Five Wireless Microphone Mistakes That Are as Common as They Are Avoidable
by Alex Milne
They’ve happened to the best of us. After paging through stacks of manuals, phoning and perhaps yelling at manufacturer technical support lines, and checking and re-checking dozens of options on menu screens, we discover the cause of our wireless microphone malfunction is something so breathtaking simply, so glaringly obvious, that we can’t believe we didn’t think of it in the first place.
The following five mistakes are blunders shared by inexperienced and experienced audio pros alike. Do not be ashamed.
1. Dead Battery
The lifeblood of the wireless microphone transmitter, the battery, is a fickle creature.
The useable life of a battery is influenced by a number of factors, which makes it hard to pin down just how many hours you’ll get out of a microphone. The type of battery in use, the brand, the temperature, and - the oft-ignored curveball - the transmitter power (20 mW vs 50 mW, etc), can all dramatically change how long your handheld perseveres.
Some people play the russian roulette game of guessing how much juice they’ve got left on a case by case basis. Others invest in a battery tester or multimeter. The most paranoid users (and the wisest) don’t let a mic go up on stage without fresh batteries. This results in a lot of half-used batteries that go in the battery recycling bin, but it is a heck of a lot better than a mic going dead. You can purchase batteries by the case from your favorite audiovisual retailer. If you do any kind of mission critical work, we encourage you to do the same.
17 seconds to better audio
Listen to for 17 seconds to hear the difference that 17% can make.
Problem: The main worship facility at South Delta Baptist Church of Delta, British Columbia seats approximately 1600 people with both main floor and in the upper balcony. Due to a 4 second reverb/decay time, a large percentage of the congregation was challenged in hearing the message due to a lack of vocal intelligibility - caused by excessive reverberation and echo.
Solution: Primacoustic Broadway panels were placed on only 17% of the wall surface and spread evenly throughout the sanctuary. Since the style of worship incorporates amplified instruments, careful attention was paid to the stage area to control reflections from vocal monitors, guitar amplifiers and drums.
As a result, reverberation was decreased from 4 seconds to just over 1 second, greatly improving intelligibility and enhancing the worship experience for everyone.
If you'd like to talk about acoustic solutions for your worship space, please get in touch with us. We would be glad to create a custom solution for you.
Doing it right.
A few months ago, we got a call from a pastor about the sound quality in the main worship space. He talked about uneven coverage, uneven sound pressure levels (volume), lots of low-midrange rumble at the podium and a general lack of audio fidelity. He seemed like he was ready for a new sound system.
We asked what he had installed now. Bose 502A. No problem there. Was he using the system controller? Yes. How and where were they installed? In a center cluster, about 5-6' directly above the podium microphone (see below). Uh oh.
This is not how to do it.
Two things stuck out to us. First, the center cluster was low. Of course, the ceiling is low, too, so options were limited.
Low frequency pattern control is a big issue that most don't consider when it comes to a new system. The short story is that...
What are the differences between the Shure QLX-D and ULX-D?
We get this question a lot, and thankfully, we found some information from Shure that neatly summarizes the facts and confirms our suspicions about audio quality. The following article is a Tech Tep from the Shure Applications Engineering team.
Typical Applications for QLX-D - corporate events, live music, higher education campuses, houses of worship, hotels, conference centers. For a corporate installation, consider QLX-D if all the receivers are on the same floor and/or use the same Ethernet network. For live music, consider QLX-D for a small or medium-size concert hall.
Key Differences between QLX-D and ULX-D
In terms of audio quality, reliability, and RF performance, QLX-D and ULX-D are the same. The primary differences are network sophistication and RF flexibility.
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What others say
By the way, the M-400 is stinkin' awesome! I always knew it could do this stuff, but I've never seen it in action. I set the loaner board up, stuck in my thumb drive, loaded my settings, and bam, there they were!
Every tweak, every name, every setting, all right there!
Just thought I'd share that with you!