Cutting the cable: Wireless microphone options for distraction-free performances.
By: R. Maxwell, Lighting&Sound America, November 2009

Of all the equipment used in today’s theatrical performances, the impact made by wireless microphone technology may well be the most influential. The ability to project one’s voice and be heard throughout the hall was, for years, one of the most daunting challenges facing actors, directors, and technicians. Nobody wanted to deal with the constraints of being tethered to a cabled microphone; overhead mics weren’t a viable solution, either, as onstage movement resulted in inconsistent pickup of the actors’ voices.

The deployment of wireless microphones—with their ability to achieve sound quality on par with cabled microphones—has had a profound effect on modern theatre. Hence, an understanding of what to look for in a wireless microphone setup is critically important to a prospective customer. Though it may seem obvious, there remains confusion as to what exactly constitutes a wireless microphone.

While a microphone is certainly part of the equation, there are also the issues of transmitters and receivers. Wardrobe considerations, the number of required channels, RF (radio frequency) congestion, moisture, transmitter size, battery longevity, and other issues further influence one’s buying decisions.

While for some time it may have been tempting to take the all-in-one approach by purchasing an entire system from a single manufacturer, technological advancements in the past few years have resulted in greater and more compelling choices. By mixing and matching the two major components—the microphones and thewireless technology that supports them—finding a system that is truly in sync with one’s production goals is much more likely to be accomplished.

What follows is a look at one popular gear combination.

Read more about the d:fine™ Headset Microphones and d:screet™ Miniature Microphones.


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