How to Avoid Wireless Microphone Interference

Written by: Zach Wright

To avoid microphone interference, make sure the microphone is at a low level and that it is a good distance from your amp and speakers. Beginner performers and DJs often face this common issue with their wireless microphones. It tends to throw off the entire flow of the music and the performance, leaving the audience unsatisfied. The problem may be small, but resolving it is nothing short of a headache.

The main issue stems from the various kinds of problems possible, and the difficulty in identifying them. Each problem demands a different solution. Most times, a quick fix works like a charm. You’ll might find, however, that the problem will return again.

The only choice you have is to follow a systematic approach and find the root cause of the problem. Only then will you be able to fix it.

Keep a Look Out for Basic Problems

Interference in your microphone can be a result of basic problems and causes. These causes can be easily avoided if you follow a few precautionary rules, such as:

wireless microphone transmitter on the floor

  • Ensure that all transmitters, even the system transmitter, are about 10-15 feet away from the microphone and its antennas. Otherwise, you can end up with an overloaded receiver.
  • Make sure that the receiving antenna of your microphone is not in contact with any other receiver. This is especially important for band members where the microphones may be placed close to each other. The appropriate distance between the two antennas is 10 inches.
  • All transmitters should be equipped with functioning batteries. If the batteries are weak, it can lead to a low output voltage. This can cause the generation of interference by these transmitters. Install a new battery that has a strong output voltage.
  • Check the squelch setting on the receiver. A higher squelch setting will provide stronger protection against interference. It does come at a cost, however. It results in a reduction in the operating range. Try going for the optimal range.

Is the Problem the Wireless Microphone?

You may find that the interference problem you’re facing isn’t due to the wireless microphone itself. Instead, it may be due to an external source. For instance, an AM radio station may be generating noise into the audio system of your microphone. Thus, it is important that you recognize the correct source of the problem.

If you need a new microphone check our buying guide and top recommendations for the best wireless microphones

Otherwise, you’ll end up fruitlessly toiling over a non-existent wireless problem. Thus, the first step in finding an interference problem is determining its source. You can do this by turning off the wireless receiver on the microphone and disconnecting all audio cables. If you still find the problem is persistent, then it is probably not due to the wireless system.

Avoiding and Resolving Different Types of Microphone Interference

Non-Wireless Interference

This type of interference is due to various electrical and electronic equipment such as TV transmitters and radar systems. To eliminate non-wireless interference, you can try to improve the grounding of the equipment.

Also, try to shield or filter any audio cables including amplifiers, specifically at the input lead. In addition, the simplest solution is to change or replace the troublesome element. If there are higher chances of interference due to transmitters then we recommend going for more robust wireless microphone systems.

Squelch Interference

Try checking for interference by turning off the system transmitter. If the RF indicator light on the receiver is still on, then your equipment may be a victim of low-level interference.  All you need to do is mark where the squelch control is on the receiver and then set the squelch control to the full clockwise position.

At this setting, if the signal indicator goes out and you still experience audible interference, then the wireless system is not the problem. If the signal completely goes out and you don’t hear any interference, this indicates that your microphone is experiencing low-level interference.

After this initial test, adjust the squelch control until the interference is no longer present. You can also try using a wireless system that comes with a special circuit to reduce any interference. Lastly, you can try muting the audio from the wireless receiver when the transmitter is not in use. This ensures minimal interference.

Direct Interference

There are various sources that are responsible for direct interference. In simplest terms, it is caused by another strong radio signal on the same frequency as the wireless microphone system. Thus, it is important that you check carefully to find any other wireless systems on the same frequency nearby.

Also, check if there are wireless systems with frequencies even near to your system. It is best to keep yours at least 1 MHz apart from the other systems in the area. To check for direct interference, turn off the system transmitter. If you still hear the interference, direct interference is present.

Turn off as many interference sources, if possible. The equipment causing interference may not be under your control. You can still try reducing it as much as possible.

Intermodulation Interference

This occurs when there are two or more microphones that are overpowering and crowding each other's frequencies. You can easily fix it by changing the frequency of your microphone to some other one. Furthermore, you can try using an intermodulation program to find the least crowded frequencies.

Another cause of intermodulation interference is due to using a large number of microphones at the same time. The general rule of thumb is that you can use about 16 analog mics at the same time. If you use more than this, it can lead to frequency crowding.

If you need more than 16 mics, try going for a digital microphone system which allows for a larger number of mics than a standard analog system.

Parting Notes

All in all, interference can be a nuisance for performers and DJs. At the same time, with careful planning and consideration, the interference problem with most wireless microphone systems can be eliminated or minimized completely. Buying a higher quality professional wireless microphone can also help prevent certain issues.

This way, your audience will enjoy your music or performance to the fullest extent. You can deliver your best performance without worrying about the addition of any sharp or unwanted sounds.

Written By:
Zach has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Being a studio owner for 13 years, he actively helps musicians and producers with technical issues around musical instruments and studio and audio equipment.

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