great entry level pro quality system that runs $599 for the transmitter/receiver set with a lavalier mic included. for another $50 you can get it with one of their headset mics included.
There are definitely cheaper systems. From my experience there is really a minimum level you want to buy in so you get a quality system that is reliable and serviceable.
The next level down in the Sennheiser world is the XSW series - Sennheiser XSW 1-ME3 Wireless Headmic Microphone System - Live Voice / Vocal / Presentation
I’ve had 10+ years of reliable operation from the EW100 and EW300 series Sennheiser products. I know Shure has similar products but I keep falling back to what has served me well.
Hard to tell without more detail. How many is “several”? You “hope to stay within $500”. Is that total? Per mic? All mics? All mics plus the wireless mic system? New or used? What EXACTLY is the use? Play and use thereafter could mean anything. Is it only speaking or does it include vocals for worship/musicals? Do you have an existing wireless mic system to leverage or are you starting from scratch? How big a room? In particular, what is the total distance between the mic system and the wireless mics when in use? Any obstructions?
Karl had some reasonable options depending on your use. At minimum, he gave you a good overview of the market for such devices.
Thanks for the input. We ended up renting 8 wireless for the play (costs less than purchase of 1 mic) and will buy a couple of area mics to pick up groups.
Vocal Mic Ideas
Sorry to put this here, but I was unable to get a new post to work:
Our school is looking to purchase a couple of “area mics” for vocal use during programs. There are some SM58’s available at the church we share the building with, but they only work when held close.
During programs, we have students of varying size walking up to the mic, saying a quick line, and then another student comes up and talks (or sings), so trying to adjust the SM58 just does not work.
I have read about Shure SM57 or Rode M5 used for this purpose, but want some other input on the matter. Something like the Audix boom mics would be used for, but less expensive. Has to be stand mounted, rather than hanging.
Greg - A condenser mic would work better for this application. But “it depends” on a lot of other factors - namely how the sound system is setup and installed. We’ve had good success with this inexpensive mic from Shure. https://www.shure.com/americas/products/microphones/pg-alta/pga81-cardioid-condenser-instrument-microphone