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best wireless microphone systems under 500

Best wireless microphone systems under $500

Live performance is all about passion. So who wants to be restricted by lengthy cabling? When you think of a wireless microphone system the first image that probably comes to mind is a vocalist commanding the attention of the audience while moving all over the stage. But they’re just as utilized for musicians that play an instrument while singing. It’s not just musical artists that use them. They’re popular for theater, broadcast, and streaming as well.

Let’s take a look at five of the best wireless microphone systems under $500. But first, let’s briefly go over how they function.

How does a wireless microphone system work?

A wireless system is essentially two components – a transmitter and a receiver. Using ultra-high frequency modulation, or UHF, the receiver demodulates the signal on input to convert it. 

When they first came out the biggest concern with these types of systems was radio interference. And it still is. But the technology has come such a long way that it’s virtually a non-issue anymore.

Best wireless microphone system under $500 overall: Shure BLX24R/SM58

Shure BLX24R SM58
Best wireless microphone system under $500 overall
Shure BLX24R/SM58
The wireless version of the SM58 is easy to take on the road. QuickScan technology makes finding a frequency band easy.
Pros
QuickScan makes choosing a frequency easy
Compatible with up to 12 systems on each band
Cons
Best for vocals

What makes the SM58, one of the most ubiquitous mics of all time, even better? Untether it for free-range use. And since it’s outfitted with the same capsule in the wired version of the SM58 you know exactly how it sounds.

Possibly the best feature is Shure’s QuickScan technology. It does an automatic band sweep, taking the inconvenience out of selecting the right frequency band to use. Easy scanning combined with Shure’s commitment to build quality.

This model isn’t just for vocals either, as there are versions for guitar, presentation, and headset configuration. It’s expandable too. You can run up to 12 compatible systems on each band so you don’t have to worry about buying a wireless microphone system that’s future proof.

Best wireless microphone system under $500 for live sound: Sennheiser XSW2-835

Sennheiser XSW2-835
Best wireless microphone system under $500 for live sound
Sennheiser XSW2-835
This wireless system comes with the Sennheiser e835 capsule, great off-axis rejection, and an easy to read LCD display.
Pros
e835 capsule
Good off-axis rejection
Easy to read LCD display
Cons
None

Wireless mics are useful in a lot of situations, but they excel for live sound. It’s a dynamic, cardioid mic based around Sennheiser’s e835 smooth-sounding capsule. This style of capsule provides thick bass, and a crispness in the mids and highs, moreso than other wireless dynamic mics. It handles high sound pressure levels with ease, another reason it’s one of the best for live sound.

The true diversity receiver is enclosed in an all-metal housing that can be mounted in a rack for easy load in and load out. A useful LCD display lets you dial things in manually across the 12 compatible UHF channels that can be fine-tuned over a wide frequency range. Dual antennas offer redundancy if something goes wrong. The readouts on the receiver are easy to see in the dark, so you don’t have to worry about blind environments.

Best wireless microphone system under $500 for broadcast, podcasting, and streaming: Shure BRH50M Dual-sided Headset

Shure BRH50M Dual-sided Headset
Best wireless microphone system under $500 for broadcast, podcasting, and streaming
Shure BRH50M Dual-sided Headset
This simple and comfortable headphone/mic combo offers great off-axis sound rejection and is perfect for streamers and broadcasters.
Pros
Great for streaming and broadcasting
Great off-axis sound rejection
Cons
Not for music or presentation

Podcasting and streaming has never been more popular. In these types of broadcasting situations it’s almost mandatory to have a wireless mic system that offers hands-free utility. And if you’re streaming video games it’s not an option, because you need both hands.

This comfortable, lightweight model has a 270-degree pivoting boom microphone that makes setting the position easy. A supercardioid polar pattern is great at rejecting noise from off-axis angles. They connect physically through balanced outputs, and you can choose between XLR and ¼” TRS beyond the wireless function.. 

They’re comfortable for use in long sessions, making them great for film work too. If you’re a streaming, or do any kind of broadcasting, Shure has a solid wireless headphone/mic combo set for you.

Best mid-price range wireless microphone system under $500: AKG DMS100

AKG DMS100
Best budget wireless microphone system under $500
AKG WMS40 Mini
This is a great mid-priced model that runs at 24-bit/48kHz with no latency. It’s a good Swiss army knife, but might not be robust enough for some.
Pros
24-bit/48kHz operation
AES 256-bit encryption
Automatic frequency scanning
Cons
Only operates at 48kHz, no higher

It’s a mid-priced model, but this wireless mic setup is no joke. The microphone capsule is an authentic AKG, and the system runs in 24-bit/48kHz operation. Latency isn’t a concern here either.

The transmitter can be attached to the mic, or you can use the included bodypack. It’s easy to pair things thanks to color coding, and there’s built-in AES 256-bit encryption that prevents interruptions.

One of the best things about it is how it pairs with other types of AKG mics, making it a swiss-army knife wireless microphone system. The readouts are simple, but might not be granular enough for some. It’s not specifically rackmountable, but the easy setup and automatic frequency scanning make the DMS100 more than worth the cost.

Best budget wireless microphone system under $500: AKG WMS40 Mini

AKG WMS40 Mini
Best budget wireless microphone system under $500
AKG WMS40 Mini
The WMS40 Mini is an easy to use budget model with a great battery life and universal power supply that works all over the world.
Pros
Easy to use
Universal power supply works all over the world
Full battery life offers up to 30 hours
Cons
Budget model that won’t be good enough for some

There are a lot of budget wireless microphone systems out there, but the microphone mavens at AKG have a contender for the best one. The WMS40 Mini is about as uncomplicated as it gets. Its plug-and-play design makes setting it up simple

The power supply is a universal switched mode design, meaning it’s compatible with power anywhere in the world. It’s got good battery life, running on two AAs for up to 30 hours.

The only real downside is due to the range of distance it’s best used indoors, where the operator has limited space so they don’t happen to go out of range. But at just over $100 you’re unlikely to find a better combination of sound quality and affordability.

FAQ

Why are wired mics better than wireless?

With how far wireless technology has come, there are some caveats to this. A wired mic is better than a bad wireless system. But if you even have a few hundred dollars to invest on wireless, the difference in sound quality is negligible. 

The real difference is, do you want to deal with long cable runs, or the additional time and hassle it takes to setup and manage a wireless system?

Does a wireless mic need a receiver?

Yes. The signal flows out from the microphone to the transmitter, usually a body pack or attached to the mic. There needs to be a piece of gear that receives the signal. 

Which is the best wireless mic under $500?

Our choice is the Shure BLX24R/SM58. The easy setup, QuickScan technology, and classic SM58 sound makes it one of the best in this price bracket.

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