Wireless Microphones – What Frequency Should I Use?
We have blogged about this type of thing before but with more wireless microphone systems coming out on the market recently, your choices as to what frequencies to use is slowly growing. I’m sure most people know about the frequency changes that took place over the last few years and for many people, it was and still is a confusing time. Hopefully this will help you decide which frequency range is right for you. If you want to check about existing wireless microphones you have or what future purchases you should make, check out our online wireless microphone frequency checker tool.
Channel 70 (865 -863Mhz) – AKA The FREE Band
Channel 70 has always been free to use for wireless microphone users. It is a very small band and you can only really run four systems together in that band. Sounds perfect for people only wanting to run a few systems however, channels 61-69 were recently sold off to mobile 4G networks and we have seen evidence that these may interfere with channel 70 and render that band unreliable. Couple that with the fact that channel 70 is now very crowded in most areas and you have a frequency band that is now less appealing. Our install team no longer install channel 70 wireless microphone systems in to churches or schools because of these reasons.
Channel 69 (854-862MHz) – the old ‘Overflow’ or The Old Shared Band
Channel 69 used to be the shared frequency band that was licenced in the UK (see channel 38 for the new one). It was also used by many as an overflow band for when they had one or two extra systems that didn’t fit in channel 70 (as it is directly below it). This whole band, along with channels 61-68, have been sold to mobile 4G networks and no longer available for wireless microphone use. In short, if you are running systems in this band, you are now illegal. Call us on 0845 125 9409 if you are unsure.
Channel 38 (606-614MHz) - AKA The Shared Band
Channel 38 is a block of frequencies that was newly made available to wireless microphone users a few years back. It is designed for people on the move and gigging from venue to venue. It is a licenced band and that will cost you approximately £75 a year and that covers you for the whole band anywhere in the UK. You can usually fit between 8-12 systems on channel 38 (depending on the make and model of the wireless microphone). If you’re a gigging musician or hire company then this is the band for you. It will cover you if you only ever use the systems in one fixed location however, anyone can buy a channel 38 licence and theoretically your next door neighbour could legally run 12 systems and you may run in to difficulties and for that reason a fixed site licence would be a better option in these cases.
UHF Fixed Site Frequencies / Coordinated Frequencies – Channels 21 – 30, 39 -60
These frequencies are designed for fixed locational use. Basically schools, churches, music venues or anywhere that requires wireless mics permanently installed to their building and will never be taken on the road. You have the choice of buying individual frequencies or hole channel bands for your venue to use (subject to availability). Once you have secured the frequencies that are available to you, no one else is legally allowed to buy/use those frequencies in your area. It is a much safer option and this is the route we take with our fixed site installs. If you want help finding out what frequencies are available in your area, feel free to call us or fill in our frequency checker tool. An individual frequency costs about £28 and a whole band would be £168 a year
The UHF Wireless Microphone Frequencies
1.8GHz Wireless Microphone Systems
1.8GHz wireless mics are relatively new to the market. In parts of Europe this is a free to use frequency band however in the UK, you do require a licence. They work the same as the fixed site licences and they are subject to availability in your area. Call for more information if needed.
2.4GHz Digital Wireless Microphones
2.4GHz Wireless Microphone systems are slowly taking off in the UK and more and more people are moving towards them. They are free to use both in the UK and worldwide and this is something that is attracting people. The audio quality is superb and as they are digital, there are no companders in the systems unlike regular UHF wireless microphones. Line 6 lead the field with 2.4GHZ radio mics however, Audio Technica are now chomping at their heels with the release of their ‘System 10’ mics. It may sound that 2.4GHz is the solution to everyone’s problems (and wallets) however, they do run on the same frequencies as most peoples WIFI and this can cause some issues if not setup correctly or used in a massively saturated WIFI environment. If you want more information on 2.4GHz wireless microphone systems, please give us a call on 0845 125 9409 or email us at sales(at)e-av.co.uk
The EAV team do their very best to keep abreast of all things wireless microphones and we are happy to help with any questions you may have. We are main UK dealers for Sennheiser, Audio Technica, AKG, Trantec & Line 6 and have stock of their radio mic systems ready to ship. Because of our roots in installation, we know which systems work in different environments and happy to discuss this with you. So for any information on wireless microphones, just call us on 0845 125 9409