Wireless microphone with separate speaker
September 4, 2021 5:36 PM   Subscribe

I am curious about a wireless microphone headset for a teacher -- preferably with a remote speaker. Budget under $100. Battery should last the school day, but charging each night is fine. Can anyone suggest a specific unit, or general principles of the things, or pitfalls to avoid?

My daughter is teaching grade school is a big, old Catholic school. Her fabric mask muffles her voice, but she needs it to carry to the kids in the back.

A neighbor who teaches first grade says that she uses a wireless mic, but didn't tell me any details about it.

I would like to see if I can find a possible solution for my daughter, but I know zero about this stuff. Thanks!!!
posted by wenestvedt to Technology (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Since we are not using portable classrooms (no ventilation), I am currently teaching screaming through a mask in a giant cafeteria filled with thunderous white noise as other students come in from recess on their squeaky damn shoes with their excited voices and grab their lunches behind my students. 🤦‍♀️Thanks, coronavirus!

I asked this same question in a few teacher groups and several people suggested this mic/speaker setup, as did a choir teacher friend who had her tonsils out mid year a couple years ago. No remote speaker, though. It arrives Sunday and I’ll try and remember to report back, but it’s cheap enough it seemed worth the gamble to me.
posted by charmedimsure at 5:48 PM on September 4, 2021 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Can I just buy any Bluetooth speaker, and any Bluetooth lavalier mic?

What about UHF versus 2.4GHz versus Bluetooth?
posted by wenestvedt at 5:49 PM on September 4, 2021

I do not have specific advice but I feel like Bluetooth is probably bad for this application. I have seen the device charmedimsure linked, linked elsewhere recently, for whatever that’s worth. I despise using wireless for Mission-critical stuff, so I’d probably just go with that.
posted by Alterscape at 6:27 PM on September 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Looks like there's a wireless version of the speaker & mic combo charmedimsure linked to, for a few dollars more. UHF and it also comes with a wired mic.

All things considered, I'd say it's worth a shot.

Can I just buy any Bluetooth speaker, and any Bluetooth lavalier mic?

I don't see why not. Although IMO a headset would be better than a lavalier, having the mic closer to her mouth is better. (Also, finding useable places to clip a lav on women's clothing is often harder than you might think.)

What about UHF versus 2.4GHz versus Bluetooth

Bluetooth has limited range & is prone to dropouts/disconnecting. I mean, it's not like she's presenting at the MegaCorp shareholders meeting, so it's probably not a big deal, but, eh *shrug*, I'd go another route if I had the choice.

2.4 ghz is WiFi, it's the new trend in cheap music instrument wireless, and I've already seen a bunch of instances where it works fine in soundcheck and then fails at showtime as all the audience's phones start pinging around, interfering with the signal. Maybe not such a danger during the day in school, but I generally don't trust it.

If you can get UHF, I'd do that.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:47 PM on September 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

I don't think Bluetooth would work. I have a hard time imagining even how to pair a mic with a speaker by poking buttons or something on each to get them paired. There's a bit more of a computer sort of thing in the middle to pair with the mic (input) and the speaker (output) that could be a PITA if it even works. You could probably pick up a crusty old wired microphone and portable amplifier with a speaker from a pawn shop that would drown out everything else. The tour-guide things look pretty cool.
posted by zengargoyle at 7:13 AM on September 5, 2021

Best answer: I have the exact model that soundguy99 linked to and the wireless mic setup works perfectly in my standard-size kindergarten classroom. I haven't used the music streaming function, so I don't have any tips about that. Some things to consider about the mic/speaker:

- The speaker clips on, so your daughter will need to consider where to clip it (waistband, apron pocket, etc.) during the workday. It is lightweight, but I wouldn't slide it onto any delicate fabrics just in case I snagged it on something while moving around the room.

- I prefer to wear the headband around the back of my neck and bend the mic up in front of my mouth rather than wear it like a customer service headset (which seems to give me tension headaches - yuck). Wearing it around my neck doesn't seem to impact the sound quality in any way.
posted by Lady Sugar Maple at 9:09 AM on September 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Update: used it all week, and it works great. I just clip it to my pants pocket. The kids thanked me for getting it. The cheap mic does need to be basically touching my mask to work, but that’s fine.
posted by charmedimsure at 1:53 PM on September 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

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