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Wireless Mic recommendations?


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  • Wireless Mic recommendations?

    I'm in the early planning stages of production for a musical theater run that will need 8-10 handheld wireless mics (yes handheld, not body-pack headsets - it's what the director wants). This will be a touring group that will do a weekend in multiple venues, so the systems need to be rugged and easily portable (preferably rack-mount receivers and mics hat are easy for the performers to understand and use). I also have to assume that the performers will not have handheld mic skills, so easy-to-use would be helpful. The portions where the mics will be used are intended to come off like a "rock concert", so something that acts like a SM58 would fit the bill.

    What I think I need is something similar to this:


    Given the price point and source, I am assuming that this is probably not what we really need. What I like, though, is having a bunch of the receivers in a single rack piece, the case, and having the mics color-coded without tape/labels that will peel off at the most inopportune moment.


    What handheld wireless mic system would you guys suggest for a small touring theater group using 8-10 mics at a time?


    Is there anything else I need to be thinking about in using these systems in a variety of places with very little tech time to get them dialed in? Any features or accessories that would be particularly helpful?

    Thanks in advance!
    "The historical experience of socialist countries has sadly demonstrated that collectivism does not do away with alienation but rather increases it, adding to it a lack of basic necessities and economic inefficiency." ------------------ Pope John Paul II

  • #2
    You should take a look at Audio Technica's System 10 Pro. You can fit 10 receivers is just three rack spaces.

    They are feature rich and affordable IMHO.

    Bill Cronheim
    Entertainment Systems Corporation
    Back stage since 1965
    Equipment specialist since 1973


    • #3
      How long is the tour? Have you thought about renting quality gear instead of buying cheap? Are any of these fly dates, or will you be driving the whole way?

      Shure ULXD would probably fit the bill here, and it's great stuff. You could run 8 channels in 2RU without a distro, with 2 paddle antennas to feed them. If you need more than 8 channels you'd need a distro (or a splitter, but a distro is better), but you could do up to 32 channels with one 4 output distro. That would be 32 channels in 9RU. The Shure rechargeable lithium batteries are great too, they last 12+ hours on a charge, you just drop the whole transmitter into a charging dock and it charges in an hour or 2, and you don't have to carry cases of AA's with you (and figure out what to do with them later).

      Whatever you get, it would be best to have everything on an antenna distro, with remote antennas (probably paddles). The units Bill posted are very nice for what they are, but could be a nightmare on a large stage or in a venue with a lot of RF interference, and the 2.4GHz range is pretty crowded in some venues. You'd also be pushing the capacity limits of that system, since it maxes out at 10 channels. ULXD maxes out at over 60 channels per band, and all the "pro" grade wireless systems can do at least 20 or so channels in a given frequency range.

      I have 12 channels of ULXD, and it's one of the best purchases I've made. I'm guessing that's way over your budget to buy, but you could rent it or something similar. You should definitely talk to rental houses and see what a quality system would cost for the time you'd need it.

      Also, you mentioned tape peeling off at inopportune times. I've never had the tape peel off my wireless, probably partly because I tape them fairly high on the housing, near the mic element. 3M electrical tape works great, and it's nice to be able to change it easily if you need to swap out a mic for any reason. Back when I used to use ULXP I'd label the mics at the top and bottom, and it would get a little torn up on the bottom, but never peel completely off. In any case, I certainly wouldn't make color-coding part of the requirements for your wireless system, keep your eyes more on (in no particular order) durability, form factor, available mic elements, battery life, audio quality, and RF performance. All those things are much more important than little bits of colored plastic.


      • #4
        I second the System Pro vote. I'm using 4 channels in some fairly demanding long distance, high multipath environments with very good success.
        Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/FMIC/JAM Industries Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

        Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie