Buying Guides

We've put together easy-to-read buying guides on dozens of products to help make your shopping experience a little easier. Still have questions? Don't hesitate to call our knowledgeable sales team at 1-800-260-2776.

Microphones Buying Guide

Many questions arise when determining which microphone best suits the needs of your school or business. Here, you will find much of the information you need to make your purchasing decision easier:

Wired Microphones

Wired microphones provide a great option for amplifying the voice of a presenter or performer. Wires provide a reliable connection and often carry power to the microphone, eliminating the need for batteries. However, wired microphones limit mobility, placing restrictions on how far an individual can move from the P.A. or stereo receiver.

Dynamic – Dynamic microphones work by producing an electric current across a conductor inside a magnetic field. These microphones create superior sound amplification at a relatively low cost. They also resist moisture, making them ideal for on-stage and outdoor use.

Unidirectional – Unidirectional microphones amplify sound from one direction, making them great for performances in front of large, noisy crowds. Cardioid microphones, the most common unidirectional microphone, have a heart-shaped sensitivity pattern. This means that the front has a high degree of sensitivity, which reduces farther away from the face until reaching the rear, which has no sensitivity to sound.

Frequency Response – Frequency response refers to the output range of an audio device such as an amplifier, microphone or loud speaker in response to an input signal. More simply, the range of sound between the deepest bass a device can produce and the highest treble it can produce. An example of frequency response is 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz; this particular frequency response represents the limits of normal human hearing. The small number represents low bass while the large number represents high treble. (1,000 Hz = 1 kHz.)

Connector Type – Wired microphones come with several types of connectors. XLR connectors carry stereo sound and phantom power, used to power condenser microphones. TRS connectors typically carry mono sound. TRS microphones are referred to by the size of their male end, often 1/4 inch or 3.5 millimeters. TRS connectors do not carry power. Both connectors work well over long distances and carry high quality sound. Anchor Audio microphones use TA4F connectors (also known as Mini XLR 4-pin connectors) that work with Anchor Audio transmitters or those transmitters with a TA4F connector.

Cable Length – Cable lengths range from 15 feet to 30 feet. Longer cables give performers and presenters more room to move around, while still providing a reliable and constant connection to amplifiers or stereos. To avoid the hassle of wires altogether, opt for a wireless microphone.

Wireless Microphones

Wireless microphones provide all of the sound amplification of a wired microphone without wires. Easily take your microphone with you as you walk around a room or stage without worrying about the length of your cord. Wireless microphones require additional hardware such as transmitters and receivers in order to connect to your stereo, amplifier or public address system.

Channels – A channel is a specific radio frequency, pair or band of frequencies usually named with a letter, number or codeword. When a wireless microphone refers to a number of channels, it means that device can tune into that number of predefined frequencies. The ability to switch between frequencies increases privacy and decreases interference, as radio devices share most frequencies. If certain frequencies are busy, simply switch to another channel on your transmitter and receiver (the two must correspond). Those microphones that receive more channels have greater flexibility.

UHF & VHF– These abbreviations refer to ranges of electromagnetic waves often employed to carry radio or television signals through the air. UHF stands for Ultra High Frequency and ranges between 300 MHz and 3 GHz. VHF stands for Very High Frequency and ranges between 30 MHz and 300 MHz. Both function well as vehicles for wireless information, but both have disadvantages and advantages over the other.

VHF waves have a longer wave length, making them more effective for signal transmission over medium distances. These waves encounter little resistance from buildings and other small obstacles. VHF waves require a larger antenna to receive a signal. UHF waves have a short wave length, limiting the distance they carry, but making it easier for smaller antennas to receive their signal.

Compatibility – Pay careful attention to product descriptions, as some wireless microphones have compatibility restrictions. Those with built-in transmitters often require that you use them with receivers and amplifiers made by the same manufacturer. Also, those wireless microphones that connect to a transmitter use specific connections. Transmitters must have compatible connections in order to work properly.

May Require Pack Transmitter – While some wireless microphones have built-in wireless transmitters, others require a wired connection to an external transmitter, or pack transmitter. For example, gooseneck mics, headset mics, lapel mics and over-the-ear mics all require pack transmitters. Wireless pack transmitters use a UHF or VHF frequency to transmit audio to a receiver or an amplifier. Make sure that the pack transmitter you purchase has a compatible connection with your microphone. You will connect your microphone to a pack transmitter with XLR, THS or T4AF connectors. Refer to the section on Connector Types for more information.

Computer Microphones

Microphones that connect directly to your Windows PC or Mac provide an excellent option for podcasting, web conferencing, distance education, speech recognition, VoIP or a number of other audio applications. Before you make a purchase, read up on some of the details regarding computer microphones.

Connector Type – Most computer microphones connect to your computer using one of two options: a 3.5 millimeter plug or USB 2.0. The 3.5 millimeter plug will likely connect at the back of your computer to the mic-in port on your computer's sound card. Some computers have these ports elsewhere; refer to your computer's user manual for more information. Microphones that employ 3.5 millimeter plugs typically cost less than those that employ USB 2.0. Those that plug in using USB 2.0 connectivity offer some advantages. USB 2.0 cables carry electricity, charging the battery in most microphones. They also have the ability to carry data faster, making them more reliable.

Computer Compatibility – Not all computer microphones work with all computers. Some work with Mac and PC, some work with only PC, while others only work on Macs. Refer to the product's description for information regarding that microphone's computer compatibility.

Get more information when you shop from our full selection of Microphones online.

If you have questions, or would prefer to place an order over the phone, call our sales team at 1-800-260-2776; they will gladly help you decide which microphone best suits your needs.

Accepted Payment Types:
Join the Conversation:
Shop with Confidence:
Better Business Bureau®