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What is a wireless microphone system?

Wireless Mics - A General Definition:

wireless microphone is a microphone without a physical cable connecting it directly to the amplifying equipment with which it is associated.

A wireless microphone system allows the user’s voice to be transmitted “wirelessly” to its receiver, located in the sound system. The sound system amplifies the signal from the receiver and outputs it through the system’s speakers. 

A wireless mic system consists of three main components that operate together as low powered, individual radio station.

1. Microphone:
Though the first wireless mic systems were designed with handheld mics, nearly all fitness instructors prefer the hands-free freedom a headset mic allows. The mic connects to the transmitter.


2. Transmitter:
Wireless mic systems used for fitness originally all used bodypack transmitters. The headset mic connects to a bodypack transmitter via a short cable. In the early 2000s, Samson Technologies designed the first “transmitter on the headset” wireless mic, the Airline 77. Both types of transmitters – bodypack and transmitter-on-headset are widely used for group exercise instruction today and are available from many manufacturers.

  • The transmitter converts the audio from the microphone to radio waves and transmits them to the receiver.  


  • Shure BLX1 Bodypack Tranmitter
  • Fitness Audio M-209c Bodypack VHF Transmitter
  • Samson SWQTCE Airline 77 Headset and Transmitter

3. Receiver:
Receives the radio transmission from the transmitter and converts it back to an audio signal so it can be amplified by the sound system. The receiver is typically located in the sound system or near enough to it to be connected by a short audio cable.


  • Audio-Technica UHF receiver
  • Shure GLXD4 digital wireless microphone receiver
  • Samson CR88 UHF wireless microphone receiver


Q: Is a wireless mic system all I need to for my class to hear me?
A: Wireless mic systems make no sound on their own. They must be connected to a sound system. Note: some ‘all-in-one’ portable sound systems have a wireless receiver built-in, so this connection is already made. You need a compatible headset and transmitter and you are good to go do your class.

Q: Is a headset mic all I need for my class to hear me?
A: Headset mics make no sound on their own. They are the first component in a wireless mic system. You need a complete wireless mic system connected to a sound system for your class to hear you.

Q: Will a Shure (for example) transmitter work with an Audio-Technica (for example) receiver?


  • Different brands of wireless are not compatible with each other due to the specific radio frequencies and methods of transmission each manufacturer uses. 
  • Generally speaking, a transmitter only works with the specific receiver it was designed to work with. Even if both pieces are from the same manufacturer, they need to be the same model and operate on the same frequency or frequency range. 
  • AV Now is always available to help you figure out whether wireless components are compatible or to let you know the components you need to make them work.

Q: Will an Audio-Technica (for example) headset mic work with a Shure (for example) body-pack transmitter?
A. Headset mics don’t transmit anything and aren’t frequency dependent. The bodypack and receiver are the “radio” components in the wireless system. The headset is simply the mic.  In theory, any headset mic should work with any bodypack transmitter. However, each wireless manufacturer uses a different type of connector for their headsets and body packs. This makes them generally not interchangeable.  For example, Shure uses a 4-pin connector in configured in a 'Y' shape. Audio-Technica uses a 4-pin connector configured in a square shape. You can’t physically plug a Shure headset into an Audio-Technica bodypack. 

A standard manufacturer’s headset can be re-terminated with a connector to match the transmitter you wish to plug into, but this is generally cost-prohibitive, sometimes technically-prohibitive. It’s usually best to simply get a headset that has the connector that matches what the transmitter is wired for. 

Fitness-Rated Replacement Headsets
AV Now Fitness Sound began as a company that specialized in providing replacement headsets designed to withstand the tough, sweaty group exercise environment.   This is still at the core of our business.  Literally tens of thousands of customers – including some of the largest fitness chains in the US – come to us for our Fitness Audio E-Mic or Fitness Audio Aeromic headset microphones.  These mics are designed specifically for fitness instructors. Most standard headset mics that come with a wireless mic system simply aren’t. 

E-Mics and Aeromics are offered with different connectors for all major transmitter bodypacks. If you switch wireless systems to a different manufacturer and connector type down the road, we can change the connector on your E-Mic or Aeromic so it will work with your new system. There’s a nominal service fee for a connector swap.  You still can’t plug in an E-Mic wired for Shure into an Audio-Technica transmitter, but we can swap the connector on your E-Mic so you can.

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