I have two Shure wireless microphone systems I use during my live performance. I bought one in Berlin and it’s 220V for the shows I play in Europe. It’s rather new and working fine. The other one I own is pretty old, 120V/USA power based and the original wall wart power supply became frayed and stopped functioning. I replaced the power cable/unit with a cheapo Radio Shack multifunction device. On it’s face you can select multiple amp settings to match your product. Long story short it’s causing some line hum and I think it’s time to just buy a new wireless mic system for the USA. I really like the Shure SM58 systems because you really don’t get any feedback with them. I jumped online to buy one the Shure PGX/SM58 combo that I decided will work for me. However, I noticed the following warning:
“Consumer Alert: Most users do not need a license to operate this wireless microphone system. Nevertheless, operating this microphone system without a license is subject to certain restrictions: the system may not cause harmful interference; it must operate at a low power level (not in excess of 50 milliwatts); and it has no protection from interference received from any other device. Purchasers should also be aware that the FCC is currently evaluating use of wireless microphone systems, and these rules are subject to change. For more information, call the FCC at 1-888- CALL-FCC (TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC) or visit the FCC’s wireless microphone website at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/wirelessmicrophones.”
On further inspection I also noticed that the same Shure PGX24/SM58 system came in three options: H6, J6 or L5. I continued my Google searching to see if these microphones were about to be obsolete and discovered the FCC page discussing why and when the 700 MHZ spectrum was taken from consumer mic use and put to use for emergency services: fcc.gov/cgb/wirelessmicrophones
So here’s my questions: Does the current hure PGX24/SM58 systems for sale use the 700 MHZ spectrum or are they safe to buy? I believe they are. But then why the warning on every page they are for sale on? In addition is there any difference in the options H6, J6 or L5?
I really like Shure microphones. There is good reason they are the most popular brand in the world. They are made well, sound great and are priced right. I own three Shure microphones. My KSM-32 is my go to vocal mic. I like the 32 because it adds a nice presence to my voice but the output is purely my voice sans coloration. I have a zillion nice plug-ins to manipulate my vocals so I don’t want my main mic forcing me into a certain sound. My live show mic is a Shure PGX system. I tried a few other brands but the Shures never have any feedback. I can stand in front of most giant venue speakers without fear. Considering I’m always climbing and jumping things during my live show having a feedback less mic is really important. I also have a SM-58 which was the mic I started out on and still use at home or as a second mic when I have a studio visitor I want to duet with. My Shure collection won’t be complete until I get a API512c compressor and match it with a Shure SM7b. My friend Mark Ephraim from The Shorebirds has the 512/7b set up and let me borrow it one afternoon a few years ago. My voice never sounded more wicked than through that combo.
This week Shure announced some new USB mics at CES. For most new producers and electronic musicians who are not recording bands a USB mic makes sense. Maybe I should replace my home interface/SM58 combo with the newly announced PG42USB. The Shure PG42USB is the one to grab if your going for a vocal mic as it’s “engineered” with voice in mind and has a low cut filter.
Shure is also going after the Micport Pro from CEntrance with it’s new Shure X2u Adapter. It’s a XLR-USB adapter so you can bring in any standard mic (including ones which need Phantom power) into your system without an audio interface.
“USB “Plug and Play” Connectivity: Allows the convenience of digital recording, anywhere your computer can go (compatible with Windows Vista, XP, 2000, and Mac OS X 10.1 or later). Integrated pre-amp with Microphone Gain Control: Allows control of input signal strength. Zero Latency Monitoring: Enables real-time playback and facilitates multi-tracking without disorientation. Headphone Jack: For monitoring with standard 1/8″ connectivity. Monitor Mix Control: For blending microphone and playback audio. Phantom Power: For use with condenser microphones.” –shure.com
If your buying any mic sure you get it from a reputable dealer because fakes are all over the place. Want to know if your SM58 is real or Memorex? Click here
In the United States the FCC will kill analog TV next February (2009). Apparently anything that uses the old analog signals may stop working or run into interference. There are some cordless mics that will be affected. I own two systems (110/220V versions) both from Shure. I like Shure the best because I find they are the least susceptible to feedback. In fact, I returned another brand because it caused such a non-stop screech I thought the audience was going to kill me.
“This ruling does not address the issue of wireless microphone operations in the 700 MHz band. The FCC had proposed earlier that wireless microphone operations in the 700 MHz band should cease in February 2009, but a final transition date has not been announced.” – Shure.com
I have a PGX system which by quickly reading the Shure website I believe will keep on working without a fuss. Am I wrong?
Mix Magazine’s Ten Wireless Tips for the transition: http://mixonline.com/mixline_live/ten_wireless_tips/
The complete FCC document is available for download: click here