Wired or Wireless Audio Recording for Production Sound

Wireless lavalier microphones have become the industry standard on set. For some very good reasons too. They’re pretty reliable when proper RF coordination is practiced and the good ones sound excellent when properly gain staged. But are there times when it might not make sense to use them? There sure are.

While you may get 99% reliability when using gear like Lectrosonics diversity systems, even the best wireless is not infallible. The most common problem wireless users deal with is RF interference. As the wireless systems that location sound mixers use improve, unfortunately also the amount of wireless technology in the environment grows exponentially. This means there are more and more radio signals bouncing around a set. Urban locations can be significantly worse. These can be anything from cell phones towers, electrical equipment, and TV and radio transmission. Unfortunately, intermodulation and signal bleed means it isn’t always as simple as not being on the same channel as the local TV station. The rollout of 5G technology on bands close to the ones utilized by radio microphones has wreaked havoc on some locations.

For drama and commercials, it makes perfect sense to use wireless on every take. It’s possible to repeat the take or get wild lines should you encounter a problem. You can even ADR as an option should a location have multiple problems like noise or a reflective environment.

wired broadcast microphone
Wired microphone and IFB deployed for live broadcast

But what if this is a once in a lifetime interview with a celebrity or politician? What if this is for live broadcast? When the subject isn’t moving, having your sound mixer connect to the interviewee by wire may make sense. Wireless audio recording might not always be the right solution because sometimes a blown take may not be an acceptable option.

Always ask your sound mixer what he or she thinks about a certain situation. They should let you know if there are issues with location regarding sound or radio frequency interference. Unfortunately Errol Morris has made super-wide interview shots trendy over the last several years making boom framing and wired mics hard to deploy.

If you have a question on how to deploy different microphone systems on your next production please connect with us on how we can solve your audio issues and help your next production be the success you deserve.

Posted on: April 8, 2019, by :