Wireless microphones can simplify your recording or live music setup by reducing the number of cables that need to be strewn around your studio or the stage. This is especially helpful when playing live music, as you’ll be able to move around without running the risk of tripping over a thick XLR cord. We often associate microphones with musicians and podcasters, but they’re also an incredibly important tool for filmmakers and streamers who need high-quality audio to go along with their videos.
Wireless microphone technology has progressed to the point where the risk of losing a take because of interference or dropouts (when a microphone loses its connection to its receiver) is a lot lower, and prices have come down considerably. If you’re upgrading your home recording setup, or need microphones to take with you during remote recording sessions, we found the best wireless mics available right now.
How We Picked the Best Wireless Microphones
Our wireless microphone recommendations are based on in-depth research. Below are the factors we considered most highly when deciding which smart speakers to include in this guide.
Microphone Type: The microphones in this guide fall into one of two categories: dynamic and lavalier.
Dynamic microphones are typically used by musicians to record studio and live performances. This style of microphone is designed to be held in your hand or set up on a microphone stand. You can use a dynamic microphone to record both vocal and instrumental performances.
Lavalier microphones are ultra-small, and designed for videographers who want to discreetly capture audio from on-screen talent. This style of microphone can be clipped onto your clothes, where it’ll blend in if you wear dark-colored clothing. You can use lavalier microphones to record on-screen interviews or any type of vlog.
Wireless Technology: Most of the wireless microphones we’re recommending send their audio from the mic to a transmitter over a frequency band, the same way a WiFi router sends out its signal to your devices, or a wireless landline phone connected with its receiver. The transmitter can be connected to a mixing console or recording device to capture your audio. One of the wireless microphones we recommend works over Bluetooth.
Power Source: Wireless microphones all run on batteries, but their power source can vary a little bit. Some microphones run on an internal rechargeable battery, while others use a pair of AA batteries. In one case, the wireless microphone runs off your smartphone’s battery.
The Best Wireless Microphones: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Shure BLX288/PG58 Wireless Microphone System
Why It Made The Cut: Shure’s BLX288/PG58 Wireless Microphone System allows you to record a pair of wireless microphones simultaneously while greatly reducing the chance of capturing distorted audio.
— Microphone Type: Dynamic
— Wireless Protocol: Multiple frequency bands
— Power Source: AA batteries
— Transmitter works on multiple frequency bands
— Two-microphone setup
— XLR outputs allow you to easily record your audio
Shure is one of the most trusted names in the home and professional audio space, and its BLX288/PG58 Wireless Microphone System is the ideal choice for anyone who’s serious about recording. The kit comes with a pair of microphones and a wireless receiver that can be connected to both simultaneously. Shure’s transmitter allows you to sync both microphones up to it using different frequencies so they don’t interfere with one another. There are 12 frequency bands to choose from — Shure says some bands are only available in certain regions — so you’ll have options when choosing which ones to use.
Each of Shure’s PG58 wireless microphones run on a pair of AA batteries, which are provided as part of this system. Shure says the mics can run up to 14 hours on a single charge, which means you’ll be able to use them for several sessions or gigs before swapping out the batteries. We recommend investing in a set of rechargeable batteries, so you always have fresh AAs on hand.
One of the PG58 microphone’s best features is its built-in pop filter, which will prevent certain sounds (specifically words with the letter p in them) from causing an unwanted audio spike in your recording. The dynamic microphones are tuned to mostly pick up audio from sources directly in front of it — a mouth for vocals, the end of a brass instrument, an amplifier plugged into an electrical instrument — so you shouldn’t hear a lot of ambient noise on your recordings.
Dynamic microphones are especially useful if you’re recording with several musicians simultaneously because there won’t be as much bleed (unwanted sounds leaking onto a track designed for one instrument), so you end up with a cleaner-sounding recording. Speaking of recording, the BLX288 transmitter Shure designed has two XLR and 1/4-inch outputs, so you can connect it directly to a recording interface.
