Wireless Mic Vendors Offer New Features

NEW YORK—While wireless mic vendors await the impact of the spectrum auctions that commenced last month, manufacturers are forging ahead with new product development.

Shure Inc. believes that its new KSM8 dynamic microphone is “changing the impression of how good a dynamic microphone can be,” according to John Born, product manager and professional audio engineer for the Chicago-based company.

Shure’s new KSM8 dynamic mic

Born claims that the KSM8 has the sound quality of a condenser, but with better gain before feedback, less stage bleed than a condenser, and that it has the smooth, flat response of a condenser that engineers gravitate towards.

Shure is demo-ing the KSM8 at the 2016 NAB Show and attendees can see for themselves if the KSM8’s cardioid polar pattern has a huge sweet spot and one of the flattest frequency responses available in any dynamic microphone.


Shure engineers learned from the KSM9 that adding a second diaphragm to a dynamic microphone allows the user to control the proximity effect. The question, however, was where and how to physically fit a second diaphragm into a dynamic microphone. “It took some time to find the perfect location,” says Born.

The second diaphragm is passive and is part of the rejection network in a dynamic mic. It blocks low frequencies from building up as the sound source gets closer to mic. The first, or active diaphragm, has a coil attached to it like a regular dynamic mic. The second is not electrically tied to a magnetic circuit, it’s a part of the microphone’s acoustics. In theory, the large sweet spot that results from the suppression of the proximity effect will yield a large sweet spot which engineers will find attractive because it makes the application of eq a much easier process.

Was construction of the KSM8 mechanically challenging? “Very much so,” Born said. “Reversing the flow broke a lot of things that we had to fix, and the R & D team had to start from scratch. Every single process was new, we didn’t borrow from anything else we make. We took every opportunity to tweak the polar pattern and response of this microphone, and that includes controlling the proximity effect and fine-tuning the flat top-end response. The KSM8 is the best cardioid pattern dynamic microphone we’ve ever developed. Because we started from nothing, we had every opportunity to make the best dynamic microphone available.”


Sony’s new wireless mic product line includes the the URX-S03D slot-in dual channel receiver for the company’s UWP-D series.

Recognizing that content creators in all areas of the industry are asking for high-quality products, Sony’s product catalog now includes wireless microphones across a broad price range. With the introduction of the company’s new UWP-D series (the URX-S03D slot-in dual channel receiver), and with the “N series” update to the DWX series, Sony Pro Audio now offers anENG kit at less than half the price of the current DWX system. It’s now possible to purchase a kit for less than $600, while high-end users can spend up to $6,000. This represents a big shift in terms of integration to various sizes of cameras and affordability. 

The N Series of Sony’s DWX offers true digital transmission 24 bit 48 kHz.

Sony has added two new codecs and increased the bandwidth on the studio receiver dramatically. Previous systems had three television groupings which split the UHF range from TV channels 14 through 51 into approximate thirds, with access up to 72 MHz in each unit. The new N Series dual channel rack receiver expands that to 198 MHz in a single unit, with access up to 7,623 frequencies.

These upgrades mean that the bandwidth operating range of the systems has dramatically increased, according to Sebastian Scala, Product Manager Pro Audio North America.

“You don’t have to use different wireless systems for different regions, one wireless tuner covers all of the U.S” Scala said. “All this available spectrum results in a cost savings. You don’t have to have redundant systems, or use different bands in different parts of the country. If any area is overcrowded you simply move to another bandwidth."

If any area is overcrowded you simply move to another bandwidth.

Scala adds that users can activate a clear channel scan with any of Sony’s wireless mic products, thereby avoiding interference.

“We now offer 7,623 channels in the rack studio receiver,” he said. “This is a big deal in that it offers tremendous flexibility to the user.” A new codec in the DWX system reduces the latency spec to 1.5 ms., which Sony claims makes it one of the fastest in the industry.