When choosing the right microphone for your needs, you might not be sure which is better: analog vs digital wireless microphones. So what are the differences between analog and digital?
Analog wireless microphones operate on frequency coordination that can’t be detected by cell phones and other devices, while digital wireless mics broadcast their signal over a range of frequencies. These differences mean that digital wireless mics may have more interference than analog wireless systems do with nearby electronics.
We will explore these pros and cons in detail below so you can make an educated choice when purchasing your next mic! Please click here for our blog post Analog vs. Digital Wireless Microphone.
Digital wireless microphones sound less natural than analog wireless FM systems since digital compression and depending on the processing takes some high frequencies. Digital systems also can’t handle as much signal strength as analog wireless systems before distortion becomes evident.
Digital wireless microphone signals are processed by an encoding device that sends the digital signal over a digital RF channel, decoded by a decoding device connected to the respective microphone.
The digital wireless microphone system has an amount of latency (delay) because of depending on the processing of this multi-stage compared to an analog wireless microphone where only analog audio goes through modulation/demodulation, with no added circuitry in between.
A digital wireless system would be better for live theater or presentations where you need instant feedback from the audience, but not good for karaoke where lip sync is important.
The digital wireless microphone system is not recommended for singing or instruments since latency may cause you to miss notes or words in the performance due to latency from hitting the note or speaking your words. Digital systems also do not produce as much range compared to analog wireless mic FM systems.
Digital wireless microphones are great for permanent installs because they don’t have any interference problems like analog FM transmitters can have when too many units are used on the same frequency coordination at one time.
A digital wireless system can also be installed more easily than analog FM transmitters without going through a licensing agency and paying fees that could reach thousands of dollars per year depending on how many frequencies are needed.
Digital wireless microphone systems run their own companies like Shure and Sennheiser. They make these systems for their transmitters, while Alctron makes an RF Digital Wireless Radio System that works with any transmitter.
The digital wireless system also has a cleaner signal than analog wireless FM since it doesn’t have as much bandwidth used up by sidebands and noise like analog FM does.
Digital wireless microphone systems are best when you need to permanently cover a large area or install units where no frequencies could be shared because of other users in the same area.
It is not good if you’re using your unit at many different locations due to the higher cost of programming compared to an analog wireless microphone system.
Digital radio systems do not work well indoors because this wireless mic use line-of-sight transmission through UHF (ultra-high frequency) channels that don’t pass through objects and VHF (very high frequency) FM.
Digital wireless systems use more power than analog systems and have less range; overall, digital radio systems are best used for permanent installs.
You plan on using the same microphone or instruments at the same location daily without needing to move them often.
Security, or Encryption:
The digital wireless system will have password protection for their channels so that no other company’s units can operate in your area.
Some digital wireless microphones come standard with 128-bit AES (advanced encryption standard) to keep your signal from being intercepted by any unauthorized people that may be listening on your channel.
Digital Wireless Radio Systems also work with RFID cards like HID iCLASS Cards – SecurID, which says what rights your cardholder has on the system. It can record who was using a specific microphone at any time and where it was located in case you need to do an investigation.
Digital wireless microphones are more secure than analog FM but won’t be as secure as IP audio systems.
Digital Wireless systems allow the user to set up passwords for access to channels and allows encryption of its data transmissions so that only those with authorized cards will have access.
Digital Wireless Microphone Systems are strongly recommended over Analog FM Microphone Systems because they provide better sound quality, security features and don’t share frequencies with other users.
Is digital wireless better?
Digital wireless systems generally have better audio quality in terms of frequency response and dynamic response. They also tend to be less noisy in end-of-range situations, as they can either be turned on or off, as with all things digital. The difference is more evident at lower- to mid-tier wireless.
What is the working principle of digital wireless microphones?
A wireless system works by converting an analog audio signal from the microphone into a radio wave frequency that can be transmitted to the receiver and then transforming it back into an audio signal that is output to the rest.
Is the toggle switch digital or analog?
A toggle switch cannot produce digital signals because it is analog. It can, however, be used as an input device with a device such as a microcontroller to produce digital signals that the microcontroller can interpret in 1’s or 0’s.
What does a wireless microphone mean?
It is also known as a radio microphone. The microphone body contains a small battery-powered radio transmitter that transmits audio from the microphone via radio waves to nearby receiver units, which then recover the audio. The receiver unit is connected by cable to any other audio equipment. It is called a wireless microphone system.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this comparison of analog and digital wireless systems. This is just a brief overview, but hopefully, it’s helped me understand the difference between these two different technologies: analog or digital.
Your selection moving forward will likely be less to do with better or worse and more to do with which one is right for your application.
You may find that there are other considerations as well, such as price point or power consumption – so make sure you take all factors into account before making your final decision!
For help deciding what communications technology best suits your needs, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at Hooke Audio today!