Shure’s BLX288/PG58 Wireless Microphone System is an investment, but completely worthwhile if you want a comprehensive recording-studio-ready setup. The time you’ll save by knowing you’re going to get a clean recording every single time far outweighs the upfront cost.
Best for Karaoke: BONAOK Wireless Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone
Why It Made The Cut: Bonaoke’s Wireless Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone has the functionality of an entire karaoke machine in a much smaller package.
— Microphone Type: Dynamic
— Wireless Protocol: Bluetooth
— Power Source: Rechargeable battery
— Built-in speaker
— Bluetooth and Aux connection
— MicroUSB charging
Bonaok’s Wireless Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone allows you to sing along with your favorite tunes without having to lug around a heavy machine. The wireless microphone connects to your phone via Bluetooth, which allows you to stream background music to it, which plays through the mic’s built-in speaker. Once the music starts, you can begin singing. Physical controls on the microphone allow you to adjust the volume of the music and your voice, so you can find the right mix. An additional switch allows you to add echo to your voice, which can add some punch.
If you’ve queued up an entire playlist of karaoke jams, you can switch between them by using the next track and previous track buttons on Bonoak’s mic, or use the play/pause button to take a break between sets. The microphone’s mode button allows you to switch between streaming music to it via Bluetooth, or playing tracks off a MicroSD card for a completely standalone experience. Finally, this microphone’s headphone jack allows you to practice at home, so you can hit the high notes in front of an audience
Bonaok’s microphone runs on a rechargeable battery, which is convenient if you take it to a friend’s house and need to top it up. We’re a little disappointed that it has a MicroUSB port, which means you may have to bring its cable along. Hopefully the next generation of this wireless microphone charges via USB-C like many other modern gadgets. Still, if you want a wireless microphone to sing karaoke, this one from Bonaok is the one to get. It’s basically an entire karaoke system you can fit in a backpack.
Best Lavalier: Rode Wireless GO II Wireless Mic System
Why It Made The Cut: Rode’s Wireless GO II Wireless Mic System looks discreet and allows you to record two tracks of audio to a smartphone, tablet, computer, or camera.
— Microphone Type: Lavalier
— Wireless Protocol: 2.4 GHz frequency band
— Power Source: Rechargeable batteries
— Support for two microphones
— Can connect directly into a recording device
— Includes two windshields and charging cables
— Operates at a single frequency band
The Rode gear we’ve tested in the past has all performed perfectly, which is why we can unequivocally recommend the company’s GO II wireless microphone system if you’re recording audio for a video podcast or stream.
The system is made up of a transmitter that has both an integrated microphone and a 3.5mm audio jack that allows you to plug in a lavalier microphone for two-person conversations. Audio from these microphones is sent to a receiver that can capture up to two audio streams and send them directly to a camera, computer, smartphone, or tablet using the included cables. Rode includes a lavalier microphone with the Go II Wireless Microphone System, so you’ll be ready to create two-person recordings right out of the box.
One of this microphone system’s most impressive technical features is its ability to send two separate streams of audio from the transmitter to the receiver, so you can edit both individually during post-production. We’re a little wary about the signal from the transmitter to the receiver getting muddled if there are a lot of gadgets around occupying the 2.4 GHz frequency band (we go into this further below), but that’s not an issue that’s unique to the Wireless Go II system. On a positive note, Rode says both its transmitter and receiver can last up to seven hours on a single charge, and recharge via USB-C.
The Wireless Go II’s receiver has a small LCD screen, which displays its current battery status, the transmitter’s current battery status, the strength of its connection to the transmitter, and the volume levels of your microphones. Having this information at a glance is very helpful, because you’ll be able to identify potential technical issues at a glance. If a microphone's volume level is “in the red,” or the battery on one of the devices is running low, you can make decisions about how to mitigate a production delay.
Rode’s ability to build a lavalier mic into the transmitter of its wireless microphone system was a very smart design choice. The technical tricks it can do under the hood make it the perfect choice for anyone who needs a wireless microphone during video shoots.
