Whomever you decide to hire for your wedding ceremony sound, make sure they have broadcast quality wireless microphones and the knowhow to use them. This is the ceremony that binds you and your fiancé together for the rest of your days, you want to make sure you do everything in your power to always remember that it was beautiful and perfect. This is the one day out of your life that you will benefit from the use of the highest quality sound equipment; don’t skimp out on this part. Use what the Hollywood pros use.
The world of wireless microphones, not to mention the world of live sound, is a very delicate and volatile craft and it takes years of training to master the techniques necessary to pull off a flawless ceremony. Part of it is in using the best equipment available. Here are a few differences comparing high quality wireless mics from low quality wireless mics:
1. Acceptable Make & Models:
- Audio Technica ATW Series
- Shure SLX Series
- Sennheiser EW Series
I own nothing but Sennheiser wireless equipment (enough mics for two full weddings) one of the units indeed came out of a satellite news broadcast van from a network TV station in Los Angeles (down-size bad for them, good for me!) You want to walk away from these low quality brands:
Here are some brands that haven’t proven to be worthy or unworthy:
- Line 6
Feeling lucky? Just go with the tried and tested three!
2. UHF vs VHF
These are different frequency bands, and though it’s not the main determining factor for how high quality a transmitter / receiver might be, the professional microphones run on the UHF band (yes, as in the Weird Al movie.) You might notice that most discount mics are VHF.
There are digital units that run in the Giga-Hz ranges, but unfortunately, many of the companies that produce them have not been tried and tested for their dependability like the three above.
3. Operable distances
Cheaper mics often have a usable operating distance of 20 feet. This means that the further away you take your microphone away from the receiver past a 20 feet radius, the less reliable it becomes, causing interruptive noise.
The Sennheisers have a 300 foot operating distance (under ideal conditions), and 100 foot real world usable distance. This means that you can have a good amount of walls, bodies, furniture between the microphone and receiver, and you will still be able to depend on a signal fairly strong for up to 100 feet. Or in other words, if your sound guy is 20 feet from the chapel, that signal is going to be impenetrable.
The professional microphones have more options than the cheaper ones, and unfortunately, is more complex as well. You will need to make sure your sound guy knows how to operate the equipment proficiently (just ask him what the “squelch” is for; it’s a noise gate that stops low amplitude interference in the tuned frequency from registering as a mic signal).
The easiest way to root out the sound guys who don’t understand how to use professional equipment, is to see how much experience they have doing live sound or stage work or wedding ceremonies. Your usual nightclub DJs NOT going to have any experience in this field though he might insist that he know’s what he’s doing; DO NOT ASK HIM TO BE YOUR SOUND GUY.