For churches with pastors who might be a little hesitant at the prospect of going with a headset microphone, there are a wide variety of wireless handheld mic systems on the market worthy of consideration.
In the review of the array of different choices currently available, Worship Tech Director arrived at a group of 11 solid wireless handheld microphone systems worth a look, with the models ranging from a price of as little as $129 for a system, to $999.
As has been done in the past, we here at Worship Tech Director have broken down the 11 models into four different price groups, with two models priced at less than $200 (Gemini UHF6100M and Galaxy Audio PSER/HH52); two models between $200 and less than $400 (Samson Synth 7 UHF and CAD Audio WX1600); five models priced at $400 to less than $700 (AKG WMS470, Audio-Technica ATW-3171B, Electro-Voice RE2 UHF, Sennheiser EW 135 G3 and Sony DWZ-M70); and two models priced at more than $700 (Shure QLXD24/SM58 and Audix RAD360).
Each of these 11 models comes paired with a single microphone "transmitter" and a receiver, with the benefit each system being wireless.
The specific feature sets vary depending on the model (beyond being wireless), to where some models might have features that you would deem as crucial in the implementation of your worship space, while others might hold less of a significance.
For instance, if you are looking incredibly transparent sound, particularly if your system is fully digital, then the Shure QLXD24/SM58 system would make sense with it providing 24-bit digital audio, paired with an impressive 120 dB dynamic range.
If the price point for the Shure system is a bit too steep, but you still would like to take advantage of having a wireless mic system in your worship space, the Gemini UHF6100M, for example, offers a reasonable 240-foot dynamic operating range paired with balanced XLR outputs.
For the other wireless microphone system models, the other lower tier priced model included in this list, the Galaxy Audio PSER/HH52, is slated to have about a 300-foot operating range, and has 16 channels to choose from to dial in to match with the microphone. The microphone has a dynamic microphone element and also has a gain control on the unit itself.
When looking at the second tier as classified here, there are the Samson and CAD Audio models, with the Synth 7 UHF, which has 100 channels to select from, a 300-foot operating range (similar to the Galaxy Audio), with the receiver offering a full-color LCD to offer an easier readout compared to typical dot matrix or backlit displays that are challenging to read in poorly lit environments, which can often be the case for the FOH engineer.
Most notably, up to 20 systems can be run at the same time in the same location without an issue with the Synth 7. For the WX1600, it also includes 100 channels for matching purposes across a UHF frequency band, and a frequency response that goes down to 40 Hz.
The largest group of similarly priced systems is the tier with units ranging from $400 to $699, with five of the 11 systems falling into this tier. As part of this group, the AKG WMS470, Audio-Technica ATW-3171B, Electro-Voice RE2 UHF, Sennheiser EW 135 G3 and Sony DWZ-M70 systems each offer a variety of different features. For instance, the AKG system can pair up to 16 channels working off the same frequency band and a lengthy 14 hours of operation off of a single lithium battery with the microphone. For the Audio-Technica system, it offers a squelch function that fights interference over the frequency you are matched to in your system. As noted with the Electro-Voice system, a worthwhile feature is the easy-to-use Auto-ClearScan, which searches automatically for the best RF frequency. No searching necessary. The Sennheiser system also has a similar feature, with an automatic frequency scan, and more than 1,600 tunable UHF frequencies for interference-free reception. With the Sony DWZ-M70 system, it stands out for having a digital 5-band graphic EQ and even AES 128-bit encryption.
For the two most expensive systems, aside from the couple of the benefits for the Shure QLXD24/SM58 that were previously mentioned, the Audix RAD360 has among its features that the system’s microphone transmitters have a convenient gain setting control to help prevent overload or distortion, along with having menu-driven displays on both the receiver and microphone.
Overall, each of the 11 models included here offer a wide range of feature sets, providing the ability for those of you seeking to have incorporate wireless handheld mics into your worship space, whether to do so beginning with an entry level priced options such as the Gemini and Galaxy systems, up to the top performing mic systems offered by Audix, Sennheiser and Shure.