Best For iPhone: Movo Edge-DI-Duo
Why It Made The Cut: Movo’s wireless microphone system allows you to easily record high-quality audio directly onto your iPhone.
— Microphone Type: Lavalier
— Wireless Protocol: 2.4 GHz frequency band
— Power Source: iPhone
— Includes two microphones
— No adapter required for recording
— Includes a carrying case
— Only works with one device
If you want to record podcasts, interviews, or vlogs on your iPhone, Movo’s Edge-DI-Duo is the wireless microphone system to get. It comes with two transmitters, two lavalier microphones, and a receiver that plugs directly into the Lightning port on your iPhone. You can begin recording in apps like Voice Memos and GarageBand the moment the transmitters and receivers are powered on — no cables necessary. Audio is sent from the transmitters to the receiver over the 2.4 GHz frequency band.
Switches on Movo’s receiver allow you to adjust the gain (volume) of your microphones, and record in either mono or stereo. Mono is the appropriate setting for single-person recordings, but we recommend flipping the switch to stereo if you add another person because both audio streams will be recorded onto a different track. If you’re planning on creating multi-person recordings, be sure the software you’re using can record two separate tracks.
Movo’s receiver gets power directly from your iPhone, but the transmitters each run on a pair of AAA batteries, which are included in the box. Movo also includes a hard case, where you can safely store all of the components in this wireless microphone system between sessions. If you’re okay with the fact that this system is only compatible with the iPhone, or use Apple’s smartphone as your only recording device, you can’t go wrong with what Movo has on offer. The company also has a version of this wireless microphone set with a USB-C receiver in case you switch over to Android.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Wireless Microphone
Here are the factors you should weigh before purchasing a wireless microphone:
Wireless Interference: Wireless microphones are designed to avoid picking up distortion at all costs, but some may creep in if you’re recording in an area with a lot of wireless interference. Some of the microphones we’re recommending operate on the same 2.4 GHz frequency used by many WiFi routers and smart home devices. If you’re recording in a room with a lot of these devices, the signal between your wireless microphone and its receiver may suffer, which causes interference.
Latency: Using a wireless microphone will add a few milliseconds of latency (lag) to your recordings that wouldn’t exist if you used wired gear. This latency occurs because of the time it takes for the sound you’re recording to be transmitted from your microphone to its receiver and the receiver and your recording device. The level of latency is incredibly low, but you may notice a difference if you’re using a mix of wired and wireless microphones during a recording session.
The latency of a wireless microphone may be more noticeable if you’re using lavalier microphones to record audio for a video interview. If your subject’s lips and the things they’re saying are a little out of sync, you’ll need to address that issue in post-production.
Q: Can I use two wireless microphones at the same time with one receiver?
Yes, you can use two wireless microphones at the same time with one receiver. Some receivers allow you to connect two wireless microphones to them simultaneously on different frequency bands to avoid interference.
Q: Why does my wireless mic sound distorted?
Your wireless mic may sound distorted for a few reasons. The most common issue is wireless interference, which we’ve addressed above. The microphone may become distorted if you move too far away from the receiver.
Q: How to take care of my wireless mic?
It’s easy to take care of your wireless mic. A wireless microphone will last a decade if you store it in a case between recordings and keep its receiver charged
Q: What type of wireless mic is best for streaming?
A lavalier microphone is the best choice for streaming because it’s less likely to be seen by your audience.
Final Thoughts on Wireless Microphones
Wireless microphones used to be an ultra-luxe tech accessory that was inaccessible to consumer or prosumer musicians or videographers. It’s great to see the technology become more democratized as the technology inside has gotten better. Wireless microphones are not only more convenient to use, but they occasionally allow you to capture recordings that would be impossible otherwise. If your days of coiling up XLR cables after every recording session are through, or you’d like to lighten the load of your mobile recording rig, wireless microphones are a very wise investment.
Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.
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